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TaylorMade SLDR Fairway and Rescue Review

Apr. 4, 2014     By     Comments (2)

The TaylorMade SLDR FairwayOne of the most hyped family of clubs currently out there is the SLDR from TaylorMade. First came the driver with its signature movable weight that (yes) slides toward the toe or heel to adjust ball flight. This was not a new idea, as Mizuno and others had used a slide-able weight in the past. No, the real breakthrough technology in the SLDR family is the low-and-forward center of gravity (CG). And unlike the slider weight, the low-and-forward CG is found throughout the line, including in the fairway and rescue woods.

TaylorMade claims that the low-and-forward CG will let many players increase loft to achieve a higher launch with lower spin to promote maximum distance. This is a tantalizing prospect. In most parts of the U.S., golf remains an aerial game. Bandon Dunes and other truly firm and fast courses aside, players are almost always better off getting maximum carry rather than trying to run the ball along the fairway. Higher shots will land softer, giving us a better chance to hold the green and less chance of it running into trouble.

The SLDR Rescue looks all business at address.

There is no denying that SLDRs are generating a lot of buzz. You can spot the chrome accent all over every PGA Tour broadcast, and probably at your club, as well. The rumor is that several manufacturers will be moving weight forward and low in upcoming models. Will this be the next big thing? Let's take a look.

Tiger is Not Using Performance Enhancing Drugs… I Think

Mar. 13, 2014     By     Comments (11)

Thrash TalkWhile sitting in the grill room of my golf club during the final round of the WGC in Doral, the conversation sparked up again.

It has not been discussed near as much as in the past, but on occasion - especially when Tiger withdraws or plays poorly because of an injury - people start whispering about it.

This time the gentlemen said that in his opinion ever since the PGA Tour put their drug-testing policy in place Tiger has been injured more frequently than in the past. His insinuation was that Tiger was in the past taking performance enhancing drugs and now that the testing policy was in place he was beginning to show wear as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did in the later part of their careers.

TaylorMade JetSpeed Fairway Wood Review

Mar. 2, 2014     By     Comments (1)

TaylorMade JetSpeed Fairway SoleAfter several years of the RocketBallz woods occupying TaylorMade's consumer-oriented lineup, TM released the JetSpeed line late in 2013. Eschewing much of the look behind the RBZ woods (white crown on black face, bold graphics) and building upon the recent hype of their own SpeedPocket technology, the JetSpeed is somewhat of a tuned-down design.

There's no promise of a dozen extra yards here, despite what you might expect from TaylorMade. The JetSpeed isn't adjustable in any way, and there's no tour-level option. You won't find #JetSpeed trending any time soon.

And yet, it's earned a spot in my bag. Keep reading to find out why.

Sergio a Sportsman?

Feb. 26, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkI think if you asked most American golf fans for their feelings on Sergio Garcia prior to this past weekend's Match Play event, they would have given you a pretty negative opinion. Most would say he is a whiner, and that during his younger days he did a fair bit of pouting as well. It wasn't all that long ago that he even dropped as low as spitting in a cup after pulling his ball out.

Sergio recently found himself in the middle of a spat with the World's Number One after he claimed that Tiger interrupted his swing on purpose. He followed this up by making a comment about having Tiger over for dinner to eat fried chicken. Needless to say, it didn't over well and he rightly apologized for the comment. I for one was surprised about that comment because Sergio is a serious soccer fan and FIFA has made a concerted effort to attempt to curb racist comments. Sergio did himself no favors with his handling of that situation. In interviews after The Players Championship he came off sounding like a whiner and a sore loser. Then in the subsequent interview for the Ryder Cup he only dug his hole deeper.

Titleist 714 AP2 Irons Review

Feb. 25, 2014     By     Comments (4)

It seems to me that the Titleist designers who work on the AP line of irons subscribe to the theory that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The AP2 irons have been extremely popular irons for Titleist since their release in 2010. Although the design has not changed dramatically the designers at Titleist still find ways to improve upon these very popular irons.

The 2014 version of the AP2, the 714, had already won a major before they were made available to all of us regular golfers. Jason Dufner had them in the bag during his win at Oak Hill in the PGA Championship last September. There are a number of other professionals who have put them in the bag as well. They are and have been very popular with the touring pros all the way to mid-handicap golfers.

My first thought when I saw the irons was to ask what is different from these irons versus the model they released in 2012 (the 712)? The differences are subtle but according to Titleist they will help golfers of all skill levels. I took the 714 AP2s for a spin and got an up-close and personal chance to see how they play. With that lets take a look at my thoughts.

The Declining State of Golf

Feb. 12, 2014     By     Comments (22)

Thrash TalkGolf, like any leisure activity, is very closely tied with the ups and downs of the economy. The economy in its current state appears to be making headway in the right direction; golf on the other hand has continued its decline. Mostly it is a decline of participation, more directly it is not attracting as many new golfers as it is losing. For us golfers, this is going to be a bad thing. More and more courses are going to be forced to close because they just do not get enough play to remain open.

When I think about how we got here, we must first remember that golf has gone through ups and downs in the past. This is certainly not the first decline. Likely it will not be the last and golf will grow again soon. But we should analyze why we have had this recent decline.

Five Predictions for 2014

Jan. 30, 2014     By     Comments (2)

Trap Five Logo2014 is going to be an interesting year. We've got Rory McIlroy trying to recapture his pre-2013 form; Phil Mickelson giving the career grand slam another go at Pinehurst; Jordan Spieth and a number a young players looking to make the leap; and of course Tiger Woods six years removed from his last major championship win.

Let's get to it.

New Balls from Callaway, Putters from Odyssey

Jan. 29, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Bag DropWhile 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.

Is Rory McIlroy Distracted or Just Struggling?

Jan. 15, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkAs a golf fan we have been trained to expect prolonged greatness. Tiger Woods hit the scene in 1997 and basically dominated golf until 2010. Jack Nicklaus before him was great for even longer. Greg Norman, Arnie before him, Hogan, Nelson, and so on. But for every golfer like those I mentioned there has been a golfer who flew onto the scene and disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared. I worry that Rory may be falling into the second category.

I am sure you are thinking that I am making this prediction too early in Rory's career. You are probably right, he may again win majors, and maybe even get the number one player title once Tiger starts to lose his edge, but my theory is that he will never dominate. For me it is a combination of things that lead me to this conclusion.

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