Driver #2 From G.R.I.P.

I just ordered a new driver. It’ll be my second driver from G.R.I.P.. I loved the first one so much I had to try out one with a lower loft and a stiff shaft, so I ordered the 9 degree with stiff graphite shaft. They had a special for $100 that also comes with a free putter, so I couldn’t pass it up. The G.R.I.P. 460cc Beta Titanium Driver is the best driver I’ve ever hit in my life, so I had to see if I could get one that I hit even better. If not, then I always have a backup for dirt cheap. You really can’t find a better driver for the money.

Review: G.R.I.P 460cc Beta Titanium Driver

Golf Research In Play (G.R.I.P) announced a new 460cc Beta Titanium Driver at the end of April and I jumped all over the chance to review one.

G.R.I.P.

Specifications

The driver sells for $129.95 which is nearly giving the club away for free compared to the prices of similar drivers on the golf market which usually sell for $300 or more. The club is available with 9, 10.5, or 12 degrees of loft with the shaft length of the first two being 45.25 inches and the third at 45 inches. In addition to a choice in lofts, you also can choose a shaft made of graphite — regular, stiff flex, senior flex, lady flex — or true temper steel. These options should be enough to satisfy any amateur golfer in the market for a new driver except the lefties; the driver is only available in the right hand model at this time.

Photos

G.R.I.P. 460cc Beta Titanium DriverG.R.I.P. 460cc Beta Titanium DriverG.R.I.P. 460cc Beta Titanium Driver

About the Driver

Directly from the web site…

The Craftsmanship — Aerospace-Grade 460cc Beta Titanium

Our G.R.I.P. Driver offers an enormous 460cc beta titanium clubhead, the largest allowable by the USGA. It is constructed using aerospace-grade, beta titanium, with the maximum allowable COR (Coefficient of Restitution), enabling the clubface to give slightly at impact and spring back.

Additionally, the clubface’s generous sweet spot produces exceptionally long and straight drives, and fewer mis-hits. Its deep clubface also promotes a high launch angle and low spin rate to maximize distance.

Elevated MOI

The G.R.I.P. 460cc Driver’s innovative design boosts its MOI (Moment of Inertia) by moving the club’s weight from its center, decreasing side spin and increasing ball speed. The elevated MOI also significantly reduces twisting of the clubhead, allowing for straighter shots even on off-center hits.

Rear-Sole Weighting

The GRIP 460cc Beta Titanium Driver features swing-correcting, fixed weight ports in the club’s rear sole, providing for a lower, deeper center of gravity that helps you close the clubface at impact and eliminate or reduce slicing. The G.R.I.P. fixed weighting system also reacts effortlessly to off-center hits by squaring the face during contact, making it the benchmark in fixed-weight driver technology.

G.R.I.P 460cc Beta Titanium Driver

The Look

The craftsmanship and design of the G.R.I.P. driver really shows when you pick it up and look at it. At 460cc the head is obviously going to be large, but it’s shape and construction don’t make it look odd like a lot of the drivers taking advantage of new technology. The shape of the head stays along the same lines of traditional drivers from 2-3 years ago. As you address the club it is very visually appealing next to the golf ball on the tee. The top of the club and the shaft are an attractive blue color which doesn’t show in the photos from the G.R.I.P. web site. For full disclosure, blue is my favorite color. I didn’t care for the grip on the shaft, which was kind of navy blue and black design if I can remember correctly. I don’t use normal size grips, so after testing out the club, I quickly had a new shaft (Winn Grip 6G8X-BBL which is a midsize with 3 layers of tape) put on to match my other clubs.

The Feel

As you swing the club everything feels very balanced. I like to start with a slow back swing and then really come at the ball on my downswing with an agressive weight transfer. With GRIP’s driver I feel like I’m in control of my swing.

In Action

The driver was delivered last Thursday, so I took it to the range before golf league. I wanted to determine if I should put it in my bag. After a couple of minutes I had my mind made up; I was giving the club a try in my bag. I was hitting pretty consistent shots that were long and straight. When I looked at the club face, I wasn’t even hitting the sweet spot yet. Every ball was high and towards the toe of the club, so the driver really is forgiving on off-center hits. On the course was a bit of a different story but not because of the golf club. I’ve been struggling with my swing timing on the tee, hitting some dead pulls or nasty pull hooks. When I did correct things I bombed a few down the fairways.

On Friday I went to the driving range to fix my swing and compare the G.R.I.P. driver to the 10 degree Makser AS440 I’ve played the last two years. When comparing the two drivers side by side, the new GRIP driver has a larger head and the shaft was over an inch longer. This year I’ve had a problem topping the ball on a lot of drives and this seems to have been resolved with the longer shaft. I hot both drivers, switching back and forth. I only hit a few slices using the G.R.I.P. driver and it played a lot more consistently. When the ball comes off the face of the club it has a nice rising ball flight and it goes long and straight.

On Sunday I played 18 holes at Bay City Country Club, using the driver every chance I could. The first few holes found me just off the fairway because I’ve been so used to compensating for a slice or slight fade. Once I learned to trust the club and aim down the middle, I was hitting bombs over the fairway bunkers. I don’t think I’ve ever hit so many fairways with a driving during one rough of golf in my life. I was hitting it 270-300 yards right down the middle nearly every hole. I only hit one bad slice all day long. My Dad took the old Makser driver home for my brother to try out since I have no use for it anymore.

Today I played 9 holes at Twin Oaks Golf Course and my swing was horrible. I didn’t make solid contact once off the tee, so I can’t say how the driver performed.

The Verdict

I’ve never felt more confident in a golf club in the 8 years I’ve been golfing. I’ve never hit a driver as consistently long and straight as I can hit the G.R.I.P. 460cc Beta Titanium Driver. For only $129.95 you won’t find a better buy on a quality driver anywhere. Is there a driver out there I can hit just as straight and will give me another 10 yards off the tee? Probably, but it’s not worth the $300-500 it would cost. I can’t wait to get out for my next round of golf and hear the “ooohs” and “aaahs” after I hit a drive.

Shooting in the High 60s

60 degrees. It actually was supposed to get up to 70 today, but I’m not sure if it did. Played 9 holes at Beech Hollow with Tom and lost by a stroke. He’s on his high horse because I usually beat him by 5-10 strokes for 9 holes and now he’s beat me two days in a row. It was a beautiful day for golf, but the course was nearly empty again. I can’t believe more people don’t have the itch to get out there and play.

In response to my post regarding 460cc drivers, I need to figure out what’s going wrong with my tee shots before I test out any new drivers. The past 3 rounds I played were 46-48-49 and I don’t like the direction those numbers are heading. My bad golf is because of my tee shots for the most part. Two and a half rounds ago I started hitting a hook, then I hit a few dead pulls, and today it was a combination, with some bad topped drives. I don’t like playing catch up golf to try and par or bogey it from the women’s tee.

One of my goals for the year was to not shoot above 49 for the rest of the year. The last hole today is a 156 yard par 3 and I needed a bogey or better to break 50. Fat 9 iron off the tee, duffed pitch shot from about 80 yards, and then a chip well past the whole. With the pressure on, I drained the putt which was about 12 feet and my goal was safe.

My approach shots, chipping, and putting have all been pretty good, it’s just my tee shots causing me problems. I did hit Tom’s Ping Rapture a couple of times and when I made contact it felt like I launched my golf ball with a rocket. I’ve always loved the way the ball comes off my Makser AS440, but this was just amazing. I’d bet I can hit these newer style drivers a good 20-30 yards longer than I can hit mine and if the consistency on off-center hits is as I’ve read, it won’t take me long to be sold on dishing out some dough for a new stick.

460cc Drivers

Makser AS440 DriverI’ve been playing a Makser AS440 for the past couple of years and it’s the only driver I’ve ever hit consistently straight. My friend Tom recently bought one of the new Ping Raptures and now instead of out driving him by 30-40 yards, he is sticking right with me or bombing it longer. I’d really hate to give up my driver, but at the same time if I don’t test out some of the new drivers I think I’m costing myself distance which equates to strokes. So I’m asking your advice…

What type of driver do you play? How big is it? When did you switch? How happy are you with the results?

I’ve been reading a lot about some of the goofy looking drivers in Golf Digest and if I’m going to make a switch, I’d much rather do it at the beginning of the golf season than in the middle.


Review: G.R.I.P Sweetness Putter

I received the G.R.I.P Sweetness Putter a few weeks ago from Rob at Golf Research in Play and The Savvy Golfer. I was impressed with the look and feel of the putter as soon as I took it out of the box. I used it around the living room for a bit, but knew I couldn’t take it out on the course with me. I’ve been using an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter for a couple of years now and it’s done wonders for my game. As impressed as I was with the Sweetness from G.R.I.P. I just couldn’t mess with my putting game. I showed the putter to my friend Dave and he said he’d test it out. Following is his review.

************************

G.R.I.P Sweetness PutterThe G.R.I.P. Sweetness Putter features an oversized, two-bar design, with a center aiming line between the two “Dual Tension Rods” to help make alignment easier. The double insert in the club face is comprised of a soft, CNC-milled aluminum center surrounded by a soft polymer. This putter is aimed at the casual golfer looking for the latest technology but at a lower price point ($69.95).

I currently use a Ping Anser and am generally happy with it. I use a pendulum stroke and push through the ball toward the hole. I feel that this gives me more control over ball release and trajectory. I had to change my stroke somewhat to get good results with the Sweetness. I found my push was causing me to go past the hole and offline. I altered my stroke to eliminate the push and let the club do the work. After that I was able to zero in the distance much better.

