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Nike signs McIlroy to a multi-year deal

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Nike has signed Rory McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, to a multi-year contract to use the company’s golf equipment and wear its apparel, hat, glove, footwear and accessories.

The announcement cames from a Nike media event at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where McIlroy will make his tournament debut as a Nike athlete. Here is the equipment McIlroy will use the following equipment this week:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert Tour (10.5-degree, neutral setting) with Mitsubishi Diamana prototype 70X shaft
Fairway Woods: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15 and 19 degrees)
Long Irons: VR Pro II Blades (3 iron through PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (54 and 60 degrees)
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Putter: Nike Method 006 Prototype
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control

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

rory witb nike

Although the specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, a source close to negotiations for McIlroy said his multi-year contract is worth at least $20 to $25 million per year. Speculation has been rampant that McIlroy would join Nike following his joint announcement with Titleist that he and the company would part ways on Dec. 31, 2012. Additionally, the Jumeriah Hotel Group, whose logo was prominently featured on the North Irishman’s hat, announced that it ended its endorsement deal with McIlroy on Jan. 8.

McIlroy said he’s been practicing with his new Nike gear since before Christmas, and was “blown away” with the research and development that goes into Nike golf equipment. He said the new Nike Covert Tour driver is “awesome,” and that he’s picked up distance with the new driver, increasing his ball speed from the mid 170s to 180 mph.

As expected, McIlroy will change to a Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3 wood and 5 wood, Nike VR Pro irons and wedges. What was not expected was that McIlroy will use one of the company’s Method putters, a prototype 006 model.

“I was blown away by the groove technology,” McIlroy said. “I’m very happy with the new putter.”

McIlroy also said that he was impressed with the company’s 20XI X golf ball, which features a resin core that McIlroy said makes the ball extremely stable in the wind.

Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, who led the media event, said the signing of McIlroy is one of the most excited times at Nike since the company committed to the golf business with the signing of Tiger Woods.

“Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere,” Davis said. “He is the epitome of a Nike Athlete, and he is joining our team during the most exciting time in Nike Golf’s history. We are looking forward to partnering with him to take his remarkable career to the next level.”

At the event, McIlroy emerged from a light show that showed projections of himself and walked down a long runway to hug Davis. He stood by his golf bag in a Nike hat, golf shirt, pullover, shoes and a pair of blue jeans as photographer’s snapped photos. McIlroy then took questions from Davis, as well as from media members who were in attendance. Davis and McIlroy refused to comment on specifics of the deal, and McIlroy would not say if the deal mandated that he used one of the company’s putters.

During the Q&A session, Nike athletes Wayne Rooney (soccer — Manchester United), Roger Federer (tennis) and Tiger Woods welcomed McIlroy to the team with a video message. Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight also welcomed McIlroy to the team.

Below is the video as well as photos from the commercial, “No Cup is Safe,” which was previewed at the event.

[youtube id=”2NCDYjHtEcU” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Tiger and RoryNike golf commercial

McIlroy is biggest of Nike Golf’s five signings in 2013, which include Nick Watney, Kyle Stanley, Thorbjorn Olesen and Seung Yul Noh. Below is a breakdown of their age, countries and Official World Golf Ranking as of Jan. 13, 2013. All the golfers are currently ranked in the top-100 in the OWGR and have an average age below 25.

Rory McIlroy

  • Age: 23
  • Country: Northern Ireland
  • OWGR: 1

Nick Watney

  • Age: 31
  • Country: United States
  • OWGR: 21

Thorbjorn Olesen

  • Age: 23
  • Country: Denmark
  • OWGR: 51

Kyle Stanley

  • Age: 25
  • Country: United States
  • OWGR: 80

Seung Yul Noh

  • Age: 21
  • Country: South Korea
  • OWGR: 99

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Rich

    Jan 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Well guys, we all waited for the Rory and Tiger show…… I counted a handful of good shots between them and witnessed some of the poorest drives in tournament golf. A disappointing advert for Nike, although Olesen looks comfortable with his change.

