Nike Golf TW Vapor Speed Driver – click to view larger version
Who do you trust more, fish oil salesmen, politicians, or golf marketing? These “what’s in the bag?” articles and limited edition clubs setup like the pros are so funny to me. Now you can buy a club custom fit to someone else, who has swing characteristics completely unlike yours!
The latest is a promotion by Nike Golf, where you can buy the exact driver Tiger Woods is using. The Nike TW Vapor Speed is available for purchase today (June 1, 2015) and has the exact same specs as Tiger’s gamer driver. What bonehead would want this club, other than perhaps a collector? According to other marketing themes we as golfers should be getting a custom fit driver for our swings, right? So buying Tiger’s driver would be idiotic to say the least, unless of course we have the exact same build, height, weight, swing speed, technique, swing plane, takeaway, release, tempo, launch angle, grip, head dip…. I could go on forever.
Before you make that big decision to buy a club nobody in the world could probably hit, take a look at some of these numbers below. Tiger hasn’t played enough holes this season to qualify for the Tour stats apparently, since he isn’t even on the driving statistics listings on the Tour site for 2015. I’ve done some analysis for you.
Driving Distance: Tiger’s average driving distance right now is 297.1. That would be good enough for 26th place at this point on Tour.
Driving Accuracy: Tiger’s driving accuracy is 50.71%. That would put him at 199th on the PGA Tour in 2015.
Tiger has no ranking for total driving and it is not possible for me to calculate it. By my guesses, it would be near or at the bottom of the entire PGA Tour’s list.
If you love Tiger Woods and have $399 to spend for a driver you probably can’t hit, this one is for you.
I’m playing in a golf group yesterday which included a very quiet and mellow older player. During his round he was taking the plastic wrap off of his “new” irons, and hitting them very well, for the first time. We’ve all seen that before, right? Wrong.
Upon closer inspection I was flabbergasted to discover the “new” irons were a set of Ben Hogan irons he had purchased some 10 or more years prior. How cool to see these beauties in un-hit condition.
What made him decide yesterday was the day to try these irons? How crazy that a Hogan player for over a decade, me, was in the group.
Very interesting and entertaining indeed.
TaylorMade Project (a) Golf Ball
Soft golf balls are the rage right now. That’s great for me as they don’t aggravate my tennis/golfer’s elbow and my driver swing speed is around 100mph. The problem with many of the softer balls which have been produced over the last few years is that they don’t have good spin characteristics in the short game end of things. That’s where balls like the TaylorMade Project (a) are filling the gap. The (a) in the name stands for “amateur.” The ball is designed for amateur swing speeds but has a cover design and materials which produce “tour” level spin and feel in the short game.
The Project (a) is a 3-piece ball, meaning it has three separate layers. Each layer gives the ball certain performance characteristics.
Most “tour” or high quality golf balls feature a thin cover made from a material called urethane. Urethane is found in the covers of nearly every great golf ball, but not often found on the covers of amateur balls. The Project (a) ball does feature a soft urethane cover. This is what gives this ball far more spin from 30 yards an in than most mid-level amateur golf balls.
The next layer is the mantle layer. This layer also contributes to the ball’s short game spin.
The innermost layer, called the core, is the powerhouse of the ball. The core gives the ball its distance and feel on full shots, and especially off the driver.
My unscientific and rough measurement of the ball’s compression via a very cool golf ball compression measuring tool called the Hexcaliber, shows the ball to be just above a 90.
TaylorMade Project (a) Golf Ball Compression Measurement
In the “old” days tour swing speeds matched up with balls having 100 compression or higher. Amateur golf swing speeds were between 85-100, and women’s balls around 80 compression. These days there are many balls in the 80 range, and even some down at 50 or less.
Hands-On – On The Course
I’ve quite enjoyed my testing rounds with this ball. The elbow feels great. Harder golf balls beat up my golfer’s elbow, which is why I can’t play them. No issues with this softer ball.
The compression level of this ball works well with my very amateur swing speed. I have plenty of distance. Plenty. Like I mentioned, I top out at around 100mph but can get it up to maybe 105 if I’m swinging hard.
The feel the ball has on iron shots is great. I can feel the ball compress and I can sense the control I have when working the ball either direction or trying to control my “traj” (trajectory).
As advertised this ball is great from not only 30 yards and in, but I’d say from 100 yards and in. Short game is my achilles heel but I’ve had success chipping and pitching with this ball and getting that little bit of bite around the greens.
I’ve found the TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls on Amazon for under $32 per dozen, which is close to half the price of some “tour” balls. And for the amateur this ball may be better than those more expensive balls due to the slightly lower compression. The cover is the same.
If you’re a regular golfing Joe with an average swing speed who needs an affordable high performing golf ball, the Project (a) could be the ticket. These could also be good balls for some of the better lady golfers.
Father’s Day is coming up by the way. A box of TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls would make a great Father’s Day golf gift.
Today I began my testing of the new TaylorMade Tour Preferred golf ball having completed my testing of the Project (a) ball. The TP is a “tour” level ball, meaning their highest performance and most expensive. Today’s round was the first of several I’ll be doing with this ball, like I do when I test any golf ball. No one-hit reviews here.
TaylorMade Tour Preferred Golf Ball
Stay tuned for my review on the TaylorMade Tour Preferred ball soon.
This weekend I did some short game and putting practice. I chose to use some golf balls sent in by Sightball, which have six crosshairs on them as seen below.
If you can’t aim with this ball, take up another sport…
The balls themselves are not “tour” level golf balls. They are not ProV1’s or anything like that. I wouldn’t play these in a regular round of golf, but that’s not the point. These are best suited for practice and improving setup.
Using the six aiming markings on the ball one can gather some great setup and swing path information quickly and easily. Recently I did some testing of my putting stroke via the 3Bays GSA Putt app, and noticed that my putter face was open 1 to 2 degrees at impact most of the time. The Sightball confirms that as seen below. Without the marking lines I couldn’t see the alignment issues as clearly.
By looking at the Sightball and the alignment of my putter face and center mark, I can easily tell if my putter is square
Post-impact the ball can give some great feedback as well. The golfer can gain great feedback as to the roll of the ball when aided by Sighball’s markings.
I have no problem with the balls or the product itself. They serve their purpose well. That said, the branding, packaging and Sightball website should be blown up and redone. It needs a total facelift.
At $14.95 for a half dozen, one might consider marking shag balls with his own alignment markings. Those markings will not be as accurate, durable, and sharp as the ones Sightball comes with. I can certainly see an instant alignment benefit by using an alignment ball like Sightball. If you have alignment issues, especially with the putter, these would be very beneficial to improving your setup.