Equipment & Product Reviews

Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver - Leave No Yard Behind PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

Callaway's new Great Big Bertha was built for pure distance, hence the slogan "Leave No Yard

Behind". Great Big Bertha comes in 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degree lofts. The 45.5" length, D2

swingweight are standard fare for present day technology.

It's no secret to serious and recreational golfers that Callaway has made a huge resurgence in

recent years, an obvious uptick in innovation has been going on at the Chevron and we don't

expect that to change anytime soon, especially with all of the restructuring going on at TMAG.

There is a definite momentum shift in the industry, companies like Nike, Callaway and Cobra

continue to gain on the three stripes, whose leadership in Carlsbad seems to change semi

annually these days.



The matte black finish of the forged composite crown is an acquired taste, that many of our

testers actually preferred. The composite crown lowers the center of gravity for higher launch

and more forgiveness.


The new GBB features Callaway's Gravity Core and 10 gram adjustable perimeter weighting on a

sliding track.

Great Big Bertha also features their new R-moto face for faster ball speeds. According to

Callaway the GBB is their most forgiving driver to date, designed with no compromise - the

ultimate in adjustability, distance and forgiveness.

Fujikurs'a Speeder 665 Tour Spec is one of the stock options and was the powerplant for

this review. Other stock shafts include the Mitsubishi's Bassara (40 gram range), KuroKage

(50 gram range), and Diamana D+ (70 gram range).

Aesthetics/Performance - First order of business is the look at address. It sits perfectly square in

the stock neutral settings - check. The matte black is simple and understated, by the time I

played 9 holes, it grew on me. The white Fuji shaft looked clean and fast, just what you'd expect

from a Speeder Tour Spec.


The GBB immediately jumped off the face, and the Speeder produced distances with the longest

drivers we've tested in 2015. Ball flight wise, trajectory was right around the typical 13-15 degree

launch that I expected, but the GBB definitely gives off a draw biased shot shape . . .  and since

most golfers go the other way, this will suit the masses. I personally had to adjust the settings

and exaggerate my path to work a cut, but knowing where the ball is going isn't a bad thing once

you correctly align one self. The 10-15% of Golfers who play a reliable draw might be more

interested in Cally's BB 816 Double Black Diamond model, that is designed for reduced spin for

more skilled players.

8 different hosel configurations allow total adjustability.




If you're after "Leaving No Yard Behind" (and a right to left ball flight), Callaway's latest Great Big

Bertha is worth a test drive. Great Big Bertha retails for $449.



For more info:















Tee Claw PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


I know what you're thinking . . . not another product feature on the latest golf tee

and how it will help you gain 2.4 yards of carry. No fear, this isn't a feature on a tee . . .



Tee Claw co-founders

John Black and John Candias

invented a product to create

a better experience when

hitting golf shots off range

mats and synthetic turf


My first thought when I used

the Tee Claw on a mats

night at the range was: Why

didn't I think of this.




One of my biggest pet peeves about hitting off of mats is with fairway woods and drivers.

Nearly always, the rubber tee is inserted into a fixed cut out on the range mat, this causes

everyone who hits to stand in the same place on the mat, eventually the mats get sunken

in wear spots from the weight of each golfer. Also, usually the rubber tee placement is

towards the center top of the mat, where a wide stance with the driver often has your rear

foot almost off the mat. Perhaps the most maddening thing about hitting off mats is when

you switch from driver to Fairway wood or vice versa, the rubber tee is either too high or

too low . . . maddening. Some of the newer setups that have a heavy duty base where the

tee gets inserted and adjusts, never quite go low enough for a fairway wood.


With Tee Claw, you choose the position and height, it twists right into the synthetic fibers

of the range mat. No more rubber tube tees that are too low or too high. Simply insert a

wood or plastic tee (those unwanted broken tees work perfectly for use with fairway woods,

hybrids and even teed up iron shots). As the photo above illustrates, Tee Claw solves all of

those issues.




The elastic lanyard attaches

underneath the base of the

Tee Claw and anchors

underneath the range mat,

this not only insures that

you can find the Tee Claw

after it gets dislodged post

impact, but also serves as an

alignment aide at address.


The Tee Claw and lanyard can

also be used as an aide when

practice putting (less messy

than a chalk line, and just

a fraction of the cost of a

laser alignment device).








The diagram above left shows the Tee Claw's serrated prongs that grab hold when

twisted 180 degrees into the synthetic turf. The Tee Claw disc platform is constructed

with PVC and rubber and is about 1" by 1/2" tall - available in different colors and can

be personalized and with your company name.


Practicing on mats doesn't have to be a bad experience, ask your driving range manager

to get Tee Claw, or bring your own to the range.


For more info:












Biion Footwear PDF Print E-mail


Biion Footwear is unlike any golf shoe you've ever seen or worn, the brainchild of Canadian

fashion guru Rick Buchanan - Biion is a combination of innovation, classic lines, casual vibes

and colorful themes .




