Connect with us

Equipment

Confessions of a gear junkie in Korea: My new Ballistic Golf irons

Published

on

As an avid golfer and a self-professed equipment junkie, few things in life are better than discovering a piece of shiny new golf gear that brings a smile to my face and a dent to my wallet. And in Korea, where outpacing the Joneses is a national pastime, one has to be vigilant to stay ahead of the crowd.

To onlookers, most Korean golfers might come across as posers who seem more interested in looking good than playing well. It is not unusual for a set of clubs and golf bag to exceed $10K, and the 500-plus custom golf fitting studios across the country are our playground.

The colorful world of Korean golf.

Searching for the latest and greatest

The equipment and fashion we use and wear here will probably make most golfers in the Western hemisphere question our masculinity. But as the saying goes, “When in Gangnam…”

Koreans have a word to describe this expensive affliction, called “Jang-bi-byung.: It translates into “equipment-itis.”

I’m sure that such an insatiable desire for the latest and greatest gear isn’t limited only to Koreans, but I’d wager it affects a lot more of us than in most golfing countries.

And our scope of search isn’t limited only to this side of the world either.

Ballistic Golf MB proto iron heads – bullets and ball not included.

Meet Ballistic Golf, a fledgling golf brand hailing out of Iowa. And if the initial reactions from my friends are any indication, it may well be the next “it” brand for many Korean golfers.

Love at first sight

Back in mid-December, I was scouring the internet, as usual, looking for that special something when I first came across the Ballistic Forged MB irons.

I was immediately won over by the universal language of the classic muscleback—the name and logo instantly resonated with me.

I’d like to say I did the due diligence and carefully weighed the pros and cons of owning these beauties. But the truth is, I didn’t.

Luckily, the price of the clubs was lower than initially expected, thanks to the DTC (direct-to-consumer) model, and I soon became a proud owner of a set of MB irons (5-PW) and two bad-ass looking Covert wedges (52, 56).

After arranging for the clubheads to be delivered to Korea, I reached out to chat with Kyle Carpenter, founder and CEO of Ballistic.

Here’s what he had to say about the brand

“Ballistic Golf launched in July 2019, but I’ve been focused on the idea of starting the company for quite a while. The name was chosen because one definition of ballistic is ‘of or relating to the science of the motion of projectiles in flight.’ And that fits golf so perfectly. My main goal was to design clubs that golfers could perform with, while also keeping a classic look and feel to them.

“Confidence is a major key to good play on the golf course. At Ballistic Golf, we feel that our clubs radiate that feeling right from when you open the package to when you take your first swings. Players irons require confidence and consistency to play well with them, and having irons with a sleek minimalist design and surprisingly good feel on slight mishits, gives you that confidence.

“Wage War on Par’ is our mantra. We really wanted people to have the feeling that they can go out and kick par’s ass. So we made a club that looks and feels great and build on the confidence it gives you to execute the shots you know in your mind that you can hit.”

The hard pelican case and the Ballistic Golf dog tag were a great touch!

A match made in fitting heaven

Long before they arrived, I was snooping around various fitting shops in anticipation, looking through the many options of shafts. My goal was to find shafts that would best suit my game, while at the same time, elicit oohs and aahs from those who have yet to discover the brand.

After an in-depth fitting session with Jay Chung, a master club fitter with over 20 years’ experience, I had decided on Fujikura MCI graphite shafts. I was looking to try something lighter than my usual True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts, as I have struggled with elbow pain over the summer.

Jay Chung, master fitter at Fujikura center in Gangnam, Seoul.

During the club-making process, the first thing I noticed was how meticulous he was in preparation. After measuring every component from clubhead, to shaft, and grip, he proceeded to walk me through various factors and that can affect a club from performing at its optimum. He left nothing to chance and wrote everything down on a spec sheet that would be saved on file for my future fittings.

In the end, I was holding one of the finest-looking set of clubs I have ever owned.

The first Ballistic Golf irons in Korea—mission accomplished!

Ballistic performance

My efforts were rewarded with the appropriate amount of praise from friends and begrudging envy from the Joneses. But now it was time to put these beauties to the test.

The clean club head looks great at address, checking all the requisite boxes for a traditional muscle-back blade. Made from forged 1020 carbon steel, the heads are compact with a thin top line and sole. The progressive blade length is optimized throughout the set, and the reduced offset and classic loft make these clubs a true player’s iron.

I am by no means a superb ballstriker, but it wasn’t difficult to find the sweet spot with the new irons. Even for off-center strikes, the ball traveled farther than expected with immediate feedback. The MCI 80 stiff graphite shaft complimented the head and helped to absorb the vibrations from off-center hits.

7-irons comparison on indoor screen golf simulator

The numbers from the first simulator trials were quite comparable to my current gamer (Yonex N1MB with Matrix Ozik 70R graphite shaft), which is fitted with regular flex shafts a 1/2 inch longer.

The look and feel of any club are subjective, but the Ballistic irons felt great in my hands. At impact, it felt as if the ball stayed a fraction longer on the face, then rocket off with a soft yet firm feel and a pleasing sound.

I later compared both clubs on a TrackMan, and although I don’t have the pictures, the launch numbers and overall distance were much closer to my gamer. I attributed the improved performance to becoming more familiar with the new irons and shafts.

The Covert wedges performed as well as they looked. The cast head is made from 8620 carbon steel and framed the ball squarely at address. The sole design is designed for a variety of shot-making options around the green, and the laser-etched micro-grooves reminded me of Cleveland’s RTX-4 wedge.

The Patriot wedge has the same specs as the black Covert wedge and features a satin finish with an American flag etched on the back of the head.

Specs and price

So far, the design and presentation of the clubs were more than enough to draw the attention of everyone who saw them. The pairing of the club heads with the graphite MCI shafts continue to produce good numbers, and I can see them being in my bag for the start of the season.

The best feature aside from the eye-catching design was the price. A set of MB proto irons (4-PW) with KBS Tour steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips is priced at $749, and each wedge is available at $109.

When I inquired about his plans to add new club models, Kyle said he will focus only on the MB irons and the two types of wedges (RH only) for the time being; to keep things simple and traditional.

For more information, visit Ballistic.golf

Your Reaction?
  • 184
  • LEGIT14
  • WOW15
  • LOL9
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP7
  • OB6
  • SHANK17

James is a golf gear-nut living and writing about all things golf in Korea. A fan of Tiger, Fred, and Seve, he is forever seeking the holy grail of golf clubs that will lower his score. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada and has been in Korea to witness the explosive growth of golf since 1996. Despite playing golf for over 30 years and being a perpetual 10-handicapper, James steadfastly claims to be the embodiment of the Average Joe Korean golfer. He can be reached at jimmyinseoul@gmail.com, and often introduces cool new Asia-based golf gear on YouTube and Instagram.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Mike Honcho

    Feb 19, 2020 at 5:49 am

    Beautiful irons and price point. Is the Ballistic almost 9 yards shorter than your Yonex or am I reading this all wrong? With graphite iron shafts I’ve noticed that R flex feels stiffer to me than a typical R flex in steel regardless of manufacturer. Did you notice any difference going from an R flex to S flex?

    • James

      Feb 19, 2020 at 6:38 am

      My gamer was indeed 9 yards longer in the picture. It is one degree stronger, and 1/2 inch longer shafts. But as I got used to the Ballistics and the new MCI 80s shafts, it was almost the same. The S graphite shaft is definitely stiffer than R graphite, and about as strong as S300 but feels so much softer. That’s their advantage. Stiff for straight shots, but feels softer to go easy on the elbows. And the lighter weight helps to maintain my swing speed throughout the whole round and get tired less.

  2. Dennis

    Feb 17, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Nice read!

  3. Nikegolf_mania

    Feb 17, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Great post~~~

    Ballistic…definatley on the top list to replacing my Nike vr2pro blades~~~

  4. TacklingDummy

    Feb 17, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    The clubs look really nice and the price is so reasonable.

  5. Al

    Feb 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Sweet sticks man

  6. 2puttom

    Feb 17, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Great read, did the heads go back to their country of origin ?

    • 3 Putz

      Feb 19, 2020 at 6:05 am

      If not than somewhere over there. The office is all thats in Iowa, lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

Bettinardi signs LPGA duo Muni He and Albane Valenzuela

Published

on

Bettinardi Golf has announced its partnership with LPGA rising stars Muni He and Albane Valenzuela.

Muni He, who qualified for the LPGA Tour in 2019 and is well-known for her large platform and fashion influence on social media, will use Bettinardi’s DASS QB8 Mid-Slant Tour Dept. putter.

He’s DASS QB8 Mid-Slant Tour Dept. putter is milled to 360 grams and features an oil rubbed bronze PVD finish. The flat-stick is constructed of double aged stainless steel and contains the brand’s F.I.T face milling.

The 21-year-old returned to action last week at the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic and will tee it up once again with the Bettinardi putter in her bag at this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Speaking on joining Team Bettinardi, He stated

“I’m very excited to join the Bettinardi family. The putter gives me great confidence on the greens and hoping that I could bring out my best game for the rest of the season with the support of the Bettinardi team.”

The company have also signed the Chilean Albane Valenzuela to its tour staff, who will tee it up this week using Bettinardi’s INOVAI 6.0 Tour Dept. putter.

The 22-year-old joined the LPGA Tour after being awarded the Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year while at Stanford University. Other accolades include representing Switzerland at the 2016 Olympics, twice finishing runner up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur as well as being an ANNIKA Award finalist.

Speaking after joining Bettinardi, Valenzuela said

”I am thrilled to partner with Bettinardi Golf as I begin my professional career. The company’s technology, craftsmanship and attention to detail give me the confidence that I will be competing with the best putters in my bag. The ability to work with Bettinardi’s designers to customize a putter that optimizes my stroke will be a huge asset for me.”

He and Valenzuela are the latest LPGA players to join Team Bettinardi which features the likes of Annie Park and China’s No. 2 player, Yu Liu.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

From the GolfWRX Forums: Ping putters at the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open

Published

on

This week on the Korn Ferry Tour it’s the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open, and in our forums, we have a jam-packed thread showcasing the array of Ping putters present at the event. Check out the new Ping flat-sticks below and let us know what you think.

For more photos, check out the full forum thread here.

Entire Thread: “Ping putters at the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open”

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Pgarob

Published

on

Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of WRX member: ‘Pgarob’

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Pgarob

Pgarob WITB

Driver: Titleist TS4 (10.5-degrees, A-1 Setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70 X

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5-degrees, A-1 Setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95 X

Irons: Titleist 716 TMB (3), Titleist 680 (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130X

Wedges: Vokey Raw SM8 (48, 52, 56, 60.06K)
Shafts: AMT Tour White X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Big Sur S. 47.5″

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Midsize

Ball: 2015 Titleist Pro V1

Glove: Footjoy StaSof

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

Your Reaction?
  • 15
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending