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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

Wunder: I’ve hit THESE new drivers this year…and this is what I think

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During this lockdown, I have done quite a few “Friday Q & A’s” on my IG, and one of the questions I get asked constantly is “have you hit this?” That, and “whaddya think?”

So, in the spirit of organizing my brain, it seemed like the right time to share what new drivers I have actually hit this year…and this is what I think.

Now, it needs to be said that there is a lot of new gear out there, but, to be honest, I’ve only actually hit a select few enough to actually build an opinion. “Enough” in this case is at least 20 balls. Some of these sticks I tested during our pre-launch preview with the OEMs, at the PGA show, a friend has one, or I actually have it in the bag.

Here we go.

TaylorMade SIM

Setup tested: SIM 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: The best way to describe how SIM looks behind the ball is “comfortable.” TaylorMade has always made drivers that just look correct. The lines are clean, the shape inspires playability, and I dig the paint job. They hit a home run with this one for sure.

FEEL: Best sound out there in my opinion. Heavy, dense, and if you get one dead-nuts center, it lets you know. The feel at contact is just as TaylorMade drivers have always done, center strikes feel like Thor’s hammer and mishits don’t kill your good vibes.

VS THE M5: I get asked this a lot. I loved the M5. Still do. To be honest the two drivers data wise were legit apples to apples. The only difference is my stock shot with M5 was a low spin straight ball and with SIM its a slight draw with a touch more spin and slightly lower launch. I prefer that.

OVERALL: In my opinion, the TaylorMade SIM is the cool kid in high school for 2020. Last year it was F9 followed closely by M5. TM knocked it outta the park on this one.

TaylorMade SIM Max

Setup tested: Sim Max 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: It has a bit more of a longer face at address, which makes the head appear shallow which inspires a bit more confidence to turn it over. That’s the main thing I noticed with MAX. Other than that its a tried and true TM shape.

FEEL: Like its sibling, it has a nice solid hit audibly at the impact. So, overall its apples to apples with SIM. However, due to the front weight missing on the MAX, the actual strike doesn’t feel AS meaty as SIM. Not a negative necessarily just something I noticed.

VS M6: Both of these sticks I launched a bit too high versus the weighted versions. That’s why they never got any serious consideration to actually put in play.

OVERALL: As a high launch, more forgiving option, it’s an ace.

Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero

Setup tested: Sub Zero 9 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei Blue AV 65TX

LOOKS: To my eyes, the newer versions of the Callaway drivers have looked a bit more compact than its competition. To me, this always looked “low spin” for whatever reason. The Mavrik has the same shape which is good.

FEEL: They really fixed the sound. The Epic Flash sounded like a pop can to me, and the Mavrik Sub Zero sounds like a sledgehammer. The good thing here is the sound now matches up with what the hit feels like. I think the Mavrik is the best feeling driver Callaway has made since Epic.

VS EPIC FLASH SZ: To me, a complete improvement on all fronts. Sound, feel, and performance for me were all substantially better. Now I must say that the Epic Flash Sub Zero was a great driver, I always got great numbers out of it, but the sound took me out of it. I’m sure there isn’t that much difference audibly between the two, but in this game, even something minor can represent so much. Sound to me is huge.

OVERALL: In all honestly, I haven’t given a Callaway driver a real hard look to actually put in the bag since Epic. The sound got louder wit Rogue and Epic Flash. The Mavrik SZ  however is a fantastic driver and will def get some more testing out of me.

Cobra SpeedZone

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: The F9 was a winner on all fronts. The only critique I had was optically it looked like the driver was a little too fade biased. The SZ with its milled in top line gives it softer look at address and for me, softer lines mean more workability, just what my eyes tell me.

FEEL: As with F9 and the earlier mentioned SIM, the Speed Zone sounds EXACTLY how a driver should sound. It has a very heavy hit audibly and that’s across the face. I love the sound of this driver.

VS F9: Apples to apples, it’s the same. Beyond the optics, it feels, sounds, and performs like the F9. Not a bad thing though, the F9 was the driver of 2019 in my opinion.

OVERALL: Nothing wrong with repeating an already awesome driver. SpeedZone will stand up to anything out there. If I’m being fair, I think F9 elevated things in 2019, and this year the competition caught up to it. Changes nothing about how good this driver is.

Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: Like the other drivers in this higher MOI category, it looks a little longer heel to toe.

FEEL: No different than the SpeedZone, sounds great, the impact is solid across the face, and even thin shots feel solid.

OVERALL: The Xtreme is the sleeper hit of 2020 and I’ve heard the fitters love this thing. It’s by far the easiest to hit and overall good time of any driver on this list. Is it longer? No. But is it Xtremely (no pun) playable and competitive? Hard yes. It’s a blast.

PXG Proto

Setup tested: PXG Proto 9 w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6 TX

LOOKS: Slick. Like all PXG gear, the look is there. The matte crown and elegant lines make it very pleasing optically. I also appreciate that although it’s designed to look high tech. The lines inspire playability, and who doesn’t love a driver that looks like a stealth bomber?

