Reviews


Review: Puma Superlite Golf Stand Bag

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, August 18th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf AccessoriesGolf EquipmentGolf For WomenGolf GearReviews
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Puma_Superlite_Golf_Stand_Bag_02What’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.

Puma_Superlite_Golf_Stand_BagThe 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.

Puma Superlite in the rain

Looks

Style is part of the overall package and this bag has it.  I love the solid, bold looks and colors of this bag line.

Critique

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

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.

Conclusion

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.


Review: Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf CoursesGolf For WomenHOG World TourReviewsTravel
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It has taken a few weeks to process my experience at French Lick Resort’s Pete Dye Course.  I was also slightly sidetracked by a little trip to Scotland in that timeframe.  The dust in my golf cranium has settled.  I’m ready to try and tackle this big review of a big golf course.

French Lick Location

First off, let’s get the location figured out.  French Lick Resort is in Larry Bird country, the towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs in southern Indiana.   The closest major city and airport is Louisville, Kentucky.  Next would be Cincinnati and Indianapolis.  The resort sits on a large and historic estate which dates back to 1845.

The Dye Course is a 5-10 minute drive from the West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Hotel and Casino.  The course lies on one of the highest points of elevation in Indiana, producing a 40 mile panoramic view.

Pete Dye Course Key Facts

First off, one must know who Pete Dye is.  Pete Dye is a Hall of Fame golf course architect who has built some of the most famous courses in the world.  Some of Pete Dye’s most notable courses include Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Harbour Town Golf Links, TPC Sawgrass Stadium (home of THE PLAYERS), Whistling Straits, and PGA West.

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Pete Dye and me

The Pete Dye Course at French Lick is certainly one of the most difficult courses in the USA, if not the world.  The course rating from the tips is an unheard of 80.0.  The slope is a massive 148.  It’s hard to translate those numbers for those who don’t understand rating and slope.  A skilled professional on average would shoot an 80 on this course, on a good day.

The course plays to a par value of 72.  The total yardage is 8,102.  Amongst that hefty yardage is par-3 16th hole which measures 305 yards.  If the length isn’t tough enough, there’s water down the entire right side.

Tee

The views presented to the golfer from the tees are tremendous, challenging, and worthy of not only a solid tee shot, but a solid shutter release of a nice DSLR camera.

1st Tee

1st Tee – The sliver of fairway in line with the cart path is the target

Where to aim from the tee on the Pete Dye course is a tough call on nearly every hole.  Visually the landing areas look extremely narrow and seem like they’re miles away.  Wait a sec… that’s because they are extremely narrow and miles away.  One must know how far they hit their drives or layup shots, exactly.  Then execute a near perfect shot to hit that precise spot to keep a ball in the fairway.  And I’m talking about the par-3’s!  I kid. I kid.  Sort of.

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Review: Miura Series 1957 Limited Edition Small Blade Irons

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, August 8th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf ClubsGolf EquipmentGolf GearReviews
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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

Miura Series 1957 Small Blade Irons

About Miura

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.

Miura_Series_1957_Small_Blade_Limited_Edition_02
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.

Material

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.

Finish

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)

#3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 PW
Loft (degrees) 21 24 27 30 34 38 42 47
Lie (degrees)
59.0
59.5
60.0
60.5
61.0
61.5
62.0
62.5
Offset (inches) 0.11 0.10 0.10 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.06
Finished Length (inches) 38.75 38.25 37.75 37.25 36.75 36.25 35.75 35.5

Size

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?

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.

Miura_Series_1957_Small_Blade_Limited_Edition_04

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.

Critique

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.

Miura_Series_1957_Small_Blade_Limited_Edition_11

#love

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.

Simplicity

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…

Shafts

Miura will shaft the irons with shafts from any of nine “recommended” shaft makers including Aerotech, KBS Tour, True Temper, Project X and more.

Final Thoughts

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.


Puma D_Vent Golf Polo

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
Categories: Golf ApparelGolf GearReviews
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If the lovely bride isn’t there to do my apparel scripting for me (set my day’s outfit out on the bed), I like to go the Gary Player route.  Black.  Black matches black. I can remember that. So this black Puma D_Vent golf polo is perfect for those days.  It’s also perfect for golf, even in the summer.  Here’s why.

This polo features Puma’s dryCELL technology with moisture wicking properties.  Moisture wicking is a process where the garment actually pulls moisture away from the wearer’s body.  This technology helps keep the player more dry, cool and comfortable.  The D_Vent also provides the wearer UV protection from the sun’s radiation.

The 100% polyester fabric is so much more flexible and comfortable than cotton.  This fabric feels great in the golf swing and doesn’t restrict, pull, or bind.  There’s even a slit or “vent” in the upper back which aids in comfort and provides a place for heat to exit, especially good when one needs to cool down after a 3-putt.
Puma_D_Vent_Golf_Polo

This polo is so comfortable I love wearing it for daily use, off the golf course.  Whether I’m at the office crafting incredible golf blog posts or out chasing little Seve around the neighborhood, I’m comfortable, cool, and stylish.

Sizes/Colors

Available colors: black, red, white, orange, “peacot” and blue.

Available sizes: small, medium, large, extra-large, double extra-large

I normally wear an XL and like a comfortable loose fit and Puma’s sizing is right on with that.   Accurate.  Not “skinny euro” sizing.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to crank out a 2000 word review on a shirt.  But since I picture is worth 1000 words, I came pretty close.  Seriously though, this very stylish and affordable ($65) Puma Golf shirt scores perfectly in all the areas I consider important for a golf polo: comfort, style, performance, durability, easy care.

And my color selection, black, matches everything in my wardrobe. No failed apparel scripts.


Golf Cigar Aficionado – Lobotomy by Asylum

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
Categories: CigarsGolf LifestyleReviews
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The weekend grudge match today started out rough, pun intended.  I had a new partner and he pretty much carried me the whole front nine.  Despite his heroic efforts we were two-down starting the back.  I knew I had to pull out the big guns for us to have a chance at coming back.

20160703_135722

The latest in the cigar review queue is the Lobotomy by Asylum, courtesy of Famous Smoke shop.  I was playing so bad I felt like I’d had a lobotomy.  Could this stogie help bring my game back?  After analysis of the Lobotomy slogan I was liking my chances:

“With a strength profile that will shock your receptors back to normal, and a flavor as complex as a Rorshach Test, these cigars will ease your stress and help you relax like never before. Get your Lobotomy now. Er… Asylum Lobotomy that is.”

Lobotomy Info

Strength: Medium-full
Filler: Aged cuban seed tobaccos
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

As usual, I gave my opponents the opportunity to surrender before I powered up the Lobotomy.  Their mistake was not accepting the offer.  Upon my enjoyment of the Lobotomy, my game improved greatly and my partner and I scratched out a tie when it had looked like we were dead and buried.

Lobotomy isn’t one for the weak.  It’s a bold cigar.

Bold is what just what the neurosurgeon ordered.


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