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WRX Spotted: Fujikura Ventus Red

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Update (7/8, 7 p.m.) The official word from Fujikura: “Due to the success of Ventus on Tour and in the aftermarket since launching in February, Fujikura has now expanded the Ventus line with an additional launch option powered by Fujikura’s proprietary VeloCore Technology. The new Ventus Red provides golfers with a mid-high launch option with mid spin for more carry distance (the original blue Ventus is classified as a mid-launch, low spin). This profile originally appeared as a prototype on the PGA Tour denoted by a “proto MH” label and was used for testing and player feedback before becoming the official Ventus Red.

“The Ventus Red is designed to achieve slightly more launch and spin than the current profile of Ventus Blue, which originally launched on tour in September 2018 and in the aftermarket in February 2019. Ventus Red has a softer tip section than the current Ventus to achieve more launch. It is designated by a gloss red paint finish to be consistent with our color-coded launch system akin to ATMOS Tour Spec, red being the highest launching of the profiles. VeloCore technology in the Ventus line is a multi-material bias core design that maximizes the MOI and ball speed of your clubhead through the reduction of twist during the swing and at impact, especially on off-center hits. It will be available at over 600 local Fujikura clubfitters nationwide this fall.” end update

In an interesting surprise from this Monday’s preparations at the John Deere Classic, we spotted a new Fujikura Ventus (Red) shaft on the range at TPC Deere Run.

Although we don’t have an official statement yet from Fujikura there are some significant conclusions we can draw from what we already know about the Ventus line and the fact that this new Ventus is, in fact, RED.

How we’re going to react…

Fujikura Ventus Red: What are we dealing with?

First off, the original Ventus is blue—thank you Captain Obvious, and blue in the Fujikura lineup means it’s a mid-launch/spin profile. These profiles are almost always the first to come to market since they fit the largest number of players, and it allows engineers and designers to tweak both up and down for players on either end of the spectrum requiring different profiles.

Speaking to different profiles it wasn’t too long ago that we saw a black version of the Ventus in the bag of Dustin Johnson (WRX Spotted: Ventus Black) the prototype name was LT (Lower Trajectory). Traditionally, a black shaft in the Fujikura line means a stiffer profile meant for more aggressive golfer looking for greater control.

This brings us to the newly spotted red version. Red in the Fujikura lineup means mid-to-high launch and that makes the Ventus Red a great candidate for a fairway wood shaft and those less aggressive swingers of the club, looking for smooth feel and increased carry distance. What we’ve seen are X-flex so maybe not for the “regular” golfers yet, but you might see these in some fairway woods pretty soon.

A refresher on the Ventus line (from our January Ventus launch piece)

Thanks to all-new VeloCore Technology, the company claims its mid-launch, low-spin Ventus shaft tightens shot dispersion and performs particularly well on off-center shots.

“As swing speeds increase on Tour over the last few years, the Tour player is seeking tighter dispersion to hit more fairways,” said John Hovis, Tour Operations & Technical Services Manager.

“We challenged our engineers to develop a stable, low spinning, stiff tip shaft to improve control and ball speeds and the result was Ventus.”

The multi-material VeloCore derives its stability from ultra-high modulus Pitch 70 Ton Carbon Fiber (about 150% stronger and more stable than T1100g) and 40 Ton bias layers that run the full length of the shaft.

According to Fujikura, the VeloCore maximizes MOI (moment of inertia) and ball speed of your clubhead through the reduction of twist during the swing and at impact, especially on off-center hits.

The Ventus also features an ultra-stiff tip section and an accelerated taper butt section maximizes energy transfer through the swing.

