REVIEW – Wilson Staff C300 Driver

To me Wilson Staff have been one of the two biggest movers and shakers in the golf business over the last 5 years. The brand that has the most Major victories in golf history and a brand that’s been around for over 100 years. In recent memory the brand has tried to get back into the golf consumers mindsets with some groundbreaking marketing with their popular Driver vs Driver reality television show. In January, at the PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day they announced that there was going to be a Driver vs Driver 2 with judges including Rick Shiels, Jeremy Roenick and President Tim Clarke. The Triton was the winner then so I’m excited to see what happens this time around, Wilson Staff Triton Review

In the meantime fresh for the 2018 golf season Wilson Staff introduced the new C300 range of products. Geared towards the “Crossover” player who is looking for control and distance. The line-up includes a driver, fairway wood, hybrids and irons (cast and forged). For today’s review we’re going to look at the C300 driver and my organic, first-hand thoughts and experiences with the driver.

C300

When it comes to the C300 it’s clear that Wilson Golf wants you to #PowerYourPlay. How does Wilson want to establish that notion? Well, through the utilization of what the company calls “Power Holes”. On top of the crown and right behind the leading edge of the face (sole) Wilson Golf engineers strategically placed urethane-filled holes on the entire range of products. What the design team was looking to achieve by doing so was to give golfers higher ball speeds, more distance, and more consistency through more face flexion and a larger sweet spot. The aptly named “Power Hole Technology” was first seen in the brands C200 irons. As far as adjustability goes there are a few methods with C300 that allows golfers to tweak their launch and trajectory characteristics. Firstly, there’s the adjustable hosel  loft which allows you to adjust either adjust 1* Down or 2* Up in half degree increments. Secondly, there are three adjustable weight screws (2 gram and 2 6 gram weights) that allow you to give a draw or fade bias. Place the 6 dram weight in the heel for a draw-aiding shot shape. The C300 comes in 3 different lofts (9*, 10.5*, and 12*) and features the venerable Fujikura Speeder Pro 58 shaft as its stock option. The Lamkin Crossline 2 grip rounds out the construction points. The constructed stock length is 45.5″ and has a solid D4 swingweight.

The conditions on the Demo Day range at Orange County National were fairly ideal and the wind was generally over my left shoulder (right-handed golfer) at their location.

Aesthetics – Upon picking up the driver for the first time my eyes went to the finish. It’s a lovely matte red finish that gave me an instant memory of their old Deep Red drivers. I love the colour and how it goes from black to red much like a “sunburst design” on a Gibson or Fender guitar. Honestly, this driver had the best looking finish of any of the drivers at the 2018 PGA Show. While I didn’t mind the Power Holes on the crown I did NOT like the “Power Holes” graphic towards the trailing edge of the crown. Personally, I think it cheapened the looks of an otherwise pretty driver. But I really liked the subtle “shield” as an alignment aid. Flipping the C300 over the Power Holes are evident as mentioned towards the leading edge with another touch of the classy Wilson Staff branding that is ‘The Shield”. There are also graphics that say C300 and “FLX Face”.

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Performance – First off, when I had the C300 in my hands I loved the overall “heft” of this club. For some the D4 weight might seem “heavy” but it was something that I really liked about it. I really felt that the weight allowed the head to work the shaft and more importantly allowed me to feel the club through the hitting area. As I set the C300 down in the address position I also observed something else. I have to mention that the combination of the Power Holes on the crown and the alignment aid perfectly frame the golf ball. It just gives you additional confidence over the golf ball. On my first pass the ball flight was high and straight. two great things especially when hitting downwind. I think that the first shot was pretty spinny as well basing that judgement on what I observed.

At impact, I think the best way to describe it was that it gave me a feeling of being “indifferent”. I wasn’t astonished or disappointed in any way… it was just sort of “meh”. I really liked that I could feel the club throughout the golf swing which is a nice characteristic. I made several more passes and the one word that was most operative was straight. Hitting the ball straight was a breeze with the C300 and I think a lot of that has to do with the expanded sweet spot. From a distance standpoint, I think the distance was average and not where my gamer is. It could have been the spin numbers being high. This was a case where I wish I would have had some sort of launch monitor or a tech representative giving me a hand. If nothing else, to verify what I was seeing. The feel off of the driver wasn’t overly awe-inspiring which is something that I alluded to in my remarks regarding the first pass.

