SpeedBlade Pitching Wedge
When asked by TaylorMade to review their new SpeedBlade Irons, I was very candid with them about whether the clubs were a fit for my game. As a 2-3 handicap a more appropriate set of irons might be some forged blades, forged muscle backs, or muscle cavity backs. SpeedBlades are cast, a slightly different process which results in a club which feels and performs quite differently than forged. The SpeedBlade irons are meant to benefit players with higher handicaps than mine. My candidness was fine with TaylorMade and they were cool with the fact that I might not be sold on them at the end of the review. That is the case. These will not make it into my gamer bag. But, that is not to say the irons don’t perform as advertised. They certainly would be beneficial to a player in 10 and up handicap range. Let us take a look.
SpeedBlade Irons Overview
The SpeedBlade iron set is a work of engineering across all the clubs. Each individual club has its own design characteristics with regards to center of gravity location, loft, face thickness, club length, and in the “Speed Pocket” found in the 3-7 irons.
What is a “Speed Pocket” other than another marketing buzz phrase? It is a design property which helps players who hit shots low on the face. That would be an overwhelming percentage of players in the handicap range from 5-25. The result of those low strikes on the face is low trajectory. The Speed Pocket helps those players launch the ball higher. When asking most of the players I know who play the SpeedBlades, their primary reason for using them is that the irons launch the ball higher.
Other design characteristics of the club include a sharp looking gray matte finish, and head structure designed to absorb vibrations.
Notice the Speed Pocket on the 7-iron but not on the 8-iron – click to zoom
Part of the process I went through with the SpeedBlades was a fitting at my local TaylorMade Performance Lab. If you’ve never done one of these fittings I highly recommend it. In the TMPL, the tech puts a bunch of reflectors on your body and the golf club. Sensors in the room use the reflectors to create a 3D rendering of your body and your golf swing. The swing can be analyzed from every imaginable angle, and compared side-by-side or 3D overlayed with other tour players like Dustin Johnson. At five foot nine and very limited flexibility due to a bad back, the 3D overlay of Dustin’s swing and mine were needless to say, slightly different.
The granny over the top dual chicken wing golf swing rendered in 3D!
The fitting can be quite educational and beneficial for one’s game, regardless of what golf clubs one has.
At the end of my fitting the computer spit out the perfect specs for my swing and game, and the perfect set of irons, the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB. Since the tech knew I would be getting SpeedBlades, the system also produced the perfectly matched set for my swing as well. Standard lies and shaft lengths, but two degrees flat.
On The Course
In the 2013 U.S. Open the shot of the tournament was Justin Rose’s 4-iron on the final hole. He was one of the only players in the field to reach that green in regulation. His clutch par there helped him claim his first major championship. That 4-iron was a SpeedBlade. I can feel Justin on this. The 4-iron of the SpeedBlade set was quite amazing for me. In fact, on one shot to an elevated par-4 from 225, I hit it so well I was past the green about 15 yards. The thing is long, as is the rest of the set. That length is due to many factors like the club head design, slightly longer shafts, and strong lofts.
Sharp looking sticks!
The rest of the set delivered as promised. I was hitting 7-irons on a trajectory that looked similar to what I’d see on my other irons from a 9-iron. I’ve never hit irons that high.
As suspected however, I missed the feel of forged irons and the feedback they produce. Players who play forged usually want the feedback in the form of vibration and sound. The SpeedBlades work to reduce that vibration, therefore produce less feedback. This made it tough for me to tell if I was hitting the sweet spot or somewhere else. A double digit handicapper probably does not want that vibration though.
The TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons do deliver massive distance and very high trajectories, just as advertised. While not the right clubs for my game (the granny over the top dual chicken wing 2-handicap), I was impressed with the extra distance and high launch I gained when playing them.
SpeedBlade Irons – 4-Iron is LOOOONG!
Just like Justin Rose, I may put that 4-iron (pictured above) in the bag with my forged muscle back irons. I may not win the U.S. Open with it, but it might help close out that intense $2.00 nassau.
HOG TaylorMade SpeedBlade iron photos
For the last couple of months I’ve been testing out the Grenade Driver by Bombtech Golf. I really enjoy working with some of the smaller golf companies who have a great entrepreneurial spirit, love of the game, and a passion for the gear. Sometimes those basic qualities can be lost lost in the mega-marketing campaigns and big-corporate worlds of the large players in golf equipment.
Below we will look at an overview of the Grenade and how it is built, the specs, aesthetics, and how it performs on a real golf course in real conditions. I base my reviews off of real on-course results, unlike lame golf blogs or review sites who simply regurgitate press releases and PR speak and if you are lucky, base their reviews off of hitting 10 balls on the driving range.
The Bombtech Grenade driver is a 460cc driver, the max cubic centimeters allowed by the governing bodies of golf. The unit was codesigned with the University of Vermont’s Engineering Department.
Bombtech Golf Grenade Driver
Two cavities in the back of the head provide a couple of benefits. First, air flow interaction with the cavities promotes square and straight club head path. Second, more weighting is distributed to the center of gravity as well as the outside edges of the head.
The driver face is plasma welded to the head, a process common in modern driver construction.
The max allowable COR (coefficient of restitution) in legal drivers is .83, exactly what the Grenade has. This is essentially a measurement of how much spring there is in the face.
