“First Impressions” Review – Wilson Staff D7 Forged Irons

The time has come to look at one of the winners from this year’s Teezy Awards. The Wilson Staff D7 Forged irons were emerged victorious from the 2020 PGA Show Demo Day in the “Top Game-Improvement Iron” Category.

What made them the winner? Quite frankly, the D7 Forged irons checked all of the boxes for me. They had the looks, the performance, they had the sound and feel that I look for and they actually amassed a staggering 48 out of 50 points. Near perfection.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the D7 Forged irons from Wilson Staff.

 

The Set-Up

Back in October was the first time that I saw these irons from Wilson Staff. It was one of those things where my imagination ran a little wild. Even though I couldn’t swing them then nor take pictures (they were under embargo them) I knew that these irons would be on my “short list” to swing at the 2020 PGA Show.

When examining the D7 Forged irons a few things come to mind. First, the D7 irons from 2019 were designed with much of chassis of the phenomenal FG Tour V6 irons in mind but with some obvious and noticeable differences.

d3e4f342c0ad05a6e032328e08051a949a02d9c5_WGR190000_D7_Forged_Powerholes_Tech

Power Holes. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

Located on the sole of the D7 Forged irons are Wilson Golf’s patented “Power Hole Technology” (PHT). The PHT placement has been changed and “optimized” when it comes to the forged heads as opposed to their cast brethren. PHT increases face deflection (or trampoline effect) and in doing so, ball speeds and distance are increased.

“Power Chamber Technology” is an innovation from the Chicago-based manufacturer. you’ll notice that the “Power Holes” are not hollow. A proprietary innovation/material “fills the Power Holes as well as the entire chamber behind the face” which is said to result in dampened vibration for resulting in reduced vibration resulting in better sound and feel.

Unlike the D7 irons from 2019, these D7 Forged irons are forged. 8620 Carbon Steel is the chief material used in the manufacturing process. 8620 Carbon Steel is known for providing a superior feel for the discerning golfer.

The lofts are bumped a little as the PW is 44º and the stock shaft offerings are that of KBS $ Taper Lite (steel) or the True Temper Catalyst 80 (graphite).

640x480_Feature2 (7)

Power Chamber Technology. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

The Transition

First things first, I feel that I need to clear something up. Are the D7 Forged irons a Game-Improvement (GI) iron or are they a “Player’s Distance” iron? In my opinion, the D7 Forged irons are a Game-Improvement iron, and here’s my reasoning. A few years ago, Wilson introduced a “letter code” system for their products. They were F, C, and D respectively. “F” (Feel) was aimed towards their Tour irons (FG Tour VT, FG Tour100, etc). “C” (Control) was for the player that wanted characteristics of a “player’s iron” with the forgiveness and distance of a GI iron (C100, C200, etc). Then there was the “D”  (Distance) category. These irons offered more offset, strong lofts, and were GI or Super GI) through and through. Based on the letter code and Wilson’s past marketing, the D7 Forged irons are GI irons.

Aesthetically speaking, these irons are real eye-pleasers. I thought that they were “eye candy” in October, and under the Florida sun, they were even nicer than I thought. Their satin chrome finish glistened, and for the most part, their cavity is pretty clean. The graphics are clean, simple, elegant and to the point. “The Shield” is neatly placed and I like the simple silver with black detailing. There’s just enough there to let people know that this iron is a “D7”, it has a “Power Chamber” and that it’s “Forged”. The sole is of a moderate thickness to help prevent digging and reduces “fat” shots and the “Power Holes” are not an eyesore. The top line is definitely much thinner when compared to many others in the category in 2020. I loved looking down at them in the address position. The D7 Forged irons because of their aesthetics will appeal to players of all skill levels.

When it comes to the feel and sound of these irons, there is nothing to dislike. There MUST be something to the “Power Chamber Technology” because these irons feel fantastic. Nearly every shot felt great as the ball propelled off of the face and yes, I experienced no issues with vibrations. If there was a day where there should have been some semblance of vibration, it was in the cold at Demo Day. Now, a lot of the feel can be contributed to the soft 8620 Carbon Steel that was employed during the manufacturing process. The sound is an authoritative “thwack” that sounds. I loved the feel and sound of the D7 irons.

