All golfers are constantly seeking to improve their golf game, whether it’s with a new club, ball, or training aid. Most overlooked though, is the simple golf lesson offered by so many excellent golf teachers in most every city, where golf is played.
However, should you not be so inclined to take golf lessons, then the following three clubs will most definitely improve your fairway game and, of course, garner those magical extra yards.
The appeal of adjustable drivers is near an all-time high, according to industry researcher Golf Datatech. Some 85 percent of golfers say they are at least interested in purchasing a driver with a rotating hosel and/or movable weights. But there are manufacturers betting that at least some golfers need a driver that doesn’t change—one that’s just engineered to hit it higher and mitigate a slice.
To achieve this, manufacturers have chosen to forfeit the fitting options and save the costs by making their clubs nonadjustable. Do they have a point? Well, Golf Datatech’s research shows that although one in two low-handicappers are very interested in adjustable drivers, only one in three high-handicappers are. Here we present two drivers, one adjustable, the other not…
From the company that espouses commitment to quality, another outstanding club is now available. PING’s approach to new equipment starts with knowledge, and then the products emerge from that knowledge. PING only releases new products if they actually outperform the previous model.
Following the HUGE success of the G30 and G line, the G400 is the newest iteration of their driver.
In a nutshell – “Wow! What a beauty!” As good looking as it is powerful. Expect 8 -20 more yards on your drives. It is also very easy to hit off the fairway and rough, depending on your lie.
Out 25 testers and 17 of the 20 retailers visited in Las Vegas, San Diego, and Palm Springs, unequivocally, agree that the PING G400 is the best sounding and feeling G driver PING has made for a while, quite possibly back even to the G2 and G5. It has a much lower pitched, richer sound that makes this one of the best sounding drivers in the market.
As with most major brands, PING tries to get the CG (Center of Gravity) of their drivers as low and far back as they can to make them as forgiving as possible, and so far, they are singularly the most successful at doing this, according to the many retailers and our testing group.
PING’s G400 driver has managed to go deeper and lower again over the G30 models.
The USP (Unique Selling Propositions) – Despite their slimmer frames, the G400 drivers are actually more forgiving than the G drivers (which were even more forgiving than the G30). Smaller heads move faster through the air than larger ones and according to PING’s numbers, the 445cc G400 driver is as aerodynamic as the G30 driver shrunk to 295cc, so that is a big improvement in two generations.
Another big change is the other weight saver. This is the T9S+ Titanium Forged Face that is 6% thinner and can, therefore, flex 16% more to increase ball speed by 1.2mph at a 105 mph swing speed.
The deeper CG comes from the tungsten weight that is placed behind the gold screw weight that Ping uses to modify the head weight during their custom fitting process. With a combined MOI (Moment of Inertia) over 9000 and the deepest CG location in golf, it elevates stability and forgiveness to the highest levels ever.
The G400 gold weight is made from a 30% denser material than the previous G sole weight, and as a result, it is smaller and looks better as well.
As with previous driver models, the use of Dragonfly Technology (a geometry on the back of the driver crown that helps push CG lower and more rearward in the driver heads) creates an ultra-thin crown and skirt for weight savings to optimize the CG location and increase MOI for maximum forgiveness and accuracy.
Dragonfly ribs on the inside of the head, not only provide additional stability, but also modify the sound to caress your ears as you blast one into the atmosphere.
The standard G400 driver comes in lofts 9˚ and 10.5˚.
Like before, there is also a G400 SF Tec option that uses Straight Flight Technology (more TWT) where the tungsten weight moves from the back of the sole towards the heel, combined with a lighter D0 swing weight and allows the face to square more easily, for those of us who have a little leakage to the right.
Available in 10° and 12° lofts, the SFT was first introduced in the G30. In my opinion, this was a really good option and it grew to become the biggest selling head option in the G driver range. I believe, and expect that to continue with the G400.
At the other end of the scale is the low spin LS Tec, where the tungsten is moved forward in front of the gold weight to lose around 300 rpm spin from the 8.5° and 10° heads.
A large variety of loft and head options, as well as two different lengths of the counterbalanced Alta CB shaft are available. PING’s proprietary counter-balance design allows for more mass in the head to increase energy transfer. Color-Shift Paint Technology means the vibrant copper shaft paint transitions to nearly black, as you address the ball to eliminate distraction.
After market shafts include the PING Tour 65, PING Tour 75, the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi, the Project X HZRDUS Yellow, and the Aldila X- Torsion Copper. All with an upcharge beginning at $45 to upwards of $250, based on the shaft choice made.
The standard length is 45.75 inches, but there is also a ‘Tour Length’ 45.25 inch shaft, which may suit more golfers for better accuracy. Both come in a copper color that morphs into black as you put the club down at address, which is a cool feature on this and all the other G400 woods.
Every PING G driver is good, a little bit better than the last, through solid engineering, but with the improvement in looks and sound, the Ping G400 should go down as one of their very best.
The Vertical Groove Driver
Looking for a handsome driver that stands out and performs? The Vertical groove driver is such a club. Kenny Perry, John Daly and Rocco Mediate are devotees of this driver. Both Perry and Daly recording victories on the Champions Tour.
According to Managing Partner of Vertical Groove Golf, Rubin Hanan.”All three have picked up distance. “Kenny, who has been one of the top five longest drivers, has gained about five yards; Rocco picked up 12 yards, and, of course, John has picked up eight yards and has tightened his mishits down the fairway.”
The simplest solutions are usually the best, and yet, they are often the most overlooked. The Vertical Groove Driver is the first radical change to the face of the golf club in decades–and yet it couldn’t be simpler. Every golf club today uses horizontal grooves. Vertical Groove’s patented VGG Technology starts by rotating those grooves 90 degrees.
In an era where most drivers don’t have any grooves on the face at all, not only does the Vertical Groove driver stand out by having them, but as the name suggests, they are positioned vertically instead of horizontally. The 17 score lines on the face appear to offer more accuracy and better feel according to our testing group.
VGG Technology was developed by one of the greatest inventors in golf, Tony Antonious. Tony is well known for hundreds of golf patents, including the use of Velcro on the golf glove.
The 450 cc club was officially launched in January 2017. And just as the name suggests, the driver sports patented vertical grooves on the club face, rather than the standard horizontal ones on rival clubs, such as TaylorMade, Ping and Callaway — something that has proven to increase not only driving distance, but accuracy and forgiveness.
The look at address is very distinctive as well. It features a white crown with a large black oval section divided by a long green dotted alignment line. You can also see the bulge and roll, as well as the vertical grooves themselves at address. Some of our testing group found that this could take a bit of getting used to.
The Vertical Groove Driver sounds and feels great at addresses and produces a solid feel crunch from the titanium head.
The driver is equipped with an Aldila, premium grade NV2K series shaft which added an average of 10 yards more to the majority of our testing group. They all felt that the dispersion rate appeared to be 40 percent straighter in terms of flight down the fairway compared to their current drivers. Upgraded shafts are available for an additional fee.
Dispersion and distance-from-center tests were even more impressive. In head-to-head testing with the same upgraded shaft in every club, Vertical Groove drives were 43% closer to the center-line and had much less dispersion. Dispersion on the VGG club was 1.6 yards vs. an average of 13.5 for the competition. Some of the competitors had as much as 22.7 yards of dispersion.
The packaging of the club is world class. The design of the head cover is upscale and elegant, as are the towel and bag tag and shipping box. Even the product card was of notable quality.
A special mention must go to the see-through head cover which is easy to take on and off and looks great with the lime green flashes.
Right & Left Handed Lofts are available in 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°
And shaft flexes are available in Ladies, Senior, regular, Stiff and Tour X.
Tour Edge EXOTICS CBX Fairway Wood
Tour Edge’s David Glod’s genius has surfaced again!
When Tour Edge engineers introduced their first Exotics fairway wood, they created new benchmarks for distance and power in a fairway wood. With the CBX, Exotics has once again taken distance gains to another level to bring unprecedented power to your game.
The Exotics CBX was initially introduced to the Champions Tour at the Senior Players Championship earlier this year. Players immediately put the new club into play at the Major event, even on short notice, after seeing the product for the first time during the practice week of the event.
The CBX was in play for a 2nd place finish that week when the 2017 winner of the Principal Charity Classic put the brand-new prototype hybrid into play, after testing the club for the first time at the all-important Major Championship.
The new Exotics CBX fairway woods and hybrid were designed with a multi-material construction that includes the top of the line in Beta Titanium, Hyper Steel, and Carbon Composite materials. This unique combination of three different materials helps produce a penetrating ball flight that cuts through windy conditions and lowers side spin rates for greater accuracy. They are currently the only Titanium face fairway woods and hybrids available for sale in the US market.
The Exotics CBX hybrid’s higher CG is located slightly forward in the club head through the use of a carbon fiber in the sole, which is significantly lighter than stainless steel. This helps to increase ball speed and reduce spin, which makes for less dispersion.
Tour Edge has created a club which is going to be a monster in the hands of many. It may not be the most forgiving fairway, but it just might be the hottest faced. Tour Edge’s extremely thin Beta-titanium cup-face enlarges the ideal hitting area on the clubs.
The titanium is brazed to stainless steel behind the hitting area, which allows the face to flex more at impact. This has led to independent robot tests that have shown the CBX to average more than 16 yards longer in distance than several of the best-selling fairway woods on the market.
Another USP (Unique Selling Proposition) integrated into the CBX Fairway is the Speed Ramp Sole technology, which like all other sole variations out there intends to create more off-the-deck playability.
The sound and feel of the EXOTICS CBX is going to be exceptionally pleasing to a lot of golfers who seek out a more solid feedback from a club. With the addition of Carbon Fiber into the design, the acoustics have moved away from the Titanium “tink” of the EX10 and many other Tour Edge fairway clubs.
Because the fairway wood is for most amateurs the hardest club to hit off the turf, the ability to create a surface that will limit digging and twisting, while allowing the fairway to maintain as much speed as possible, is critical. Recently, Tour Edge had been utilizing the “Slip-Stream” sole which features multiple undulating “ridges” on the portion of the sole that makes contact with the ground. With the new CBX, the Slip-Stream design was studied and from that they created the Speed Ramp Sole which aims to offer the same effectiveness, thanks to its perimeter size and “wedge” like shape.
Calling a spade a spade, this club is more suitable for “better players”. This statement definitely is not intended to scare anyone away or dismiss the EX10 line, it’s simply that the CBX is the lowest spinning and launching fairway our testing group has hit to date.
On a positive note, the club’s smaller footprint will be immediately noticed by golfers who have acclimated to the trend of ever-growing fairway woods, and will also make golfers who like to work the ball with their fairways, lick their chops.
Similar to the EX10, the CBX also features a glued head, so there is no moveable weight adjustability – it’s low and forward CG all the way.
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The Project X HZRDUS and the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver shafts are available in a variety of weights and flexes, primarily R, S and X.