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James Patrick Has Re-Emerged, And He’s Ready to Fit You For Wedges

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Four years ago, James Patrick “JP” Harrington was a club builder with a dream of creating the world’s best wedges. From his mother’s garage in Minnesota, the 30-year-old was making strong case that he could. Selling one wedge at a time, he captured the attention of the golf equipment world with some of the most beautiful wedges golfers had ever seen. And to many of his customers, his “JP” wedges performed even better than they looked.

JP_Wedges

“JP” wedges that Harrington hand ground in his mother’s garage.

Harrington’s life changed on a Wednesday in April 2013 when his phone rang. The call was from Titleist’s Vice President of Human Resources, who wanted to meet him. The Titleist VP flew to Minnesota to meet Harrington the following Monday, where Harrington ground him a wedge. The next week, he had another visitor. It was Wally Uihlein, the President and CEO of Acushnet, Titleist’s parent company. “[Uihlein] asked me, ‘If you had the full resources of Titleist, what could you create,’” Harrington says. “And by July, I had signed a partnership with Titleist.”

Shortly after the deal was signed, Harrington announced on his website that he had joined Titleist. He said Titleist was “providing [him] the resources needed to continue to explore the unending pursuit of creating the world’s finest wedges.” He thanked fans for “helping to build the foundation,” and called Titleist “the next step in the journey of [his] life’s work.” There were no other details.

Speculation swirled that Harrington was being groomed to be Titleist’s successor to Bob Vokey, the signature craftsman of the company’s Vokey line of wedges. There was another rumor was that Harrington would take over design of Titleist’s Japanese wedge line. The truth has turned out to be more interesting.

JP Wedges

Harrington’s new line of JP wedges.

Harrington, now 34, has continued to work “as a one-man show,” he says, albeit in a new location. Titleist stationed him in a private facility in Carlsbad, California. It’s a workspace not all too different than his mother’s garage in Minnesota with a few key exceptions; it’s located just miles away from the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, one of the best golf equipment testing facilities in the world. It’s also just a few miles from Titleist’s R&D facilities, giving Harrington access to the full force of Titleist’s golf equipment manufacturing resources.

When Harrington started with Titleist four years ago, his primary focus was vetting his beliefs about wedge design, a process that took him around the world and back. Speaking with Harrington prior to the wedge launch, he emphasized the importance of his trip to Japan, where he worked one-on-one with professional players on their wedge games. Harrington had worked with tour players before, but never on such a large scale. In his travels, he also met with suppliers around the globe to better understand all the parts and materials that go into a golf club: the clubs heads, the shafts, the grips, and even the glues that hold them all together.

QPA Wedges

With Titleist, Harrington continues to focus to his core philosophies of quality, performance and esthetics.

Harrington came to prominence through his grinding skills, his ability to hand-shape the soles of wedges to meet the needs of his customers. Early on in his research, however, he realized that he would need to change the way he had been making wedges to improve his designs. He found that he could offer golfers even better performance by producing wedges not with his hands, but with CNC milling machines. “As good as I can grind, the CNC tolerances of a milled sole far exceed what a human can do in a repeatable fashion,” Harrington says.

Harrington’s grinding skills still proved vital in the process, though. In developing his new line of JP wedges for Titleist, Harrington spent a considerable about of time working with Scott Knudson, the head machinist in Titleist’s R&D department. Knudson is an expert in CAD, or computer-aided design, the software that tells a CNC milling machine what to do. The goal of Harrington’s work with Knudson was to translate the unique sole design he developed at Titleist into CAD, which proved to be challenging.

JP_Multi_Directional_Sole

Harrington’s sole design, which he calls a “Multi-Directional Camber Sole Design,” uses an extreme amount of curvature from both front to back and side to side, which was easy for Harrington to shape with his hands. It proved difficult to duplicate in CAD, however, even for an expert like Knudson. The solution was for Harrington to immerse himself in CAD and digitize his grinding skills. He says he spent day after day shaping wedges on a computer screen much like he would on a grinder… and it wasn’t just one wedge sole he needed to perfect.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 7.28.05 AM

Harrington’s research on what different golfers need from their wedges led to his decision to offer an incredibly wide range of options: 16 different lofts from 45-60 degrees. Each loft is also available in multiple sole grinds: two or three, depending on the loft. And to make his wedges even more precise, each sole grind is distinct to each loft. That left Harrington to design 36 different sole grinds in CAD. That sounds like a lot, and it is, and it’s just one part of his new wedge design.