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Overall – I think the C300 has some good things going for it. It’s a great-looking driver but this isn’t just about beauty. One of things that I don’t like is how spinny the head/shaft combination appeared to be. The distance was average (at best) and the C300 has a real unassuming sound and feel to it. The launch however was perfect, it’s straight (which is a positive) and if I have choice of being straight off of the tee or hitting 3 from the same tee… I’ll take straight every time. Maybe a different shaft fixes the results for me or assistance from a tech rep in changing the configuration around. After all, there is adjustability to burn with the C300. I researched some WITB information of some Wilson staffers and none are playing the C300. Does this suggest anything? If you’re looking for a new driver give the C300 a try. The retail price for the C300 is $399.99 USD.

Until The Next Tee!!

The Teezy Awards – 2018 PGA Merchandise Show Edition (Golf Equipment)

The time has finally come. It’s time to announce the winners of the first ever Teezy Awards. A second installment will follow that includes apparel, tech, accessories etc.

I decided to do something a little bit different this year by doing my own special awards presentation after attending the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. The show took place in two locations. The first was at the Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge which is the venue for Demo Day. This is the day where the newest, latest and greatest get put to the test by thousands of Media, Industry and PGA Professionals. The second venue is the show floor itself which is in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. To explain the immense size of the floor is tough to put into words and covering everything is nearly impossible. Next year I’m going to wear a pedometer just to see exactly how many kilometres/miles I walk during the course of the show.

So The Teezy Awards. How are the winners decided? Well to be honest it isn’t very scientific. For the most part I keep it organic where I use my senses. It’s all about feel or how something looks, sounds, smells (not really applicable other than Miracle Nutritional Products) and in some cases tastes (Chef’s Cut Real Jerky). In some cases I look at cost and what will give the golf consumer the best bang for their golfer dollars. This is the case especially when it comes to apparel where there is so much to choose from. did a product “WOW” me? If so that got Teezy Award consideration so without further delay… here are the winners.

*** I have to note that for various reasons a few company’s present at Demo Day I never had the chance to hit. Some of these brands included Miura, Yonex, Tour Edge, PING and Callaway Golf to name a few. There will be a year-end version of the awards and I will do my best to include these company’s as well.

Winner – Top Driver

Cobra Golf F8/F8+ – Over the last several years Cobra Golf has impressed at the PGA Show Demo Day. Their drivers have been among the best year in and year out for me at the show. They’re always set up against the wind which could be a disadvantage. The Cobra F8/F8+ is packed full of technology, adjustability and most notably a forged CNC Milled Face. This driver was near perfect in every way. The sound and feel were sharp and crisp. The ballflight long and penetrating and the finish (Nardo) was sleek and ultra cool in typical Cobra Golf fashion. Oh yeah! There’s also the addition of Cobra Connect” by Arccos featured as well which is worth a separate article of its own. If you’re looking for a new driver look here first.

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Runner-Up – The runner-up in this category is a driver that didn’t look like much but performed a ton. The Cleveland Launcher HB is a driver that has no adjustability but who cares. When a driver can launch a ball like the Launcher HB and is as forgiving as this you don’t need an adjustable driver. Hey… if it’s good for Jamie Sadlowski it’s good enough for me.

 

Winner – Most Under Rated Driver

Vertical Groove Golf (The Groove) – This driver was released just prior to the show last year. It first gained notoriety when John Daly put one into play and then shortly thereafter by Rocco MediateKenny Perry also used one to win the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. Some would think having no adjustability would be an issue. Who needs extra “bells and whistles” when you have “the new face of golf” and a driver that offers tighter dispersion, long distance and a head that carries into the wind like most carry with the wind? The 8* model that I made swings with was a beast!!

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Runner-Up  Lynx Golf #BB Yep! You read that correct and this surprised me a ton! I had ZERO expectations for this driver leading up to the show but this was likely the biggest surprise of the show. It ad surprisingly good feel and sound. Technology includes adjustability from 8.5* to 12.5*, movable weights (Draw and Fade Bias) and features a UST Mamiya  Recoil shaft.

