TaylorMade R9 TP Fairway Wood Review

TaylorMade puts out yet another solid club

R9 FairwayFor years now, TaylorMade has been one of the industry leaders in golf club design and manufacturing. They continually put out some of the best golf equipment available. Though they are probably best known for their drivers, with such past beauties like the r7, they also have made some absolutely fantastic fairway woods over the years as well.

I still think back to when my father first came home with his first Raylor or his Tour Spoon. They were great clubs and well ahead of their time.

I’ve never had a 3-wood I’ve completely trusted. Many of my playing partners have that “go to” fairway wood that they know will find the short grass when the chips are down. Such a club would be a great find as it would take some of the pressure off my driver. So as you can expect when I heard I had one of the new R9 TP 3-woods coming my way I was full of anticipation. I already had a Burner TP 3-wood in my bag and I was ready to put the new one to the test to see if I needed to switch.

Titleist 909D2/909D3 Driver Review

Titleist gets back in the driver’s seat with the 909 series. And yes, that pun was totally intended.

Titleist 909D2It seems to me that Titleist’s 909 drivers are the most eagerly awaited Titleist drivers since perhaps… well… in a long time. The retailers I’ve talked with are reporting good sales numbers, and PGA Tour adoption was awfully quick, with the majority of staff players switching before the first ball was struck in 2009. On a personal level, the number of emails, PMs, and IMs I’ve gotten from people anxious to read this review has been off the charts – and the 909H and 909F3 reviews only seemed to wet their whistles.

Titleist is the first to admit that the 907D1 and 907D2 – two drivers with near identical launch conditions but different looks and different MOI characteristics – were perhaps not the best pair of drivers for fitting a wide range of golfers. They’ve corrected that “one set of launch conditions” error with 909, offering three models: the composite-crowned (a first for Titleist!) 909D Comp, the “tweener” 909D2, and a low-launch, low-spin, 440cc 909D3.

Don’t get me wrong – the 907 was a great driver if you were the type of player that fit its launch conditions. I was able to, and switched to 907D2 after playing an r7 425 and an FT-3, and the 907 worked beautifully for me.

Now that I’ve had a chance to test both the 909D2 and 909D3, I’m ready to share my thoughts. Click through for the rest.

Nike Dymo and Dymo2 Driver Review

I think Nike is finally starting to get things right

Nike SQ Dymo HeroWhen I first saw that Nike had come out with another set of drivers I have to say I wasn’t all that excited. My experience with Nike’s golf gear has been favorable for the most part. I have carried their clubs in my bag from time to time, but I have always found myself going back to the manufacturers that have been around a little longer. I am a traditionalist at heart, and Nike’s drivers just always seemed a little “out there” for me. They had these goofy two tone crowns and the noise, the sound that emitted from them was ear shattering at best. There was always that one little thing about my Nike club that bothered me. Not bad equipment, but just not my cup of tea.

So when these two new Dymo series drivers arrived at my doorstep, I gave myself a little pep talk in the form of “Let’s give ’em a shot!” I am happy to report that I’m glad I did. Nike seems to have read my mind and improved on their drivers in virtually every way they could have (to me). It looks to me like a great deal of good traditional golf club design went in to the making of these. And out came what I believe to be the best product I have seen Nike put out to date.

Titleist 909F Fairway Metal Review

909F3: welcome to a slightly more forgiving fairway wood.

Titleist 909F3Without even looking at my Titleist 906F4 review, I almost began this review the same way: “Fairway woods rarely get the credit they deserve…” Of course, that’s as true then as it is today, and as my game evolves and improves, I find myself relying on my 3-wood more and more, particularly from the tees of holes on which I used to hit driver.

I carry only one fairway wood. It’s a 15° 3-wood sandwiched between a driver and a 17° hybrid that serves as my 5W/2I replacement. Except my putter, you could probably remove any club in my bag without affecting my final score by much, but remove my 3W and I might lose between half a shot and a full shot every time I would have needed it.

The 3W may not have the versatility of a hybrid, the sex appeal of a driver, or the scoring impact of any of my wedges, but when I need my 3W – when I pull it from the bag – it’s often for a situation that only a 3W can handle: from the tee on a tight par four, finding the putting surface on that incredibly long par three, or setting me up for an eagle on a par five.

I’m picky about my 3W, and you probably should be too.

Titleist 909H Hybrid Review

Titleist’s second generation “true hybrid” improves greatly on the first and challenges for the title “best.”

