2018 PGA Show Demo Day

The weather forecast the night before Demo Day for Winter Garden, Florida wasn’t exactly ideal. For me, there was a sense of disappointment because not only was there rain in the forecast but there were thunderstorms expected at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Fortunately, the rains never came and instead came blue skies and temperatures in the high 70’s. Sure there were a few clouds in the sky and there was plenty of wind for attendees and manufacturers alike but not once was there a threat of ill weather.

My day started at around 8 a.m. after a drive from the Plant City area that was mired in traffic. Upon arriving at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge and driving through the fescue to park I made my way into the grounds with my media badge proudly on display. I stopped at a couple of booths that were setting up (Wilson Golf and Cleveland Golf) just to say hello to a contact or two there. I took advantage of watching Cleveland Golf Staffer Jamie Sadlowski make some swings before attendees came in. Sadlowski is a recent signing and I received an amazing tip of a new staffer tat’s going to be announced. Later in the morning while I was at morning meetings Wilson Golf announced that the sequel to Driver vs Driver was currently undergoing filming. At this time Wilson Golf also introduced the judging panel who includes Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke, ex-NHL superstar Jeremy Roenick and internet sensation Rick Shiels.

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As I moved on from there I met with a representative of Buffalo Agency (Bill Fiedler) who introduced me to a few of their clients. The first was a brand of high-end golf shafts from a Japanese-based brand called Seven Dreamers. The brand sees its root in the aerospace and medical industry’s respectively. Their golf shafts offer a wide variety to players of all types which totals 27 different SKU’s in a wide variety of weight and shaft flex options. A review will be coming but once we found the right shaft for me putting the ball in play was easy. Predictable shot patterns and trajectory. Afterwards, I was introduced to the team at the JPGA. The Junior Players Golf Academy attracts junior golfers (and their parents) from all over the world. Having two locations (Orlando-area and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) the academy teaches junior golfers not only how to play the game of golf but also gives them an education with the goal of the golfers earning scholarships into university golf programs. Moreover the academy also teaches their prospects very important life skills.

I had an appointment at 10:30 a.m. with the VP of Cobra-Puma Golf Tom Olsavsky  . Mr. Olsavsky talked me through the 2018 product range from Cobra Golf and the range is setting up what could be another juggernaut of a year for the brand. The brand features two color stories for their metal woods (F8 and F8+). This year the finishes come in black (stealthy) and a color called Nardo. The Nardo is mean and is accented by having metallic flakes infused into it. The face features CNC Milling as opposed to forged types and the reason for this will be explained in a later article. The brand also released the new F8 ONE Length irons building of a very successful F7 model in 2017. Added to the ONE Length range in 2018 is a matching hybrid. I will be receiving a set of the F8 ONE Length irons for review and the one feature that the irons have is the integration of  Cobra Connect. Launched in 2017  in only their driver Cobra Golf has added the Arccos Golf system to their sets. Arccos has so many features that I can’t list them right now but this might be the ultimate golf metrics data collection in the business. It’s powered by Mircosoft and this thing is amazing.

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I had an appointment with TaylorMade Golf where I made swings with the new M3 irons and the M3 and M4 drivers that feature “Twist Face Technology”. I really enjoyed the M3 irons (preferred the pairing of the Tensei graphite) and between the M3 and M4 I had to lean towards the M3. Both clubs were easy to hit but my time was rather limited. I would go back to Wilson Staff and swing the new C300 range. Their irons come in two different models (C300 Forged and a Cast version). As much as I liked the C300 Forged the C300 (cast) “went like stink”. The exit speed was great and the 8 iron was carrying 165 yards. I really did like the hybrid, fairway wood and driver as well.

