Equipment & Product Reviews


Snell Golf Launches "Golf's New Way" PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

One of the most respected and talented golf ball creators of the last 25 years,

Dean Snell produced many of the games best tour golf balls for companies like

Titleist and TaylorMade. Among those, the original Pro V1 and TaylorMade's

Penta, Lethal, and their current line of Project A, and Tour Preferred models.


Just recently, Snell has gone out on his own and launched his own brand: Snell

Golf. Dean's concept was to bring his own premium cast-urethane ball straight

to your door at a price far more affordable than the typical tour caliber ball that

retails for $50+ per dozen. As a result of lower overhead and a marketing budget

that does not rival the trillions the industry leaders will spend, Snell has carved

out a business model that he calls "Golf's New Way".

 


 

There are a few new balls on the market in 2015 that have figured out this new

concept of tour performance at a great value, but Snell's prior experience as a

master in the field gave us great anticipation of testing his new creation.


Snell's "MY TOUR BALL" is priced at $31.99 shipped direct to your door. The

MTB is a 350 dimple three piece cast urethane tour quality ball. Knowing

Dean's work over the past several years, there were high expectations for

his first release as a solo act. When my test samples arrived, I took them

directly to the course.

 

 



Truthfully, most tour caliber urethane golf balls give similar distance #'s off

the driver (although that doesn't stop many companies from boasting about

gigantic yardage gains). Golf ball preference at the highest levels of performance

come down to 3 factors: ability to hold it's line into crosswinds, trajectory and

most importantly, greenside feel and control.

 



 

We started testing the MTB in mid February in windy South Florida. It was easy to

see that Snell's new sphere bored through all types of crosswinds, was plenty long

and felt softer around the greens than ANY other new ball we tested. The value &

performance of this ball might have the industry leader hoping that Snell's business

model doesn't gain traction.


Here were my driver test specs using the Snell MTB:

SS: 104  Ball Speed:154  LA: 14.1  Spin: 2461  Carry: 252  Total: 272


Driver specs with Titleist Pro V1X (2014 model)

SS:103  Ball Speed:151  LA:13.5  Spin: 2691  Carry:248  Total: 266


With a compression between 80-85, the Snell MTB feels much softer than most

premium tour golf balls. For comparison, the Titleist Pro V1x (2014 model) has

100 compression and feels much firmer. Although the Driver performance #'s

were very similar with both golf balls, with the Snell MTB we averaged a 6 yard

gain (after 20 shots with each - throwing out the two longest & shortest with

each ball). Everyone likes a few extra yards from the tee, but Shortgame wise,

it's all preference. If you prefer a slightly softer feel around the greens, this is

a ball that might be right up your alley.


If there is any ding in our evaluation of Snell's new creation, it's only cosmetic

-we'd like to see a refined MTB side stamp logo with a more pronounced aim

line . . . but certainly anybody can grab a Sharpie and draw a line if need be,

clearly I'm nit picking.

 

Summary:

Some will never try the ball because of the lack of retail availabilty in stores,

but if you order a dozen, you'll likely order again & again based on the value

and performance of the product.


We know it's a big statement, but it wouldn't be far off to say that Dean took

all of his know how over the last 25+ years and somehow came up with his

best work yet. If you like low spin off the big stick, and soft buttery feel off

the wedges & putter, this ball is a MUST try - especially at a cost of nearly

20 bucks less per dozen than the industry standard.

 

*Distance Ball:

For those higher handicap players seeking a distance ball with a soft feel,

Snell has the two piece "Get Sum" (the name came from Snell & his buddies

talking smack to each other on the course after big drives or a great shot)

which has similar feel and performance of the Wilson Duo, or Callaway's

Supersoft. $20.99 shipped directly to the consumer.


 

For more info or to purchase Snell Golf Balls: http://snellgolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Exotics E8 Tour Fairway PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

 

There are companies that are known for product excellence in a specific category, things that have beome

known as "The finer things in life" such as: Rolex watches, Mercedes Benz automobiles, Cristal

Champagne and . . . well, you get the drift. In golf there are well known standards such as: TaylorMade

drivers, Titleist Pro V1 golf balls, Mizuno forged blades, Scotty Cameron putters, Adams hybrids, and

perhaps lesser known to the casual golfer, is Exotics fairway woods.

