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Show Stoppers: Demo Day at the 2017 PGA Show

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show, golf’s annual showcase of the latest equipment, technology, apparel and accessories.

The PGA Show kicks off each year with Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center, a 36-hole facility with an enormous 360-degree driving range. Our team spent all day walking “the circle” in search of the coolest new stuff, and you can view all our photos from Demo Day in our forum in the threads below.

Now that you’ve looked through all the photos, tell us, what were your favorites? We’ve listed our 9 favorites, which we call Show Stoppers, below.

Epon AF-705 Irons

Epon irons are forged by Endo, its parent company.

Epon isn’t as well known as Miura and PXG, its main competitors in the ultra-premium golf equipment space, but many custom fitters will tell you that it makes some of the best-performing irons in the industry.

Epon_AF_705_Comparison

The company’s current best-selling irons are its AF-703, a game-improvement model that not only produces incredible ball speed and distance, but has razor-thin top lines for an iron its size. For 2017, the company is releasing a new model called the AF-705 that it says looks and performs better.

Epon_AF_705_Adddress

The AF-705 irons ($325 per club, available 5-SW) have less offset than their predecessors, along with a lower center of gravity (CG) to produce a higher-launching, lower-spinning ball flight. And of course, the thin top lines.

E Wheels

Alphard_Push_Cart_Motor_Feat

Imagine being able to turn your current push cart into a motorized push cart in just 5 minutes. That’s the idea behind a new product called E Wheels, which was on display at Clic Gear’s Demo Day booth.

Alphard_Push_Cart_Motor

E Wheels has a top speed of 8 mph and six other speed settings. There’s also a cruise control feature, which will stop the push cart if it gets more than 100 yards away from a golfer. Maybe the best part is that E Wheels will be sold in different sizes to fit different brands and styles of push carts. Pricing and a release date are yet to be announced.

Oban CT-155

Oban_CT_115_Feat

Chances are good you know a golfer who raves about the performance of his Japanese steel irons… but what about Japanese steel shafts? It’s a small market, but it’s growing.

Premium graphite shaft manufacturer Oban has partnered with Shimada, an established Japanese steel shaft manufacturer, to create its new line of premium CT-115 steel iron shafts that it says feel better and offer a tighter dispersion than other steel shafts.

Oban_CT_115_Steps

The new shafts, which promise a mid-high launch and a low-mid spin, have a design that both custom club fitters and gear heads will love. Changing weight and flex is as simple as trimming the shafts differently. The CT-115 shafts range in weights from 103-112 grams (installed) and are offered in seven different flexes (R, R+, S-, S, S+, X- and X). They sell for $75 each.

Professor DeChambeau Stops the Show

DeChambeau

By all accounts, Bryson DeChambeau was a Show Stopper in that he had hundreds of PGA Show Demo Day attendees watching, listening and learning. The 23-year-old has made a name in golf by not only winning, but also by doing so with “single-length” irons that all have the same length and lie angle.

When fellow PGA Tour pros and announcers refer to DeChambeau, they often call him “brilliant” or “a scientist.” His intelligence and shot consistency were both on  display at Demo Day.

BrysonBackswing

He explained his swing and equipment philosophy using phrases such as “neurological input” that had audience members collectively shaking their heads in confusion. But after thorough explanation and demonstration, his point was made; irons that have the same specs throughout the set and tennis racquet-like grips have a scientific purpose that DeChambeau recommends to all golfers — especially junior golfers who are just learning the swing.

“It’s amazing how quickly their (junior golfers) swings adapt (to the one-length sets),” DeChambeau said. “Why wouldn’t you want to use it?”

Seven Dreamers

SevenDreamers

You want a product that really stops you and your wallet in their respective tracks? Look no further than Seven Dreamers carbon fiber iron and wood shafts, which sell for $1,800 apiece (yes, that’s both iron and wood shafts at that price). The company, which primarily uses its machines for aerospace engineering, sells fully customized i-series iron shafts and T-series driver shafts that are said to be more consistent than other golf shafts.

Seven Dreamers shaft (above) and the process a normal shaft undergoes

Seven Dreamers shaft (above) and a normal golf shaft.

Unlike most golf shafts that are manufactured using pre-preg and grinding, Seven Dreamers simplifies the process by making shafts purely out of carbon fiber. Due to the design, carbon fiber materials and machining capabilities, the shafts can be made to exacting standards for each and every golf swing.

In Japan, the company takes readings of golfers’ swings using a 3D-design system to tailor the shafts for a player’s swing. Seven Dreamers also has pre-designed shafts that have three different kick points for each weight and flex, which should be easier to get ahold of for Americans (with deep pockets).

SuperSpeed Golf

SpeedGolf

Billy Horschel, Charles Howell III and Webb Simpson and many other PGA Tour pros are currently using a training aid that helps them swing a golf club faster. It’s called SuperSpeed Golf, and it helps retrain a golfer’s brain and muscles to gain swing speed after just 8-10 minutes, approximately three days a week.

SuperSpeed uses a technique that started with major league baseball pitchers throwing baseballs of different weights. Adapted for the golf swing, golfers swing golf club-like training aids, all of varying weights. The clubs, which have rubber grips, graphite shafts and stainless steel head weights come in sets of three (one that’s 20 percent lighter than a driver, 10 percent lighter and 5 percent heavier).

