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2015 Gear Trials: FAQ

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There’s a running joke around the GolfWRX office during the winter months. Before he goes to bed, GolfWRX Founder and President Richard Audi reviews the incoming votes from our Gear Trials Panelists. At least once.

[quote_box_center]”During the two weeks we are receiving the votes of our Gear Trials Panelists, I’m all over Zak [GolfWRX’s Editor] to send them to me ASAP,” Audi says. “I’ll open up all six on my computer so I can review them all on my screen at once. That’s where my wife says, ‘Just stop it.'”[/quote_box_center]

What our founder is in search of, like many golfers, is insight into the best-performing new clubs on the market. What new driver will be in his bag in 2015? Is it finally time to add a new fairway wood? Or a hybrid to replace that pesky long iron? Or a larger, more forgiving set of irons?

These are the questions that keep GolfWRXers up night, and the reason we created our Gear Trials Club test.

We hold Gear Trials sacred, because we understand its importance and special place in the industry. There is no shortage of best clubs lists, but Gear Trials is the only test we know of that’s 100 percent based on the feedback of the top club fitters in the world, and verified by independent Trackman testing.

Image from Cool Clubs, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Image from Cool Clubs, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

The golf equipment space is more confusing now than ever, with more new club models currently in stores than at any time in the industry’s history. That’s why we designed Gear Trials to cut through the noise, and give golfers a short list of the best-performing clubs in the following categories:

  • Drivers
  • Fairway Woods
  • Hybrids
  • Players Irons
  • Game-Improvement Irons
  • Blade Irons

Armed with our Gear Trials lists, golfers can narrow their new club search to just a few top-performing models. We hope that will save them time, money and most importantly, help them play better golf… or have more fun. Preferably both.

So what else goes into our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists? Here’s a list of frequently asked questions.

Who votes?

Image from True Spec Golf, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Image from True Spec Golf, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists are created with the votes of our Gear Trials Panel, which includes six of the top golf club fitters in North America. Four of the fitters are on Golf Digest’s list of the best club fitters in America, while the other two (Modern Golf and True Spec Golf) are top international club fitters.

Our Gear Trials Panel includes:

The staffs of each Gear Trials Panelist perform more than 1,000 professional fittings each year — and more than 6,000 yearly fittings between them all. That level of experience is what we feel sets Gear Trials apart from all the other best club lists.

How the voting works

Photo from Gear Trials Panelist Modern Golf.

Photo from Gear Trials Panelist Modern Golf.

Each of our Gear Trials Panelists was asked to rank the top-performing clubs in three categories, which allows us to highlight the clubs that are the best for:

  • Distance: The clubs that fly the farthest.
  • Forgiveness: The clubs that are best on off-center hits.
  • Best Overall: The clubs with the best blend distance and forgiveness.

Our editorial team tallied the votes, and the six models that received the most votes in each category made our lists. If there were ties — for example, a three-way tie for fifth place — our Gear Trials Editors acted as tie breakers.

Who are the Gear Trials Editors?

GolfWRX_Best-Drivers

GolfWRX’s Staff reviews 2015 Gear Trials testing data at company headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

  • Richard Audi, GolfWRX Founder and President
  • Zak Kozuchowski, GolfWRX Editor
  • Andrew Tursky, GolfWRX Assistant Editor

Was a club test performed?

Gear Trials Panelist Miles of Golf performed an independent club test at its facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., for the each of the Gear Trials categories:

  • Best Drivers: 26 models tested
  • Best Fairway Woods: 20 models tested
  • Best Hybrids: 16 models tested
  • Best Players Irons: 24 models tested
  • Best Game-Improvement Irons: 14 models tested
  • Best Blade Irons: 14 models tested

The club test, which was arranged by Miles of Golf‘s team of trained club fitters, took place over the course of four weekends. It included 41 testers of different ages and ability levels, and was performed on Trackman launch monitors to verify the performance of the clubs chosen by our Gear Trials Panel.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jordan

    Sep 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the great review.. the same with bradford i want see real results during real game. Golf for me is a great sport to learn about…

  2. Chris C.

    Apr 8, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I agree with those who have expressed a desire to actually see the results of the extensive testing performed at Miles of Golf. All that effort spread out over the course of 4 weekends, thousands of shots and hours spent collating the myriad data points only to produce the numerical equivalent of gold and silver stars. This strikes me as a terrible waste of time and talent. You had the opportunity to actually provide details delineating distance( longest/average/mean/consistency). You had the opportunity to assess which clubs better suit different types of golfers( axis, launch angles, etc.). You had a chance to detail accuracy and consistency.Obviously, my critique applies not only to the driver tests but also to the fairway wood and hybrid tests. I spend WAY too much time reading club reviews so it frustrates me when I see such a wasted opportunity.