 

Winner – Top Fairway Wood

Cobra Golf F8 – Yes… Cobra Golf did it again in the fairway wood category. The F8 fairway wood is clearly the little brother to the F8 driver. If you notice I was clear in saying that it was the F8 and not the F8+. I just preferred the overall ease off of the deck of the F8 and it’s slightly bigger footprint at address. The Baffler Rails make it playable from all lies, a center of gravity towards the trailing edge making it easy to elevate the golf ball and of course the adjustability of the hosel allowing for adjustments from 13* to 16* for the 3-4 wood. The F8 fairway wood also features “Cobra Connect” by Arccos.

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Runner-Up – These fairway woods are new to the industry. As a matter of fact this company has a 5 wood that will be following and wasn’t ready in time for the show. Vertical Groove Golf recently launched a fairway wood of The Groove. It features the same face as the driver and features the same crown as seen on the driver. A weight positioned in the sole towards the rear make this club easy to elevate from any lie.

 

Winner – Top Hybrid

TaylorMade Golf M3 Rescue TaylorMade Golf has long been known for their metalwoods. My coach has maintained that TaylorMade has produced the best metalwoods year in and year out. While they fell short in the category’s above they came through with the M3 Rescue came through. It has a nice smaller footprint which isn’t overwhelming to look at in the address position. The M3 Rescue features a loft sleeve and an adjustable sliding weight which give golfers the ability to optimize their trajectory and it delivers high shots that land soft. The two-tone silver/black crown is great for aiming and the “Speed Pocket” allows for more sped and flexibility on those strikes closer to the bottom of the face.

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Photo Credit: TaylorMade Golf

Runner-Up – Do you realize how scary close Cobra Golf came to pulling off the “clean sweep” in metalwoods? It was within an eyelash! The F8 Hybrid comes in two versions. The standard F8 and new to the product range to compliment the F8 ONE Length irons a F8 ONE Length Hybrid. The F8 Hybrid features a forged 455 Stainless Steel face insert, Baffler Rails making it versatile from all lies and plenty of stopping power from a low and rear-placed center of gravity that also makes for easy elevation.

Winner – Top Forged Irons

New Level Golf 1031 Forged This iron I just featured in a review that I wrote earlier this week. New Level Golf is a newcomer to the golf equipment industry and the brainchild of CEO Eric Burch entered with a big splash. I walked away so impressed from the 1031 Forged irons that it’s really difficult to comprehend. The New Level Golf 1031 Forged irons emerged the winner in a very competitive category. Soft feel via the 1020 Carbon Steel, amazing playability, a thin topline while having a moderately wide sole all mean forgiveness, ideal aesthetics and amazing performance. Factor in that they can be customized with any KBS Shaft with no upcharge is a massive bonus!

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Photo Credit: New Level Golf

Runner-Up – This brand is known more in Asia than it is in North America. Epon Golf was created in 1977 and features the craftsmanship of one of the premier forging houses in golf… Endo. The Epon Golf AF-503 features an undercut cavity with a hollow sole design for the ultimate in game improvement performance. The topline is handsome as it’s very appealing in the address position behind the golf ball. The ballflight was strong and the AF-501 irons were an absolute treat to swing.

 

Winner – Top Cast Irons

Wilson Staff C300 (Cast) – Remember… Wilson Staff also has a forged variant of this set of irons. The Wilson Staff C300 (Cast) irons were massive. They felt mean, the faces were hot and the ballflight was very strong. I knew on the first swing with the C300 8 iron that tis iron was going to be a tough club to beat. When you’re hitting a target at will 165 yards away with an 8-iron you know that you have a powerful iron in your hands. These irons are accurate!! A double row of  “Power Holes” filled with urethane are positioned all around the and through the head help achieve the power from within the C300 irons. These “Power Holes” also expand the sweet spot of the C300 irons. The KBS Tour 90 is the stock shaft offering.

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Runner-Up – To be totally honest I wasn’t too sure how to classify this runner-up. I’m not even sure that it didn’t win this ultra-competitive category which also saw the TaylorMade golf M3 irons fare extremely well. Yes, I was that impressed by this iron. This iron features a two piece construction and that created a little bit of confusion. this iron features a thin Titanium face and a body that’s constructed of SUS630 stainless steel. The Honma Golf Be ZEAL 535 irons features slits on the heel, toe, sole and topline. This all translates to faster ball speeds and a hotter face. Tungsten weights low and deep in the heel and toe also create tremendous forgiveness. The ball flight was high and tight high draws were the typical shot that I created with the Be ZEAL 535 irons.

 

Winner – Top Wedge

Epon Golf Tour Wedge – Already having an honorable mention Epon Golf won the wedge category. The Epon Golf tour Wedge features heads that are created in the Endo Forging House. The Tour Wedge features traditional “tear drop” styling, and a relatively compact design. The Epon Golf Tour Wedge is available in three different grinds (F,N and O), a satin chrome finish and “Over-Lapping Laser Milled Grooves” for more spin. I loved how simple, clean and elegant the head was.

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Photo Credit: Epon Golf

Runner-Up – Back in the mix is a brand that already won a Teezy Award. New Level Golf and its entry into the industry brought along the M-Type Forged Wedge. The M-Type forged wedge features exquisite CNC Milling on the reverse side of the head, is forged from 1020 Carbon Steel for soft feel, a slightly over-sized head that inspires confidence and a versatile ‘M Grind” that makes this wedge versatile from any lie.

 

Winner – Top Putter

ARGOLF Uther – This is a brand that is just emerging. The brand has already seen a Major victory with Kenny Perry gaming an ARGOLF Pendragon putter. As great as my putting was with the Pendragon (it could have been the Runner-up) and believe me when I say that the Pendragon rolls putts. It was another one of the putters in the ARGOLF stable that won this category. The Uther! I liked a lot about the Uther in my brief time rolling it. The first thing that I liked about Uther was its 380 gram headweight.  This putter is face-balanced which matches my stroke very well and the model that I rolled was center-shafted (another quality that I love). Aerospace industry grade aluminum is the material which Uther is constructed from and that translates into a great feeling putter at impact. Last but not least is the alignment aid on top of the putter head which is broken apart by a “4 Leaf Clover”. The ARGOLF Uther was the best putter for me at the show.

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Runner-Up – This putter has been impressing me for nearly a year now. This putter or a variant is used by some of the world’s best golfers including Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jon Rahm. Recently, this putter announced that it had included Blast Motion to help golfers refine their putting strokes. The putter in question the TaylorMade Golf Spider Tour. The Spider Tour is a putter that could easily be in my bag and it’s a little surprising that it hasn’t made it there yet. It just seems that whenever I have one in my hands I make putts fall. I don’t know if it’s the red finish that my eyes like so much but I just love it. The perimeter weighting makes this putter a very stable putter through the ball and rolls are true. I would love this putter more if I rolled a center-shafted version.

 

Most Forgiving Product Range

(Also – Winner For Best Brand Under The Radar)

The reality is that there’s forgiveness throughout the golf industry. It’s just that while some feature forgiveness in either driver or irons other areas are sometimes neglected… like wedges. There is no doubt in my mind that Cleveland Golf has the most forgiving range in golf. Looking at the Launcher HB driver and metalwoods they are playable, long and forgiving. If straight and straightforward is what you desire than look no further than the Launcher HB range. The CBX irons are such a sneaky entry this year! A cast club that was in consideration for the Teezy in the Cast Iron category the CBX irons can cover up bad swings with its forgiveness. The irons feature a “cup face design”, a “V Sole” making it great from all lies, they’re versatile and feature “Zip Grooves” seen throughout the entire set. The CBX irons look “Plain Jane” but quite simply are not. Speaking of forgiveness is there a spot on a golf course where forgiveness can make or break you more than around the green. Whether it’s greenside rough or a greenside bunker bad things can happen fast. The CBX wedges from Cleveland Golf are the easiest wedges that I’ve hit to date. They feature a cavity back, a “Dual V Sole” for versatility and “Rotex Face Technology” featuring “Tour Zip Grooves, Laser Milling, and Micro Milling”.

 

Top Breakthrough Brand

I’m really curious to see where New Level Golf  is 5 years from now. Their product range of irons was so good that it was hard not to take notice. There is an iron type for everybody in the New Level stable. Whether it’s the forgiving blade design of the 610 Forged Irons, the formidable 902 Forged Irons, the ultra impressive 1031 Forged Irons or the M-Type Forged wedges CEO and Eric Burch has a terrific range of products. It’s going to be real fun to watch this brand grow from its infancy stages. Keep an eye open for them.

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!!