Callaway Apex MB (2018) Irons Review

Rumor has it Sergio Garcia’s switch to Callaway played a role in the company’s introduction of these irons. If so… Thank you, Sergio!

Callaway Apex MB 2018 HeroWhen Callaway acquired the Ben Hogan brand all those years ago, better players were curious what would come of the Hogan designs, names, and ethos. Callaway was, at the time, producing great clubs but was seemingly focused much more on game-improvement and super-game-improveement irons, while the Hogan brand targeted primarily better players with simple, austere designs that evoked a sense of history and longevity over fanciful new technology and flash. Would Callaway use the Hogan IP to bolster their better player lineup, or did they just want the Apex name and the Hogan designs, patents, etc.?

For a few years, many feared it was the latter, as few clubs Hogan-like clubs were introduced, and even as recently as 2016 the “Apex” name was stamped onto clubs that didn’t resemble the old Hogans very closely. But, over the past several years, Callaway has seemingly boosted their stable of PGA and LPGA Tour pros. They’ve continued to introduce irons aimed at the game-improvement and super-game-improvement segments, but they’ve also strengthened their commitment to players clubs with wider releases of clubs designed for the better player.

After a series of irons like the Apex Pro and the 2014 Apex MB, the 2018 Callaway Apex MB fully returns to the Ben Hogan roots. Easily the best looking irons Callaway has released within the last decade (hey, this is my review, after all!), the Apex MB unabashedly says “I’m not giving you a ton of help, but if you can handle me, I’m going to be your new best buddy.”

Miura ICL-601 Driving Iron Review

Miura, the mystical Japanese brand with a samurai sword-making background, has released a new driving iron with a typical Miura price tag. Is it worth a spot in your bag? Does it feel like a Miura? Read on to find out…

Miura ICL-601 HeroMiura has an almost mythical background. The company, once upon a time, forged the blades carried by Japan’s respected samurai. Nowadays, the company forges blades (and cavity backs) for players who look to defend their honor against Old Man Par rather than those who would do harm against Japanese nobility.

I still play primarily with a set of Miura Tournament Blades I reviewed back in 2011. In fact, I still carry a 3-iron in that set (it passes the modern-day “butter knife lookalike” test). The 3-iron is nice, but it doesn’t see a lot of action: it’s not the most forgiving 3-iron ever made (understatement!), and I generally only pull it from the bag when I need a 230-yard shot that won’t get up into the wind like a hybrid would.

So, when I heard about the ICL-601, I was excited to see if I might be able to replace my 3-iron with a “driving iron” style iron to offer more forgiveness and an ability to hit it from a wider variety of lies. And, of course, I was looking forward to see whether the “Miura feel” carried over into a polymer-filled, hollow-body “iron.”

Read on to see what I thought after putting it through its rigorous paces.

Review: SynLawn Synthetic Putting Greens

This isn’t your typical review, but I wanted to formalize my feelings toward a product we’ve used at our indoor training facility for years.

SynLawn LogoMany years ago, when this site was in its infancy, I wrote an article about how you could build your own 8′ x 8′ putting green relatively inexpensively. That putting green served me well for the few months before I bought my house. It was not worth moving, so I left it (with permission) for the next owner(s). For years afterward, I went without a home putting green (the carpet in my living room stimps at about 8, so it could be used in a pinch).

Then, in late 2011, we opened Golf Evolution in downtown Erie, PA. GE included a 2000 square foot putting green, and after exhaustive research, we partnered with a company called SynLawn for the putting surface.

Last winter, we finished our basement. With a competitive junior golfer in the house, I again felt the urge to build a putting green that she (and I) could use to work on our games when we couldn’t (or didn’t want to) drive the eight miles to Golf Evolution. So, I built a frame out of some 80/20 aluminum slot rails and flattened and glued down some of the remaining Wittek turf I had from years ago. It had been safely kept in good conditions, rolled up lengthwise, in the meantime.

SynLawn Closeup

The Wittek putting surface was never great. Despite flattening the carpet for weeks, random bumps would pop up. The surface was eventually glued, but bumps still appeared, and then migrated. Balls could roll over the same area and go left or right seemingly on the whims of fate, and often dramatically. The surface was hard and crunchy and even a little bit “prickly” beneath your feet (it’s our house, so we’d often putt in socks or barefoot). It was an “okay” surface – better than nothing and slightly better than our living room carpet – but it wasn’t what we wanted.

So, I ripped it off, sanded down the glue spots (probably unnecessarily), and installed some SynLawn turf. The instant we put it down, we knew we’d made the right choice.

Snell Golf Introduces MTB Red and Black

Snell Golf broke ground with the revolutionary My Tour Ball in 2015. What can they do for an encore?

Snell 2018 MTB Red Optic YellowDean Snell, owner of the eponymous Snell Golf company, and co-creator of the original Pro V1® and TaylorMade Penta®, has already made great strides in shaking up the golf world. For years, he’s been offering premium, Tour-level, urethane-covered golf balls which sell for $31.99/doz. And that’s the most you’ll pay, as buying as few as six dozen balls at once drops the price per dozen to about $27.

Meanwhile, balls from the big names – with their big marketing and player promotion budgets – continues to rise, currently settling in at about $45.99/dozen at most retail stores.

Snell LogoDean Snell is ready to shake things up again, as he offers what customers have been clamoring for on two fronts: today, Snell Golf is announcing the release of their new generation of “MTB” (or “My Tour Ball”) line, with two balls – an MTB Red and an MTB Black – as well as the release of their first bright yellow golf ball in the MTB Red model.