So as one might expect you always have the givens. The can’t misses that are the giants of the golf industry. You know them… TaylorMade Golf, Callaway Golf, Titleist and PING. What people don’t realize there are so many terrific independent or lesser known brands in the industry… especially on this side of the pond. I have to start by mentioning New Level Golf Equipment. Their CEO Eric Burch brings 20 years of design and clubmaking knowledge with him. New Level launched new irons and wedges and I fell in love with with the 1031 Forged irons. KBS Shafts is a partner of his and paired with the C-Taper 125 the 1031 Forged proved to be a hidden gem (btw his 902 irons are no slouch either). All of their irons are forged. I made swings with Vertical Groove Golf who launched their driver last year and a fairway wood this year. Drives into the wind with an 8* head and X-Stiff shaft hit bombs into the wind. Back in North America is Lynx Golf. After their purchase by Dick’s Sporting Goods the brand was all but extinct in North America. With the launch of their new Prowler VT irons and their Forged CB irons they are clearly no longer “that Lynx”. Performance and irons that are simply good looking. I had high expectations and those were met. But their #BB driver was the biggest shock of the day because that driver is one sneaky, long, and consistent performer.

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Finally, this year I got to swing some of the lesser known (to North America) JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) manufacturers. Starting with Epon the brand offers the cleanest wedge on the market because it is essentially void of markings. Forged by premier foundry (Endo) these irons are of the highest quality and their AF-705 irons were a powerful combination of beauty, forgiveness and distance. Honma Golf might be a brand that as far as I’m concerned has a huge stigma attached to them. That stigma is that they are for the wealthy and feature a gold driver worth $2000 USD (4 Star). They are that but… they also feature 3 other models including the BeZeal. The driver and irons were disgustingly good and I’ll save that write-up for another time. Also in the brands that I’ve never made swings with until now category is Onoff Golf. Their Onoff Kuro Black range is sleek, sneaky and powerful and again they were well worth the wait.

Stay tuned for more PGA Show coverage in the upcoming days.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

Aerotech Golf Introduces New TiFiber Driver Shafts

For those golfers out there that aren’t too familiar with the Aerotech name they are one of the leading golf shaft company’s in the golf industry. Their beginnings date back to 1994 when they were originally suppliers for a variety of company’s like Cleveland Golf and Lynx Golf.

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Photo credit: Aerotech Golf

Much time has passed since then and they were the company that brought golfer the Steelfiber iron shaft. Steelfiber is a shaft that has a steel fiber outer layer while the inner section is composed of graphite. As it stands now the Steelfiber shaft is offered as an option by most of the major golf manufacturers today. Brands like Callaway Golf, Srixon Golf, Titleist and many more. The Steelfiber is the number one graphite shaft on Tour.

At the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show Aerotech will be on hand. At that time, and the brand will be releasing their new TiFiber shaft. The new TiFiber shaft will come in two models. The Tour 60 and Tour 70.  Please see the full press release below.

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Photo Credit: Aerotech Golf

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Aerotech Golf, maker of the No. 1 graphite iron shaft in the world, is proud to introduce its all-new TiFiber Driver Shafts. The revolutionary TiFiber shafts feature a high-modulus graphite core with a full surface layer of Titanium Fiber — the only shaft of its kind in the world — that optimizes launch angles and spin rates for increased distance and pinpoint accuracy.

“We’re very excited to unveil the new TiFiber driver shafts at this year’s PGA Show,” says Chris Hilleary, president of Aerotech Golf. “Just as our SteelFiber technology revolutionized graphite iron shafts, the high strength, unprecedented stability and lightweight properties of titanium will forever change driver shafts.”

Hilleary explains TiFiber shafts combine a high-modulus graphite core with 47 miles of micro-thin titanium fiber lacing the entire shaft surface. The high-strength titanium fiber creates unprecedented stability, while at the same time, the titanium’s lightweight properties allow weight to be redistributed to optimize tip stiffness. TiFiber shafts are also a perfect match for modern oversized titanium/composite driver heads.

The TiFiber shafts are currently available in two models — the TiFiber Tour 70 and Pro 60. TiFiber Tour 70 shafts feature a ‘Tour Stiff’ tip section to optimize flight by reducing spin and lowering trajectory. The TiFiber Pro 60 has a slightly softer tip section and benefits players who need a bit more launch and spin, yet who still want the added stability of titanium. The Tour 70 is available in F5 (Stiff) and F6 (X-Stiff) flex options, and the TiFiber Pro 60 is available in F4 (Regular) and F5 (Stiff) flexes.

