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Introducing an all-new golf equipment company: New Level Golf

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If you’ve taken a trip through the OEM buffet line lately, you might have spotted a new dish: New Level Golf.

What is this maker of forged irons and wedges, and who is behind it? We decided to investigate, catching up with company founder and CEO Eric Burch (of Club-Conex fame) to learn a bit more about his background in the industry, why he decided to start New Level Golf, and what the upstart offers consumers.

The broad strokes of Burch’s career take us from his time as an assistant pro in the 90s, through his founding of Parfection Golf, the Professional Clubmakers Society recognized as the top retail shop in the country in 2004, through his development of the legendary (in club building and fitting circles, anyway) Club-Conex Uni-Fit system. True Spec, as GolfWRX readers know, purchased Club-Conex in 2015, and after stints as Executive VP for Miura and a high-level position at Pure Grips, Burch decided to hang a shingle, knowing it was something he always wanted to make a go of.

New Level’s current offerings consist of three iron models and a wedge. Burch was kind enough to give a thumbnail sketch of each of the models.

902

Eric Burch: “It all started with the 902, which is the smallest, most compact, players type, cavity back iron, super thin top line, a little more meat on the sole. Slight undercut on the sole for vibration dampening and to move the CG up. It’s an iron that I would say is very long for the category it’s in, in terms of distance. They’re about one degree strong in terms of what players irons are today, but it doesn’t affect launch angle or preferred trajectory.”

1031

EB: “Then we have the 1031, which fits right in the middle of the three. That’s a slightly longer blade length than the 902. There’s a consistent offset throughout the set. It starts at about 4.5 millimeters…there’s good continuity throughout the set. Same topline as the 902…all the toplines are exactly the same. I did that so you’d have the ability to mix and match.

“The 1031 has a lot of meat low and behind the center of the club. In my opinion, it’s the most forgiving from heel to toe. It tends to launch just a shade higher [than the 902]. In terms of materials…everything that we do at this point is 1020 carbon. The initial finish is all satin. The 1031 is now available in limited quantities in the black PVD finish. It’s our all-around, one-size-fits all iron…it’s our best-selling iron.”

610

EB: “The other iron is the 610…It was a little bit of an experiment.”

“I was trying to provide something that was more what you see in larger profiles…the toe is a little bit more square. It’s a little thicker through the heel, longer blade length, more offset in the longer irons. We’re working on a cast model to replace it.”

M-Type Wedge

EB: “Obviously, the M-Type has an M-grind on the sole. A little bit higher initial bounce angle. Quite a bit of heel relief. It’s available in satin black PVD…The wedge is so versatile off of varying lie conditions, partially because of all the heel relief, and then also due to the sole. A lot of wedges have a lot of contour from the beginning of the scoreline to the end of the scoreline along the sole.”

“The M-Type sits very flat. I did that intentionally, because you know when it sits on the ground, there’s a significant amount of bounce…but the leading edge sits very flat. I think a lot of mis-hits come from that contour. Some wedges out there…have a lot of radius…I think that’s really good for the best players in the world, but I think for the average golfer, probably not so much.”

Wedge options, below.

Burch also indicated future offerings will include a muscleback iron, as well as a two-piece iron model. We recently spotted the former on Twitter.

Pricing: 610, 1031, 902: $1,393 (4-PW); M-Type wedge: $199. Available online and through select fitters.

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62 Comments

  1. ButchT

    Jan 23, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I have the #1148 utility irons in 4, 5, and 6. I think the differences I see in comparing these NL irons to what is currently available are: these irons are (to my eye) absolutely beautiful, have a great forged feel, and come with lots of options (Accra shafts in mine). Also, I want to support an American entrepreneur trying to get his business off the ground. If I can do that and also get some terrific forged clubs – all the better.

    As I get more money in the bank I plan to fill out my set with the 7, 8, and 9 in the model 602.

  2. Twin2L

    Dec 25, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Those are very nice looking milled forgings. I see clear similarities with the Wishon line of clubs, beginning with the milled forgings themselves.

    Tom Wishon was ahead of his time.

    Accusing Ping of copying you while you clearly copied the Wishon 565MC and PCF wedges is astounding!

  3. Ed Settle

    Oct 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    I started with the wedge. I talked to Eric about replacing my TM MG 54*. What he worked out for me has been perfect. As mentioned before large selection of no charge shafts to pick from. And as far as buying in on the first year of production, I’ll just say if what he offers fits your needs, they are very good. I’m sure more options are going to roll out for 2019. I only buy what works for me. And when I find something that I like I am not shy about sharing my findings. I have since picked up a 50° wedge and I am waiting on 902 irons.

  4. JOE

    Aug 31, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    JUST ANOTHER GOLF COMPANY THAT WILL COME AND GO I WILL BET TO ALL OF YOU THAT THIS COMPANY WILL NOT LAST A YEAR SAME OLD B.S. THIS GAME HAS GOTTEN WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!!!! I BUY ALL OF MY GOLF GEAR ON EBAY AND PROUD OF IT!

  5. koober

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Unfortunately, I read this article after I read the new Mizuno piece (no left-handed in the Tour version…again). I guess I’ll harp on this until something changes. I want left-handed models available!

  6. Willy

    Aug 29, 2018 at 11:40 am

    I wish you a lot of luck. In my 40 years in the industry I’ve competed against over 70 brands that are now out of business! The odds are very much stacked against you no matter how good your clubs are. Too much of the same claims from every manufacturer.

  7. Bert

    Aug 29, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Lofts are too strong – you have them bunched up on the long end (3°) apart, and too much of a hole between PW and the next wedge.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 29, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      Well I’m a different breed so I guess we’ll just wait and see.

      • Eric Burch

        Aug 29, 2018 at 10:49 pm

        Thanks Bert. Loft was determined by yardage gaps and is appropriate as they are currently spec’d. They are bendable.

  8. Vanilla Gorilla

    Aug 29, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Online there’s mention of Win Win Golf, a familiar sounding name from JDM market I believe.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 29, 2018 at 10:51 pm

      Well Win Golf is my LLC. It’s actually named after my dog Winnie, which I call Win Win, not after some JDM company that is not doing business in the states.

  9. steve

    Aug 28, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Mr. Burch…. are your “forged” irons hot forged or cold forged. Thanks.

    • ogo

      Aug 29, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      FAKE FORGED…. sooooo obvious

      • Eric Burch

        Aug 29, 2018 at 10:52 pm

        Well Win Golf is my LLC. It’s actually named after my dog Winnie, which I call Win Win, not after some JDM company that is not doing business in the states.

        • ogo

          Aug 30, 2018 at 1:17 am

          Hot forged or cold/coin/stamp ‘forged’…??!!!!
          Fess up…!!!!

  10. Richard Douglas

    Aug 28, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I’m sure these are fine clubs, but what is the value proposition for the consumer? How are these any different than dozens and dozens of other makes/models?

    There have been very few real advancements in irons. Perimeter weighting (Ping Eye, perfected by the Ping Eye 2), perimeter weighted forged irons (Hogan Edge), game improvement (Ping Zing), face slots (Taylormade), and single-length (Wishon is my favorite. No, the TA EQL was awful.). That’s about it. (No, not graphite shafts in irons; they’re still bad. Lightweight steel shafts, maybe). Everything else involves small improvements over previous designs.

    So what’s here to draw a pair of eyes?

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 29, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      Well the Ping Eye 2 was a tremendous Iron, well ahead of it’s time indeed. Maybe look at the wedge they just released. Notice a resemblance to our M-type? Ours was launched back in January, so I suppose innovation is up to interpretation.

      • Mat

        Sep 12, 2018 at 3:17 am

        The CEO calling out PING as a thief? Sorry… any respect you might have gained has now gone. What a shame.

  11. Terry

    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Best part of Golf, playing where you want, playing the equipment you want and making the tee time…..even if it is used clubs, recycled balls and after 12 noon at the local 9 hole muni. Like Mizuno irons these will look great in the bag…..

