Equipment & Product Reviews

Lamkin SONAR Wrap / Tour & SINKFIT Putter Grips PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Earlier this summer the folks at Lamkin shipped over a healthy dose of

their latest additions to the SONAR line - SONAR WRAP (top) and SONAR

TOUR (Grey-bottom).








Lamkin's original SONAR was so popular with consumers, the company

decided to introduce two new models that offer distinctive options

featuring Lamkin's micro-texture Fingerprint Technology. Traditional

golfers who prefer "Wrap style" grips will appreciate the intricate patterns

designed to offer unmatched traction and all-weather performance. To

enhance the wrap feel, Lamkin included an ergonomic "Progressive

Skive" with fluctuating spiral dimensions based on grip size. SONAR WRAP

is available in both Standard+ and Mid Size+ variations.



Sonar Tour designed in collaboration with Lamkin Tour Ambassador Justin

Rose, features what the company calls their omni-directional grip traction

pattern. A firmer compound provides superior torsion control for high swing

speed players. SONAR TOUR features a traditional taper and logo down design

(preferred by better players and those competing on professional tours around

the world). SONAR TOUR available in Standard size only.








The SONAR lineup : TOUR, WRAP and ORIGINAL are made from Lamkin's

patent-pending GENESIS material - a slightly softer feel than rubber with

unmatched durability. Lamkin CEO Bob Lamkin knows his company is onto

something with SONAR, "The combination of GENESIS material and Fingerprint

Technology in the SONAR grip delivers an ideal feel for such a wide audience of

players. The two additions to the line add variations for golfers who have specific

preferences in their grip style. I'm very excited about the success of the SONAR

line and look forward to sharing the incredible feel of the new grips with golfers






Right off the bat, SONAR's fingerprint texture had me sold. First I installed the

original SONAR last summer on my wedges and was hooked. This summer, SONAR

Wrap on the irons for comfort, control and a bit of cushion on downward strikes off

the turf.


SONAR Tour on the driver and woods has been the perfect combo. As an

aggressive swinger with the driver, the omni-directional pattern and firmer feel was

spot on. It's an eclectic set-up, but it's just right. If you play in humid weather like

I often do, SONAR is superb. Pick a style, or all 3 and swing away . . .







Lamkin also launched a new line of putter grips called SINK FIT. Designed to

help you make more putts by delivering exceptional feel. SINK FIT is offered

in three shapes and two distinctively different materials. Featuring a unique

profile contour to promote proper wrist and hand positioning, SINK FIT comes

in Traditional Pistol, Skinny Pistol or Straight in their new GENESIS material.

Pistol and Straight shapes are also available in an ultra-lightweight polyurethane

(pictured top - oversize blue, red).





SINK FIT: Skinny Pistol (70g) - Black/Gray, Blue/Green

SINK FIT: Pistol (120g) – Black/Blue

SINK FIT: Straight (114g) – Black/Red

SINK FIT Polyurethane: Pistol (63g) – Black/Blue

SINK FIT Polyurethane: Straight (60g) – Black/Red






With 3 different styles and sizes, deciding on your preference might be the

toughest part. I tried all of them and usually lean towards a traditional

rubber pistol in a standard color, size and weight, but the 114 gram SINK

FIT (straight model) surprised me and won me over with a superb combo

of shape and feel. If you prefer bright colors, oversized, lightweight, straight

or pistol, the choices are available. Just like putter models, putter grips are

very personal to each individual, chose wisely.


For more info visit Lamkin:



























Best Men's Links Footwear - Summer 2019 PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Today's golf shoes are significantly superior to those of just a few years ago,

but deciding which of the latest links kicks is best for your feet and your game

can be both exciting and overwhelming. For some, a brand new pair of premium

golf footwear is as exciting a purchase as a new club. Whether you prefer a fully

cleated /spiked shoe or a spikeless model, there are ample choices to choose from.

In this edition of our Best Links Footwear Review, the top brands in the industry

Adidas, Ecco, Footjoy, New Balance, Nike, Puma and True Linkswear all contributed

their finest to this feature. Rather than break it down by category, we've listed

each by brand.


It should be stated that it's pretty tough to find a truly bad golf shoe these days,

especially with the top brands - the competition is just too tough for sub-par to

survive in today's marketplace. However, some do offer better foot support, more

comfort, better traction, superior protection in the elements and various fitting

attributes (favoring wide/narrow, bigger/smaller sizing). Then there is value,

ranging from just over $100 to $250 MSRP, price point is a considerable factor

in the purchase experience for many.





Adidas Tour 360 XT

If there was a seeding to this review, the Tour 360 line would easily be

at or near the top, it's just that good. So how does a company like Adi

go about improving their tour proven flagship model? Very carefully, each

iteration that they introduce has been a very subtle enhancement. It's

a brilliant strategy to keep the features that are most important and

refine the details. When you have a loyal following, and Tour360 does -

you just make tweaks. For example, the '18 model featured each of

the 3 stripe mid-foot supports independently, eliminating the previous

one piece support strap and also did away with the two seams that run

along the center of the toe box, producing a cleaner, simpler look. It's

minute, but it's the type of thing that tour players and serious golfers

prefer . . .









In 2019, the refinements on Tour 360 are less aesthetic and more

performance based, BOOST foam returns for the ultimate in responsive

energy return and comfort. Premium leather upper features seam-sealed

protection from just about any weather condition. The 360 wrap supports

your feet even during the most aggressive swings.






The biggest change for 2019 is the XT outsole, Torsion Tunnel X

provides flexibility and arch support. Strategically placed X-Traxion

lugs provide the ideal base while Thintech EXP cleats grip the ground

so you can fire at flags.







Tour 360 XT comes available in four different colorways. Cloud White/Silver

Metallic/Dark Silver Metallic (shown), Cloud White/Core Black/Scarlet,

Cloud White/Collegiate Navy and Core Black/Silver Metallic. $200



Testing: After numerous rounds and hours in the Tour 360XT, the latest

edition didn't disappoint, in fact somehow the 3 stripes continues to raise

the bar on performance and comfort in its top of the line Tour offering. It's

not a surprise that many of our best rounds over the years have been played

wearing Tour360. The XT sole is next level traction.


Aesthetics: 9

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 10

Traction: 9

Durability: 9

Value: 8

Fit/sizing: standard (favors a slightly narrow foot, length true to size)


Best Suited For: The Adidas Tour360 XT is a serious players

shoe. If you're an aggressive high speed swinger of the club who

requires the ultimate in foot support, traction, comfort and doesn't

mind the hefty price tag - than this shoe should be on your list to try

on at your local retailer. Our experience is the Tour360 line tends to

run a touch on the narrow side, so keep that in mind if you require

a wider width.








Adidas took the best attributes of their iconic Tour 360 and created a

premium spikeless shoe that is ideal for those who like to take in their

rounds walking the fairways.






For those who want a high performance walking shoe, but don't feel

they need the max traction of a cleated model, the Tour 360-SL provides

a lower to the turf profile. BOOST midsole offers responsive performance

and comfort for even the toughest walks around the links.







Aesthetics wise, the Tour 360 XT-SL is a slightly more casual style

than it's more famous brethren. Wrapped in a breathable water-

repellent Climastorm upper, it also features Adi's 360 Wrap that

locks-in to support your feet. Available in 3 colors: White/Black/Silver,

White/Navy/Gold, White/Black/Scarlet.








Puremotion outsole enhances flexibility and X-Traxion lugs provide

the heavy lifting when you need it most. $170




Testing: Tour360 XT-SL is mega comfortable, so much so we're

convinced that a BOOST like midsole component should be mandatory

in every athletic shoe, not just in golf. The XT sole pattern provides

superior traction in a spikeless offering. Absolutely no compromises in

performance here, a rarity in non-cleated golf shoe. We had no reservations

about putting these in play over a spiked shoe for any round in any type

of weather condition - the highest of praise for a spikeless entry.


Aesthetics: 8

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 8

Traction: 8

Durability: 9

Value: 8

Fit/sizing: standard (favors a slightly narrow foot, length true to size)



Best Suited For: The linkster who wants a spikeless golf shoe that's

more than a casual sneaker with "golf treads" on the sole and doesn't mind

paying a bit more for it. For any Adidas footwear loyalist, these should be

considered a must have.












