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2015 Gear Trials: The Best Clubs in Golf

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What are the best clubs? It’s a question we see asked over and over again on GolfWRX, and we’ve done our best to answer it with our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists.

To get the most objective information we could, we polled six of the top custom club fitters on the planet. That’s not our opinion. Four of the six are rated top-100 club fitters in America by Golf Digest, while the other two (Modern Golf and True Spec Golf) are top international club fitters.

To create each of the lists below, we asked each of the six custom-fitting teams to leave looks and feel out of the equation and rank only the drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons that they saw performing best in their fitting bays.

The 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:

Learn more about our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists

If you’re in the market for new clubs, make sure you know what our hand-picked panel of experts has to say first. Enjoy these lists of what we think are the best drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons in golf.

Drivers

You could test every driver in your local golf store, but in the end, we’re confident that these seven choices (or their lower-spinning equivalents) will perform best for you.

composite_drivers

Fairway Woods

If you’re a golfer who primarily hits your fairway woods from the tee, you’ll want to look closely at the 2015 Gear Trials Winners that excel in distance. Those who mostly use their fairway woods from the fairway, on the other hand, will want to pay closer attention to those models that excel at forgiveness. If both are important to you, check out our overall ratings.

best fairway metal 2015

Hybrids

While reviewing each of the 2015 Best Hybrids below, remember the purpose of the clubs. They bridge the gap between a golfer’s shortest fairway wood and the longest iron they can hit consistently. Some golfers can make that transition without a hybrid, while others may need several hybrids. The hybrids that scored highest in our Distance Ratings tend to work best for golfers looking to shed spin, while the clubs that score high in our Forgiveness Ratings tend to be more consistent on mishits.

best hybrid 2015

Game-Improvement Irons

The largest, and most forgiving irons are most often referred to as “game-improvement” models, because they can drastically change the way a golfer navigates a course. Give a 20-handicap golfer a blade iron, and he might need to hit a 5 iron on a par-3 that measures 150 yards. But give that same golfer one of the game-improvement models below, and he may be able to hit a 7 iron to the same green. If you’re looking for more distance, accuracy and consistency from a game-improvement iron, you can’t do better than the eight models below.

best game improvement irons 2015

Players Irons

Players irons are not “game-improvement irons,” which have oversized club heads, thin faces and wide soles to help golfers hit their shots higher and farther, particularly on mishits. They are not “blades” or “blade-like irons,” either, which have small club heads, thick faces and narrow soles that better golfers often prefer because of their versatility.

Think of players irons as something in between, mixing different elements of both game-improvement and blade-like irons to give golfers a blend of distance, forgiveness and versatility.

best players irons 2015

Blade Iron Shootout

This list of the best blade irons in golf isn’t like the Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists that we’ve published for 2015. It couldn’t be, because the type of golfers who are generally using blade or blade-like irons are generally looking for something more specific than adding distance or forgiveness to their iron game.

For that reason, we went about this story in a different way. We’re calling it our 2015 Blade Iron Shootout, and we hope it will help golfers understand the differences between some of the most popular blade irons currently available.

2015BLADE_SHOOTOUT4

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. max

    Jul 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Not having AP2’s in the top players irons is downright baffling. I fit a lot of players and the AP2s are consistently among the best performers.

  2. Gautama

    Jun 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    “The largest, and most forgiving irons are most often referred to as “game-improvement” models, because they can drastically change the way a golfer navigates a course.” As a bona fide club ho who buys irons like Imelda Marcos bought shoes, in my opinion “drastically change” is really overselling the value of GI irons. Yes, the best of them (cough, ping g series, cough) can definitely make the difference between things like hitting the green or carrying a hazard on slightly mishit shots that come up short, but but it’s not nearly as night and day as all the marketing would have us believe. Like 10 strokes a year kinda territory.

  3. Christosterone

    Jun 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    My srixon z945 never get tested….they are Japan only but played by a ton of the Cleveland/srixon guys.
    It is the most beautiful blade I’ve owned and plays really well…

  4. Rich

    Jun 7, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Please hurry up with the best blade irons list. Very keen to see what’s on that list. Cheers

    • Mike

      Jun 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Hey Rich:

      I can save you the wait. #1 – Miura MB-001.

    • ABgolfer2

      Jul 19, 2015 at 9:26 am

      20:20 hindsight. The list was littered with cavity backs.

  5. gabriel

    Jun 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    were the nike vapor pro…. best driver this year not because i play it but i work in a golf shop and it always win agains a lot of driver

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Linksoul golf apparel

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Product: Linksoul golf apparel

Pitch: From Linksoul “Linksoul is more a philosophy than a brand. More of an experience than a clothing company. Linksoul is the collective life’s work of people who care about each other and enjoy collaborating. We believe in creating products we value, with the people we love, for the good of our families and our community. Our roots are in golf. We descend from a long line of golfers, craftsmen and artists. But now we fill our time with many interests, including surfing, skiing, hiking, yoga, travel, cooking, parenting, dog walking…We believe that these everyday practices teach us the most about ourselves.”

Our Take on Linksoul’s golf apparel

Linksoul, whose mantra is “Tempus Fugit” (Time Flies), primarily provides golf clothing made to be just as appropriate and comfortable to wear on the course as off of it. The company has a range of different types of polos, tee-shirts, shorts, and pants available, but it was a button-down shirt from the company which I was most intrigued to check out.

Right off the bat, the brand’s Anza Heathered Button-Down shirt impressed with its ultra-soft fabric. To complement that softness, the shirt is wonderfully light and boasts an excellent fit. The length of the shirt sleeves is ideal, so you won’t need to keep fidgeting before and after each shot, and the comfort and fit combined gives you that added flexibility in your swing. The collar fits naturally the moment you put the shirt on and marks the clear quality that went into its creation.

