Equipment & Product Reviews


A Review of Golf's Finest Eyewear PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

It's that time of year, warm temperatures, blue skies, intense sunshine,

beaches, convertible sports cars, vacations and best of all - 36 hole days

of golf. For all of these activities a good pair of sunglasses can be a

needed friend, and with Father's Day on the horizon we thought it would be

a great time to roll out our review of the finest eyewear in golf.

Six companies contributed to our review: Oakley, Bolle, Tifosi, Electric, Reks

and Under Armour.

 

 

 

Sometime in the early 90's I discovered how important quality eyewear is

when I visited an ophthalmologist to examine a growth on my right eye called

a pinguecula. I was only 25 years old and indestructible. The eye doctor told me

that the growth was harmless, but lectured me on how quickly my 20/20 vision

would deteriorate without wearing proper eye protection daily (especially living

in the Sunshine State). As someone who's office has been primarily in the sunshine

since 1987, it was probably a smart move to heed the advice and get some type

of premium shades. Since then, having top quality eyewear has been a priority.

 

 

 

 


From wraparound sporty to the more classic Wayfarer style like Electric's

Knoxville model (front row center). Picking out a new pair of specs is much

more like selecting the right pair of golf shoes than it is getting fit for a new

driver. All of the shades in this review offer superior UV protection, so it

really boils down to preference in tint, frame style, size, fit and cost. Although

each model features high tech innovation and space age materials, we'll try

not to bore anyone too many times with words like hydrophilic, grilamid and

polycarbonate (forgive me if I slip one in every now and then). We rated each

according to lens clarity, capability for green reading, functionality, quality,

versatility and style.

 

Rating Table:

 

♦ = Marginal quality and less than ideal for golf activities

♦♦ = Limited in reducing glare and picking up turf contrast detail

♦♦♦ = Good sunglasses, but just average for golf

♦♦♦1/2 = A solid overall performer that provides excellent clarity

♦♦♦♦ Versatile. enhances green reading, handles everything

you can throw at them regardless of conditions.

♦♦♦♦1/2 = Quality and style worthy of being your "go to" shades.

♦♦♦♦♦ =  Supreme Gamer shades - "Must Have"

 

 

 

 

 

Bolle offers a vast assortment of golf specific eyewear choices -

our test subjects included: 6th Sense (back left), Ransom Folds

of Honor Limited Edition (back right) and Fly Air (front).

 

 

 

 

 


BOLLE RANSOM - FOLDS OF HONOR LIMITED EDITION

Folds of Honor V3 Golf Limited Edition - for every one sold, Bolle

makes a donation to the FOH to help the families of fallen military.

Ransom model features bClear lenses formulated to keep your vision

clear all day long and to repel moisture and smudges. The wrap-around

shape has become the standard in golf eyewear, and certainly that's a

good thing since side glare can be a problem. Green reading with the

bclear V3 lens (amber/bronze tint) is significantly enhanced.

 

Pros: Ransom is the most versatile style of the 3 Bolle options we tested.

Cons: Nothing really stands out about these, shiny black frames and

extended length nose section can be slightly distracting while addressing

a golf shot. Fit: Med/Large  $99 Rating: ♦♦♦

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOLLE FLY-AIR

Bolle Fly-Air is new for 2017 and features all of the performance features

of Ransom, but in a sleeker less cumbersome frame profile. Pros: Most

prefer the Fly-Air styling because of the matte black frames and oval lens

shape, these are both sporty and classic in style (and few golf specific shades

can boast that). Cons: The smaller profile provides less lens coverage

Fit: small/Medium $105 Rating: ♦♦♦♦

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOLLE 6th SENSE

Bolle Golf's 6th Sense is just an all out UV shield of the highest order. Also

popular in cycling, 6th sense is all about intense "get after it" competition.

The golf specific model features the same bClear V3 Modulator lens that's

now Bolle's standard for enhanced turf contour clarity. Bolle now offers the

6th Sense in a Ryder Cup Edition that will be popular in France for the 2018

matches. Lee Westwood wears these out on the PGA and European Tour.

After wearing these for a round in the intense South Florida sun, 6th sense

easily exceeded our expectations in virtually everyway.