  3. Golfraven

    Mar 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    ok, so where is the data from all those test? You have it on the table so why not sharing?

    • E

      Mar 26, 2015 at 12:39 am

      Agreed no relevant information is provided, I frequent the forums to get someone’s feeling on a club. Disappointed golfwrx is seriously lacking in the testing/review department compared to some other sites…

      Non of the top 7 were close to the best preformer for me and Id like to see some numbers showing how they came to those conclusions.

      Seems this is just a re-done golf digest hot list.

      I appreciate the time and effort that went into the trials, just wish a better comparison was does with some evidence behind it.

  4. 8thehardway

    Mar 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve held my own Gear Trials since 2007:
    Pre-trial goal – 10 more yards (dispersion not a problem)
    Round 1 – Hit everything
    Round 2 – Pit the best against my 2005 Ping G5
    Round 3 – Re-grip Ping G5

  5. cliche

    Mar 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    would like to see that with wedges

  6. bradford

    Mar 25, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Looking forward to results. They will provide a great method of determining which clubs to choose for simulator golf. Unfortunately, without actual on the course testing, none of it will be very telling- as each club will behave differently for each person, especially under “real-golf” situations.

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Equipment

Honma launches new XP-1 Series driver, fairway woods, and hybrids for 2020

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new 2020 Honma Driver

For 2020, Honma Golf is launching the all-new XP-1 line of clubs comprised of an entire family holistically designed to help players maximize forgiveness and get the most out of their games with one set. The new Honma XP-1 drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids, all the way to irons, is a new direction for the premium Japanese company that brings together ultimate craftsmanship with performance.

The highlight of the XP-1 line from Honma is the fact that they were designed from top to bottom to work as a comprehensive set of tool to achieve maximum performance. The technology in the metal woods flows from the driver to the hybrids with a seamless transition that creates consistency for feel and looks for the player.

Honma XP-1 driver

new 2020 Honma Driver

New 2020 Honma Golf Driver

Honma is known for its dedication to quality and craftsmanship, and every part of the XP-1 line was developed with the golfer in mind to both look appealing and perform to the highest standards. The XP-1 driver packs a lot of technology into a very classic looking club, and we’re here to take you under the hood—or in this case, the carbon fiber crown—to show you how it can help you hit better shots.

2020 Honma XP1 Driver toe

Honma XP-1 Driver Toe

It starts with a tour-inspired look from address, designed to inspire confidence for any level of golfer. Underneath ther gloss black crown, there is a lot of technology to generate faster ball speeds around the entire face and help get you dialed into the right setting. Speaking to the crown, it’s made from ET-40 fiber, making it one the lightest in golf. This weight savings helps engineers relocate an additional 15g of mass around the head towards the heel for increased MOI and greater ability to help players close the club face more easily.

Flip the driver upside down, and we have a lot more going on with the sole than initially meets the eye. Honma is introducing a new double slot in the sole for increased ball speed across a much larger area of the face. What starts off smaller in the middle increases in width and depth as it reaches towards the heel and the toe of the club. These slots, along with improved MOI, keep ball speeds up and misses closer to the intended target. The last part of the equation: How these wider parts of the face, flex around the more narrow middle to also increase gear effect—think of it like one more way to help the bigger misses stay in play.

New 2020 Honma Driver XP1

2020 Honma XP-1 Driver sole and shaft adjustment connection

The last piece key piece of technology in the XP-1 driver head is exclusive to Honma—the adjustable hosel that changes face angle, lie, and loft, but never changes the orientation of the shaft. This gives the player or fitter the ability to truly dial in hosel settings without having to worry about the constantly changing of the grip orientation. This, according to Honma, also keeps the shaft spine in the ideal location for consistent performance.

Honma 2020 xp1 driver shaft

Honmq Vizard 43g shaft

Honma is the only manufacturer that produces its own shafts from start to finish in house, and the XP-1 is getting its own custom-designed and built shafts to complement the technology built into the heads. The Vizard stock shafts are engineered to produce a smooth feel that promotes faster clubhead speeds, yet also remain extremely stable. For the XP-1 driver, the matching Vizard shafts will come in weights of 43g, 53g, and 63g, and flexes from senior to stiff.

Honma XP-1 fairway woods

The XP-1 woods bring the same level of craftsmanship and technology as the drivers to a club designed for use both off the tee and off the fairway.