All of Harrington’s new wedges are made four pieces: a 1025 carbon steel body, a forged titanium back plate, an internal “calibration” weight, and a tungsten toe weight. And since each piece is specific to each loft and each sole design, the minimum number of parts needed to create the new JP wedge line is 144. That number grows considerably when you consider that Harrington will be using different weight versions of his calibration weights to be able to build wedges to the exact swing weight golfers need regardless of their club length, shaft, and grip requirements.

Exploded

The four pieces of the JP wedges “fit together like a puzzle piece,” Harrington says, and because each piece is precisely engineered for each loft and sole grind, he can position the center of gravity (CG) of his wedges in the optimal location for spin and trajectory control — whether it’s a 47-degree wedge with medium bounce, a 53-degree wedge with high bounce, or a 59-degree wedge with low bounce. “Each wedge has a seamless design on the exterior,” Harrington says, “but on the inside they’re all unique.”

JP Fitting Experience

Harrington fitting a golfer at Titleist’s Oceanside Test Facility.

Just as unique as the design of the wedges is Harrington’s approach to fitting them. In his research, Harrington developed a fitting tool he calls a “high-speed rail photo system,” which is essentially a high-speed camera on a mini train track. It sits beside a golfer as he or she swings and records how a golf club interacts with the golf ball and turf at impact, capturing 10,000 frames per second. The rails were added so that the camera can be slid forward after every swing to provide an area of fresh turf and consistent alignment with the ball.

Harrington fabricated the camera himself, and it will play an important role in the launch of his new wedges. They will not be sold at retailers; rather, Titleist is recommending that golfers book a one-on-one appointment with Harrington called the “JP Fitting Experience” at Titleist’s Performance Institute in Oceanside, California, where they’ll spend three hours being fit for wedges. The cost is $2,000, which includes three custom wedges built by Harrington (golfers can also purchase a fully customized JP wedges directly from Titleist for $500 each).

Harrington says he’ll be able to better evaluate a golfer’s swing mechanics using the camera, which allows him to precisely measure the movement of the club through the impact area. Harrington will also be evaluating the shots each of his clients need to hit to play their best golf, and to help him do so Titleist built Harrington a custom tee and short-game facility equipped with strips of rough and bunkers at the Titleist Performance Institute. Using it, he will observe golfers playing a comprehensive range of shots using his motion-capture system and Trackman.

JP-Custom

As a final step, Harrington will build each JP wedge by hand, and is also responsible for each wedge’s custom engraving. Using CAD, he will design the back of the wedge with up to 20 characters and a choice of 24 different paint colors to make each wedge one of a kind.

Harrington calls the titanium back plate of his wedges “a blank canvas” for golfers to make their wedges their own, and of course, he can help guide them through their wedge customization process. He, better than most, can relate to starting at a blank canvas and creating something truly unique.

Learn more about JP Wedges at jpwedges.com.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. bad9

    May 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    They could cost $5 each. They are ugly. I would never pay for something that looked as terrible as that.

  2. Double Mocha Man 4 President

    May 7, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I’d rather have a set of PXG irons to put in my black titleist bag. Cool article tho

  3. Steve

    May 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I forgot a 3 year old Mizuno wedge on a course and it wasn’t turned in. My guess is it’s about 1 million to 1 that a $500 wedge wouldn’t get turned in either.

    • cgasucks

      May 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Turned? What are you trying to say? Wedges aren’t zombies you know.

