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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

Tiger Woods opts for lead tape on his Newport 2 rather than a heavier putter: Here’s why it makes sense

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After days of speculation about which putter Tiger Woods might end up with an attempt to tame the greens at Royal Portrush, we now officially know he settled on his old faithful GSS Scotty Cameron but with a twist—some added lead tape.

The whole reason the speculation was in high gear early in the week was because of Tiger was spotted with a new custom Scotty that had the Studio Select weights in the sole to increase head weight to help with slow greens, something Tiger has talked about in the past—especially when it comes to the greens at The Open Championship.

We can even look back a few years ago when Tiger finally put a Nike putter in play, the original Method (those were nice putters) and talked about both the increased head weight and the grooves on the face to help get the ball rolling on slower greens.

The decision to stick with the old faithful with added lead tape goes beyond just a comfort level, even if the two putters look the same at address, it’s about feel and MOI around the axis.

Let me explain. Sure the putter heads weight the same, but depending on where the mass is located it will change the MOI. The putter with the Select weights vs. lead tape in the middle will have a higher MOI because there is more weight on the perimeter of the head—it’s like a blade vs. cavity back iron. Sure, two 7-irons can weigh the same but the performance will vary significantly.

For a player with such deft feel like Tiger Woods, any change like that can could cause doubt. Tweaking an already great putting stroke and on the eve of the last major of the year is not really something you want to do, which is why it isn’t surprising he stuck with his legendary Newport 2.

Lead tape in the middle allows Tiger to increase the head weight with very little change to the natural rate of rotation for hit putter and hopefully manage the slower Portrush greens better.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Your optimal wedge set-up?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from ClevelandKyle who brings up the subject of wedge set-ups. In the thread, our members discuss what wedges they like to carry as well as answering ClevelandKyle’s question: “If you had to carry two wedges for the rest of your life, what would they be (degree, make, model) and why?”

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

  • SEP1006: “PW / GW – 0311P PXG GEN 2, same as irons. 54/12 and 58/06 – Ping Glide Stealth 2.0: best wedges I’ve ever played by far, very versatile.”
  • cardoustie: “Like the OP, I keep going back to old school Vokey sm2’s .. 50/54/60. TVD m grinds. No wedge spins it as well or feels as good. I am ordering a Glide 3.0 eye 2 58 though.”
  • manoagolfer: “Vokey 48, 54, 58 and 62. Just added the 62 for the short stuff around the greens and steep faced bunkers.”
  • BCULAW: “RTX4 Raw 46 mid, 50 mid, 56 full, 60 low. After playing Vokeys almost exclusively for the last ten years or so, these Clevelands have been a real eye-opener. Spin is greatly increased, and the grind on the 60 is stellar. Highly recommended.”

Entire Thread: “Your optimal wedge set-up?”

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “1 or 2-iron recommendations?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Afor1991 who is on the hunt for a 1 or 2-iron after having no luck with hybrids. With a swing speed in the low 100s, Afor1991 is confident he has the speed and consistency to make a 1 or 2-iron work for him, and our members have been giving him their best suggestions in our forum.

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

  • boggyman: “1st generation TM UDI 16* hard to beat with right shaft for a 1-iron, IF you could find one. Used mine in a set of OL Cobras for a while. Need to re-shaft it now though.”
  • Pepperturbo: “I have been effectively using T-MB 17* 2 iron since it was introduced. Now and again put my old Mizuno Pro 16* 1 iron in the bag to remind me those clubs require a good swing. Good luck with your choice.”
  • joelsim: “It depends on how much you value consistency over distance. And of course what your handicap is. I don’t have an official handicap but am regularly scoring in the 70s at my home club, at most 85 if I have a really bad day. And I tried a UDI #2 a couple of weeks ago and sold it a day later. Will stick to my G400 #4 Iron at power spec 19*. Gives me 195y carry consistently with run out according to ground hardness. So far it beats G and G400 Crossovers, Cobra King Utility and TM UDI #2 hands down.”
  • wam78: “Currently playing Mizuno mp h5 2 iron and I absolutely love it! Feels good, easy to hit high and low and can be found for a good price.”

Entire Thread: “1 or 2-iron recommendations?”

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