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

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Whats in the Bag

Cameron Champ WITB 2019

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cameron-champ-whats-in-the-bag-2019-witb-featured-

*Equipment accurate as of the Houston Open

Driver: Ping G410 LST (9.5 degrees, flat+, CG shifter in neutral, 5g face, 5g toe weight)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70G-6.5 TX (44.25″, tipped 1.5″, D4)

cameron-champ-witb-2019-driver

5-wood: Ping G410 (@17 degrees, flat standard, 5g face weight)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 95G-6.5 TX (41.75”, tipped 1.5″, D4)

cameron-champ-witb-2019-5-wood

Irons: Ping i500 [3-iron (38.75″, 21 degree loft, 1 degree up)], Ping iBlade [4-iron (1/2 degree flat, standard length)], Ping Blueprint [5-PW (1/2 degree flat, standard length)]
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X7 w/Cushin insert

cameron-champ-witb-2019-irons

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50, 54 degrees) (1 degree flat), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping PLD Prime Prototype (Stealth finish, straight arc, 34 3/8″, 19 degree lie, 2 degree loft, black shaft)
Grip: Ping PP58 Midsize Full Cord

Grips: Custom Lamkin Black 58R

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

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WRX Spotlight: EV3D putters

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We hear the buzz words “3D printed” all the time these days. It’s a newer technology that has shown to have lots of applications in other industries, but golf hasn’t been one of those until now. 3D printing a putter is a pretty new adventure, but EV3D Golf is showing that it is going to be much more common very soon.

EV3D Golf is bringing new putter designs to us golfers that CANNOT be made through traditional casting or milling. 3D printing is the process of creating a putter layer-by-layer, allowing any supported shape you can think of. Even hollow designs like EV3D’s signature lattice features!

This gives EV3D engineers the ability to create putters that push the limits of MOI, feel, and of course look. The intricate lattice design does more than just look really cool, it also helps move weight to the outside and rear of the putter, increasing MOI in all models. All EV3D putters are printed from a combination of 420 stainless steel and bronze. This alloy gives the putter its responsive feel, excellent durability, and the ability to offer 3 finishes. They also offer a ton of different hosel designs to fit your eye and putting stroke, all are 3D printed as well. EV3D even adds custom touches like text in the cavity, different site lines, and paint fill to make it your own. Right now they offer 6 different head shapes, but if none of those are what you are looking for, they will work with you to print your dream putter from scratch!

We got our hands on 2 models, the EV3D Golf Ares X and Hades, to take out to the course and putt with. In hand the first thing that grabs your eye’s attention is the intricate lattice work on the putters.

All you want to do is hold the putter closer to your face and see how the heck they did it. At the right angles you can actually see through that lattice structure, but we were told that debris getting stuck in there isn’t an issue. The next thing you will notice is the rough texture of the head. This is created by the process of 3D printing the head, showing off the layers of material used to build the shape of the head. I don’t know if was intended but that rough texture does help with reducing glare, making the putters easy on the eyes even in the brightest conditions.

I personally really like the Antique Bronze finish, but EV3D does offer a Natural and Slate Black finish to suit your personal taste. Out on the putting green the Ev3D putters performed really well, offering a hefty dose of forgiveness and a crisp feel and sound. Traditionally modes like the Hades don’t offer much in the way of forgiveness compared to mallets, but the Hades shocked me with its off-center putts. Putts hit off the heel or toe stayed on line much better and I even made a couple that had no business even being close to the hole.

Distance loss on those mishits is about what you would expect, coming up a little short, but defiantly not a drastic difference. Since the EV3D line doesn’t have any fancy face milling, I was a little worried about the initial roll and if the ball would hop or skid. Initial contact was great, only met with a tiny bit of skid before rolling out. Nothing that I think effected even my longest putts. The feel off the face is something that reminds you of a quieter classic Ping BeCu putter, crisp with an audible click. If you are looking for a silent impact, like an Odyssey Microhinge, then the EV3D line might not be your cup of tea. If you are on a quest for exceptional responsiveness on well struck and mishit putts then you should be very pleased with any of the EV3D putter models. The feel of impact is a little firmer than I think we are all used to these days with so many inserts and deep milling. The crisp feel and slightly more audible EV3D is somewhat refreshing and mishit putts are extremely easy to recognize.

