Equipment & Product Reviews


Rife Switchback Putter PDF Print E-mail

 

by Jason Bruno


As most golfers know, putters are the most personal club in the bag. Some

golfers don't change for decades and others have a different flatstick everytime

you see them. They are precision instruments for sure, but unlike the other 13

clubs, the sole purpose of the putter is to roll the ball (as efficiently as possible).

Of course nothing is ever that simple. There are choices galore, and the latest

from Rife (the Switchback) might be worth considering.


Rife's new Switchback putter features changeable weights in the bumpers instead

of the sole (like many other premium putters). Weights range from Blue-5 grams,

Red-10 grams, Charcoal-15 grams, Silver-20 grams (putter weight range 350-380).

Blue & Silver weights are included, Red and Charcoal are sold seperately.

 

 

 

Rolled groove technology is a Rife staple. All Switchback models come stock

with 71 degree lie angle (which is the unofficial industry standard), however,

at 2 degrees of loft, those that employ the forward press method - be aware

of less loft than usual (4 degrees is the norm).

 

 

 

 

The Switchback is very simple and clean looking at address, take note of the small

notch in the center of the topline. This miniscule detail assists the player to set up

the blade with the proper lie angle. If the putter sits too upright (toe off the

ground), the notch will appear inside the aim line . . . too flat (heel up), the notch

will appear slightly towards the toe side of the aim line.

 

 

 

 

Switchback models come equipped with Winn's Pro Pistol grip

 

 

 


The Rife Sb headcover incorporates a side zipper pocket to house the changeable

weights.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rife Switchback XL has a deeper cavity than the standard Sb and features a

direct shaft (no hosel) and is adjustable from 375 grams to 415 grams.

 

 

Summary: If your a blade guy (or girl), the Switchback gives you a bit of

everything. Classic looks, clean lines and some present day technology with

changeable weights. I personally liked the color coded bumpers, they give you

instant indentifier to the weight configuration. For example: on faster greens

many good players prefer the lighter weight for feel and touch (Blue weights),

the opposite being true for slow grainy greens that require a heavier "hit" (silver

weights).


Rife putters certainly do have their own feel at impact, it's not marshmallow like

that of a synthetic insert like Odyssey's white hot, nor is it the similar to milled

Scotty Cameron. Rife's roll grooved technology gives a little harder feel at the

strike, but it also starts the ball rolling with minimal skid, so be prepared for putts

that roll true and hot right off the blade. For those players who play a premium

urethane ball or a low compression sphere like the Wilson Duo, the Rife Switchback

will likely feel just right. At well under $300, Rife has packed value along with new

technology into it's new line.

 

For more info on Switchback and other Rife Products: http://rifegolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Mission Belts - No More Holes PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno


A belt is a belt, right? Wrong! Mission Belt Company, makers of the ingenious no-holes

belts, has radically transformed a product that we all use everyday, and have since we

first put on a pair of pants. I know what you're thinking, what can be so different about

a belt?




First of all, like a stated earlier - no holes. The days of the needing to punch an extra

hole into your old stretched out strap is over. This badboy adjusts to your waist size at

1/4" intervals via a gear lined into the back of every Mission Belt and locks into your

perfect size and releases instantly by depressing the lever at the bottom of the buckle.

It'so simple, you'll wonder what took so long for something like this to be created.



Why is the product called Mission Belt? Well, it's not all about buckles and straps at

Mission Belt, there is a humanitarian side to the company...



The founders of Mission Belt - Nate Holapfel, Jeff Jensen and Zac Holzapfel came up with a two pronged Mission:

1 - create a unique worldclass product

2- aggressively fight global hunger.




The company gives $1 from every belt sold to the Kiva Lender Fund which Provides

micro-loans to entrepreneurs around the world, (mostly in developing countries), as

part of its efforts to eliminate poverty and create more economic opportunity. You can

learn more about the "Mission" at:  http://missionbelt.com/pages/the-mission






Now you can show off your favorite team. Mission Belts is an official provider of NBA

NHL and NCAA licensed products.





The mechanism that drives the Mission Belt . . . easy as pie.



There are other features and benefits to the Mission Belt, since the belt adjusts at such

exact lengths it will always fit you right no matter your weight (and as we all know weight

does fluctuate). You can easily interchange buckles and straps to create the look you desire,

and with easy and quick removal, you'll be prepared for moments like going through airport

security. Since the belt is never being pulled or tugged on, it'll last eons longer than your

traditional strap with holes, virtually forever . . . ok maybe not forever, but you get the

gist.





Available in virtually any color, the buckles also can be customized with your logo

or design.Having worn my own Mission Belt for several weeks now, I'm trying to decide

which color and style to go with next . . . maybe I'll even get a custom. One thing's for

sure, "No more holes, I've joined the Mission."



For more info visit: http://missionbelt.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
New Drivers From Nike, Cobra & TaylorMade PDF Print E-mail

 

 

With the latest in technology, the game's leading club manufacturers are

making the best drivers ever introduced . . . with adjustability now the

standard, nearly every major brand has a model that fits for your game.

We recently tested three of the hottest new drivers from TaylorMade, Nike

and Cobra.

 

Each of these delivers a different technology, so it's important to decide

exactly what your looking for in a new driver.

 

TaylorMade's R15 continues the forward CG/low spin theme of the SLDR, so

lofting up is still recommended. The R15 boasts two sliding weights (instead

of SLDR's one) and a loft sleeve of 2 degrees (instead of the previous 1.5).

 

 

TaylorMade R15

TaylorMade unveiled their latest technology this year - R15, which really is an updated

SLDR. One difference this year with TMAG is the new model comes in both 430 & 460

versions right off the bat (no more waiting to see which updated version gets released

in 90 days). Also, you can get the 460 version in either black or white.

 

Our test model came in 10.5 loft

with a stiff flex Fujikura Speeder 57

shaft. TaylorMade's R15 continues

the forward CG/low spin theme of

the SLDR, so lofting up is still

recommended.

 

 

 

The R15 boasts two sliding weights (instead of SLDR's one) and a loft sleeve

of 2 degrees (instead of the previous 1.5).

 

 

 

Although TMAG is once

again pushing white

(above) as the color of

choice (it's easily noticed

by consumers when tour

players game it on TV).

I actually prefer it in

black.

 

We weren't sure the R15

could possibly match the

feel and performance of

the highly acclaimed

SLDR . . .

 

During testing, the performance numbers were nearly identical to those of the highly

acclaimed SLDR, which is no letdown . . . the dual 12.5 gram weights and 2 degree

loft sleeve give another level of adjustability. Is slightly more adjustability worth the

purchase? That's for you to decide.


For more info: http://taylormadegolf.com/home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nike Vapor (Speed)

Nike's new Vapor line is an upgrade of the Covert cavity technology of the

last two years. The swoosh folks created a stronger clubhead featuring Fly

Beam supports - according to Nike, the stiffer cavity creates a more stable

clubhead and hotter face at impact.

 

 

 

The Vapor is

perhaps the driver with

the biggest buzz of all

the new big sticks, and

was certainly one of the

models I was most

interested in testing.

 

The Compression

Channel makes it's

return along with Flex

Loft technology for

15 different launch

conditioins.

 

 


Our test model came in the Speed version equipped with a 50 gram Mitsubishi

Fubuki shaft in stiff flex.

 

 


The Vapor Speed was by far the easiest driver to launch that we tested, but is

definitely geared towards those who need more spin to keep the ball in the air

longer. The carry #'s were superb (averaging 252 yds) and feel at impact was

completely sublime, but for me the spin #'s were too high (averaging around

3100 rpm) . . . nothing a shaft change couldn't fix to optimize the performance

of the Vapor Speed driver.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra Fly Z+

The Cobra Fly Z+ features FLIPZONE technology. Move the 15 gram weight

forward and you get a piercing ball flight, move it back and it becomes a high

launcher. SmartPad sole gives a square face angle regardless of the loft setting

you choose. The stock shaft offering is the Matrix VLCT.

 

Cobra's Fly Z+ utilizes multi-material construction with a 6-4 titanium body

and carbon fiber crown and sole pieces. The innovative FLIPZONE enables

you to switch trajectories in an instant by flipping the 15 gram weight to the

front or back of the clubhead.

 

Cobra's Speed Channel is an engineered trench that increases ball speeds across

the face, an exclusive Cobra innovation. Their Forged E9 Zone Face for increases

performance on mis-hits.

 

 

 

The testing of the Fly Z+ was unique because of the front/back nature of the

weighting system. The ability to change launch angle without changing shafts

or adjusting a tip sleeve is really unheard of . . . until now. I was able to change

my launch angle by over 2 degrees and spin rates by nearly 500 rpms just by

flipping the weight . . .  that's significant.

 

The composite parts give the Fly Z+ a distinct feel and sound that is very different

to your run of mill titanium driver head. If you've ever hit a driver with carbon fiber

head you know the sensation.

 

Engineer Tom Olsavsky of Cobra (formerly of TaylorMade) called the Fly Z+

"the best driver he's ever made" - those are big words considering what he's created

over the years. There is no question, the technology in this stick is groundbreaking.

 

 

For more info: http://www.cobragolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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