Practice Posts

Mizuno JPX-EZ Forged Irons Review

This year Mizuno decided take a game improvement iron and use their patented grain flow forged technology. This game-improvement iron no longer has a goofy, bulky look to it. Instead it looks like a mix between a game-improvement and players iron. The JPZ-EZ Forged irons are made for a player with a handicap in between 8 -18.

1. How This Club Is Forgiving and Long:

Mizuno decided to make the head of this club with their most advanced technology inside the head. This technology gives you the same distance and ball speed of a game improvement iron while giving you (the player) the feel and sound of a players iron. First, in order for the JPX-EZ Forged iron to give maximum forgiveness, Mizuno made the sole of the club big enough to give undeniable forgiveness, which is where the cavity is. This gives the player the ability to get the required accuracy even on off-center hits.

Second, the face of the club was built to go along with the cavity by giving it a multi-thickness CORTECH face. This incorporates the forgiveness from the cavity and makes the ball pop off the face, thus delivering maximum ball speed across the entire face. Also, Mizuno decided to make the lofts on these irons 2 degrees stronger. This means that you can get back to the distances you once had with a players iron by making your 7-iron fly slightly lower but giving about 5 to 8 more yards.

2. How this Club Feels and Sounds Like a Players Iron:

Most game-improvement irons are made from cast iron, Mizuno changed the game by making the JPX-EZ forged irons using the Grain Flow Forging process with 1035E carbon steel. When a club is made from cast iron, it takes out a majority of the feel a player wants when they hit the ball. Forged irons on the other hand, give a feeling of euphoria when it is hit clean, and that is exactly what these irons feel like. Whether the ball is hit right in the sweet spot or if it is slightly off-center, you still get both a smooth and buttery feel.

Now it is time to talk about how Mizuno made these irons sound like you are hitting the ball as well as a tour pro. This was done by changing the back of the club from the older JPX irons to a acoustic enhancing composite badge. Even though it looks to be just a cosmetic touch, in reality it is a crucial part to giving a crisp sound at impact. This design takes these vibrations and generates a crisp sound to the ears.

Opinion:

When I first decided to hit these I was slightly skeptical because I am a fan of the players style of irons, which have a thinner top line and less cavity. After a few swings my mind was completely changed. The ball felt smooth coming of the face of the club, feeling like I hit every ball exactly how I wanted, and the numbers were incredible. Even though these clubs are 2 degrees stronger than my normal irons, I was still getting the ball up in the air with the spin rate I wanted. This was due to the cavity and multi-face on the club. The ball was flying off these bad boys, giving me on average 7 more yards per club. I would strongly recommend these clubs for anyone who is a mid handicap and wants to start getting more feel out of their clubs, while not wanting to switch to a less forgiving players iron. I also would recommend the JPX-EZ Forged iron to a low handicapper who starting to feel like they are losing distance and accuracy, but still love the feel of their forged players iron.

 

14 Clubs, 1 Bag

In the rules of golf, we are allowed to have 14 golf clubs in our bag during a round.  Picking these 14 clubs properly is very important.  Everyone needs a putter, so let’s put that aside and focus on the other 13.

Being fit for a driver is a good first step.  This is going to get you your most distance off the tee and lead us into choosing the rest of our set.  Keep that flex shaft in mind when putting together the rest of the bag.

Fairway woods follow.  In today’s game, it is much more common (especially for amateurs) to carry only one fairway wood.  I recommend getting a 4 or 5 wood to a lot people.  3 woods are hard to hit!  A more lofted fairway wood is going to still give distance, with a lot more consistency and overall confidence.

The next step in filling the bag is to choose some hybrids.  This step comes with some thinking.  How confident are you in your long irons?  If the answer to that is “not confident,” like a lot of amateurs, it’s a good play to get a few more hybrids.  3 irons and 4 irons are much like 3 woods- hard to hit.  However, hybrids set about 4 degrees apart are much more forgiving and more fun to play with.  If you have a 17 degree fairway wood, you should aim for a 20 - 21 degree hybrid and then a 24 - 25 degree hybrid.  These hybrids will replace your need for those hard to hit long irons.  And if you feel confident in your long iron game, try only one hybrid and start your irons at a 4 iron.

