Man do I have a lot of golf balls to review! I may do another “HOG Golf Ball Week” soon to cover them all. The latest in the large and growing golf ball review queue is the TaylorMade Project (a).
TaylorMade Project (a) Golf Ball
I’ve been hearing about these TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls. The (a) is for amateur, which is the target player for this ball. Just how they do that I have yet to discover, but my guesses would first be a lower compression and more spin around the greens.
I’ll be putting these into play soon and doing a full compliment of test rounds before my review. Stay tuned.
Regarding the photo above: I swear I almost have as much fun capturing cool images of golf equipment as I do playing it…
TaylorMade Supreme Hybrid Golf Bag
I received an email from TaylorMade’s PR regarding this week’s Phoenix Open event, the craziest event on the PGA Tour. Yes, even Tiger Woods is in action this week. They were hoping I’d mention that the caddies of TaylorMade players this week were ditching those gigantic “tour” bags and going to be using the 2015 Supreme Hybrid Golf Bag. Well, looks like I just mentioned it.
That email reminded me that I had a review to post, my own experiences with this golf bag. I’ve had it in play for a couple of months, and been satisfied with the bag. Let’s take a closer look.
The 14-way top allows the golfer to arrange his/her clubs to their liking. I’ve flip-flopped between having the longer clubs in the bottom section or in the top section. If I use a push cart I prefer the bottom. When I’m slinging it or using a golf cart (ahem, “buggy” for those of you in the U.K.), I prefer to have the longer shafted clubs in the top section. Putting in and taking out the clubs is easy, which is a big deal.
The carry side… click to zoom
The bag’s 10 pockets provide plenty of storage space for everything from golf balls to rain gear to a protective pocket for cell phones or electronic devices. I’m able to stuff a whole rain suit, extra sweater, gloves, beanie, and lots of other items in there. “Beanie?” you ask? It is winter here.
A key part of a carry bag is the strap and the balance of the bag. The 4-part strap allows me to perfectly balance the bag on my shoulders and makes carrying the bag as enjoyable as it could be for a person with a sketchy back.
Speaking of carrying, this bag weighs only 5.3 pounds. That’s super light for the size and space provided for the clubs and within the pockets. With enough golf balls loaded in my bag to insure I don’t run out, my bag weighs about 258 pounds.
On The Course
Whether hoofing, push-carting, or buggying, this bag has performed perfectly and done its job without any hassle or worry. The legs are solid and I especially like the big handle at the top. The handle makes picking up and slinging the bag easy. The handle also is great for putting in and taking out of the car.
I’ve used this bag in some extreme conditions already. It handled the slow quite well in the 2014 Christmas Classic (sorry about the towel TM).
All-Weather Golf Bag! – click to zoom
Rain, snow, or sunshine the TaylorMade Supreme Hybrid Golf Bag has been a solid performer for me. I especially like the versatility of being able to carry, push, or ride with it.
Played my first round with the 2015 TaylorMade Supreme Hybrid Golf Bag today. This is one of three bags TaylorMade is offering for next year. It is a stand bag which can be carried, or works great on a golf cart as well.
The bag is staying in the starting lineup since I shot an even-par 72 with it in play! Had to be the new bag…
TaylorMade Supreme Hybrid Golf Bag
Below is the description from TaylorMade:
Designed for a golfer who enjoys walking the course on occasion, but also enjoys cart riding, the Supreme Hybrid features the storage space of a cart bag with the mobility of a lightweight stand bag. The Supreme Hybrid is complete with two slots to accommodate oversized putter grips, double zippered garment pocket, a four-point shoulder strap with air mesh for ventilation, an anti-split stand system and a cart compatible base.
Additional features include:
14-way top with handle
4 full-length dividers
I’m now in the review process and will post my findings when I’ve had enough rounds to comfortably assess this golf bag. Stay tuned.
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.
Notice the Speed Pocket on the 7-iron but not on the 8-iron – click to zoom
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.
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.
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.
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.
HOG TaylorMade SpeedBlade iron photos
TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons – click for more photos
I had a lot of fun unboxing my new, custom fitted TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons yesterday. Then I had more fun sitting there staring at them, on the couch, not moving, not at the golf course. Just as I unboxed them, a snowstorm with one inch wide snowflakes hit.
Weather permitting, I hope to play these beauties soon and see just how beneficial to my game they will be. As a two handicap these are not necessarily the perfect type of irons for me according to many. These are game improvement clubs. A two ‘capper would supposedly be best benefitted by a set of forged blades or muscle back irons. The SpeedBlades are not forged. Rather, they’re a cast combo cut muscle/cavity. But I’m a low single digit handicap because I putt lights out and the flatstick saves my ass all the time. My greens in regulation percentage is not good, nor is my short game.
If an iron set can make hitting greens easier and I can hit more of greens in regulation I don’t care what kind of clubs they are. I can let the flatstick score some birdies instead of saving pars all the time.
At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
Now if the snow would melt we could get this show on the road.
Until then, you can check out my TaylorMade SpeedBlade Iron photos.