 

Pros: More lens/less frame is ideal for most sports, with golf it's a game

changer, these have zero visual distractions. The pliable arms allow for a

custom fit that stays put regardless of how furious the activity. The hardcore

linkster will find (as we did) these are right at the top of the list of golf

specific shades. They may be Tour de France style, but easily the yellow

jersey of Bolle's Golf rotation. Cons: none. Fit: Large  $158

Rating: ♦♦♦♦1/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELECTRIC KNOXVILLE

Electric is a California company that brings their classy shoreline vibe

into the golf market. Their Knoxville shown above debuted 10 years ago

and is the company's best selling eyewear model of all time. Is it golf

specific? No, but it's quality and style of the highest order and that scores

points no matter what the activity is. Born in Cali, crafted in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, since the Knoxville is not a golf specific eyewear product, I'll

break from my earlier statement and give some actual tech data

on the product line: Knoxville Features a mold injected Grilamid

frame and OHM polycarbonate bronze lens that protects 100% UV

protection as well as 98% blue light protection. According to Electric,

their VLT 11% bronze tint offers vibrant landscapes and surroundings.

We don't disagree (weighs 30 grams).

 

Pros: Superb quality. The matte finish Tortoise shell wayfarer style

frame easily is the timeless classic of this group of sunglasses.

Knoxville can be worn anywhere anytime. As an all-around pair of

shades they're top shelf.

 

Cons: If this was a review on sunglasses in general, these would

easily garner a higher rating. As far as golf is concerned there are

a few small items needed for these to be considered as serious gamer

shades (for example: the nose and ear pieces don't provide any kind

of non-slip contact point). Fit: med/Lg $99 Rating: ♦♦♦1/2

 

Shop Electric: http://www.electriccalifornia.com/sunglasses.html

 

 

 

 

 


OAKLEY GOLF - EVZERO STRIDE w/PRIZM

Oakley is the most well known brand in sports sunglasses. PRIZM is

the company's latest lens innovation and aims to set new standards

in definition and clarity in high performance eyewear. According to our

friends at the "O" that we met with at the PGA Show in January - "By

fine tuning individual wavelengths of color, PRIZM sharpens visual acuity

to reveal nuances that would be missed by the naked eye." Their EVZERO

STRIDE (above) was our model for this review.

 

 

 

 

 

Planet X frame design and color scheme is an edgy vibe. EVZero

features Oakley's lightest frame and a 180 degree rimless lens for

a completely unobstructed view. Oakley's unobtanium ear socks and

nose pad handle the no-slip chores

 

 

 

 

EVZERO Stride is definitely a large fit for those with bigger facial

features. Perhaps the cleanest aesthetics of any eyewear on the

market. PRIZM filters 100% of all UVA, UVB UVC and harmful

blue light upto 400nm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pros: Similar to Bolle's 6th sense, the EVZERO Stride leaves nothing

to chance. It's ultra light, has comprehensive UV coverage and the

most advanced lens technolgoy in sports to keep you performing at

your best. Since there are zero visual obstructions from the frame

and they weigh practically nothing (just over 20 grams), you practically

don't even realize you're wearing them. Reading greens and observing

course details is a great experience with PRIZM. You won't miss even the

smallest of intricacies.

Cons: If you don't care for the ultra bright tint of the PRIZM lens there

isn't an option to swap out for a different lens. Fit: Large $170

Rating: ♦♦♦♦1/2

 

Shop Oakley: http://www.oakley.com/en/prizm/

 

 

 

 

 

 

REKS OPTICS

Reks Optics is a South Florida company that claims southern Palm Beach

County as it's home base. Innovation and value is what Reks is all about.

We tested out their Sling-Blade Lumolux, an un-breakable black satin-touch

flex frame that fits perfectly to those with a small/medium facial profile.

According to Reks, "Our polarized lenses withstand impact 1000% better

than glass or plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sling-blade comes in Black, Raspberry and White frames. Polarized

Lumolux rose/amber polycarbonate lenses have 5 different coatings

and an embedded polarized film that provides superbly crisp optics.

Available in Red Mirror, Blue Mirror, Brown, Gold Mirror, Rose-

Amber, Silver Mirror and Smoke. These performed as well as any

eyewear we tested on the golf course.

 

 

 

 

The advanced polymer unbreakable frames have to be seen

to be believed.

