Thursday, March 12, 2015
Tested: AeroBurner vs RSi1 – Which is Right For You?
Written By: Tony Covey
When it comes to irons, my personal recommendation is that you you play the most forgiving iron you can stand to look at. For some of you that's a Mizuno blade. There's a part of me that still understands that thinking.Believe me, I get it.
For some of us, however; as iron technology has progressed, we've grown willing to accept a bit more bulk as the reasonable cost of undeniable forgiveness.
TaylorMade's new AeroBurner epitomizes that compromise.
This One or That One?
For those seeking forgiveness from a TaylorMade iron this season, your choice may ultimately boil down to AeroBurner verses RSi 1 and so you might find yourself wondering how the two irons compare.
Let's cut right to the chase. Neither is what you would consider compact, but nothing much in the game-improvement or super game-improvement categories really is. It's plenty reasonable to point out that AeroBurner is larger in nearly every respect. When I talk about that which you can stand the sight of, if bulk is your determining factor, we're no doubt pushing your upper limit here.
AeroBurner has significantly more offset (.5mm or so on average). While for some that might be off-putting, that additional offset helps to boost launch, and may also help out the guy who struggles with a slice. According to the guys at TaylorMade, the AeroBurner is significantly easier to hit to the left of the target line than competing irons which often show a bias towards the right side of the target line.
AeroBurner swing weights are slightly lighter (again compared to the RSi 1), which might help generate some of that AeroBurner speed.
The static loft situation is, well...interesting. AeroBurner runs a degree stronger throughout the set than RSi 1, but the stated playing length is exactly the same. In the language of the irate reader, TaylorMade jacked the lofts, but didn't increase shaft lengths above and beyond what it had done previously.
If you simply look at numbers without consideration for how AeroBurner's performance is influenced by inherent mass properties of the design, you might expect an iron that launches considerably lower than RSi 1, and whatever distance advantage would come through added roll. That's fine for a driver, but it's not exactly what most people are looking for from an iron. TaylorMade is well-aware of all of this, which is why they designed AeroBurner with an emphasis on high launch.
In addition to the familiar story of a low and back center of gravity (aided by offset), TaylorMade is using a new shaft in the AeroBurner iron. The REAX 88HL (designed by FST) has a unique stepping pattern which features several stepped sections near the grip paired with a long and flexible tip section. This design helps offset some of the loft, peak trajectory, and spin lost to the stronger lofts.
So how does the AeroBurner actually compare to the RSi 1 when we move past static numbers, and begin looking at the dynamic forces of the golf swing? Actually, let me simplify my last query.
What happens when you hit the damn things?
We hit the new AeroBurner side by side against TaylorMade's RSi 1 iron usingBridgestone B330-RX golf balls. Data was collected on a Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor.
While our tester almost certainly hits the ball farther than the average golfer, his numbers, in relative terms, represent what you can expect from the AeroBurner iron.
I don't want to spoil to much of the surprise, but what we see with the 4-iron is pretty typical of all of the irons we tested. The AeroBurner is measurably longer (nearly 7 yards), it launches about a degree lower, spins 200-300 RPM less, and has a slightly lower peak trajectory.
Worth pointing out is that the distance gains don't come purely from roll, the AeroBurner carried just under 5.5 yards further, which is almost certainly a result of the faster ball speeds.
What you should pay close attention to is that while AeroBurner was consistently longer,RSi 1 proved to be more consistent in general as evidenced by the much smaller dispersion ellipse.
In our testing, only the 4-iron showed more of a left bias, however; we believe that's most likely to present itself, and be most relevant, in the longer irons.
Different iron with comparative results that are almost identical. The AeroBurner is faster (ball speed), launches a bit lower, doesn't fly as high, spins 200-300 RPM less, but carries further, and is 8 yards longer (total distance).
Again, the AeroBurner is longer and closer to the center line on average, but the RSi 1 produced a much tighter (certainly flatter) dispersion ellipse. I'm not saying it's the face slots, but yeah...it's probably the face slots.