 

 

Exotics is part of the Tour Edge brand headed by David Glod. Although a small company, their fairway

woods have been known for years to be among finest by hardcore equipment aficionados. I've known

of Exotics reputation, but admit that I'd never hit one of their clubs. At this year's PGA Show that all

changed.

 

There are three models of E8 fairway woods: E8, E8 Beta, and E8 Tour. In this particular instance, we

tested the E8 Tour. The E8 Tour is the smallest model in the E8 line at 150cc, this makes working the

shot in any direction a cinch. The crisp feel and sound at impact was instantly as good as any 3 wood I'd

ever hit. Without any warmup, I got right to it - launching high bombs off the deck. The stock Diamana

+Plus series shaft was spot on to go with David Glod's new E8 head technology.

 

E8's upgraded 475 Carpenter steel cup face gives explosive feel and just the right sound. The shallow face

design allows easy off the deck launch from virtually any lie. The Power Grid on the sole allows the face to

flex for incresed ball speed, and the adjustable sole weights give the player the ability to dial in their

trajectory and desired swing weight. The sole weight kit can be purchased separately.

 

Additionally, the adjustable loft sleeve allows you to adjust from 12 to 15.5 degrees of loft.

 

EXOTICS E8 TOUR ADJUSTABLE FAIRWAY WOOD SPECIFICATIONS
SETTING
LOFT
LIE
STANDARD GRAPHITE LENGTH
FLEX
12
12.0°
57°
43"
A,R,S,X
13
13.0°
58°
43"
A,R,S,X
13U
13.5°
58°
43"
A,R,S,X
14
14.0°
57°
43"
A,R,S,X
14U
14.5°
59°
43"
A,R,S,X
15
15.0°
58°
43"
A,R,S,X
15U
15.5°
59°
43"
A,R,S,X
Available in men's right hand. Standard stock grip option is Lamkin Exotics R.E.L. grip.

 

Appearance wise it's clean and simple, the charcoal gray crown sits perfectly square at address with no

graphics or alignment logos - perfect.

 

At $349 retail, it's a hefty price tag for a fairway club, but make no mistake - this is a Ferrari. Fairway

clubs are often the hardest to find the exact right one, and once you do they tend to stay in the bag

longer than any other club - especially on tour. When it comes down to a fairway club for me, it's not

about launch monitors and Trackman, it's about appearance at address, shot shaping and playability off

the deck. It's no wonder the cult following of this small Chicago area company is growing. After testing this

stick, I'm drinking the Kool-Aid ...

 

*If hard data is what you seek, Golf Laboratories Inc. has the actual test results to show that the

E8 (Beta model) is second to none in overall fairway metal performance.

 

For More info: http://www.touredge.com/products/e8tourfairway.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Straight Arm Swing Trainer PDF Print E-mail

 


 

The Straight Arm is a training aid that's the brain child of Gary Brooks, who began

as an Assistant Golf Professional over 35 years ago. Brooks' mentor the re-knowned

instructor Ed Oldfield helped groom his methods as a young teacher. In 1991, Gary

created the original Straight Arm and his students put the new swing aid to use.

Immediately his students could feel the correct lead arm position, and therefore

gained an understanding of how maintaining width in the lead arm corrects many

different ball striking issues. Brooks explained this to me at the PGA Show "We're

not saying you should have a rigid and stiff lead arm, but collapsing of the arms at

the top of the backswing - as so many amateurs do, leads to so many faults at

impact."

 

 

At first glance the blue canvas sleeve seems almost too simplistic to be of any

benefit, but in our testing, synchronicity and connection between the arms and body

were a residual benefit that wasn't an expected gain of using the Straight Arm.

Anyone who is not a tour professional could benefit from swinging the Straight Arm,

especially the mid to high handicap golfer. The Straight Arm is lined with a soft foam

to keep you comfortable, and the two poly straps allow for easy and quick wearing

and removal of the device.

 


Summary:

Swinging the Straight Arm everyday can do wonders for achieving a more efficient

and compact backswing.

I wouldn't recommend using it for full speed or driver swings, it's objective is to

create proper form. Getting the lead arm in the widest position possible helps correct

so many swing faults, including: overswinging the arms well after the shoulder turn

has completed, casting and other early release downswing issues. Brooks suggests

swinging with the device on for five swings, then five with it off to ingrain the feel

of what a proper motion actually is.

 

Also a valuable shortgame aid for those deficient in chipping and pitching, Brooks'

instructional videos walk you through each drill.


- Promotes better shoulder turn

- Prevents "Chicken-Wing" follow through

- Lightweight/Portable

- Right or left handed players

- Available in Large or Medium

- Practice inside or out

- Practice with/without hitting golf balls

 

Gary Brooks Straight Arm $39.95

 

For info & Gary's instructional videos: http://www.straightarm.net/home.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Rukket Sports - Golf Nets PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

If you're like me, practicing is a passion. The desire to stay competitive and continue improving

is never ending. Getting to the course or the range is often the biggest challenge for so many with

busy schedules...that's where Rukket Sports factors in. We first noticed the "Haack Net" (designed

by college coach Chris Haack) at the PGA Show in Orlando a few weeks back. Their golf nets are

really easy to construct, within minutes of unpacking the box, I was hitting golf shots.

 

One of the things rarely mentioned when considering purchasing a golf net for your personal

use is the amount of money saved on range balls (I only use premium urethane golf balls like

Pro V1's when I'm practicing at home) and the convenience of having it all outside your doorstep

. . . Rain or shine, indoor or out you can practice as much as you'd like. The Haack golf net is

constructed of five ply - 3/4 inch netting, steel and fiberglass frame. I especially liked the side

nets, keeps golf balls from rebounding away from the hitting area.

 

 

 

My personal set up at the compound sits beside my synthetic putting green. I use it to work

on fundamentals (I often use in junction with Zepp technology, that keeps track of swing plane,

swing speed, and tempo) and just the overall process without constantly getting hung up on

results. I prefer to start testing drivers here first to get a sense for how each feels before taking

to the course for further testing. The Rukket net is sturdier than the previous set up I had

installed previously, the only factor of concern is how well the frame will hold up to the South

Florida elements as compared to the PVC unit I used previously.

 

If you want to practice on your terms, Rukket Sports has a variety of golf nets and accessories

to help you set up your very own practice station.

 

 

http://www.rukket.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Best Products - 62nd PGA Merchandise Show PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

 

 

What did we see at the 62nd PGA Merchandise Show that impressed us? Many things, really

too many to cover them all - but in this edition of our annual 'Best Of', the products we found

most suberb aren't all $400 drivers. In fact, some of the items we took notice of were the simplest

of accessories. The 2015 show was a solid outing for the golf apparel and footwear companies,

new innovations mixed in with some vintage throwback styles made for an eclectic display of golf

fashion.

 

Of course, Hitting the ball longer and straighter is what gets the masses most excited about the

game. So lets begin with the big sticks that we believe will be most impactful this year.


 

Drivers

The Nike Vapor line consist of 3 models, Speed/Pro/Flex (Pro model pictured above). Nike

improved on the Covert models of the past few years by making the flybeam cavity even stiffer,

this allows the front part of the club & face to flex more. Another upgrade for 2015 is the return

of the compression channel after a few years removed with the Covert line.

All three models are 460cc in size, but the profile of the Pro and Flex are more of the pear shaped

low spin variety. The Speed version is a larger rounder setup for players needing a higher launch.

The Flex model (pictured below) has a weight cartridge the golfer can insert according to their

desired launch angle by simply moving the weight to the front or back position of the port. There

were a handful of new drivers at the show that peaked our interest, none more than the Nike Vapor.

 

Vapor Flex

http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/golf/clubs/drivers

 

 

 


 

Has the industry leader improved on the highly acclaimed SLDR ... and are we still being told

to loft up? With two moveable weights (instead of one) and an even more forward CG, it's looks

like the answers are Yes and Yes. TaylorMade seems to be in a state of flux with lots of

restructuring in house, a big year for the R15 line would go a long way towards reversing the

momentum back in their favor. http://taylormadegolf.com/taylormade-drivers/

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra's new Fly Z line has the tag line "Flip it n Rip it", incorporating multi-materials

and a new weight system that can be moved forward for penetrating flight with low

spin or back for max launch. Rickie and Jonas Blixt are already gaming the Fly Z+

(shown above). According to Cobra's Jose Miraflor: "Jonas will position the weight back

for max launch here in the states, when he travels to play in Europe where the ground is

much firmer, he'll move it forward to to get the roll out. Rickie plays his forward regardless

of the conditions, he prefers less spin." The standard Fly Z has only the rear weight cavity

for the player who wants more launch. http://www.cobragolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Mizuno, not known for their drivers, has introduced the JPX 850 with fast track

technology. The JPX 850 gives the player the ability to move weight to 5 separate

positions (3 center locations) including 2 separate ports on each side to create the

desired ball flight. http://www.mizunousa.com/golf

 

 

 


For Callaway loyalists, Big Bertha rolls along with its 815 Alpha model - once again

featuring Gravity Core technology. Their new XR model was created for max distance

(pictured below). http://www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/

 

 

 

 


Fairway metals

Exotics has earned their reputation as an elite product in the world of fairway woods,

and the new E8 Tour is no exception. Perhaps the toughest clubs for good players to

find is a gamer 3 wood, this club takes no time to get used to. The E8 Tour was the only

club I hit on the range at the Media Day outing, within 3 swings I was already contemplating

the fate of my longtime gamer. Hit the E8 Tour and you'll understand the cult following that

Tour Edge/Exotics head honcho David Glod has created with his Exotics line.

http://www.touredge.com/products/e8fairway.asp

 

 

 

 

 

Medicus introduced a new line of Kick X clubs, and the Blast fairway woods really got

our attention. The 15 gram functional rear rail is reversible, it can be put into the

head upside down for a more traditional seamless look. Along with the front rails,

this stick will handle even the toughest lies. The cavity compression chamber is something

we've never quite seen in a fairway metal before - Medicus engineer Mark Adams says:

"The whole head compresses, not only the face. At impact it stores the energy and creates

a greater C.O.R and an enhanced & larger sweetspot." Graffalloy shaft is stock equipment

in the Kick X line. http://www.kickxgolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Irons

 

Mizuno's MP-15 is

the flagship of their

new iron line.


A 10 gram titanium insert in the muscle on the back of the iron replaces 38 grams of steel to increase the M.O.I of the club and make it 10% more forgiving than the MP-64.



http://www.mizunousa.com/golf/catalog/irons

 

 


 

 

TaylorMade's Rsi iron line is based on the innovation of slots built into the heel and toe of the face

of each iron (tests have shown this technology nearly eliminates the yardage loss on heel or toe

mishits). The "si" in the name stands for Slotted Iron. Rsi1  is the most forgiving model designed

for the mid/high handicapper. Rsi2 is a compact cavity back that fits the largest range of players.

The TP model is a gorgeous forging with minimal offset in a very traditional look. TMAG staffers

will game this iron on tour in 2015. http://taylormadegolf.com/taylormade-irons-rsi/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new Nike Vapor irons feature weight moved toward the toe of each iron, which moves the CG

away from the heel and into the center for more solid and efficient strikes. Vapor is available in

three seperate models. Speed, Pro Combo & Pro. http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/golf/clubs/irons

 


 

 

 

 

The new Bridgestone J15DF forged irons are a two piece forging. The hidden cavity allows for what

Bridgestone calls flex action speed technology. In other words, the face flexes more for increased

distance. This iron is our sleeper of 2015. https://www.bridgestonegolf.com/product/clubs

 

 

 

 

 

Putters

 

The new Rife Switchback is a head turner. The interchangeable weights allow you options

to fine tune your feel on the greens. Their booth was stocked with great new innovations.

http://rifegolf.com/

 

 

 

 

DGv3.3 model

DG-v2.3 model DG-v1.3

Tour Exotics is best known for their

tour quality fairway woods, but of

all the new premium milled putters

that made its debut in Orlando,

nothing looked sweeter than David

Glod's new DG-v1.3 , 2.3 & 3.3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.touredge.com/products/dgprotoputters.asp

 

 

 

 

Nike's New Method

Matter putters feature

the same RZN

compound found in their

tour golf balls. The

material is not only in

the face insert but also

is used in the seams for

enhanced feel.

