Seven ST Wedge.. yup that’s the one! Sold out before everyone knew of their existence!! Here is a quick review for those who missed out on these fabulous wedges the first time around. These wedges are too good to be considered “Previous generation.” :) Putting it down on the hitting mat, the head has a teardrop silhouette which will appeal to the traditionalist players alike. The head is very compact and looks highly versatile which should please the most demanding of wedge connoisseurs out there. These wedges are targeted for mid to low handicap players. Click for more …
A few weeks ago we reviewed the Grandista DAT55G Driver head and today we have the same model except with an SP700 material face and silver highlights on the crown and face, So why produce 2 drivers both with the same design yet just different face materials? Its really about preference of feel, Yoshida-san former tour pro and founder/designer of Grandista was able to produce a slightly softer feel and sound at impact with the SP700 model yet with the same CT “Characteristic of Time” that the ball is compressed against the face and in this case it’s VERY high at CT=257 for both the DAT55G model and the SP700 model. Yesterday I was able to hit both models together so please follow the jump for what I found the difference was…
The PHYZ line is something we’ve rarely touched on in the blog but, with the brand restructuring at Bridgestone, PHYZ has come more into the spotlight, as the Bridgestone lineup targeting Japan’s largest segment of golfers, the average golfer. PHYZ has only been around since it’s introduction in 2011, so barely over 3 years. However it’s stock has continued to rise since that time. It was introduced at a time when Bridgestone was of course still Tourstage, and initially for many it was just another lineup in Tourstage’s pocket buried beneath X-Drive, GR and ViQ. There was so much overlap among the lines that they competed amongst themselves for market share. So with Bridgestone’s restructuring and rebranding here in Japan, there are now only two lines, the new J715 series targeting the better player and the PHYZ line which is aimed at the more average golfer. The average golfer should be thankful that PHYZ is still around as it does a far more focused job at making golf more enjoyable versus the ViQ line which was originally slated as Tourstage’s average golfer line.
I actually happened upon reviewing the PHYZ irons and originally had no intention of doing so. 2014 has been a tough year for me in golf as I battled shoulder issues which kept me from enjoying the game for much of the last 16 months. I went stretches of months where I didn’t play at all which to say the least, really sucked. In the past few months however, I’ve built back enough shoulder strength to start practicing again and I’ve been able to get a few rounds under my belt. Naturally that meant finding new clubs and I went searching for irons with very specific requirements. Those of you who know me know that I do consider myself an average golfer, someone who loves golf clubs and their designs and who loves the game of golf but doesn’t get out there nearly enough to become “very good”. Taking all that time off didn’t help as well so my search called for “forgiving” clubs which translates into 3 things in my mind: 1. Easy to use, 2. Covers up mistakes and miss hits well 3. Automatic distance and accuracy. Adding to the forgiveness aspect, I also wanted something lightweight due to my shoulder issues. Irons are probably a weak spot for me so I decided I would try everything out there to see what would work.
One of the driving ranges I frequent out in Sakura happens to have a lot of demo clubs so every time I went to practice I would grab a few, and this was not limited to JDM models only as I tried TM Speedblade, the new RSi 1, Callaway BB Beta’s, X2 Hot’s, Titleist VG3 Type E, ONOFF Red, XXIO 8, PRGR Super Egg, Epon AF-703 and the list goes on. After trying out all these irons, I had to change my criteria a bit to include “FEEL”. Golf is very much about feel and my years of testing top flight irons for TSG have spoiled me thanks to being able to hit many of the most pure forged irons in Japan. Sadly some or should I say many of the average golfer (you may call them GI) irons lack feel or come across as simply hard. The TM and Callaway irons, while I liked there performance, I hated their feel (and before you jump on me about the feel, please keep in mind feel is subjective and we all perceive feel differently). A lot of this can of course be because of comparing cast irons to forged carbon steel but it’s more than just that. Feel of a club not only comes down to materials, but also the design, the manufacturing, the shaft, an even how the sole interacts with the turf, which all equal what kind of impact you get. That said, I have hit Ti Face as well as Maraging irons that feel very close to forged as well as irons with AS Rolled Faces or Super Spring Steel as they call it.
I was leaning towards XXIO or ONOFF both coming very close too all my criteria – I’m sorry I just could not get over the looks of the Super Eggs nor the feel, when I saw they had the new 2014 PHYZ III iron demo in the rack. I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a hit. I’m not going to beat around the bush. I BOUGHT THE PHYZ IRONS. So I guess I should tell you why.
This is the 4th Generation PRGR Egg fairway wood and since it’s very first rendition we here at TSG have been big fans.
First kudo’s to Pro Gear (PRGR) for always thinking outside of the box, innovating and pushing the boundaries of design, I think the entire Egg series is a reflection of their willingness to take chances in order to gain improved performance.
Recently fairway woods with shallow faces have been getting more love than their deeper faced siblings and for those that need even the slightest help getting the ball airborne a shallow face depth does improve those chances, the first 2 PRGR Egg fairways were semi-shallow but over the years they have slowly evolved into deep faces yet with every ounce of weight pushed as low and close to the ground as possible.
This M.F.D technology morphs the face to expand and retract creating a powerful pop off the face with good timing. The sweet spot is very large especially on misses high or low of the CG. We have more pictures & review after the Jump, click Read More to continue…
When it comes to choosing a a forged iron with all around performance, there are so many models to choose from. Brands in Japan all have at least one model that targets a wide range of golfers with premium forged feel plus ease of use. These type of irons appeal to not only improving golfers but even better golfers looking for some extra forgiveness. Average golfers eye these models as their chance to play a nice forged cavity back that can bring their game to the next level. Year in and year out models like the ONOFF Forged, Titleist VG3 Forged, Yamaha V Forged, XXIO Forged have really done well in that overlapping target range.
As an average and improving golfer who appreciates not only quality forged irons but also design and the technology put into clubs today, I am always on the search every season for those forged irons that do everything well. Too many times these days do I have golfers email me and tell me they have an 18 handicap and are wanting a set of blades. Golf is not an easy game, choosing the right clubs to fit each player can help a player improve and make the game much more enjoyable. Choosing a club that is beyond the level of a golfer can make the game down right frustrating. As much as I would love to play a sexy set of blades and I understand the concept of a “challenge”, I also have to face the fact that I need as much forgiveness and distance I can get as a slower swinger and improving golfer. Many get enamored by the pure feel and design of a muscle back and its promises of great control and workability. These promises are true as long as you can strike the iron well. Many cavity backs today can also provide premium forged feel but with features that help mere mortals make great shots.
I’ve gone through all the usual suspects before, gaming the ONOFF Forged and Titleist VG3 as well as the Yamaha V Forged (2011 model) for extended periods of time. These 3 irons may very well be the benchmark of an average sized forged cavity back that appeals to both sides of the skills spectrum. I decided this year it was time to buck the trend and try something not so mainstream. Golf enthusiast boutique brand Romaro Sports has been growing as an increasingly popular brand here at TSG and is in fact one of the leading component brands in Japan. We have long felt their products are under appreciated and very underrated. Back in February we visited Romaro at the Japan Golf Fair where they showcased their new Type R lineup. The Type R currently includes Fairway Woods, a Utility and a set of forged irons (Type R drivers are also slated for later this summer!). Romaro has always been know as a brand with a focus on the athlete and better golfer so with the introduction of this Type R line, came a new appeal to those who wanted more forgiving clubs with an emphasis on easy launch and big distance. The woods now featured new forged variable cup Ti face and a deeper and lower CG thanks to the use of the HX weight. This helps get the ball in the air and produce a higher but stronger trajectory than the previous Ray FW and UT. What really stood out to me though was the new Ray V Forged Type R iron. I loved they way it looked and the improvements Romaro had made so I waited for months before deciding on this years irons in my bag so I could get my hands on the Type R.
It’s been a great first 6 months of 2013 for S-Yard golf, with the releases of the T.388 driver, Bold Wedge, XV Driver and now the XV fairway woods. At TSG we have seen the FW segment really dominated by the Ryoma fairway woods and PRGR egg Spoon plus a splattering of other brands like Royal Collection, Yamaha, ONOFF, Romaro and Tourstage rounding up the popular choices. The new XV Fairway wood from S-Yard aims to leave its mark firmly in the midst of all these great fairway woods thanks to Kobayashi-san’s vision of how the XV FW will compliment the XV Driver. For those of you who read the introduction and review of the XV Driver here, you will obviously see the resemblance between the driver and fairway wood.
The new XV Fairway wood could pass for a mini XV Driver based on its aesthetics. However the XV is designed to focus on performance as a fairway wood and not a driver replacement (though I’m sure some players could use it as such). Kobayashi-san knows that less and less people seem to be using fairway woods these days so he sought to create a club that would not only satisfy the better player but still be reasonably easy to use. While the head sizes of the 3W and 5W are actually considered to be on the large side at 190cc and 175cc respectively, again through Kobayashi-san’s carefully thought out designs, the heads in no way appear that large. The slightly larger volumes allow for more flexibility in CG placement as well as increased MOI. Kobayashi-san focused on the head shape of the XV to compliment and be just as eye pleasing as the driver. He also decided on slightly flatter lie angles which will appeal to the better player (57* for the 15* and 57.5* for the 18*).
Two and a half years ago when we first introduced Ryoma Golf’s D-1 driver here at Tourspecgolf, we honestly didn’t know what to expect. We had seen the accolades it had received in Japan as a superior distance driver with unparalleled forgiveness but it was at a price point that we really thought would scare of many potential buyers. Fast forward to today and the Ryoma D-1 became TSG’s best selling driver ever with steady and unmatched sales through 2011 and 2012. While there is certainly no such thing as a driver that performs for every single person, the Ryoma D-1 certainly comes close.
Towards the end of 2012, we began hearing rumors that Ryoma was working on a successor to the D-1 driver. We could not help but wonder how anyone could improve on the D-1. Many customers proclaimed it as the holy grail, longer than any driver they had ever hit with unmatched ease of use. Nevertheless, we quietly waited with unwavering excitement and growing expectations.
We found out a few months ago Ryoma had developed a new D-1 Maxima driver and confirmed its existence when we saw a pre production model at the Japan Golf Fair in February. Ryoma eventually announced a late April release initially in the domestic Japanese market where it has gained a cult like status.
While creating the Maxima, Ryoma decided to create some basic points as a premise for its design and truth be told, these points are all pretty obvious and what we would like in every driver. The Maxima would not only produce big carry or not only produce big run, but an optimal amount of both for maximum driving distance. Every player is different and distance will vary for every player so the Maxima works to improve every golfers game by minimizing left and right ball movement as well as eliminating ballooning of shots by reducing back spin and side spin. Noting that many drivers today reach too high an apex in their ball flight causing the ball to drop rapidly with too much back spin and no run, Ryoma focused on optimal spin for carry and a trajectory apex which would allow a powerful descent angle resulting in great run. Ryoma also understood that with different specs and different shafts, the proportion of carry and run will of course be different with every player but this could be overlooked by making a head that simply produces as much initial ball speeds as possible for every individual player.
Today I am going to take a quick look at the new 2013 Yamaha Inpres X Z Cavity. Yamaha, one of Japan’s most popular golf brands had pretty much operated over the last decade with two main lineups the V and D series of clubs. The V series was always aimed at the pro to better player and the D series the mid and improving golfer. Last year they added a new Z series which included irons and a driver for the average golfer and higher handicapper to round out their lineup. For 2013, the driver and irons have been redesigned and joined by a Z fairway wood and a Z utility which shows Yamaha’s intention of taking on Japan’s largest average golfer market against the likes of XXIO and others.
The new 2013 Z Cavity is a larger iron packed with technology and design aspects that focus on ease of use and max performance. A look at the back face of the iron shows a deep and wide pocket cavity. The Pocket cavity helps increase the head’s MOI by spreading out the weight, not only lower but towards the heel and toe which help decrease distance lost on off center hits. Yamaha uses an ES230 Maraging steel face for increased ball speeds and improved feel. Maraging steel is more durable than titanium but can be made thinner than stainless steel for an increase in energy transfer at impact.
Back in February we got the chance to get a sneak peak at Geotech’s all new revised GT lineup. The GT line is Geotech’s bread and butter and represents the best in performance and design and technology, all without breaking the bank. We’ve watched the GT line evolve over the years and with Geotech’s metal wood manufacturing experience, get better with every new release. I had already been a firm believer of the GT line having bagged the GT N SWS FW and Utility in my bag last year. I was very excited to see the all new black GT lineup at the show and could not wait to get my hands on the clubs for some first hand testing.
I typically do not hit a 5 iron in my bag (play strong lofts) so I was looking for something to fill that slot. I immediately thought of the new GT U-0379 so I contacted Geotech and ordered a 24* assembled for me right at the Geotech shop (while Geotech are components, any custom assembled clubs are built for the customer directly at Geotech). The U-0379 is a good looking club, and available in 4 lofts, 17 19 21 and 24* lofts. One thing that got my attention was the heavier heads of the GT utility. By going with heavier heads, it allows for each build to have a shorter club length. We see many utilities today over 40.00″ in length and longer but with the heavy heads, the GT models come out a 1.00 to 1.50″ shorter. Depending on shaft, this can also result in a heavier overall club build. There are a few reasons that this is good. The shorter length club results in more accurate ball striking and more consistency. This results in a good balanced between both distance and direction control/stability. My GT utility was built using the new GT/Fujikura collaboration ISOFIT shaft (71 grams but more on this later) and came out at 360g and D2 swing weight at 38.25″. Compared with other 24* type utilities on the Japanese market we are looking at about 1.00″ or more shorter plus 15-25g heavier. I can get too quick with the swing sometimes especially with a lighter club resulting in either pulls or hooks and topping shots (hitting them thin). I was very happy with this as the extra weight can help control my tempo and help me hit the sweet spot more often.
Dr. H loved his custom set of Yoro MP-69 so much that he decided to get a second set but this time using the MP-63 as a base. It’s our first set of MP-63 and they look simply awesome with the twilight finish. He also added another set of MP-R Wedges this time in black gloss!
Here are the specs!
Mizuno Yoro MP-63 3-PW
H (Mizuno Blue for name and Mizuno and Runbird)
No Paintfill for Iron Numbers
Remove Grain Flow Forged
+0.5mm FP (LESS offset)
W sole grind
38.00″ 5 Iron
1* Upright Lie
1* Stronger Loft
Mizuno New Decade MCC Blue