It’s Saturday night here in Japan and Sagawa just dropped off a box with the new Three Luck Delica Touch CSII Putter. This putter is designed by Sky Dream Jump. I usually wait for the morning to take pictures but I thought I’d do a quick blog tonight of the putter and take advantage of my Nikon’s superb high ISO performance by just snapping the shots here in my room.
Three Luck worked with several Japan pros to develop the design and concept of the CSII which is a putter that promotes a natural straight back and forth path. The CSII is a cross between a blade putter and a small mallet. Unlike large Neo Mallets these days where MOI and forgiveness are key, the CSII focuses on feel and direction. The back flange and single sight line act as an easy alignment tool and the thick top line not only promotes soft feel but also confidence before impact.
Three luck designed the CNC Machined soft carbon steel CSII with a curved neck that gives the illusion of a straight in center shaft. The curvature of the neck allows Three Luck to strategically place the CG creating a balanced head. The head is heavy and the lie rather upright which allows your arms to naturally swing like a pendulum. The face is rather tall and the sole slightly curved to allow for more pure contact and to reduce any friction with the green. The milling marks are CNC engraved to promote instant forward roll and less skidding. For a soft carbon steel putter, there is very good feedback and the ball comes off the face quite crisp. Another interesting addition to the CSII is Three Luck’s decision to use a large sized Iomic putter grip. This larger grip forces the player to be less handsy and reduces the tendency to release your wrists during the putting stroke all resulting in a more natural back and forth swing.
The head cover is a bit on the feminine side and features what looks almost like a cell phone strap. The strap made of swarovski crystals allows the player to hang the putter cover from their pocket and minimize the risk of forgetting it on the greens. The back cavity of the putter features no markings or logos and which only appear on the sole and a D on the face heel. At first I thought the shape was weird and the the putter way to upright at a 74.5* lie with that curved neck however, after testing it on a practice mat here, it goes very straight very naturally. The upright like forces you to address the ball closer to your stance but because of that your hands really do hang right down. I’m used to using a smallish Ping putter grip so the large Iomic was… well rather large. I thought I would dislike it as it felt weird in my small hands but again it worked and my arms, hands and the putter stayed as one through the stroke.
If you like a crisp feel and prefer a straight back and forth stroke, the Delica CSII could very well work for you as its a very balanced putter and surprised with its upright lie and big grip. Look for the CSII in the pro shop some time next week.
Gold’s Factory sent over a couple if their new Trinity series putters featuring the new Next Generation Premium Zone Milling. they are for a photo shoot I’m doing however it was a good opportunity to also test out the new milling for the first time and see the new Trinity weights and inserts. The two models I received are both based off of Gold’s Factory’s Anser No.2 head made from premium JIS SUS303 steel (also known as GSS in some circles). As with all Gold’s putters, they can be fully customized including lie, loft, head weight, type of milling, finish, weighting, engraving, types of necks etc. The sky is the limit. This is an intricate milling process with the cnc machine guided by HAND.
Compared to the original two Red and Blue Trinity prototypes, these two are far more clean and simple with only two weights in the sole and inserts in the cavity and face heel. Head weights are 350g but Trinity models can go as high as 380g or so depending on the type and number of weights used. Each weight is CNC machined right at Gold’s Factory on order and come in a variety of designs and sizes. The Trinity putters also feature the tri-level sole we’ve all seen on Tiger’s Newport 2, and the brushed non reflective satin finish for that pure and simple look.
This was my first time rolling the ball with the new Next Generation Premium Zone Milling. Premium Zone milling was first introduced on the now defunct G-Field’s Premium Zone putter about 6 years ago (hence the name Premium Zone). PZ milling is known to give great forward roll and super soft feel. Master Sasaya further enhanced the milling angles by using overlapping half circles and zig zag patterns within those circles. These milling marks are at similar depths and angles to the original horizontal PZ Milling so the result is just as good forward roll and just as soft (if not softer) feel PLUS now reduced side spin.
Feel is very subjective and one of the most debated topics is the feel of putters. Soft or crisp? Too soft? Too Hard? Not responsive, not enough feel? I do like a soft feeling putter but not to the point where I get no feedback. Some carbon steel putters and insert putters can be this way, too soft that you really can’t tell where on the face you hit it. The great thing about SUS303 is that it has a certain crispness to it and the Trinity putters have that combination of soft but crisp feel thanks to the face milling and material complimenting each other. Putting the ball is very responsive and with minimal skidding the putter face is great at promoting forward roll. At 350g, these two Trinity’s have great balance of direction and distance control. I tried putting with different balls which all have different cover firmness to see what kind of feel I would get from the Next Gen PZ Milling and every ball was responsive and produced the similar soft but crisp feel that I like. Hitting the putter off center is much more muted so you can clearly tell when you pure a putt simply by the sound and feel.
As always Gold’s can create your own custom putter or do some serious modifications for your existing putter. The sky is the limit for what is probably the most used club in your bag! Check out some of the one of a kind putters Gold’s has or base models which you can use to design your dream stick!
Sometimes, these smaller boutique brands can be hard to deal with. Because they are small they are sometimes inflexible and difficult. I’ve found out that Ryoma’s new Fairway Wood and Special Tuning model stock are already half accounted for and that we must pre-book all clubs before launch or risk not getting any. Of course Ryoma expects us to sell the club by booking pre-orders yet at the same time they won’t allow me to post pictures of the clubs.
So I am blogging to announce that we are officially taking orders now for the Ryoma Special Tuning Driver as well as the Ryoma-F FW. There are limited numbers and if they are not pre-ordered and reserved you most likely will not be able to get one come October.
As I’ve noted before, visually, the Special Tuning driver looks just like the current models except for a fine tuned body and different face material and design – and of course the fact it is HI COR over 0.88. If you are unsure of the differences please read this post I made earlier.
Pricing is the same regardless of whether you order a black or a gold head and whether they are D-1, V-Spec or Premia designs (yes it is confusing… I wish they would just offer black or gold special tuning heads but no, they are black or gold, D-1, V-Spec or Premia heads. MSRP is 1200.00 for the Special Tuning head including headcover.
For the Ryoma-F Fairway Wood, as I mentioned the 2, 3 and 5W (called F2 F3 F5) feature a forged Titanium construction while the 7 and 9W (F7 and F9) are maraging steel. The F2, F3 and F5 are 640.00 per head MSRP including headcover and the F7 and F9 are 375.00 per head MSRP. These can also be ordered with stock shafts or with any upgrade shaft like Crazy. Since I cannot post the picture on the blog, here is a graphic of its design.
So if you want a Special Tuning head or fairway wood, you must contact me directly to reserve now or honestly, you probably won’t get one as the drivers will have only one batch made and as I said, half are already sold. For the FW, if you don’t reserve now, please expect a several month wait after the first batch launches in mid October.
Please contact me at gocchin @ tourspecgolf.com (without the spaces) and I can help you with your order and personal quote/recommendations and answer any questions you may have.
It’d hard to believe how time flies and we’re more than halfway through September already. Many Japanese brands are already preparing or in the process of announcing Fall releases and some even building up for 2012 models already. Fourteen Golf has announced their RM-11 Forged Wedge which has already been talked about for months. The RM-11 has grooves with 15% more volume to increase back spin and stopping power. The head shapes of the RM-11 will vary depending on loft and intended usage for that loft. Its interesting to note that Fourteen has done away with the MT-28 moniker which has seen five generations since its original design by Grind Studio Master Masahiro Tomaru. The Nicke Chrome Finish model will release in Japan on October 14th with the Black finish following about a month later.
On the what’s hot side, we’ve got several products that are in huge demand resulting in manufacturers struggling to keep up with supply. The very surprising PRGR egg i+ Utility which I reviewed a month back is back ordered quite heavily depending on loft and flex as golfers have come to realize how easy it is to hit and the great distance it provides. Crazy has several products that are making golfers wait such as the new CRZ-435II which is back ordered until October along with the Crazy Target Tour shafts in Dark Chrome. Crazy has also announced that all models of Crazy shafts except for Royal Decoration and graphite iron/wedge shafts, are now available in a pearl white color for a limited time. If you’re ordering a Crazy shaft and want it white just let us know but it will take a bit of extra time to make.
Epon golf has seen a successful launch of their new AF-902 utility and even at its higher price, pre orders sold out the first manufacturing batch and Endo is now playing catch up though the wait won’t be long as they are an experienced manufacturer when it comes to volume. For the average golfer with an unlimited budget, there is no other utility that can match its manufacturing and materials and may even its performance.
This year has seen a comeback in the release of non-conforming and High COR drivers. With Ryoma about to launch their much anticipated Special Tuning 0.88 HI-COR driver and new max COR Ryoma F woods, Geotech Golf has also released two new Hi COR drivers featuring springy over the limit SP700 faces, the GT 45N SWS Alpha Spec Pearl and the all Black RF700 Prototype, both of which I will be reviewing later this week.
Good news from Iomic who earlier this year began offering Jumbo Sticky grips which are oversized grips. They have now officially added mid sized grips to their line up with the Sticky Mid and Mid Evolution grips. Many customers know there is a lack of mid sized grip offerings since Asian hands just seem so small! Now I wonder if Nowon and other Japanese makers will follow suit since maybe there is a market for bigger hands after all. On the smaller hand side, Iomic has also released X-Grip Sticky and Art Series Sticky grips for ladies and juniors!
Many customers always ask is it worthwhile upgrading to a new release model. Well Kamui Works thinks so and they were out to prove their new Ray driver is a longer driver than the Silver 456. The sent me data using Fujikura Shafts robot testing pitting the 456 against the new Ray and the results were quite interesting. I’ll have a writeup on the numbers later this week. Up ahead this week I’ll also be testing Bridgestone’s NEW Super Newing ball which is the replacement for the best distance ball two years running the Newing Brill. I’ll also be taking a look at an alternative to Bridgestone’s Science Eye swing speed monitor by testing out a similar offering (but no magnets needed) from PRGR. This will be a fun week as we get closer to October! As always we are here to help so drop us a message anytime!
A huge box arrived today from Royal Collection containing their all new SFD Black demo clubs for me to try out. The new SFD Black just launched on the weekend here in Japan and is considered their new average golfer offering replacing the 2 year old SFD III line. While RC’s BBD’s line caters to the athlete and better golfer, SFD models are typically known for their ease of use and high launch distance performance characteristics which make them very attractive for the average to improving golfer. RC compared to most brands is a very small company with only 20 or so employees dedicated to designing and producing golf clubs that look great and perform great. The SFD Black looks to live up to that commitment of performance and quality.
I’m going to be hitting each club and reviewing them individually but as always its exciting to get a bunch of demos at once so I thought I would provide some first impressions. The clubs look great with a Black IP and Silver finish. Black finishes are certainly a big fad now with golf clubs and not all black finishes are created equal. I’m glad to say as you can see in the pictures the finish of the RC clubs is very pretty and while not jet black, the IP finish is more of a smoked black reflective finish. It’s pretty classy looking. One thing I did notice about the new SFD Black line which may catch people’s attention is that while parts of the clubs are made in Japan, RC is saving costs by assembling the clubs in Taiwan (it says Assembled in Taiwan on the stickers). Because of this, the SFD Black is priced lower than usual compared to other JDM brands ie the driver has a Japanese MSRP of 620.00 which is on the low side for Japan.
I received the driver, fairway wood, utility and forged iron. All the clubs are on the larger side and all the woods feature slightly closed faces. They are all high launch designs that are meant to minimize slices and maximize distance. The iron looks uncannily similar to Royal Collections older FD Forged and original SFI forged iron from about 5 years ago. All four clubs are shafted with Fubuki shafts specially made for Royal Collection by Mitsubishi Rayon. I’ll start tomorrow by testing out the woods at the range and recording some impact videos (RC typically always sounds good which is reflective of their feel). Stay tuned for the reviews!