The counterflex model

features an extended

belly putter length grip

that allows the counter

weight to be adjusted

above, below or even

with the hands.

 

Studies showed that

golfers actually perform

better with the weight

below the hands...who

knew?!

 

 

http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/golf/clubs/putters

 

 

 

 

 

Footwear

 

Adidas launched it's new Boost golf shoe on Wednesday morning just before the opening

of the show. According to Adidas: Thousands of their foam capsules fused together form

an energy return back to the athlete, thus providing unparalleled cushioning and

responsiveness to your feet - BOOST. I can vouch for these, I've worn my spikeless version

(shown) every active minute since the launch.

 

 

http://adidasgolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Puma Shoe guru Grant Knudson has tabbed the new Titan Tour shoe "The greatest golf

shoe we've ever created." That's a big statement coming from a guy known to be an elite

talent in the field. Titan Tour features Outlast temperature regulation technology for the ultimate

in temperature and moisture wicking control. http://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/

 

 

 

 

 

Nike's new Lunar Control 3 features a lower profile and a redesigned sole for more

traction. This is the shoe you will see world #1 Rory McIlroy wearing in 2015. Nike shoe

designer "Dice" Furuya showed me the sole changes vs last years model - as per Rory's

request for more traction and stability (below).

 

As Rory requested,

the new Lunar

control sole (left) to

be equipped with

torsional stability &

enhanced traction

(If you look closely

you can see

additional molded

spikes on the floor

of the new sole for

to resist slippage &

an extra removable

Champ Spike on the

inner front foot).


http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/golf

 


 

 

Ashworth's new Cardiff spikeless shoe is timeless and can be worn on or off the course

for any casual event. Worn on tour by Justin Rose http://ashworthgolf.com/

 

 

 


 

Apparel

 


The Bobby Jones Collection set the bar high for everyone else on the apparel side of the show floor,

the fall line pictured here.

 

 

 

 

Waterproof outerwear with style, Bobby Jones has you even looking good in the elements

http://www.bobbyjones.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Norman's line is bold, featuring primary colors, so you can attack life like the Shark himself.

 

 


 

Norman's ladies line is extensive and classy. http://www.gregnormancollection.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Major League Baseball great

Russ Ortiz wanted to

combine his love of golf

with giving back. 2nd Guy

Golf donates the prceeds of

all mens apparel sales to

the Feed My Starving

Children Charity.

 

What's better than looking

great and helping to feed

others all at the same time?

 

(style shown): Trinity

 

http://2ndguygolf.com/

 

 

 

 

The new Alister Mackenzie brand looked really sharp . . . how is it that nobody owned

the rights to that name previously? Right time, right place I guess. The Mackenzie

brand will focus on having their line in high end pro shops around the world.

http://www.mackenzieapparel.com/

 


 

 

Maide Golf by Bonobos

makes a big move into

the performance side of

apparel with their

Flatiron polo.

 

Already the makers of

the world class Highland

golf pants and shorts,

designer Ian Velardi

created the Flatiron polo

with the perfect

combination of style and

performance in

mind. The innovation

includes the use of flat

lock seams to maximize

freedom of movement

and comfort, thus

enhancing the

experience on the links.

https://bonobos.com/shop/maide-golf

 

 

 

 

 

Nike's Jetsream half zip jacket is just one of the new garments from the swoosh that had

us wanting. It can't be stated enough how magnificent Nike's entire productline was at this

year's show, across the board they were our clear winner.

