I’ve been gaming the Air Force One nitrogen charged driver now for about a year and a half. I told my buddies just today that I’ll keep hitting it until I find a better driver. I don’t care who makes it or what the retail price is, as long as I’m killing it.
Naturally I was eager to accept the offer from Air Force One to review their new Air Foil fairway metal-woods, based on my great experience with the driver. Here are a couple of photos of this new fairway wood:
Air Force One – Air Foil Fairway Wood
I hit 2-3 shots with the Air Foil 3-wood in today’s round, one resulting in a birdie on the par-5 10th at Mountain Dell. Unlike other “reviewers” though, I can’t review a club in three swings. Stay tuned for a full review, which will be a few weeks. When I test clubs I play real golf, on real golf courses.
Yeah, hard work I know. But I have to stay true to my golf blogger roots. FORE!
What’s a great test for a golf bag? How about walking 122.7 miles with it, after schlepping it thousands of miles across the pond from Utah, USA to the Home of Golf, St Andrews, Scotland! The bag I chose for that test is the Puma Superlite Stand Bag. Let’s look at the bag’s features and then talk about how it fared on my grueling and fantastic testing.
Puma Superlite Golf Stand Bag Features
The Superlite is, of course, super-light. It weighs in at a mere 3.8 pounds. Every ounce counts, especially over time.
The bag has a 4-way top with four dividers which go all the way to the bottom. This is great because it helps keep clubs from tangling up and becoming hard to put in our take out. At the top of the bag is a grab-handle with comes in very handy. I use it every time I put the bag down to stand the bag straight up for getting clubs in and out. I also use that handle when putting the bag in the trunk of the car.
There are five zippered pockets on the Superlite. These are one reason I went with this bag for Scotland. I thought of using a smaller bag, but needed room for rain gear and sweaters and such. There’s a large apparel pocket which fits an amazing amount, plus two small item pockets, a ball pocket, tee pocket, and insulated beverage pocket. The small pocket at the top with the white zipper is waterproof and has padding inside. That’s where I put my phone and small camera to protect them. Each pocket has a large rubberized loop which makes them easy to grab and open. Nice touch. The ball bag has room for a lot of golf balls. So many, that I barely even fill it up 1/5 of the way. I use that extra space for other necessities like extra beverages or apparel items.
The stand portion of the bag is very solid. Some cheap-o stand bag’s stand mechanisms work poorly and the bag has to be set down just right or in a strong fashion to get the legs to deploy. This bag’s legs open and close with ease. Plus, they open to a nice wide and solid base. Once again, the cheap-o bags may not open wide enough and as a result the bag’s base isn’t wide enough for a solid stance.
The bag has padded dual shoulder straps to help the bag stay balanced on the player’s back. More on the straps later in the critique section.
The Superlite is made from 100% polyester. It protects the contents from water and moisture extremely well. A couple of the rounds in Scotland were very wet. I deployed the included rain-hood and with that in play the bag kept everything dry. In the image below you can see how well the bag deals with water.
Style is part of the overall package and this bag has it. I love the solid, bold looks and colors of this bag line.
My critique of this bag, and an area I think it could be improved, is with the straps. I have a bad back so carrying the bag isn’t typically going to happen. But I do it sometimes. In Scotland I carried a few times, one in particular at the extremely hilly Cruden Bay. Since my back problems are in the lower area of my spine, I like to wear the bag up high. I don’t want the weight of the bag in my lower back or buttock area. I need it laying in the middle of the back or higher. With the bag very high the X part of the straps ended up right on my shoulders. So the weight of the bag was not on the padding of the strap, rather it was on the gap between the padding and the frame of the strap. Also, with that setup, often the strap would flip over as I put it on, resulting in the non padded side being the one against my body. Then I would have to mess with it for a bit to flip the strap over.
On The Course
I’ve used this bag for dozens of rounds at home in the desert heat of Utah. I’ve also logged rounds in French Lick, Indiana, Philadelphia, and over a dozen rounds in Scotland. The performance and ease of use has been great. The variance in conditions has been large and the bag has performed brilliantly in all of them.
At Panmure Golf Club near Carnoustie, Scotland
My favorite highlights about the bag is the large pockets, for such a small footprint of a bag. The bag’s design makes great use of space. Getting the clubs in and out is super easy.