  4. MRC

    May 6, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Great article Zak.
    Absolutely love reading about the nuts and bolts of club design and manufacturing.
    Incredible opportunity for JP and Titleist.
    Titleist built Harrington a custom tee and short-game facility equipped with strips of rough and bunkers at the Titleist Performance Institute. Are you kidding? Titleist is first class.
    True, cost of new custom wedges may not be for everyone. At the same time, if new wedges and the TItleist experience is in the cards, why not?
    Scotty Cameron and Titleist worked out. I’m sure the above will too.
    Good luck Mr.Harrington and enjoy the ride.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 6, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks for the comment, MRC. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  5. mp-4

    May 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Great article.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 6, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks for the comment, MP-4. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

  6. 8thehardway

    May 5, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    JP’s wedges were the most impressive I’ve ever seen. How fortunate his obsession and talent have the backing of such a respected company. Like Edward Hopper’s paintings and John Jensen’s knives, just knowing that such wedges exist, that such talent and ability exist increases my happiness. His wedges are an affirmation of excellence, a stark contrast to the ordinary, practical items with which we content ourselves.

  7. Fat Perez

    May 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    5 bills? 5 bills for a wedge plus 9% tax? 5 fiddy for a club? But what if your swing and bunker game

    is atrocious? I’m lost, somebody help me understand where we’re going with this blue chip white

    collar game? Anybody? I wanna pay $500 for a “smart golf ball.” Imagine when that product is

    developed. The ball you can pre program to create dart like accuracy towards the desired target.

    5 bills for a degrading wedge? Oy Vay!!!

    • JThunder

      May 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Golf has historically been a game of leisure for the wealthy. Between manufacturers and eBay, there are plenty of ways to buy clubs for less.

      Now, if you want to talk about how awful capitalism is in general, that’s another conversation.

  8. Dave R

    May 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Finally a real good looking wedge, and many thanks for showing the long and short of making them. Again these are good looking and can’t wait till they hit Canada.

  9. JR

    May 5, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I predict the people who bash PXG for being too flashy and too expensive, will fawn over these wedges.

    • birdie

      May 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      i predict the cost of these wedges will actually be backed up by the technology and quality over pxg simply separating themselves based on costs.

  10. TIM

    May 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    that’s 3000 cad , for a wedge that might last 2 yrs, if these for lifetime maybe

  11. rebfan73

    May 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Actually, a “cool” article for once……

  12. Ric

    May 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    “TRUMP” wedges . Only people of super wealth can afford these and that’s exactly who it’s targeted for ! Money won’t make it easier to get out of the sand or rough. It’s a status symbol period. NEXT THEY WILL HAVE EMBEDDED DIAMONDS AND BE SOLID GOLD.(LIMITED SUPPLY) !

    • JThunder

      May 8, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      Interesting thought; how can it be a “status symbol” when less than 1% of the golfing public has ever heard of James Patrick? You’d have to leave a price tag on it – there’s no way anyone would know the price or exclusivity otherwise.

  13. Sean

    May 5, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Very well written and interesting. I did not realize all that went into wedges.

  14. Matt

    May 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    If money was no object I’d be on a plane tomorrow.

  15. TWShoot67

    May 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I say Congrats for and to JP! I wish him well with Titleist ( the man has put the hours in) and maybe one day I could get that personal experience.

  16. H

    May 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    On 2nd thought, forget it. I don’t want anything to do with Titleist

  17. golfraven

    May 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    It’s called HYPE. Make it seem exclusive and keep the stock limited and people will jump on the band wagen and fight over it even if they would never have dreamed to spend so much cash on something they didn’t aspire in the first place.

  18. golfraven

    May 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Unfortunately the trend catched on and OEMs will make you believe that it is perfectly fine to spend 1K on wedges (2K incl. fitting). All this is leading to increased club prices – soon 200 per wedge and 700 bucks per driver (+upcharge for those better shafts you should get fitted for) will be standard. You better start cutting your child’s college funds.

  19. Dat

    May 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t get it. What makes these so special that he couldn’t bring them to retail?

    • Chris

      May 6, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I’m guessing all the personalised features? Weight, grind shaft etc is custom fit to the player.

