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PowerBilt Air Force One Driver Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Categories: GolfGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf For WomenGolf GearReviews
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After this past weekend’s round I felt it was time to post my review of the PowerBilt N7 “Air Force One” DFX Tour driver. Yes, the name is more cheesy than a pound of Velveeta with cheese on top, but I don’t care.

I’ve been gaming this driver for a couple of months now and I’m thrilled with what this driver has brought to my game: distance, accuracy and confidence.

PowerBilt_Air_Force_One_2

Features

The “N7” in the name of this driver represents the gas nitrogen.  You see, the head of this driver is “charged” with it.  So if the Terminator T1000 is coming at me, I can crack open my driver head and cover him with nitrogen.   According to PowerBilt, the nitrogen charge reinforces the club face without adding weight to the club.  This allows for maximum trampoline effect and the thinnest legal club face, but still has great strength.  The nitrogen is also not susceptible to temperature changes so regardless of conditions it remains consistent.  The result is increased ball speed, which I can’t believe I’m verifying, but I am.  It sounds like such a gimmick I know.  But once again, I’m about results so if the lampshade on the head thing helps my score, I’ll do it.

The nitrogen isn’t the only notable feature in the “AFO.” The body is forged titanium with the popular cup-face design. Cup-face design is very popular among many drivers. The cup-face shaped front is welded onto the body. The head is aerodynamically designed to reduce drag and allow more club-head speed.

golf driver

Deep Face in the Air Force One

Speaking of the face, the AFO features a “deep” face as seen above. This means the height of the face is where much of the square footage is, rather than the width. If you hit a lot of shots thin or high on the face, this may be a better choice.

Specs

The AFO DFX is available in four lofts: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 12.5°. All come standard with a 45.5″ shaft and a 58° lie.

There are roughly 25 shaft options available. The shaft in my 10.5 degree test unit is a Fujikura Pro 63.

On The Course

What REALLY counts is how this thing performs on the golf course.  I don’t have an Iron Byron (robotic golf swing machine), nor do I have a Trackman to capture exact launch angles and spin rates.  My reviews are more tactile and personal in nature than those gear-heads who are trying to get one less revolution per minute in sidespin and refuse to play driver-x because its launch angle is .000003 degrees the wrong direction.  I wonder when Iron Byron will finally find the perfect club for his perfect swing anyway? Lots of places seem to test for him and not the average hack like me who hits the center of the club face a couple of times per round, if I’m lucky.

golf driver

10.5 degrees of nitrogen charged titanium POWER!

The feedback this club gives is great.  In golf “feedback” is the feel and sound of the club.  I really like the pinging sound and on that rare occasion the sweet spot is hit, the sound is even better.  You know when you nutted it.   I can tell through the feel of the club when I hit one thin, on the toe, on the heel or high on the face.  Most of my mis-hits on this club are toe shots.  The technology helps me keep plenty of distance on those toe shots, with a slight draw.

I almost always draw this club, or hit it straight.  I seldom hit it right or fade it.  I haven’t tried too many times to carve a fade out of it.  I haven’t wanted to mess with something which works.  I’m sure eventually I will try to work the ball more, but since I know the straight ball or slight fade is pretty consistent I see no need to change anything.

Right now I’m seeing some very sizeable distance gains.  I’m just about to the point of humiliating a regular golf opponent who just last year was out-driving me.  Now I’m “Wal-Marting” him.  He’s pretty demoralized.  I have several glory stories with this driver already.  I’ve driven a OVER the reachable par-4 14th at one of my home courses, River Oaks.  The extra length has really made par-5’s more reachable for me.  In my last round I made birdie on ALL four of the par-5’s, and just missed an eagle putt on the last one.  Stats for my last round were pretty awesome.  I had a couple of drives in the 330 range on two par-5’s, and a couple in the 280 range uphill.  Average was 303.  Even better than that was my fairway percentage, 12/16 for 86%.  It’s not like that every round, but even when I’m off the numbers are still pretty good.

golf driver powerbilt

AFO at address…

Critiques

My only critique is a bit of a jab at the cheesy name, “Air Force One.” I often refer to my driver as “Snakes on a Plane,” another terrible airplane move like Air Force One was.

