Equipment & Product Reviews

2016 Father's Day Gift Guide PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Sunday June 19th is Father's Day this year, so as usual we picked out some of our favorite items

your Dad might enjoy - either to look his best, or play his best. If you are a golfing Dad, I hope

you get one of these gifts . . . Happy Father's Day!


A man with Happy feet is usually a happy man - especially on the links. Puma's new Ignite Spikeless

Sport is built for cool style, serious traction and light weight. Worn on Tour by Cobra/Puma's own

Bryson DeChambeau who says "These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn".




Ignite Spikeless Sport available in Gray, Blue and Black $140. For more info:





A few years back Zepp technology took the world of golf by storm with their personal swing

device technology. The next generation of the Zepp Golf - called appropriately Zepp Golf2,

features a smart coach training system. Just attach the sensor to your glove and sync with

your Apple/Android device and you're ready to get started. After just a few swings the Zepp2

in collaboration with the Zepp smartphone app, you will receive instant information to

evaluate the area where you can improve. Zepp's training programs are illustrated by

Keegan Bradley, Michelle Wie, Brendan Steele and swing coach Rick Smith - are be tailored

to your individual swing.






Zepp2 is my personal go to when I need to check swingplane, tempo, swingspeed,

backswing etc. It's your best way to coach yourself in between lessons from your

PGA Professional. Zepp2 easily attaches to any golf glove - available at BestBuy,

PGA Superstore, Dick's Sporting Goods, GolfGalaxy or - $149






Does Dad need a new Laser Rangefinder, but the price has him walking off yardages or

using the inferior cell phone gps? Precision Pro's new Nexus rangefinder is great value and

is packed with features . . .




Precision Pro Nexus

is packed with all of

the essentials to

help you play a

more enjoyable and

efficient round

of golf.






The Nexus fits perfectly in one hand, and it's non slip cover provides ease of

use. During our review on the course, we found that our test unit measured

yardages quickly and within a yard of the two leading industry brands . . .

and at a fraction of the cost. $199 -







I've long said that the

Highland is the best golf

pant in the industry. New

for this year, Maide Golf

has added the new

Lightweight Highland with

all of the features of

the original. It's a great

option for those warmer

days where a full length

pant is still the right choice.

The new Lightweight

Highland features:

M-Flex stretch panels for

range of motion, inner

gel waist liner to keep you

from looking disheveled

while in action, sweat tech

back pocket keeps your

scorecard dry while walking

the links and all while being

water resistant.

$118 -







The roll-in BAGBUDDY is an item like no other. Shag bags are heavy and don't pick up your golf

balls. Shag tubes pick up golf balls but only hold about 20 balls. The roll-in BAGBUDDY does both.




The Pro model (left) holds approx. 75 golf balls and eliminates the need for those big

clumsy pvc devices used at nearly every driving range or country club shortgame area

to gather up balls into a pile - and still doesn't pick them up. The standard model holds

about 40 golf balls. To see this device work is really something, also unlike those other

devices, the BAGBUDDY handle fits right into your golfbag easily. The Roll-in website will

launch on June 17th -






Our friends at August Covers created this leather driver cover of the highest order for me. It's

by far my favorite accessory in the bag. Customize your own or buy one from their collection.

I've spotted players on tour with some of Drew Garrett's awesome covers. Check out the website

and all of the choices at:






GolfBuddy introduces the Voice2. The second generation of the #1 selling voice gps in the

industry now has increased battery life and is water resistant. For those Dads who don't want

to bother with a laser rangefinder or high tech phone app, the GolfBuddy2 is quite simply the

easiest to use golf gps device in the world. $99 -





When I'm out covering the PGA Tour representing, I wear Callaway apparel. Many

folks weren't aware that Callaway has their own division of sportswear, well they do, and it's

every bit as impressive as their golf equipment line. Golf slacks, polos, belts and shoes are

all part of their extensive line of fine golf wear. Dad can probably use an upgrade to his threads

this Father's Day. Polos shown $39-61 -











Air Force One - AFX PRO SERIES IRONS PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Last year we reviewed the Air Force One DFX Tour Black Driver, and surprisingly it held up

to many of the leading $500 drivers in the industry when it came to performance (considering

the AFO DFX driver is half the cost, it's performance results were a revelation). So this Spring

we decided to give the new iron line an audition.


AFX Pro Series irons are the latest product from the company that has moved on from it's

previous Powerbilt branding. Powerbilt as a brand has long been associated with the equipment

of yesteryear (mainly persimmon woods). The move was made to put the Air Force One

nameplate on its own - as one that's seen for highly innovative technology. The AFX Pro Series

irons are designed with the mid/lower handicap player in mind, featuring performance with

forgiveness built in. The 5 thru PW are a conventional cavity back designed for feel and and

shot making. The 3 & 4 irons are a hollow design charged with nitrogen for max distance and





The nitrogen cartridge outlet is visible on the outer toe of the 3 & 4 iron. For those who

prefer long irons to hybrids, the AFX Pro Series 3 & 4 iron boast lofts of 18 and 21 degrees

respectively. No hybrids required here.




3 & 4 iron - Nitrogen Charged Features:


- 2 Piece Hollow Core Construction

- Nitrogen Charged

- Edge to Edge Sweet Spot

- Weightless Face Support

- Nitrogen Pressurized Clubhead

- Progressive Offset

- Thinner Top Line





The brushed satin finish has a clean look (7 iron shown above). Surprisingly, the look of these

irons at address is not one of bulky game improvement (see the photo below). Sleek, especially

along the top line where you'd expect something chunky in appearance. All of the technology is

hidden when you setup to hit a shot, a pleasant surprise - something you might expect in a premium

forged cavity back club.








AFX Pro Series 5-PW Cavityback irons

- Reduced Cavityback

- Thin Topline

- Thinner sole for better turf interaction

- Progressive Offset

- Optimum Trajectory

- Designed for Workability

- Apollo Steel 105 gram shafts designed

for Control and Trajectory













As far as performance is concerned, the AFX Pro Series irons deliver crisp impact and high

trajectory shots, but also allows better players to shape their shots on command. All with the

added bonus of ample forgiveness on off-center shots. The stock steel 105 gram Apollo shafts

were as buttery as the premium graphite shafts in my everyday gamers. Distance in these is

about half a club longer than what I normally play (stronger lofts have a bit to do with that).

The 3 & 4 Nitrogen Charged irons feel trampoline like because of the hollow construction,

and offer a higher ball flight and more carry than most golfers could imagine with a long iron.

Similar to the driving irons produced by the leading manufacturers, these offer hybrid distance

in a sleeker head design - but with the added feature of Nitrogen Charged technology.





AFX Pro Series Iron Specs:

Club        Loft       Lie       Length

3 iron - 18°  --- 60.5° - 39.5

4 iron - 21° --- 60.5° - 38.5

5 iron - 24° --- 60.5° - 38

6 iron - 27° --- 61°    - 37.5

7 iron - 31°  --- 61.5° - 37

8 iron - 35°  --- 62°    - 36.5

9 iron - 40°  --- 62.5° - 36

PW       - 45° --- 63°  -  35.5


*Update on 5/26 after initial testing: Further testing on the course confirmed our first impressions

from the range. The AFX Pro irons are as easy to hit as any iron we've tested - especially the

longer irons (previously Cobra's XL irons and TaylorMade's Speedblades held that distinction).

When you can boldly pull 4 iron from the bag from 220 yards out (hearing the doubtful chatter

from your group in the background) only to smash a towering approach onto the green. You

know the equipment is making as much a statement to your confidence as you are to your

opponents. If you get anything from this review, it's to find a set that is easy to launch with

minimal effort. The ease of hitting accurate long irons shots with the AFO - AFX Pro irons is





Air Force One's AFX Pro Series irons offer big performance and at a value that very few leading

club companies can match. The complete 3-PW set is only $399. If you're looking for an alternative

to your long irons or hybrids, the AFX 3 & 4 Nitrogen Charged irons are also available in Fujikura

Graphite and can be purchased separately (AFO offers a risk free 30 day trial). Gap and Sand Wedge

also available.




For more info on Air Force One Products:















Carnoustie Sportswear - Performance Line PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Carnoustie Sportswear isn't your run of mill golf apparel brand, it's a cut above the

industry standard. Many clubs that are featured in America's Top 100 list carry their

product line, and not many can make those claims.


Known for their fine cotton golf shirts, the Carnoustie Performance Polo features a moisture

wicking micro-poly blend, self collar and 3 button placket.




Marshall Mancillas is the CEO, creator and

innovator of the Carnoustie Sportswear brand.

When you meet him, immediately there are two

words that come to mind - respect and passion.

His demeanor just commands the former, but

when he speaks of his early days of learning the

game in Southern California, it reminds you of

how and why each of us has fallen for the game.

Mancillas was inspired in the early 60's by the

classic style of players like Hogan and Palmer.

Recently, we sat down with the man behind

the timeless quality and style.




LinksNation: Can you tell me about the brand and where you see your place in the



Marshall Mancillas: Today we find ourselves in many of the best clubs from the

west coast to the east coast, from Cypress Point to Pine Valley. We are also very

big in the best golf resorts like Bandon Dunes and Pebble Beach - where they

want something better. Having said that, our price points are very understandable.

In winter and fall we flourish because we make so many different things.


LN: What exactly does the catalog of Carnoustie apparel cover?


MM: Everything from knits, polyester (tech/performance) outerwear, to sweaters

and some really beautiful suede goods.


LN: Only available in green grass locations?


MM: Mostly green grass. We do some retail, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom

. . . but our main gig is Golf. I've been a player and understand the market.


The Carnoustie logo displayed just below the back collar is a nice touch.




LN: You started the company 22 years ago, how did that come about?


MM: I was a lawyer in the Real Estate business here in L.A, but I've been a player

since 1960. In the late 80's the landscape of golf apparel changed with companies

like Ashworth and Bobby Jones, I saw an opportunity. I was kind of naive when I got

started. My Father made a wonderful career in tailored clothing . . . so maybe it was

in my blood.


LN: Do you think that being naive entering the industry might have been a blessing

in disguise? The passion drove you . . .


MM: In a way, sure. It also kept me on track. So many times it's so easy to get off

track, but what was really encouraging was once I got started people immediately

liked my point of view, and that was really encouraging.


LN: Why Carnoustie? It's obviously a famous classic Scottish links venue, but how

did the name become the brand?


MM: I was at home in the wee hours and the family was all sleeping, I started

watching some old vintage links footage on TV from Scotland . . . and a light bulb

came on in my head. I was inspired by the classic Scottish landscape. I started to

research if the name was available, and much to my delight it was. The rest is



One of the most impressive qualities about the Carnoustie Performance line is how

uniform the collar stays throughout the day - no roll up at all. The micro-poly fabric

is lightweight, and stays with your body even during the fastest swings from the tee

box. During testing, the moisture wicking elements kept us dry in the South Florida

sun. All Carnoustie garments are versatile timeless styles that will have you looking

your best whether you choose to wear them on or off the links.


An elegantly themed men's brand is what Marshall Mancillas likes to say. We couldn't

agree more . . .


For more information on Carnoustie Sportswear:










Cobra King F6 Driver PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Over the last few years companies like Cobra, Nike, Callaway and Titleist have taken steps toward

the market leader in the big stick category. In 2016, Cobra continues to climb that ladder with their

King F6 line. The F6 driver comes in two models, standard (shown above) and F6+ which features a

carbonTrac system that allows you to dial in your spin and trajectory via five different position from

front (low spin - penetrating flight) to back (higher spin - high launch). In the standard F6 that we

tested, you're offered a more basic choice - either front or back based on your desired launch/spin.




According to Cobra, the F6 is their most forgiving driver offering and comes at a price tag

of $349 which is extremely reasonable in today's premium driver market (F6+ retails at $399).

Cobra drivers don't have speed pockets engineered into their sole plates for faster ball speeds,

they utilize their Speed Channel for off center hits and incredible distance. The Forged 8-1-1

titanium E9 face has variable thickness that creates sweet spot like distance from virtually

any impact on the face. The MyFly loft sleeve allows settings from 9 to 12 degrees.





Appearance: Love the classic and simple style of the KING F6 crown. I'm still a big fan of the gloss look

over the matte black some other companies are going with. The texturized rear portion of the crown with

the thin perimeter pinstripe is a great look. Their aren't many better looking drivers on the market today.

F6 comes in White, Black, Blue and Turbulence Gray w/lime accents.






Feel/Sound: Sweet spot hits are as you'd want them - euphoric. Impact anywhere on the face

provided a good response from our testers. Just a good solid thwack. Nothing super loud like a

"cowbell" or totally muted either. From a feel perspective a total thumbs up.





Our test model came with the Matrix Red Tie, which is standard on the F6. The F6+ offers the Matrix

Black Tie (which is low launch/low spin), Matrix White Tie (High launch/low spin), Aldila Rogue Black,

and Aldila ATX Tour Blue & Green models.




Performance: Launching the F6 was a piece of cake. Distance was adequate - not short by any

means, but not the longest driver we've tested recently. (my test #'s: SS-102 Ball Speed-150

Launch-16.1 BackSpin-2910 Carry-249 yds Total-261 yds). I'm normally a low spin player off the

tee, so the spin rates were quite high for me. Moving the weight port forward did reduce spin somewhat

(about 200-250 rpm) and lowered the trajectory about 1 degree. Most of our single digit testers found

the F6 as a high launch mid/high spin set up that is geared to fly, not the ideal setup for the player who

likes to work the ball . . . but for the mid/high handicap player who wants a launcher, the KING F6

could be just right .


For more info on all Cobra products:











DST Golf - Ahead of the Curve PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


My first time hearing about DST Golf was at this years PGA Show, DST stands for

delayed strike technology. The idea first evolved when Berti Cordle (former player on

the European Challenge Tour and golf instructor) sought out the truth about what elements

the best ball strikers in history have had in common regarding their dynamic motion

leading up to and at impact. He studied the bio-mechanics of ball striking for the past

3 years, and the result of his research is the development of the DST Golf club (which is

available in Compressor and CR10 models).


What he found was that all of these players have much more forward shaft

lean at impact than they started with at address. So, how could he create a

way to replicate this dynamic position in a golf club so this could be felt by all



The illustration of Ben Hogan at impact is a perfect example of what proper

impact looks like. A delayed strike or lag impact is when your hands lead the

clubhead through the strike, this is how the clubface is controlled and the golf

ball compressed - therefore achieving total control over accuracy and distance.





Our test club came in the DST Compressor 8 iron. I admit pre-setting your hands well

in front of the ball at address and looking down at the curved shaft is quite odd at

first. Then you'll start immediately feeling consistent compression at impact, and wonder -

What have I been missing? Is this is how golf clubs should have been designed in the

first place. Within the first few swings the ball launched much higher than my usual

flight and with virtually no side spin. Similar in concept to Martin Chuck's ingenious

Tour Striker, but the DST is certainly a simpler and easier concept for the masses to

execute properly.



The sole of the DST Compressor is wide and extremely flat so it sets up correctly on the turf when

the proper forward shaft lean is put into effect. I've started a ritual of warming up with the DST

at the start of each range session, and before heading to the 1st tee. My iron play has improved

dramatically (averaging 12 greens in regulation per round over the last 4 weeks) since using the

DST Compressor.




The photo above illustrates the recommended address and correct impact positions, if you

look closely - the arms, hands and golf club are in identical positions. It's only the body that

has moved and shifted towards the target. The concept is simple, if you start with the golf

club in the impact position, it's much simpler and requires far less compensation to return

it correctly to impact. I highly suggest you visit and watch the video





The Hand Position

Alignment Marker or HPAM

allows the golfer to set up

correctly with square

clubface align-

ment to the target.


When the bottom groove

line aligns with the HPAM

on the clubs hosel (see

photo right), it signifies

optimal hand position at





As of this Spring, 6 of the 10 players in the world, and more than half of the top 50 players

in the Official World Golf Ranking are using DST to fine tune their ball striking. 240 PGA Tour

and European Tour players use DST, including 27 major winners. Through my travels covering

the recent Florida swing I witnessed two of the best ball strikers in the game using the DST

on the range - Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose . . . needless to say, but if they're using it (and

are not paid endorsers) should we all be using it.


As time goes along this golf season I'll post any performance breakthroughs for my game and

who's using the DST out on Tour via @LinksNation on Twitter.



If you're looking to improve your ball flight and create a better and more consistent impact, then

you're gonna want to check out DST Golf:















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