When we were looking for a new place to live, my wife and I lucked out in finding an ideal situation. A 2 bedroom apartment with a den/office close to all of the amenities and a bus stop. I know, I know. This sounds like an ad on Kijiji or Craigslist.
I’ve never had an office to call my own anywhere that we lived, so I was excited about the prospects. But then, my wife got a new job and it was work from home. She needed a secure workplace so I bid a fond farewell to what could have been.
As it turns out, the “at home” job changed to Crystal returning to the site. Our internet provider lacked proper encryption or something, so, now we’re back to having t o drive her in every morning. It’s okay, it was nice having her working from home while it lasted.
But there’s another saying that when life hand you lemons, you make lemonade. So, as fate has it I now have my “golffice”. A space to call “sort of” my own. A place where I can practice putting, have all of my golf stuff out, work on my writing, and play guitar, It isn’t much but it’s mine. Not to mention, I have a quiet workplace just in time for the 2021 PGA Show, granted it’s virtual.
A few features headline my “golffice” namely my Big Moss putting green, my Arnold Palmer picture, my guitars (I know, it’s not golf-related) and other artifacts like books and autographs of John Daly and Craig Stadler.
The video below takes you n a tour of my modest golf nerve centre and where all of the magic happens at Until The Next Tee.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been experimenting with playing bright-coloured golf balls. A combination of looking for the right golf ball for my needs has resulted in testing a myriad of colours from a few different brands. The DUO OPTIX from Wilson Golf is one of the golf balls that I’ve tested.
For this testing, I purchased a dozen of their matte-green version.
The DUO OPTIX golf ball from Wilson Golf was designed to help golfers and their golf balls, stand out on the golf course. Offered in several bold colours including pink, orange, green, yellow (like a lemon), and red there’s likely a colour offered in the OPTIX that could suit your individual needs.
The DUO OPTIX golf ball from Wilson Golf is built on the same chassis that is their successful DUO Soft golf ball. That golf ball (and the OPTIX for that matter) are golf balls that fall into the “distance” golf ball category.
Upon looking at some of the technical details about the DUO Soft/OPTIX the first important item to know is that this golf ball features an astonishingly low compression rating. It wasn’t all that long ago when we looked at a golf ball with a rating of 50 and thought, “it’s like a marshmallow” (ironically, it’s Wilson’s Fifty that comes to mind). Well, compared to that 50-compression rating, the DUO Soft/OPTIX weighs in with an amazing compression rating of 29. A soft core for ease of compression of the golf ball which could equate to more distance.
To aid golfers in tracking the flight of their golf ball, Wilson Golf R&D opted to design this golf ball with a semi-translucent cover. Not only does this cover make life easier for golfers to track their golf ball easier in the air, but it also can aid in locating their golf ball in various types of ground conditions. Long grass, fallen leaves of the fall and so on. The cover of the DUO OPTIX is finished with a matte paint finish, this is done to prevent glare from the sun in the address position.
The core itself is constructed from POLYBUTADIENE which delivers a soft feel and a straighter, longer ball flight. I should note that there was a prior generation of the DUO OPTIX golf ball. The current generation, the golf ball is constructed with a smaller core.
The DUO OPTIX retails for $19.99 USD or $27.99 CAD.
Even though my testing of this golf ball didn’t start until September, I feel obligated to tell everyone that I didn’t try this golf ball with the intent of making it strictly, a “fall golf ball”. Because it isn’t. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have tried this golf ball until the temperatures had fallen to below 10*C (50*F). Which is a fact that I feel I should point out before I get too far into this review.
So many golfers think that low-compression golf balls are strictly for colder temperatures. I’m one golfer and tester that believes that this, is simply not the case.
Low-compression golf balls have their advantages all year-round. Not just when the temperatures are cooler. Why not have a golf ball that’s easier to compress and potentially “milk” a few extra yards out of, it in the heat of summer? Some people contend that golf balls get “too soft” in the summer. I guess scientifically that’s possible. But I also feel that unless you’re leaving your golf bag in a 100* car, it won’t happen. I’m no scientist, it’s just my opinion.
Categories that I tested the characteristics of the DUO OPTIX were…
Greenside Spin (50 yards and in)
Full Approach Spin
The latter is always what the majority of golfers care about.
