Here you have it, Ako-san’s latest creation the DST utility wood also known as the Type-D. For those of you who are not familiar with A-Grind it is the vision of Yusuke Ako, Ako-san has been a part of the Japan Tour for over a decade and the designer at Royal Collection from 2004 till 2013 yes and he is the man who created the majority of the fairway woods including every Original Sonartec model that went to the states. In other words this man can design fairways and hybrids like no other and the early adopters of A-Grind’s products couldn’t agree more. The customer feedback is most often that A-Grinds products are shaped great, feel awesome and easier to hit that most. The Type-D (DST) series is the most forgiving fairway and utility wood in the brands entire line up. Ready for more? Follow the Jump!
Looking for the best Japan Made Hybrid Shaft Available? I get this question a lot and while there are many options few I can suggest with the utmost confidence up until now. Introducing the Crazy STP UT shaft, for those not familiar with the STP series it stands for “Step” Crazy Shaft Co. Purchased the patent for this carbon step technology a couple of years ago and created what I believe is the most straight shooting carbon or steel shaft ever made, the STP Iron Shaft. Usually only steel shafts have a step in them now that has changed. The Original STP IRON shaft plays very stiff to flex and is weight to frequency matched meaning you can’t select a weight in any flex they are only sold in specific weight flex combinations. The STP iron shaft is also the lowest flight most spin reducing iron shaft I have ever played and our customer feedback mirrors my opinion. The same concept and technology in the STP irons now flows into the STP Utility Shaft but the key adjustment is that it’s not as stiff, these play true to flex with a more vibrant feel yet extremely straight.
What can also be done is we can have Crazy tip the shafts to play stiffer or softer per the customers request to fine tune to their preferences. The new Crazy STP Utility Shafts are now in stock and shipping immediately shaft only or you can contact [email protected] to set you up with a highly recommended head. Follow the Jump for more photos…
Ryoma is known for making outstanding drivers, fairway woods, and utilities and along with their most recent release the Beyond Power Shaft they have also come out with 3 new utility lofts 18/30/34* which expands the line up to a total of 6 lofts available 18/21/24/27/30/34*. Ready to see more pics? Follow the Jump…
RomaRo Alpha Fairway Wood – The entire series of Alpha woods contains the same DNA, easy to hit, long, very straight forgiving and higher launching I think that wraps it up nicely it’s forged cup face and stainless 17-4 body make for a satisfying sound at impact.
It’s shallow face looks as though you can get airborne well and that inspires confidence a low center of gravity help with picking the ball off turf it’s flatter more rounded sole slides very well. In this post we have both the Fairway & Utility to talk about so please continue to read on…
Introducing the TRPX Utility Series Shaft! Set for a December Release pre orders will be a must as with the unavailability of the Crazy Black Utility these are destined to be in short supply in Japan and on TourSpecGolf. So far little is known but we do know there will at least be R/SR/S versions in 4 different weights UT-6/UT-7/UT-8/UT-9. Stay tuned for more information and keep on the look out in the proshop for the official product listing soon.
In my opinion PRGR and Yamaha lead all brands globally when it comes to Technology and Innovation and it’s not difficult to see why, PRGR also known as Pro Gear is owned and operated by Yokohama Rubber Co. which has it’s hand in not only golf but automotive tires, and industrial products in a wide range of industries globally.
It’s a very good sign when brands issue multiple patents within a single product line for new technologies in the golf industry. Today let’s have a look at the new PRGR iD Nabla RS Utility Woods…
Honma Golf has had gigantic success in decades past catering to the slower swinging wealthy segment of golfer, yet that very same success acts as a double edged sword as now there is a preconceived notion that Honma only produces blingy golden clubs for older ladies & gentlemen.. and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m going to highlight one of their recent products that I just had to have the 2013 TW-U driving iron.
I’m a driving iron junkie, lots of options have recently caught my eye but the #1 concern was always forgiveness & accuracy, so why not use a hybrid wood? Because of accuracy, I rarely ever go OB with a driving iron while with a hybrid I can from time to time. In a nutshell it’s my belief that Driving irons are safer and more accurate with a tighter dispersion IF you excel in iron play over wood play. At the same time If you don’t get the ball up easily, and have a slower swing speed I suggest considering hybrid woods.
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.
ONOFF has always prided itself in creating well designed golf clubs that not only look good but make golf easier and more fun. The Fairway Wings has been their utility model over the last half decade and while in the past there was only one Wings model, for 2012 there are two. In 2011, in addition to its standard Fairway Wings model, we saw ONOFF release a limited edition Pro Spec Fairway Wings which was the choice utility of top ONOFF Pro Shingo Katayama. The club was a hit for not only better players but players of all levels. Because of this, 2012 now sees a Type-D or Red Fairway Wings model made for the average golfer as well as the new Type-S or Black Fairway Wings made for the better and athlete golfer. I was very excited to test these two new demos as over the last 4 years I have always at one time or another had at least one ONOFF Fairway Wings in my bag.
At first glance, the new Type-D and Type-S are not all that different from one another. A quick look at the specs show their head volumes are in fact very similar (the 21* D or Red is 120cc and the 21* S or Black is 122cc). Both feature multi level soles to minimize friction and increase versatility in various lies and both feature tungsten weighting to control CG placement, spin and trajectory. The Type-D Red has a V sole to help the average golfer from loosing too much speed at impact when the sole hits the ground. The V sole also brings the CG a tad lower for a easy strong launch. The Type-S Black sole is rounded which increases its versatility in deep rough and uneven lies, maintaining stability and control.
Both Type-D and Type-S feature variable thickness faces for better feel, more forgiveness and higher ball speeds at impact. What many will like about both models is that they are not very shallow faced like many modern clubs are these days. Lots of clubs are shallow in order to push the CG as low as possible and to make it easy to pick the ball off the fairway right in the center of the face but aren’t always friendly for use off the tee. The Type-S Black is a tad deeper than the Type-D Red but both excel off the tee for longer par 3’s or if you just need to be straight and in the fairway. The feel of both faces is quite crisp but soft, with the Type-S Black being a tad softer due to a thicker center and thicker face areas above and below the sweet spot. The Type-D Red is thick in the middle as well but the walls surrounding the sweet spot are thinner for more spring action benefiting the average swing speed player and golfer.
As I mentioned earlier, both head sizes are very similar in volume and the face depth is also very similar? So whats different besides the sole shape, face thickness and aesthetics? If you look at the clubs from the heel you can see that the while both taper to a shallower crown, the Type-S Black is shorter and more tall through the crown while the Type-D Red is flatter and overall shallower. The shape of their heads alters the CG length and position with the Type-D producing a strong mid trajectory ball which is very stable and controlled for the better player and faster swinger thanks to its shorter CG. The Type-D Red has a longer CG producing a strong but higher launch helping average golfers with more distance through a higher trajectory and more carry.
At address we continue to see more differences. Carried over from the Pro Spec model, the Type-S Black has an iron like look at setup due to the two tone crown. It’s longer ferrule and neck create more of a flow like an iron. The Type-S also features a 0* square face angle. The Type-D on the other hand sets up like a wood and features a 1.0* closed face on all lofts. Its hard to see the visual size difference but the the Type-S Red “appears” bigger due to its shallower crown.
It’s not uncommon for an average golfer like myself to rely heavily on a utility. When the woods are not going well and you still need that distance on a second shot, or in a tough lie, the right utility can have you go from saving par to making double bogey. Because of this, when I look at a utility, first and foremost it has to be easy to hit. It is after all the “rescue” club in your bag. I am happy to report that both Red and Black models of the Fairway Arms are pretty easy to hit even with their deeper faces. Their soles are versatile allowing for good contact resulting in great distance. Another factor in making good contact is the length of the club. Both the Type-D Red and Type-S Black do NOT have a loft where the club length is over 40.00″ and that is a good thing. The shorter length club allows for more control and consistency which in turn leads to better impact and more overall distance. I swung both clubs very confidently due to their length. For comparisons sake, my Royal Collection TRC 20* is 40.50″ in length and the ONOFF Type-D Red 21* is 39.00″, however I did not see much difference in distance as I was able to strike the ONOFF so well. The ONOFF clubs also use maraging faces but are a tad more high pitched at impact which I call crisp. Maraging face feel is very good and you can easily tell when you pured it which is most of the time as the sweet spots are quite large.
The Type-S Red is available in 18 21 24 and 27* lofts with ONOFF’s in house MP-512U graphite shaft. ONOFF’s graphite shafts are typically very good and considered in Japan a step up on most OEM shafts thanks to Daiwa’s expertise in carbon and graphite (see Roddio as well as Daiwa fishing rods). Both the 24* and 27* are surprisingly useful and great for those average golfers who don’t get along with their long-mid irons. In a strong lofted iron set, they replace the 5 and 6 iron very admirably.
Interestingly the Type-S Black which is a Labospec model aimed at the better player comes only in 21* 24* and 27*. It would have been great to see an 18* as well here. The Type-S is offered with a steel shaft only in its stock form, either the 850GH Regular or 950GH Stiff. This is kind of too bad as I can see many players wanting the Type-S with a graphite shaft. The good news is it can be custom ordered with Labospec high modulus shafts or Roddio shafts though there will be a reasonably long wait on those.
I liked both models very much but as a player who uses his utility off the tee and sometimes battles a hook with shorter clubs, the Type-S was my choice of the two. I also like the way it sets up with the two tone crown. I could play both as they both are easy to hit and with good distance but the closed face would only help me if I sliced. I wish however the Type-S also came with a stock graphite shaft as not everyone will fit an iron shafted utility into their set. For the average golfer who needs more distance, ease of use and battles the left side, the ONOFF Type-D Red is a premier choice. Look for the new ONOFF Fairway Wings to be in the pro shop in coming days!
After testing the Geotech GT N SWS Fairway Wood the other day, I was confident that the new GT N SWS would be just as good. So instead of just borrowing a demo from Geotech, I took a leap of faith and asked Geotech to build me a GT N SWS Utility 24* to game in my bag. With Geotech able to custom build any of their clubs with any available shaft in Japan, I had a lot of options to choose from and was considering the new Tour AD DI Hybrid as well as a Crazy Black Utility shaft. Then I thought about how the Geotech heads are ultra attractive due to their cost performance value so why not build the club for me with their most entry level shaft and see how it performs?
Geotech sent over the complete club built to my requested specs which were GT N SWS UT 24*, Geotech Hybrid 75 shaft Regular Flex, Tour Velvet Lite Grip, 39.25″ 357g D0.5 Swing Weight. This combination comes out to 180.00 built to spec which is less than any other shafted utility we offer. They also sent me a GT N SWS 19* Utility demo for me to test side by side with my RC TRC 20*. The GT N SWS shares the same visual cues and technologies and materials as the its Fairway Wood sibling. Stability Screws in the toe and heel allow for altering of bias and trajectory and the stepped sole create trailing edge relief and less friction through the turf and rough.
Wide sweet spot…
Like the FW, the GT N SWS features the Maraging face which provides Titanium like performance and feel equaling nice pop at impact. The Utility face is shallower than the FW and long heel to toe which stretch the sweet area towards typical miss spots for the average golfer. With the shallower head and back weighting, the GT N SWS Utility is very forgiving and designed to launch the ball high and far with a soft landing from any lie. Feel is similar to the FW though not quite as crisp bordering more on the soft but solid side. This is probably due to the size of the head and its more compact shape (being a utility vs a FW).
Nice looking at address…
At address all GT N SWS Utility lofts feature a square face angle and no offset. This UT targets the average golfer but characteristics like face angle and offset will also appeal to the better golfer wanting something forgiving and easy to hit. You can see from the picture above how long the head is from heel to toe. The head shape is very nice and appealing at setup. The GT N SWS UT’s lines flow very well and frame the ball quite nicely providing plenty of confidence.
Reasonable “entry level” shaft…
I was torn over getting the Crazy Black Utility or trying Graphite Design’s new DI Hybrid but as I mentioned, I opted for a basic shaft from Geotech just to see how the the head would perform. Many people are drawn to Geotech clubs for their cost performance so it makes sense to test the club with an equally based cost performance type shaft. The Geotech Hybrid Series shaft are 75 and 85 models that cost around 45.00 (even less if the yen was not so strong). They range in weight from 74 to 89g and are mid torque type shafts with low mid kick. These numbers translate into a stable shaft with good feel thanks to the torque and active tip area. Shafted with the Utility the 75 Regular which I chose created a higher but stable and straight ball trajectory. Performance was very acceptable especially considering its cost. at this point I have no urge to swap it out and will play with it as is. It’s certainly as good as any stock shaft of the shelf from any top manufacturer if not better since you can have it custom installed to spec.
Great workmanship… Great Cost Performance…
One thing you can be certain of is the club work done by Geotech. They are after all Japan’s largest component brand and because of this they assemble a lot of clubs and do a good job of it. Specs are always right on and workmanship is always superb with perfectly matched and turned ferrules which result in better looking work than some of the mass produced big brands off the shelf. Overall I’m impressed with the GT N SWS Utility and its cost performance. There are many utilities that will cost 2 to 3 times more which are out of many players’ budgets. If you want a utility custom made for you under 200.00 (or more depending on the shaft you choose) and want something with top notch materials like a maraging face and technology like interchangeable weights, the GT N SWS is something worth seriously considering. Couple that with its ease of use and high forgiveness and you have a club deserving of a place in any average golfer’s bag. We’ll be adding the GT N SWS to the pro shop this week as heads only (17 19 21 24 27 30* lofts – quite a wide selection) and as a custom club listing with some of the more popular shaft options. As always you can contact us directly for a custom quote and build by Geotech with any shaft and grip of your choice.