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2013 TaylorMade RocketBladez Tech Specs & Video

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TaylorMade RocketBladez Irons

The best part of TaylorMade’s RocketBladez irons isn’t the long distances that they fly, according to TaylorMade engineers. It’s the consistent distance that the irons fly on mishits.

TaylorMade has made long-flying irons in the past, one of their most popular being the two-year-old Burner 2.0 irons. But those and other “game-improvement” irons haven’t been popular with better players because they tend to cause problems with distance control. Irons such as the Burner 2.0s have what’s called a hotspot, a place above the center of the clubface that when struck with clean contact causes shots to fly longer-than-anticipated distances. This is bad because unlike drivers, skilled golfers aren’t trying to hit their irons as far as possible. They’re trying to hit them a controlled distance.

[youtube id=”QpmrytE3gLI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum.

Bret Wahl, TaylorMade’s vice president of R&D for irons, said that he and his team have spent the last five years designing irons with a higher coefficient of restitution, or COR. A high COR is achieved by making clubfaces thinner, increasing the spring-like effect and making the ball fly farther. But even though engineers were able to increase speed on shots hit on the center of the clubface, they struggled to add a similar amount of speed to mishits, especially shots hit on the stiff, lower portion of the face that is attached to the leading edge of the club.

The performance of the lower portion of the clubface is important for golfers because according to a TaylorMade study 72 percent of shots are struck below the center of the clubface. That means that almost three-quarters of all golf shots are not hit with optimal speed.

Last year, TaylorMade released its RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids, the first of the company’s clubs to include its “Speed Pocket,” a slot on the bottom of the sole near the leading edge that increased COR. This added speed and forgiveness to the clubface, especially on shots struck below the center where the Speed Pocket functioned to make the lower portion of the clubface more flexible.

RocketBladez bring Speed Pocket technology to irons, and like the RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids before them, the company is promising more speed and forgiveness. How much speed and forgiveness a golfer will get, however, depends on which model of RocketBladez irons they choose.

RocketBladez Tour Irons

TaylorMade’s two most popular irons on the PGA Tour are the company’s Forged MB and CB models, thick-faced irons that provide slow speeds on center strikes. But even though they lack the speed of distance irons on shots hit on the center of the face, the MBs and CBs are more consistent than other models on slight mishits and have no hotspots.

According to Gary Gallagher, market manager for metal woods for TaylorMade, there was no desire on Tour for substantially longer-flying irons. That’s why instead of giving RocketBladez Tour irons the “full steroid” treatment that designers gave the non-Tour RocketBladez, engineers held back, only adding “a quarter of a steroid” to their ingredient list.

 Click here to see the RocketBladez Tour irons Matt Bettencourt put in his bag at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. 

The RocketBladez Tour irons were designed to mimic the aesthetics of the Forged CBs. They have thin soles, a small amount of offset and similar blade lengths and toplines. But the Speed Pocket in the sole increases the COR to 0.819, adding at least 1 mph of ball speed to center strikes and making the sweetspot of the RocketBladez Tour five times larger than the Forged CBs (note: TaylorMade defines the sweetspot as the area of the clubface where there is less than a 1 mph drop off in speed).

Like the RocketBallz fairway woods and hybrids, the Speed Pocket increases ball speed as well as launch angle, which gives Tour players two options with RocketBladez Tour irons. They can:

  1. Hit the RocketBladez Tour irons higher and a little further than their current irons (the current average off added distance according to Gallagher is 8 yards).
  2. Bend the lofts stronger, giving them an iron that flies as high as their current model but goes substantially further.

The RocketBladez Tour 3 iron through 7 iron are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, which adds the necessary stiffness for construction. To make the irons feel softer, the Speed Pocket is filled with a special polyurethane developed by 3M that still allows the pocket to flex and reduces vibrations. It also limits debris that could enter the pocket.

The Speed Pocket is not used in the 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge and “attack wedge,” however, because Gallagher said the speed pocket becomes less active and thus less important as loft is added to the club. Since the short irons are slotless, they can be cast from a softer material, 431 stainless steel. The distance gap between the 7 iron and 8 iron is bridged gradually by varying the different variables of the irons — mainly loft, face thickness and the depth of the speed pocket throughout the set.

RocketBladez Irons

 

Click here for more photos of the RocketBladez irons 

The RocketBladez (non-Tour) irons lose the wacky geometry of last year’s RBZ irons in favor of a more traditional game-improvement iron shape, resembling the Burner 2.0 irons at address. They have the same COR as the Tours, but they have thicker soles, thicker top lines, more offset and a longer blade profile to support a deeper center of gravity (CG) position. This makes makes them more longer and more forgiving than the Tours and 5 mph faster than the Burner 2.0s, which accounts for double-digit distance gains.

Like the Tours, the RocketBladez employ a slot in the 3 through 7 irons and no slot on the 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge and A-wedge. They are also available in a 55-degree sand wedge and 60-degree lob wedge that use TaylorMade’s ATV sole grind. Take a look at the specs below for more information.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum.