With it’s brilliant design and engineering the Puma Superlite Golf Stand Bag seems to defy the laws of physics. It has the space of a larger carry bag or cart bag, but is light and easy to carry. Golfers looking for a solid carry bag, or any bag to just lighten the load for travel or other reasons, should check out the Puma Superlite.
This is interesting. There are many GPS units on the market. I’ve reviewed a ton of them. Some are stand alone and some are watches. Most are bulky and expensive. The TLink (pictured below) is neither bulky or expensive.
The TLink unit saves space by utilizing the GPS in one’s smartphone. The unit can be worn as a watch with the included band, or clamped onto a belt or pocket via the included clip. TLink connects via bluetooth to an Android phone or iPhone and uses the phone’s GPS location for yardages, front, back and middle. TLink comes with 30,000 courses built in. You can see if your course of choice is on the list here.
The unit also is a pedometer, like a FitBit. It will track your steps (hopefully walking the golf course), distance walked, and calories burned. It will even keep the records for later comparison. So you can see how you did on your home course versus last week’s round. I wish I would have had this when I was in Scotland a couple of weeks ago.
The app is free with the unit, for yardages and pedometer functions. An extra in-app purchase can open up a full statistics capability in the unit (pictured below). Users can track scoring, fairways, putting, driving accuracy and so forth:
The folks at T-Link reached out to me to do a product review. That’s now in process. They also asked if I would like to offer a discount to HOG readers. Well, of course. I’d love to reward HOG readers with a deal whenever possible. Follow this link to the TLink web store and use the discount coupon code hooked at checkout to knock the price down from $99 to $89.
I’m charging up my unit for the first time. I’ll be doing my first round of testing this week. Stay tuned.
Say hello to the Miura Series 1957 Limited Edition Small Blade Irons. I’ve been “working” on this review for a some time now. It has been a rough go, playing one of the world’s best irons and such. Yes, being at the top of the golf blog heap can be difficult. I’m up to the task though.
Miura Series 1957 Small Blade Irons
Before we look at the Series 1957 Limited Edition Small Blades by Miura, we should talk about who Miura is for those who may be unfamiliar. Miura is a family-owned Japanese club manufacturer, founded by Katsuhiro Miura. Mr. Miura is a master club-maker who has been making clubs for over 50 years. The company is located in Jimeji, central Japan.
Miura has made primarily forged irons and wedges, though they are now producing other clubs like drivers and hybrids. Miura is known as one of the world’s best makers of irons. Miura uses the highest quality Japanese steel, know for its performance and feel.
Many PGA Tour pros who are endorsed by some of the popular golf manufacturers actually play Miuras, despite being paid by their sponsors. The pros simply tape over the Miura name so fans can’t easily see the real manufacturer. Keen eyed golf club aficionados are not fooled.
Series 1957 Limited Edition Small Blade Irons
The Miura 1957 Small Blade Irons are the highest performing irons made by Miura, according to the man himself, Katsuhiro Miura.
When a company whose products are such high performance states that a particular product is their best, there’s nothing much on planet earth that will outperform it. I concur. Let’s look at the specs of the Small Blades.
The Small Blades are made from low-carbon, premium Japanese steel. Japanese steel is widely known for its quality worldwide. The irons are specially forged in Miura’s own forge in Himeji, Japan. These irons are not made in China.
My set is the satin nickel chrome. The satin finish is beautiful and does not produce distracting glare in the sun.
The irons are also available in Black Boron finish, limited quantities.
Technical Specifications (more on this later in the review)
||Finished Length (inches)
The Small Blades are 15% smaller than Miura’s regular “tour” blades. Blade irons are typically known as “hard to hit” by the average golfer. Mr. Miura says, “I have a special pride in this club. That’s because it’s so easy to hit.” Once again, I concur. More in my “on the course” commentary.
Blade-a-licious! Could you hit this?
On The Course
I lit up the first time I hit one of these irons. It was the 7-iron. The feel was so amazing and the ball launched high and straight. I just thought I got “lucky” and was sure the hard-to-hit nature of blades would catch up to me. I was sure I’d hit one of those mis-hits which would sting, or make my fingers numb, or hurt. I’ve been waiting for that to happen for months. There’s something about these blades which is different. The feel is so buttery that even off-center shots feel good. I have a lot of experience with those too. A lot.