It seems many are on the fence about whether button-down shirts on the course are for them (I was one of those!), but my take now is that they are the ideal summer shirt on the course. In the heat, comfort has to be the number one priority, and the button-down structure gives you so much more air. With Linksoul’s Anza button-down you’ll experience maximum breathability.

Linksoul offers the shirt in six color codes (White, Black Heather, Tidepool Heather, Ink Heather, Dark Gray Heather, and Dawn Heather). For $80, considering the caliber of the shirt, the only gripe I could make is that there aren’t more exotic colors available!

The brand’s Boardwalker Shorts are another piece of apparel that I found to contain the perfect blend of comfort and quality, as well as looking great. The shorts contain a four-way stretch fabric which gives you a plethora of flexibility during your swing, while the weight of the shorts I also found to be on point. The shorts are lightweight but not so much as to take away from the durability and quality of the shorts.

 

There is plenty of mobility on offer with the Boardwalker Shorts, while I also enjoyed that the shorts are a classic style length and sit right at the knee.

You can choose from eight different color codes (Black, Chalk, Khaki, Dark Gray, True Black, Bronze, Navy, Army, and River), and the shorts retail at $76. With their no-fuss look, high quality, and a clear focus on comfort, Linksoul’s Boardwalker shorts offer everything you’d want in a pair of golf shorts.

For those that prefer to play solely in trousers, you’ll be glad to hear that the company provide the same product in a pant style—the BoardWalker Pant.

There’s a huge amount to like about the apparel Linksoul is offering up, and at prices which are extremely reasonable considering the quality provided. Their site Linksoul.com offers a multitude of polos, button-downs (in both short and long sleeve), shorts, pants, and tee-shirts. If high-quality adaptable golf apparel is your thing, then it’s a company well worth checking out.

 

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: Eminent Golf’s Conic putting trainer

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The golf world is full of training aids. From the simple to the silly, there are no shortage of tools and machines being thought up to (hopefully) help golfers improve their games. It’s not very often you come across something that really has the potential to help improve consistency and “ingrain” a feeling (or “feels” as the pros say) into a part of the game that so many struggle with.

This is the Conic putting aid.

Before we go any further, let me be very up front: this is NOT a training aid intended or designed to be an impulse purchase during early morning reruns on Golf Channel. The Conic costs $1,350.00…but for good reason. It’s designed, manufactured, and built right here in the USA, milled from solid pieces of steel and aluminum. The entire system is built to last and to be a true lifelong training tool. The likelihood of this thing ending up the in a dusty corner of your garage is slim to none. Even the carrying case is something to behold.

On my first try, it took about 5-7 minutes to set up (I went full “dad-building-Ikea-furniture mode” and initially ignored the entire instruction manual. That’s on me), but after the first setup, getting this thing from the case to on the green took just a few minutes after that. It’s 100 percent NOT a “warm up before my tee-time, and throw it in my golf bag” style of training aid because of its size, but if you are headed to the green for a real “session” this is an indispensable tool.

So what does it actually do?

The Conic is designed to get you into the perfect putting setup and help you learn to make a repeatable motion built for your stroke and body type. This is not a one-size-fits-all training aid. It also works for both right and left0handed golfers.

So how does it do all of this:

  • The Conic has five adjustable plane angles for different size arcs: 85,80,75,70,65. This makes sure you get set up based on putter type and your optimal stance. The goal is to have you get more consistent with your stroke not some arbitrary “ideal stroke model”
  • The trainer controls the X, Y, Z axis of the putter head: Lie, Loft & Face Angle. Each one of these variables can make or break a putt (first putting pun in the bag), and so by being able to control those helps improve repeatability when on the course
  • It puts you into the same position time after time to help develop the feeling of a correctly made putting stroke. As much as people might say it, muscles DO NOT have memory — your brain does. The Conic helps develop motion patterns which again lead to helping you be more consistent on the greens
  • There is a built-in detachable arm that helps the golfer visualize both the target line and line the putter head up perpendicular to the target — a great tool for those that struggle with direction.
  • The putter arm can also be controlled to help maintain a specific stroke length — little stops get inserted into the slide and create instant feedback when you take the putter back too far.

So does it work?

Heck yeah it does! Although not meant for extremely long putts, you can use the Conic 1.0 easily on anything inside 20 feet, and it really helps with the 6-10 footers. With all of the adjustability, it’s also easy to switch between putter models that you might have.

My personal theory with putting and alignment is quite simple:  “Every putt is a straight putt. Just get it rolling and let gravity and speed take care of the rest.” The moment the ball leaves your putter face, your job is now over, and what the Conic does is allow you to work on, in a very structured way, hitting putts on line. My favorite use for the Conic was on roughly 7-9″ putts where you just set up, make the right stroke for speed, and watch the ball work its way into the cup.

This is an expensive tool — even PGA Tour pros that are using them paid in full. But like I said before, you get what you pay for with the Conic. Another feature is it can be used inside and out as long as you have a “green” or a nice piece of carpet to roll some putts. Beyond the players who spare no expense on clubs and fittings this seems like a bit of a no brainer – roughly the cost of three nice putters gets you something that will work for you, as long as you want to work with it.

I believe that one of the biggest markets for the Conic currently is for teachers to help students ingrain the feeling of making a solid stroke and increase consistency at setup. The cost is still the biggest factor that will detract people from purchasing this, but for the golfers looking for the ultimate putting aid, the Conic trainer could be your answer to those missed three-footers.

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