As 2009 comes to a close it is time for my annual HOG SPACE awards. For those new readers, HOG is short for my blog Hooked On Golf Blog. SPACE is short for my golf networking site called The Golf Space.
The awards come in no particular order. Just how they leak out of my cranium. Drum roll please…
Player of the year & “Playa” of the year
Best golf course I played in 2009
Black Mesa in New Mexico, pictured below. And yes I played TPC Sawgrass this year and like Black Mesa better…
Black Mesa, New Mexico
Best new driver
TaylorMade r9. I would have picked the Nike STR8-Fit, but since my STR8-Fit head caved in and Nike wouldn’t replace it, I’m awarding the best new driver to TaylorMade’s r9.
I’ve met a lot of neat friends through my site, The Golf Space. One is the owner, founder, creator, brains behind Weszty Golf. My pal John Wesztergom founded Weszty Golf back in 2005 and has been passionately designing and building clubs since. Weszty’s mission is to make the game more enjoyable for players of all skill levels. Today we’ll be talking about highly skilled players.
Weszy Golf Zt-C Irons Overview
The Zt-C (I’ll call them the Zt’s from this point on) is an “Enhanced Blade” iron. For those who don’t know what a “blade” is, they’re typically smaller and harder to hit but allow more control of shot shapes and launch angles. Blades also have more “feedback” or feel of shots, translated to the player through the vibration and sound of the club. Higher level players, especially PGA Tour pros, often use blades. These clubs are definitely not for a 20 handicap player.
Remember the Medicus from years ago? The SKLZ Refiner series are clubs with a similar concept. The Refiner Driver is a hinged training driver which shows breakdowns in your swing.
Two huge factors in the golf swing are tempo and swing plane.
Many players’ tempos are way too fast or jerky at different points in the swing. The Refiner driver breaks down when the following tempos are too quick:
Take away tempo
Top of the swing pause
Start of the downswing
Pronation or follow through
I thought I had a very smoothly timed wing, but the Refiner had a different story. I found that my takeaway was too quick. My “normal” swing had the hinge breaking down between the start of my takeaway and the first foot or two back. I really thought I was slow and smooth here but I wasn’t. Since adjusting that small part of my swing I’m hitting the ball higher and father. The rest of my swing was fine, according to the Refiner.
If you swing the club with a bad swing plane the Refiner will also break down. This helps players get on plane, especially slicers. If you are coming outside in, the usual cause of a slice, the Refiner will let you know.
You can actually hit shots with the Refiner Driver, as seen in the video below
While out testing a myriad of golf gear on a cold cold day at the south range of my home course my pal and mini tour pro Luke Swilor stopped by. I put Luke to work testing the Refiner. Luke is a high level player and I was anxious to see what happened in his swing with this unit.
In the video below Luke and I test out the Refiner and give some off the cuff reactions and opinions. Luke crushes the Refiner, almost hitting the the range shack on the north end of the range. I might add there was a head wind as well. That answers the question, “can you hit real shots with this thing?”
For hammering out swing plane and especially tempo issues, I’ll always keep the Refiner handy. I’m sure if things go a bit bad with my swing, the Refiner can tell me where the breakdowns are occurring.
“Our bank has refused to fund any future operations of the company.” John Hoeflich, Nickent President.
This is terribly sad. Nickent is done. I’ve always been a big Nickent fan. I believe this lowly little blog helped that company grow in the beginning with some product reviews of their hybrids and putters. The economy and lack of interest in some of their club offerings like irons and drivers led to their demise. 60 employees are now out of work as well.
Currently I have two Nickent hybrids in my bag which I depend on greatly. One is a 17 degree and one a 23 degree. I have 20 degree to complete the set which I let my dad use, and he hits it so well he has informed me that I won’t be getting it back. Otherwise I might have three Nickent hybrids in my bag.
Perhaps some bigger golf company will buy up the assets and designs of Nickent and carry on some of their great hybrid designs.
Jan 28-30 in Orlando, Florida is the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show. For the 2nd year in a row after a period of not participating, Titleist will have a presence there as well as at the demo day. Demo day is the day before the show starts on the show floor.
I plan on attending the show this year so I should once again be getting the scoop on the latest and greatest from Titleist and hundreds of other golf companies in Orlando.
UPDATE: Typo fixed. Thanks to those who pounded it through my thick cranium