The drivers are assembled in Vermont, not China.
Face Material: Ti-1188 hardened titanium
Hosel Depth: 38mm
Weight: 199 grams
Face Angle: 0*
Shaft lengths available: 44.5 to 47 inches.
Loft: 10.5 degrees
Shaft flexes: senior, regular, ladies, stiff, extra-stiff
Available grips: Pure Pro Standard, Pure Pro Midsize
Classy Top Line
The Grenade features a very cool matte black finish. It reminds me of some great looking Harley Davidsons with badass flat black paint. The head is not decorated with busy and distracting artwork, lines, or designs. Its black, mean, and classy.
The green/black color scheme of the shaft and head is clean and sharp looking.
Feedback from the club to the player comes in a few forms, most commonly audibly and through the feel. Through this feedback players will know if they’re hitting the sweet spot, or if there are adjustments needed due to toe or heel contact.
The sound this driver makes is very “sweet.” One knows that sweet pinging sound when a well struck shot is executed. The sound is slightly less pingy for off-center hits.
The feel of the club is great. Sweet spot shots feel buttery and solid, while toe and hosel shots are easy to detect.
Another small visible feedback is due to the black face of the driver. Golf balls will leave visible fingerprints on the face, allowing the player to see precisely where the contact is occurring.
I’d have to say the one thing missing from the Grenade as compared to many offerings from the bigger companies is adjustability. The Grenade is not adjustable. That being said, most players, including myself, adjust the driver once and leave it set for their swing. For example, once I adjusted a driver I acquired in 2012, I’ve never changed the setting since.
One other critique is the lack of multiple lofts, especially in lieu of not being adjustable. The unit is only available in 10.5 degrees, which works great for me. But for those who need more or less launch angle, they’re out of luck for now. Perhaps more lofts will be available down the road.
The head cover for the Grenade is as solid as the driver itself. The cover is easy to put on and take off, and not too bulky.
Bombtech Golf Grenade Driver and Head Cover
On The Course
Over the last couple of months I’ve played the Grenade, and compared to popular drivers from bigger name companies. In my opinion this driver is equally as long as any driver I’ve recently played, yet as easy or easier to hit than most.
The feedback, especially the sound, is tremendous. I can tell immediately if I’m off-center, and make corrections quickly during a round.
The 10.5 degree model I tested launched at a solid and pleasing angle for my normally low ball flight. I had plenty of carry and roll and the ball did not baloon in the wind. One highlight drive includes being inside the 150 marker on the 470 yard par-4 18th at my home course.
Yesterday on the range a stranger inquired about the driver when he saw me hitting it. I told him about it and asked if he wanted to try it. He only hit one ball, perhaps not wanting to inconvenience me. His one ball hit the fence at the end of the driving range, ¾ of the way up! Wow. Not to be outdone, I teed one up and flew it OVER the fence.
The Grenade is a solid driver which competes with or exceeds the performance, aesthetics, distance, and feel of the big name drivers on the market. And if one is not sure about spending the $299, Bombtech offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
HOG Grenade Driver photos
Bombtech Golf website
While at the Championship Course at Sand Hollow Resort this past Sunday I broke the seal and opened up a brand new Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta 3-Fairway to begin my testing for an upcoming review. I hit the club a few times on the range and a few times on the course. I’m not ready to post a review yet because, unlike lame golf blogs and golf equipment review sites, I actually PLAY the club for about a month (12-20 rounds) before I do my review. I test clubs on real golf courses, not on swing analyzers. I don’t just read the PR sheet or manufacturer’s website and regurgitate their club descriptions, and I don’t post stock photos of the products.
Tour Edge Exotics SCG7 Beta Fairway – click for more
I can say that the first impressions I’ve got with this club are that is is extremely attractive and classy looking. Off the tee I hit dead straight lasers on the course Sunday, one leading to a great birdie. I struggled a bit hitting her off the ground as I have yet to settle in on the proper ball position.
Exotics XCG7 Fairway Sole – click for more pictures
Stay tuned for my full review and for now, check out the HOG Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta Fairway photos by clicking the link in this sentence or the photos in this article.
I just unboxed the new BombTech Golf Grenade driver and shot a few photos which I’ve added to the new HOG BombTech Golf photo library. I dig the black and green color scheme and this thing looks very nice from the topline.
BombTech Golf Grenade Driver – click to see more photos
The unit came in at an opportune time, as I’m playing in a (gasp) scramble this afternoon. Scrambles are perfect for driver testing! It will take me far more than one round of testing to do my complete review. Unlike other lame blogs and golf websites, I actually put the club in play for about a month, 15-20 rounds, to be sure I’ve got the feel and full background on the club’s performance.
BombTech Golf Grenade Driver Topline
I hope to beat my opponents senseless with this monster. Not physically, but with big drives. Well, maybe.
Well it has begun. It is only March 3rd, but I’ve received the first announcement about limited edition Masters golf gear. Cobra Golf’s new Masters green Bio Cell driver will be available on March 15th with a limited run of 2014 units.
Masters colored golf equipment, a PR tradition like no other…
I must admit, this green looks quite splendid. I want one.
For more information check out the Cobra Golf Limited Edition Green Bio Cell driver press release on the HOG sister site HogWire.biz. HogWire is where I post all the golf press releases I receive.