New Golf Equipment 2017
If you are in the market for new clubs now is a great time to look at the latest from manufacturers for the coming 2017 golf season. This month New England Golf & Golf Gear Weekly bring you a reference guide of the drivers, fairway woods and hybrids we like best, all of which are in shops now. Prices shown are the street prices at major retailers and current as of this writing. Remember to talk with a PGA professional. He has the knowledge to recommend the proper clubs for you and can take trade ins!
The Great Big Bertha Epic Driver has drawn a lot of comment. The titanium exoskeleton cage clubhead has a carbon fiber crown and carbon fiber panels in the sole plus two titanium posts behind the face running from the crown to the sole. Callaway calls the posts Jailbreak Technology and says they stiffen the head—allow less deflection—for more ball speed. Shot shaping control comes from a sliding weight at the rear of the clubhead. The GBB Epic and a low spin version, the GBB Epic Sub-Zero, are $500.
Callaway’s Steelhead XR Irons are reminiscent of the popular Steelhead X-14s first seen in 2000. Similar in shape but with a modern cup face construction and a bore through hosel producing better ball speed, feel and forgiveness. There’s a bar of steel-infused urethane behind the face to adsorb vibration and lower the center of gravity. Five iron through pitching wedge with steel shafts $600 shafts and $675 with graphite.
By putting a cavity inside the hosel and making the hosel shorter Cleveland was able to move the center of gravity in the head closer to middle of the face in the RTX-3 model wedges. This help tighten shot dispersion and improve feel. The groove pattern is a deeper, narrower U-shape with a sharp radius. In a choice of three different V-sole grinds and three finishes, retail price is $130.
Redesigned with a carbon fiber crown and forged titanium variable thickness face and their MyFly 8 Smartpad to tune trajectory and launch with eight loft/lie combinations, the King F7 ($350) and smaller clubhead King F7+ ($400) are worth consideration. Every Cobra driver this year comes Arccos shot tracking at no added charge. Simply pair the signal from the Arccos device in the handle to your smartphone with the free app and every drive will be recorded and analyzed.
A new, thinner face with an L-cup design help the King F7 Irons perform for average golfers. Long irons have a full hollow head, mid-irons are half-hollow and short irons are cavity back. Available in either variable length or one length as popularized by Cobra staffer Bryson DeChambeau. Both are $700 for a set of 5-iron through gap wedge.
Cure has brought out new versions of the Classic Series CX line for this year, the CX1 blade, CX2 mid-mallet and CX3 full mallet. All have an oversized 5 inch head with tungsten inserts in the heel and toe plus 42 grams of weight adjustability from six removable weights resulting in extremely high resistance to twisting. Each is priced at $300 and offer the choice of heel or center shaft.
Single length irons must be constructed to give golfers the benefit of solid shots without having to change address positions as shaft lengths change as with traditional variable length sets. The Edel SLS-01 Irons have a hollow body design with progressive face thickness and a thermoplastic inside to improve feel, sound and energy transfer. Each is forged from carbon steel have shafts specifically made to give the best results from single length irons. Sole design comes from the knowledge Edel gained making their custom wedges. A set comprised of 5-iron through pitching wedge of Edel single length irons is $1,470.
With new investors and a new president Miura has launched the PP-9005 Genesis Forged Irons created by the legendary designer Katsuhiro Miura. Targeted at a wide range of skill levels using a 454 Carpenter steel face the club body has an undercut cavity to give added distance from these premium irons. Genesis irons may be purchased at one of the many authorized Miura club fitters starting at $1,240 for a set of 5-iron through pitching wedge.
Wedges have always been their strength the Mizuno JPX 900 Wedges are a good example. The whole JPX 900 line has been tagged by the company as Hot Metal Irons because they use a special alloy that’s stronger than the usual stainless steel and that means the multi-thickness face can be very thin. The wedges have weight pushed to the outside edges of the clubhead for forgiveness and solid feel. JPX 900 wedges retail for $112.50 each.
The new i200 irons from PING have a clean players-club look with the playability of a game-improvement category club. The transition from hosel to face is particularly pleasing, offset is minimal and the topline is thinner than a typical club in this category. A 30% thinner face means faster response at impact. Combined with weight saved in the face and deeper cavity being pushed towards the toe and hosel they produce longer distance and more forgiveness. Bounce on the sole has been increased a bit and the leading edge is more contoured which means the i200s have better turf interaction. With steel shafts they are priced at $125 per club and with graphite shafts $140 per club.