FlightScope Mevo Review

For just under $500, does this little machine pack a powerful punch for the price, or is it just another in a line of expensive training aids and devices?

FlightScope Mevo HeroIt sounds too good to be true.

For just under $500, you can get a pocket-sized launch monitor from an industry leader, pair it with a free app on your smart phone, and get accurate information on clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, carry yardage, and four other parameters to fine-tune your game on your own time. Indoors or out. Short game through driver.

Well, FlightScope claims to have turned this dream into a reality with the introduction of the FlightScope Mevo. Billed as a “portable multi-sport radar,” Mevo is an acronym for “Measure your numbers, Evaluate your game, Visualize your improvement, and Optimize your performance.” (It’s also, confusingly, the name of a camera.)

FlightScope Mevo with Golf Ball
Yes, that’s a regulation golf ball, and a real-life Mevo. It’s that small.

Sounding too good to be true? Can FlightScope really deliver on these promises? Read on to find out what we thought in our extensive testing.

TRUE Linkswear “Outsider” Shoe Review

TRUE Linkswear returns to their roots with the release of the Outsider and the Original. In this review, I take a look at the Outsider line and see just how full circle the company has come after hitting it into the tall grass for a few years.

TRUE OutsiderA few friends who have seen my garage will jokingly call me Imelda Marcos. You see, I’ve got about 30 pair of TRUE Linkswear shoes. Some date back to the original Tours (reviewed here in 2010), while others are of a newer vintage.

Thing is… the newer models are much newer looking than they should be, and the older models are much more well worn. You see, while I loved the original TRUE Tours, and adored the Sensei sneaker-style model, and thought the Stealths were a very good shoe, several of the models that followed lacked the characteristics of TRUE’s early releases. TRUE got away from what made their first shoes so great, and I didn’t wear those models as much.

But that’s all changed. The company has “returned to their roots,” in their words, and released two new shoes. The Original and the Outsider harken back to the early days of TRUE – with minimalist approaches to footwear design that earned them a significant and passionate following.

TRUE Outsider Sides

Has TRUE succeeded at this about face and return to the principles from the Tour and Sensei? Are the Original and Outsider true descendants of what made us “#EnjoyTheWalk” over seven years ago? Read on to find out.

CrocBox Back-Yard Hitting Net Review

The CrocBox is an easily foldable multi-sport hitting net that enables nearly instant practice sessions in your back yard. If it works… what could be better?

CrocBoxWhen we ask golfers why they aren’t better than they are, we’re told a few things. Number one on the list of common responses with a bullet and a healthy margin is “I just don’t have the time.”

I live about two miles from a practice range at a great course, I work at Golf Evolution, an indoor, year-round practice facility that’s about seven miles (by car, not as the crow flies) from my house, and even I find that a small desire to practice is often tempered by the time it will take to get my clubs in the car, load up my camera or tripod (or both), head out to the course or our facility, get balls, and film. The travel alone may take anywhere from 10-25 minutes, and in that time I could have completed a pretty good practice session if I just had a net in my backyard.

Backyard nets are nothing new. We have many, many topics on them on the forum. There are several solutions out there, too… from the homebrew models put together with PVC pipe and some netting to actual practice nets produced by some known companies, ranging in price from $80 to $1,000 and up. While the convenience of a backyard hitting net is unmatched, mowing around the net can be a pain, and they’re a bit of an eyesore.

I’ve recently been getting a lot more practice in lately – in bursts as short as five or ten minutes – because of the CrocBox. The CrocBox is a collapsing net system that folds into a weather-proof box that installs at ground level. CrocBox promises the convenience of a backyard hitting net without the negatives: mowing around it, having to stare at a net in your back yard, or traveling to a golf course or facility to get in a little practice.

Let’s take a deeper look at the CrocBox.

Custom Headcovers and Accessories by DelilaH Club Covers

If you’re in the market for custom designed hand-crafted headcovers, valuables pouches, or alignment stick covers, Delilah Club Covers has you “covered.”

Delilah LogoDon’t let the domain name throw you off… Delila Harvey conducts her business online at girlygolfer.com, but the products she makes are great for man, woman, boy, and girl!

I recently had the pleasure of working with Delila on some headcovers, a valuables pouch, and some alignment stick covers, and though this is filed under “Review” I’m going to do something a bit unusual and share my opinion or review right up front, then talk about the process whereby these items came to be.

If you’re in the market for anything custom-made – putter, driver, or fairway/hybrid headcovers, valuables pouches (she calls them “caddy bags”), alignment stick covers, or other leather golf accessories, you won’t go wrong availing yourself of Delila’s services. In about two months, you’ll have a product that pleases you in every way, with finely crafted materials and attention to detail in craftsmanship and design.

Early Favorites To Win 2016 Ben Hogan Award

Twenty-five collegiate golfers have been named to the 2016 Ben Hogan Award watch list, but these are the ones to truly watch.

College GolfThe 2016 Ben Hogan Award Watch List was recently released, and there is no shortage of big names included. The award recognizes the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year, and the recipient also gets a spot in the Colonial National Invitation field. Twenty five of the best college golfers in the nation made the first cut. The list will be trimmed to 10 April 13th before a trio of finalists will be named May 3rd. The competition will be fierce as always, and here are a few of the favorites as things stand right now.