IMG_20200121_130732051

The performance of the D7 Forged irons was astounding. These are very easy to swing and easy to hit irons. I never saw a D7 Forged with the stock True Temper Catalyst 80 shaft, so I settled for trying out the steel-shafted offering. The KBS $ Taper Lite is a mid to high trajectory shaft and low to mid-spin. With the slightly stronger lofts, this shaft is paired extremely well with the head. While having a swingweight of D2 the D7 Forged felt heavier than advertised through impact. This is a good thing and complimentary. I love a D4 to D5 because I like to know where the head is throughout the swing. Moreover, I love to feel the head pass through the impact zone.

Golf shots were easy to control. These irons are “workable” and tight draws were the norm into the teeth of the wind. Working the ball in the other direction (left to right) was pretty easy as well. Flighting the golf ball was a snap. So, if you need to dial up a stinger for your approach shot into the green, fear not, the D7 Forged will do it with “gusto”.

Distance, this is always a tough aspect to gage when hitting products at Demo Day. One of the first questions that I’ll ask a rep at Demo Day is “How far is it to that pole?” and they almost always have an answer. Upon finding out that a certain target was 150 yards. I figured a 7-iron would be the selection based on the wind which was no less than 2 clubs bordering on 3. In short, it was too much club. The 8-iron got the distance dialed right in. My point being, these irons are long. How far would that 8-iron have flown in more favourable conditions? 165-170 yards? The flight of the ball is “long and strong”. Is it possible that the D7 Forged irons are too long? Maybe, but as my years advance, I’m not going to complain as long as i can get my gapping right.

The Finish

The D7 Forged won the Teezy Award for their category and for good reason. The D7 Forged earned every point that they received. The D7 Forged irons come highly recommended from me for those golfers looking for a new set of irons in 2020 or beyond. Long, workable, forgiving, and pretty.

They retail for $899.99 USD for steel or $999.99 USD for graphite. For more information, please head to Wilson Golf.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

“First Impressions” Review -Wilson Staff DUO Soft+ Golf Balls

The golf ball is without a doubt the most underrated piece of equipment that a golfer uses in the course of his or her playing days. Not only is the “lowly” golf ball underrated it is almost thought of as an afterthought. But, it shouldn’t be. It’s the only item in our arsenal that we use on every stroke made during a round of golf.

Over the last several years, I’ve become very much a proponent of golf balls with lower compression. As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten to a point where I prefer a soft feeling, low-compression model of a golf ball. Of course, though, feel is intimate.

When it comes to soft, low-compression golf balls the first brand that comes to my mind is Wilson Golf. For 2020, Wilson Golf has brought golfers the DUO Soft+. I received a sample sleeve from the 2020 PGA Show at Demo Day and while down in Florida, I had the chance to get some on-course testing before returning home for the winter.

Here are my first impressions of the new DUO Soft+ golf balls. There will be an updated review as we get deeper into the season and I’ve had some more time to play with this golf ball.

 

The Set-Up

When looking at the new DUO Soft+ golf ball, we are looking at a golf ball that is built on the same principles as the ever-impressive, highly underrated DUO from years gone by. Wilson Golf describes the DUO as “the world’s softest and longest premium 2-piece golf ball”. If you’ve never used a DUO before, you might be missing out.

The new DUO Soft+ has a new feature in it’s “DNA”. Never used before in a DUO golf ball comes “VELOCITICOR™”. VELOCITICOR is a new core technology that consists of new, advanced materials that respond to the power of your golf swing and translates into maximum energy transfer into the ball. Different forms of polybutadiene (synthetic rubber) is used while a compound (Zinc Pentachlorothiophenol) gives VELOCITICOR it’s “oomph”.

The compression is low as the DUO Soft+ has a compression rating of 35. Wilson Golf is confident about this golf ball, and they were out to prove that the DUO Soft+ was just as long as a Titleist Pro V1. They had a “challenge” set up on Demo Day. Golfers hit three Pro V1 and three DUO Soft+ and using an iron. Using Trackman (or FlightScope I don’t recollect which one it was) the distances were recorded. For the most part, gains were seen across the board while I stood there and watched the results. Some gains by as much as 12 yards. I also took part in the challenge but my results were inconclusive.

duosoft+

 

The Transition

Early testing of the DUO Soft+ golf ball would take place at two separate venues while I stayed in Florida for a few days after the PGA Show. I would take the DUO Soft+ to the YMCA Par 3 Home of the First Tee of Lakeland where they have a pretty nice, well-maintained short game area and then I would play a round of golf in Zephyrhills, FL at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club.

The first batch of testing would occur as mentioned at the YMCA Par 3 course. That batch of testing would involve putting, chipping and pitches from a variety of lies and bunker shots. In a nutshell, that batch of testing was “anything’ short-game. The second batch of testing would be on-course and a sort of “live-fire exercise”. That would be my first look at things like distance, flight, and feel on all shots not short-game related. I would combine those results and come up with my “First Impressions”.