We also like the PING Glide 2.0 Wedge line a worthy successor the original Glide model of 2015. Grooves are sharper for more spin and higher lofts have two more grooves on the face. Four standard grinds are available. Glide 2.0 wedges are $140 each.
There are two new premium golf balls from Srixon. The Z-Star with a lower compression core for improved launch conditions and more distance from this three layer urethane cover ball. The 338 dimples have a more aerodynamic pattern and Srixon’s Spin Skin coating gives more spin on short shorts. The Z-Star XV is a four-piece ball with a dual core also with a urethane cover, new dimple pattern and Spin Skin. Both come in either white or yellow for $40 per dozen.
TMaG’s M series drivers were by far the most played brand by touring professionals last year and will be for this season as well. The M1 2017 ($500) has a 6-layer carbon fiber crown with a large carbon fiber panel in the toe and the weight saved allows for a lower center of gravity. An enlarged T-Track system of sliding weights and new ultra-light loft sleeve allow user adjustments to fit most any player.
The M2 2017 ($400) has a refined sound and much more flexible sole slot behind the clubface matched with a loft sleeve with 12 settings similar to the M1. Weight saved from the 6-layer carbon fiber crown was moved low and back in the head provide a hot trajectory and lots of forgiveness.
TMaG also is introducing the TP5/TP5x line of golf balls. Both are 5-layers with a progressively firmer core and mantle and a cast urethane outer cover in conjunction with a more rigid inner cover. The TP5x is slightly firmer and has higher launch while the TP5 has a softer feel with mid-launch. Pricing is $45 per dozen.
The 2017 Pro V1 is still the familiar three-piece construction but long game spin has been lowered with more ball speed and it flies lower with a softer feel than the Pro V1x which spins more on iron shots. Pro V1x is a four-layer ball with a special casing or mantle layer. Aerodynamics of the cast urethane cover of both have been improved with each having a new dimple design. Retail MAP is $48 per dozen for Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
Also, this being an odd number year meant the introduction of new drivers from Titleist, the 917D2 and 917D3. Each have a wide sole channel, Titleist’s Radial Speed Face 2.0 construction and the reliable 16-setting SureFit Hosel. There’s an interchangeable sole weight to adjust launch characteristics in both the 917D2 (460cc) and 917D3 (440cc). Both are priced at $500.
Tour Edge Golf
The EX 10 Fairway Wood ($250) from Tour Edge has a high density steel cup face that much thinner giving a very large sweet spot in this variable thickness face. At address the tapered profile of the clubhead looks great and is more aerodynamic plus the EX 10 makes use of the Tour Edge Slipstream sole. The lower and deeper center of gravity than last year’s comparable model comes from a heavier sole weight which is interchangeable and produces higher launch with more ball speed.
EX10 Hybrids ($170) also have a high tensile strength variable thickness cup face that’s both hot and very forgiving. A Slipstream sole minimizes turf interaction and helps achieve a high amount of stability at impact. There’s 24 grams of rear sole weight that increases the resistance to twisting and produce lower spin.
Though not well known in the U.S. this Japanese club manufacturer makes a full line of premium quality clubs. At the Show we were drawn to the Mizar Irons which have a forged one piece head of soft carbon steel with a 3.5mm thick maraging steel face of constant thickness. Feel is assured from an eight step forging process with close tolerances and constant quality control. Mizar irons are sold through a select number of custom fitting shops and a set of 5-iron through pitching wedge lists for $1,530 with stock steel shafts.
No driver, indeed no club, was a hotter topic at the PGA Show than the Wilson Triton ($450). The design winner on the Golf Channel reality program Driver vs. Driver appeared in shops and then the USGA said it wasn’t conforming to the Rules of Golf. Wilson quickly corrected the minor problem, it’s now conforming, but not before the Internet was bursting with comments. The most visible feature of the Triton is the alignment aid on the crown but the most unusual one is that the plate in the sole is interchangeable. Two come with each driver—one of carbon fiber (low launch low spin) and one titanium (high launch low spin). There is also an adjustable hosel and four movable weights for lots of customization options.