Last year we reviewed ECCO's Biom Hybrid 3, the Danish company's top-shelf

spikeless offering, so this year ECCO sent over their fully cleated Biom G3 for

review. As always the first thing that always grabs our attention with ECCO golf

shoes is the Yak Leather, second to none in quality and feel in a Gore-Tex

weatherproof upper that keeps you dry regardless of conditions.






Biom G3 features a sleek Euro styling, our sample came in what's called

"True Navy", contrasted brilliantly with an off-white trim to produce a unique

sporty elegance that defines the ECCO brand. Note the double-layer neoprene

collar that surrounds the heel for max comfort. Bion G3 is available in 3 other

color choices - Shadow White/ Dark Petrol, Shadow White (solid) and Black.







According to ECCO, BIOM was designed to match the natural curves of

the foot, an anatomical last that brings your feet closer to the ground for

greater stability. Champ Slim-Lok (ZARMA-TOUR spikes) provide the

traction. Removable Ortholite insoles provide the option for extra width

when taken out - a superb option to get the proper fit.



Testing: The ECCO Biom G3 passed every exam we put them through

and then some. A wider toe box area than some of the other top brands

allows for those in need of a bit more room. The extra insole pad is a great

option not only for proper fitting purposes, but also for those who prefer

a tad more cushion (I'm often someone who adds an extra insole). No

surprises with these, right out the box they're ready to help you knock

down pins.


Aesthetics: 9

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 9

Durability: 9

Value: 6

Fit/sizing: standard w/additional insole (European sizing true to size)



Best Suited For: The golfer who demands tour quality performance

in a progressive look. BIOM G3 is a shoe for the golfer who's serious

and passionate about their gear, value isn't the theme here - Biom G3 is

a big ticket item at a big ticket price tag. MSRP $250.









This year's PUMA entry in our review is the spikeless IGNITE NXT SOLELACE.

We've long been a fan of PUMA shoe creator Grant Knudson's work, he's one

of the most uber talented people in the business - never afraid to go outside

the box to innovate the next great links gear for your feet.








Stylish for sure, but what else would you expect from the brand that supplies

Rickie, Lexi and Bryson with their tour kicks. NXT Solelace features a brawny

yet lightweight TPU that attaches directly to the midsole. This design allows

the laces to wrap completely over the foot, providing complete support.








Ignite foam provides comfort and energy return on every step of your








A non-stretch breathable flat-knit waterproof performance mesh upper

rules the toe box for extreme comfort and protection from the elements.

Available in Peacoat/Gold, Olive/Silver, Black/Gold (pictured), Gray/Gold.





PUMA calls their new sole innovation consisting of over 100 hexagon

lugs "Organically-Altered Traction".




  • SOLELACE Closure System
  • IGNITE Foam
  • Performance Mesh + TPU
  • Organically-Altered Traction
  • Molded Comfort Insole
  • 1 Year Waterproof
  • Fit: Fits slightly long, consider going down ½ size.
  • Size 7-14






Testing: For the WOW factor out of the box, it would be tough to beat

these, striking and bold - a true fashion statement. Like many PUMA golf

shoes we love that these could go straight from the 18th hole to the grill or

an evening out anywhere, not many on this list can boast that. Performance

wise they do everything quite well, but didn't lead in any one category.

Reasonably comfortable with decent traction in dry conditions, but just

average on wet turf. PWRFRAME and SOLELACE do a nice job of supporting

the foot nicely but can make for a chore when getting in and out of the shoe

on each wear. We've had a few issues with PUMA's heel pad construction in

the past, but these were spot-on with the best heel to toe fit of any PUMA

shoes we've tested.



Aesthetics/Style: 10

Comfort: 8

Foot Support: 8

Traction: 7

Durability: 8

Value: 9+

Fit/sizing: standard to size



Best Suited For: Golfers who prefer an edgy style with innovative

performance features. It's always tough to match the comprehensive

combination that PUMA provides not only to its loyal following, but also

to those looking to branch out to a more progressive brand that covers

all of the bases. IGNITE NXT SOLELACE is right at the top of the value

category with an MSRP of $120.








New Balance - Striker

If there is an underdog in this review it would be the New Balance Striker,

but don't sleep on the latest from the company that made it's name from

creating super comfortable light-weight walking and running shoes. Striker

comes in at 12.4 oz, slim on weight but not on performance features.

Striker comes in 3 colorways Grey/Blue (shown), Black/Red, White/Grey.