Feel – As you likely expect the feel of this golf ball is fantastic. I love the feel of this golf ball. It feels soft, and it feels quite buttery off of the putter, wedges, and irons. As mentioned, I’m a huge fan of softer golf balls and I often “preach to the proverbial choir” about using ofter golf balls. The feel was so good, that I actually looked forward to applying the clubhead into the back of the golf ball. I won’t guarantee it, but the DUO Soft+ is likely (if not THE) best feeling golf ball in the industry.

Spin – I won’t mince words. When looking at the DUO Soft+ golf ball, IF there is a shortcoming it might be its short-game spin capabilities. This was a case that presented itself almost immediately during the first batch of testing. To me, the DUO Soft+ had a problem checking up. Whether it was a chip or a pitch from a tight lie that allowed for easy compression, or a little lob onto the green. There was rollout. I was surprised to watch the Soft+ land on an upslope and release past the pin. I flew these shots 80% of the way to the pin. However, if I flew the golf ball 70% of the way the results improved. Chip shots were more of the same where there was more rollout than desired. Out of the bunkers, the spin was sufficient and did stop “okay”.

The spin on full shots and approaches into the green was better. The greens at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club were relatively firm. Ball marks were hard to come by as there were some approaches that left me bewildered because there were no pitch marks on the surface of the green. The approach spin with irons and wedges was very admirable in that, the spin of the DUO Soft+ did exhibit “drop and stop” characteristics. In the interest of full disclosure, I typically hit the ball high.

duosoft+2

If you plan on seeing some rollout on short-game shots and play your shots accordingly, the DUO Soft+ is good around the greens. The feel makes it worth it.

Off of the long clubs in the bag (driver/fairway metals) it is my opinion that this is a low-spinning golf ball. Which leads me to talk about the distance.

Distance – One of the alluring things about using a lower-compression golf ball is the fact that you could pick up a few yards. Remember my “distance challenge” reference? While I saw no difference in numbers during Demo Day at their booth, it appears that I am longer with the DUO Soft+. Because the DUO Soft+ isn’t so “spinny” off of the driver and fairway woods it leads to a penetrating flight after initial high launch. You can really feel the golf ball compress and rebound off of the face of the club.

I would have the DUO Soft+ compete head to head against other current “testers” and it just seemed to stretch out a tad more. Especially with the irons. The DUO Soft+ was a club longer (7 to 10 yards) against the others. Now what I have to keep in mind is that I was hitting my PW in Florida 125 yards (sea-level is real). That same distance back at home would have translated to approximately 130-135 yards. It’s my hypothesis that I would get closer to 140 yards out of my 44* PW (winds notwithstanding) under normal conditions where I typically play which is around 350′ above sea-level. I also noticed gains with the other clubs I would play.

Putting – The DUO Soft+ has a pretty basic alignment aid for lining up your putts correctly. Emblazoned on the equator is “DUOSOFT+” that is book-ended by double chevrons (pictured below). Simple and functional.

duosoft+1

The Finish

All things considered, the Wilson Staff DUO Soft+ golf balls are a very nice low-compression offering for golfers that prefer a softer feeling golf ball. If you aren’t one of these golfers, it might be worth a look for you regardless. While I found there to be some issues with greenside spin, it’s an issue that we can look past as long as you’re willing to account for that deficiency. At the end of the day, it is, after all, a 2-piece golf ball.

The DUO Soft+ is longer than other golf balls in the industry and your results in this facet might be better or worse than mine.

With a price tag of $19.99 USD/dozen the DUO SOft+ is worth a look. It offers pretty darn good “bang for the golfer buck”. I’m looking forward to playing with this golf ball more. Stay tuned!

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Practice In Isolation – The UTNT Practice Centre For Deprived Golfers

Practice?! We’re talking about practice? Who remembers former NBA-superstar Allen Iverson’s famous rant? Practice, it’s essential for us golfers. But what happens when we cannot get to a golf course or a driving range to work on our game. What if, we were in isolation? Too soon? One way or another, we need to work on our game. So we might set up an area in our backyard… If we have one.

I’m fortunate to currently have a backyard and I have a lavish set-up. It’s a place that I use during the season when I don’t feel up to going out to a range. I use it to just unwind and decompress when I’m feeling “off”. Heck, I’ll use it in the dead of winter too in weather that is -15*C. I did this past winter before leaving for the PGA Show.

