What's New: From the Lab

What Are The Best Irons for 2017?

June 1st, 2017

What are the best irons for 2017?  Over 70% of our readers are looking for new irons this year so let’s see!  While the Golf Digest Hot list has a ton of gold medal winners, we have seen definite trends with our customers for accuracy, consistency and distance.  Even GolfWRX has checked in with their readers choice of most popular game improvement irons.  First of all, we do not have any brand preferences dictated to us by our “deals” with our suppliers so we do not care what our golfers pick…we only want the best performance and appeal.  So here is what WE are seeing. Players Irons:  These are the top iron choices for golfers that desire more of a thin top line and smaller head design.  Our top sellers this year are the Miura CB 57, Mizuno JPX-900 Tour, PXG 0311T, and Callaway APEX 16 Pro.  We just received the TaylorMade 770 and 750 Tour Prototype and they are testing out really well.  Every golfer has a different idea about look, feel and yes, sound of their iron shots so we literally will test first based on visual appeal.  Then we look and shot dispersion, launch, spin and distance... Read More

True Temper Dynamic Gold TI 120 Shaft Review

May 17th, 2017

True Temper Dynamic Gold TI 120 shaft is a great new addition to the Dynamic Gold line.  The trusty Dynamic Gold shafts have been on the market FOREVER and still dominate the OEM market and PGA Tour.  But, weighing in at 130+ grams, these shafts were in need of a facelift with all of the competition from lighter weight competitors.  And, let’s face it, golfers that LOVED the Dynamic Gold S300 and X100 that are getting a little older, could use a lighter weight shaft that gives them better feel, increased clubhead speed and yet has the same “window” of ball flight that these players like. In our testing, the Dynamic Gold TI 120 is exactly what is touted by True Temper…similar launch characteristics, slightly lower spin and a similar feel to the original DG TI.  We need to do a little more testing to validate the findings but we are seeing a little more increase in clubhead speed from the Dynamic Gold TI 120 due to its slightly lighter weight.  Again, every golfer is different and some golfers may pick up clubhead speed but lose accuracy with a lighter shafts. From a pure technical specification perspective, the DG TI... Read More

KBS Tour Prototype Graphite Hybrid Shaft Review

May 5th, 2017

KBS Tour Prototype graphite hybrid shafts are the first graphite shafts offered by KBS.  The shafts are designed to follow the same profile as the KBS Tour shaft so there is an easy transition from the steel iron shafts to a lighter weight graphite hybrid shaft. Overall, our testers rated the Tour Prototype 4.8 out of 5 based on the following: Appearance:  Matte black finish with red KBS label.  Nice look. Flexes and Weights Available: 65g (R,S,X) 75g (R,S,X) 85g (R,R+,S,S+,X) 95g (S,S+,X) Raw Length 42″ Tip Diameter .370″ MSRP:  $175.00 USD Availability:  KBS, qualified fitters, and select retail golf stores. Weight Consistency:  4.9 out of 5.0 Butt Stiffness (CPM):  Consistent increase in CPM from R through X.   As weights increase the flexes will play stiffer.  As an example, the S flex in the 95 will play two flexes stiffer than the S flex in the 65 and a flex stiffer than the 85 and 75.  Still will be able to build to very stiff flexes for stronger players in the 85 and 95 gr weights. Tip Stiffness:  Medium – Soft Mid Stiffness:  Medium – Firm Balance Point:  Will yield an average swing weight. Torque:  Good transition of higher torque... Read More

Better Distance and Accuracy – Fit to Smash Factor

April 27th, 2017

Get the most out of your swing – get fit to the highest smash factor.  Smash factor is a simple ratio of ball speed divided by clubhead or swing speed.  This is a measure of how efficient you are in transferring energy to the golf ball.  As an example, if your ball speed off your driver is 140 mph and your clubheead speed is 100, your smash factor is 1.40.  The theoretical limit on a driver is roughly 1.46 but we see numbers of 1.50 to 1.52 consistently using TrackMan II.  Fairway woods, hybrids, irons and wedges will all have lower smash factors mostly due to the actual loft of the club.  We are, however, seeing some smash factors approaching 1.50 on some of the exotic irons, hybrids and fairway metals.  Unfortunately, unless your swing and ball speed are measured on a launch monitor that captures both ACCURATELY, the highest smash factors will not be represented correctly. When you optimize your smash factor you are getting the most distance possible because you are getting the highest possible ball speed for your swing speed.  Accuracy can still be an issue and I will address that a little later. So how do... Read More

Too Stiff of Shaft Tip Section Can Rob You of Distance

March 30th, 2017

Too stiff of tip section can actually rob you of distance especially on your driver.  The prevailing theory among most golfers is that a stiff shaft tip section lowers ball flight and reduces spin.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  OK, let me add a caveat here.  What we have seen in our testing is that, if a player has a steep negative attack angle (-4 to -8 degrees) with a driver shaft with a stiff tip, the spin rate is increased and in some cases, the player will hit the ball off the upper portion of the clubface causing the launch angle to be too high.  That is not a good combination. A softer shaft tip section will actually cause more forward lean on the golf shaft at impact.  This does two things.  First, the forward lean will actually increase, or make more positive, the attack angle.  This effectively reduces spin.  Second, the forward lean of the shaft at impact will move the impact area down on the clubface.  This results in a lower launch angle and lower spin as well.  When we tested this several players with the GEARS system last year, it was very evident that shaft tip... Read More

What Shafts Should I Play in My Wedges?

March 23rd, 2017

What shafts should I play in my wedges?  That is a very common question in our fittings.  The very short answer is play the same shaft in your wedges as you do in your irons.  But, boy do we see a lot of variation of what is in our players bags.  First off, most wedges you buy off the rack will have a standard heavy steel wedge shaft like a True Temper Dynamic Gold.   Titleist uses an S200 (130gr) in their SM6 wedges, Callaway uses the DG S300 (132 gr) in the MD 3, and Mizuno uses the DG S300 as well in the S5.  Only if you are playing a steel shaft in your irons like the Dynamic Gold, KBS Tour, or Nippon Modus 3 120 will the weight and flex of these wedge shafts come close to matching you.  If you are playing graphite shafts in your irons and steel shafts in your wedges, there will be some issues in terms of distance and trajectory.  If you are buying a stock set of clubs with a gap and sand wedge included, you will get the same shaft as what is in the rest of the iron set.... Read More

Light Weight Steel Shafts Offer a Lot of Clubfitting Options

March 9th, 2017

Light weight steel shafts are offering a lot of clubfitting options.  Just like the rush of graphite shaft makers to get 85 to 115 gram graphite shafts to market, steel shaft manufacturers are dropping from the 115 to 125 gram range to the 95 to 110 gram range.  Why?  Older golfers that have played Dynamic Gold, Project X or KBS Tour shafts (125+ grams) are not enamored with the feel of graphite and are looking for a lighter weight steel shaft to maintain the same feel and potentially give them more distance.  On the other side, as junior golfers start getting stronger, it is a tough transition to go from a light weight 70 to 85 gram graphite shaft to a heavy 125+ gram steel shaft.  As a clubfitter, we know that weight, flex and profile (launch characteristics) of these new shafts are important to getting optimum performance.  There are several manufacturers that offer steel shafts in the 95 to 110 gram range.  True Temper has been there the longest with its Dynamic Gold Super Light(SL) shaft.  This shaft is a lower launching shaft similar in ball flight the the heavier Dynamic Gold shaft.  True Temper launched its XP series... Read More

HZRDUS T1100 Shaft Review

February 23rd, 2017

HZRDUS T1100 shaft review.  The latest in the Project X HZRDUS lineup uses the highly acclaimed Toray composite maker TORAYCA T1100G material.  This high strength yet high modulus material improves strength (resist ovaling during the swing) and impact resistance (less movement on off-center hits).  Interestingly this material is being used not only in the HZRDUS T1100 but also in the Graphite Design Tour AD TP line (more on those later) The HZRDUS T1100 shafts come in 65 gram weight in 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 flex and a 75 gram weight in 6.0 and 6.5 flex.  In our analysis, both the 65 and 75 gram versions in 6.0 and 6.5 flex played a full flex stiff, so be prepared.  By design, these shafts are for more aggressive players (fast transition, late release) with high ball speeds (north of 110 mph).  The HZRDUS T1100 is designed to be a lower spinning and lower launching shaft than the HZRDUS Black, which was borne out in our testing.  Interestingly, the HZRDUS Black is truly a mid-launch, but slightly lower spin shaft than what would be expected.  The HZRDUS T1100 launched about 0.5 degrees lower with 230 rpm lower spin than the HZRDUS Black in... Read More

Callaway EPIC Review – Distance, Accuracy or Both?

February 16th, 2017

Callaway EPIC review – distance, accuracy or both?  By now I am sure you have heard all of the claims that the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero are re-writing the books on driver and fairway wood performance.   The Jailbreak technology that anchors the crown and sole of the club is the first of this technology to hit the market.  But, does it work? We have a testing team that has put both the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero driver through its paces.  Since our team has gone through our fitting process and have actually been “optimized” in terms of driver performance, we knew that this would be the ultimate test.  Using shafts that are the same as their “gamer” or very close, we tested their existing drivers with the new EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero. Our testers run the gamut from 80 to 115 mph swing speed, negative to positive attack angles, inside-out to outside-in swing paths and 1 to 13 handicap.  This makes our fittings challenging to get exactly the right shaft to optimize performance.  So, we either used the exact same shaft in our testing as our testers had in their gamers, or a shaft with very similar... Read More

Callaway EPIC Drivers

January 16th, 2017

The Callaway EPIC driver is getting a TON of hype.  So is it really all it is cracked up to be?  The only way to know is to get tested with the EPIC and the right shaft that is fit to your swing. There are a couple of tests out there that show +11 yards distance but these are all guys with 100+mph swing speeds (see GolfWRX Test here).   Just like our testing, the one I respect is the one Pete’s Golf Shop in New York did.  They had twelve of their golfers that had all been fit to there current driver.  They used the same shaft and just swapped out the heads for the EPIC.  Results were a more modest increase of 2+ yards.  As I mention below, it is not just the distance gain, but potential tighter shot dispersion that counts! First of all, the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero (low spin version) have the highest MOI (forgiveness) of any driver in the industry.  Translation?  It is the most forgiving of any driver introduced in 2017.  So, will you gain ANY benefit from this driver?  Unless you are a +2 handicap and hit the ball “on the screws”... Read More