According to the folks at New Balance, their skeletally (is that really a

word) engineered FantomFit waterproof microfiber upper provides

complete support and fit. REV-lite 10mm midsole provides lightweight

cushioning and premium responsiveness.








An Exoskeleton TPU outsole is designed to move with the natural motion

of your foot, Champ Slim-Lok Zarma cleat system provides the traction.









Striker features a wider toe box, lower instep height and anatomical heel

width. 2 year waterproof warranty.




Testing: NB's Striker isn't the most flashy shoe in this review, but it is

easily the finest all-weather model in this review - thanks to its microfiber

waterproof upper. If that's not enough, Striker is packed with maximum

comfort. Playing in these just makes your feet happy. If you believe form

follows function, then the New Balance Striker is our clear overachiever.



Aesthetics/Style: 7+

Comfort: 10

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 9

Durability: 9

Value: 9

Fit/sizing: standard to size



Best Suited For: NB's Striker is the ideal golf shoe for those who

want a fully cleated high performance shoe - chock full of comfort and

weatherproof features at the price point of a spikeless model.

MSRP $120.












Footjoy introduced FURY at this year's PGA Show in Orlando.






Footjoy's D3 outsole is a rigid platform ensuring swing stability and superior

traction. Fine Tuned Foam midsole and OrthoLite impressions FitBed combine

to provide FURY's cushioning.





Full grain leather and mesh upper combine to provide waterproof protection

and breathability. Available in four colorways Navy/White, White/Grey, Black

and Charcoal. A one-piece Inner Fit sleeve underneath the insole provided a

secure fit. The external FlexGrid MLC Cage system gives structure to the upper,

giving your feet maximum support throughout the swing.




Testing: Footjoy FURY was put through the paces by our resident footwear

aficionado Jack L Barrett, who's also known as "America's Guest". "I Walked

20,000 steps (10 miles) in these, they're extremely comfortable, other golf

shoes I wear don't equal this kind of comfort. Price point is spot on for this

type of quality and performance," Barrett said.


Aesthetics/Style: 8+

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 9

Durability: 9

Value: 8

Fit/sizing: standard to slightly larger in size



Best Suited For: The golfer who wants a versatile tour quality golf

shoe loaded with performance and comfort technology in an updated

contemporary style. Loyal FJ enthusiasts get it all at a price tag well

under $200. MSRP - $170.









FOOTJOY's PRO/SL is the most popular shoe of players on the PGA Tour,

so we set out to find what makes this model a favorite of the best players in

the world.





FJ's Boa Fit System has been known as the industry standard for providing a

performance fit that offers precision, stability and power. Pro/SL's fully rounded

toe box is a product of Footjoy's Laser Last, which provides the proper fit along

forefoot and instep. ChromoSkin leather by Pittards of England is a premier

100% waterproof leather.







A close up of the rear positioned micro-adjustable Boa Fit System, a

superb custom fitting component to help you reach peak performance.






Two blends of FTF (Fine Tuned Foam) combined with a TPU molded sole

provides cushioning, stability and traction for maximum comfort and








FJ Pro/SL BOA comes in two colorways White/Blue and Black, while standard

lace version is available in six colorways.




Testing: Needing to pick a few pairs to take on our 16 day trip to Cali,

these made the shortlist. In fact, when we had the opportunity to walk the

fabulous California Golf Club and then hallowed grounds of Cypress Point

the day after the U.S Open, the Footjoy Pro/SL Boa's got the nod. As

expected, it was a day and walk to remember, the FJ Pro/SL w/BOA only

enhanced the experience.



Aesthetics/Style: 9

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 9

Durability: 9

Value: 8

Fit/sizing: standard in size



Best Suited For: Any golfer who desires a dialed in custom fit in a

tour proven spikeless shoe will need to give these a spin. MSRP - $190.







NIKE Air Max 1G

A classic style with some updated features, Nike's Air Max 1G has become

a popular choice in the spikeless market this summer.








Max Air cushions the trek around the links, while no sew overlays

keep your feet dry in even the wettest weather conditions. Full-

length Phylon foam midsole provides the comfort and stability.



