Equipment & Product Reviews

Does The TaylorMade R1 Live Up To The Hype? PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   


TaylorMade never seems to rest, and 2013 is no different . At this point you know about

their latest version of Golf's most adjustable driver, the R1 . . . but is the R1 the best

adjustable driver ever introduced by the industry leader, and if so, why? TMAG claims it's

the most adjustable club ever, so when they sent it, we thought we'd oblige and give it a

proper review and test run.

























The initial reaction from the golfing public was mixed about the new crown graphics - the

red-ish/orange & black diagonal stripe merge with a gray top section that were designed to form

a triangular alignment aide. I heard rumblings from some at the Orlando PGA Show a few months

back - it's too busy looking, it's distracting, it resembles a race car - those were a few of the

comments. Although I confess to preferring my golf clubs with a more simple look, I figured I'd

keep an open mind. Then it occurred to me: Did you really think the gurus from Carlsbad would

introduce a new driver that resembled the previous two (R11 & R11s) but with a few more

adjustable features? Would that be enough to Wow the consumers and grab their full attention?

Probably Not. After a few swings - launching high straight bombs, it's doubtful anybody pays

attention to what's on the crown . . . besides aren't there players on tour right now playing hot

pink, and bright orange drivers?!!


TMAG is the absolute best in the biz at creating buzz for their product and driving your obsession

to have to have it. Afterall, millions bought a product called RocketBallz in 2012.

Think about it, you're a TMAG staffer in a meeting at their HQ in Carlsbad, You have to come up with

a concept that will wet the appetite of all those enthusiastic golfers in cold weather climates, who

will be watching golf in Hawaii, Southern Cal, and South Florida, just chomping at the bit to get out

and see some sunshine and play THEIR game (and play it better than ever before). All the while,

knowing - that your marketing machine means nothing if the product doesn't deliver BIG. When you

can stoke the fire and deliver the goods, you get an unstoppable force . . . in this case

TaylorMade-Adidas Golf. I leave the PGA Show each year thinking - What will TMAG think of next?

This year was no different.

If you're not a big fan of adjustability in golf clubs, especially the driver, then you're in the stone

ages. It can be argued that other companies have made prettier drivers, longer drivers, different

sounding and feeling drivers . . . but it would be hard to argue that anyone makes a better

or more versatile driver. You don't lead the PGA Tour every week for over a dozen years in a row

for no reason. Like it or not, what the Titleist brand is to golf balls, TaylorMade has become to

drivers and it's not even close folks. So the question still begs, Does the R1 live up to the hype?


The stock powerplant, just like the R11s is the Aldila RIP Phenom, this edition is sporting the new R1 color

scheme. The clubface of the R1 has plenty of pop, the ball jumps off the club and tends to launch slightly

lower and flatter than some recent drivers tested. Ball speeds were slightly faster than my previous driver

with spin rates staying on the low side. The R1 was tested with the stock RIP, and with two different

Matrix shafts: Q3 Red Tie, and Radix S in stiff flex. Since I prefer to game my driver at a swing weight of

D4 - D4.5 and at 44 3/4". This would be a challenge to accomplish without further altering shaft length,

or grip weight, considering most drivers today come stock between 45 1/2" - 46", but not in the R1.

For example, because the Matrix Q3/Red Tie is 67 grams raw, instead of the 63 gram Radix S or the stock

Aldila RIP, I simply removed the 10 gram cartridge, and installed a 6 gram weight, instantly taking

the swing weight from almost D7 to D4.5. That's an option that sets the R1 apart. Another benefit that's

been a staple since the R7 was introduced nearly a decade ago is the ability to alter ball flight by simply

installing a different weight cartridge into the toe or heel side of the clubhead to help correct an

undesirable ball flight pattern that may be too severe in either direction. More weight in the heel promotes

a right to left ball flight, and weight in the toe obviously promotes a fade.






The next is the the ability to change face angle independent of

the loft setting. In just about everyother adjustable driver or

fairway wood, once loft is added the face angle becomes closed and

promotes a hook.The opposite is true for delofting the clubhead, it

promotes a low fade.