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

The Honma XP-1 3-wood uses the same weight-saving ET-40 crown to position a large amount of the club’s total mass low and on the sole for greatest possible launch and spin consistency. The 3-wood is the second-lightest club in most players bags by total weight and head mass, and unless you are carrying a second driver, it’s also the second-largest by volume. By using the carbon crown designers get everything they can from the other technologies including the double slot sole and thin fast face without having to sacrifice the overall design of not just the head but the entire club.

New Honma XP-1 3 wood crown fairway

Honma XP-1 3 wood crown

The XP-1 fairways also include a 5  7-woods, but with the smaller volume of the heads and the reduced crown size, using a carbon crown would actually increase the mass higher in the head, so they instead utilize an extremely thin high strength steel crown.

New Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft XP1

Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft

All of the fairway woods come with the same made-in-Sakata, Japan 43g, 53g, and 63g Vizard shaft options as the driver to help every player get the most of each club in the set. If might seem like a minor detail, but being able to design an entire club in house from head to grip is a big advantage for Honma versus other OEMs. This holistic approach to designing an entire club/set is a big benefit to the consumer looking to get the most out of each club in their bag and not feel like something may be working against them.

Honma XP-1 hybrid

With the Honma XP-1 hybrid, forgiveness and flow from the fairway woods is the number one consideration for these club. The flow includes a wood-like shape that keeps the club shallow and the center of gravity as low as possible for higher launch and approach shots that fly higher and land softer. Considering the target player for the XP-1 line, the wood-like shape is also very confidence-inspiring.

New 2020 Honma XP1 hybrid

Honma XP-1 Hybrid

Honma continues the design philosophy of keeping the XP-1 both forgiving and fast by utilizing the double slot sole all the way into these hybrids that go from a 19-degree 3-iron replacement to a 25-degree 5-iron replacement.

Honma XP-1 specs & availability

The Honma XP-1 driver, fairway wood, and hybrids will be available starting in October.

New 2020 Honma XP1 Driver fairway hybrid specs

Honma XP-1 line club specs

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Equipment

2020 Honma XP-1 Irons, featuring “fast” hybrid construction, launch

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Honma XP-1 Irons

Honma has unveiled its game improvement 2020 Honma XP-1 irons which feature a hybrid construction with low CGs and fast faces in the new 2020 Honma irons.

The XP-1 long irons (4-7 iron) are hollow and contain a tungsten sole weight in a bid to offer both higher launch and added stability on mis-hits. The short irons (8-SW) feature a cavity back construction and are designed for maximum forgiveness as well as providing straighter distance.

2020 Honma XP-1 Irons

The long irons also contain a wide sole which seeks to add forgiveness and also offer game improvement golfers greater turf interaction.

Honma XP-1 Irons

The XP-1’s, which are crafted in Sakata, Japan, feature a large profile with a traditional shape, with a thin face designed to maximize ball speed for greater distance.

Honma XP-1 Irons

Speaking on the release of the company’s entire XP-1 range release, Honma’s Vice President of Global Product, Chris McGinley stated

“We are thrilled to bring the many decades of club-making knowledge and shaping talent of Honma’s master craftsmen to game-improvement golfers with XP1. This product line is incredibly beautiful and exceptionally playable and will help golfers with a wide range of skill levels enjoy the game even more.”

Honma XP-1 Irons

The new additions from Honma come equipped with the brand’s VIZARD shafts. The shafts contain an ascending weight flow design and a graphite fiber in the tip, which, according to the company, helps to provide faster swing speeds.

Honma XP-1 Irons

2020 Honma XP-1 iron specs

Honma XP-1 IronsThe XP-1 irons, which arrive in both men’s and women’s models, are available in-store and online from the beginning of October and cost $199.99 and $174.99 per club for graphite and steel shafts, respectively.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Scotty Cameron Teryllium TFB-1.5 (stainless) putter”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases Scotty Cameron’s Teryllium TFB-1.5 (stainless) putter. Our members have been mightily impressed by the flat-stick, with the finish proving to be a massive hit with WRXers.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say on the putter at the link below.

  • ASN21: “Beautiful putter!”
  • WillyL: “That would go well with my black one!!”
  • deep18: “Yes please. Daddy like.”
  • noodle3872: “I typically gravitate to black finishes on putters, but the stainless looks amazing! The insert looks slick with a bit of shine to it as well.”

Entire Thread: “Scotty Cameron Teryllium TFB-1.5 (stainless) putter”

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