What's New: From the Lab

A New Era in Shaft Load Testing – GEARS from Natural Point – at Cobra Golf

July 2nd, 2014

I spent yesterday morning at the Cobra Golf headquarters in Carlsbad, CA where they have the GEARS Golf motion capture system set up in their R & D department.  I saw the system originally at the PGA Show in Orlando in January, 2014, and was intrigued by its capability to do a better measurement of shaft loading throughout the swing using high-speed cameras.  Well, I was pretty amazed at the technology and how it will help us become even better fitters.  We have been using the True Temper Shaft Lab for at least 15 years, and the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer for the last five or so.  This new system will allow us to even more accurately match shaft profiles to individual golfer’s swing dynamics.  Basically, the system tracks sensors using 8 eight high-speed (360 frames per second) cameras.  The sensors are attached to a club in the grip position, on the shaft and on the head.  Since they are very light weight, their is no impact on the actual measurements caused by the sensors.  When I took a swing, at least two of the eight cameras could track every marker during my entire swing.  After warming up, I was handed... Read More

Time for a Hybrid Iron?

June 9th, 2014

If you are looking for a couple of beautiful forged hybrid-style irons, look no further than the Mizuno MP-H4 and the Tour Edge Exotics CB PRO hybrid (shown at left).  I hit both of these in a 6 iron side by side over the weekend and the feeling was pretty darn smooth.  Launch angle is about a degree and a half higher with both of these than my standard MP-59 iron but distance was the same.  What I really liked was the forgiveness on my typical toe hit.  No more short siding by 10 yards!  My opinion is that these two irons are the best hybrid-style irons in the golf industry right now.

Are All Forged Irons Created Equal?

June 2nd, 2014

Well, the manufacturer’s of forged irons would have you believe that their forging process is “the best”, but in both our testing and other independent testing, the real differences in the feel and performance of different forged irons is in the design.   When we test clubs, we use the same shaft for each club so we know we are doing a good comparison.  It is rare to see any differences in club speed but it is often that we see differences in ball speed and launch angle because of the design of the head and the loft.  Typical lofts on forged irons are higher than their cast counterparts because forged irons are designed for better players that will de-loft the club at impact (a more negative attack angle).  I will say that I am seeing more forged irons come to market.  A new forged iron that we are excited about is the Epon line from Endo manufacturing.  Endo makes a lot of forged clubs for many of the major equipment companies.  Endo is the largest Japanese forged club manufacturer.  The Epon design seems to have more options for golfers that need a little more forgiveness.  Epon is THE premium forged... Read More

Project X Hand Crafted (HC) Loading Zone (LZ) Shaft Review

May 12th, 2014

Project X recently released their Hand Crafted (HC) Loading Zone shafts after well over a year in design and testing.  These shafts have a unique Loading Zone that varies by flex of the shaft to optimize the feel, trajectory and distance for each shaft weight and flex.  These shafts are hand made in the USA in the True Temper San Diego plant. Overall our testers rated these shafts 4.8 out of 5. Appearance:  The flex, weight, loading zone and torque are uniquely lettered in the graphics in the butt and tip of the shaft.  Matte black finish, weave background and silver PX logo make for an elegant look. Flexes Available:  HC LZ 50: 5.0-7.0, HC LZ 60: 5.5-7.0, HC LZ 70:  6.0-7.0 MSRP:  $350 Availability:  Authorized True Temper Performance Fitting Centers. Weight Consistency:  4.9 out of 5.0.  Weights increased slightly from soft to stiff flex as expected. Butt Stiffness (CPM):  Very consistent across all flexes.  These shafts will play true to flex. Tip Stiffness:  LZ 50 5.0-6.0 Mid, 6.5-7.0 Stiff; LZ 60 6.0-7.0 Stiff, LZ 70 6.0 Mid, 6.5-7.0 Stiff Mid Stiffness:  Each shaft gets more stable in the mid-section as flex increases, which is part of the design of... Read More

Project X Hand Crafted LZ (Loading Zone) Shafts Are In!

April 28th, 2014

The new Project X Hand Crafted LZ (Loading Zone) shafts just arrived!  D’Lance Golf is one of a handful of True Temper Performance Fitting Center dealers around the world that have received this special shipment so we can get them in our customer’s hands!  The concept behind the shaft is that each shaft weight and flex has a unique “Loading Zone” that is positioned from the butt end of the shaft to encourage a proper release of energy by the shaft depending upon how it was loaded (amount of force you put on the shaft during your downswing).  Studies by True Temper show a 7% greater release of energy than a traditionally built shaft, while maintaining 12% more stability.  What this means is what everyone is looking for…more distance while maintaining accuracy.  What the LZ concept means for us as clubfitters, is that we can match your swing dynamics to the proper shaft weight and flex and let the loading zone help you create better performance.  My initial static tests show that the first run is very consistent and meets the specs outlined by Project X.  We are putting these in demo clubs and will have a further post when we... Read More

What driver’s meet (or beat) the SLDR and Callaway GBB Alpha?

April 7th, 2014

We certainly did our testing on the TaylorMade SLDR and Callaway GBB Alpha and were impressed with the numbers.  We thought we would go back and do a little further testing on a couple of other drivers that caught our eye to see how they compared.  As always, we look at performance (distance, shot dispersion, launch angle and spin) and then sound and feel.  The two that stand out were the Adams XTD and the Tour Edge XCG7 Beta.  We tested both in a 10.5 degree and compared them to the SLDR and GBB Alpha.  The Adams XTD was only a couple yards short of the “Big Two” but actually had slightly lower spin.  Launch angles were pretty much the same.  Smash factor was consistently in the 1.48-1.5 range (1.5 being optimum).  The surprise was the Tour Edge XCG7 Beta with about 300 rpm lower spin and 3-4 yards more distance.  The XCG7 Beta had the highest smash factor, averaging 1.49.  Personally, I liked the sound of the XCG7 Beta and the feel was very solid, even on a few miss-hits.  The Adams XTD felt a little less solid and the sound had a little more high pitch to it. ... Read More

What New Driver Should You Pick – Callaway, TaylorMade or ??

February 28th, 2014

Every year we hear the hype about longer, straighter …well maybe it is just longer!!  So when we get all of our new drivers in the shop, we test them side by side.  The tests are done by golfers with different swing styles and strength for a good comparison.  But, the driver shaft used on each head is matched to the exact specifications for that golfer.  This way we take out the variable of the shaft that may come in the driver.  This year, the emphasis in drivers is launch and spin.  You need more launch and obviously less spin.  These will give you more distance.  But we also are concerned about how consistent you are with your driver in terms of hitting fairways and loss of distance on miss-hits.  We have not done all of the driver models yet (Tour Edge, Adams, Cobra, Titleist) but we did test out the Callaway and TaylorMade models.  The distance winner is the TaylorMade SLDR, followed closely by the Callway Big Bertha Alpha, Callaway X2 Hot and TaylorMade JetSpeed.  The big contributor to the distance winner was lower spin.  The SLDR spin rate was 300-600 rpm’s lower than the Callaway GBB Alpha.  The... Read More

Callaway Iron Comparisons – Apex, Apex Pro, X2 Hot, X2 Hot Pro

February 11th, 2014

We did a comparison of the four new Callaway irons, Apex, Apex Pro, X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro to get a better understanding of the differences in performance on our TrackMan launch monitor.  Each 6 iron was tested with a True Temper DG PRO shaft that was built to the player’s specifications.  In general, the Apex and Apex Pro were the best looking and feeling of the four clubs, with the X2 Hot Pro being the least favorite of all testers in terms of feel and sound.  The favorite of all testers was the Apex Pro. Launch Angle:     Launch angles followed the actual lofts of the club with the Apex Pro launching the highest and the X2 Hot launching the lowest.  The real variance from lowest (X2 Hot) to highest (Apex Pro) was only 1.7 degrees. Spin:  Spin rates were almost identical with the Apex and Apex Pro at roughly 5400 rpm.  The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro tested almost identical as well at roughly 4600 rpm.  This 800 rpm spin differences was a direct contributor to the X2 Hot irons being roughly 9-12 yards longer ( 5%). Distance:  The Apex Pro was 3- 5 yards longer than... Read More

True Temper DG PRO Shaft feels pretty smooth!

February 3rd, 2014

True Temper released the Dynamic Gold PRO steel iron shafts through its authorized Performance Fitting Centers late in 2013.  Everything about this shaft is progressive, meaning, the tip profiles get progressively stiffer as you go down from the 3 to the PW.  This gives you a little higher ball flight with longer irons and more penetrating flight with 8,9 and PW.  I also like the lighter weight than the traditional Dynamic Gold…fully 7-8 grams lighter in each shaft.  I hit this shaft in a 6 iron built to my specs and was pretty amazed at the feel, even if it has a much stiffer mid-section.  So if you are playing Dynamic Gold shafts and are looking for a little softer feel, lighter weight, and more progressive ball flight, you should consider the DG PRO!

MATRIX VELOX Sp and St Shaft Review

January 17th, 2014

MATRIX Shafts recently introduced their new VELOX St and Sp shafts.  These shafts have distinctly different profiles and markets.  The VELOX Sp is a back-weighted (counterbalanced) shaft that is designed for longer clubs or heavier driver heads so swing weight does not increase making clubs feel heavy.  The VELOX St is designed for traditional lengths and swing weights.  Overall, our testers rated these shafts 4.6 out of 5. Appearance:  Cool looking blue and silver shaft graphics and silver-gray finish. Flexes Available:   50p A, R, S; 60p, 70p, 80p in R, S, X; 60t R, S, X; 70t R, S, X, XX; 80t S, X, XX MSRP:  VELOX Sp – $275.00 USD; VELOX St – $375.00 USD Availability:  Authorized MATRIX Shafts dealers. Weight Consistency:  4.8 out of 5.  VELOX Sp weighs 9 grams heavier than the St in equivalent flexes. Butt Stiffness (CPM):  Only 60 Sp and 60 St were available for testing.  Consistent increase in CPM through flexes.  St tests 5-6 CPM softer in the Butt section.  Tip Stiffness:  Sp:Mid-Soft, St: Stiff Mid Stiffness:  Sp:Mid-Soft, St: Stiff Balance Point:  While the Sp balance point is 53 % from the tip and the St is 50.8%, our demo club only showed... Read More