Overall, the EV3D putters are a solid offering from a new company utilizing a new technology in the golf club space. With all the combinations of putter heads, site lines, and hosels, I can’t see you not being able to find a putter that fits your eye. Looks for any putter are going to be subjective, but there is no denying that EV3D is pushing the limits at a time where we see a lot of similar putter designs from all manufacturers. And if you are the type of person who wants to create an original design of your own that has never been done, EV3D is waiting for that call to help you take your idea from thought to printed putter head! Check the entire EV3D putter line at the company website.

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Top 5 golf grips of all time

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Tour Velvet Cord Golf Grip

Grips might seem simple, but there is a lot that goes into making good ones. From formulating compounds, and adding color, to creating tooling to make sure they hit all of the required specs. Grips are often the most overlooked part of a golf club, and they shouldn’t be. The grip is the singular connection you as a player have with your clubs, and it should offer equal amounts of control and comfort, depending on how often you play and the weather conditions.

Yes, golfers generally pay a lot of attention to their putter grip,s but when it comes to the rest of a set, many golfers will just say “give me whatever is stock,” which is not a great idea.

These are the top-five grips of all time.

Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

Tour velvet Cord Grips

How could we begin to talk about great grips without starting with the Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord? It’s the gold standard of durable all-weather performance. A soft rubber infused with a tight-weave cotton twill fiber (cord) adds additional traction that you just can’t get from an all-rubber grip on its own. It’s the most-used cord grip on tour and a favorite of golfers needing weather defying traction. (Honourable mention the classic non-corded Tour Velvet)

Winn Grips Excel

Winn Excel soft golf grip

The Winn Excel might not be the most durable or best all-weather grip ever made, but I challenge anyone to find a grip that offers greater comfort for fair-weather golfers, or players needing maximum shock absorption. The Winn Excel is Winn’s number-one selling grip of all time by a large margin, and speaking from experience, I have installed my fair share of full cases of these back in my big box retail golf days. From Winn “The Excel grip has been hailed by arthritic and hand fatigue sufferers as the reason they can still play golf.” With that in mind any product that is able to help golfers enjoy the game more belongs on the list!

Lamkin Crossline Cord

Another cord grip might seem like an odd addition to the list, but hear me out. Grip aficionados will tell you right away why they prefer the Lamkin Crossline Cord over others on the market. The taper is slightly different, the cord is a bit rougher, and for those in need of anything bigger than a standard grip—the Lamkin Crossline Cord is the ONLY full cord grip on the market that comes in an oversized option (weighing in at a whopping 76g). That alone makes it unique and earns its spot in the top five.

Iomic Sticky

Iomic Stick Golf Grips

Bold, colorful, and tacky are all words best used to describe the Iomic Sticky grip. It was one of, if not the first, mainstream grips in North America to offer a HUGE selection of color options and there’s a scientific reason why. Iomic grips are made from an elastomer resin, which is neutral in color: this means that any change to the color won’t change the weight of the grip, and that means you can mix and match up your set without having to worry about changing feel. It also gives grip designers endless freedom to come up with wild combinations too. According to Iomic, the elastomer resin offers a number of distinct advantages over rubber which includes lower torque, greater durability, and all-weather traction.

Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound

Golf Pride New Decade golf grips

Easily making its way into the top five is the Multi-Compound or as many call them the NDMCs. This grip was a game-changer for Golf Pride and the industry as a whole. It made grips “show up” on TV and got regular golfers to rethink their grip buying habits from just plain rubber to multi-material colorful options. From a performance perspective, the NDMC offers the best of both worlds, cord on the top (gloved hand) and a softer material under the bottom hand for additional traction and comfort.  Still considered a premium option, you can find New Decade grips on a lot of OEM stock products.

What do you think GolfWRXers? Are their any grips you think belong in the top five that aren’t included? Any that are included you don’t think should be?

 

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