  12. Dave r

    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Very nice looking clubs. Are there any places in Canada to be fit at the moment?

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 29, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      A few yes! Your best bet is to use the Find A Dealer link on our website to see if anyone is close.

  13. Johnny Penso

    Aug 28, 2018 at 11:14 am

    They look great and I’d definitely give them a hit if I could find them up here in Canada as I am in the market for new clubs but I’m left handed…lol.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      No LH at the moment… sorry! We do have partners in Canada and will be releasing a LH model in 2019.

  14. Ben Jones

    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I picked up a full set (3-PW) of Nike VR Pro Forged for $200 with very little bag chatter and marks. They hit like a dream. I had planned to sell them to Tommy Fleetwood, but now I may keep them considering the price of new clubs today. Anyway, these are very nice looking clubs. Good luck and I hope prices go down because golf is getting way too expensive.

    • Andy Kite

      Aug 28, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Just going to call Tommy up? Send him a text? Why would you even share that? It’s completely irrelevant to the story that was posted.

      • Skip

        Aug 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        I think he’s trying to be funny.

      • Ben Jones

        Aug 28, 2018 at 3:23 pm

        Read between the lines. There are many used sets out there that play great. They are forged, discontinued, and may not be that relevant to today’s current dialog, but even the pros still play them. Golf is getting way too expensive and complicated. I hope these “new” clubs are affordable and bring something new to the market instead of becoming another fill of the 5 or so designs that are available and have been for years. This a true story except I do not plan to contact Tommy Fleetwood. He can get as much golf equipment as he needs. I just like to keep a set of blades around to practice with and remind me of what the sweet spot really feels like.

      • Ben Jones

        Aug 30, 2018 at 9:33 am

        You completely missed my point.

  15. Travis

    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Initial irons seem on the pricier side until you see all the free shaft and grip options. Great looking irons! Thinking about cancelling my P730 order and trying these out for fun instead!

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      You won’t be disappointed if you choose to go with our irons. The performance and build quality are top notch.

  16. Perry

    Aug 28, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I think they all look awesome. Do the grooves on the back come from the forging or is that a milling? I hope it works out for you!

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      These all come from milling. Thanks for the kind words!

  17. Shawn Levesque

    Aug 28, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I think they are great looking irons and like the thought of keeping the top lines consistent.

    A couple of questions/ thoughts. I noticed in the pictures that there is not a photo that shows the offset really well. Would be helpful to see that for a couple of the irons in each series. Also, not sure how feasible it is, but have you considered any type of demo program where people can get access to as club or two to hit them before purchase?

    Best of luck.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Many more pictures if you visit our website that show various views including the offset. We do indeed have a demo program in place. Email us for more details. Thanks for your interest!

  18. luke

    Aug 28, 2018 at 1:57 am

    6 degree gap from PW to 50 deg?

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 28, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      We will be offering a 48 in the near future, but can easily bump our 50 to 48 to fill the gap more effectively.

      • luke

        Aug 29, 2018 at 7:02 pm

        I thought this would be the case. Nice looking clubs hopefully I get a swing at one some day. Good Luck with the product launch

  19. Tommy

    Aug 27, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Don’t listen to these losers Eric. You knew what to expect anyway, before you even read them. Jealous nobodies playing some crummy muni with their old Big Berthas. Let em have at it

  20. Aztec

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Looks like another set of irons that you’ll be able to pick up at 1/3rd retail on ebay within a year.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      We don’t sell through big box retail so I’m confident this will not be the case.

      • Aztec

        Aug 27, 2018 at 10:52 pm

        I honestly appreciate you responding. To step back a bit, these look like nice irons but how are they better than what Mizuno and Srixon (just to name 2 examples) already offer? The article lacks any compelling reason why I should buy these.

  21. rex235

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    New Level Golf-

    *RH Only*

    -and this is new?

    • Forged blades

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Clearly a huge shortage of expensive forged blade options for rich low handicap golfers. Nike had no idea what they were doing when they vacated this market. Scratch got so sick of printing money that they just retired to a private island. I admire these guys for trying. I’m sure the clubs are nice.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      LH model will be released in 2019.

  22. Felix

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Never buy a brand new designed car in it’s first year on the market. Give them time to work out the glitches. Same with golf clubs… e.g. PXG, P-790, gniP iBlade.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Agree to disagree. If you look at the feedback and reviews they are all very solid across the board.

  23. Fingers

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I dont see what it is they are offering that isnt already being done. PVD coating is cheep and doesnt last…..

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Depends on the PVD. We use a matte PVD which has been tested from the unforgiving conditions here in the desert. Ours is as good as available. Like any black finish, it’s bound to wear regardless of the plating process.

  24. Fingers

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Im just trying to figure out what it is they do different thats going to take market share from other OEMs besides offer a bunch of offset. Also wish these club makers would STOP the PVD finish junk. Nobody is happy with a $200 club that looks like crap after 4 rounds. Best of luck to them but there really isnt room in the golf equipment industry for a start up that doesnt offer anything new.

  25. Nuunuu

    Aug 27, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Why copy Bridgestone? And why not just import better Japanese brands instead of making your own? The names are asinine. Who’s going to remember all those numbers

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:52 pm

      That’s funny. We aren’t copying anyone. The numbers pay homage to family members and mentors, so they may be silly to you, but meaningful to me.

  26. Tom

    Aug 27, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Pics don’t seem to represent the amount of offset listed in the specs?

  27. J.R.

    Aug 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Lofts seem a bit strong, No?

    • Joe

      Aug 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Actually, the lofts are average, many new models 7 irons are 30 – 28 degrees.

  28. 2putttom

    Aug 27, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    AND …and wait for it …..WAAAAIIIIT….

  29. Ryo

    Aug 27, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Way too much offset. No thanks.

    • Eric Burch

      Aug 27, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Our philosophy for the first three iron intros was more for the 3-12 hcp. Our 623 blade has a profile that can be appreciated by even a purist like you.

      • Dane

        Aug 28, 2018 at 1:26 am

        Awesome looking irons and wedges! When will the blades become available? And will a 3 iron be offered in that set? If not are you releasing any utility or driving irons? Thanks

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges

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What Titleist tells us:  “SM8 features a reimagined progressive center of gravity, which produces the most accurate and forgiving Vokey wedge yet. Using tungsten weights and varied hosel lengths, the Vokey R&D team has moved the CG outside of the wedge head and placed it in front of the face, resulting in increased MOI and exceptional feel.” 

“For the golfer, this means an optimized ball flight and a clubface that simply wants to square up at impact. SM8 accomplishes all of this while preserving the classic Vokey head shape players demand.”

In simple terms, what Bob Vokey and his team have done is gone even further with CG placement and dialed it in to make sure each unique wedge has its own flight DNA. Since most players go with a four wedge system—46, 52, 56, 60, for example—it is essential that full shot wedges do full shot things and higher lofted wedges do their duty around the greens. 

Spin Milled grooves to ensure maximum spin and consistency is also a trademark of Vokey wedges. All OEMs have their version of this, they all work effectively and the SM8 is no different.

Vokey SM8 wedges: Specs and grinds

The grind I was most taken with was the M Grind, which, according to Titleist, is the most versatile of all the grinds. It’s got plenty of bounce squared up and has just the right amount of heel and toe give when opened up.

Overall thoughts

I had the opportunity to test the SM8. My biggest takeaways: the feel, which is solid, the flight on the gap and sand wedges was lower with a ton of spin and the higher-lofted wedges were extremely stable on mishits, especially off of a tight lie.

Do you know that shot that comes out at the toe and floats a bit? Maybe not getting to the top of a slope or carrying some rough? Those shots hold their line a lot better which ultimately could be the difference between a six-footer for par or another chip.

In simple terms, this one was kind of a layup. Of course, Vokey is going to make a fantastic wedge line. It’s the most played wedge on Tour by a bajillion and for good reason. They always have a clean simple look, there are enough grinds to satisfy any golfer—and you can’t argue with legacy.

