Is Driver loft more relevant than angle of attack? Or is spin rate? The facts!

When I listen to club fitters talk their lingo, I am always caught between awe and what is this nonsense?  Spin rate, angle of attack, launch angle and ball speed are all words used in this gray area of the golfing world.  But, I think it’s time the average golfer started taking notice of these figures. The PGA and LPGA players are all maximizing their total distance with the use of these figures, obtained by club fitters using launch monitors like FlightScope or Trackman.  So it sense that this would make a HUGE difference to golfers who have less than perfect swing mechanics.  I sometimes hear students say “My swing is not consistent enough to have a club fitting.”  On the contrary, it’s these golfers who will benefit the most from having clubs that will suit their inconsistent games!  Thanks so much to David Dusek of Golfweek for this interesting article!
Zach Johnson typically hits upward into the ball with his driver, creating a high launch angle that helps maximize distance for his swing speed. Zach Johnson typically hits upward into the ball with his driver, creating a high launch angle that helps maximize distance for his swing speed. (PGA Tour/Stan Badz) Many manufacturers have in recent years touted extremely low-spin drivers as if they were some kind of just-made-legal, performance-enhancing drug that can unlock more distance and lower scores. Better materials and manufacturing techniques make them possible, but a simple question begs to be answered: How much backspin does any player really need with a driver? Matt Rollins, a PGA Tour rep for Parsons Xtreme Golf, laughed in a way that immediately indicated the opening of Pandora’s Box when asked that question a few weeks ago at TPC Boston. “There’s a bunch of things that factor into that,” Rollins said. “If you have a low-launch guy, say 8-, 9- or 10-degrees, you’re going to want to stay in the 2,400 to 2,600 spin rate. But if you have someone like Zach Johnson, who launches everything around 13- or 13.5-degrees, we’re trying to hit 2,000 or 2,100 to maximize his carry distance.” From a physics perspective, any player’s ideal driver spin rate is determined largely by launch angle and clubhead speed.
Compared to his peers, Zach Johnson does not swing his driver exceptionally fast. To maximize how far his tee shots fly, he needs to send the ball high into the air. Johnson’s high launch comes from the 9.3 degrees of loft on his driver and a slightly upward swing path into the ball – known as a positive attack angle. His ball will balloon if he creates too much spin in combination with his positive attack angle, robbing him of both carry distance and roll.
To read the rest of this interesting article on how much driver backspin is best, go here! Source : David Dusek of Golfweek Pictures : PGA Tour/Stan Badz   Parsons Xtreme Golf   Homayon Zeary

Can sound make a big difference in a putter? Odyssey thinks so!

A number of years ago I toured the Mizuno factory and R&D department in Atlanta, GA.  What fascinated me the most was how hard they strived for the exact pitch (or sound) the club made at impact.  It was explained to me that when people were asked to describe the feel, they usually describe what they are hearing rather than what they are feeling.  So this article by  Mike Stachura of Golf Digest Stix  makes perfect sense to me.  Check it out!
 
The company’s new RSX line of putters is inspired by a Japanese model from 2008.
GD STIX
Odyssey Brings Science to Sound in New Line
It’s easy, especially when you’re talking about the often more-art-than-science business of putter design, to believe sound is something ephemeral and, for lack of a better word, non-engineerable. It’s something you might arrive at, but not something that can be orchestrated. The team at Odyssey was determined to put that belief to rest by taking a decidedly scientific approach to achieve the right soundMike  with its latest series of milled putters, the new Milled Collection RSX. According to Odyssey’s chief designer, Austie Rollinson, the sound his team sought was based on a successful putter model originally introduced by Odyssey in Japan from 2008, the Tour Authentic Prototype #1. The challenge was to capture the slightly higher pitched sound of that solid-faced, single-piece milled design in a two-piece milled insert putter. The original was milled from a single billet of 303 stainless steel, and the new RSX is milled from 1025 carbon steel with a 17-4 stainless-steel face insert. “We went to our computer modelers to do some finite element analysis and actually took that old model and saw how it vibrates, what parts of that putter moved, what sort of frequencies did it generate,” Rollinson says. “Then we created a new design with an insert to try to make the same sound.”
To find out how Odyssey was able to fine tune the putter sound to what they were looking for, go here! Source : Mike Stachura of Golf Digest Stix  Pictures : Odyssey Golf

The Secret to a good club fitting is knowing which questions to ask!