At first glance, Biion's new shoes are so different from conventional golf footwear it's tough

to put them into a category. Is it a dress shoe? Is it an actual golf shoe? Is it made of rubber?

Where are the laces . . .






It can be a dress shoe (albeit a casual waterproof one). Yes it is a spikeless golf shoe. Biion

shoes are actually made from Ethylene Vinyl Acetate - also known as EVA (the outsole is made

of rubber). Smooth and ultra light, EVA provides extreme flexibility for a superb fit . . . so much

so that they ARE slip-on (no laces).





One of Biion's most popular models is called pattern, the snake skin version caught our eye at

the PGA Show in Orlando. An important factor when ordering your Biion shoes is sizing. If your

feet are normal or narrow width (like mine), order a size smaller than your normal shoe size

- because of the nature and the flexibility of EVA, it's essential to make sure they fit snug . .  .

especially for golf.






Patterns and bright colors are what's popping at Biion footwear





Biion's spikeless honeycomb cleat pattern provides better traction than you might expect.





Recently I broke out the Biion shoes for a 36 hole event at the famous Palm Beach Par 3.

The shoes brought great curiosity, comments like, "What are those?" "Are those golf shoes?"

"Rubber wingtips!" but throughout the day I hit golf shots and never gave the shoes a thought.

I wear them anywhere and anytime the mood strikes, golf or the beach.


A few weeks back I caught up with Biion founder and CEO Rick Buchanan and picked his brain

about everything Biion.


LinksNation: I was somewhat skeptical before I wore my Biion shoes to play golf for the first time

recently, and was pleasantly surprised by how well they performed and how comfortable they are.


Rick Buchanan: It's been good, we've been pleasantly surprised as well with the reaction, you get

plenty of skeptics especially in the golf industry. Originally we started about 18 months ago, and

when we went to many pro shops we would get the typical response "what the hell is this?", but

really you can't knock it till you try it. Once we got the shoes in peoples hands, they said "these

might be okay". A lot of the pros we talked to when we were designing the shoe stated that they

practiced in bare feet. Our shoe is a connection to the ground. I designed the shoe for the other

95% of golfers who just go out to enjoy the game.


LN: The shoe is unlike anything else out there on the market, where did you come up with the



RB: My background is in fashion, so I've been involved in distribution here in Canada over the years

for many brands all over the globe. I was doing another footwear line as well, it's been a combination

of a ton of things. I noticed in the golf market right now, companies went towards an athletic style and got

away from their roots - an Oxford Brogue. Everybody has gone towards a running shoe, and the oxford

is a timeless classic, it's never going to go out of style. So I thought lets get into an EVA Oxford Brogue

that's a form fitting shoe and see where it goes. People were looking for something new, and our shoe

is not just a golf shoe, it's a lifestyle shoe.


LN: What do you see as your target demographic, I can see the mature male crowd gravitating towards

the classic wingtip and saddle models you offer . . . any thoughts on whether the younger generation will

catch on with the old classic styles?


RB: Absolutely 100%. What sets us apart outside of being a rubber shoe, is the flavors we have. Unlike

any other golf shoe, we have 36 colors now and will have over 50 colors for 2016. It's tough for shoe

companies that produce leather shoes to do that many colors, our production process is a lot simpler.

When I originally designed the shoe, I thought the demographic was 18-45 years old. It's been literally

across the board from small kids to 85 year olds. Our story is about color, surprisingly enough it's the

classic colors that are our weakest seller, everyone wants the bright colors.


LN: The themed Patterns you offer like anchors and Palm trees are really unique, your thoughts ?


RB: The Patterns are our best sellers. Guys like course designer Ron Garl who were stuck in their old

traditional shoes, have been the ones who are really taking to that style. Now he owns like 30 pairs of



LN: How did you come up with the spikeless honeycomb sole pattern?


RB: Our shoe is 3 parts - EVA upper, EVA midsole and rubber outsole. The reason we went with rubber

is because rubber is a compound that's made for grip. . . so it's great for the golf course and for a boat.

It's the actual golfer that has taken our shoes off the golf course, on the boat, restaurant or just wearing

them everyday. We've gone from zero to fourteen countries in 18 months. I was at a fashion trade show

in Florence (Italy), and saw a guy walking the cobblestone streets wearing Biion shoes - that was fantastic,

very rewarding to see. At the end of the day, we just wanted to simplify the golf shoe.


LN: What's coming up next for Biion?


RB: We're all about color, so we're branching out into not only golf, but boating and fashion. We have

a Biion 2.0 coming out, a little more technical and expensive with not as many flavors but matching

belts to go with the shoes.


For more info on Biion Footwear:



Special thanks to Greg Moser on this story.









