With all the club changes I’ve been making, my bag has quite an assortment of brands. Fourteen clubs from 5 manufacturers.
Driver: Adams Golf Speedline 9064LS
3 Wood: TaylorMade RocketBallz
Hybrids: Adams Golf Idea Tech V3 (3 and 4 iron)
Irons: Ping i20 (5-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland CG14 (52, 56, and 60 degree)
Putter: Odyssey White Ice D.A.R.T.
Balls: Titleist Pro V1x
Rangefinder: Bushnell V2 Tour
The TaylorMade RocketBallz 3 wood could make my driver obsolete. The club hits the ball a mile and then some! It came in yesterday, so I’ll give it a week in the bag before I jump to any conclusions, especially since I bought the driver at this time last year.
I only buy pre-owned golf balls from Knetgolf. Unless you are close to playing scratch golf, there is no reason to pay full price for brand new golf balls. A dozen of the Titleists I play go for around $50 at the store. I usually get 10 dozen of them, lightly used, for $160. Do the math. When you hit a brand new ball a couple of times you end up with a pre-owned ball anyway. Are those first few hits worth paying 3 times as much? Over the course of a year you’ll save a lot of money hitting used balls and your scores won’t suffer.
If you don’t have a rangefinder in your bag, make the investment. You can get a nice one for $250 or less on eBay or if you watch for sales. A rangefinder speeds up the pace of place, takes the guess work out of walking off distances, and helps to improve your game because you’ll learn how far you really hit your clubs.
At the end of 2011 golf season, I was thinking about trying out more of a blade style iron (often referred to as Players Irons) for my next set. Then two of my TaylorMade Burner irons snapped in the course of a week and I wasn’t offered what I would consider a good solution to the problem. I don’t feel like sticking to these clubs if it’s a known problem and more of them are going to break.
Tonight I headed over to the PGA Tour Superstore in Scottsdale where they have every club you can imagine and an awesome indoor ball tracking system. I didn’t have any idea what brands of irons I wanted to try and I wanted to have an open mind, so I put my swing in the hands of their staff. A college kid named Nolan asked me about my scoring and started me off with the Ping i20 (Players) and G20 (Game Improvement). Immediately the i20 felt great. I was hitting a lot of crisp shots, with a slight draw.
So then he put a plastic board under the ball and taped the club to see when I was striking the sole. It was a little on the toe so he adjusted the lie angle of the club to 1.5 degrees upright, which led to me hitting the ball nice and square. Next, Nolan had me hit a random driver just to check my ball speed coming off the face because that’s how you determine a shaft flex. My ball speed indicated I was almost right in the middle of a regular and a stiff flex, with an edge going to regular. I’ve always played stiff flex shafts so I was surprised. I could see all of the numbers right in front of me and they don’t lie.
After hitting the i20 some more I asked if there was something similar he would recommend I try out. Nolan came back with the Titleist AP2 and I started crushing it. I wasn’t sure something could feel better than the i20 had, but the AP2 was smooth swinging and long! I was consistently hitting a 6 iron around 210 yards, which is typically the distance for the Burner 5 iron.
I hit both clubs some more and really liked them both. He gave me a sheet with the fitting specs and I told him I’d stop back out in a few days to try both clubs again to make sure it wasn’t a one day fluke.
So I get home and look up the prices online. Of course the AP2 irons cost $300 more than the i20. At $800 and $1,100 neither set is cheap because they’re brand new. The good news is both sets received Golf Digest’s Gold rating for Players Irons in the 2012 Hot List so I can’t go wrong with either one. After I get back out there to hit them again, hopefully I can confirm if they felt as good as they did tonight and I’ll decide what to do. One of the guys I golf with has a really good relationship with the PGA Tour Superstore and said he could get me a deal.
I’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.