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The Big Review – Vega 2011 Line Up

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Vega are the premium brand from the Japanese forging house Kyoei where Katsuhiro Miura worked before he left to start his own eponymous company. We've been huge fans of their clubs, especially the RAFC-01 irons and RAFW-05 wedges. Made from S25C carbon steel, Vega's renown forging makes every club a joy to hit. Their 2011 line-up includes clubs with new conforming grooves and new finishes and sole grinds and we at Bag Chatter got to try them.

VC-03 Game Improvement Cavity

The VC-03 is the full cavity option for the player looking for high levels of forgiveness without giving up killer looks. The broad sole prevents digging while the peripheral weighting ensures that all but the worst miss hits go arrow straight. Ball flight is high with a fair bit of spin that ensures that slower swingers get maximum distance.

VC-01 Players Cavity

The VC-01 are the conforming versions of the RAFC-01, reviewed earlier here. The VC-01 provide a fantastic balance between forgiveness and playability. The sole grind has a killed leading edge and a toe-heel camber which makes it versatile across a wide range of shot types and from any lie. Standard flight with these clubs is dead medium with no ballooning but you can hit low punch shots or high shots that land softly on the green equally well. You can work the ball either way should you choose to but the peripheral weighting flatters you enough to keep the ball straight without getting in the way.

The VM-02 Muscleback Blade

Serious clubs for serious golfers, they also happen to be one of the most beautiful sets of irons I have ever seen. How a club looks should really only be a minor component but when they are this gorgeous it is difficult to ignore. The ball takes off with a medium/low flight due to the higher COG and the ball is easy to work with this pure muscleback. Given the lack of peripheral weighting, you need to be one your game to get the most out of these but when you are on, they deliver like few other clubs. The short irons are fantastically accurate and the long irons are surprisingly easy to hit given they are pure thoroughbred blades. The sole plays well in any condition but with the grind taking some of the back off it suits pickers slightly more than diggers.

VM-02 left, VC-01 middle, VC-03 right

VW-02 Wedge

The square sole grind like is strongly reminiscent of Chikara wedges. The narrow flat sole is superb for full shots and chipping where it offers great stability as it cuts through the turf and the new grooves are still sharp enough to be able to hit one-hop-and-stop chips. The review model also sported the stunning black chrome finish. Feel is properly spectacular, exactly what you would expect from superior forgings like these.

VW-04 Wedge

The extreme heel toe grind allows this wedge to be opened up for high lob or parachute shots or played with the heel raised for clipping the ball off of hard pan. There is also a 360 grind which thins the top line at address for an even better look. The central portion still allows for great control from the sand as well as from the fairway. It is surprisingly easy to hit full shots with since the lack of sole would make you think that it would dig if you were really aggressive but it that doesn't happen.

VW-02 left, VW-04 right

All in all, another beautiful series of offerings from Vega carrying on their tradition of making some of the most gorgeous clubs

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  1. Xsurfersam

    Dec 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Got vega wedges from joe Kwok and have to say best wedges ever hit. Have 56 and 60 degree with shimada shafts. Just ordered the vw10 50 deg for xmas

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship

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The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.

 

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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB

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If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: McIlroy going back to 2010 swing? | Jacklin blasts USGA I Baba Booeyism

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

 

