Titleist designed its all new AP3 to combine the best of the company’s popular AP1 and AP2 irons. Making an iron as long and forgiving as the AP1 that is also as workable and great feeling as the AP2 would create one great club. Is the AP3 all that? Well, I truly enjoyed finding out.
The Titleist iron line has traditionally skewed toward the “better” player. With the exception of the AP1, the brand’s irons favored workability and distance control over forgiveness. Previously, there was a pretty big jump from the everyman’s AP1 to the tour-popular AP2. Now Titleist has added a true “mid-AP” iron with the AP3, a “better players’ distance iron.”
Irons in this category are expected to deliver extra distance while still providing the feel and consistency that mid- to low-handicappers need.
Titleist bills the new AP3 iron as its longest and fastest player’s iron ever. The AP3, which fits between the AP1 and AP2, is intended to provide some of the forgiveness of the former with some of the shotmaking ability of the latter for players wanting more distance and forgiveness without sacrificing feel. Add one and two and you get three. Now the name makes sense!
AP3 truly represents the best of both worlds. We’re giving you the distance and forgiveness of a game improvement iron packed into the look and feel of a player’s iron.
Josh Talge, VP Marketing, Titleist Golf Clubs
That’s a pretty tall order. The AP1 is very popular among mid- and higher-handicap players (though the long irons sometimes find their way into the bags of better players). The AP1s strong suit is forgiveness and ease of getting the ball in the air. The AP2 is widely played on professional tours and by a sizable number of lower handicap players, where its feel and consistent distance pays dividends. Can the AP3 really combine the best of both worlds?
Continue reading “Titleist 718 AP3 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!
When 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.”
Continue reading “Callaway Apex MB (2018) Irons 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 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.
Continue reading “Miura ICL-601 Driving Iron Review”
Ping’s latest offering promises to be their fastest, most forgiving driver ever. It was good enough to debut at the U.S. Open, but does it perform in the hands of the average golfer?
When I first started playing golf, I was given a set of clubs (with bag) by the person who introduced me to the game. He found it at a garage sale and bought it for me so that I would have my own clubs to play and practice with. It was a set of irons, 4-PW, with a random SW and an old blade-style putter that rattled when I shook it. It was enough to get me going in golf, but I knew at some point that I would need a driver.
Fortunately I had some pretty good friends, as another friend of mine eventually found out I picked up the game and gave me his old PING G2 driver. I loved hitting that club. Granted I was still a very poor golfer, but it made a world of difference just to have a driver that happened to be easy to hit. I even drove my first par 4 with it (honestly I haven’t driven many since).
It’s been almost ten years since that first driver but I finally have another PING driver, the G400. I’ve gotten a little better over the years but still maintain a love/hate relationship with my driver. Will the PING G400 revolutionize my game like the G2 so many years ago? Read on and see.
Continue reading “Ping G400 Driver Review”
The Mizuno JPX900 driver delivers a ton of adjustability. Can it keep up with the top driver models this year? (You might be surprised.)
The Mizuno JPX900 is the brand?s performance counterpart to its game-improvement JPX-EZ (which I thought was a pretty decent game improvement driver). The 900 is lower spinning and more workable, and provides a wider range of adjustments to fit your swing. I mean a really wide range.
The 900 replaces the JPX850, a pretty solid, lower spinning driver that required a reasonably good swing to produce consistent results.
Continue reading “Mizuno JPX900 Driver Review”
Callaway’s latest driver introduces Jailbreak technology that should add some speed off the face.
Jailbreak technology. Sounds evil. Sounds non-conforming. Well, Callaway has been working on the new technology for some time now and were able to get their newest driver, the Great Big Bertha Epic, on the USGA’s conforming list.
With the promise of extra ball speed off the face of the club, the Epic ma be the most anticipated driver of 2017. It certainly created a lot of buzz in December and early January. Does the Epic deliver on its promise? Just how much does Jailbreak technology boost your distance? Read on to find out.
Continue reading “Callaway GBB Epic Driver Review”
Bridgestone ups the ante in the hybrid game.
When I say “Bridgestone” to you, hybrids probably aren’t what come to mind right away. You’d think of golf balls, tires, Brandt Snedeker, the annual WGC event, and maybe even their forged irons. Hybrids would probably be well down the list.
Bridgestone has spent more than a decade trying to change that, but I’m not sure they’ve actually made much headway. They’re a little like Mizuno: hyper-specialized, but with the ability to occasionally surprise you when you don’t expect it. I played a Mizuno MX-700 hybrid for several years, and never thought twice about how strange that was because that club played go great.
The Bridgestone J15 is a lot like MX-700. No one is going to be beating any doors down to get their hands on a J15 hybrid, but the few who do are going to come away glad they did.
Continue reading “Bridgestone J15 Hybrid Review”
Ping makes their case as the industry’s best clubmaker.
At last year’s TST Newport Cup, the guys and I got to tour PING’s facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’d never owned a PING club, but I was excited all the same. PING is known for being an engineering leader among OEMs, and their U.S. base of operations makes them a particularly intriguing company. Though they no longer cast and manufacture many clubs in America, they still have quite the impressive setup.
It wasn’t long before I knew I had to try the next PING product that came our way, if only to reap the benefits in real life of everything we got to see on the shop tour. So when the PING G series woods came up for review, I jumped at it.
Though they don’t have the splashiness of drivers or the utility of hybrids, fairway woods have been hot lately. TaylorMade used them to drive their marketing for several years, and recently PING has picked up the same mantle. The G series, now numberless, may be the most heralded set of fairway woods on the market right now.
Do they live up to the hype? Let’s take a look.
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When you name a club “EZ,” certain expectations are set. Can a company known for its forged irons deliver with a game improvement driver?
Mizuno has long been known as being among the top, maybe even the, top brand for forged irons. In the last 10-15 years, Mizuno has expanded its iron line to include options for every skill level and playing style. For right or wrong, however, its metal woods options have almost always trailed the industry leaders in terms of public perception for their playability and technology.
Mizuno’s JPX-850 was a very solid driver. But it was distinctly geared to the “better” player, with too little spin to keep the ball in the air at lower swing speeds. The JPZ-EZ is a forgiving “game improvement” driver, but also promises lower spin.
With a name like EZ, you can bet this one is aimed at Joe Everyman Golfer. So, does it deliver on that game improvement promise? Read on to find out.
Continue reading “Mizuno JPX-EZ Driver Review”