So, here’s my set-up. “The UTNT Practice Centre For Deprived Golfers” and the cost.

  • Callaway Golf Practice Net ($25 CAD)
  • Folded up carpet remnant (free)
  • Balls (Free. I’ve found them walking along creek beds while fly fishing)
  • Turf “mat” ($19 CAD. It was an actual practice mat that fell apart after 20 swings)
  • Tiki Torch holder ($4 CAD)

Not seen though is the Big Moss Putting “Augusta” Putting mat. That’s kept indoors. I admit that I received that item for review a long time ago. Maybe 5 years ago or so.

IMG_20200329_133639656

In total, I am in for $48 CAD. It’s modest, not fancy, and borders on embarrassing. But, it’s what I can have within my means. It’s mine, bought and paid for, and it’s effective.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

2020 Teezy Awards (Equipment Edition) – Fairway Metals

Fairway metals are an important golf club in a golfer’s arsenal. We use them on shorter, tight par 4’s where we need that blend of length and control from the tee. Heck, with a good strike using a fairway metal, we have a chance of reaching Par 5s in two.

The time has come to announce the winners of the 2020 Teezy Awards for the top golf equipment that I experienced during the 2020 PGA Show Demo Day. The Demo Day was held at a very cold (for Florida) and blustery Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge.

 

  1. Performance (Tee)
  2. Performance (Off of the deck)
  3. Aesthetics
  4. Sound/Feel
  5. Price Point

 

Gold – COBRA Golf KING SPEEDZONE (46.5/50)

COBRA Golf has itself a terrific fairway wood in 2020. Just edging out the runner-up. The SPEEDZONE fairway metals from COBRA Golf offers golfers great performance from the tee and off of the deck. The latter is really aided by the “Baffler Rails” on the sole of the golf club. Turf interaction is minimal and it just cuts through the turf. The “Split Rails” are hollow which leads to more flex that increases the sweet spot by 70% from heel to toe. Off of the tee, it is a mini-driver. Long, penetrating trajectories. There are three models to choose from. I loved the smaller footprint of the SPEEDZONE Tour.

sz fw

Silver – Tour Edge Golf Exotics EXS 220 (46/50)

The Exotics EXS 220 fairway metals from Tour Edge Golf are clubs that should be on golfers’ radars for 2020. If you’re looking for a new fairway metal, look no further. Boasting all of the same technology as it’s bigger sibling the ball rockets off of its face. “Diamond Face Technology” is a key technology here. A 6-gram weight towards the trailing edge makes the EXS 220 a very forgiving fairway wood from the tee and fairway lies. Speaking of which, from fairway lies the “SlipStream Sole” leads to smoother turf interaction.

exs 220 fw

Bronze – Callaway Golf MAVRIK (44/50)

Callaway Golf fans and other golfers will no doubt embrace the MAVRIK fairway metal if they swing it. Like the driver, it’s an understated performer meaning that due to its muted sound, you almost don’t realize how hot the face is. The weight is low and back making this fairway metal very forgiving. It features the same “Jailbreak Technology” and “Flash Face technology” as seen in the driver. The MAVRIK fairway metal produced easy baby draws in tough conditions. I found this club to be very strong off of the tee but I noticed a slight dropoff off of the deck. Just a little more than the others higher on the podium. I really enjoyed swinging the MAVRIK fairway wood.

fwoods-2020-mavrik____5

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

“First Impressions” Review – Tour Edge Exotics Wingman Putter

wing·man
/ˈwiNGˌman,ˈwiNGmən/
noun
  1. a pilot whose aircraft is positioned behind and outside the leading aircraft in a formation whom flys in support of another pilot.

The Set-Up

The Wingman is a mini-mallet putter that features a multi-material construction. A Surlyn insert is employed in the face of the Wingman putter. This face insert was fine-tuned to find the optimal hardness rating that determined the sound and feel of the face. A carbon fiber soleplate is also used in the construction of the Wingman. The carbon fiber soleplate help to achieve the perfect roll. The use of the carbon fiber soleplate allowed Tour Edge R&D to redistribute weight towards the sides and back of the clubhead. This design increases the M.O.I. and “acts as an internal structure to further improve sound and feel”. In saying this, the Wingman is a putter that offers one of the highest MOI (resistance to twisting) among putters on the market.