SuperSpeed

A typical training session starts with full driver swings (hitting an actual golf ball), and then has a golfer work through the training set from lightest to heaviest. It ends with more full driver swings. It takes 4-8 weeks to see lasting results, according to the company, which claims that golfers will gain 5 mph of clubhead speed with their drivers using the system.

Sets of three SuperSpeed training clubs sell for $199 at retail. To avoid injuries or detrimental effects on your golf game, make sure to consult your golf instructor and/or fitness trainer before you use the product.

SuperStroke grips

SuperStrokeTech

SuperStroke is expanding its line of S-tech club grips by releasing three new colorways to the public. It also launched new “Cross Comfort X” grips that are made from materials that are similar to the ones used on its ever-popular putter grips.

The S-Tech club grips Jordan Spieth uses (black and white) are coming to retail, along with the gray-and-black colorway used by Jason Dufner. The blue-and-yellow colorway used by Sergio Garcia is staying in the line, and will be joined with a new red-white-and-black colorway.

The entire S-Tech line has also been re-engineered with a slightly different blend of materials to make them more tacky, but still offer their familiar firm feel.

SuperStrokeGrips

The Cross Comfort grips, designed for performance and comfort, are made with a polyurethane outer (similar to that of a typical SuperStroke putter grip), and a rubber inner that offers torsional control. They will be available in the first week of March for $5.99 (standard), $6.49 (midsize) and $6.99 (oversize) in three different colorways.

TaylorMade’s New Wedge Finish (and irons) 

TaylorMadeFinishFeat

TaylorMade recently launched its Milled Grind wedges, which are made from 8620 carbon steel and have soles and leading edges that are CNC-milled for more consistency. At the time of their launch, the only available finish was Chrome… as of Demo Day that as changed.

At the 2017 PGA Show, the company revealed an “Antique Bronze finish” that has subtle hues of other colors and low glare. The finish is available in only the company’s standard grind at the moment in lofts ranging from 50 to 60 degrees.

TaylorMadeP770

Also available for testing at the PGA Demo Day were TaylorMade’s newly launched P-770 and P-750 irons, which are a Show Stopper in their own right. The precisely forged irons have been swung by very few golfers who aren’t on the PGA Tour, let alone tested on Trackman. Like many TaylorMade staffers, PGA Show testers were impressed.

TPT Shafts

TPT_Shafts_Feat

A new shaft company called TPT (Thin Ply Technology) says it knows a better way to make a golf shaft, and the company’s background has golf insiders taking notice.

TPT’s parent company, NTPT, is based in Switzerland and has produced sails for the Americas Cup yachts, bodywork for F1 race cars, skis, snowboards, satellites and watches for Richard Mille. Now it has its sights set on the golf shaft industry, and has developed a patented shaft-manufacturing process (a “Thin Ply Winding Method”) that it says removes inconsistencies from shaft designs. The automated process is so precise, the company says, it can create shafts that are “perfectly concentric and near homogeneous.”

TPT_Shafts_Feat_2

TPT currently offers 10 shafts (50-69 grams, CPM: 215-260) that are available for five different swing speed ranges (60-120 mph) and in two kick points (low and medium). The shafts sell for $700 each. The company also offers a custom shaft-fitting process known as “Unique to Me,” which allows TPT to create fully customized shafts for golfers.

TPT shafts are "raw" or unfinished.

TPT shafts are “raw” or unfinished.

Golf instructor David Leadbetter and biomechanical specialist J.J. Rivet were both involved in the design of the shafts.

Make sure to check back for more Show Stoppers on Wednesday and Thursday when the 2017 PGA Show moves inside the Orange County Convention Center. 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    Jan 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    The PGA Show is quickly approaching the ramp set at 16 degrees for a successful shark jump, most of this stuff looks cheap,,,,

  2. birdy

    Jan 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

    because if it looked like a liberal march tents would be on fire and those in attendance would be making a mess of the place

    • Mad-Mex

      Jan 26, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      In actuality all their scorecards are pre-filled at -18 in order to avoid hurt feelings

      • birdy

        Jan 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

        and if you can’t afford the new Callaway Epic with exotic shaft upgrade Callaway will just make the next 10 buyers cover your costs because everyone is entitled to the best because equality!

  3. Feel the Bern

    Jan 25, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Are any of these Showstoppers Certified?

  4. MuskieCy

    Jan 25, 2017 at 12:48 am

    OK, now I get it.

    I will work for $5/hour, not enough hours for any normal be benefits, so I can spend $700 and up per shaft.

    Make Murica, not Muira, great again. I will spend 3 months income to perfect a 28 handicap with Murica First Golf by the Prez.

  5. BM

    Jan 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Will I be able to perfect the “A-Swing” with these TPT shafts?

  6. TexasSnowman

    Jan 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I don’t understand why many of these are considered ‘showstoppers’… e.g. new superstroke grips….

  7. S Hitter

    Jan 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Love it

  8. tlmck

    Jan 24, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    As soon as he brings my job back from China, I am going to buy one of everything above.

    • Mike Honcho

      Jan 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      GOOD! The less liberals at the golf course, the less 5 hour rounds we’ll have to endure.

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options 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.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes 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.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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