Testing: Air Max 1G gives swoosh loyalists an iconic style in the form

of a spikeless golf shoe that has the versatility to be worn on or off the

links. While nothing in the foot support and traction categories stood out,

Air Max 1G proved worthy in both comfort and durability.



Aesthetics/Style: 8

Comfort: 8

Foot Support: 8

Traction: 7

Durability: 8

Value: 8

Fit/sizing: standard in size



Best Suited For: Nike enthusiasts who prefer a casual spikeless

sneaker style links shoe at a moderate price point will dig these. MSRP

- $120.









NIKE Air Zoom Victory Tour

Rory's Tour kicks are stunners. Nike's flagship golf shoe - Air Zoom Victory

Tour is classic style wrapped in new technology.








Air Zoom Victory Tour isn't just big on sophistication, features include

premium leather and synthetic upper for durability, fitsole sockliner

adds plush cushioning. Zoom Air cushions, while React technology

provides the glide. Test sample in White/Platinum Tint colorway.





Not sure of where the inspiration came from, but the simple elegance

and refined details like this view of the heel remind of a Wimbledon style

tennis shoe. Available in four colorways.








Outsole features integrated traction combined with Champ spikes for

superior gripping power.




Testing: These were the last pair of shoes that came in for the review,

and were worth the wait. Pulling these beauties from the gold box was like

a childhood christmas moment. On the turf, Air Zoom Victory Tour didn't

disappoint. Clean lines, perfect fit, extreme comfort and Michelin like

traction make these among the best in class. Word is Rory had some input

in the design of these, maybe the Ulsterman has another calling when he's

done reaching par 5's in two . . .



Aesthetics/Style: 9+

Comfort: 9+

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 9+

Durability: 9

Value: 8+

Fit/sizing: standard in size



Best Suited For: The consumer who prefers a classy mature

style in a zero compromise tour shoe will want to have these when

he steps on to the first tee. MSRP - $180.















TRUE's top of the line - MAJOR is inspired by their player advisory board.

Tour player Ryan Moore strolls the terra firma each week in TRUE Majors.

Such a unique company producing golf shoes like no other. Comfort and

the fine details are what TRUE Linkswear has built a cult following on.










  • Premium Waterproof Full Grain Leather and Outdoor Grade Nubuck Suede
  • All New 80k Step Dynamic Waterproof and Breathable 2 Year Guarantee
  • Signature Instant Flex Zone for Dynamic Movement and Fit
  • EVA Midsole for Lightweight Cushioning, 12.55 mm
  • Sock Fit Liner for Crazy Comfort
  • Paracord Lacing System with Reflective Rope Lace
  • Transitional (Minimal) Drop - (4-6mm dependent on size)
  • Forever Cushion Premium Inserts









No break-in period required, in fact my first trek in these MAJORS

was while covering the PGA at Bethpage Black during practice rounds.








Paracord lacing system with reflective rope lace and leather saddle

provide mid foot support and stability. Available in Black (pictured),

Gray, White and Brown.







No shoe box here, TRUE created this cool carry bag rather than the

traditional wasteful shoe box - this versatile carry bag can be used

to carry your shoes or as a practice shag bag.



Testing: First the good news, TRUE Majors look sweet and are really

comfortable with a superb fit. All of the joys of wearing your favorite

pair of sneakers in a high quality spikeless offering. The Traction for a

spikeless shoe is exceptional and these can be worn anywhere post

round, gotta love the versatility. Now for the not so good, while walking

at Bethpage Black thru the early a.m dew (while covering the PGA), the

Nubuck suede upper soaked in the moisture like a sponge rather than

repelling it. As a result, wet feet all day in the media center. Finally that

evening upon taking them off, the red colored insole bled dye onto my

socks, no bueno. TRUE does offer a 2 year 80K step waterproof guarantee

and their customer service people are top notch.


I should mention that we've played some rounds in dry conditions with

the TRUE Majors and they met or exceeded expectations in every other



Aesthetics/Style: 10

Comfort: 9

Foot Support: 9

Traction: 8+

Durability: 9

Value: 7+

Fit/sizing: standard to size



Best Suited For: The golfer who likes an all-around spikeless shoe,

probably the most kickass style in this review. One that just might become

your favorite pair to do any activity in. I would easily wear these to an event

where you'd be on your feet all day like a festival or concert. Price point is

a bit high, but so is the quality. MSRP - $199


















Golf Buddy aim L10 Rangefinder PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

In the market for a new laser rangefinder? Assuming you require all the

latest technology, GolfBuddy's flagship model - the aim L10 is a compact

lightweight device that's big on features and modest on cost.







The aim L10 is an ergonomic sporty super easy to use rangefinder that

features 3 modes: Standard, Scan, and Pin mode with vibration. At just

under 6 oz, this is a sleek high-performance target seeking machine.












  • New ergonomic & sporty design
  • Pin finder with vibration mode
  • 3 Targeting modes: Standard, Scan, Pin
  • 6x Magnification
  • Slope on/off exterior switch
  • Wider LCD for better visibility
  • USGA / R&A Compliant





Easy to use target/mode buttons - accuracy matters w/measurement

tolerances to within +1/-1 yd.







Fits in the palm of your hand perfectly . . .










The aim L10 comes

equipped with a slope

on/off switch that

provides simple

slope adjusted distances

for any level of elevation

for more accuracy on

every shot.

Green = on, Red = off

aim L10 conforms and

is competition legal for

any event governed by

USGA/R&A rules of golf.












The GolfBuddy aim L10

carrying case is a sharp

and classy cover that

protects and conceals

your rangefinder, not only

from the elements, but

also from others that

might be looking to

make off with your new

high-tech device.


I attach mine with a

locking clip (right)

that makes grabbing

the case from the bag

a tougher chore.

Since these small tech

gadgets tend to disappear,

you can also protect your

purchase if your golf bag

has a specific pocket for

your rangefinder (many

new bags do). If so, we

highly recommend keeping

the device there before

and after play or practice.






It's been over two months now since we began testing the aim L10.

Full disclosure, our longtime gamer unit hasn't made it's way back

in the bag since. Accuracy and ease of use is as good as any we've

ever used on the course. The vibration feature in Pin mode locks in on

the flagstick, eliminating the false reading of a distant tree or similar

object in the background. Also, I've pretty much left the slope mode in

the "ON" position.



The aim L10 is not inexpensive at $299, but in its class it's a bargain.

GolfBuddy is aware that they have the opportunity here to chomp off

a large portion of Bushnell's market share (as the industry leader) by

"offering a Ferrari at the price of a Corvette".



Quite simply, if you're in the market for a top of the line laser rangefinder

and want to save some cash - the aim L10 is worthy of your attention.



For more info:

















Scoring Gear: Cleveland RTX4 Wedges / Srixon Z-Star Golf Balls PDF Print E-mail


Cleveland wedges and Srixon Z-Star golf balls. It's a pairing that just fits

like Bacon & eggs, peanut butter & jelly and of course wedges & spin. Very

few brands in the industry are in this rarified air. Cleveland wedges have

been a staple of the best players in the world for decades, and the new

RTX 4 has only bolstered Cleveland's shortgame presence on worldwide

tours. Paired with the latest Srixon Z-Star tour ball makes for a serious rival

to the industry leading Titleist Pro V1 and Vokey (SM7) wedges.








Two things stood out to us when we met with the Cleveland/Srixon team

in January at the PGA Show - first, these shortgame sticks looked so damn

good in all of the 3 different finishes (Tour Satin, Black Satin, and Tour Raw),

I wanted a set right immediately. Secondly, the choices of grinds and bounce

options means there is a wedge for every type of player and turf condition.

Specifically, four distinct sole grinds that allow you to customize your set,









Secondly, the choices of grinds and bounce options means there is a wedge

for every type of player and turf condition. Specifically, four distinct sole

grinds that allow you to customize your set, brilliant.







4th generation Rotex Face provides sharper Tour Zip grooves for max spin

in every condition for precise accuracy and distance control. A more durable

laser milling pushed right to the conforming edge is inline with most players

strike pattern - increasing spin stopping action on all types of shortgame shots.








Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV, hard to believe that 2019 marks the sixth

generation of the brand's premium tour ball line. Both Z-Star and Z-Star XV

feature 4th generation Spin Skin (w/SeRM) and a new FastLayer core. Z-Star

offers a mid compression 3-piece construction providing performance validated

on professional tours around the world. 338 dimple urethane cover with a 90

compression. Z-Star XV offers the same tour proven performance in a 4-piece

ball at 102 compression also featuring a 338 dimple urethane cover. Both balls

come in choice of Pure White or Tour Yellow.