Now you’re ready to get your irons in the bag.  With the fairway wood and hybrids mentioned earlier, it’s smart to start with a 5 iron and go through a pitching wedge. Irons, for the most part, are about 4 degrees apart.  In more recent years, club companies have strengthened their lofts on their sets.  This has made changes to what the majority of players do with their shorter clubs.  A pitching wedge used to be 48 degrees, but now is more commonly 45 degrees.  This leaves a big gap between a pitching wedge and a 56 degree sand wedge.  Interestingly enough, they make a club to fill in that space- the gap wedge.  If your pitch is 45 degrees, get at least a 50 degree gap wedge.  From there you can keep that sand wedge at 56 degrees and a lob wedge around 60 degrees.

With all the different club companies, it’s important to not focus on the number on the club, but the loft of the club.  A “3 Hybrid” from one company can be a completely different loft than the “3 Hybrid” of another company.  Find out the loft of your fairways, hybrids, and wedges and base your club purchases on these numbers for appropriate gappings.  Get the right weapons in the bag and make the fight a lot more fun!

Time to Change the Grips

Time to Change the Grips

Choosing the right grip for you can be an extremely difficult job, especially when you have no clue what you are looking for. Grips range anywhere from firm to soft, durable or comfortable, even the amount of surface texture makes a difference with how to club feels in your hand.

1. Grips For Your Irons

Every person is different when looking for grips.  Some base their decision on comfort, while others want durability or a desired level of tackiness. So, instead of saying which grip I like best, I am going to give you my personal suggestion for a comfort grip, and a durable, tacky/sticky grip.

Comfort:

When someone is looking for a comfortable grip, they want the grip to feel a little spongy, while also being tacky. Golf Pride decided to come out with a new type of grip this year called the Golf Pride CP2 Wrap grip. This grip is the hottest grip on the market!  More than half of the grips I put on peoples clubs at work have been the CP2 wrap grip.

The great part about this grip is that is not only feels very soft and comfortable, but it has s their core running through the middle of the grip. This core is very firm, although you cannot feel it through the top layer of a cushioned wrap. The core keeps you from holding the club to tightly, letting your hands and club release properly.

However, the cons to getting most comfort grips are that they will wear out quickly, with the CP2 being no exception. So, do not get too used to them because you will most likely need new grips soon after.

Honorable Mention: Winn Excel Soft, Winn DriTac and Winn DriTac Wrap Lite

Durability/Feel:

A better player is looking for a grip that will last through more than one season, feel great when they hit a good shot, and be receptive to bad shots. My favorite grip in this category is the Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound grip. These grips are my personal favorite, and I am not the only one who feels this way. First off, it takes a while to wear these grips out. They seem like they last forever with the cord running through the top and the tacky feel on the bottom.

These grips seem to have everything I am looking for in a new grip. Corded feel, tackiness on the bottom, durability, and they also won’t slip out of your hands when it is raining.

The con to these grips are that they will eat up your hands if you grip them to tight and they do not feel at all good when you hit a bad shot.

Honorable Mention: Lamkin Crossline Cord, Golf Pride Z-Grip Patriot, Winn DuraTech Hybrid

Things to Remember:

Grips are crucial when it comes to improving your game. Some people need the comfort grips to stop them from holding the club too tight, which slows down your club head speed. Others need a firmer grip that will last them multiple seasons, while also promoting enhanced swing control. Once you decide what type of grip you want to have on your clubs and in your hands, then ask the local professional (at the PGA Tour Superstore) They will help you find the right size and show you a few other options that would best suit your game.

Titleist AP1 714 Irons vs Titleist AP2 714 Irons Review

Titleist Ap1 714 Irons & Titleist Ap2 714 Irons Review

Titleist Ap1 714 Irons

New Features:

1. Most Notable Feature:

The duel cavity that Titleist inserted into the Ap1 irons have made them a very forgiving club. These clubs are considered to be their longest, most forgiving irons yet, with the duel cavity being the biggest reason. It does make the club look a little clunky, but I would rather have a club that looks clunky and goes straight than a club that looks like a blade and goes everywhere. The Ap1 irons are one of the most forgiving clubs I have hit without compromising look, feel, or sound.