Putting – As one might expect, putting with a golf ball as soft as the DUO OPTIX is very pleasant. The feel is so soft and muted that, at times you don’t even really feel the golf ball coming off of the putter. Some golfers may not like this sensation, but I really like it. It just feels so good in my hands at impact. The alignment aid is pretty basic, as it says “DUO OPTIX” inside of two chevrons. This is the only visual difference between this current generation of DUO OPTIX and the generation prior that I noticed. The prior generation alignment aid says “DUO Soft” inside of the aforementioned chevrons.
Greenside Spin(50 yards and In) – When it comes to greenside spin, it lacks just a little vs one of its competitors that I’ve tested and posted about recently. The DUO OPTIX doesn’t have an astounding capability to “check up” on greenside shots. On a number of occasions I got a little bit more rollout than I had anticipated. In no way am I suggesting that the DUO OPTIX waved at the hole as it was going by, I just thought that it might “deaden” to the hole a little sooner. The “lack” of spin never got me into trouble. What I will say however, is that if it were another golf ball ball with more spin, the golf ball would have stopped. A greenside pitch out of a tight lie had a lot of spin, I landed it just onto the surface and couldn’t believe my eyes as the ball rolled 4 feet past the hole. In total, it rolled about 20 feet. A good putt saved par.
At the root of what this golf ball truly is, it is a “distance” golf ball and not a tour-level golf ball. Much of the lack of greenside spin has to do a cover that might be a little more “slippery” on putting surfaces and the face of your wedges when compared to a urethane-covered golf ball. For the sake of comparing, it is like comparing “apples to oranges” which isn’t necessarily fair.
Full Approach Spin – Ironically, what this golf ball lacks in greenside spin is made up for in terms of full approach spin. From wedges to full irons and even hybrids. The DUO OPTIX spins. Do receptive greens help in this regard? Yes. But, I never experienced the approach spin results that I did with only receptive greens. I played a round with these golf balls at a private club in the area with very firm and fast greens. The DUO OPTIX held the greens and in those conditions and exhibited some “drop and stop” characteristics. On a “Closest to the Pin” hole I struck my shot, tracked it, and watched it land into a backstop. The DUO OPTIX backed-up and funnelled down to the hole. Less than a foot away (Sidebar: My group nor I don’t know how I lost the Closest to the Pin on the hole. It was for a set of TW Proto Wedges). At any rate, that result would not have happened if the DUO OPTIX didn’t have very fair full approach spin.
Distance – The DUO OPTIX delivers plenty of pop off of all of the clubs throughout the golf bag. I feel that this is a direct by-product of the low-compression core of this golf ball. But, I think what might be underrated here is the cover itself. Perhaps, the dimple pattern is low drag, which translates into plenty of distance off of the tee with driver. Not to mention, the spin rates with the driver appear to be quite low based on the fact that this golf ball does not balloon. Moreover, it seems like this golf ball just likes to fly straight, even in heavy winds. For example, in a round played on November 20th, we had sustained winds of more than 40 km/h with gusts near 60 km/h. The wind did not touch this golf ball, even when the wind was a crosswind. I wouldn’t be surprised if some golfers picked up a full club of length with their irons.
One last aspect that I should touch on is the cover. The cover holds up extremely well and has shown no signs of wear. The current ball has been used for several rounds. Also, the semi-translucent nature of the cover and the matte-green paint does show up very well as the golf ball flies through the air. It’s a very easy golf ball to track. However, I noticed one issue. In certain “high sky” situations where it’s very bright and there’s a glare on the grass there was a tendency to lose the golf ball as it laid in the turf. Fairway or rough. On more than one occasion I drove right past my golf ball or never located it right off of the fairway. It’s almost like the green is the right shade of green. In fairness, how do you come up with the right hue of green?
First things first. If I were to purchase and play the DUO OPTIX golf ball again, I would lean towards one of their other colours. I’ve developed a real fondness for red golf balls, because that colour shows up very well in almost all conditions. Unless there are red leaves on the ground during the fall. The red almost has a tail behind it, like a “Shot Tracer” as it cuts through the atmosphere. If I didn’t go with the red, I’d try their yellow which is like a lemon. I would think that that colour, would be very hard to lose in the grass.