The great thing about Cleveland/Srixon's line is the plethora of different

choices for what best fits you and your game. After testing both tour

golf balls my choice was the softer feeling Z-Star. I'll sacrifice a yard

or two for a softer feel with the wedges and putter. During on course

testing I noticed almost no difference in distance of the tee, and no

more than two to three yards of carry distance off the irons. Around

the greens is where I place the highest priority. Z-Star gives a quieter

less clicky sound than the XV. If you're a faster swinger who likes the

feel of a higher compression ball and wants to squeeze out every yard -

the XV might be your choice. Bomber Cameron Champ who leads the PGA

Tour in driving distance, plays Z-Star XV.


We tested the RTX 4 Wedge in the 56 degree mid bounce (satin finish), a

great model for normal everyday conditions. The grind provided versatility

for nearly every recovery situation. The stock True Temper Dynamic Gold

Tour Issue shaft is superb for controlling trajectory on full and partial

approach shots. Impressive on all chips, pitch, lob and greenside sand

shots - just what you'd expect from a Cleveland wedge. The latest edition

of Rotex Tour Zip grooves gave superb stopping power even on firm and

fast putting surfaces.




It's often difficult to compare brands of tour level golf balls and wedges

in an effort to differentiate which brand is best for your game, clearly

the choice is somewhat subjective when choosing a new ball and set of

wedges. After spending several rounds and shortgame sessions testing

the latest from Cleveland/Srixon, the only question is which RTX4 and

Z-Star ball will you choose? Both the Cleveland RTX 4 line and Srixon

Z-Star golf balls can be considered on the value side of premium tour

gear when you consider the price point of other brands is now around

$179 per wedge and $50+ per dozen.


Cleveland RTX 4 Wedges MSRP $139

Srixon Z-Star (XV) Golf Balls MSRP $39.99


For more info:

Cleveland Golf:

Srixon Golf:















Cobra F9 Speedback Driver PDF Print E-mail


Cobra's F9 Speedback driver, its aesthetics are bold, its sole design is

unconventional (and loaded with technology), but does it measure up

and perform like the Euro sports car it resembles? If it's validation you

need, the F9 is played on tours around the globe by Rickie, Bryson and

Lexi Thompson.







According to Cobra, there's a quandry with most modern drivers, those

possessing aerodynamic crown enhancements often end up with a higher

CG. The image above, shows the F9 Speedback's design - a low and deep

structure that's comprised of tungsten and titanium (optimizing energy to

the ball, all while giving off a streamlined appearance).







Cobra's CNC milled face was first introduced in last year's F8 driver,

and the company claims the process is up to 5 times more precise

than the competitors hand-polished driver faces. Not to mention, the

milled face exudes quality craftmanship.






Cobra's E9 technology features variable thickness in the form of an elliptical

shape that expands the "sweet spot" along 9 specific points. Dual Roll and

Perfected Bulge technologies are built in to the design to enhance consistency.





The technology in the F9 includes Top Roll Curvature - the top half of

the driver face has more curvature, promoting higher launch with

reduced spin on shots hit higher on the face. Bottom Roll Curvature -

typically this is where performance goes to die, but Cobra has Speed

Tuned the bottom half of the driver face to optimize the loft in each

clubhead (any loft).


Notice the axis is tilted at 7 degrees (image above), this allows for the

typical amount of toe droop that occurs during the golf swing. There is

also 3 different horizontal bulge curvatures that are CNC Milled into the

face to help control heel and toe misses and to ensure center strikes

achieve maximum results.








Cobra's F9 Speedback features a crown that’s 12% larger than last year's F8,

inspiring more confidence at address. Polymer crown trips direct airflow to

reduce drag and boost clubhead speed.







The breakdown of the F9 Speedback components. Even with the larger

crown surface, Cobra still managed to shave 4 grams of weight from

last year's F8 (and 10 grams from standard titanium driver crowns).








Aesthetics /Testing

For those who don't care for the race car yellow look (it has grown on

me), Cobra offers a version in what they call Avalanche, a frost like

white colorway to satisfy the golfer who prefers a less flashy look.