Given that there are no sole or face slots in either model's pitching wedge, the results here are somewhat interesting since we're now relying on geometry as much as technology to dictate performance. That said, the results are nearly consistent with the other irons in the set. AeroBurner was faster, spun less, and produced more distance (both carry and total).
The two anomalous results for us are that RSi 1 launched a lower than AeroBurner, but was closer to the target line. One might argue that's exactly what you want from your scoring clubs.
Once again, our ellipse shows a smaller plot area for the RSi 1.
Which Is Right For You?
For those choosing between the two, the choice isn't simple. Those looking for as much distance as possible, or who unquestionably need a little help fighting a slice, AeroBurner is likely your best bet. Our preliminary testing suggests it's the longer and straighter of the two models.
For those less concerned with distance (why are you looking at distance irons), or who don't need a ton of help mitigating an extreme fade, it's probably worth leaving a few yards on the table for the added consistency of the RSi 1.
If you're struggling with the decision, remember, you don't have to choose. You can always custom order a combo set. I'm actually considering an AeroBurner, RSi 1, RSi 2. You'll probably have to tweak some lofts along the way to get your gaps right , but the combo option is a great way to get you the right help where your game needs it the most without adding potentially unnecessary bulk to your scoring clubs.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - March 9, 2015 - Cleveland® Golf, an industry leader in wedges and equipment innovation for more than 30 years, is pleased to announce the introduction of the new Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer™ fitting system with Swingbyte™ technology. The Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer provides a simple, quick and accurate way to fit golfers of all levels into the proper bounce and sole grind for their wedges.
The Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer is a Cleveland Fitting Wedge with a lightweight (approximately 1 oz.) Swingbyte motion analysis sensor permanently affixed just below the grip. During the fitting process, the sensor transmits swing data via Bluetooth to a computer or iPad, which then generates a 3-D rendering of the swing and calculates the key swing metrics. The Wedge Analyzer App uses metrics like attack angle and shaft lean at impact, in conjunction with typical turf conditions, to recommend the optimum bounce and sole grind for any golfer. Swingbyte's patented motion sensor captures and sends thousands of "snapshots" per second to the Wedge Analyzer App, where proprietary algorithms immediately translate motion data into useful swing information and 3D animation. The Wedge Analyzer fitting system shows the golfer's swing, which helps fitters to visually explain why they need the recommended bounce and sole grind. It also includes a database of iron set pitching wedge lofts to help fitters recommend the proper wedge lofts to complement the golfer's irons.
"There has always been a lot of confusion in the marketplace about bounce and sole grinds on wedges, said Adam Sheldon, Brand Manager for Cleveland Golf. "This new Cleveland Wedge Analyzer fitting system enables fitters and consumers alike to determine which bounce and sole grind is right for each wedge in a golfer's bag, especially indoors, at large retailers, where a large number of fittings take place."
For additional information on the Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer, please visit: Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer. To locate an authorized dealer with the Cleveland Golf Wedge Analyzer fitting system with Swingbyte™ technology in your area, please visit: clevelandgolf.com.
For additional information on Cleveland Golf, Srixon®, and XXIO® products or staff players, please visit: clevelandgolf.com, srixon.com, and xxiousa.com
Monday, March 9, 2015
A decade ago, when the golf course was a de facto playground for the professional set and a young Californian named Tiger Woods was the world's best player, golf looked like an unassailable national undertaking, and corporate players were champing at the bit to get in.
But the business behind one of America's most slow-going, expensive and old-fashioned pastimes has rapidly begun to fall apart. TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, the world's biggest maker of golf clubs and clothes, saw sales nosedive 28 percent last year, its parent company Adidas said Thursday.
"A decline in the number of active players ... caused immense problems in the entire industry, and as a market leader, this hit us particularly hard," Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer said on a call with analysts.
The sporting-goods giant has taken "some painful measures to restructure and stabilize" its golf division, Hainer said, including listing its slow-selling golf gear at deep discounts and postponing new launches. The coming years, Hainer had previously warned, present even more "significant negative headwinds" for the game.
It's been years since the increasingly unpopular sport of golf plunked into the rough, and the industry now is realizing that it may not be able to ever get out. All the qualities that once made it so elite and exclusive are, analysts say, now playing against it.