  2. Phil

    Jan 17, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Titleist and oakley must be having a good laugh after the 1st round in Dubai.

  3. Lee

    Jan 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I agree the ball will be the biggest challenge but then again certain Companies are not adverse to blowing over the logo’s on the Pro V and putting their own branding in place. In fact it’s often done with irons/wedges as well.

  4. chad

    Jan 16, 2013 at 1:18 am

    This is ALL MARKETING people. He hasn’t hit a shot yet. McIlroy will have to make adjustments to the new equipment but he’s #1 in the world for a reason, so he’ll be fine. Anyone can adjust to a new driver. We all buy a new one every year or two. Blades are blades they’re all pretty similar. The challenge will be the ball. Most pro’s play Titleist ProV’s for a legit reason- they are the classic that they are all used to. That will be the challenge for Rory. But there is no one best equipment company. Golf is all about personal preference and what suits the eye/feel.

  5. ned

    Jan 16, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Blades are blades- Visually is the only real difference- I rotate 5 sets, with slightly different setups, loft lie, bounce, SW, length, and flex- all spined with different grips. 681’s, with TourX, Staff FG51 tour issue, Maxfli Aussie blk dot, Mp 29’s & 14s w 6.5 & XL100, 695mb Tx1s, and occasionally CG1’s XL100 pga pros.
    Also play 7.0 1025 VIP, and TP Rac Smoke 6.5s, and 680’s dg100-
    The 681 and Fg 51’s, have the best feel- and the Nike Tiger Limited editions are a close third- Rory can handle any blade they throw at him. The Sumo 2 Fw are excellent, almost as long as the r7 tp ts, with better accuracy! FWIW.

  6. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The big question now will be how Rory plays with Nike over 2013. It is a big gamble by Rory changing over from clubs he plays so well.

    It’s amazing to read he says he has already picked up more distance, that’s scary for the rest of world golf.

    There’s going to be a lot of spotlight on every shot he plays this year so I hope the adjustment goes smoothly. He’s such a level headed young man I’m sure the transaction will go fantastic.

    Can’t wait to see him play in 2013!

  7. Spencer

    Jan 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    new VR Pro II Blades??

  8. BizMark

    Jan 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Rory’s equipment change was bound to happen. Both Tiger and Sergio played Titleist clubs in the beginning of their professional careers. Eventually as they got big, Tiger switched to Nike’s and Sergio switched to Taylormade’s. I would argue that Rory’s the same case. The Mcilroy brand is largely expendable and needs to meet a company that matches. Nike is a giant in the marketing world and has the power to make him a not just a golf icon, but a “sports” icon.
    In my opinion, the other reason is actually the equipment. Nike has recently been putting out innovative and quality-made equipment, such as the VRS Covert woods and the Pro Combo irons. The driver/fairway wood’s cavity back design is very creative, and modifying the old combo set resulted in a very sleek successor (especially in the mid-long irons).
    With the company also acquiring Kyle Stanley, Seung Yul Noh, Nick Watney, and Thorbjorn Olesen, it’s apparent that they’ve been growing drastically as a serious competitor in the golfing market.

  9. harrold

    Jan 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    why does everyone hate on nike equipment, the vr pro blades are just the same as 712’s and are forged in the same factory as muzuno blades. The wedges are forged and are a quality wedge and their woods are now some of the best on the market. Why are golfers determined to hate any brand that isnt titleist, open your eyes to the market.

    • Chris Voshall

      Jan 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Harrold….They Nike’s are not forged in the same factory as the Mizunos! They are an exclusive Mizuno forging house! And before you ask how I know…it’s because I have been there!

      • Rory's the King

        Jan 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Chris… Even if you’ve been there don’t mean you know much. Don’t think you listened much in the factory if you did go there. Does Endo ring a bell? nike is an Endo Forged and you couldn’t even tell the difference. Enjoy the Tiger and Rory show.

