Golf Clubs


14 Clubs

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Categories: GolfGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
WITB - Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

WITB – Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

Are 14 Clubs Really Necessary?

The last two times I’ve played golf in Scotland I’ve realized that over there a few clubs are simply not necessary.  First, the lob wedge.  The ground is SO hard that hitting the lob is very difficult.  The hard ground and wind really call for low running shots.  In six days of golf at 36 holes per day, I hit my lob wedge twice and both times it was the wrong choice.  The next time I play true links golf over there I’m bringing a pencil bag and maybe 8-10 clubs.

At home I could easily take out a club or two without missing them.  I hit my 3-fairway no more than 1-2 times per round.  In yesterday’s league round I didn’t hit it at all.  I could easily take out the 5-iron or one long iron.  I could take out one of my four wedges, probably the gap wedge.

4-Club Tournament

As club president of my league for many years, we would do a yearly 4-club tournament.  This is a tournament where the players were only allowed, you guessed it, four clubs.  I usually picked a hybrid, 7-iron, sand wedge, and putter or some setup similar.

At the conclusion of the tournament I would notice the scores and something very interesting.  The scores were most often the same.  A 12 handicap player who normally shot 84-85 with 14 clubs shot 84-85 with four clubs.  I noticed the same for my own scores.  Not much different.

15 Clubs

My weekly money game is a fun competition between low single digit handicappers.  We usually play with 14 clubs, but if someone wants to test a driver or putter we don’t have a problem with them having 15 clubs in the bag.  In the end, it makes virtually no difference in the scores, or who wins the money.

Marketing

The folks at Golfplan posted a discussion about the 14 club limit and whether or not it is too much.  Perhaps we can use less clubs and still shoot the same scores and enjoy the game just as much.  But golf equipment companies would not be too hip on that.  In fact, I bet they’d rather see a 20 club limit or perhaps no limit at all.  Anything to sell more clubs.

Clubbing Based On Location and Conditions

I usually have the same 14 clubs in the bag at all times.  I’m used to them and used to the setup.  PGA Tour pros change clubs for nearly every event.  Phil Mickelson used two drivers in the Masters Tournament a few years ago.  And tour pros have many different wedge configurations, or even have their wedges custom bent or ground to specs which are best for the course and conditions they are playing that week.


First Look: UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
Categories: Golf AccessoriesGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf Gear
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I’ve been happy with the performance of my Golf Pride CP2 Wrap grips, but due to my tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow I have to switch to a softer grip.  Thanks to the kind folks at UST Mamiya I’m going to test out their Soft Touch line of golf grips.  These grips limit vibration through the use of advanced technology and polyurethane materials. Polyurethane is the same material found on the cover of high performance golf balls which makes them softer and produces more spin.

UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

UST Mamiya Soft Touch Golf Grips

It will take a month or so of on-course playing and testing before I’m ready for a full review of these grips. I’ve gone with a mid-size on these, as it seems to be a consensus that the bigger size helps with the tendonitis as well.  I hope to report that they keep the tennis and golfer’s elbow at bay, and perform well. I have confidence that they will. Stay tuned.


What’s in the Bag (WITB) – River Oaks Club Champion Tony Korologos

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Categories: GolfGolf AccessoriesGolf ApparelGolf BallsGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearHackersMiscellaneous
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By popular demand I’m posting the official “what’s in the bag” for my 2014 club championship at Sandy, Utah’s splendid River Oaks Golf Club.  It took me a while to get the photo because I needed it to be “official,” thus having the Golf WRX watermark on it.  The photogs at WRX are so busy shooting every golf club and golf bag on the planet and putting their watermarks on them, that it took me a while to get this photo. As you can see, this photo is true and authentic since it has that WRX watermark.  Enough about high end photography and on to the meat of this journalistic brilliance.

I’m very happy to have won the 2014 club championship at River Oaks.  I’ve been a member of the club for many years and won my first championship there in 2005.  This year’s championship seemed to fall in my lap as the field was narrowed down to a few left standing, and I managed to outscore the closest competitor by 13 shots.  Yes, 13 shots.  In the land of bogeys, the par man is king.