Interchangeable weights are also used on the sole of the Wingman putter. These weights come in 3, 8 and 15 grams, with the 3-gram weight being the standard option. A separate interchangeable weight kit including two 8-gram weights and two 15-gram weights gives golfers the option of adding or subtracting more overall weight to the heel and toe of the clubhead to obtain their preferred feel. In doing so, golfers have the option of really fine-tuning their Wingman. “More weight in the heel will assist those who lag and leave the toe open in their stroke. Golfers with a tendency to pull their putts will benefit from more weight on the toe”. The head weight of the Wingman can range from 355 grams all the way up to 379 grams.

A key feature of the Wingman putter that really contributes to its moniker is “Lock-On Technology”. Lock-On alignment technology allows the lie angle to be set perfectly square at address, further aiding overall alignment. You’ll notice “wings” on the head of the Wingman. Ironically enough, these wings are where some of the “payload” is carried. The weight out on the wings helps to keep the face square to the swing path for a true roll.

wingman1

The Transition

Upon investigating the Wingman a little bit further, I noticed that there were three models of the Wingman offered. Wingman-01 is a Mid-Toe-Hang, Wingman-02 is a Face-Balanced option while the Wingman-03 is a Centre-Shafted option. Seeing that I’ve generally gravitated toward center-shafted putters I picked up a Wingman-02 putter that was 33″ in length.

As I stood there with the Wingman-02 in my hands, I thought that this putter was a good-looking product. Wingman is sleek! The grip end of the putter features a jumbo Lamkin Sink Fit Straight grip which promotes light grip pressure. The “Made For” KBS CT Tour putter used has a black PVD finish which gives the Wingman the look of graphite and is a look that’s becoming ever-increasingly popular on TOUR. The KBS CT Tour shaft is a stepless design which gives the shaft a little more structure and stability through the ball. Flipping the Wingman-02 over, I really liked the look of the carbon-fiber soleplate and the orange and white detailing. It’s a smart-looking putter that will have great “rack appeal” in shops.

wingmansole

In the address position, while the Wingman is a mallet, it doesn’t have a large footprint. So, if a golfer is traditionally a blade-type of player the Wingman may not be off-putting for the player looking for a little bit of help with their putting. In the case of the Wingman-03, there is a thin white line that’s used for alignment and “locking-on” which I found to be subtle (the Wingman-01 and Wingman-02 variants have a more distinguished alignment aid).

Tour Edge Exotics had their own putting green set up at the front of their booth so I took the opportunity to “take a flight” with Wingman. The Wingman looks good in the address position and I found that the head really seemed to frame the golf ball. Speaking of framing, the “Lock-On Technology” is very effective in helping golfers with the proper lie angle as it was designed to do. Whether I purposely addressed the golf ball where the toe or heel drifted upwards (even minutely) the lines didn’t line up properly. However, when I addressed the golf ball and the putter was soled properly there was continuity from front to back. Not to mention, the face was square every time. It’s nice to have that support further cementing your confidence.

The feel off of the face when putts were stroked was soft but not in a “mushy” way. There was a soft “click” at impact which is a by-product of Tour Edge R&D selecting the correct hardness of the Surlyn insert. I loved the feel of the golf ball off of this putter. In fairness though, what feels “right” for me may not translate to feeling “right” for you. The Wingman really does seem to offer a very true roll and perhaps the “MicroGroove Technology” that Tour Edge incorporated into the insert contributes to this true roll. The MicroGrooves reduces skidding off the face which leads to a better roll.

wingman2

My distance control was excellent with the Wingman. Some putters that I’ve tested and reviewed have been a little bit jumpy off of the face which was detrimental from a confidence standpoint. This was NOT the case with the Wingman. I would make rolls anywhere from those pesky 2′ putts to a maximum of approximately 15 feet. More putts seemed to be holed than those that weren’t. The Wingman really seemed to inspire confidence. Again, the “Lock-On Technology” proved to be very effective.

I would test their claims of Wingman being high MOI. I made putts off of the toe and heel. The Wingman did not twist in my hands during these off-center strikes.

wingman3

The Finish

Ultimately, the Wingman putter range from Tour Edge Exotics is a very solid putter offering for the 2020 product cycle. The Wingman is a good-looking putter that simply performs. The “Lock-On Technology” works and this is a putter that does build and inspire confidence. It’s forgiving and offers some latitude for those golfers looking to tinker to get their putter “right”.

If you’re looking for a new putter this season, give the Wingman a look. The Wingman is a finalist for a Teezy Award in the Top Putter Category.

The Wingman will retail for a very fair MSRP of $199.99 USD and is available on April 1st, 2020.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee