By Barry Lotz
All golfers are constantly seeking to improve their golf game, whether it’s with a new club, ball, or training aid. Most overlooked though, is the simple golf lesson offered by so many excellent golf teachers in most every city, where golf is played.
However, should you not be so inclined to take golf lessons, then the following clubs will most definitely improve your fairway game and, of course, garner those magical extra yards.
The appeal of adjustable drivers is near an all-time high, according to industry researcher Golf Datatech. Some 85 percent of golfers say they are at least interested in purchasing a driver with a rotating hosel and/or movable weights. But there are manufacturers betting that at least some golfers need a driver that doesn’t change—one that’s just engineered to hit it higher and mitigate a slice.
To achieve this, manufacturers have chosen to forfeit the fitting options and save the costs by making their clubs nonadjustable. Do they have a point? Well, Golf Datatech’s research shows that although one in two low-handicappers are very interested in adjustable drivers, only one in three high-handicappers are. Here we present two drivers, one adjustable, the other not…
From the company that espouses commitment to quality, another outstanding club is now available. PING’s approach to new equipment starts with knowledge, and then the products emerge from that knowledge. PING only releases new products if they actually outperform the previous model.
Following the HUGE success of the G30 and G line, the G400 is the newest iteration of their driver.
In a nutshell – “Wow! What a beauty!” As good looking as it is powerful. Expect 8 -20 more yards on your drives. It is also very easy to hit off the fairway and rough, depending on your lie.
Out 25 testers and 17 of the 20 retailers visited in Las Vegas, San Diego, and Palm Springs, unequivocally, agree that the PING G400 is the best sounding and feeling G driver PING has made for a while, quite possibly back even to the G2 and G5. It has a much lower pitched, richer sound that makes this one of the best sounding drivers in the market.
As with most major brands, PING tries to get the CG (Center of Gravity) of their drivers as low and far back as they can to make them as forgiving as possible, and so far, they are singularly the most successful at doing this, according to the many retailers and our testing group.
PING’s G400 driver has managed to go deeper and lower again over the G30 models.
The USP (Unique Selling Propositions) – Despite their slimmer frames, the G400 drivers are actually more forgiving than the G drivers (which were even more forgiving than the G30). Smaller heads move faster through the air than larger ones and according to PING’s numbers, the 445cc G400 driver is as aerodynamic as the G30 driver shrunk to 295cc, so that is a big improvement in two generations.
Another big change is the other weight saver. This is the T9S+ Titanium Forged Face that is 6% thinner and can, therefore, flex 16% more to increase ball speed by 1.2mph at a 105 mph swing speed.
The deeper CG comes from the tungsten weight that is placed behind the gold screw weight that Ping uses to modify the head weight during their custom fitting process. With a combined MOI (Moment of Inertia) over 9000 and the deepest CG location in golf, it elevates stability and forgiveness to the highest levels ever.
The G400 gold weight is made from a 30% denser material than the previous G sole weight, and as a result, it is smaller and looks better as well.
As with previous driver models, the use of Dragonfly Technology (a geometry on the back of the driver crown that helps push CG lower and more rearward in the driver heads) creates an ultra-thin crown and skirt for weight savings to optimize the CG location and increase MOI for maximum forgiveness and accuracy.
Dragonfly ribs on the inside of the head, not only provide additional stability, but also modify the sound to caress your ears as you blast one into the atmosphere.
The standard G400 driver comes in lofts 9˚ and 10.5˚.
Like before, there is also a G400 SF Tec option that uses Straight Flight Technology (more TWT) where the tungsten weight moves from the back of the sole towards the heel, combined with a lighter D0 swing weight and allows the face to square more easily, for those of us who have a little leakage to the right.
Available in 10° and 12° lofts, the SFT was first introduced in the G30. In my opinion, this was a really good option and it grew to become the biggest selling head option in the G driver range. I believe, and expect that to continue with the G400.
At the other end of the scale is the low spin LS Tec, where the tungsten is moved forward in front of the gold weight to lose around 300 rpm spin from the 8.5° and 10° heads.
A large variety of loft and head options, as well as two different lengths of the counterbalanced Alta CB shaft are available. PING’s proprietary counter-balance design allows for more mass in the head to increase energy transfer. Color-Shift Paint Technology means the vibrant copper shaft paint transitions to nearly black, as you address the ball to eliminate distraction.
After market shafts include the PING Tour 65, PING Tour 75, the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi, the Project X HZRDUS Yellow, and the Aldila X- Torsion Copper. All with an upcharge beginning at $45 to upwards of $250, based on the shaft choice made.
The standard length is 45.75 inches, but there is also a ‘Tour Length’ 45.25 inch shaft, which may suit more golfers for better accuracy. Both come in a copper color that morphs into black as you put the club down at address, which is a cool feature on this and all the other G400 woods.
Every PING G driver is good, a little bit better than the last, through solid engineering, but with the improvement in looks and sound, the Ping G400 should go down as one of their very best.
The Vertical Groove Driver
Looking for a handsome driver that stands out and performs? The Vertical groove driver is such a club. Kenny Perry, John Daly and Rocco Mediate are devotees of this driver. Both Perry and Daly recording victories on the Champions Tour.
According to Managing Partner of Vertical Groove Golf, Rubin Hanan.”All three have picked up distance. “Kenny, who has been one of the top five longest drivers, has gained about five yards; Rocco picked up 12 yards, and, of course, John has picked up eight yards and has tightened his mishits down the fairway.”
The simplest solutions are usually the best, and yet, they are often the most overlooked. The Vertical Groove Driver is the first radical change to the face of the golf club in decades–and yet it couldn’t be simpler. Every golf club today uses horizontal grooves. Vertical Groove’s patented VGG Technology starts by rotating those grooves 90 degrees.
In an era where most drivers don’t have any grooves on the face at all, not only does the Vertical Groove driver stand out by having them, but as the name suggests, they are positioned vertically instead of horizontally. The 17 score lines on the face appear to offer more accuracy and better feel according to our testing group.
VGG Technology was developed by one of the greatest inventors in golf, Tony Antonious. Tony is well known for hundreds of golf patents, including the use of Velcro on the golf glove.
The 450 cc club was officially launched in January 2017. And just as the name suggests, the driver sports patented vertical grooves on the club face, rather than the standard horizontal ones on rival clubs, such as TaylorMade, Ping and Callaway — something that has proven to increase not only driving distance, but accuracy and forgiveness.
The look at address is very distinctive as well. It features a white crown with a large black oval section divided by a long green dotted alignment line. You can also see the bulge and roll, as well as the vertical grooves themselves at address. Some of our testing group found that this could take a bit of getting used to.
The Vertical Groove Driver sounds and feels great at addresses and produces a solid feel crunch from the titanium head.
The driver is equipped with an Aldila, premium grade NV2K series shaft which added an average of 10 yards more to the majority of our testing group. They all felt that the dispersion rate appeared to be 40 percent straighter in terms of flight down the fairway compared to their current drivers. Upgraded shafts are available for an additional fee.
Dispersion and distance-from-center tests were even more impressive. In head-to-head testing with the same upgraded shaft in every club, Vertical Groove drives were 43% closer to the center-line and had much less dispersion. Dispersion on the VGG club was 1.6 yards vs. an average of 13.5 for the competition. Some of the competitors had as much as 22.7 yards of dispersion.
The packaging of the club is world class. The design of the head cover is upscale and elegant, as are the towel and bag tag and shipping box. Even the product card was of notable quality.
A special mention must go to the see-through head cover which is easy to take on and off and looks great with the lime green flashes.
|Right & Left Handed Lofts are available in
||9.5°, 10.5°, 12°
|And shaft flexes are available in Ladies, Senior, regular, Stiff and Tour X.
Tour Edge EXOTICS CBX Fairway Wood
Tour Edge’s David Glod’s genius has surfaced again!
The Exotics legacy is renewed with the all-new CBX woods as independent test results prove them to be the longest, most powerful on the market today. Everything else falls short against the CBX, outdistancing competitors on average of 16 yards. Exotics once again takes distance gains to the next level with absolute center of gravity (CG) for control, and power.
Tour Edge engineers introduced their first Exotics fairway wood in 2004, creating new benchmarks for technology, distance and power in a fairway wood. The engine of the CBX Hybrid again lies within Exotics core ethos of using superior multi-materials and construction methods. A Beta Ti cup face is brazed with a Hyper Steel body to produce the perfect launch and low spin combination.
The CBX design alters the club’s CG to manipulate initial launch angle and velocity, also reducing the amount of spin the ball will have on release. The precise engineering creates a spin-killing distance machine – and the proof is in the numbers. Independent testing proves that the CBX fairway wood outdistances its most popular competitors an average of over 16 yards.
“The CBX wood is a game-changer. The distance gains from the independent test are phenomenal. Then we saw the spin numbers and started calling it the ‘spin-killer’ around the office,” said President and Founder David
Glod. “Everything has lined-up for the CBX, the design, compilation of materials, and CG location to make it our next BEST fairway wood.”
The absolute CG location in the CBX fairway wood is combined with precise weighting throughout the club head.
To locate the precise CG, a carbon sole unit moves mass forward. The longer toe to heel and shorter front to back head shape optimizes performance with CG location. The higher CG location minimizes spin for optimal low-spin distance. The result is the lowest spinning, exceptionally versatile fairway wood capable of delivering amazing distances and performance.
Engineers developed the new Speed Ramp sole based on the design of the SlipStream™ sole waves in the CB PRO fairway wood. The Speed Ramp sole is the next generation of design to minimizes ground contact and maintain speed through impact.
The super thin Beta Titanium face is combo brazed to the heavy hyper steel body without welding for exact weighting tolerances. Highlighting the face is the Exotics variable face thickness technology for forgiveness on off-center hits. Cosmetically the CBX is beautifully modern featuring a strong black finish without any alignment marks.
The CBX fairway wood is for sale in four lofts; 3 (13.5 degree), 3 (15 degree), 4 (16.5 degree), and 5 (18 degree). Premium shafts include the Project X HZRDUS series and Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver Dual Core, a standard Lamkin Z5 grip for comfort. Custom premium shaft options – no additional charge – Aldila Rogue Silver and Black series, Exotics Fujikura Pro series, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana series, and Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Blue series.
Every Tour Edge club comes with a lifetime warranty and a 30-day play guarantee. For more information, call (800) 515-3343 or visit touredge.com.
The Project X HZRDUS and the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver shafts are available in a variety of weights and flexes, primarily R, S and X.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf” is now in its 9th printing. He currently works with 14 Tour Players on mental coaching, putting and scoring techniques.
He can be reached at www.pgtaa.com or email@example.com