The club shaft has a double bend that gives the club a slight offset. Initially, I was holding the club improperly and getting too much loft. Once I adjusted the position, I got much better roll and accuracy.

Things I like: Very nice grip, excellent visual cues, good weight, and nice fit and finish.

Things I didn’t like: Nothing

I would recommend this putter for someone who wants to try this style without dropping a fortune.

Anyone want to buy a used Ping Anser?

************************

Dave seems to like the putter and like he said, you can’t beat the price for a quality putter. The grip on the putter is actually something I loved about it.

The shaft is wrapped in an ultra-soft, all-weather polyurethane two-piece grip.

Ultra-soft doesn’t even begin to describe how the grip felt. I love my 2-Ball and the feel of it, but the grip is one area where I think I could get a little bit better feel by using a softer grip.

Don't Underestimate the Driving Range

Ever since I made the decision on which fairway woods and irons I was ordered I hadn’t been back to the driving range. Nearly two weeks has passed until yesterday when I stopped by the Saginaw Golf Centre on my way home from work. Over the past few weeks I had been spraying everything out to the right. I’d rarely make a miss left so I knew that had to be something relatively simple in my swing causing the problems. I needed a trip to the “Doctor’s Office” where I could examine my symptoms more carefully than on the course.

I warmed up with the three pound eight iron and then picked up my pitching wedge. I started with full swings but nothing stood out as being horribly wrong. I slowed down my swing a bit and shortened it as well and then it hit me. My club face was wide open at impact, which doesn’t take rocket science to figure out, but it was the reason why that really clicked. On my back swing my right wrist was rotating so far open that it was nearly impossible to snap it back though and square up at impact.

I took a few more shots with the PW and moved on to the driver where I could really see the results. As I kept the wrist from rotating open on my backswing it felt pretty weird at first. Near the end of the bucket of balls I was crushing drives out to the 250 flag on the fly. On the last couple of shots I was even able to hit a nice little draw with my driver. I’ve never been able to play a draw!

I kept putting off trips to the range waiting for my new clubs to arrive, causing my golf game to suffer. I’ll definitely be making more of an effort to hit the practice range once or twice a week from now on. It can do wonders for your game!

Sasquatch Siting

Nike Sasquatch DriverI’ve written about the Nike Sasquatch driver before, but I finally saw it in person this weekend for the first time when I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The driver has one of the biggest heads on a golf club that I’ve ever seen, but it’s one of the lightest drivers I’ve held in my hands. The sweet spot on the Sasquatch has to be huge, so I don’t know how you could hit a bad shot with the thing. I bet I could hit a nice 100 yard slicer with it though. That’s how much “control” I have in my swing. They are really hyping this club up so when you get a chance check it out.

Hybrid Clubs

Travelling Golfer pointed out an article from Pub Links Golfer Magazine Online about hybrids. In today’s market, the hybrid clubs are quickly becoming a popular part of most golf club sets. Last year I replaced 3 of my long irons with hybrids and experienced great results. You’ll want to read the article for the full info, but here are a few highlights…

Historically, long irons have been the most difficult clubs to hit for both recreational golfers and touring professionals.

Hybrid clubs make the game so much easier and enjoyable that it’s amazing to consider they barely existed only a few years ago.

Today’s new-look hybrids account for close to 20 percent of the total metal wood market. As the category grows, so do the options in terms of performance, head styling, loft and trajectory. Hybrids give golfers the ability to dial in long-game distances and ball flights much like wedges do for our short game.

“Hands On” Play Testing – 2005 Hybrids

Hitting the Large Head Drivers

This summer I bought a new driver and it was the greatest buy I made in my golf bag. I’ve never been able to hit a driver in my life and although I still have problems with the new one, it’s the best driver I’ve ever made a swing with.

Going to a large head driver (usually 460cc or similar) can cause problems for a lot of golfers because it really is a different type of club to hit. Here are some great tips I found on another blog.

  1. Tee the Ball Higher
  2. Move the Ball Forward in Your Stance
  3. Set Up to Hit the Ball on the Center of the Face
  4. Hit the Ball on the Upswing

About Golf

The article goes into a bit more detail on each point, but they are all great points to be made. I’ve had a lot of people mention that I tee the ball forward in my stance and kind of chuckle to myself. With a club head so large you really have to in order to hit the ball on your upswing.

TaylorMade r7 Irons

TaylorMade r7 IronTaylorMade is introducing 2 new sets of irons. The r7 XD boasts “extra distance without the extra effort.” The r7 CGB MAX is made for “Maximum COR, balls speed, clubhead speed, forgiveness.” The iron pictured is one of the r7 CGB MAX.

For all of the specification and info, visit their respective pages on the TaylorMade golf site.

r7 XD

r7 CGB MAX