I have always been fascinated by club fitting, and I do Mizuno club fitting at my school.  However, not all club fitters are made equal.  Like everything else in this world, there are so called experts and then there are real experts.  The challenge is how to find them.  David Dusek of  Golfweek does a great job in laying out the foundation for you.  Know what questions to ask and you can’t go wrong.  Good luck!
Rob Stumpf adjusts a club at Club Champion’s Orlando, Fla., fitting center.
Rob Stumpf adjusts a club at Club Champion’s Orlando, Fla., fitting center. (Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox)
Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the May 9 issue of Golfweek. ••• Walking into a store that is filled with the latest equipment, computers, high-tech cameras and other fancy devices can be intimidating for players who never have worked with a custom-fitter. It shouldn’t be that way. A good fitter can transform a player’s game, helping the player hit the ball farther than ever and reduce the severity of misses. Golfweek asked several well-known fitters for a few tips and questions that amateurs should ask.   Nick Sherburne Founder and master fitter, Club Champion clubchampiongolf.com “After you get fit for the clubs, be sure to ask who is going to build your equipment. Everybody has gone to a demo day, hit a club and then purchased it, only to discover that the club they bought never feels quite as good as the demo. “There are lots of little things that go into making a golf club perform at its very best, and making two clubs play the same takes time and skill. You want to know that after you get fit, the clubs that you buy will perform like the clubs during the fitting.”
Club Champion fitting in Orlando, Fla.
Club Champion fitting in Orlando, Fla. / Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox
To read the rest of what to look for when planning a new set of clubs, go here! Source : David Dusek    Golfweek Pictures : Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox

Finally, putters that are made for juniors, women and shorter golfers!

The most common thing I see when teaching putting to my students is that most of them have putters that are too long for them.  If you are really serious about your golf game, have a putter fitting and make sure your arms are hanging comfortably from your shoulders.  When the putter shaft is too long, it tends to  push the arms upward causing a cramped position which does not help create a good putting stroke.  This new line of Scotty Cameron putters is catering to juniors, women and shorter golfers who just don’t fit the standard 33″ or 32″ putters.  Thanks to  Andrew Tursky of Golf Wrx for this new equipment review.
Golf is great because people of all shapes, sizes and ages can play and enjoy it. In that case, however, not every golfer fits into a 34- or 35-inch putter like you’d think when scanning the putter racks at your local golf shop. If you do happen to fit into a “standard-length” 34- or 35-inch putter, then maybe you don’t know that most people playing a 33-inch putter are doing so with a putter that’s been cut down to size. The problem with that is shortening the putter without adding weight back will affect swing weight, overall weight and ultimately, feel and performance.
“When we pioneered the adjustable sole weight system, it became possible to match the putter head weight relative to the length for a balanced stroke,” said Titleist Master Putter Maker Scotty Cameron. “Cameron & Crown models are purpose-built 33-inch designs, not manipulated 35-inch putters, with two 20-gram weights to ensure the swing weight and feel of these putters are consistent with their longer counterparts.”
With Scotty Cameron’s new line of putters — called Cameron & Crown — the aim is to give juniors, women and shorter athletes an opportunity to play a line of putters designed specifically for them. And the head models featured in the Cameron & Crown line are some of the most popular heads from his other lines. The Cameron & Crown line will consist of the Select Newport 2, the Select Newport M2 Mallet, the GoLo 5 and the Futura X5R models. Each of the putters will measure 33 inches, and will come with a White Matador putter grip that measures smaller in diameter than Cameron’s standard Matador grips. The smaller grip is said to better match performance, feel and weight. Cameron & Crown putters will be available in stores (MSRP $410) in Canada and the U.S. on September 23, and the rest of the world on October 21. See below for more photos of each putter, and click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the Cameron & Crown putters.

Select Newport 2

  • Plumber’s neck
  • 303 stainless steel head and face inlay
  • Available in both right- and left-handed versions

Select Newport M2 Mallet

  • Flowing single-bend shaft
  • Pop-through sight line as seen in the Newport M2 from the 2016 Scotty Cameron Select line

GoLo 5

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    • Made from 303 Stainless Steel with 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum sole plate and pop-through sight line
    • Parallel and perpendicular sight lines
To see the rest of this Spectacular line of Scotty Cameron Putters, go here! Source : Andrew Tursky   Golf Wrx Pictures : Scotty Cameron

With the introduction of the JPX 900 Driver, Mizuno is now the Complete Golf Equipment Company!