 

 

 

 

Accessories

 

 


The folks at Zero Friction have come up with a glove that doesn't need sizing, their

compression glove fits every hand snug and you can get it in virtually any color.

http://www.zerofriction.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Gamer Grip is the perfect accessory for those who live in humid conditions or have

to constantly dry their hands because of excessive perspiration. just a small pea sized

amount will keep your hands dry for up to 4 hours. We've already field tested Gamer

Grip, it works brilliantly. http://www.gamergrip.com/


 

 

 

 

Golf Pride found out that most of the standard grips they were sending out to the tour

players were being built up with tape in the bottom hand in an effort to eliminate

the tendency of hooking the golf ball. Hence the origin of their new Plus 4 grip, less taper

and a new softer compound for those who like to hit tons of balls on the range. By far our

choice for best new grip at the show. http://www.golfpride.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Green Sleeve founder Oliver Nimenko from the UK, finally decided to check out the

game of Golf well into his 60's. Once hooked, his PGA Professional impressed upon

him to keep his golf ball clean. Tired of constantly walking around with a towel, he

came up with this ingenious portable sized ball cleaner that you can keep in your pocket

while playing. The sock like outer houses a coarse microfiber on the inside that removes

debris and soil from your ball once it is pushed through the Green Sleeve.

http://greensleevegolf.com/

 

 

 

 

The GolfBuddy LR5 is equipped with three operational modes.

'Scan' provides a continuous 10-second display of all objects located, 'Flag' hones in on the
pin and factors out background objects to give precise readings, and 'Normal' provides a
single distance to any chosen target from flag to dogleg point or hazard edge. The LR5 is
more compact than most leading laser rangefinders and is a great value at $249

 

 

 

 

 

Eyeline's putting laser will show you not only your stroke path, but the laser can be extended

out to show where your clubface is aimed. The red putting sword acts a highlighter when used

outdoors in bright sunlight. http://www.eyelinegolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Kentwool socks.

Simply the best socks

in the game. Worn by

dozens of tour pros

(Augusta sock shown

right). Bubba Watson

made it a point to

visit the booth on

Wednesday.

 

If you walk the

course or just need

the ultimate in foot

support, these are a

must.

http://kentwoolsocks.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous


 

Full Swing Golf Simulators give you as close an experience to the real thing as you can get.

You can play a round with your golf buddies or practice with virtually every type of swing

analyzing technology. Having used the simulator at the Isleworth clubhouse for many years,

Tiger Woods decided on Full Swing for his own needs and at the clubhouses of courses he's

presently involved in designing. (Recently Full Swing signed Tiger Woods to endorse the product).

 

 

 

 

Is a range or practice area not within close proximity? Do want to work on your game

without ponying up your whole budget on range balls? For many the answers are Yes & Yes,

if you're one of those who answered affirmative to either, Rukket Sports has you covered.

They're products impressed us so much, that a new Chris Haack Model (pictured right) has

been ordered for the LinksNation compound. http://www.rukket.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Golf Balls

 

 

 

The Kick X Tour-Z golf ball from Medicus is a new 3 piece premium ball that features a

metal fusion core as well as a polymer middle layer for max power. The 318 dimple

urethane cover provides the feel and stopping power. We found the 3 line graphic marking

very easy to line up putts with. http://www.kickxgolf.com/tourz-golf-balls.php

 

 

 

 

Srixon's new Z-Star and Z-

StarXV have an improved

Spin Skin for incredible spin

and feel around the greens.

The XV has a slightly firmer

feel for players with higher

swing speeds. In my first

test round with the XV I

liked everything about it's

performance, including its

length.

 

http://srixon.com/golfballs/z-star-xv/

 

 


 

 

The 2015 edition of the golf ball industry leader - Pro V1 & Pro V1x got a small upgrade

for this year. The urethane elastomer cover formulation has been changed to a softer

compound for increased greenside feel & spin...all with the same distance you'd expect

from the standard in the premium golf ball market. http://www.titleist.com/golf-balls/

 

 


Another PGA Show in the books, check back for future reviews and features on these products

throughout 2015.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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