Conclusion

I get so sick of golf marketing and their “more distance” claims.  Most are bogus.  If they were right, we’d all need to play 10,000 yard courses and our drives would be going 500 yards.  That said, I’ve picked up quite a bit of distance with this club.  Is it the nitrogen?  Is it the cup face?  Hell, I don’t know.  For all I know it is the shaft.  Since I most often draw this club, the ball is probably rolling farther.  Whatever the reason, I’m killing the Air Force One and hitting a very good fairway percentage.

Until I find a driver that outperforms this one my gamer driver is Snakes on a Plane… oh sorry… Air Force One.

Related

For more images, check out the Hooked On Golf Blog PowerBilt photo gallery.


Ben Hogan Golf Now Taking Orders on New Irons and Wedges

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, March 27th, 2015
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
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Ben_Hogan_Irons_Wedges_2015I usually reserve golf press releases for the Hooked On Golf Blog sister site HogWire.biz.  I get so many press releases submitted it is quite stunning.  I decided to build the HOGWire site just as a golf newswire.  That said, I have a special place in my golf heart for Ben Hogan irons.  As many of you probably already know, I’m still gaming a set of 2002 Ben Hogan Apex Edge Pro’s.  I’ve had those in the bag for two club championships, 2nd in the city amateur, and countless $2.00 nassau victories.

This PR below is “special” enough to warrant a mention here.  I’m excited to see the Ben Hogan name back in the game, so to speak.  I have a now 10+ year golf business relationship with Terry Koehler, President and CEO of Ben Hogan golf.  Terry is a pioneer in golf club design.  I’ve reviewed his Eidolon wedges and SCOR wedges in years past. I’ve had at least two of Terry’s club designs in my gamer bag ever since 2006.  No other club or club designer can claim that honor.

With that all said, I’m excited to hear this news about the new Ben Hogan Golf irons and wedges.  I’m hoping, as such a loyalist of the brand, and one who has had such a great relationship with Terry, to be one of the first to review these.  I’m working on that.

These clubs employ a concept I’ve lobbied for a few years now, putting the loft numbers on the clubs rather than an arbitrary number like “8.”  Golf companies have juiced up clubs so much, an 8-iron is no longer an 8-iron.

The last great reason I’m anxious to get my hands on these Hogans?  The model number of the wedges: TK-15.  As in “Tony Korologos – 15.”  Yes, I’m sure that’s why they came up with that naming convention.

Ben Hogan Golf Press Release Below

Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company is pleased to announce that we are now taking orders for the new Ft. Worth 15 irons and TK 15 wedges – allowing golfers to once again become a “Hogan Player.”

“Everybody is well aware of the stories of how committed Mr. Hogan was to producing high quality golf equipment,” said Terry Koehler, President/CEO of Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. “We continue this commitment today. We also understand that while golfers are extremely excited about new products, buying a set of premium irons and wedges is a large purchase, so we want to assure them that we will stand behind our products to provide them with the best experience possible.”

“We encourage every consumer to go through our revolutionary HoganFit™ online analysis and fitting system,” said Koehler. Unlike anything in the industry, the HoganFit™ online analysis and fitting system provides golfers with their own unique loft matrix, aligning precision gapping throughout the set.

“The HoganFit™ system was created to give golfers a way to determine their own unique and perfect loft matrix that will optimize their precision and distance control,” added Koehler. “With 44 loft options available, only Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company will provide the most accurately custom-matched set of irons in golf. It’s the only way to bring precision back to iron and wedge play.”


I Propose a New Golf Iron Naming Scheme Which Golf Marketers and Some Manufacturers Will Hate

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Categories: BoneheadsGolfGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
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Why is your brand new shiny pitching wedge as long as your old 8-iron?  Because it IS an 8-iron.

Hot off the presses is the announcement that TaylorMade just came out with a new set of irons. Kind of a bummer really. I hadn’t even taken off the plastic off the set I bought yesterday and now they’re already obsolete, due to these new LONGER ones which came out today.  Now the question is, do I buy the new ones from today knowing that tomorrow’s model will be even better and longer?  I poke fun, but that’s the sad state of the golf equipment industry.

Comparing mid 1990's iron specs to the new TaylorMade Aeroburner 2015 irons.

Comparing mid 1990’s iron specs to the new TaylorMade Aeroburner 2015 irons.

