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Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver Review

Jun. 29, 2014     By     Comments (0)

BB AlphaRebranding a popular line of golf clubs has got to be a very daunting task. If you are from my generation, you remember the first popular metal golf clubs to hit were the Big Bertha line of drivers from Callaway. The market share at the time was very big; they ruled the "oversized" driver market until TaylorMade got wise to shift to titanium.

In the last five years, Callaway got away from Big Bertha line and frankly has struggled to find their identity. The most recent woods from Callaway have rebranded the Big Bertha line with new logos in particular a cartoon version of Sir Isaac Newton and his famous apple. They have also modernized the graphics and lettering of the Big Bertha clubs. They also released two drivers: the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha. You can read the other Big Bertha review here, this review is for the Alpha driver.

For the review I was given a nine degree driver along with a Stiff Fubuki Shaft. Let's dive in to see how this club performs.

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Callaway Apex Irons Review

May. 29, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Callaway Apex Irons Back HeroJust a few years ago, Callaway's lineup of irons was bloated, confusing, and redundant. They had a few uninspired options for better players, and had clearly put all of their effort into the game improvement market.

Several years later, Callaway's lineup has been completely transformed. Along with the holdover X Forged from a year ago, they're introduced two new lines: X2 Hot, and Apex.

Callaway didn't approach the Apex line lightly, and it shows. The label was originally made famous as the name of a line of Hogan clubs. After Callaway bought the Hogan brand in the early 2000s, both the "Hogan" and "Apex" names were retired, a development that many better players lamented, especially as Callaway recycled the Hogan "Edge" label into a set of gaudy game-improvement irons and despite Callaway's recent sale of Hogan to Perry Ellis.

As Callaway's most forgiving forged set of irons, the Apex irons need to strike a balance between appealing to both high- and low-handicappers, which is not easy to do. Let's see how they made out.

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Callaway Big Bertha 2014 Review

May. 14, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Over the last few years, Callaway has come out with a number of different products with all sorts of different names. From the RAZR Fit and X Hot to Octane and Diablo, it seems that the company has rolled out model after model in search of an identity. However, if there is one product line that defines the company, it is the Big Bertha. When the original version of the Bertha came out, it was all about distance but through the years the company has strayed from the name trying to capture the next great thing. Now it seems that the next great thing is an old one after all, or at least one with an old name. The new version of the Big Berth is bigger and meaner and promises even more distance than ever before.

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TaylorMade 2014 Tour Preferred MC Review

May. 2, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Over the last couple of years there has been no company that puts out more products than TaylorMade. It seems that every time you blink an eye they have a new driver, wood or set of irons that is suppose to add another 15 or 20 yards to your game via different technologies that are built into the clubs.

That's all well and good, and during that time, they've done a great job marketing to the weekend warrior but at some point, it seemed like they lost touch with the more serious golfer. This year, that tune has changed and the company has brought back their "Tour Preferred" line of irons. The line has three different models; the first is their muscle back or MB model and is for the best of players. On the other end of the spectrum of the Tour Preferred line are the CB's. These clubs, as you can tell by the name, have a cavity back and have a much larger foot print. In the middle, there are the muscle cavity or MCs.  These clubs combine ideas from the two sets around them to produce a club with a slight cavity, a smaller shape, and thin top lines in a package that also has some of the technology that's missing from the MBs.

Read on to find out if TaylorMade's newest irons are as good as they'd have you believe or if they are just another club that will be replaced in a few short months.

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Cobra Bio Cell+ Driver Review

Apr. 25, 2014     By     Comments (5)

Cobra BioCell Plus HeroThough I've been quietly admiring Cobra's recent woods from afar, I didn't expect a whole lot from the Bio Cell+ driver when I signed on to do this review. The S9-1 and S2 scream my name every time I walk by the used club rack at my local big-box stores, and the L5V and ZL Encore were some of the few composite drivers that didn't make me want to stuff my ears with Play-Doh, but I had never actually put a Cobra golf club in my bag.

"Had" being the operative word there.

My interest in Cobra waned a bit after their spinoff from Acushnet (and thus Titleist) and subsequent purchase by Puma, though I'm realizing now that was a mistake. Cobra was one of the first OEMs to jump on the adjustable hosel bandwagon, which you can find in nearly all of the woods and hybrids they make.

They've also gone all-in on offering an assortment of colors, moving past "ghosting" to personalization, surely thanks in no small part to Rickie Fowler's fondness for orange.

But the changes this year aren't just esthetic. Cobra has introduced multi-material construction to go along with their E9 forged faces, which they say should give golfers maximum distance and straighter drives.

Let's dive in.

TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB Irons Review

Apr. 8, 2014     By     Comments (0)

TaylorMade TP Irons 2014 CB HeroThe Tour Preferred CB irons are, I suppose, the spiritual successors to the RocketBladez Tour irons that I reviewed a year ago. They're another cast set of irons with TaylorMade's Speed Pocket technology (a polymer-filled slot cut out of the sole) that TM is hoping will appeal to a mass audience as well as the occasional better player. Ideally, these are a spectrum-spanning set of irons.

You might not expect it, but these have already made it into the bags of PGA Tour players and weekend hackers alike. Let's see if they should earn a spot in your bag.

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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.

TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver Review

Apr. 3, 2014     By     Comments (4)

JetSpeedIn the past couple of years TaylorMade launched one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns the golf industry has ever seen around a unique club named Rocketballz. The Rocketballz line was a very popular line of drivers and fairway woods. Hoping to continue on the excitement TaylorMade released Rocketballz-ier line called RBZ Stage 2. The Stage 2 line was not nearly as popular as the original, and so once again TaylorMade decided to change it up with the JetSpeed line of woods.

The audience for the JetSpeed is average golfers for whom the excitement of the movable weight technology in the SLDR line does not tickle their fancy. I was the reviewer for the SLDR driver and I was very excited about the distance gains from the SLDR driver but I was unable to hit it straight. So when the opportunity to hit the JetSpeed came along I jumped at the opportunity.

Let's take a look at how the JetSpeed stacks up.

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Mizuno MP-54 Irons Review

Mar. 6, 2014     By     Comments (11)

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.

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