    • birdie

      May 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      they want these to be exclusive and they want to ensure players are properly fit into the grind that the manufacturer recommends. and they are retail. you can buy online, you just won’t find them in a big box store. several brands do this.

  20. George

    May 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    yes 2000 for a 3 wedges is insane, but think about it this way. You get 3 hours with one of the best wedge fitters/builders out there. I dont know how much Butch Harmon charges for lessons but I am assuming it is not cheap. Now im not saying this is for everyone and it sure as hell is not for me. Wedges will wear out and you will have to replace those before replacing anything in your bag. But you are paying more for an experience that may not be in option later in this guys career.

    • Ian

      May 6, 2017 at 3:57 am

      Except Harmon is a coach with a fine track record and will no doubt fix your swing. These are just pretty. So pretty + ungly (that’s the swing) = pretty ugly

  21. joe

    May 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    this is just another person who thinks that his wedge company is going to be successful just because he is teamed with titliest you know it don’t mean anything! look what happen to Hopkins golf scratch golf scratch golf even had Don Williams of Mcgregor fame i will bet in about 5-10 yrs from now no one will heard of these people!

    • JC

      May 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Did you actually read the story? He didn’t reach out to Titleist. Titleist got him and asked him to do this. They chose to have him go out and create wedges like this rather than have him continue what he was doing.

    • Rusty Grant

      May 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Don White? If this is who you’re referring to he said that JP was one of the most talented people he had ever met in his life.

    • Chris

      May 6, 2017 at 9:25 am

      In 5 to 10 years nobody will know about Titleist…? Aaalrighty then..

  22. DJ

    May 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Question Zak,

    Does he keep your exact specs on file for future use or do you have to go through a fitting each time you need wedges? What is the price if you are able to just reorder what you had if you are able to? Since wedges are the quickest club to wear obviously

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      DJ,

      It will be documented. Each golfer will get a “fitting report” after their work with JP. I did not discuss a re-order policy with Titleist or JP, but I will check in with them.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      DJ,

      I checked with Titleist, and any golfer can purchase a fully customized JP wedge for $500 each by calling the number listed in the story. A fitting is not mandatory.

      I apologize for my misunderstanding, and I have updated the language in the story.

      • cgasucks

        May 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

        Still $500 a wedge is friggin expensive…especially for people who like to change wedges every few years.

  23. Dj

    May 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Hard pass. Expensive, they don’t even look good, and performance won’t be any better than anything out now.

  24. Mike

    May 5, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Beautiful wedges and I love that the fitting process will enable each player to figure out what grinds, bounce, and lift is best for them. The only problem is that if you are an avid player then you need to replace your most used wedges every year or so. It’s just too expensive to replace every year.

  25. cgasucks

    May 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    It still doesn’t tell me why Patrick laid low for the past 4 years. That’s what people really want to know.

    • Rusty Grant

      May 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      These wedges were just over 3 years of R&D. He wasn’t gone…. Just “grinding away”

  26. Skaffa77

    May 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I like to reflect on what made someone or something successful and relate it to what they are doing today. His original wedges that brought him so much notoriety and success were ground by hand to meet the exact needs (shape, grind, feel) of his customers. He was an artisan of wedges…an artist of grinding…not perfection…but beautiful and supremely functional to those who used them.

    His new wedges will be CNC milled because they are “better” than he could do by hand…tighter tolerances. While his new wedges will have the benefit of his years of experience and personalization, I feel like these wedges will have lost the artisan customization (hand ground) that brought him his success. It wasn’t the perfection in tighter tolerances that made his wedges a coveted treasure…it was the custom grinds he add to make them look, feel and function better than what his golfers were able to find.

  27. H

    May 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    F, I’ll take 3. But man, those grooves won’t last 6 months. That’s the sad part.

  28. Sam

    May 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

    HOLY SMOKES, $2000 for a fitting session and three wedges? and another $500 for a fourth wedge? WOW, and people say PXG clubs are expensive?!?!? 😉

    I’m sure these are great, they look awesome, but you can just buy all four Vokey wedges at the store for almost that much.