Golf marketing has completely bastardized the equipment world.  Marketers will go to great “lengths” to sell clubs.  Most of the manufacturers and their marketing firms are guilty of falling into the trap of promising more and more distance, not just TaylorMade.  Marketing will continue this practice so long as the consumer believes he/she will gain more distance.

Take a look at the photo above.  It compares iron specifications up to the mid 1990’s with the new TaylorMade “Aeroburner” irons.

Some golfers seem to be aware that the lofts are getting stronger year after year, but most don’t seem to notice shaft length.  In the photo above look at the old pitching wedge as an example.  The 1990’s model PW was 52 degrees, and had a 35 inch shaft.  The Aeroburner 2015 pitching wedge is 43 degrees!  NINE degrees stronger.  But that’s not all.  Look at the shaft length.  The new PW is the same length as what an 8-iron used to be.

A good friend of mine was so excited when he bought his RocketBalls irons a while back.  “I hit my 7-iron as far as my old 5-iron,” he excitedly told me.  Once I explained that his new 7-iron and old 5-iron were the almost the same specs he wasn’t as excited.  In fact, he was mad.

Name Irons By Lofts/Lengths

The new Ben Hogan has started doing this a bit, though I’ve had this concept in my mind for years.  Either the numbers representing irons should have a fixed area in the spec table, or the numbers should be removed from the club and replaced with the loft and shaft length.  That way when comparing clubs, one could only claim to be longer against other clubs with the same specs.

“Hand me the 46!”

So, the TaylorMade 5-iron above would be called a “22” for 22 degrees in loft.  Perhaps add a 38.75 to the name: 22-38.75.  The closest club in the 1990’s chart above would be between a 2-3-iron, but the shaft length closer to a 1-iron.

Limit Loft/Length Ranges for Iron Numbers

As an alternative there should be limits as to what numbers can be put on what clubs should be put in place.  In another 5-10 years at the pace we are on, a pitching wedge will be 20 degrees, and we will all be hitting them 200+ yards.

It would be a good idea to have rules in place stating something like “A 7-iron is a club which features a loft between (pick your numbers) 34-37 degrees and would include a shaft length between (once again, pick your numbers) 36-37 inches.”

Why the Gap Wedge Appeared and Why We Will Need More of Them

Of course, neither of my ideas above will happen.  So irons will get stronger and stronger.  The distance between a lob wedge, usually a 60 degree club, and a pitching wedge will increase.  That’s why the “gap” wedge was invented.  The gap wedge filled the growing gap between pitching wedges and sand wedges and gave golf club manufacturers another club to sell.

We are going to need another gap wedge.  Let’s call it a gap gap wedge.


Putting a Cork in My Putting…GRIP

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, February 27th, 2015
Categories: Golf AccessoriesGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
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“The club I regrip the most is my ball retriever. Is that bad? ” ~Tony Korologos

I don’t change putter grips often but they do wear out once in a while, usually due to putting in and taking out of the golf bag.  Sometimes the grips just seem to die a slimy death, when the materials give way to the elements.

I’m going to be testing a new putter grip from Portugal, made of cork leather from Cork Tree.  It’s a bit fatter than my old grip, but that’s fine by me.  It will help prevent the wrists from breaking and hopefully promote an even better (I am proud of my putting) stroke.

I’ll be getting the grip put on today and as soon as weather permits start putting this baby into action.  Stay tuned for my full review of the Cork Tree putting grip soon.  More info is below in the press release.

Cork Tree Press Release

Cork_Tree_Putting_GripFROM CORK TREE – THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN PUTTER GRIP TECHNOLOGY NOW AVAILABLE

SAO BRAS DE ALPORTEL, PORTUGAL – There’s a brand-new golf grip material quickly gaining popularity. The Cork Tree has debuted four new putter grips made of cork leather.

Why cork? It’s proven to be the perfect complement to leather in a grip. Cork leather putter grips provide an overall user experience that cannot be achieved with any other putter grip material known to man.Cork is 100% natural, feels soft in the hands, and improves its playability well beyond other materials when a golfer’s hands are hot or sweaty — as well as in humid playing conditions.