Bright golf balls aren’t for everyone. I like them and I really like the DUO OPTIX. I recommend them to golfers looking to brighten up their game a bit. I’m talking from both a visual and performance standpoint. This golf ball feels great and as I alluded to, some golfers will pick up some yardage, (maybe lost yardage) by playing the DUO OPTIX.
There is the one drawback to this golf ball. It is a distance golf ball, and a distance golf ball first and foremost. You will not see greenside spin with this golf ball. The cover is “slick” and is not designed to stop. Expect rollout and play your shots accordingly.
Not to mention that the DUO OPTIX has a fair price point as well. It’s worth a look and if you’re hellbent on sticking with white. At least give the DUO Soft a look.
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.
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.
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).
Power Chamber Technology. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Heading into the 2020 PGA Show, my focus on Wilson Golf products was mostly on their irons. The Staff Utility and D7 Forged in particular. When it came to the LaunchPad range of metalwoods I wasn’t particularly interested. I wasn’t crazy about the name and it was almost too “no frills” to even bother with. To be frank, I felt no excitement or buzz around this range heading into the show. Which ails in comparison to their D7 line-up from 2019 which I had an excitement about.
The LaunchPad fairway metals from Wilson Golf are designed to help golfers from the tee and fairway. The LaunchPad fairway metals are built on the premise of super lightweight technology to increase clubhead speeds and increase distance for golfers. This is achieved through the use of lightweight components (grip, shaft, etc). The LaunchPad fairway metals might be a good option for golfers struggling with a slice. There a moderate amount of hosel offset built into the design. The face is constructed from a highly responsive 455 Carpenter Steel, which in the past has proven to be great from an acoustics/feel point of view and yielding higher ball speeds.
If you’re a tinkerer looking for adjustability, you’ll need to look elsewhere. There is none to be found with the LaunchPad. Like I said, “no-frills” or “bell and whistles”
The stock shaft is the UST Mamiya Helium and overall the LaunchPad has a swing weight of D1 in the 3 and 5-woods respectively.
I’ve talked about the conditions at this year’s Demo Day during the PGA Show. It was cold and windy. The high reached 59*F but with windchill, it might have been closer 40-45*F. As far as location goes, the Wilson Golf booth was set up into the face of a sustained 20-25 mph wind. A disadvantage you might think?
As far as my first impressions regarding the LaunchPad fairway metals. Overall, I liked the appearance of the LaunchPad metal woods. The crown is pretty sleek in the address position and the offset didn’t bother me like I thought that it would. There is a small alignment aid and some accenting along the trailing edge. Flipping the club over, I think the white accents on the toe, heel, and sole is very tastefully done. Even the “LP” looks modern but not obnoxiously so. The Helium shaft from UST Mamiya is a great compliment to the head and the shaft really brings it all together.
I would end up swinging the LaunchPad fairway metals in both of the available lofts (15 and 18 degrees) and both from a tee and off of the deck. My main focus, however, was off of the deck. Had there been rough available, I would have tried it from that lie too. My swing left me with a feeling of “Whoa”. Honestly, I was not expecting to like it that much. The flight was long and straight. Into the wind, there was no sign of ballooning. The ball flight, just sort of bored through the air. Time and time again, the strike and consequential ball flight was the same and predictable. The ball just wanted to fly straight off of the clubface. An awfully nice problem to have don’t you think?
As far as I’m concerned, there is one thing to consider when swinging super-lightweight golf clubs. Do not over-swing and “go after it”. Let the technology work for you. Nice and smooth is optimal. I did overswing on a couple of swings and I did lose the ball left on those swings. Remember two things in me saying that.
It’s designed with “slicers” in mind. My miss is a low-left (RH golfer).
Sure the LaunchPad may not have the bells and whistles of other fairway metals in 2020? Is this a problem? No. The LaunchPad performed extremely well in difficult conditions. The LaunchPad fairway metals produced straight, predictable ball flights swing-in and swing-out. LaunchPad is a golf club that will help golfers with moderate swing speeds and even those with slightly higher speeds (90-100 MPH). LaunchPad fairway metals retail for $199.99 USD.