2. Most Important Feature:

The most important feature of these irons is the lower placed CG. This lower placed CG gives the player a much longer, higher shot shape. Also, it makes these irons very easy to get up in the air without ballooning the ball. This added feature combined with the forgiveness from the duel cavity, makes it a can’t miss club.

Opinion:

Any player who is looking for a game improvement iron that gives you forgiveness, feel, and precision, this is the iron set for you. The best part about this set has to be the long irons (3,4,5). The ease in which the ball launches on the intended flight path almost feels like cheating. Almost.

 

Titleist Ap2 714 Irons

New Features:

1. Most Notable Feature:

The Ap2 irons are forged, cavity back irons which already sets them apart from the pack. The feel you get from these clubs are unlike any other cavity backed club. They feel like you are hitting blades even though you know these irons are cavity backed, making them more forgiving. Despite being cavity backed, Titleist made these irons with the better player in mind, meaning they are extremely workable and precise for controlling your distance.

2. Most Important Feature:

The most important feature on the Ap2 irons is the high density tungsten weighting. This gives these irons consistent speed on miss-hits from the high MOI design for better distance control. This also gives Titleist the option to make their clubs look much sleeker and have more of a tour profile. Since the tungsten weighting is around the edges of the club they could use less iron to give it a thinner look.

Opinion:

If having a players iron that is forged, forgiving, and precise is your thing, then get the Ap2 irons. The feel and sound of these clubs is unmatchable for a forgiving cavity backed club. I would recommend that no matter how good of a player you are, to go hit these irons and see for yourself. The distance control is spot on, even with miss-hits.

 

Recommendation:

My recommendation for this week is a tad bit odd but this is what I would do, so I am letting you all know. If you are a played like myself, who is not best ball striker, still solid with a low handicap, and struggles to hit the long irons pure on a consistent basis. Then this is the plan for you…get the 6 iron through Pw in the Ap2 iron set, then get the 3,4,5 iron in the Ap1 set. This will help with the forgiveness needed to improve your long iron game, while still giving you the option to dial-in the rest of your iron play.

The Art of Course Management

People say golf is a game played between the ears, and that the mental aspect trumps the physical nature of it. Well, whoever says that, is right. I was told at an early age to “never make 2 mistakes in a row” which didn’t make sense until I started competing competitively. There is a big difference between messing around and actually keeping your score. Bogeys will happen, but it is the doubles, triples, and snowman holes that really get us in trouble. So lets discuss how to avoid “the big number.”

Visualize your shot before you actually hit it. Take a good look at the hole ahead of you, determine where you want to go, where you don’t want to end up, and play the shot accordingly. For example, if out-of-bounds in on the left with a slanted fairway from right to left, playing a fade, or a draw that doesn’t challenge the left side is imperative. A miss on a safe shot may result in the occasionally bogey, but at least you’re not re-teeing.

However, there will always be times to take calculated risks. We have all found ourselves in the trees with window (A) being the safe way out and window (B) being the riskier one that gets us closer to the hole. I am not going to sit here and say always take the safer route, because I rarely do, but there are definitely a few factors to consider.

  1. It is much easier to hit a draw around trees than a fade
  2. If your ball is in deep rough the amount of spin you can generate is much less
  3. Trust your swing path
  4. Always make sure to stay down on the shot and compress the ball

Chipping around the green is where your course management skills are magnified. You are not taking full driving range swings, and you’re most likely not in the fairway, so what now? Visualization is again, key. Try to imagine what the ball will do once it hits the greens to determine the ideal landing spot. Tour professionals frequently read the greens when they are chipping to get a feel for break. Tiger made a living in his prime hitting boring chips with his 60 degree wedge, while Phil wooed crowd with his incredible flop shots. Short game is all feel and preference, just make sure to practice what feels right for you.

Lastly, putting. There is LITERALLY nothing that makes me more mad on the course than 3putting. It infuriates me, and often times, carries over into a poor next shot. The key to putting is understanding the subtleties in the green, figuring out the speed, and keeping your first putt around the hole in case you miss. Too often have a seen myself and other golfers blow their first putt past, or leave in 10 feet short. No one enjoys a 10 foot par putt, or worse, a 10 foot bogey  putt.

You drive for show, and putt for dough!