“That means the grip won’t slip in your hands — regardless of how moist your hands are,” says company co-founder Marc Boggia, a British PGA member. “That lets you confidently putt away without any tension in your hands and arms, promoting a more fluid stroke. Once you try it, I know you’ll agree that it feels amazing. Plus, it cleans very easily — dirt wipes away with a wet cloth.”

Cork Tree putter grips are designed and used by Championship winning Tour professionals who make their living from playing golf. There are currently more than twenty PGA Tour players using Cork Treecork leather putter grips including the winner of the recent Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. A multiple major winner on the PGA Tour is also using the Cork Tree putter grip.

Cork’s honeycomb cell structure is key. Each cell is a 14-sided polyhedron filled with air, making it an extremely strong and flexible membrane that’s waterproof and airtight. Cork bark is about 89% air, giving it a low density. But when it’s compressed, air isn’t squeezed out, because the cell membranes won’t release it. So it returns to its original shape when the compression is removed.

The four initial putter grips include the Midsize ($39.95), Feather Light ($39.95), Parallel ($39.95) and Tour ($39.95) models. They’re all extremely durable, absorb any impact vibration and are impermeable to water.
About Cork Tree

The Cork Tree — the world’s first company to produce golf products in cork leather — was co-founded by Nuno Nascimento and Marc Boggia. From an early age, Nascimento went with his grandfather to the Portuguese familycork oak forest learning all the tricks that nature presents. He studied and tested treesto find the best cork bark, and then transformed it into cork products suitable for commercialization.

The Cork Tree mission is to maximize performance, increase confidence and ultimately improve putting statistics for every golfer using the Cork Tree putter grip. Cork Tree also strives to be a contributor to a more eco-friendly world and cork leather offers this while adding functionality, durability and quality.

Today, the Nascimento family continues to sell cork bark to the cork stopper industry from its own 500 hectares cork plantation. Conscious of its hereditary property, The Cork Tree family continues to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing, protecting and maintenance of the properties. Beyond cleaning and fertilizing the cork oak forest, the plantation continues to grow with some 40,000 new corktrees being planted in the past eight years.

Boggia, an Englishman, has been a member of the British PGA since 1981. He’s a golf course owner, partner and creator of Asia’s largest indoor golf teaching facilities, managing director of a made-for-TV golf tournament, distributor of golf product and head instructor of the John Jacobs’ Golf Schools. As a youngster, he practiced, played and competed near the very cork forest that’s now become the source of raw material that fuels his business venture.

The Cork Tree’s golf bag was awarded the first place award at the Golf Europe 2013 show in the golf bag category and lead to the launch of the cork putter grips.

See all products from The Cork Tree at www.corkputtergrips.com


WITB Week – What’s In MY Bag (WIMB)

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Categories: GolfGolf BallsGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
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What’s In The Bag/WITB Week Continues! So fun…

Previous WITB Week Posts:

The Truth About What’s In The Bag Photos/Articles

Why Is This Boring? What Does WITB Really Mean?

What’s In My Bag?  Thanks for asking…

I field many requests asking what’s in my personal bag.  Because I review so many clubs throughout a given season, my bag changes often.  There are positions in my bag which are very solid, and it is doubtful that a new club will replace them.  That does not mean a particular club will not be given the opportunity to oust a starter from the gamer lineup.   The most solid position is the putter.  Mine is hand-made by Grant Mackay in Dornoch, Scotland.  I’m in the middle of reviewing an entire set of irons, a new wedge, and a new driver.  Therefore my WITB is in a test mode.  I’ll post both versions of my WITB below, the first being my 2014 gamer set.  This is a valid WITB because of the WRX watermark.  Don’t be fooled by imposters.  Real WITB photos must have a watermark, since they’re such valuable assets and one must protect them from theft or misuse.

WITB - Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

WITB – Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

The Gamer Bag Above Features

The Current WITB with test clubs includes the following below:

Photos of Current Test Gear – Reviews coming soon…

Mizuno MP-T5 Wedge

Mizuno MP-T5 Wedge

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons

Powerbilt Air Force One Driver

Powerbilt Air Force One Driver

New ZStar Golf Balls for 2015

New ZStar Golf Balls for 2015

Bridgestone Golf e7 Flower Pattern Dimple Highlighted

Bridgestone Golf e7 Flower Pattern Dimple Highlighted

FootJoy Hyperflex Golf Shoe

FootJoy Hyperflex Golf Shoe


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