TRUE Linkswear has long been one of my favorite brands of shoes and for good reason; they are super comfortable. While they have always had a slipper-like feel in the opinions of many, they were criticized early on for having, shall we say, a unique appearance. With each progressive release, the looks have improved without sacrificing any of the comfort. On top of that, the company continues to improve it's sole designs for maximum stability. The new 2014 line-up should have something for everybody as the new additions include a couple of street style shoes, oxfords, and wingtips as well as more options for women.
Tristan Hilton's Archive
Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to review both the Mizuno MP-64 and MP-H4 irons. At the time, they were Mizuno's two newest offerings in the MP line and each brought something different to the party. The 64s were all business and were a true players irons. They had a thin top line, compact head, and little in the way of forgiveness. The irons were sleek and beautiful to look at but if you missed the center of the face, they could be punishing. The H4 irons on the other hand were aimed at golfers who wanted to play an MP iron but may not have had the skill set needed to do so. While they did share the simple look of an MP iron, they carried a much larger footprint with thicker top lines and the long irons had more of a hybrid appearance. Forgiving they were, and while they had the soft forged feeling one has come to expect from a Mizuno MP iron, there was just something a little off about them. Enter the newest MP iron, the MP-54.
With the MP-54, Mizuno has crafted an iron that falls nicely in between their two previous sets. They aren't quite as small as the MP-64 irons, but the slightly larger size along with some new design features means that they aren't as punishing either. The previous MP-H4 irons probably offered just a little bit more forgiveness, but not by much. Does Mizuno finally have the best of both worlds with the MP-54 irons? Read on to find out.
While its undeniable that Titleist makes some great clubs, they are who they are because of the balls they make. As of late, they have gone into a pattern of updating their flagship ball, the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, every other year with updates to their other balls coming in between. This is one of those in between years and thus, there are updates to the NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity, and DT Solo balls. Also on the way are some new putters from the company's acclaimed flat stick craftsman Scotty Cameron.
Like most things, the golf equipment market tends to follow certain trends and this is no different with regards to golf balls. One of the trends that we've seen over the last handful of years is the development of "tour" quality balls built for the amateur. There are a lot of us that want to play the absolute best that we can get our hands on, but truth be told, many times balls in that upper echelon just don't fit our games properly. New from TaylorMade this golf season are three new balls. For those at the very top of the game, they have their new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X balls. According to the company, these balls have over a decade of research in them and they believe that these are the best balls that they've created to date. In addition to the new Tour Preferred balls, the company has also released the Project (a). As you probably could have guessed, the (a) stands for amateur and TaylorMade says that these balls will give amateurs help where they need it the most.
Coming this month, PING has announced two new products, the Ketsch putter and the Rapture 3 wood. PINGs new putter incorporates the company's True Roll technology as well as providing a very high MOI all in a package that the company says is easy to aim and fits nearly any stroke. The new Rapture 3 wood is a great option for those who are looking for a driver alternative off the tee or want a hotter-faced fairway wood.
Perhaps one of the most popular accessories on the golf course today is the rangefinder. While not really a necessity on the course, both GPS and laser rangefinders allow the user to get accurate yardages to their target, and I can tell you first hand, once you get use to having one, you all of a sudden feel lost without it. Over the last few years, we have had plenty of debates on the forum about which type, laser or GPS, is better and the merits of both, but whether you like the pinpoint accuracy of a laser or simple functionality of a GPS Bushnell has you covered.
While Titelist may be the Number One Ball in Golf, there are plenty of other manufactures that make quality tour level balls, and in many people's opinion, Callaway has had one of those balls for quite a while. The Tour i/iz balls were very popular as were its most recent successors, the HEX Black Tour and HEX Chrome and Chrome +. With Those balls, Callaway gave golfers of differing abilities balls that would fit their game well. This year, the company is updating its ball offerings and is heading a slightly different way. Following the model that has be popularized by Bridgestone over the last few years, Callaway's new tour level balls will come in a few different models, with each one optimized for a particular swing speed. In addition to the new premium balls, the company is also debuting its softest ball to date with the new SuperSoft ball.
Alongside the new balls are new flat sticks from the companies putter division, Odyssey. For those wanting to make a move to an Odyssey putter but not wanting to give up a milled face, there are the new Metal-X Milled putters. In addition to the new putter line, Odyssey has added to both the Versa and White Hot Pro family of putters with the Jailbird and the Hacok.
TaylorMade is a company well known for multiple product lines and updating clubs with new releases seemingly just months after the "old" ones have come out. In the past couple of years, we have seen the R11, Burner 2.0, R11s, RBZ, R1, RBZ Stage 2, R1 Black, SLDR and JetSpeed. That's a lot of clubs over a fairly short span of time, and something that the company takes ridicule for every once in a while. That being said, the clubs that they are producing are good quality, and if there is any sort of edge to be had, you can almost guarantee that TaylorMade is going to be the company to find it. Just a few months removed since the release of the company's current flagship driver, the SLDR, the company has added to that line with a smaller, 430cc version of it. Also, one of its more popular lines, the Tour Preferred irons, has been updated with new versions of the MB, MC, and CB irons.
2013 was a very good year for the Callaway Golf company. In addition to having it's marquee player win the Open Championship, the company released a couple of very popular line of clubs, the RAZR Fit Xtreme and the X Hot. The X Hot in particular did very well and many golfers ended up putting these clubs in the bag and adding more than a few yards to their drivers and woods. According to the company, the X Hot products were longer from everywhere, by up to 30 yards in some situations, but this year the company thinks that it has something even better in the X Hot's sequel, the X2 Hot. While the X Hot was the company's most popular line from the past year, probably the most iconic line of Callaway clubs is the Big Bertha, and in 2014 we will see the reintroduction of this line.