“TiFiber shafts are designed for players to attain the highest level of performance and optimize launch angles and spin rates for increased distance and pinpoint accuracy,” adds Hilleary. “The ultra-premium TiFiber is a real game-changer.”

Last season, Aerotech Golf’s SteelFiber shafts delivered 20 wins on pro tours around the world as well as won the coveted CME Race for the Globe Trophy and 2016 Money Title on the LPGA Tour. Players with SteelFiber shafts routinely rank high on the PGA Money List, Official World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup Season Points. In 2013, for example, SteelFiber players ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the FedEx Cup Season Points and ended overall as No. 3 and No. 5 on the PGA Money List. SteelFiber shafts won the highly prized FedEx Cup in 2012.

Aerotech Golf shafts are available as custom options with many nationally celebrated golf club manufacturers such as PXG, Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Ping, Cobra, Bridgestone Golf, Wilson, Cleveland Golf, Miura, Srixon, KZG and Nakashima Golf. Aerotech Golf shafts are also available through professional golf clubfitters around the world. Aerotech Golf is a proud supporter of the Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals (AGCP) and the International Clubmakers Guild (ICG).

Until The Next Tee!!

Staying True To The Next Tee

The winds of change have been blowing since before the dawn of humanity. It’s a fact! That’s never changed nor will it ever as far as I can see. When I think about the landscape that is the golf industry I really feel that this holds true. Think about it just for a short second. The advancements in golf technology, fabrics for apparel, golf shoes and how your course superintendent maintains your precious fairways. The same can be said for business models in the golf industry as well.

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Over the last couple of days I’ve seen over social media some much “bigger fish” than Until The Next Tee (in a somewhat passive-aggressive manner) lash out at certain company’s choosing not send product for testing. Which is fine and it’s their prerogative to do so.  After all that’s the beauty of free speech. When it comes to the manufacturers it’s great for these company’s to support golf forums and blogs but it’s also their perogative to decline sending out product. There’s many reasons for this decision. It could be a change in a business model or maybe they feel like they might be “above” doing such because quite frankly they’re (in their own minds) too big for that. Either way, no matter what side of the fence you’re on you’ll always have a choice. Some people may support the choice and others will oppose.

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It comes as no shock to anyone that Until The Next Tee doesn’t have the resources or tenure as some of the bigger fish in this “golf website ocean”. The truth is this. In fact, I was a very active participant in their respective schools and decided to go off on my own for a number of reasons and I’m glad that I did. But when you’re a sardine trying to compete against a barracuda it’s all about trying to find a way to survive. Stay close to the reef right? It’s tough to get support from company’s when you’re small and I understand and respect that. You have to develop street credibility because you’re an unknown quantity and company’s can’t just send products to any person trying to pass themselves off as something. You have to “earn your stripes” as my parents would often tell me. So to survive… I’ve been resourceful.

I’ve found ways to survive and provide a service that I’m damn proud of. While trying to earn my stripes I’ve never had golf clubs sent to me for testing other than Miura (on two occasions) and Cleveland Golf. Having been mostly ignored I’ve used demo days to produce my “organic reviews”. Whether it’s the colossus that’s the PGA Show Demo Day, a local golf show like when I stumbled upon PXG (and reviewed them) or local demo days like the one last year to test out Cobra Golf I get the job done. When you love doing something you find a way.

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So no matter what company’s choose to continue to support testing and reviews please know that I’ll stay true to who I am and what Until The Next Tee was founded upon. If there’s a will… there’s a way! No matter what the company is from Yonex to Fourteen. From Wilson Staff to TaylorMade or Bridgestone Golf to PXG and everything in between I’ll do my best to test and share my opinions with you… my readers. #SeeUOnTheNextTee

Until The Next Tee!!