Titleist 718 AP3 Irons Review

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.

Titleist AP3 ironsThe 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?

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.

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 “Elements Pro” Review

Is TRUE’s last pair of spiked shoes (perhaps ever?) able to overcome some of the shortfalls of the in-between-years?

True Elements ProSince they first made their debut in 2010, I have been a huge fan of TRUE shoes. I owned a couple of pairs of the first version of the TRUE tours, the original Stealths, the updated Tours, a pair of Protos, two pairs of the Phoenix, the Classix, the TRUE Motion, and, my favorite, two pairs of the Sensei.

With the exception of the TRUE Motion on that list, you’ll notice that all of the pairs that I owned were older models. Part of that, of course, is that I had plenty of golf shoes and just didn’t need a new pair. That being said, there hasn’t been anything from TRUE as of late that really made me want to go out and get a new pair. When the opportunity came up to review the TRUE Elements Pro, I jumped at it to see if they were as good as the older TRUEs that I loved or if, like the TRUE Motions did, would disappoint me.

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.

Ping G400 Driver 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?

PING G400 Driver HeroWhen 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.

Mizuno JPX900 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.)

Mizuno JPX900 DriverThe 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.