Truth is, there are a ridiculous amount of good wedges out there by all the big OEMs. I know. I’ve tried em all. But there is something about the golfing public and Bob Vokey that just won’t stop. That’s a great thing. 

 

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Today from the Forums: “Recommend me a 14th club…”

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Today from the Forums showcases our members helping out ewe8523 who is on the hunt for a 14th club. Per ewe8523:

“My home course is fairly short 6050 yards, so I’m not really in a position where I have to hit a lot of long fairway shots. There is one par 5 on each side – 548 and 449 respectively.

Open to other options as well.

Including current specs and avg distance.

  1. Driver – Cobra F9 – 250 yards
  2. 3-Wood – Cobra F7 – 220 yards
  3. Hybrid – Callaway Epic – 200 yards
  4. 5 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 175 yards
  5. 6 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 165 yards
  6. 7 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 155 yards
  7. 8 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 145 yards
  8. 9 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 130 yards
  9. PW – Callaway Apex CF16 – 115 yards
  10. 50 Degree – Vokey SM6 – 100 yards
  11. 56 Degree – Vokey SM6 – 75 yards
  12. 60 Degree – Cleveland CBX – Bunker Only
  13. Putter – Scotty Cameron Newport 2
  14. ?”

WRXers have been giving their suggestions on what could work best for ewe8523, and also discussing what they have found most useful from a 14th club standpoint.

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.

  • heathpitts: “Very similar setup and gapping to my setup. Although my wedge lofts are a bit different. I have wedges at 50, 54, 58, and 62 but generally, only carry 3 per round. I adjust the 54-62 based on where I’m gonna play. I do also have a graphite shafted 3 utility iron that I play around with as a driving iron, but I see that you haven’t really found one that you like. I adjust the 14th club based on the course or conditions or time of year (due to different wedge grinds) sometimes but try to keep it as simple as possible. I think your setup is pretty good honestly. I always seem to score better with fewer options, so I don’t try to get cute with shot selection 🙂 I play 13 clubs a lot of times.”
  • MP4444: “I agree with the others on a club to hit that 185-190yrd spot. Either a hybrid or an iron with extra help compared to the CF16s. I personally have a 4 hybrid and a more game-improvement style 5 iron that I use interchangeably for this spot in my bag depending on how I’m striking the ball. When my ball striking is on, I usually prefer an iron in this spot because my misses are smaller, but it’s nice to have the help of a hybrid when I’m not feeling so on with my game. If you go the iron route just be sure to check out the lofts to ensure the proper gapping. Some game improvement and super game improvement type irons have stronger lofts so you may need to look at a 4 or 5 iron depending on the model. I would also recommend hitting both on a launch monitor and comparing peak height and spin numbers. You are still typically looking to hold a green at this distance, so you want to make sure you are getting enough height and spin to have a chance.”
  • Z1ggy16: “The obvious choice is like a 188-yard club but if you never need that shot… Why spend the money? Other option is like a 64* wedge, but that’s probably going to get you into trouble more often than not. I’d lean toward the 185-190 yard club, probably another hybrid, gives you more flexibility if you play other courses that are longer.”
  • crapula: “Higher lofted Callaway Epic?”

Entire Thread: “Recommend me a 14th club…”

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Today from the Forums: “Best 54/56-degree wedge for a sweeper?”

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Today from the Forums we take a look at 54 and 56-degree wedges which are effective on full shots from tight lies. WRXer, 10of14, is a sweeper of the ball and has reached out to fellow members who have been giving their suggestions 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.

  • dhen9: “M grind or ES Glide 2.0.”
  • PowerCobra98: “Callaway MD4 or MD5 with the C Grind.”
  • bsb70x7: “I am a sweeper and a low bounce player. I play Vokey 54 with 10* of bounce (as my highest bounce). You may want to go with 8* of bounce if you use your Lob wedge in the sand.”
  • NYCGolfNut: “I’m the same. M grind Vokey – 8 deg bounce, heel and toe relief. Works great.”

Entire Thread: “Best 54/56-degree wedge for a sweeper?”

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