  10. Tyler

    Jan 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    There is a difference between the clubs the pros play and the clubs us average joes play. The clubs available in the tour trucks are built to exact tolerances and most are custom fabricated. Not to mention they can use whichever shafts they choose, they aren’t stuck with a proprietary shaft. I think that’s why you see tour pros switching equipment companies every other week without much consequence. Switching to another brand may have been an issue 20 years ago, but these days the technology and manufacturing are mostly identical from one manufacturer to the next so that it really doesn’t bother the pros.

  11. Josh

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Ummmmm, I do there Nuke.

  12. Nuke LaLoosh

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’d play Nike for 20 million but I would not pay for it. Have you ever seen anyone beside the pros play Nike stuff?

    • Grim

      Jan 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      I play Nike stuff and I play it because it is the best equipment for my game.

      The VR LTD woods are long and easy to hit, plus look classic, and I play the VR Pro wedges because I like the set up, they are forged, and the ones I got will rust and look great with my MB2s.

      Half the people who hate on Nike have obviously never tried them or got fit properly.

      • Huge

        Jan 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        .NIKE is without doubt the most technologically advanced equipment out there ..get on it!

    • Blanco

      Jan 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Yes all the time. Several of the fairways esp. the Sumo 2 is EXTREMELY popular with guys playing for Titleist, PING, TMAG… Non staffers also playing the VR Forged wedges and Method putters.

      You know the media machine has you when you build a rock-solid opinion about something you’ve never tried and know nothing about.

      • Brandell

        Jan 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

        Totally agree… People make me laugh. What makes them believe that Nike is the crapy company out there?! I work on the inside of the biz and I’m more likely to think that TMAG is the biggest BS company in the industry! What loads of crap to make consumers think the will gain 17 + 10 With their nice white racing stripped clubs?! Wow! Wake up people, these guys are putting you asleep with their strong pitching wedges and extra inches in shaft lengths! Nike is a dominating Brand in all sports! Face it, realize it and enjoy the show that will unfold in a few days in Abu Dhabi with the two biggest stars of the game!

    • Brandell

      Jan 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Things will change my friend…. Just wait. You think people play that Ugly white thing for the right reasons. Just remember, Nike is very young in the golf Biz. They will own it before you know it. Just enjoy the show. Starts this weekend.

    • evan

      Mar 31, 2013 at 1:55 am

      nike makes the best clubs on the market….GET OVER IT

  13. Golfer123

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I like him better with titleist

    • Brandell

      Jan 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      What is their to like more about him with Titleist? A sweet Nascar Look and some Ugly shoes!? Camon man… The guy looks like the biggest star in the SWOOSH. love everything about it. Good for him. He will smoke it with the COVERT.

  14. Rufiolegacy

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

    This is going to be a big year for Nike, and the Covert. Can’t wait to get my hands on that thing!

  15. GolfDose

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Can’t believe he would change all 14 of his clubs. Who knows he might turn out to something as big as Dustin Johnson first win of 2013 and R1 Taylormade on Tour.

  16. Hula_Rock

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Interesting , A 10.5 degree COVERT ?????

    • GolfDose

      Jan 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

      10.5 neutral setting. Maybe he’s going to set it lower?

      • Ron

        Jan 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

        about 60% of tour pros use 10.5 drivers. its all about carry distance

    • Chris

      Jan 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Well, there’s no dancing around it. Nike made it’s move at the right time and with great excitement. This move should motivate other manufacturers to press the envelope in building a team that can be just as dynamic. All in all, I hope this turns out to be good for golf as a whole.

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pga tour

Ian Poulter WITB 2018

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

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange CK 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7HDe 7X

Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX85H TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shaft: Project X LZ 130 7.0

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shaft: Project X LZ 7.0 (52), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: EvnRoll Tour ER
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Putter: Rife Antigua Island Series
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related:

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

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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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