Powebilt Air Force One DFX Tour Driver PDF Print E-mail



Powerbilt's latest version of the Air Force One line is the DFX Tour, featuring a deep face profile,

a re-positioned Nitrogen cartridge and a premium shaft (in the case of our test club, it was a

Fujikura Speeder Pro). The black on black look never gets old.




A close up of Powerbilt's N7 cartridge. The clubface of the DFX Tour is fortified with compressed

Nitrogen, this alleviates the need to add weight.




A glimpse down shows how square the DFX Tour sits at address, and the matte black crown

reduces glare. (Above right) The 9 gram Nitrogen valve port in the DFX Tour has been moved

forward towards the face, moving the CG forward for lower spin. Make no mistake this is a players



I was excited to test out the DFX Tour, the first impression at address was of solid and clean lines

with a totally neutral looking clubface. If a club claiming to be a a Tour head or players club looks

shut at address, it's an instant red flag to me that screams - imposter . . . nothing of the sort here.

The Fuji Pro shaft just validates that this is the real deal.


The DFX Tour's deepface produces a crisp sound at impact, and a ball flight that better players

prefer - a slight fade bias and a much flatter trajectory than the standard AFO DFX. If you struggle

to square the face and your normal ball flight is a hard cut or even the occasional slice, this probably

isn't your stick. There is no adjustable hosel, so pick the correct loft (we went with the 10.5 degree).

The performance #'s came back as good as any driver I've tested in 2015: 104 SS - 12.9 launch -

2491 spin rate - 249 yd carry - 270 yards total Distance with very little dispersion. The Fujikura Pro

63 gram is a keeper, providing the perfect combination of distance and feel.





The Fujikura Speeder Pro powered our DFX Tour, but you can choose from your choice

of Aldila, Oban, Mitsubishi, Fujikura and Graphite design shafts.





The DFX Tour is not an adjustable driver, but comes in a choice of 3 lofts 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 gegrees



• Forged Titanium Body
• Titanium Cup Face Technology
• Available in High MOI and Tour Series
• Aerodynamic Head Shape
• Deep Face Profile
• Nitrogen Pressurized & Powered Technology



Priced at $299, Powerbilt's AFO DFX Tour offers value in a tour driver that is definitely worthy

of a serious look.


For more info on Powerbilt products:











Callaway Chrome Soft PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Callaway's new premium golf ball - Chrome Soft has been tabbed by the Chevron as "The ball

that changed the ball", but what makes this ball so unique? For starters, while so many other

golf ball manufacturers try to duplicate the Titleist Pro V1, Callaway went outside the box with

Chrome Soft. They found a way to combine the distance and feel of soft core technology with

the shortgame performance of the best tour quality balls on the market.




In the past, it was always a choice between the need for more distance or spin & control,

getting both just wasn't an option. Callaway sought to change that, and combined a soft 65

compression core, with an ionomer mantle and a tour urethane cover. The result is a ball

that just might change what we come to expect from a premium tour quality golf ball.




Hexagon dimples are a Callaway staple





Callaway sent over two dozen test samples just before our trip to Bandon Dunes, so

I decided to give them a test run on a few of my local South Florida tracks before testing

at Bandon's four championship links layouts.


The first thing I noticed playing the Chrome Soft is that it doesn't quite feel at impact

like other tour balls, but it also doesn't feel like a distance ball. It has some of the springy

feel of the Wilson DUO (& Cally Supersoft) at impact, but unlike those golf balls, Chrome

Soft has a urethane cover, and a mantle layer between the two, therefore you still get

the "click" sound at the strike. At my local courses the carry distances were just slightly

longer with Cally's new sphere, and the shortgame performance was just about as good

as any premium urethane ball that we've tested.




At Bandon, I was impressed with how - well struck shots handled the 40+mph winds

(like the knifed 5 iron into a gale at the par 3 eleventh at Pacific Dunes that held it's

line and stuck just below the hole, or into the crosswind at Bandon's elevated and

exposed par 3 - fifteenth). These holes were playing into 4 & 5 club winds, and the

shots mentioned came off just as one would hope they would. Putting around the

Punchbowl putting course at Bandon Resort with the CS was a blast. The Chrome

Soft is not clicky firm like Pro V1x or silent soft like other low compression balls

(Wilson DUO or Callaway Supersoft), so it might take a round or two to get used

to the sound and feel coming off your blade.


If you're looking for a few extra yards off the tee, and refuse to give up greenside

spin and control, the Chrome Soft is definitely worth investing in a sleeve (or dozen)

and testing for yourself. . .with so many premium tour golf balls it's tough to tell the

difference in performance and feel, but with Chrome Soft there is no mistaking

that this is different technology. Callaway tells us: "Chrome Soft is The Ball That

Changed The Ball", after playing it for nearly two months now, I can't disagree.



Chrome Soft retails for $37.99


For more information:









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