Cobra's MyFly allows easy adjustable settings to manage loft/launch and

shot shape preference by + or - 1.5 degrees SmartPad Technology keeps

the face looking square at address regardless of the loft setting.









At address it's tough not to like the clean and fast looking shape of the

F9 Speedback, it inspires confidence. It just has to look right when

you set it down, and it does. Top shelf here . . .







The powerplant for our testing was Fujikura's Atmos Blue Tour Spec. The

profile of the Blue is Mid launch/Mid spin. I expected the Blue to be a bit

spinny and high launching (for me), but nothing was further than the truth.

It was spot on.

Tour aftermarket shafts known by industry folks as the "real deal" are what

Cobra offers in the F9, not a "made for" watered down stock shaft. UST Helium,

Fuji Atmos Tour Spec Blue, Project X HZRDUS Smoke and Fujikura Atmos

Tour Spec Black offer differing profiles for all types of players.

I purposely decided to do the testing on the F9 backwards, lets see how it

performs "in the field" first, this way there is zero expectations of what the

launch monitor #'s showed us. For several weeks I tested the F9 versus my

gamer, during range time and on the course. Because I play midsize grips,

there is always the dilemna of getting the swingweight back to my preferred

"sledgehammer" spec of D5-D6. After several strips of lead tape (Cobra does

offer replacement sole weights in 18 grams, 10 grams and 6 grams through

their website, so you can customize tour set up), testing commenced. Almost

Immediately I noticed the dispersion pattern of my misses improved (taking

notes over a 12 round period, my typical left miss improved 21% in a 3 week

span) - encouraging. My yardages on these same designated holes over that

time improved by 13 yards. Ok, straighter and longer is always good. I even

had more than a few regulars in my group take note and say, "What are you

playing now? Testing a new driver? Damn what is that, you're killing it!".

Shaping shots in either direction on command was no problem, but I did alter

the 10.5 degree stock setting one degree down to 9.5 to offset my tendency

to overdraw the ball and I like to hit a teed down squeeze cut on holes where

anything left is punishable by death.

I also experimented with the sole weights, moving the 14 gram rear weight to

the front- didn't see much difference in spin, but I did notice the club was less

forgiving on miss hits in this setting. Also impact didn't sound or feel quite as

good, so I returned it to it's stock back position (and have left it there since).

The honeymoon effect as I like to call it happens quite often with new clubs,

until the new sensations become the norm and old habits creep back in. So it

was time to take it in to get some actual data on what the F9 was producing

from a launch, ball speed, spin and carry perspective.



Performance Data:

SS:106  BS:154  LA:12.9  Spin:1971  Side Spin:168L  Carry:256 yds

Total:284 yds


Simple truth - these performance #'s showed what I'd been seeing out

on the course, they are the best that I've personally produced in the

10 years of reviewing drivers. The Atmos Blue Tour Spec fit my swing

and ball flight better than I thought possible. If I had to nit pick, I go

with a 75 gram model instead of the 65 gram, but as I stated earlier,

I prefer a driver that feels a bit on the heavier side (promotes a slower

takeaway and smoother transition from the top - two things I battle with

in my swing constantly).






Ok, so the F9 is long and straight with low spin, but how does it feel?

That depends on who you ask. If you prefer a muted thwack that produces

a symphony of low key crushed ball/face compression (and I do!), than the

Cobra F9 is your flavor. If you prefer a louder crash or what I call that hollow

high pitched "tink sound" than you will hate the F9. As one over-zealous

addicted golfer who has owned every new driver told me a few weeks back,

"I can't stand the sound of the new Cobra. You actually like that?" So it's

a subjective thing. Know yourself, and get fitted. You likely won't be inspired

by something that doesn't sound/feel right to you.








For those who want to keep track of their performance via their phone app,

Cobra Connect powered by Arccos provides the technology.






At $449, the Cobra F9 is just about $100 less than the industry leaders new

drivers, so that's some pretty significant value for consumers.

Quite simply the F9 Speedback is the finest driver created by Tom Oslavsky,

Mike Yagley and the team at Cobra. Ever. We have many new drivers to test

in 2019, but Cobra has set the bar so high in every aspect, it will be fun

seeing if anyone can catch them. As of April 2019, there's a new gamer in

the bag, and it's name is F9 SPEEDBACK . . .


For more info on Cobra F9:








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