I have made it quite clear in my previous posts that I absolutely love Mizuno golf equipment.  And last year I mentioned that Mizuno, who has always been known for their fine irons, was setting out to challenge the top manufacturers in the Driver, Fairway Wood, and hybrid categories.  For 2017 they have certainly done that!  The new JPX irons are outstanding, but the JPX 900 driver is a game changer.  Mizuno, in my opinion, is now the complete golf equipment company!  Thanks so much to Andrew Tursky of Golf Wrx for the advance information!
In the golf equipment world, it’s rare for new releases and technologies to produce drastic distance gains in off-the-rack purchases, mostly due to limitations by the USGA. But where many new releases excel is in their increased adjustability, which allows golfers to fine-tune their clubs to fit their preferences and needs. That can create big distance gains, and a host of other benefits as well. Mizuno is at the forefront of the custom-fitting movement with its JPX-900 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, which were designed with focus on allowing golfers to optimize their swings and properly gap their clubs. That means golfers can get their games dialed in more than ever before. Thanks to the added adjustability of the new JPX-900 driver, golfers can optimize spin rates, fine tune their visual preferences and help reduce their big miss. The new JPX-900 fairway woods have a central sliding weight that allows the clubs to perform as either a rocket launcher from the tee or high-ball hitting clubs that will stop shots abruptly on greens. The new JPX-900 hybrids have also undergone design changes to better fill a golfer’s yardage gaps, and look better, too.
To read all the latest on this exciting product launch, go here! Source : Andrew Tursky of Golf Wrx Pictures : Mizuno USA   Steven Yu

Which ball is the best ball on the market? The best ball suited for you!

A question I am asked fairly often is “Which ball is the best on the market?”  There is no best ball on the market, there is only the ball that best suits your particular game.  Like a lot of things, you need professional advice.  See your local golf professional who has done the research and will know which ball is right for your game. Another opinion is for you to hit different balls using a launch monitor and let the data tell you which ball goes further, higher or spins more.  Thanks to PGA Secretary Susy Whaley of PGA.com for this informative video! Source : Suzy Whaley    PGA.com

Are shot tracking devices beneficial to your game golf game?

I currently use Game Golf as my game tracking system of choice.  It’s fairly easy to use, but I find remembering to “tap” the home device, which attaches to your belt, difficult to remember. I can put shots in manually after the round for any shots where I forget to “tap” after each shot.  There are several shot tracking devices out there like Arccos and Club Hub, so how do we know which one is best and if this type of system will benefit your golf game?   One of the main benefits I find as an instructor is I can go into my student’s system (after they have given me their username and password) and check out their golf games strengths and weaknesses before they come to school so I know exactly what to work on when they arrive! David Dusek of Golfweek Mag gives us an in-depth look at what is out there and the partnerships being formed with grip and club manufacturers to help you improve your game!
This week, David Dusek explains why game-tracking systems like Game Golf, Arccos and Club Hub are beneficial to amateur golfers and golf equipment companies.
Source : David Dusek   Golfweek Mag

The Mizuno JPX 900 Irons – Blade and Cavity Back combined!