In the R1 you can have the best of both world's and to a significant

degree. The Face angle setting can go open or closed 3 degrees, so in essence you can add loft and still

have the appearance of a slightly open clubface. No other club has this capability. Obviously the novice

golfer would need some help from a clubfitter to help him/her, for the better player or the person who

knows their game inside and out, this is like solving the Rubik's Cube.

The sound at impact is a good loud "twack", but not anything undesirable, it's very similar in pitch to

the sound of the R11. Although you'll hit it deep with the R1, this is not a 47" club with a 40 gram

shaft, the emphasis is on getting you tuned to the right set up to maximize your potential. The R1 is

rather easy to work in either direction, and both high and low, but don't be afraid to crank up the loft

a bit more than you might play in another driver, the R1 tends to bore more than balloon. With the

shaft sleeve offering loft settings between 8 and 12, your sure to find your preferred launch conditions.




After putting in some time both on the range and the

course, I dialed in My R1 specs: 10.5 loft/1 degree

upright lie/6 gram weight heel - 1 gram weight toe/

Neutral face angle.


Once you've acquired YOUR R1, there are 3 factors

to maximize the performance of your new big stick:




1 - How well are you swinging . . . are you hitting it in the center of the clubface?

2 - Is the club set for you correctly ? loft, lie angle, face angle - is set up square, open, closed?

3 - Does the shaft flex/weight/torque and grip properly fit you and your swing?

Given all of the options and possibilities of this driver, there has never been a golf club before

that enables you to maximize your options like the R1. By the way, by the time I finished the

review the stripes grew on me. Stripes and Hype aside, the R1 is leading the way.

To learn more about the R1 and other products from TMAG :






Matrix Shafts - Q3 "Red Tie" & Radix S PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   




In 2012 we reviewed the Matrix M3 Black Tie and RUL shafts, the Black Tie has become popular

among Tour players and faster swinging amateurs for it's low launch/ low spin performance. The

RUL has become the fairway wood shaft of choice of many top players because of it's higher launch

and spin characteristics.

Black, Red and White Tie

Our first assignment of 2013 from the folks at Matrix was to put the new Red Tie 6M3 and Radix HD

through the testing process. This year Matrix set out to simplify their line of premium shafts, Known

as the Matrix Flight System. The X3 "White Tie" takes over for the popular X-Con shaft (Matrix's high

launch/low spin model). With the White Tie on one end of the flight system and the Black Tie on the

other, the new Q3 "Red Tie" falls right in the middle of the MFS, with its mid-launch/mid-spin traits,

the company expects the Q3 to fit the broadest spectrum of players . When the shaft arrived from

Matrix, the first thing I noticed was it's deep red glossy finish, (unlike the Black & White Tie that

come in a non glossy flat finish). The look of this stick is a stunner . . . but that's what we've come

to expect from Matrix.

Q3 Specs

The Q3 Red Tie (stiff flex) was tested in the TaylorMade R1 trimmed to a driver length of 45", and

instantly produced ideal #'s . The Red Tie was smooth and delivered consistent easy to hit mid/high

bombs in the 13-14 degree range with spin rates consistently between 2300 - 2600. . . DEEP! Along

with incredible performance, the buttery feel of the Q3 Red Tie has become the official powerplant of

my gamer.

The Radix model gets a face lift for 2013, the new silver with lime accented color scheme is sporty,

but it has pop to go with the sizzle. Radix offers a variable tip to butt ratio design, the specs change

by flex . . . ball flight lowers as the flex stiffens, accommodating the needs of faster swingers. While

testing, my launch and spin #'s were very similiar to the Q3 in the R1, but when I popped the Radix

into the Cobra Amp Cell (my other gamer which launches a bit higher because of it's internal weighting

structure) I found that the slightly firmer tip section and higher flex point in the Radix gave the Amp Cell

a more desirable ball flight. Although the Radix S in stiff flex boasts a firm tip section, their is no boardy

feel here, the higher torque spec (4.5) creates the same smooth feel of the Q3.