The game -- with its drivers, clubs, shoes and tee times -- is expensive both to prepare for and to play. It's difficult, dissuading amateurs from giving it a swing, and time-consuming, limiting how much fans can play. Even what loyalists would say are strengths -- its simplicity, its traditionalism -- can seem overly austere in an age of fitness classes, extreme races and iPhone games.
Even Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the greatest golfer in history, makes a strong argument for why new players aren't flocking to golf.
"I'd like to play a game that can take place in three hours," Nicklaus told CNN in January. "I'd quite like to play a game that I can get some reasonable gratification out of very quickly -- and something that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg."
The number of Americans who said they played golf at least once last year has fallen to one of its lowest point in years, Sports & Fitness Industry Association data show. Even worse for the sport's future: The number of young people, aged 18 to 30, playing the game has sagged nearly 35 percent over the last decade.
"Every macro-indicator that we've been looking at for the past 20 years -- rounds played, number of minorities playing, women coming into the game -- all of these things that we tracked says that there's less people playing," Mark King, a former TaylorMade president and current president of Adidas North America, told HBO's "Real Sports" last year. "I don't like where the game looks like it's going."
Even the golf business' biggest heroes have fallen out of grace. Tiger Woods sliced through a set of disappointing tournaments, including the worst round of his career, before declaring last month he would take a much-needed break.
That drop-off has hit America's greens and links hard. More golf courses closed than opened in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation. And the number of course closures has sped up, averaging 137 closings every year since 2011, data from golf-industry researcher Pellucid show.
But it's not just TaylorMade or the courses that are struggling. Dick's Sporting Goods, which bet big on golf in 2006 by buying specialty retailer Golf Galaxy for more than $200 million, has repeatedly acknowledged their bogey, shuttering stores and ending one experiment -- staffing a PGA professional in the golf sections of more than 500 stores -- by firing all of them.
“Golf from a participation standpoint, and how it translates to retail, is in a structural decline," Dick's chief executive Edward W. Stack said in August. "And we don’t see that changing."
The golf industry has made overtures at "growing the game," some of which have pinned hopes on another superstar like Tiger re-invigorating the game. But some are calling for the great game to prepare for even tougher times ahead.
“There’s nobody out there who’s going to save us,” said Pellucid's president Jim Koppenhaver at a Professional Golfers Association of America gathering in January. “We have to save ourselves.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Coming Soon! – Titleist 915 D4 Driver
We've got a fresh entry on the USGA's Conforming Drivers list from Titleist. Considering Titleist has been fairly consistent with it's one-two punch of D2 and D3, the emergence of a third 915 model will likely come a bit of a surprise to some, but remember, we told you Titleist would have 3 drivers for 2015.
While Titleist is still fairly tight-lipped about the new offering, here's what we've learned so far.
- Weight closer to face than D3 and D2.
- Deeper face than D3.
- Because of the deeper face, it is 450cc, 10cc more than the D3.
- Looks very similar to the D3 but with more curvature across the crown for a slightly rounder look.
- Reduces spin by approximately 300RPM (compared to D3).
- Lower MOI than D2 and D3, but offers similar to higher MOI compared to competitive low spin product.
- It will be available through Titleist's yet to be announced MOTO program. MOTO stands for "Made Only To Order", which basically means you can't just go to Golfsmith at grab a D4 off-the-rack.
- The D4 will be released in May.
What Does that Mean?
What we're talking about more closely fits the conventional definition of a better player's driver. The most intriguing piece of this is that bit about the weight being closer to face. The rest of the tech (Active Recoil Channel, Radial Speed Face) will almost certainly carry over from the D2 and D3. Nevertheless, the D4 is a potentially interesting change of pace for Titleist, who, despite its reputation of being a brand for better players has continuously churned out some of the most forgiving drivers in all of golf.
Is it that Titleist really make clubs for better players, or is that it better players are better in part because they have the good sense to play more forgiving drivers?