Good Friday morning, golf fans. The days only get shorter from here, so get out there and play some golf. And if you’re in the NYC area and looking for a fourth, well, consider dropping a line to the email above!
1. A bounceback for Spieth, McIlroy (who’s going back to 2010)
As you may have seen, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, both of whom missed the cut at the U.S. Open, started the Travelers Championship strong. Spieth was tied for the lead a 7 under, and McIlroy was a stroke back at the end of round one.
Most interestingly, however, is this tidbit from McIlroy (h/t Geoff Shackelford via a Reuters report)
  • “I’m trying to get back to the way I swung in 2010, 2011 and it’s sort of hard because my body’s changed quite a bit since then,” the 29-year-old, whose muscular frame now is a far cry from the scrawny teenager of days gone by, told reporters.
  • “The feeling I have now is the feeling I had in the middle of 2009…That’s basically what I did over the weekend. I got a feeling that really resonated and brought me back to a time when I was swinging really well, and sort of went with that feeling.”
2. Another assault on the USGA
This time, it’s Tony Jacklin taking the USGA to task (via bunkered)
  • “Shinnecock Hills has always been a great test over the years, but the USGA have messed it up again..This kind of thing seems to be becoming a habit for them, as the way the course was set-up on Saturday was just ludicrous. It seems like they end up with egg on their face every time and most of the players were disgusted.”
  • “If I’d have been playing and seen the course set-up the way it was, I would have been angry. It was madness. It wasn’t a fair test of golf and the element of luck played a big role in costing some people dearly.”
  • “The whole thing turned into a joke on Saturday and you just hate to see it at that level of the game with a major championship up for grabs. I’m sure the USGA will make their excuses but I just don’t understand it at all.”
3. Baba Booey for Life!
A contentious forum thread turned hot front page article is built around these remark from GolfWRX member Stickner.
  • “For those that think noise while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise…A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.
  • “Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?
  • “We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?
  • “Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”
4. Sympathy for the putt-raker?
Luke Kerr-Dineen writes that, while purists, traditionalists, and the media have raked Phil Mickelson over the coals, many average golfers have to sympathize with Lefty’s putt-raking.
  • “Well, isn’t that just a variation of something stupid we’ve all done. Snapped a club or thrown a club or taken your ball and marched home. As much as we love this silly game and all the beautiful moments within, it’s at times completely and utterly infuriating. Often you can laugh it off. Sometimes it drives you a bit mad.”
  • “In light of Mickelson’s apology, it seems more and more like he simply momentarily snapped. In that, it was an act so many people can relate to on a human level. It’s why, when most fans look back on this in the future, it won’t be with disdain. It’ll be with a grin and a shake of the head. We’ve all been there, and we know how it feels. And so does Phil.”
5. Pro golf as a team sport
Ed Myers looks at the supporting casts around top players and asks the chicken vs. egg question.
  • “Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.”
  • “I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”
6. Why don’t you just get on Twitter then?
But really, Michael Bamberger’s occasional roundup of the things he’d have tweeted had he been on Twitter is good stuff.
Here are a couple
  • “Amy had it exactly correct on Father’s Day: Phil had a bad day in the office. Too bad he didn’t acknowledge that after playing on Saturday.”
  • “I miss the old stern USGA. Mike Davis is a truly knowledgeable and caring golf person. He had nothing to apologize for Saturday night. Courses change with the wind, literally and figuratively.”

More of ’em.

7. The curse of Shinnecock Hills
Bruce Buschel of the East Hampton Star files a piece from perspective of, you now, the tribe whose name, likeness, and land the U.S. Open featured.
A taste…
  • “The golf course logo is a different matter. It’s insulting – it’s a cartoon Indian with a big hook nose wearing a war bonnet festooned with an arrow and a putter. Like a kindergarten coloring book circa 1955. So the tribe requested a redesign or a flat-out removal. They got neither. Shinnecocks don’t have much luck when negotiating with the white man, not here, there, or anywhere.”
  • “Many Shinnecock do not appreciate being called Native Americans. They were here long before America was discovered by Leif Erikson, by Christopher Columbus, and by Amerigo Vespucci. First Nation would be more accurate. Indigenous people would suffice. Even Indian is preferable to Native American.”
  • “The Shinnecocks take no glee in the public disasters that have befallen Shinnecock Hills since the tribe was excommunicated, since the indigenous people were removed as caretakers of their own land….No one talks about karma. And no one talks about the Curse of Shinnecock Hills…Someone should.”
8. Well…
If curiosity is getting the better of you, a few shots from Greg Norman’s spread in ESPN’s upcoming body issue are circulating.
9. ESPY voting
Speaking of the Worldwide Leader, ESPN has announced the candidates for best male and female golfer–to be revealed at the July 18 awards show.
And the nominees are…
  • Male...Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed
  • Female...Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung-Hyun Park
You can vote here and here.
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