In summary, the Q3 Red Tie and Radix S deliver smooth performance in the Mid/High launch range. They

each go about achieving optimum ball flight in different ways. With the softer tip section and mid/high

torque, the Q3 is the right shaft for sure in the largest range of players in the Matrix Flight System. The

Radix S, with a firmer tip and higher torque launches just a bit lower and has the same great feel and

performance of the three models in the flight system. Having the right shaft for your swing AND for your

club are essential. With the Matrix Flight System finding the right one is now easier than ever before.

How sweet, horse power and a touch of style . . . the laser engraved logo adds a WOW to any new stick.

The staff at Matrix do everything first class.

Radix Specs

Putt Better With The Goal PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   





The Goal of every putt is of course to hole out, but realistically the goal of every putt you have

should not be just based on result . . . let me explain. There are some elements of putting that

you have control over, these include your stroke, your read of the green and your alignment.

Marrying all three of these elements gives you your best chance to hole putts. There are things

in putting that you have no control over, like spike marks, indentations, irregular grain, wind gusts,



I believe the same as Dave Stockton and Dr.Joe Parent, if you get your ball started on your intended

line with the correct speed - then you have "made" the putt. Essentially you have done everything in

your power to give the ball the best chance to go in, and that is all you can control. The intention of

The Goal, is to increase your odds of holing putts with proper alignment of the putter and your eyes.


Lets dig a little deeper into the three elements. The stroke of every single golfer is unique to them,

just like a full golf swing, and the main objective of that swing is a square face at impact. Reading

greens can be learned, but again it comes down to what you see and how it's related to your hands,

(which equates to speed and feel). If you've played this game for any length of time you've probably

grooved your own individual stroke & feel by now. Inside 10 feet is where the scorecard can be affected

most, and rarely do people get speed wrong in this range.

If we could all just learn how to properly align ourselves, and get the ball started on our intended

line . . . then surely we would hole more putts. If we had the proper alignment to our target from

short to intermediate range everytime, putting would be alot simpler.

It seems easy enough, putt through the goal posts and make putts. That is part of The Goal's

intention, but to get you there consistently . . . there is an alignment feature that sets this training

aid apart from others. The tubing in The Goal are hollow for a reason, that's where you insert your

alignment rods. The alignment rods work as visual "Goal Posts" and provide the player with a window

to ensure that the eyes are aligned over the ball and directly at the target.

Once you can see the hole in the center of the goal posts, you are set up correctly. If you line up too

far from the ball, your site line will appear well to the right of your target. If you are too close (which is

less common), the goal posts will appear to the left of the hole as shown below (from this years PGA


The Goal shows how standing too close to the ball at address will cause you to aim left of the target.

Mini Tour player Michael Kartrude is showing proper technique above, notice how his eyes look straight

down the line through the alignment rods. Another thing of note: M.K's eyes are still down long after

his ball has left the putterhead - ensuring a solid strike (not many players have the discipline not to

lift up and peek).

This is an amazing training aide because it is so simple & effective, The Goal is $59.95 (not including

alignment rods).


For more information or to buy The Goal :




Cobra Amp Cell & ZL Encore PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   





The Cobra Amp Cell line is the second generation of Amp metalwoods from Cobra/Puma Golf. In 2013

Cobra stepped up the product line with not only more adjustability, but also more versatility. Cobra's

new campaign is geared towards individuality called "What's Your Fly" referring to the 6 settings from

8.5 degrees of loft to 11.5, including a 9.5 & 10.5 draw setting . All Amp Cell metalwoods (including

fairways and Hybrids) come in four distinct colors: Orange, Blue, Red and Silver (as shown above).

Another great new feature is the new sole design featuring SmartPad technology. The SmartPad allows

the face to sit square at address, regardless of loft setting.