From a comparative design philosophy perspective, Titleist is much closer to PING than it is TaylorMade. How far Titleist has swung to the other side with the D4 remains to be seen, but I suspect the D4 won't prove to be dramatically different. Titleist is a company that thrives on subtle and systematic changes not total revolution.
Also worth a mention, the D5 model that Adam Scott has been testing is apparently dead for now. The feeling inside of Titleist is that if one of the best golfers in the world struggles to control it, it's probably not right for the average golfer. No doubt some of the hardcore forum guys will be inconsolable for the next little while.
Why Wait So Long?
It's reasonable to assume that, in general, the D4 will be well-received, however, there will no doubt be some who'll be frustrated (probably annoyed) that Titleist chose not to release the D4 alongside the D2 and D3. It's not that consumers don't appreciate having options, but as a general rule we prefer that all of them be on the table at the time of purchase.
Unfortunately that's not how the golf industry operates.
More To Come
Sources are telling us that as equipment sales continue to grow, Titleist will offer more of these specialty releases down the road. If you think about it, it's not a huge leap from the Vokey Wedge Works model, and that's worked out pretty for Titleist.
The Titleist 915 D4 Driver (available in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°) is slated for a May release (assuming things go as expected on tour), and while we haven't been given specific pricing information, I expect the D4, which will offer the same stock shaft selection as the D2 and D3, will be priced comparably to the other 915 models. I'd wager you're looking at $449 plus the cost of whatever shaft upgrade you need to make the numbers right.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
MACEDON, N.Y. - Callaway Golf Company recently unveiled a new line of GPS and Laser Rangefinders at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Jan. 21-23. Callaway introduced the GPSync watch, the ECLIPSE GPS and the 300 Laser Rangefinder.
Each of the three devices is equipped with a feature that sets them apart in the distance-measuring devices category. The 300 Laser Rangefinder has a built in P.A.T. (Pin Acquisition Technology) mode, which allows golfers to accurately grab the flag from up to 300 yards away. The GPSync and ECLIPSE both display yardages to the front and back of hazards (doglegs, bunkers, water) giving the golfer enough information to layup or go for it.
"Overall the response was tremendous! The media, industry, buyers, and PGA pros were very impressed with our new, innovative GPS and Laser devices," said David Witkoski, Vice President Marketing and Product Development for IZZO Golf, an official licensee for Callaway. "We look forward to establishing Callaway as a significant player, within this category, for years to come."
Callaway's ECLIPSE is a unique and versatile wearable GPS device. The ECLIPSE's clip can attach to either end of the GPS unit allowing you to have the correct orientation when viewing the ECLIPSE whether it's attached to your belt or to your bag.
• Preloaded 30,000+ golf courses worldwide
• Accurate distances to front, center and back of green
• Accurate distances to front and back of hazards and doglegs
• Auto-Hole advance and shot distance measurement
• Score keeping features, Putts Per Round, Greens In Regulation
• Rechargeable lithium ion battery
• The ECLIPSE retails for $199.99
Callaway's sleek and stylish GPSync watch can be used both on and off the course. The GPSync has all the key features of the ECLIPSE plus
• Bluetooth enabled (Apple or Android) - view text/e-mail/missed calls notifications
• Upload save round scores to app
The GPSync retails for $299.99.
Callaway's 300 Laser Rangefinder is sleek, compact and easy to handle.
• Range: 5-1,000 Yards (5-300 yards to flag)
• P.A.T. - lock on to pin up to 300 yards away
• Accuracy (+/- 1 yard)
• 6x Magnification
• Scan landscape to acquire multiple targets
• Water/Fog proof
• LCD display
• Measures in yards or meters
• 4.25 inches by 1.75 inches by 1.5 inches
The 300 Laser Rangefinder retails for $279.99.
The production is ahead of schedule and all three devices will be available in mid-March.
ABOUT IZZO GOLF
IZZO Golf is an official licensee of Callaway Golf. IZZO offers high quality technology products that help golfers lower their scores and increase their enjoyment of the game.
ABOUT CALLAWAY GOLF
Callaway Golf Company creates products designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf accessories, under the Callaway Golf® and Odyssey® brands worldwide. For more, please visit CallawayGolf.com
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