Titleist 909H HybridMy history with hybrids is a bit different than most. I still carry a 3-iron and can’t see giving it up any time soon. I generate enough swing speed and hit with the right amount of downward and sweeping action that I can hit a 3-iron just fine. This same swing tends to produce some poor results when I put a hybrid intended to replace the 3-iron in play.

As such, for years, I’ve relegated the hybrid to a spot between my 3-iron and my 3-wood. Hybrids from various makers, from about 16 to 18 degrees in loft, have occupied this slot at various times. The Titleist 503.H, more like a 2-iron than a hybrid, held the role until I moved onto the much-adored TaylorMade Rescue Dual TP. After realizing that I had a hard time keeping the ball down, I switched back to Titleist’s PT 585.H.

The 585.H was a great hybrid: it looked great, it felt great, and most importantly to me, I could adjust the trajectory to suit my needs. If it had a down-side, it’s that it was prone to the occasional snapper, as I often discovered on my home course’s long par-three seventh hole.

So when Titleist introduced the 909H, I was intrigued. As I stated in our widely read Sneak Peek, the 909H improves on the 585.H by offering progressive head sizes, shapes, offset, and CG to further optimize launch conditions across the range. A little birdie told me, too, that the tendency of the club to go left fast was reduced. I was pumped.

Golfdotz Golf Ball Tattoos Review

Golfdotz: Golf ball marking technology for the 21st century

PackagesRule 12-2 in the 2008 USGA Rules of Golf states “The responsibility for playing the proper ball rests with the player. Each player should put an identification mark on his ball.” Anyone who plays competitive golf knows the importance of being able to identify your ball. In fact, the people at Sanford, the makers of the Sharpie Marker, have made more than a little money from the golf industry by this very fact.

But what about those who find a simple dot too dreary? What about those golfers out there who want to express themselves artistically? Well, fear no more, decorative duffers, as Golfdotz is here to help.

Golfdotz are the new generation in golf ball marking technology. They are golf ball tattoos – tiny decals that transfer onto the cover of a golf ball. They come in many different designs including skulls, hearts, flames, ladybugs and more. The retail at $5.99 a pack which will get you enough for two dozen balls, and are offered in a wide array of designs.

But how do they work? Read on.

“The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan” Book Review

John Coyne writes a story about golf, life, and the choices we make and dispenses some wisdom from none other than Ben Hogan.

Caddie Who Knew Ben HoganThe Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan was written by author John Coyne who has penned over 20 books of fiction and non-fiction. Several months ago, we reviewed his latest book, The Caddie Who Played With Hickory and if you enjoyed that story, you most certainly will want to check out his earlier work as well.

The story weaves between forbidden love, the bond between a golfer and his caddie and wisdom about life as told by none other than Ben Hogan. What happens is a story about golf, life and the choices we make and how “it’s always the next shot that is important.”

Crocs Ace Golf Shoe Review

Crocs jump feet first into the golf shoe market.

CrocsI know what you are thinking: golf Crocs? When I was first introduced to the concept of a Croc golf shoe I had more than a few reservations. I have never been a big fan of Crocs. Sure, I saw more than a few people wearing them around town, and my daughter is a die-hard fan who refuses to wear anything else, but I was not sold. And, I certainly did not see them as a type of shoe that could be used for sports – especially not golf.

As it is with skeptics, I was given a pair and told to try them out. Skeptical as I was I took them out on the course and ran them through the drills to see if they really could hold up to what a regular golf shoe has to endure. The results may surprise you. They certainly surprised me.

Mizuno MP-52 Irons Review

Mizuno’s “player” line just got a little more inclusive.

Playability in an MPWhen the MP-52 debuted this fall with its sibling the MP-62, there were two surprises. First, the company’s “Cut Muscle” design of the last several years is missing, replaced with a very different “Dual Muscle” technology. Second, with the MP-52, Mizuno set out to make a more forgiving MP iron. The MP line has always been the domain of low and lower-mid handicappers. They have a reputation as being workable while providing a lot of feedback. Keeping up to those standards with a forgiving club is a bit of a tall order.

Consider that mid- and low-handicappers can be pretty finicky about their clubs. Many won’t play muscle backs because they think (probably accurately) that they need more forgiveness. Others won’t consider anything that isn’t basically blade-like, because they refuse to sacrifice feel and workability (nothing wrong with that stance either). Forgiveness and workability are to a large extent at opposite ends of the same spectrum. Creating playable irons that meet the needs and preferences of better golfers is a gutsy undertaking for a company with a solid reputation among lower handicappers.