  29. BJ

    May 5, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Good write up and really cool stuff.

    Lots of responses about shocked by or complaining about the price.

    I think this is simply Titleist recognizing that PXG hadn’t completely lost it’s marbles by jumping into a super premium price point. They are simply trying to compete in that same spot with this and their C16 line.

    I’m not going to hate on either. I can’t afford a Ferrari or Maserati, but I don’t begrudge those guys for making them. I drive a Ford product now. I certainly can’t afford a Ford GT, but why should I be irritated at Ford because they choose to try to compete with Ferrari, while still churning out the F150 I know and love?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 5, 2017 at 11:48 am

      BJ,

      Thanks for reading the article and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  30. Joe

    May 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

    can’t please everyone. Wow…. what a bunch of whiney mules in here. Don’t buy them…. or here’s a thought…. It’s not anyone else’s fault that you cannot afford them.

    • setter02

      May 5, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      I blame you Joe, even tho I can afford them. But you crying in this about people crying makes you more pathetic…

  31. Adam Crawford

    May 5, 2017 at 11:13 am

    While I understand why the comments are focused on the price of the session/wedges, I think it’s really interesting that Titleist is willing to invest in a guy who’s building wedges in a garage and not only give him a job, but give him a line of wedges all his own. And further, not only give him a line of wedges, but give him the most expensive line of product Titleist offers (that I know of). This article to me is more about one guy building a product that a company believes in and less about how expensive his wedges are.

  32. Pat

    May 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Great write up Zak! The original JP wedges were pretty cool and hard to come by. They were pretty pricy as well. I was hoping that his move to Titleist would have brought the prices down a bit, but it looks like they went the opposite direction. $2,000 would be well spent on lessons, custom fitting, or paying for greens fee’s. Also putting Vokey up against Harrington with that price point, Harrington never stood a chance.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 5, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Pat,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  33. Tyler

    May 5, 2017 at 10:39 am

    The idea is cool but is obviously geared toward the wealthy people of Southern California. $2000 bucks for wedges. I’ll play the same way using wedges I found in the used bin at Roger Dunn.

  34. Tom Duckworth

    May 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I thought these were interesting and look cool….until I got down to the last part. Yea I’m going to spend $2000.00 and fly out to Cal. for wedges. Greed is all I have to say.

    • Joe

      May 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

      then don’t….sour grapes is all I have to say

  35. Jayzen

    May 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Well at least he has titleist to fall back on when this $2000 wedge idea fails. Get serious. I was interested until I read that 4 wedges will cost more than my entire bag, and outfit, and shoes, and pushcart….

  36. mitch

    May 5, 2017 at 9:43 am

    my ping glide wedges work just fine. I don’t need glitter and dots on my wedge to make me feel good.

    • Tyler

      May 5, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Wait a minute. Those ping wedges have dots on them! The color code. You hypocrite! lol

  37. carl spackler

    May 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

    so these wedges are hollow? if they are so great who is playing them on tour?

  38. Jack

    May 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Not that I believe it, but Titliest has claimed in recent advertisements that due to groove degradation, the run-out on a wedge shot will greatly increase after only a limited number of rounds. Somehow, I doubt that Mr. Patrick will include this information in his fitting sessions in his bid to sell $500 dollar wedges.

    • Jonny

      May 5, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I would be curious if there is a reorder policy. If I get fit, can I reorder next year when I need new wedges? I think Titleist said something like after 75 rounds your spin will be greatly reduced. I don’t know how much my wedge swing changes each year and I’d rather not fly to Cali every year to get fit again.

      • setter02

        May 5, 2017 at 11:13 pm

        Its just a number to try and get you to spend more on wedges. Its like putting an innings limit on a pitcher when he could throw 30 pitches through 7 innings (not gonna happen), how many times have you hit that wedge in those 75 rounds. Personally my 50* rarely gets used, maybe once every couple of rounds, so is it going to be ‘worn out’ after 35-40 swings?

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3, 4), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 54-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea
Grip: Super Stroke 1.0 SGP

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Garcia’s clubs.

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Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs. 

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