The Amp Cell SmartPad

The Amp Cell line comes stock with the new Fujikura Fuel shaft (high kick/mid torque 60 grams). All of

the same technology is bulit into the Amp Cell fairway woods and Hybrids as well. For testing purposes,

the MyFly sleeve was set to 9.5/Neutral (my usual set up). Immediately high soft draws jumped off the

clubhead, sometimes it's just that easy. I tried the other settings, and they definitely affected ball flight

. . . but the 9.5/Neutral was money. Another nice feature on the Amp Cell is the Lamkin 3Gen grip, which

is a 360 degree pattern, so regardless of club setting, the Lamkin looks and feels just right.

The drivetrain of the Amp Cell Line is the Fujikura Fuel

The driver is long, forgiving and easy to launch. The look at address is so clean. After testing it in its

stock configuration, The Amp Cell is a good fit for the single/mid handicap player - all the way to the

high handicapper looking for some pop and forgiveness. For competitive Amateurs and scratch players,

Cobra also now has a tour model called the Amp Cell Pro, which is a slighty smaller (440 cc) deep face

head, and comes equipped with the more stout Mitsubishi KuroKage shaft. The Amp Cell Pro has the

same My Fly technology, but is 7.5 - 10.5 loft, and comes in Orange & Silver.

Amp Cell 3 wood

Amp Cell Hybrid

The Amp Cell Fairways and Hybrids might be the sleeper of the Amp Cell line. The MyFly on the 3 wood

is adjustable from 13-16 degrees and is easy to launch from the deck. The hybrid replaced my old

faithful (that was in my bag for nearly 10 years) in 5 swings on the range. If you need a hybrid, this

is the longest and easiest to hit hybrid we've ever tested. The 2/3 hybrid adjusts from 16-19 degrees,

the 3/4 hybrid is 19-22 degrees. The fairways & hybrids also employ the smart pad sole design, so no

matter the adjustment, the face appears square at address. Most hybrids on the market are equipped

with a shaft in the 80-100 gram range, our Amp Cell came with a 58 gram Fuel shaft, and surprisingly

it felt just right.


The deep face of the ZL Encore produces a flatter launch with a lower spin rate, check the sweet red finish

In case your looking for something a little different, Cobra Golf also offers the ZL Encore driver. The

ZL is multi-material construction with a carbon fiber crown and 6-4 titanium face. The power plant is

the Fujikura Motore F1 & F3. The ZL is also adjustable in 2 degree increments and has a weight

screw on the sole for an extra level of adjustability. The composite sole gives off an entirely different

feel than most typical drivers on the market today . . . the composite crown produces a very quiet -

almost muted sound at impact. It takes a few shots to get used to the different sound/feel, but once

you do, it's a pleasant change. We tested the ZL in the new Red color option (gorgeous), which is now

the color choice of Cobra Tour player Ian Poulter, who has played the ZL since late 2011 (he previously

played the white model). The ZL is a mid/high launch - low spin driver geared towards the better player

and comes in Black, White and Red in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 lofts.

ZL Encore Sole

The Bottom line is: Cobra has you covered, regardless of your ability level, desired ball flight and

your particular taste in club appearance. So choose your model, shaft flex and color.

To find out more about the entire 2013 Cobra line:

Izzo Golf - Swami GPS Watch PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   



The Swami Golf GPS Watch is the latest yardage measuring device from Izzo

Golf. Like many golf GPS devices, the Swami watch gives you yardage to the

front/middle/back of every green. The device offers many features including a

digital scorecard that keeps track of your score while you play, measures your

shot distances, and auto hole advance allows you to play your round without

having to push a button to advance to the next hole.


Other features included:

- Preloaded with 25,000 world wide courses

- No subscription fee required

- Watch Functions: Time, Date, and Alarm (40 day battery life in Time mode)

- Durable and Waterproof

- Large vibrant 1.3" screen

- Odometer

- USB Cable

- Charging Station

- User Manual


The GPS watch charges fully within an hour or so, and lasts about 6-8 hours in

golf mode after a full charge. While testing, there were days when I just didn't

feel like wearing a watch . . . so I strapped the Swami GPS to the golf bag and

everytime I reached for a club the correct yardage was displayed. I compared

measurements with my laser rangefinder and the Swami GPS Watch was accurate

and convenient. Just charge and play!  $149.95


To get more info on the Swami GPS Watch :











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