Swing Guru Bret Smith goes over some great techniques to help you through the windy months of April.
To read more on Bret Smith’s swing strategies visit the following links:
Taylormade R9 460cc MAX Japan Only Model
This year at the 2009 Tokyo Golf Show Taylormade’s booth was front and center with a long list of new products that should excite golfers on both side of the pond. The headliner was the new R9 Driver which was released in the USA in a different size of 420cc’s while the Japanese market has both the 420cc and an exclusive R9 MAX 460cc version. Yes the MAX 460 is USGA conforming. The R9 460cc driver features only one weight instead of 3 and we were told by Taylormade Japan design department that due to the increased size the additional weights would be unnecessary making the head way to heavy.
What Else is Different?
The stock shaft is the new Fujikura Motore (Japan version) available in Regular (53g mid kick), Stiff/Regular (55g mid kick), Stiff (64g mid-high kick) and X-Stiff (65g mid-high kick) flexes.
The R9 Max is also available with the Fujikura Motore F1 TP 65J (Japan version) in Stiff (68.5g low-mid kick) or X-Stiff (70g low-mid kick) at an additional charge.
The R9 Max is also available from Taylormade Japan with top of the line Japanese Market shafts including the Fujikura Japan Motore Speeder VC6.0, Graphite Design Tour AD EV-6 and Diamana Kai’li 60 at an additional charge. These are considered the hottest shafts in Japan and ordering these gets you the actual shaft, not TM branded and colored shafts. All three shafts are strong kicking peformance control shafts. The Kai’li is the lowest launching of the bunch and amazing at taking the right side out of play. The EV and Speeder are mid to high launch max carry shafts. The EV spins low and carries far and the Motore Speeder is the worlds first 7 axis shaft with superb control.
Click More to Watch More Taylormade R9 Videos…
Yonex Golf has eploded in popularity over the last year or so thanks to the signing of super phenom Ryo Ishikawa. Yonex has always made very respectable equipment but the singing Ishikawa has blown demand through the roof. In 2009 Yonex has launched the new NanoV Nextage line, with a driver based on designs specifically made for Ishikawa. Mark Kanai over at Golf Digest Japan took the time to compare both flavors or NanoV Nextage Drivers, the Type 460 and Type 430.
Both new NanoV drivers are all Titanium and feature a carbon graphite crown comprising of CS (CupStack) Carbon Nanotube and Elastic Ti. These materials increase strength and improve energy transfer through the shaft resulting in increased ball speeds. The Nextage driver features a power isometric face with variable thickness and longer toe and heel for maximum COR. This increases the sweet area minimizing distance loss on off center hits.
The Type 430 is the athlete model aimed at better golfers an those wanting control and workability. The 430cc has a more traditional shape with high back design and deeper face than its bigger 460cc brother. The Type 460 has a shallower face and shallow back MOI type design made for higher launch and more forgiveness. The Type 460 focus on big carry and distance. Ishikawa plays the Type 430.
Technical specs from Mark Kanai’s testing:
- Type 460 10* with R1 flex shaft, 46.25″ long, 288.2g D2 swing weight.
- Type 430 10* with Graphite Design Tour AD EV-6 Stiff, 45″ long, 315.4g D1.5 swing weight.
The test Type 430 which is spec’ed to have a square face angle had a real face angle of 0.75* closed. The Type 460 had a real face angle of over 2* closed. Real lofts were also slightly higher than stated.
Mark first tested the Type 460, shots in the center of the face resulted in straight to slight draw shots with spin below 2600rpm. Hitting higher on the face actually caused the spin to drop to around 1700-2100rpm. The low spin and deep center of gravity give it a respectable launch over 15* and good overall distance. The picture on the right shows a typical shot. A 97mph swing produced 244.9 yards carry and 261.4 yards total. 6 yards to the right off center ( (Mark tries to slow his swing down when testing Regular flex but the head probably could not catch up and stayed open!). Backspin at 2302rpm and a launch of 15.7*. Ball speed 146mph. Noted was the nice “KAKIN” sound on impact thanks to the Ti face and carbon crown.
Next up was the Type 430 and it’s shallower center of gravity aimed at a lower trajectory. The EV-6 is a stable and firm shaft providing good kick and control with the Type 430. The 430 paired with the EV-6 creates a nice soft feel as the ball catches the face. Shots are typically a fade ball. Distance is as good as the 460.
There were higher launches on both most likely due to the higher real loft. This may vary on drivers off the shelf.
Overall Mark gave both drivers an over 80% rating for overall, feel, performance and value. The 460 can work for the slicer looking for a straighter ball and more distance however the stock shafts may feel soft and launch high. The 430 matches well with the EV and can be worked straight or fade. Both drivers produce a low spin trajectory and provide adequate forgiveness.
While we’re on the topic of new Taylormade clubs I thought I would do a post on Yuko Mitsuka’s bag. Yuko is a top JLPGA pro who has 3 victories on the Japanese tour. She started golf late at 14 years of age, and now at 24 is always on the leaderboard competing for top spot. She is known to be very long off the tee and a very good iron player.
Yuko began playing these clubs back in early March and was one of the first ladies on tour here to carry the R9 driver. She plays the R9 at 9.5* with Japan spec Motore F1 65 in stiff flex.
Yuko carries 2 woods, a Japan spec 2008 V-Steel 15* and the older r7 Steel 5 wood at 18*. She also has a TP Rescue 21* in the bag.
Her irons are the brand new 2009 TP Forged 4-PW and she plays the TM Z TP Wedges in 52 and 58* lofts.
Her putter is a trusty Gauge Design Japan GAOOH Hoshino Model.
Her distances are as follows:
1W ： 260yards
3W ： 240yards
5W ： 220yards
4U ： 205yards
4I ： 190yards
5I ： 180yards
6I ： 170yards
7I ： 160yards
8I ： 150yards
9I ： 140yards
PW ： 120yards
AW ： 104yards（52*）
SW ： 84yards（58*）
After long anticipation and waiting while every one used standard 420cc R9 drivers, the R9 Max Japan model driver officially launched today in Japan!
We received our drivers on Saturday and began shipping them out today and filling the many pre orders we had. I spent the weekend fiddling with the R9 Max and playing with Flight Control Technology for the first time.
FCT looks to be an interesting and useful technology. Those who love to fidget with their clubs and test different configurations are in for a treat. This is a golf lover and gadget freaks dream driver. One of the things I noted right of the bat together with Tourspecgolfer was that the overall weight of these drivers is a lot more than standard drivers you see making us question how heavy is FCT in the hosel area? I’ve always wondered how that affects the balance of that head with extra weight added due to FCT but after testing the driver this weekend it does not seem to affect balance or performance. But for those who prefer ultra light JDM spec drivers this is a touch heavier which can both be a good and bad thing.
Taylormade has told me that there will be even more FCT shafts available down the road including several lightweight ones which I’m definitely looking forward to trying.
Many people have been opting for the R9 Max over the R9 even with the added cost of Japanese market pricing due to several of the benfits provided by the R9 Max. For those who don’t alread know:
- The R9 Max is 460cc large and is meant to be more forgiving than its 420cc R9 brother. The larger head inspires confidence who need it.
- The R9 Max has only one weight port but has a larger left right spread than the R9 thanks to its ability to adjust face angle by 3* either way.
- With the 3* face angle either way, effective loft is changed 1.5* stronger or weaker. (TM has used the simple calculation, every 1* the face angle is changed equals 0.5* for loft.
- The stock Motore shaft for the R9 Max is lighter than the US Spec R9 by 10+ grams. The R9 drivers are heavier as it is. The lighter shaft is good for feel and distance for us average folks.
- The best upgrades are available for the R9 Max and R9 Japan Market drivers including the Tour AD EV series, Diamana Kai’li and very hot Fujikura Speeder Motore. More shafts are on the way.
This year at the Tokyo Golf Show Geotech Golf Japan showed off some of their hot new releases like the new hand ground Japan forged and produced GT Tour Wedge designed with no offset and a tear drop shape with the optimal amount of trailing edge relief for the better player who likes to manipulates the face.
Overall Geotech had a ton of new releases adding to the Black GT line and introducing a new SP series for the mid-low handicap player. Geotech is a brand known for many new releases each year and expect no less for 2009 as they plan to release 25+ new models into their already vast product line.
Geotech is one of Japan’s well know component brands, and offers components at an amazing performance to price ratio. They have been in the golf business in Japan for over 20 years.
New 2009 Geotech Golf Products:
The Japanese golfer just as much as any other enthusiast loves to emulate their favorite pro and play what he or she plays. Ryuji Imada is a mainstay overseas on the PGA tour but that doesn’t stop the Japanese media from watching his every move. What he eats, drinks, wears and of course what he putts with. Titleist and Scotty Cameron have taken advantage of the Japanese market “limited edition” craze and released this month a new Scotty Cameron Inspired by Ryuji Imada Putter.
Limited to 500 pieces this putter is pretty much sold out or called for already within a week of its release. A prototype Del Mar which Ryuji requested a center shaft for, the Inspired By features his initals in the cavity along with Titleist and 2 weights on the heel and toe side of the face. INSPIRED BY RYUJI IMADA and Scotty Cameron DESIGN on the sole. The grip is a Black Baby-T and the head cover is an Inspired by Ryuji Imada Special.
We may try and get our hands on a few of these through our Titleist Japan connections because we are suckers for limited editions just like anyone else. (^_^)
Brian Gay Victorious at the Verizon Heritage Classic
Texas born Brian Gay’s best position prior to today was 31st on the money list in 2008. After his performance and win today his stock has increased pushing him up in the world rankings. With only 1 pro victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera last early last year Gay is showing some serious potential for this golf season. Already in 2009 Gay finished tied for 5th at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Tied for 6th at the FBR Open and Tied for 18th at the Mercedes Benz Championship.
Gay shot a 64 7 under to win breaking the 13 year old record finishing at 20 under 264. Gay came into the final sundays round with a significant lead and pulled even further from the pack to seal the deal for his second win on the PGA Tour.
To view Brian Gay’s Player Stats and to see what’s in his bag please follow the jump to read more.
Mizuno JPX, Black Limited MP Craft, E600 Forged Irons and more…
This year Mizuno highlighted the completion of the New 2009 JPX line featuring all new Japan only Mizuno products like the JPX E600 Driver, Fairways, Utility, Irons, and Putters. GTI is most excited about the E600 Forged Irons which are rumored to be produced at Endo Japan the worlds premier Japanese Foundry.
In the video if you take a look between 0:33 – 1:25 you can get a good look at examples of Mizuno’s Custom Program stamping, model and paint fill options.
Other special products worth noting are the already sold out Limited Edition MP Craft BLACK driver and the Mizuno Quad Series shafts that have struggled to gain popularity although TSG testers who desire a more penetrating ball flight rave about the butt stiff models fitting the bill.
To check out the actual product availability and for more info please visit www.tourspecgolf.com/proshop
Mizuno 2009 JPX E600 Forged Irons
Since 2007 when Taylormade first released the r7 Forged, golf enthusiasts have been coming back every year to continue enjoying forged TM irons from the Japnese market. Tourspecgolf previewed the new 2009 TP Forged in their forum with sneak peak photos from the Japan Golf Fair. We are just over a week away from the official launch in Japan and already pros and people with accesss to demos are raving about this new iron.
The new TP Forged has some changes over last years model. The 2009 has a straighter and boxier shape and with the less rounded toe appears shorter face length wise. While the face progression numbers look similar to the 2008 model, TM touts a straighter neck. The finish is a nickel chrome satin mix with satin being on the face and top line to eliminate glare and reflection. Gone is the micro milled face. The back cavity is a bit shinier than we would have liked but it does make up for it with a very clean design sporting only the TP emblem in the cavity and none of that orange and red stuff we saw last year.
Feel wise, our TP Forged test irons still has nice soft feel with good crisp feedback on impact. This “soft yet crisp” feel can be attributed to the choice of S25C steel for its forging. Not the softest steel available, but forged soft enough and not mushy. Feedback and control is what TM pros want and this is what they get. The TP Forged is available off the bat with standard 950GH shafts from Nippon and DG S200 and X100. Upgrade shafts include PX and 1050GH. Our test irons had the DG S200 which produces a nice mid iron trajectory with good accuracy and adequate spin control even without the milled face. One thing we keep wishing for is that TM would allow length adjustments… I’m sure if they did they would sell many more of these beauties.
Dont Forget to Check Out Our Image Gallery for 15 more high resolution images of the 2009 Taylormade TP Forged Iron.
For more information or to inquire about availability please check out the full listing by Clicking Here