Recently the Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour spent some time at Pechanga Resort & Casino, located in Temecula, California. My stay was fabulous and I enjoyed as much of the amenities, food, and golf as I could squeeze in. I didn’t get to it all, so I hope to return and finish the job soon! Let’s take a look at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Pechanga Hotel Left – Golf Clubhouse Right
Pechanga is a resort/casino which features 517 luxurious rooms of varying levels. The casino area is enormous, as big as any mega-resort in Vegas. As one walks in the main entrance, indoor waterfalls and interesting interior design please the eye.
Within the casino areas just about any form of gaming one would like to experience is there, from blackjack, craps, slots, to a massive bingo parlor. It’s all there.
It would take a week of three-meals per day to scratch the surface on Pechanga’s dining offerings, from fine dining to a food court which rivals large malls.
After a long day of recreating, work, or winning megabucks at the casino, Pechanga offers a full spa with various treatments and services.
Last but not least, “The Journey” at Pechanga is the on-site golf course which features fantastic views, elevation changes, and prime golf conditions. Check out the Hooked On Golf Blog Journey at Pechanga review here.
Location Location Location
What would a perfect golf/casino/resort location be? I’d say somewhere warm with access to major international airports, perhaps close to major metropolitan areas. And to put it over the top I’d say it would be located in a great area for vineyards wine. Pechanga fits the bill on all accounts. The resort is located almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego in Temecula, California. When I was flying in I was able to choose flights by comparing cost to LA or San Diego airports. This time around, it was the best deal to fly into San Diego and take the 45-60 minute drive north to Temecula.
After a few months of gaming the Golf Pride Tour Wrap grips on my newest irons, the Bridgestone J15DF Driving Forged Irons, I’m ready to post my findings.
I didn’t want to use these grips at all. I’ve been suffering from pretty bad golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow since last year. These grips are advertised as shock absorbing, but I didn’t believe it based on how hard they felt. But rather than ripping them off my irons without even trying them, I thought I’d give them a chance and I’m glad I did.
Tour Wrap Features
The grip is made to look like an old school leather wrapped grip, but it is really a one piece rubber grip. The rubber is extremely tacky, even after months of play and dozens of rounds. Unlike an old school leather grip, the rubber material in the Tour Wrap lasts a long time and is extremely durable.
The Tour Wrap is available in black (pictured), red, blue, and white.
A couple of the colors also have different sizing available. The white model is available in regular and midsize. The black is available in regular, midsize, jumbo, and undersize.
On The Course
Though these feel hard to me when just gripping them, somehow the grip does a great job of isolating and reducing vibration. That really has helped me stay in the game without experiencing a lot of pain with the elbows. In fact, since I switched the irons and put on these grips, my pain has nearly gone away completely.
The tackiness of the grip ensures ultimate control and feel for me. No slipping and no death grip needed to keep the club under control.
The only time I have a grip issue is in the rain. If the grip gets wet it can turn quite slippery.
Even after months, I barely see any wear and the grips are still as tacky as the day I first tried them.
Tacky, durable, great feel. What more could one want in a golf grip?
This product review of the Bridgestone Golf J15 Driving Forged Irons came at a critical time in my golf game and my attitude. Anyone who follows this blog and/or my social networks knows of the frustrations I’ve had of late with this beautifully infuriating game of golf. More on the timing and attitude later. First let’s take a look at the J15 Driving Forged Irons.
Bridgestone Golf J15DF Irons – click to see more
The J15 Driving Forged Irons are designed for golfers from the professional level to mid-handicap players. I fall somewhere in that range as a player who varies from a 1-4 handicap, depending on the time of year. So they should be a good fit.
The J15DF features a two-piece premium forged carbon steel design. For those of you readers who don’t know what “forged” really means, it’s one of two primary manufacturing processes irons are typically made from. The other process is called casting, producing “cast” clubs. In my opinion forged clubs tend to have a softer feel and provide more “feedback” to the player than cast. Feedback would be the feel and sound translated to the player from the club. Feedback gives the player great information with regards to the quality of contact and where it occurs on the club face. Better players can translate this feedback into how they need to adjust for better contact. Cast irons on the other hand, don’t often produce this feel. Most shots, regardless of where they happen on the club face, feel about the same.
These irons feature a “hidden” cavity between the front and the rear of the club head. This design employs “FAST” technology, or Flex Action Speed Technology. The cavity and design allows the club’s weight to be moved out toward the perimeter. Perimeter weighting (another buzz term in the golf industry) provides more forgiveness.
The sole of the club is a little narrower than game improvement clubs (clubs which are meant for higher handicap players). “Mid Sure Contact Sole” design allows the club to be consistent in the way it interacts and bounces off of the ground.
Bridgestone Golf J15DF Irons
This club is available in right-hand only. Sorry lefties. You’re missing out. While the specs above show a 3-iron, the set I tested is a 4-PW.
A club fitting would help in the setup decision making process without a doubt. I recommend making sure your shafts, lofts, lengths, and lies are all set for your swing. If you already know your specs, you can actually order your exact setup online at the Bridgestone Golf J15 page.
There are well over 20 shaft options available. I ended up with the True Temper Dynamic Gold Pro S300, the stock shafts. They’re fantastic.
The J15DF online configurator offers a choice of 14 grips. The model I’m gaming is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet. While they seemed a bit hard at first, I’ve grown to really like them. I’ll be reviewing the grips in a separate article later.
On The Course
From the first club I hit on the range (still remember it was a 7-iron), to the last one I hit yesterday, I’ve been thrilled with these irons. I have the opportunity to play many of the world’s best irons from most of the major brands, many custom made. None of those other irons but the J15DF’s have come close to the feel and control I grew accustomed to with my hand forged set of Hogan irons from nearly 15 years ago. The feel is butter.
Unlike the old school irons though, these are easier to hit and much longer. I’ve enjoyed very solid iron length and accuracy since putting the J15DF in the bag. The control these irons offer is tremendous. Whether I want to hit a low driving punch 5-iron like I did a few days ago on the par-3 11th to eight feet, or hit a high fade with a 7-iron, these clubs respond.
That high fade with a 7-iron came yesterday, probably my shot of the month. It was my 2nd shot on the 510 yard par-5 7th. I was 184 out and needed to carry the shot over some front bunkers and have it release to a back-right pin. The shot was one of the most pure shots I’ve ever hit and the ball landed within inches of my intended landing spot over one of the bunkers. It released up a slope in the green and finished at 12 inches from the hole for a tap-in eagle. That came at a time when my partner and I had just been pressed on the front nine. #winner
There are many stories I could tell like the 7-iron above, and with the J15DF’s in the bag there will surely be many more.
I mentioned the critical timing in my opener. You see, I’ve been struggling so much with my game I was close to quitting. Not just for a week or two, or for the winter, but forever. I’d had it. Then the J15DF’s came in for review. I was very close to declining the review and quitting. Out of respect for Bridgestone and how great they’ve been to HOG over the years I decided to do the review. The J15DF irons gave my game a badly needed spark. They talked me off the proverbial golf cliff.
Now that I’ve become excited about hitting quality iron shots again, winter looms unfortunately. I’ll be trying to get in as many rounds with these irons as I can until the snow flies.
Bridgestone may be better known for their golf ball products, but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t check them out before making an iron buying decision. The Bridgestone Golf J15DF irons provide ultimate distance, control, and feel for golfers of mid-level handicaps and better. I know exactly where I’m hitting it on the club face because of their fantastic feel and feedback. I know if I execute shots well with these clubs, the results will be tremendous.
The latest belt script I’ve been proudly featuring is a very cool and unique custom milled Hooked on Golf Blog belt from NXT18 Golf Belts. Let’s take a look.
Custom Milled HOG NXT18GOlf Belt – A Work of Art
NXT18 Golf custom mills the buckles out of a block of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. And we are not talking about milling in China either. These are done in Massachusetts.
While one could simply purchase the original artwork of the NXT18 belts, custom artwork is where it is at. Just look at the beauty of the HOG logo and you’ll see what I mean.
The milling effect alone makes most artwork look very cool. Add that to the different color/paint possibilities and the buckles look out of this world awesome. The buckles are hand painted, adding to the fine attention to detail and quality of the product.
The belt tightens through a tension lock system. In the HOG photo above you can see left of the H a loop in the belt which is where it is tightened. This is cool because the tightness of the belt can be perfectly set to the wearer’s preference and comfort level. Belts which have holes and pins to lock them seem to never have the right setting for me, they’re either too tight or too loose. With the tension lock system one can loosen the belt up a little for comfort while sitting in the office after a large lunch which includes an Italian Stromboli. Trust me on that one.
The belts themselves are a nylon webbing material which is very strong and light. These belts come in about 13 colors/designs. I chose black, being a former rock & roll musician. If they had skulls, I’d be all over it like John Daly over a cigarette.
There are a large number of colors available for the bucles, somewhere around 10-15 is my guess.
Since the belt is a tension system, sizing is easy. You just let them know your waist size and they’ll hook you up with the proper length, which is once again, completely adjustable.
My only critique and suggestion for this belt is for NXT18 to consider a different system than the Tension Lock. While it is cool, the system results in the buckle not sitting on the wearer’s body very flat. The tightening side sticks out farther than the other side (photo below).
A different system with the lock on the back of the buckle would solve that issue, and also free up about another inch of space for artwork/milling.
Love my custom milled aluminum HOG belt. I wear it proudly and love the quality and uniqueness it showcases, thanks to NXT18 Golf Belts!
Pop quiz: What college football team is currently ranked #5 in the AP poll and is still undefeated?
Answer: My University of Utah Utes.
Such a great color…
In the festive spirit of college football and college sports in general, Kentwool is now making a new rainbow of colors for their Tour Profile golf socks called the Gameday Collection. The Gameday Collection features color schemes from most colleges out there, including my Utah Utes. Kentwools are the ONLY socks I wear. Period. That’s it. These wool socks are unbelievable and by far the best socks I’ve ever worn, bar none.
For info on the new product line see the HogWire press release from Kentwool.
And below are some links to other Kentwool reviews I’ve done.
Kentwool Tour review.
Kentwool Graduate Compression Socks.
Kentwool Men’s Sport Socks.