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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.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. john

    Jan 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Just received a flyer from my local golf store abot a pre-order for rocketbladez max irons. Speed slot is in all clubs from 4-AW. Anyone heard of this or seen the sceps?

  2. Falcon

    Dec 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    was in Bangkok recently…accidentally got to shoot on a swing simulator…i normally hit my 7 iron 150 yards on average with my R11 irons with KBS 90 R…the fitter gave me a japanese manufactured forged cavity blade with a Miyazaki C. Kua shaft…first shot went 170 yards…i was dumbfounded…then hit a few more and similar result…then bought a set of Rocket Bladez and had the same miyazaki shafts installed..and now my buddies are utterly confused how on earth i manage to hit so much longer

  3. paul

    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I just tried these at my local golf shop and i didn’t find the distance to be a huge gain. maybe 1 club over my current Adams a1s but the ball took off a lot faster and higher. mishits low on the face were still very good. Distance control was very good. i hit my first 5-6 shots within 2 yards of each other. i don’t think these live up to the hype but i will buy a set when i can afford new clubs in a few months.

  4. Jeff

    Nov 24, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I just tested the new rocketbladez against my i20s. Rocketbladezs launched 2 degrees higher, spun between 800 to 1200 rpm less had a 10 foot higher peak trajectory and had a 2 degree steeper descent angle comparing an i20 5 iron to a rocketbladez 6 iron both having similar lofts. Both were roughly the same max distance but my thin mishits were 50 percent closer to my max distance with rocketbladez. My i20 6 iron has 3.5 degrees more loft than rocketbladez 6 iron and the same peak trajectory but was about 12 yds shorter with about 1500rpm more spin. I would like to try the rocketbladez with a dynamic gold to see if it performs better than the rocket fuel shaft. Either way distance is increased with the .819 cor face but the distance consistency is what will sell this club to mid and low handicappers.

  5. Pingback: GolfWRX.com – 2013 TaylorMade RocketBladez Tech Specs & Video | Golf Products Reviews

  6. Lee

    Nov 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Just love the 6 iron comparison chart on the TM website – 6.9 yards longer than Ping i20. Considering the RocketBlade has a loft of 26.5 and the Ping i20 30 degrees aren’t we comparing a 5 iron with a 6! Then of course where it matters the scoring clubs we get larger loft spacings to fit them in. I guess the good thing is you don’t need the 3 & 4 now as they really equal 2 & 3 and you can adjust the bottom of you’re bag accordingly.

    • Justin

      Nov 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Lee, you are correct seeing the difference in lofts, but what I’ve heard is that even though it’s a lower loft the ball flys higher than say a pings 6 iron for example.

      • NG

        Nov 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        Agree. Lee, if you had of watched the video attached to this you would find that there are many variables to determine what loft you place on each iron…you can’t and can never just compare lofts! Why does someone hit a 12 degree driver further than a 10 degree…have a think about it buddy

  7. paul

    Nov 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    “more longer”…

    • Christian

      Nov 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Correction, it “makes makes them more longer”

  8. stephen

    Nov 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Why would you launch a product that can’t be bought for 3 months? I would like to try the tour version but would normally have my next seasons equipment in the bag over the winter to get used to it.

    • chris

      Nov 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Steven … I agree with you completely. I do a Super Bowl trip to Vegas end of January/early February and almost always the new stuff comes out a week later. Why not release before the holidays and take advantage of the buying season? Idiots….

      • Al

        Nov 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        Another expert with insults and all of the answers. Just maybe these companies pay a bunch of people a bunch of money to do their marketing analysis and it has been determined that holiday releases do not have maximum effect on sales. They likely have determined that the lemmings will fall for the marketing hype at another time of year and make their annual game-changing purchase.

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Equipment

10 interesting photos from Wednesday at the Honda Classic

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From our featured image of Rory McIlroy putting in a different kind of work on the range in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning, to shots of Tiger Woods’ similarly early pre-pro-am range work, to some intriguing shots Patrick Reed’s prototype Bettinardi putter, GolfWRX has plenty of fantastic photo content from PGA National.

Here are some of the best shots from Wednesday.

Tiger Woods at work prior to his crack-of-dawn pro-am tee time. Gentleman in the foreground: You do know that as the sun has not yet risen, you do not need a hat to aggressively combat its rays, right?

“My feet do not look like that at impact.”

All eyes on the Big Cat…except those focused on the live video on their cell phone screens…

Let’s take a closer look at Patrick Reed’s yardage book cover. Yep. As expected.

Do you think these two ever talk?

It looks like Captain Furyk already has some pre-Ryder Cup swag in the form of a putter cover.

If you’ve ever wondered why Rickie Fowler selected these interesting locations for his tattoos, this may be the answer: Visible when he holds his finish.

We’ve got a Pistol Pete sighting!

Patrick Reed’s droolworthy Bettinardi Dass prototype.

Fun fact: Wedges double as magnetic putter cover holders, as Jon Curran illustrates here. Healthy application of lead tape, as well, from the tour’s resident graffiti artist.

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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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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pga tour

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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