FEEL: I only hit about 20 balls with the PXG Proto in the short time I had with it, but, wow, did this thing surprise me. The sound oddly enough is a bit higher-pitched than the others on the list but for whatever reason, it’s not a distraction. It actually adds to the experience of the hit. I typically detest that, but this sound matched up with the solid hit I was getting. I’m not sure if this is the final version since its a limited tour proto but what is happening is definitely interesting.

VS GEN2: It’s just better. Feels better, sounds great, more playable across the face. The Gen2 did one thing better than everyone else, it destroyed spin. The problem I had was control. The PXG Proto is still low spin but with the new 4 weight system (no intel on the tech yet) seems to add quality launch to the low spin profile and puts the player in a situation where very few to any sacrifices are made.

OVERALL: I was a fan of Gen2. No doubt. But it never flat out beat M5, F9, or SIM. The Proto has elevated PXG’s driver game. I don’t think its a matter of whether or not the driver stands up with the irons, I believe PXG is on the right track to having a driver that eliminates any “yeah, but…” to the conversation. That’s a huge leap since Gen1. These guys are trending hard.

I hope this was helpful.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts. The look of the ultra-stiff shafts, which originated from Bryson wanting a “graphite shaft that was stiffer than the Dynamic Gold X7″, has impressed our members who have been praising the final version and sharing their thoughts on the concept.

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.

  • QuigleyDU: “Awesome.”
  • My2dogs: “Really coming out with some great new stuff.”
  • HateTheHighDraw: “MMT 125TX are absolute fire, but these must be much stiffer.”
  • Robkingasu: “Sweet!”

Entire Thread: “Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts”

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Should I move to heavier iron shafts? – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the strategy of moving to heavier shafts in irons. WRXer ‘Z1ggy16’ has been making swing changes lately, and the transition has been most challenging for his iron play. ‘Ziggy16’ says:

“Been making some swing changes lately, most notably working to really shallow my club into the downswing. I’m finding that I’m doing this well with my heavy wedge shafts and driver, but I’m struggling a bit in my irons. My strike pattern with my wedges is pretty good, but the irons are a bit all over. Driver is 80g raw, wedges are 132g raw, irons 120g raw. I don’t think I want to go any stiffer, but is there a chance I’ve “outgrown” this weight and need to move to something a bit heavier to help keep these feels going through my set? No idea what swing speed is at this point, but my 7i is normally a smooth/comfortable 175-180 for me.

I really like the feel of my Accra Tour Z Xtreme 475 and my S400’s in the GW-LW. I’m kind of leaning maybe soft stepping modus 120TX or X100’s.. Heck maybe even S200 straight in? Normally I’d just get a fitting, but with Rona still going around, I’m not than keen on it. 2020 is the year of the self fit for me. FWIW, I used modus 120TX 2xSS in my GW & SW last year and that was pretty good feeling. Perhaps a touch too soft… they seemed to really whip/bend hard when hitting from the rough on full swings.”

Our members discuss whether they feel a switch to heavier shafts in the irons will have the desired impact.

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.

  • Pepperturbo: “You’re not alone. Regardless of age, some of us swing better with heavier shafts. I went from 70g driver and 85g 3wd graphite shafts to 58g Ventus shaft in driver and 70g Ventus shaft in 4wd. In irons went from 130g X to 120g 6.0 PX steel shafts which lasted about fifteen years. Then last year made another downward weight change to Steelfiber (steel & graphite) 110g Stiff shafts, lightest I have ever played. Keep in mind as you transition, changing shaft weight is not the only answer. Increasing swing weight can make up for shaft weight. Though I really like them in 6-3i, not thrilled in SW-7i, so just ordered heavier Steelfiber i125g shafts for my PW-7i blades.”
  • Jeff58: “As someone who has gone through and continues to work on what sounds like a similar situation, your ideal iron shafts will likely change. Where they change to isn’t possible to predict with any degree of accuracy. Don’t change your current irons without knowing. It’s frustrating, expensive, and you won’t have any clubs while they’re being changed out. Instead, get a single club from dealsandsteals or similar and experiment with that. Also, the only relevant experience is outdoors under your actual turf conditions. Indoor and mat use can be grossly different.”
  • Red4282: “Just depends on your tempo and load and preferences tbh. My numbers are about identical to yours; I play 77g in the driver and 125 in the irons. I don’t think I could go lighter than 125.”
  • gvogel: “I have a set of hickory clubs. Of course, hickory shafts are darn heavy, maybe 150 grams or so. I probably hit straighter shots with the irons, and particularly hit better shots with the niblick (wedge). Driver and fairway woods, not so much. That might be a stupid insertion into an intelligent thread, but heavier goes straighter, lighter goes longer. You can go heavier, and it helps in transition, but don’t go too stiff.”

Entire Thread: “Should I switch to heavier iron shafts?”

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