Monday, October 29, 2007

Golfsmith P2 Irons

After much consideration, I finally decided on a new set of irons. I purchased a set (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and PW) of Golfsmith P2 Irons. What I really like about these irons (besides the price $9.99 per head) was that they are a tour cavity design. They are a cavity backed club head, but with a smaller head design and thinner topline. My hope is that this will provide the forgiveness that I need, but also still allow me to work the ball.

I've decided to pair these new heads up with Rifle Project X (6.0) shafts. I've been playing Rifle FM Precision (5.5) shafts for about 10 years now and I really wanted to upgrade to the newer Project X shafts. I've also upped the frequency from 5.5 to 6.0. My golf club head speed hasn't changed much of the years (85mph), and the 6.0 will have a little stiffer feel than the 5.5 shafts but still be good for my club head speed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pinnacle Gold Long Drive vs.Top Flight D2

I decided to start my testing with the Pinnacle Gold Long Drive and the Top Flight D2 since both of these balls are going for the same segment of the market with regard to costs. I've played about 4 rounds of golf with each ball and below are my thoughts and some final conclusions.

Top Flight D2 (Feel)
The Top Flight D2 Series is the latest from one of the leaders in the lower price golf ball market. It features a new dimple in dimple pattern and two-piece construction with a Surlyn cover.

The Good: Price. At about $15.99 per 15 pack these balls are a very good price point. Also, the alignment aid on the ball (a small circle with lines going in four directions like a cross) is great for both drives and putts. On pure hits these balls have a very solid sound and come off the club face fast.

The Bad: Distance wasn't as good as the sound would indicate on pure hits. These were about 15-20 yards shorter than the Pinnacle Gold Long Drive. When chipping, these had a somewhat harsh feeling and didn't have as much spin as the older XL3000 Super Soft.

The Ugly: On miss hits these feel like the Rock Flights of old with shock waves that travel up the club and rattle your teeth.

Rating: 3 out of 10 on price and alignment aid.

Pinnacle Gold Long Drive
The standard of the Remax Long Drive competition, this ball has a 330 dimple pattern and a two-piece construction with a Surlyn cover.

The Good:
Price. At about $15 per 15 pack these balls are a very good price point. This golf ball explodes off the club face and is long, 15-20 yards longer than the Top Flight D2. It is also very soft feel around the greens and seems to stick the the club face on chips and flop shots.

The Bad: The alignment aid is lacking with just a couple of small arrows.

The Ugly: Nothing.

Rating: 9 out of 10 on price, explosive distance, and feel.

Final Conclusions
As someone who has played both the Top Flight XL2000 and XL3000 series I was very disappointed in the D2. The softness and feel was just not there. Also, the distance was very disappointing.

The Pinnacle Golf Long Drive was a huge surprise for me since I have not played Pinnacles (other than found ones on the course) for sometime. The explosive drives and softer feel around the greens was top notch.

My next comparison will be the Pinnacle Gold Long Drive vs. Titleist Pro V1.

Update: Since testing these golf balls the Pinnacle Gold Long Drive has been discontinued and replaced with the Pinnacle Gold FX Long. I will use this ball in my comparison with the Titleist Pro V1.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Get the Shaft

The shaft is one of the most important and in my opinion overlooked components of the modern driver. One of the great things about the component/custom club making world is that the number and quality of the available shafts is staggering. Yes, the driver head is important, but the shaft is the component that can turn a good driver into a great driver. Even the pro-line manufactures are starting to offer more choice in the shafts they offer on their drivers.

For me, there are really two categories of shafts, those that cost less than $100 and those that cost more than $100. My favorites in the less than $100 are;

Accuflex Evolution

UST Proforce V2

Graphite Design YS6+

The over $100 category seems to be growing very fast, with some shafts topping the $300 mark. The pros use these shafts because, lets face it they can afford it and they usually get their equipment for free. Also, a lot of the shafts in this category are built specifically for the pro tours, so the manufactures are not making these for the mass market, although they do put them for sale in this market. Some of the tops shafts in this category are;

Mitsubishi Diamana

Accuflex Creation

Grafalloy Axis

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's all about MOI

MOI is the latest buzzword in the golf club industry. MOI stands for Moment of Inertia and all of the leading manufacturers are scrambling to get our products that have large MOI. I won't try to explain the scientifics of MOI (even if I could), but lets just say that when it relates to golf clubs it's supposed to mean straighter and further drives.

Just like the pro-line manufacturers, the component industry is hopping on the MOI bandwagon. One of the way all the manufacturers are increasing MOI is by using larger and different geometry club heads.

The new Snake Eyes Mamba uses a square head to increase MOI, as does the new Killer Bee B-Long driver. Both of these drivers are 460cc, titanium club heads.

Another example of increasing MOI is by expanding the overall dimensions of the club head. The new Snake Eyes Python XL driver head has been expanded to 5 inches, the maximum allowed by the USGA. This driver is a 460cc all titanium construction.

No matter which geometry you choose the end result is longer, straighter drives.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Alpha Golf C830.4 M-Fit System

Outside of the component and Long-Drive world, Alpha Golf is not very well know. But they make some killer components and their drivers are some of the best. The new C830.4 follows in the footsteps of the very successful C830.2, and is also a plasma welded, 460cc, Beta-Titanium club head.

With the 830.4 Alpha has introduced a new concept with the M-Fit System. This system has a sleeve that you attach to your shaft, and then attach the shaft to the club head by sliding the sleeve into the club head and screwing it in from the bottom of the club head. This allows for quick changes of shafts, as long as the shafts have the sleeve attached.

I think this is a very cool concept, mainly because I'm someone who likes to try many shafts and would love to be able to change them quickly. Especially when when new shafts come out and I want to try them with my current club head.

I plan on order one of these and I'll post my review of the whole system.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Titleist Pro V1 vs. Pinnacle Gold Long Drive vs. Top Flight D2

I'm not someone who feels the need to spend $45+ on golf balls. I tend to loose about 2-4 balls per round, so spending $3.75 per ball really seems expensive. That being said, I do like to play with new golf balls. I tend to buy whatever is on sale, but I like my golf balls to be white and have good feel around the greens. Pro V1's are considered the defacto standard of golf balls. At $45+ per dozen, that's pretty expensive to me and I was wondering, would I really notice the difference in how I played and especially my score.

So, I've decided to do a little test. I'm going to buy one box each of Pro V1's, Pinnacle Gold Long Drive, and Top Flight D2 Feel balls and play 3-4 rounds with each brand. I'll post my results at a later date.

Here is a cost break down of each;

Pro V1 - $45.00 per dozen, $3.75 per ball
Pinnacle Gold Long Drive - $15.00 per 15 pack, $1 per ball
Top Flight D2 Feel - $16.00 per 15 pack, $1.06 per ball

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Time for some new irons

I currently play with circa 1984 Dunlop Maxfli John Jacobs System irons with Rifle 5.5 shafts and Golf Pride Dual Durometer grips. These were my dads clubs and I play them for both nostalgia and because they are the most solid irons I've ever hit. But I'm starting to worry that I might break or otherwise loose one and I really want to keep these clubs since they were my dads. Also, since I don't get to play as much these days and these are blades, they are very difficult to hit unless my swing is really grooved.

So, I'm looking at building myself a set of either Golfsmith P2, Golfsmith G40, or Magique M1 irons. Still haven't decided. I'll probably be using the Rifle Project X 5.5 shafts and Golf Pride DD2 grips.

Golfsmith Opens in Portland

Portland now has it's own Golfsmith and I am very happy. I love going and spending a day down there just checking out all the new stuff. The grand opening was last weekend, but I wasn't able to make it since I was out of town. But I will be there this Saturday.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Snake Eyes Z9 - UST Proforce V2 - Winn Excel Black

The Snake Eyes Z9 is a new club head line from Golfsmith. The Z9 consists of a 460cc, 15-3-3-3 Beta Titanium Face and Crown. The crown is a thin .5mm thick. Esthetically, this a great looking club head with a simple black crown and a footprint that gives confidence but doesn't look huge. Overall the club head performed great, shots were consistent and the ball practically jumps off the club face. The club head felt light yet responsive throughout the swing, and the sound was solid yet not over powering. The only negative would be the lack of an alignment aid on the top of the crown, the side dimples help some, but the lack of the normal Snake Eyes emblem was very noticeable. Overall, I give this an 8.5 out of 10.

The UST Proforce V2 has become the defacto high end standard of the UST line of shafts. This is the shaft used by many touring pros. I've tried UST shafts in the past, with varying success. Usually, the tips are to responsive for my swing which causes the dreaded high, power fade. The Proforce V2 however produced a very tight shot disbursement with only a few shots slightly fading to the edge of the rough. Torque was very good with no noticeable twisting with the large 460cc club head (see Z9 above). Overall, this shaft performed remarkably well, and while I won't say it's as good as my current favorite shaft, the Accuflex Evolution, it's pretty close. Overall, I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Since Golf Pride has seemingly decided to stop making my favorite grip for woods, the Whisper grip, I decided to put a Winn Excel Black grip on this driver combination. Overall the Winn Excel was very similar to the Whisper and will now become my new woods grip. 8.5 out of 10.

About This Blog

There is a misnomer about what are golf club components. The components themselves consist of club heads, shafts, and grips. The club head is the most misunderstood of all components, since most people think the component industry consists of mostly clone makers. This is completely untrue. Companies like Golfsmith, Golfworks, Bang, Alpha, SMT just to name a few spend lots of money on R&D to come up with very unique and innovative designs. These designs are definitely not clones.

While these companies are much smaller than the pro-line makers, that does not mean these companies do not build components just as good, and sometimes even better than their pro-line counterparts.

There isn't much information on the web about what's happening in the component world, and more specifically information about new designs, reviews, etc... I plan to change that with this blog.

I've been building custom clubs for about 5 years now. In the grand scheme of the component world, I am considered a newbie. But I've been playing golf for over 20 years, have had a handicap as low as 11 and and high as 20+ (my current handicap). I spend a lot of time exploring the various club makers websites and in some cases catalogs. And I have become very familiar with each of their offerings. I hope people will find this information informative.