In my mind, there is no doubt that Mizuno makes the finest irons in the world.  I have played Mizuno for the past 10 years and am so impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the entire company.  Their “grain flow forged ” process gives these irons an unprecedented feel that Mizuno is famous for.  But Mizuno has now blurred the line between the pure blade and the more forgiving cavity back design to produce the Mizuno JPX 900 Tour.  These irons are going in my bag as soon as they hit the market!  Come and see me for a fitting!  Thanks to Andrew Tursky of Golf Wrx for bringing us this breaking news!
Mizuno, which has set the golden standard for players irons over the years, is blurring the lines between a blade iron and a forged cavity back with its new JPX-900 Tour irons. The new irons pass the eye-test for a blade, but they’re pumped up with performance features usually reserved for Mizuno’s bulkier JPX irons.
A Mizuno JPX-900 Tour 6 iron at address.
A Mizuno JPX-900 Tour 6 iron at address.
Like Mizuno’s MP iron models, which are designed for the most discerning and skilled golfers, the JPX-900 Tour irons are made from Mizuno’s Grain Flow forged 1025E Mild Carbon Steel to give golfers the familiar soft, solid feel for which Mizuno is known. “WE WANTED TO MAKE THE BEST GRAIN FLOW FORGED IRON EVER,” SAYS DAVID LLEWELLYN, MIZUNO’S DIRECTOR OF R&D. What’s different about the JPX-900 Tour irons is the more aggressive styling, which is part form, part function. The addition of Mizuno’s angular “Power Frame” to the cavity increases moment of inertia (MOI), which makes the irons more forgiving. Yet according to Llewellyn, the refined cavity-back irons should be an easy transition for its staff players, Chris Wood and Luke Donald, who currently use the company’s MP-5 blade irons. JPX900_Tour_CloseUp 1 Mizuno’s MP-64 irons, a forged cavity-back that many in the Mizuno community believe to be the best-feeling Mizuno iron in recent memory, was used as the benchmark for the acoustics of the JPX-900 Tour irons. By using the company’s HIT (Harmonic Impact Technology) system, which measures and quantifies sound frequencies, Mizuno was able to mimic the acoustics of the MP-64 irons while improving on their construction.
To see the specs and other innovations on the Mizuno JPX 900 Irons, go here! Source : Andrew Tursky  Golf Wrx Pictures : Golf Wrx  Mizuno

A Tour down Nike’s Golf Equipment’s Memory Lane!

I must admit it was a huge shock to me when I heard that Nike was discontinuing their golf equipment line.  The millions they spent on Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy alone should have put them on top of the golf equipment pile!  Did Tiger’s demise have anything to do with Nike’s equipment demise?  Pure speculation.  The  GolfWRX Staff  takes us for a time lapse tour of Nike’s equipment over the years.
Nike’s golf equipment never appealed to the masses in the same way as the company’s golf shoes and apparel, leading to the company’s decision to discontinue its production of clubs, balls and bags and focus on soft goods. Its lack of retail success, however, does not mean that Nike didn’t produce excellent golf equipment. Nike launched its first golf balls, the Precision line, in 1998. Its first line of golf clubs came in 2002. Our staff took a trip down memory lane to remember all the Nike golf equipment produced between then and now. Here’s our list of the best golf equipment Nike ever made.

10SQ Sumo2 Driver

Nike’s SQ Sumo2 was one of the most polarizing clubs in company history. Released in 2006 — the height of the industry’s obsession with high-MOI drivers — the SQ Sumo2 used a composite crown and a square head shape to push weight to the back corners of the driver head for added forgiveness on off-center hits. The SQ Sumo2 was best known for its loud, high-pitched sound, which rang like an aluminum baseball bat at impact. A later version, Nike SQ Sumo2 5900, increased MOI to 5900, while improving sound and feel.

9VR X3X Toe Sweep Wedge

All wedges pretty much look the same, right? Not Nike’s Toe Sweep wedge, the brainchild of legendary Nike club maker Mike Taylor that was released in 2014. Related: Our slideshow of early prototypes of the Toe Sweep wedge, which show the developmental stages of the club.  The VR X3X attempted to solve the age-old problem of the heel of the wedge getting “stuck” on shots from long grass. Taylor’s solution was to create wedge soles with hardly any mass on the heel side, which also made open-face shots easier. Both Rory McIlroy and Johnny Vegas used the Toe Sweep grind to win on tour.

8Split Cavity Prototype Irons

While these irons were never released, they were played by several of Nike’s tour players, and carry a special significance to us. Our founder easyyy scored a set of Trevor Immelman prototypes back in 2005, the year GolfWRX was founded, and hasn’t stopped talking about the Miura-forged protos since. At the time, the Split Cavities were the standard to meet for all forged cavity-back irons. They were clean in shape, butter soft at impact and great through the ground. Several notable forged cavity-back irons followed, including our recent Nike favorites, theVR Forged Pro Combos.