I’ve found these irons to be very easy to hit, regardless of their blade nature. In fact, they are easier to hit than several “game improvement” clubs which I’ve tried out. I realize that sounds odd. You’ll have to trust me on that.
With blades this incredible, the type of shots and ball flight a player wants to hit are all on him/her. These irons respond tremendously when I have to manufacture some kind of shot or work the ball in a particular direction. If I put the right swing on a shot, the iron will produce exactly what I’m asking it to. I can hit them low (usually as a result of being in the trees off the tee), high (to go over the same trees), or fade/draw as needed. Truly amazing.
The one critique I have is with the lofts of these irons. Across the board these are more “standard” blade lofts from years ago. These irons are not “strong” lofts. Most of the irons are at least one degree weaker than most modern irons. Many of the irons are two degrees weaker.
This can be a slight hit to the player’s confidence level as the irons will go shorter. I’ve had to adjust my numbers to make up for the lofts. Where I used to hit an 8-iron, I’m hitting 7-iron, and so on.
Once adjusted, the accuracy and confidence I have with these irons is the best of any iron I’ve played, and I’ve played far more than the average golfer ever will.
That said about the lofts… I think no irons should have numbers on them, just lofts.
Hello Turf, Nice to Know You
The way the club interacts with the turf is tremendous. Whether the lie is tight and hard or in long rough, the club’s grind and small head size produce very little resistance and interference from the turf.
The small design makes sense. Less surface area produces less resistance. Plus Mr. Miura has tweaked the edges and corners of the club ever so slightly. Those slight grinds and angles help prevent unwanted interaction with the ground and keep the club’s path and angle of attack where the player is delivering it.
A look at the iron photo above tells a big story. Part of what makes these Miura irons so great is their simplicity. There are no funky patterns, paint jobs, dumb names, logos, or mysterious weight-looking “things” that don’t do really anything…
Miura will shaft the irons with shafts from any of nine “recommended” shaft makers including Aerotech, KBS Tour, True Temper, Project X and more.
Miuras are not for everyone. They are not inexpensive. It’s sort of a “if you have to ask how much they are, they’re too expensive,” proposition. The market for these clubs is not the mass-sales model of the big name brands, where you find their clubs in every pro shop and big box store on the planet. The clubs are painstakingly forged in Japan, by hand. These are not cheapo mass-produced Chinese-made clubs.
Playing these Miuras is a joy. They’re tremendous. Any player who wants the highest performance and feel a golf club can produce, should look strongly at the Miura Series 1957 Limited Edition Small Blade Irons.
Nike Sumo “Mickey” Driver – Didn’t sell too well…
I’m not one to post the same over-hashed topics that most other golf sites post but today I have to. Nike is going to “transition out of equipment – including clubs, balls and bags.”
For many years Nike was a great sponsor to HOG, especially the fantasy golf leagues. They provided some huge prizes. They also sent me a bunch of clubs, bags and balls to test over the years. Some I liked. Some I didn’t like, especially the golf balls. Apparently with no more Tiger Woods fueling sales and buzz, the likes of Rory McIlory and a few others aren’t enough to keep interest at a high enough level to drive sales.
BEAVERTON, Ore. NIKE, Inc. announced today that it will accelerate innovation in its Golf footwear and apparel business and will partner with more of the world’s best golfers. With this new focus, Nike Golf will transition out of equipment – including clubs, balls and bags.
“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” said Trevor Edwards, President, Nike Brand. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”
“Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide,” said Daric Ashford, President of Nike Golf. “Over the past year the MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers. We’ll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game.”
The golf equipment market is already flooded, so in the long run I think this is good. Sometimes businesses branch out too much and go away from focusing on their strengths. Nike’s apparel sales are so huge, golf equipment was really not worth it. They tried to be groundbreaking and cutting edge with their designs in golf clubs, like the square “Sumo” driver. In the long run those quirky, weird looking clubs just made Nike look bad. The Nike Sumo “Mickey” was one of the worst (pictured).
It’s better not to produce a product than it is to just produce one that makes you look bad, or desperate.