WITB - Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

WITB – Tony Korologos 2014 River Oaks Club Champion

Let’s take a look at the winning sticks and the other crucial script items…

Driver: Cobra Amp Cell
3-Metal: Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta
Hybrid: 19 degree Cobra Baffler XL
Irons (4-PW): Hogan Apex Edge Pro, circa 2002
Shafts: KBS Tour 90
52 and 56 degree wedges: Eidolon V-Sole
60 degree lob wedge: Vokey Spin Milled
Putter: Dornoch Putters Bird Dog 1, handmade in Scotland by Grant MacKay
Bag: Nike Sport Lite
Ball: Bridgestone B330
Head Cover: Sumi-G with custom Black Mesa Golf Club embroidered logo
GPS: Golf Buddy VS4 talking golf watch GPS
Laser Rangefinder: Callaway (Nikon)
Club Brush: Frogger BrushPro
Golf Accessory Accessory: Snap Hookz
Golf Polo: Bobby Jones XH20 Aero
Golf Shorts: Tattoo Golf shorts
Golf Socks: Kentwool Tour
Golf Shoes: FootJoy DNA
Underwear: Dunning
Cigar: Gurkha Centurian
Green repair tool: Champ Flix
Toothpaste: Crest with mint sparkles
Aftershave: Clubman
Hat: Pukkha custom Hooked on Golf Blog/The Golf Space hat
Glove: Don’t wear a glove, but for the sweaty shots it was the Asher skull glove (RIP James)
Tee: Tornado Tee
Grips: Golf Pride CP2
Sunglasses: Under Armour Phenom Sunglasses
Rain Jacket: Nike Hyperadapt Storm-FIT
Push Cart: Sun Mountain Micro Cart Sport
Ball marking device: Tin Cup Utah Utes stencil
Beer: Slammin Sam Snead Premium Lager
Spikes: Champ Scorpion Stinger
Travel bag: Sun Mountain ClubGlider Journey
Belt: Switch Belt rubber custom
Towel: Frogger Amphibian

Backup Bag

Driver: Bombtech Golf Grenade
3-Fairway: Nike VR-S
Hybrid: Bobby Jones
Irons: Bridgestone J40 Dual Pocket Cavity
Wedges: SCOR, Miura
Putter: Ping Scottsdale ZB S
Bag: Datrek Go-Lite
Ball: 3UP
Shoes: Ecco Golf Shoes
Belt: Sumi-G
TeeChamp Zarma Fly Tee


Flipper – King of the Green

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, July 25th, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearHackers
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Can a chipper (or Flipper in this case) be the cure for the chip yips?  I'm desperate enough to find out.

Can a chipper (or Flipper in this case) be the cure for the chip yips? I’m desperate enough to find out.

Sitting in my basement still in the shrink wrap for many years, is the club which could be my secret to rounds in the 60’s and the end to my short game frustrations.  It could also cause me to be the subject of laughter and much ridicule by golfers who I may or may not know.  Say hello to the Acer Flipper, the king of the green!

Everybody sing with me!

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-over, over the green!
Everyone loves the king of the green,
Ever so kind and gentle is he,
Tricks he will do when golfers appear,
And how they laugh when he’s near!
They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-over, over the green!

Flipper!

My putting is tour-level quality, but my chipping and pitching is as bad as my putting is good.  In fact, I think I have the chip-yips.  I’ve practiced countless hours and taken many lessons, but when I get on the course some kind of gag reflex happens and I have very little control over my chip distance.  It has improved this season, yes.  But I give up at least 3-5 shots per round due to bad chipping.  Somehow I still manage to shoot in the low 70’s despite this problem.  Imagine if I could save those 3-5 shots?  I’d be scratch or better.

Case in point yesterday was a round of 73 in which I failed to get up and down for birdie when within five yards of two par-5 holes in two shots.  I also failed to get up and down on the par-4 14th from about the same distance.  Instead, I dubbed a chip about three feet and then changed to putter, getting up and down for bogey.  There were three strokes I gagged up right there.  Fix that and that 73 is a 70.  Big difference.

Perhaps with the Flipper I can use my putting stroke around the greens instead of the gag-chip thing I’m doing.

Laugh at me if you wish.  I’ll take it in stride.  If the Flipper works, great!  If not, I tried.


TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Categories: Golf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearReviews
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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.

TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons

Notice the Speed Pocket on the 7-iron but not on the 8-iron – click to zoom

Fitting

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.

golf fitting

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.

SpeedBlade Irons

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.

Conclusion

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.

Related Links

HOG TaylorMade SpeedBlade iron photos


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