Mark your calendars folks, we are at eight months now since TaylorMade launched the SLDR line of clubs and they still haven't come out with a replacement that will give you another 30 yards. All joking aside, that is a long time for a company that was releasing four drivers a year at one point. However, that isn't to say that the company hasn't added or tweaked the SLDR line at all, because they have. When the club first came out in August 2013, it came in a 460 cc head and a few months later they added to that with a smaller 430 cc head. The company has now made a few more adjustments; first, TaylorMade is bringing back the white crown, which they seemed to have abandoned for a bit as well as introducing a new mini (260 cc) version of the SLDR.
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Most golfers know Titleist as the "number one ball in golf," and sort of as a spin off of that, Bridgestone has deemed themselves to be the "number one ball fitter in golf." However, there is another "number one" ball in golf, and those are made by Volvik, "the number one colored ball in golf." While Volvik balls haven't yet found their way into the bags of too many male golfers, they have a huge share of the market in the ladies game and have many LPGA players in their stable. That is starting to change as of late as the company has added both Craig Stadler and Tim Petrovic to their list of players, as the former became the first player to use a green ball at the Masters just a couple of weeks ago.
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.
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.