I received more detailed information today from Ryoma on their new Hi-Cor driver model as well as the much anticipated new fairway woods. Due to an NDA however I cannot post pictures of the fairway woods until October but I will provide info and feedback on the design. First with the new Hi-Cor driver which looks just like the current D-1, V-Spec and Premia models. The new Hi-Cor Model is dubbed the Ryoma D-1 Special Tuning model and Ryoma is boasting target distance gains of up to 30 yards. While visually the heads appear the same as current models, Ryoma has fine tuned the face and body of the driver to increase COR of the Special Tuning models to over 0.88. Their key focus with the increased COR as well as structural changes are simply as they put it “to crush the ball at impact” and create as much initial ball speed as possible.
The new D-1 Special Tuning models feature an all new premium forged TTX face material (the current D-1 and V-Spec are TDW and the Premia TDX) which utilizes variable face thickness to create a much more spring like effect. The sweet spot of the face is 2.6mm thick and the outer parts of the face a mere 1.3mm thin! I don’t think I know of any driver in golf that has a face section as thin as that. The face is laser welded to its monocoque unibody which features industry leading 0.3mm wall thiness (is there such a word as thiness?) all around. Now here is the bad news… with an unprecedented thin walled face, Ryoma has set a swing speed limit on the Ryoma Special Tuning Hi-Cor heads. They do not suggest that players swinging over 47m/s or 108mph use this head. Due to the thinner walls, the Special Tuning models also have a extended 2 year warranty and should the face crack, Ryoma will replace the driver with an identical model. Should the driver crack a second time, Ryoma will still replace it but with the standard thicker faced conforming model. There will be two Special Tuning models. a Gold Version and a Black Version. The Gold Version will be available in 9.5 10.5 and 11.5* lofts while the Black Version in 9.5 and 10.5* lofts. Both models will be available shafted with Ryoma stock shafts or as heads only.
Now on to the fairway woods. I must say they look better than I expected. They border on the larger side at 220cc for the F2 to 140cc for the F9. All of the D-1 F heads as they are called have square face angles. The D-1 F will be available in 13 15 18 21 and 24* lofts. The F2, F3 and F5 models all fall right below 0.83 COR and share the same all titanium construction as Ryoma’s D-1 Drivers. Yes Ryoma is able to fit a 60g Power Booster weight on the back of all the FW models. Not only that but they also add an additional 60g weight on the front sole called the Spin Control Unit. Considering the 13* weighs 209g, and uses 120g worth of weights, it means the 0.4mm walled body is a mere 89g in weight! Ryoma then plasma welds on their premium forged TDW face for maximum ball speeds and feel. The F7 and f9 shorter woods have a similar design except use a maraging face and stainless steel body.
Thanks to the 60g backweight, the sweet spot of the Ryoma fairway woods is huge. So huge that Ryoma claims there is very little difference in direction and distance on off center hits vs shots off the center of the club. In order to counter the huge weight in the back which in a smaller fairway wood head would push the CG too far back and low, Ryoma uses that Spin Control Unit I mentioned earlier, another 60g right below the leading edge of the head. Ryoma says this weight drastically reduces spin and creates a strong and powerful trajectory that will not lose out to the wind. Yes folks, Ryoma has designed their FW to be a pure distance club that will rival the Egg Spoon.
Ryoma has designed the CG Point of their fairway woods to match the ball exactly at impact whereas on some deeper fairway woods the CG point on the face is in fact higher than the point of impact. Ryoma’s design features maximizing distance through perfect impact in turn maximizing energy transfer through its power booster. Another key point of the Ryoma FW is that its COR is right below the USGA allowed 0.83. Considering how much smaller a fairway wood face is than a driver face makes this number quite staggering as many fairway woods on the market feature COR of around 0.70 to 0.75. Ryoma believes their FW will create more ball speed than any other FW in golf. All the FW’s will be available with stock shafts from Ryoma or as heads only with the F2 F3 and F5 Ti models costing nearly twice as much as the F7 and F9 heads.
Now I have to admit this all sounds very exciting but at this point its just some specs and a product description sitting in front of me. However, if the new Ryoma FW plays anywhere as long and as easy as the driver, it could be a huge game changer in the Japanese market where the Egg and other driving type spoons have dominated distance wise. I can’t wait to find out in mid October!
Getoech Golf has really been going all out at producing a wide variety of club heads to suit many different target audiences of golfers, all without breaking the players wallet. Their latest driver offerings include the new GT420 Forged Tour driver which they sent me to review. With the new GTForged 420, Geotech’s goal was to create a premium titanium forged head in a smaller package that would appeal to athlete and improving golfers both in feel and in performance. Couple that with a sexy black finish and the GT 420 Forged has the looks to match its performance as well.
CNC Variable Forged Face…
As you probably guessed, the GT420 Forged Tour is 420cc and is USGA Conforming. Besides using a forged titanium face, Geotech wanted to further enhance the drivers feel and ability to maximize energy transfer by using a CNC machined face with variable thickness. A thicker 3.1mm sweet spot area surrounded by slightly thinner 2.8mm top and bottom portions which stretch from the leading edge all the way up to the crown. The outer edges of the face are its thinnest at 2.4mm equaling a slingshot like face that captures the ball at impact and spits it back out with minimal energy loss. The GT420 Forged has a nice looking face profile and is on the deeper side. Geotech likes to use a flat black satin finish on their black drivers which is a very nice touch and much preferred over other brands that sometimes use a shiny mirrored black face.
Eye pleasing at address…
At address the 420cc head has a nice pear shaped too it and still provides confidence as its not overly small. The square face angle which is on all lofts sets up nicely and its clear at address that there is less bulge in the face allowing for more workability. Its a very attractive setup.
High Back Head design
The GT420 Forged uses a high back design and Geotech reinforces the back of the head with what they call “muscled” walls. These braces are meant to optimize energy transfer going forward and to stabilize the head at impact. Thanks to the high back head, the CG position is optimally located for a strong penetrating trajectory which should provide low spin and good run. The CG height is at 41mm and its depth 35.2mm. The internal head bias is neutral towards a fade with just over a 20* gravity angle. The sweet spot area is also more towards the center of the face meaning with the GT420’s deeper face, the ball can be tee’d up lower for that strong and penetrating trajectory.
Square face angle for all lofts…
Another key feature of the GT420 Forged is that the driver design varies slightly between lofts. Geotech recognizes that as the loft a head progresses from 8.5* to 11.5*, the shape and design of the head is altered due to the change in loft. Geotech changes the lie of the head progressively more upright as the loft increases but is able to keep the face angle at 0* square for all lofts. This allows the GT420 Forged to produce an optimal launch for whatever loft is chosen without altering the trajectory due to face angle.
Considering the cost of the GT420 Forged Tour driver and its forged nature and the fact its available as head only, its very attractive for those who want to build a high quality driver at a budget price. Users can choose their shaft of choice thus controlling the amount they spend on this driver. While there are those golfers who are willing to spend anything on golf clubs, the truth is cost factor is huge consideration for most. At the same time, the club has to perform. The GT420 Forged Tour has very nice feel at impact and is not tingy sounding in any way. Its feel is rather solid and the sound a more subtle thwock. The ball flight of my tester which came with a Geotech stock shaft called the GT Tour Burnish, which is one of Geotech’s better shafts, produced a mid and very strong trajectory with a lot of run. The GT Tour Burnish is a low to mid launching shaft coupled with the GT420 Forged head equals low spin and very stable ball flight.
Optimal Trajectory Optimal Spin…
Recently I’ve actually preferred a mid trajectory and more penetrating flight flight as it seems like high launch max carry type performance does not seem to get as much attention these days. I like hitting a strong penetrating drive that runs 40 yards especially on days when there is wind. In the past as an average golfer I’d have to say I hit many of my drives too high resulting in not getting the distance gains I wanted. Manufacturers in Japan have also changed their wording to things like Optimal Launch, Optimal trajectory rather than High Launch and High Trajectory. For each player its about get the right numbers to create the right distance, ball speed, launch angle and the right amount of back spin. For some people the GT420 may launch too low but a lot of that will have to do with the chosen shaft as well. For the better player wanting a balanced driver that provides good feel and stable control, the GT420 Forged Tour is a pretty good choice especially compared to drivers that cost 3 to 4 times as much. I’d highly recommend the driver for those players 15 handicap or better who are on a budget and want to build their own driver to spec.
Here’s the sound at impact video so you can all get an idea of how the driver sounds.
[flv:http://www.tourspecgolf.com/blog/videos/gt420sound.flv 640 427]
We introduced the all new Epon AF-902 a few weeks ago and today (it is the 9th here in Japan) is the official launch of this wonderful utility. The AF-902 is a true one of a kind utility. While most utilities these days are made from cast stainless steel bodies and faces with some manufacturers also using maraging steel, Epon’s new AF-902 takes manufacturing for a utility to an all new level. The AF-902 is a four piece super precision forged all titanium utility and the most advanced of its kind. Using high intensity titanium, KS120 Forged for the crown and sole, 15-3-3-3 Forged for the face and a pure Titanium forged neck, the plasma welded AF-902 provides the ultimate feel and maximum COR distance performance.
Our demo head arrived today and I thought I would snap some pictures and give some initial impressions on the head. Workmanship and finish is quite flawless as you would expect from Epon and the head is a beauty. Its hard to imagine this is a 4 piece head as the plasma welds are invisible to the eye and perfectly smooth. I had expected it to be on the larger side due to its spec’ed cc size of around 126cc which is larger than the typical utility, however its not visually big by any means. The face is certainly on the shallower side and this is expected from a utility that targets average golfers and mid handicappers.
Seeing the head in real life, the double stepped sole stands out more especially when you look at the head from its heel side like the picture below. The back of the head is raised to create trailing edge relief which reduces friction and contact with the turf or rough for much more pure contact. The AF-902 is not as stubby from front to back like many utilities and from this same heel angle could pass for a small fairway wood which in fact may be part of Epon’s thinking. Fairway wood like performance but the versatility of a utility or rescue.
At address you can see what I mean by the head does NOT look overly large. It’s rounded shape actually looks quite compact a la TRC but the length of the face from heel to toe is quite noticeable. This creates a wider sweet spot as typical average golfer misses are towards the heel or toe. At setup the look inspires confidence and you can clearly see the AF-902’s face which allows you to focus on impact. The CG is positioned for an optimal and easy launch from any lie and designed for big carry with maximum distance performance. The AF-902 is really a great replacement for the long irons or short woods especially for those wanting ease of use and vesatility.
There are many great utilities and rescues out on the market right now, many with features and looks similar to the AF-902. But, what makes the AF-902 stand out from the crowd is its unique manufacturing and premium materials for a utility. As far as I know, no other utility or fairway wood for that matter in golf is made from completely forged titanium. As a matter of a fact, there are even many drivers who cannot make the same claim. While many brands try and cut cost and mass produce cast woods, Epon goes the opposite direction both in quality and in price. The AF-902 is made to rival even the most premium drivers in quality and its priced accordingly.
So far its reception has been more positive than I imagined. Honestly my first reaction was a double take at the price of the club, however that has not stopped customers who appreciate Epon’s quality and performance from ordering. Customers are not only pre-ordering the club but even choosing more expensive upgrade shafts with the Crazy Black Utility so far being the most popular. It is certainly a shaft we are considering putting in this head for actual testing. Based on first impressions alone, quality is superb, its design and looks very appealing especially for the average golfer or anyone who wants an easy to hit utility looking for maximum distance. The Epon AF-902 Utility begins shipping today, please contact us as always if you are interested or need more information! You can also find the specs for the new club here in our pro shop.
The driver trend this year has seen the re-emergence of smaller more compact heads. The sub 425cc head has grown in popularity on the Japanese tour and manufacturers have obliged with heads as small as the Tourstage Limited 365cc head and of course Yonex’s Ryo Ishikawa 380cc model. Srixon which has the second largest number of touring pros behind Tourstage here in Japan has listed to their pros in releasing the New Z-TX Tour P-420, a limited 420cc compact driver.
P-420 is a looker…
The first thing I noticed when I pulled the headcover off the driver was how good looking it is. It’ finish is more subtle in colors than the standard Z-TX (probably thanks to the lack of yellow color 0r any colors for that matter) and the head’s lines and shape shouts out all business. Smaller heads of the past lacked the technology and materials of today’s drivers meaning, manufacturers can now go back to creating even better compact head drivers packed with design, technology and top notch materials. The Srixon New Z-TX Tour P-420 looks to be a result of all these points.
Quick Tune System…
The head shape is pear like thanks to a high back design. The sole of the driver is muscular looking thanks to its lines and finish. The P-420 does feature Srixon’s Quick Tune system which allows for the weighting of the head as well as trajectory to be changed. Two standard 7 gram weights are placed in the toe and heel for a neutral setting. The P-420 also comes with a nifty wrench which also houses the two extra weights. an 11g and a 3g weight that can be swapped in and out with the 7 grammers for a variety of trajectories. With the weight placed more towards the face and with the heads high back design, the P-420 is made for feel, control and stability.
Pleasing look at address…
The weight placements and design of the head also allow for a shorter and shallower CG positioning which will promote a stronger more penetrating trajectory preferred by better players who want to combat the wind and produce drives with more direction and run. At address, the head size is very pleasing and features a square to slightly open face angle. There also appears to be less bulge in the face of the P-420 compared to larger sized Srixon drivers which again will allow the better player to work the ball more and still benefit from good distance performance.
Awesome Super TIX Forged face…
The face profile of the Z-TX Tour P-420 is clean and has a very nice look to it. A slight bulge in the crown not only gives the head sharper looking lines but also helps increase the face area for a larger sweet spot and higher ball speeds. Srixon faces have always had a very nice shape and the P-420 is no exception. The Srixon face has a sticky feel to it meaning that when the ball impacts the face it seems to hang on the face for a split second longer than most other drivers then shoot the ball forward with maximum energy transfer. The P-420 features Srixon and XXIO’s proprietary Super TIX®51AF forged in Japan Titanium mix which provides a soft but crisp feel at impact. I have to say I really like this feel unlike some drivers these days that are so muted and have no feel or feedback.
Stanadard are Miyazaki Shafts…
My 9.5* tester came with the new Tour AD DJ-6 shaft which is actually a special order (along with Diamana and Fujikura Motore shafts). The standard offerings with the 8.5 9.5 and 10.5* loft New Z-TX Tour P-420 are Miyazaki shafts including the Kusala, Blue, Silver and new Indigo models. The Z-TX Tour P-420 features a flatter lie of 57.5* which better players will like since it helps reduce shots left. Clubs are made standard to 45.25″ which is a very manageable length and a good balance between distance and control (you can also special order different lengths). With the standard 2 x 7g weights in the head and standard Miyazaki shafts, the swing weight is at D3 and can easily be increased to D5 by swapping in the 11g for one of the 7g weights.
Definitely for the better player…
I spent a day at the range yesterday testing a few new drivers I have on hand here and the Z-TX Tour P-420 was one of my favorites when it came to looks and feel. For me its a bit too heavy at 318g and a bit too stiff producing fades with most drives (I would love to stick a slightly lighter and softer shaft in this head to try). The trajectory is penetrating with a lot of run and when I had a few faster swingers around me try the driver they hit very strong drives with a lot of run out. They all told me the loved the way the driver set up and felt. One of my neighbors who came with me to the range uses a very similar offering from Tourstage, the 703 Limited in 9.5* and Tour AD DI-6 Stiff (though the 703 Limited is a bigger head) and he preferred the look or the smaller head of the P-420 and he thought it was just as forgiving as his larger 703. When hitting the driver side by side with the Tourstage, the Srixon had a more muted thwok at impact and with the 2 x 7g weights naturally fades. With a heavier weight configuration in the sole, the P-420 produces a nice draw. The players who tried the Z-TX P-420 all liked the heavier feel and noted they could really feel the head through the swing. The New Z-TX Tour P-420 is highly recommended for any faster swinger and better player wanting a more compact head driver, especially one with great feel and some technology to boot. Its not really for the average golfer as its design and shaft options really due suit the stronger player. Srixon has produced only a limited run of the P-420 for all of Japan so once sold out, there will be no more. Look for the new driver in the shop later this week!
The other day at Katsuura CC I picked up a sleeve of the Taylormade Japan Five TP balls to try. I usually don’t play TM balls and I knew that Japan’s Five TP was the same as the Intetnational Penta TP release. However, these balls were different as they were the new Five TP 322 ball released earlier this Spring in Japan (yes we’re a bit late on this one). I did some checking around when I got home and apparently outside of Japan the 322 dimple Five TP is a tour only ball overseas and played by several of Taylormade’s top staffers.
The new Five TP 322 features not only a change in the number of dimples and its design but compression of the 322 is at 83. The new bi-pyramid pentagonal dimples as they call it, feature 10 different depths and create a much stronger and stable trajectory than the original Five/Penta TP. All Taylormade Japan pros have switched to the Five TP 322 for its feel and ability to excel in the wind thanks to the more powerful trajectory it creates. Playing at Katsuura CC was the perfect place to test the Five TP 322 ball out as its valleys and high tees right by the Pacific Ocean call for pretty much strong and unpredictable winds every round.
With a compression rating of 83, the Five TP 322 is far more playable by an average swing speed golfer like myself. It feels nice and soft off all the clubs and at 83, you can feel the ball compress on impact. The new 322 aerodynamic dimple design and lower compression produced a strong mid trajectory for me with very good run when using the driver. I liked the way it felt especially compared to many harder tour balls out there that are just unplayable by golfers under 100 mph. This similar trajectory with run carried over to my fairway woods and utilities and as I went to my irons, the spin increased and the ball had very good touch and direction on approaches around the green but the trajectory was still strong which I think helped increase spin. I cannot stand a ball that feels too firm off the putter and to my surprise, the Five TP 322 was almost too soft! Compared to the number one average golfer rated Newing Brill and new Tourstage top tour ball the X-jD, it actually felt softer or at least maybe more responsive off the putter face. Taylormade has rated the Five TP 322 to have a cover hardness of 57D. A lower shore D number means a softer feeling cover and at 57 the Five TP 322 just falls in the softest feeling category. For reference the Titleist NXT Tour is 57.2D and the Callaway HX Hot is 67D.
The Five TP 322 is of course a 5 piece ball and its construction and performance focus are similar to the current Penta TP 360 dimple version overseas. It’s layers are broken down as follows:
COVER = FEEL – Premium soft feel and control off wedges and putters- Thermoset Cast Urethane Cover delivers a soft Tour feel plus a combination of higher spin-rate and lower launch angle on wedge shots. The new 322 dimple design creates a stronger more stable ball trajectory.
OUTER MANTLE = SPIN – Outer Mantle promotes optimum spin off short-irons, as well as higher ball speed and increased distance. Its actually the easiest to compress and most rigid layer of the Five TP meaning the slower speeds of short irons can activate this layer for optimal spin and control around the greens.
MIDDLE MANTLE = CONTROL – Middle Mantle is a high resistance layer which prevents ballooning and falling short of the green, by providing more ball speed and performing for all swing speeds.
INNER MANTLE = LAUNCH – Inner Mantle of the Five TP 322 surrounds the core with a soft and high rebound layer delivering soft feel, strong powerful launch and low spin off the long-irons for exceptional distance plus a high, soft-landing flight. Again this Inner Mantle is easier to compress creating distance for all players.
NDv5 CORE = DISTANCE – The NDv5 core features a very soft and high rebound design. This core is activated by the driver and produces low spin and strong carry and distance, as well as more ball speed for faster and harder hitters whose speeds affect the core even more.
Like most Japanese market balls, especially the premium ones, Taylormade’s Five TP 322 ball is NOT cheap. At 90.00 a box of 12 balls we’re talking 7.50 a ball. Average golfers who lose a lot of balls suffer great pains when expensive balls like these go missing (this ball isn’t even the most expensive as there are some brands that cost over 10.00 a ball). But for the better player who wants soft feel off all the clubs, an easy to compress ball, a stronger stable trajectory that won’t lose out in windy conditions, the new Five TP 322 is an amazing choice. Just don’t lose them.
I’ll be adding the balls to the shop this week along with a few other JDM ball releases but as always if you can’t wait, you can contact us to order directly.