 

 


 

 

 

Pros: Stylish unbreakable satin touch frames and polarized lenses for

$50 - need we say more? Reks as a relative unknown in Golf eyewear

deserves some serious attention from those looking to get serious bang

for their buck! Easily the sleeper of our review. Fit: Small/Medium

Cons: Nada! Rating: ♦♦♦♦1/2

 

Shop Reks: https://reksoptics.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIFOSI CRIT

Tifosi Crit (Metallic Red) might be the cult hero of this review. Gaining some

momentum among golf enthusiasts in recent years for their innovative and

highly functional specs and all at a great value. Engineered for endurance sports

(and summer golf should be thought of as such), Tifosi packed Crit with tons of

features (compact, stylish, light (31 grams) and at a price tag that will shock

you.

 

 

 

 

Crit comes standard with 3 lens options so you can get optic clarity

regardless of the conditions. Smoke -15.4 light transmission, Golf/Tennis

16.4 light transmission and Extreme Conditions 39.1 light transmission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crit features adjustable arm and nose pieces for perfect fit. Vented

lenses improve air circulation and prevent fogging. Grilamid frames

and polycarbonate lenses come standard.

 

Pros: Style and quality are top shelf. 3 sets of lenses for all conditions is

a major bonus. There really isn't an option Tifosi missed with these shades.

One of our highly respected product testers thoughts on Crit "They rival any

pair of Oakleys that I've ever worn." He continued his praise, "Tried out the

EC (extreme conditions) lens, my eyes which are very sensitive to light

adjusted perfectly to them in no time." Big thumbs up!" $69.95 (We've seen

them online for $50) Cons: ZERO Size: Medium Rating: ♦♦♦♦1/2

 

Shop Tifosi: http://www.tifosioptics.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

UNDER ARMOUR EYEWEAR

Under Armour has launched into the performance eyewear golf market

with the emergence of the uber-marketable Jordan Spieth. Test models

Octane and Igniter 2.0 shown above.

 

 

 

 

UA OCTANE

OCTANE features chrome GAME DAY multi-flection lenses that defend

against 100% of UVA/B/C rays. According to UA: "ArmourSight lens

technology provides enhanced distortion free vision." Polyamide frame

offers max strength and durability. UA AutoGrip self articulating temples

conform to any head shape.

 

Pros: A versatile all around solid shield for links application. Multi-

positioning nose pad provides a custom fit. One tester really liked the

screwless cam-lock hinges.

Cons: chrome mirror-style lens doesn't appeal to some of our testers.

Fit: med/Large $115 (seen online for under $90)  Rating: ♦♦♦1/2

 

 

 

 

UA IGNITER

UA Igniter 2.0 - Ultra-light ArmourFusion frames are constructed with

Grilamid and titanium. The satin like feel and look of the matte black

frames are a classy touch.

 

 

 

 

 

ArmourSight GameDay GREEN color enhancing lens technology

delivers 100% UVA UVB and UVC protection as well as 20% less

distorted peripheral vision. Adjustable nose pad ensures comfort

and fit.

 

Pros: Solid performer. UA's Igniter 2.0 gives you what you'd expect

in a pair of modern day golf shades. No surprises, clear enhanced

vision, clean lines and great fit. Cons: UA shades only come with a

microfiber cleaning bag. Most of the companies featured in this review

include a hard case in addition. $89 Fit: medium Rating: ♦♦♦♦

 

Shop UA EYEWEAR:

https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/sunglasses/golf/g/37agm

 

 

 

Summary: Like we stated earlier, it really boils down to preference

when you're dealing with eyewear of this quality. Decide if you prefer

a small, Medium or large fit according to the size of your facial features.

Decide if you like an amber/bronze tint lens or a brighter more vibrant

experience like Oakley PRIZM. Then decide on what your price range is,

all eyewear in this feature ranges in price from $50 - $170.  Have a great

summer and don't forget June 16th is Father's Day . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
New Balance Golf 1005 Minimus PDF Print E-mail

 

 

By Jason Bruno

Recently we reviewed the latest New Balance 1005 Minimus spikeless golf

shoes. The original Minimus was the shoe that catapulted New Balance

into the golf footwear marketplace as a serious player. The new Minimus

1005 model is still ultra-light in mass, but is hefty on performance features.


According to Carey Langley with New Balance, the newest Minimus is just

8.6 oz. and has an extremely low profile to the ground. A super flexible forefoot

is a unique feel that golfers will appreciate. The inside of the shoe was created

for a snug fit in the heel and mid-foot area, while the toe box area offers a

wider profile for added comfort and better balance.

 

 

 


 

The sole is divided into different sections for specialized performance

- grey hexagon shaped flexible knobbies for traction and super firm

rectangular micro-cleats (toxic green) for stability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up close shows the waterproof synthetic upper. Extremely light-weight and

outstanding for anything the elements can dish out.

 

 

FEATURES:

 

  • Low-profile golf shoe featuring FantomFit upper
  • 4mm heel to toe drop
  • Flexible Ndurance spikeless rubber outsole for traction & stability
  • Textile lining.
  • Ortholite® insole keeps you cool, dry and comfortable.
  • Fully waterproof materials allow play in any weather condition
  • 2 year waterproof warranty
  • Spikeless design offers flexibilty as your foot pivots
  • Microfiber FantomFit upper provides unmatched comfort & breathability
  • Midsole with REVlite technology offers an added layer of shock absorbance

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inner ankle collar is all about comfort. NB Logo'd upper along

with charcoal arch and heel panel form a very clean look.

 

 

 

 

 

Also available in Black/Grey, Grey/Orange and White/Blue (in three

different widths; Med (D), Wide (2E) and Extra Wide (4E). Charcoal laces

are a great accent to keep the shoes looking fresh.


 

 

 




 

 

 

Love the old-school NB logo on the back of the charcoal colored ribbed heel

area, this keeps the back of the shoe from becoming dingy with turf stains

and soil.

 

 

 

SUMMARY:


The New Balance Golf 1005 Minimus golf footwear is anything but what

its namesake suggests. I could easily make the case that they should be

more appropriately called "Maximus" for all of the versatility packed into

this 8.6 oz shoe. Being both light and comfortable, Minimus is also sporty

enough to be a worn as casual athletic footwear. In fact, my first spin

around the links wearing them was at the ultra exclusive Floridian Golf Club

in Palm City (where they looked and performed as well as any of the $250

premium tour shoes we've reviewed). Afterwards, I wore them to dinner at

a local eatery in Jupiter.

 

Priced around $120 (we've seen them for $100 on TGW), the value of these

links treads is only exceeded by their style, comfort and performance.

 

For more info: http://www.newbalance.com/search?q=golf+1005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
MedZone - Pain Relief and Recovery Products PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno


For nearly four decades Tony Harris has made it his business to help

professional sports organizations treat their athlete's muscle and soft

tissue injuries - allowing them to have faster and more complete

recoveries. Harris was so dissatisfied with the products available in the

market to treat aches, pains and recovery that he set out to create the

finest topical pain relief and recovery products available. Once he was

satisfied that he had everything ready for consumers, in 2001 he

founded MedZone.


We found that for Golf, their ChafeZone and Penetrationg Pain Relief

products are a game changer. In fact we tested the ChafeZone product

in real game time conditions in Brooksville, Florida at Southern Hills

Plantation. Both caddie and player walked the course in sunny and hot

conditions for the Valspar Championship PGA Tour Pre-Qualifier.

 

When you walk 7 miles for 5 hours lugging a golf bag, let's just say

there's lots of friction going on - especially in the upper thigh area. Our

player, mini tour standout Michael Kartrude wore the mandatory slacks

so pre-round protection was the smart way to go. Both caddie and player

came through the day no worse from the wear thanks to ChafeZone, but

since I have a few more years and miles, I rubbed some of the Penetrating

Pain Relief ointment on my neck and shoulders for the long 4 hour ride home.

A big thumbs up to the MedZone products, they'll be with me from now on

both pre and post round, and especially when I travel. Come to think of it,

also during the summer here in the oppressive Florida heat.


MedZone features: PainZone, ChafeZone, BurnZone, and BlisterZone

that has been proven to help triathletes, dancers, hikers, swimmers,

hockey players, basketball, football and baseball players as well as

BMX and motorcycle Riders.


Check it out for yourself at: https://www.medzonecorp.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Puma - TourTitan IGNITE Premium Disc & IGNITE Spikeless Sport PDF Print E-mail

 

 

By Jason Bruno

Each year at the PGA Merchandise Show one of our favorite visits is

with Puma's Golf Footwear Creator Grant Knudson. We always leave those

meetings informed and wanting of the new kicks. The latest technology,

materials and styles never disappoint - only cutting edge top of the line

performance gear here.

 

 

In 2017, Puma introduced its own proprietary DISC innovation and IGNITE

foam. The TITANTOUR IGNITE Premium DISC is Puma's flagship tour shoe

and the Ignite Spikeless Sport DISC is a more casual style that's capable

of taking on anything your day throws at you.

 

 

 

 

 

TITANTOUR IGNITE Premium DISC

The TITANTOUR IGNITE Premium DISC is All Golf. These are hardcore ball

striking shoes designed for the player who takes his game and wardrobe

seriously. Simple clean lines with just a slight accent of color is the theme.

The ultra-premium full grain leather upper is next level feel and quality.

These are the ace of any rotation, the pair you breakout when you get that

special invite, or that visit to a Top 100 course.

 

 

 

 

 

The DISC closure system is the perfect component for a shoe of this quality,

simplicity - turn it right to tighten or back to the left to release, simple as

that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IGNITE foam is the newest innovation from Puma Golf Footwear, it provides

extreme comfort with responsive energy return.

 

  • Premium Full-Grain Leather
  • DISC Closure System
  • Premium D2 Insole
  • Ignite Foam
  • Duoflex
  • GripZone Traction
  • Stealth Cleat
  • 2 Year Waterproof

 

 

Our Take: I fancied these as soon as Grant handed me the display sample

at the PGA Show. It's a "Tesla" in spikes - very sophistacted but appears simple

in form. As suspected, the TITANTOUR IGNITE Premium DISC is the real deal,

it has all of the bells and whistles of ultra premium tour shoes and the

performance to back it up. Check off the boxes in every category: Comfort,

Proper fit, Traction, Style, Quality, Waterproof, Tour proven. These shoes bite

the ground and stay under you throughout even the most violent swings.

Playing golf in these is a pleasure, they look and fit as good as anything in the

industry. At $180, the TITANTOUR IGNITE Premium DISC is not what you might

consider a value, but keep in mind it's considerably less (about 40%) than

most manufacturers premium tour shoes.

 

TT IGNITE Premium DISC is available in Gray Violet/Vibrant Orange (shown)

and also in White/Gray Violet, Black/Dark Shadow.

 

 

 

 

 

IGNITE Spikeless Sport DISC

Puma's IGNITE Spikeless Sport DISC - one of Puma Golf's iconic styles now

elevates to a new standard with Puma's proprietary DISC technology. Mesh

upper combines with premium leather for a solid combination of comfort,

function and style.

 

 

 

 

 

Puma calls this colorway Quarry/High Risk Red, it's a bold eye catcher. The

IGNITE Spikeless Sport DISC also comes in Black/Silver (trim) and Bright

Plasma/Peacoat.

 

 

 

 

 

  • DISC Closure System
  • 4-Way Stretch Wp Performance Mesh
  • Full-Grain Leather Support Saddle
  • Molded EVA Insole
  • Full-Length Ignite Midsole
  • Performance TPU Outsole
  • GripZone Traction
  • 1 Year Waterproof

 

 

Our Take: First off, sizing on the Puma IGNITE Spikeless Sport runs about

half a size big (our '16 standard lace up version was no different). Best to go

to your nearest golf retalier and try them on before buying. If you're ordering

online make sure you order a half size smaller than what you normally wear

in a Puma golf shoe.

 

For me this shoe is a bit of a specialty hybrid, a golf/casual everyday shoe

that works on or off the course. In my particular case, complete and superior

support and cushioning under the foot when swinging all out is an absolute

must, so these suit me better as a practice/par 3 walking golf shoe. However,

for many Puma loyalists this is their preferred tee it up play all day footwear.

At $120 msrp Puma sells a boat load of these, and with the DISC version we

suspect that number will only climb.

 

 

For more info on Cobra/Puma Golf: http://www.cobrapumagolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 
TaylorMade ('17) M1 Driver Review PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

In January of 2016, TaylorMade Golf introduced the M Family of metalwoods

incorporating the use of carbon fiber with titanium to form a potent multi-

material tee box launcher. This past December at Ibis Golf & Country Club

in West Palm Beach (just minutes from LinksNation HQ) and weeks later at

the PGA Merchandise Show in January, TaylorMade unveiled the 2nd generation

of M metalwoods. By now you've seen them on tour and maybe even in your

local retail shop, but what has changed since the original?

 

 

 

 

 

2017 / 2016

The new 2017 model on the left has a 6 layer carbon crown design

featuring a slimmed down and flared white front section (Original 2016

model is pictured on the right). Does the new one look better, go farther,

feel better? Some of those answers are subjective to the individual, but

one thing is for sure, the bar was raised awfully high with the original

'16 models, they are absolute monsters off the box.

 

 

Any time you're conducting a review of a product known for being the industry

leader for well over a decade, there's a certain buzz and excitement that follows

- and let's be honest, what golfer doesn't get excited over testing new drivers.

We headed to PGA Village (PGA of America's flagship property) in Port St.Lucie

and their state of the art Foresight Sports Performance center for testing, then

a round on the Wannamaker course.


 

 

 

TECH stuff

The success of M1/M2 in 2016 was huge, elevating the #1 Driver in Golf to

another stratosphere of big stick domination. So what could the R&D Team

at TMAG possibly do to further the success of the M Family? The new slogan

for 2017 - "Same Letter. Better Everything". That's great marketing, but will

the performance bear it out? One thing is fact, the adjustability quotient has

taken another leap forward. TM engineers saved 3 grams of weight by using

a lighter 9-1-1 titanium alloy core skeleton paired with a carbon toe panel

('17 M1 has 43% more carbon fiber than last years model) which allows

for a larger T track - providing even greater adjustability. (3 grams doesn't

seem like much to you and I, but in the engineering world it's gold. These

brainiacs fight for every milligram to improve their golf products).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new T-track (shown in neutral setting) allows for 64% more front to

back movement than the '16 M1. As far as method of adjustability, nothing

has changed - move the 12 gram weight back = higher launch/greater

forgiveness, move it forward = lower launch/less spin. Move the 15 gram

weight to the heel = more draw bias, towards the toe = more fade.

 

 

 

 

 


This view illustrates the refined sole design, as you can see the sole plate

lips over the weight on each track, this equals less debris caught in the

T-track and a sleeker sole. Streamlined from the original M1.

 

 

 

 


Gen One

The original M2 was our pick for the Best Driver of the Year in 2016,

and quite simply it produced performance #'s that no driver in our

stead ever has - EVER. In our opinion, it also produces the ideal sound

and feel at impact. So the new M models have a ton to live up to.

 

 

 


 

Powerplant

Stock shaft offerings for the 2017 M1/M2 : Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro

Kage TiNi (shown above), Project X HZRDUS and Fujikura XLR8 56.

Select shafts from Aldila, Fujikura, Matrix, UST, and Mitsubishi are

available at no up charge.

 

 

 


Appearance

Certainly appearance is subjective, some prefer last years traditional

red/black color scheme over this years lime/charcoal combination.

Personally, the color means less to me than the design aspects, and

the more I look at the new models (M2 also shown) it reminds me of

a high performance sports car - inspiring confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

M1 nameplate located on the rear section of the crown adds a nice touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foresight Performance Testing


Pictured above, a staff member at the PGA Learning Center works on

his game as we set up shop on the adjoining Foresight Simulator. We've

discussed innovation and appearance of M1, but we all know fancy claims

and good looks won't get you onto the shortgrass or produce distance

gains. It was time to get to work . . .

 

Needing a base of comparison the testing began with my gamer ('16

M2) that's equipped with an Aldila Rogue Silver 110msi stiff flex shaft.

Although my swing speed usually tops out around 107 mph for step on

it all out swings, my normal playing gear is right about 103 mph.

Consistency & accuracy were the objectives here, so after a dozen or

so swings reaching normal speed and distance #'s, we went straight

at it with the new M1.

 

*Just a bit of background on my game: I'm a scratch player who prefers

to work the ball, but have recently gone back to my natural right to left

"push draw" - which means I start my ball barely right of target and it

peels off just left of it's starting point. I never want to see a pull, not even

when I play a fade. My miss often stays straight or is a block right. When

the miss goes both ways it's a smoke & mirrors day for me at best. If the

adjustabilty of M1 can narrow in the miss and tighten dispersion all while

giving me the same carry and roll as the gamer then we'll give it a huge

thumbs up.

 

 

 


Within a half dozen swings after switching to M1, it was evident that

the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage wasn't the correct fit for my aggressive

transition. Spin rates, launch angle and dispersion were all over the

place. A quick swap into the Aldila Rogue, and instantly the #'s were

nearly identical with the M2 gamer. After some fine tuning, we got the

settings dialed in (I prefer a slightly open face and an upright lie angle)

and the data showed a very tight dispersion pattern. In order to keep

the testing non-bias for either model we alternated back and forth between

heads after every 5 swings (once finished and the data collected, we

eliminated the single best and worst extremes with each), and here were

the final results via Foresight.

 

('16) M2 Stats:

Swing                    102.4

Ball Speed                147

Smash                    1.45

Launch                    15.5

Azimuth                    0.4

Side Spin                 60 rpm R

Backspin               2245 rpm

Peak Height              37.8 yds

Descent angle           40.8 degrees

Carry                     256 yds

Total distance          286 yds

Offline                       9 yds R

 

 

('17) M1 Stats

Swing                   103 mph

Ball Speed             149.2 mph

Smash                     1.45

Launch                    13 degrees

Azimuth                   0.9

Side spin                  1 rpm L

Backspin              2371 rpm

Peak Height             32.9 yds

Descent Angle          38 degrees

Carry                    254 yds

Total distance         284 yds

Offline                      7 yds R

 


 

 

The Foresight results produced virtually identical performance stats (with

launch angle being the only real significant difference). What does this mean?

It means on paper the new M1 is on par with the absolute best driver that

we've ever tested. Driver performance on an an indoor launch monitor is

just one element of testing, these stats are just the beginning. The "reality"

test would be out on the course, and luckily we had an afternoon tee time

set up on the Fazio designed Wannamaker course next door at PGA Golf Club.



Feel/Sound


The original M metalwoods produce my personal favorite sound and feel of

any driver previously tested or gamed here at LinksNation (2014 SLDR 460

gets runner-up honors) and that's saying a bunch. The best way to describe

the sound is as a muted thwack with a springy feel off the sweetspot when it

compresses the ball at 100+ mph at impact. The new M1 feels really solid at

impact and has a slightly louder thwack, somewhere similar to the SLDR.




On Course Performance


It was finally time to put the new TM weaponry to the real exam and see if

it could be trusted under pressure in real conditions.


It was blowing 20 mph all day on the Wannamaker course with intermittent

precipitation, so this would be a stern test. Immediately the M1 impressed

in a large way, rippin slight draws through even the toughest left to right

crosswinds (typically the toughest wind for right handers). M1 showed it

could launch high if need be, but its natural tendency (under this operator's

guidance) was a medium trajectory flat bullet. So far so good . . .

 

Take a good look at the picture above, the 15th at Fazio's Wannamaker

is where it was put up or shut time for the industry leader's new crown

jewel. The tee box is actually 150 yds back and tucked to the right of

this view with the entire carry over water. At 271 yards to the front pin,

it would normally be nothing more than hybrid and wedge, but this was a

driver test not a stroke play event, so taking on "Fools Gold" was mandatory.

A flared crop duster to the right would certainly end up in the water hazard,

and at 255 yds to the front edge into the cross breeze it would take something

solid. I decided to take dead aim at the mound just left of the green figuring

a slight push would be online with the flag, a straight ball would possibly

bounce back towards the green, and a draw would end up pin high in the swale

leaving a tough but do-able up n down. The tee shot was struck solid and

flew right at the intended target, it had a slight draw of about 3 yds and carried

to the mound pin high and bounced down into the swale exactly the correct

distance. After a decent lob shot and two putt for par, the questions were

answered . . .


This was not the usual "get used to the driver somewhere on the front 9" type

of experience that often accompanies new driver on the course testing, it was

an instant love affair of long and precise tee shots all day long. Basically point

and shoot from the every tee box, golf journalists Len Ziehm and Dan Hauser

were first hand witnesses to the M1 highlights, "get your own", I said. The exam

was passed and with honors.




Summary


Certainly the Indian has something to do with how a test subject performs,

but after you've done enough of these reviews you know a blue ribbon

arrow when you see one. The '17 M1 is just that - worthy.


Is the Gen2 version an upgrade though? That depends on exactly where you

stand. If you're already gaming the original M1/M2 driver, than any type of

distance upgrade is likely to be minimal at best, but if you're in the market

and want the very latest top of the line technology, it's a no brainer - but

keep this in mind, the proper shaft and head model are absolutely critical

as we detailed during testing. GET PROPERLY FIT, it WILL change your game.


Value wise, there are good deals to be had on the original M drivers Dustin

won the U.S Open with, JDay ruled the world rankings with and Justin Rose

won the Gold Medal with - TM is the #1 driver brand in the game and for

good reason. As far as my gamer is concerned, the testing will continue

as we try to figure out exactly which one to go with, but as of this moment

there's a refined new "M" in the bag . . .

 

 

 

For more info on M1 and Taylormade products: http://taylormadegolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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