7Vapor Flex 440

For gear heads, the worst part about Nike’s decision to fold its golf equipment division could be the promise it showed with its latest driver, the Vapor Flex 440. Ever since Nike’s switch to its Covert design platform for metal woods, the company struggled to compete in the realm of low-spin drivers. The Vapor Flex 440 (released in 2016) was different. Sixty percent of the club head was made from Nike’s proprietary, carbon fiber-reinforced RZN material, a weight-saving scheme that boosted performance. Our sources tell us that Nike’s line of 2017 drivers relied heavily on a RZN construction, and were by far the best-performing drivers in company history. If true, it’s a case of too little, too late.

6VR_S Forged Irons

Nike’s VR_S Forged were released in the U.S. after enjoying incredible success in Japan. While intended for mid-to-high handicappers, the irons caught on with low handicappers, as well as many PGA Tour players (including Tiger Woods), who used them as long-iron replacements. Key to the success of the VR_S Forged was their two-piece forged construction, which merged a 1025 carbon steel framework with a thin club face that was welded to the body to improve ball speed and forgiveness. Despite their bulk, the irons looked and felt premium, and added value to their $999 sticker price with Nippon’s aftermarket 950GH shaft as the stock option. They were one of the best game-improvement irons released in 2012.
To see the rest of the best Nike golf equipment ever made, go here! Source : GolfWRX Staff Pictures : Nike

15 great buys for your golf game this summer!

If you are a keen golfer like me, you like buying “stuff” on-line for your golf game!  I’m definitely a “gadget” guy, and love things that I really think will help my game at a reasonable price.   T.J. Auclair of PGA.com has just made searching for that stuff a whole lot easier.  Check out his Top 15 list.  Of course, I immediately ordered the Garmin X40 watch – but I had a legitimate reason – I broke my current (old fashioned) watch by accidentally dropping a large concrete tile on it.  So I figured if I replaced the watch it would cost me around $100, so really the Garmin X40 was only costing me $149.99!  Perfect!  Of course, I am also looking at these Kentwool socks.  I hear almost 75% of the PGA and LPGA Tour players are wearing them!  I have just recently put a new grip on my putter, or I might have ordered the Golf Pride SNSR as well. Warm up that credit card!
Over the course of a given year, I’m able to get an up-close look at some incredible golf gear. Periodically, I like to compile a product round-up of some of my favorites. Here’s a peek at a list of items I’ve had the opportunity to test in the last couple of months that you may want to consider for your own game — everything from clubs to gadgets to apparel and more.   Kentwool socks: Are you more of a walker, or the type that takes a cart when playing a round of golf? Either way, Kentwool makes the perfect sock for you. Why socks don’t seem like a big deal to many is beyond me. Golf is uncomfortable enough with everything you face on the course. Your feet shouldn’t be a part of that equation. Kentwool socks, made in the USA, are constructed with 58 percent Merino Wool, 31 percent Nylon, 9 percent Stretch Polyester and 2 percent Spandex. The best part about the socks? They have a blister-free guarantee. For more information, visit www.kentwool.com. Garmin Approach X40: I have a confession to make… Since smartphones these days are practically attached to our person at all times, I figured it had eliminated my need for a watch. Now, however, technology has turned toward the enhanced development of “wearables.” Picking up on that trend is Garmin with its Approach X40 band. It’s not just a watch. It’s not just a golf GPS preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses. It also measures your shot distance, tracks stats such as putts per round, greens and fairways hit, is a digital scorecard and — when connected to your computer or smartphone — allows you to review your scorecard and round. In addition to all of that — and what separates the Approach X40 from its competition — is its fitness tracking capabilities. It counts your steps, measures your heart rate, tracks your sleep, allows you to set fitness goals and more. This is a golf watch that you never have to take off… except to charge, which you’ll only need to do every 5 days in activity mode, or every 10 days in GPS mode. Oh, and for good measure — when synced with your smartphone, you can have text messages and call alerts sent to your wrist. For more, visit www.garmin.com. Golf Pride Tour SNSR Putter grips: Putting is all about feel and that starts with the grip you’re cradling in your hands. Golf Pride’s Tour SNSR putter grips — available in two styles and two sizes — promote light grip pressure in the hands for superior control. The counter of the grip encourages a more consistent, repeatable putting stroke. We can all use more consistency on the greens.
Visit www.golfpride.com to learn more. To see all 15 of these new summer buys, go here! Source : T.J. Auclair   PGA.com Pictures : www.kentwool.com    www.garmin.com   www.golfpride.com