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Drool Alert: First Look at the Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearSite News
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Drool alert! I try to be as unbiased and objective as I can with my product reviews in the hopes that my readers can trust my opinions. That said, I’m as excited to review these beautiful Mizuno irons as I’ve been for just about any product review I’ve done. Just look at them…

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons (no lame photo filters needed) – click to see more

Two Saturdays ago I had a Mizuno fitting which produced the data for what is hopefully the holy grail of clubs for me. Now my Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons are here, custom fit for my amazing dual chicken wing granny over the top swing. I begin testing at noon today, rain or shine..sun or snow. Nothing is going to stop me from hitting these as soon as possible.

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Set (4-iron to gap wedge) - click for more images

Mizuno JPX850 Forged Set (4-iron to gap wedge) – click for more images

One round will certainly not be enough to evaluate and write a review since I don’t do flyby reviews or “hit it once on the range” reviews like other golf sites. Stay tuned for my review in what I hope is a short while. I plan to get in as many rounds as the snow will allow and when it does snow, I’ll be heading south to St. George, Mesquite, and/or Vegas to complete the testing.  Yeah, tough gig.

For now you can enjoy more Mizuno JPX850 Forged Irons pictures.


The First Real Foot Wedge I’ve Seen

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, November 21st, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf Gear

I always thought the “foot wedge” was a fictitious club. You know, when a player kicks his golf ball away from the base of the tree when nobody is looking?  That’s what I thought it was.  But a friend on my Google Plus posted this photo, proving that the foot wedge is actually a real club.

Foot Wedge

Foot Wedge

Unfortunately the person who posted this photo can’t tell me where it came from. I’d really like to find this company and get the foot wedge in my hands for some real product testing. If any of you HOG patrons know who makes this club, let me know.

As bad as my short game is, I’d try anything. This may be the magic club.


Wilson 8802 Putter Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf For WomenGolf GearReviews
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Wilson 8802 Putter

Wilson 8802 Putter – click to zoom

(In the voice of Tom Hanks) Wiiilllson!!!

The Wilson 8802 putter has been at the center of numerous major championships and great victories on many professional tours.  The 8802 design has been seen in use by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman, and Phil Mickelson.  The Wilson 8802 is one of the all-time greats.  It has stood the test of time and today is still a great putting choice.  Let’s take a look at the Wilson 8802 putter.

Design

The 8802 is a heel-shafted blade putter.  In english, the shaft is attached to the end of a thin putter head.  This is perhaps one of the most popular designs in the history of putters.   There’s a reason it is so popular, it works.

The head is milled from 304 stainless steel, a fairly soft metal.  The softness produces great feel and feedback for the player, and helps the player control distance.

To perform well on modern greens and modern green speeds, the head weighs in at 335 grams.

The face of the 8802 features some precise milling patterns which are designed to produce a true and straight roll. See photo below:

milled putter face

Milled face on the 8802 Putter – click to zoom

Looks

Standing over this putter the player is not distracted by busy and complex designs, nutty shapes, or fancy graphic art.  The look is as clean as clean could be.

The slightly matted silver finish is easy on the eyes and does not produce annoying glare which more shiny putters can produce on sunny days.

Feel

The soft 304 metal helps the putter produce a nice feel, which gives the player great feedback.  Off-center putts still roll well and true, but the putter’s feedback will let the player know the shot was not on the center of the face.  Center-face putts are butter.

On The Course

I’m normally a heel-toe weighted, center-shafted or center-axis-shafted putter player.  So I figured the balance and weighting of this blade putter would be problematic for me.  Not the case.  Somehow, despite being a heel-shafted blade, the balance of the putter is fantastic.  I never had an issue with keeping the face square at impact.

The face milling helps roll the ball pure and right on line.  There were never any surprises with regards to the roll or the line.

Critiques

In its simplicity, there’s no alignment line on the top of the putter to indicate the sweet spot and line up the ball.  There’s an element of doubt when I line up as I’m not 100% sure I’m lined up on the right spot.

The putter is only available in 35″ versions, right handed.  Sorry lefties or short people!  I’m not tall and I have long arms, so 34″ putters or even shorter is good for me.  Because the 8802 is 35 inches I have to choke down quite a bit to perform my natural stroke.

Wilson 8802 Putter

Wilson 8802 Putter

Head Cover

One of my pet peeves is head covers.  At least 18 times per golf round the player will interact with the putter cover.  The last thing I want is a crappy cover which does not protect the most important stick in my bag.  Even worse is when that cover is hard to use.

The included head cover for the Wilson Golf 8802 Putter is very sharp looking and does its job well.  The putter is well padded and protected from dings.  The soft metal in the putter makes it even more susceptible to such dings and dents from other clubs in the bag.

The cover seals via Velcro, which I’m not a big fan of. Velcro wears out over time. A better solution would be a magnetic seal. Even better would be a design which uses no magnets or Velcro.

Conclusion

The reasonably priced $179 Wilson Staff 8802 Putter is the most expensive putter in Wilson Golf’s lineup and for good reason.  It is a fantastic putter with great feel and performance.  The 8802 design is a proven winner through decades of victories by some of the world’s greatest putters.


Mizuno Golf Performance Fitting System Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, November 17th, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearReviews
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This past Saturday I had a second fitting with Mizuno Golf, this time with long time friend and National Accounts Manager Doug Bybee.  It was a stroke of luck, pun intended.  Doug is based in Atlanta, but happened to be in Salt Lake for the weekend.   Lucky me.

We did the fitting in a bay at the popular Salt Lake City golf store Uinta Golf.  We were able to take advantage of their Foresight golf launch monitor, which really helped us determine the best components and setup for the fit.  Thanks to the staff at Uinta for all that.

Shaft Optimizer

Mizuno’s Performance Fitting System utilizes sensors in the fitting club which gives valuable information to the fitter and software.  Those numbers include clubhead speed, tempo, toe down, shaft kick angle, and release factor.   See below:

Mizuno golf fitting

My Mizuno Fit

Once a few swings are recorded, the software produces a set of three recommended shafts based on the data. The club fitter then puts those shafts on the chosen club head(s) where more swings are captured. This is where the Foresight data came in very handy, but doing the same fitting on a live range would produce great visual results as well.

I compared the three recommended shafts with each other, also switching between the Mizuno MP15 head and JPX 850 Forged head. For reference I also compared my current gamer, the old Hogan Apex Edge Pro.

The results were stunning. When using the Nippon NS PRO 1150 stiff shaft, I gained a solid 10 yards (6-iron). That’s great but not the most amazing part. Unbelievably, my dispersion area was tiny. I was hitting 6-irons 200 yards and landing them on a dime.  See below:

Circles represent several shots with different shafts, smallest circle is best

Launch lines below:

golf launch data

I hit most of the test shots with most shafts pretty straight…

Though I loved the feel of the Mizuno MP15 head, my accuracy and distance with the JPX 850 Forged was obviously better. That’s the club I’m going with. The club is slightly more forgiving than the MP15, which means mis-hits will be a little less errant. As an amateur player, that’s a big deal.

Conclusion

I’m now waiting for these beauties to arrive. I understand Mizuno is very fast once the custom order is placed. I will put the clubs right into play and begin reviewing as soon as possible. Unfortunately the weather has turned here though. The high today will still be below freezing. I’ll have to head south to warmer weather.

It is quite stunning how big a difference the SHAFT makes and Mizuno’s fitting system with shaft optimizer helps the golfer find the perfect match in dozens of shafts available. I’d be willing to say the shaft is as important as the head. One shaft felt so-so, was 10 yards shorter, and had a variance of almost 10 yards right or left of center and 20 yards total dispersion. Simply changing shafts added 10 yards and tightened up that dispersion to a few feet.

As soon as the new irons arrive my Nikon will see the first action and I’ll post some photos. Then being the reviewing process.

Stay tuned. I’m big time stoked.


Supplementary Review: UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, November 14th, 2014
Categories: Golf AccessoriesGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearReviews
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While I was happy with my previous set of Golf Pride CP2 Wrap grips in terms of performance and durability, it was necessary for me to change them out because of the recurrence of my golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. The grips were too hard.

UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

I did a lot of research and inquiries on grips. In order to help prevent golfer’s elbow or at least keep it from getting worse, midsize and soft is the way to go.  I’ve never liked small hard grips, especially cord style.  I’ve always liked more mushy ones.  Perhaps that’s because I don’t wear a glove.

I contacted my friend Danny at UST Mamiya since I previous reviewed their Soft Grips back in 2012 and loved them.  I remember Danny and UST Mamiya being very cool to work with.  They were kind enough to send in recent set of these great Soft Touch grips.  I’ve been playing them for a couple of months now.

Features

Soft Touch grips are made from polyurethane, similar to materials found in golf balls. Urethane covered golf balls are softer and higher performance. These materials reduce vibration and give the grip a soft feel.

The grips design pattern and embossing not only looks cool, it provides traction and greater feel in all conditions.

On The Course

Just like before, I’m very happy with the feel and performance of the Soft Touch grips.  This batch is even better looking than my old set, in the more rock-n-roll style all black.

I love the feel of my clubs, and the shock to my elbows has been noticeably reduced.  The grips perform flawlessly and are very durable.

After spending most of the summer in pain, I’m hoping that my recent cortisone shot and new grips will mean the end of the problems.

Related Links

UST Mamiya website

HOG UST Mamiya image gallery


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