Pros: Fourteen wedges have a classic, clean shape, and come in some of the prettiest finishes we’ve seen. They have a super soft forged feel and create lots of check on short shots.
Cons: They’re pricey (about $185 each) and not easy to demo. There are more grinds in the works, but right now sole options are limited.
Overall: World-class workmanship and quality. If you’re shopping for a premium forged wedge, these should be at the top of your list to try.
Fourteen Golf is a Japanese golf equipment company that makes a full line of high-end clubs. While Fourteen sells drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, it’s the company’s driving irons, irons and wedges that have caught on with PGA Tour players (click here top read our Q&A with Fourteen’s Director of Tour Operations, Rusty Estes, for more).
One of the company’s most popular products on tour, the RM-12 wedges, are its latest models for 2013. The RM-12 wedges look similar to their predecessors, the RM-11 wedges, but they have a more rounded toe and a more agressive heel grind that adds versatility on open-face shots. They also have the same carefully milled trapezoidal grooves, which add 15 percent more spin than Fourteen’s popular M-28 J.spec-IV wedges.
According to Fourteen’s website, its “mirror face milling process” takes twice as long as traditional milling procedures, but adds consistency in both wet and dry conditions, as well as extra zip from the rough and on partial shots.
The RM-12 wedges are available from select retailers and custom fitters for around $185 (to find a Fourteen Golf retailer near you, click here). They come in two different finishes — satin and “half matte” black — in even lofts from 48 to 60 degrees. They come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Wedge shaft or Nippon’s N.S. Pro 950 GH HT shafts with swing weights between D0 and D3.
The sole design of the RM-12 wedges differ substantially from the RM-11 wedges — a change that was implemented because of feedback from tour players. Many wanted a wedge that they could use on a variety of shots, so engineers rounded the toe and heel area. They also removed a back portion of the sole, creating Fourteen’s “H-Sole,” which is available on 48-degree to 58-degree models. These modifications allow golfers to open and close the face, which allows skilled golfers to hit a variety of shots.
For the 60-degree model, the design team implemented a “T-Sole,” or Twin Sole. It has a distinct ridge in the middle portion of the sole that allows the club to get through the turf easier, as the leading edge is better able to slide better under the ball. Additionally, when the club face is open, the company says the back portion of the sole encourages the ball to pop up with a good amount of spin.
Touring professionals appreciated the company’s original “reverse taper design” in its older wedges wedges, so engineers used it as a platform for the RM-12. But they increased the weight distribution on the upper blade to create a “reverse muscle design.” In effect, the weight is more evenly proportioned throughout the club head, which creates more consistent balls speeds and stability at impact on all shots.
Looks an Feel
The RM-12’s satin finish is stunning. It’s not too light or dark, and is consistent and durable thanks to Fourteen’s “forged nickel chrome molybdenum bronze” finish, which the company chose for its strength.
“It will be in the best shape for a long time without too much wear and of course promise solid spin performance,” Fourteen says on its website.
As far as feel goes, these wedges are some of the best. That’s thanks to the quality control that’s a staple of Fourteen’s forging process, which give the clubs extremely tight tolerances and a buttery soft feel. This provides golfers with the feedback they need to learn how to play the most precise wedge shots.
It’s the unusual grind on the back of the wedge near the toe area that sets theses wedges apart, however. Not only does the “reverse muscleback design” look cool, it creates a more solid feel and increased performance that makes it easier to justify the high price tag of these wedges.
Check out our images below of Fourteen’s RM-11 and RM-12 wedges in different finishes, as well as some wedges with custom stampings done by Fourteen’s Rusty Estes.
WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter
Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?
But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.
The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.
Don’t think it’s just for putting though.
Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…
No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.
For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.
WRX Spotlight: Linksoul golf apparel
Product: Linksoul golf apparel
Pitch: From Linksoul “Linksoul is more a philosophy than a brand. More of an experience than a clothing company. Linksoul is the collective life’s work of people who care about each other and enjoy collaborating. We believe in creating products we value, with the people we love, for the good of our families and our community. Our roots are in golf. We descend from a long line of golfers, craftsmen and artists. But now we fill our time with many interests, including surfing, skiing, hiking, yoga, travel, cooking, parenting, dog walking…We believe that these everyday practices teach us the most about ourselves.”
Our Take on Linksoul’s golf apparel
Linksoul, whose mantra is “Tempus Fugit” (Time Flies), primarily provides golf clothing made to be just as appropriate and comfortable to wear on the course as off of it. The company has a range of different types of polos, tee-shirts, shorts, and pants available, but it was a button-down shirt from the company which I was most intrigued to check out.
Right off the bat, the brand’s Anza Heathered Button-Down shirt impressed with its ultra-soft fabric. To complement that softness, the shirt is wonderfully light and boasts an excellent fit. The length of the shirt sleeves is ideal, so you won’t need to keep fidgeting before and after each shot, and the comfort and fit combined gives you that added flexibility in your swing. The collar fits naturally the moment you put the shirt on and marks the clear quality that went into its creation.
It seems many are on the fence about whether button-down shirts on the course are for them (I was one of those!), but my take now is that they are the ideal summer shirt on the course. In the heat, comfort has to be the number one priority, and the button-down structure gives you so much more air. With Linksoul’s Anza button-down you’ll experience maximum breathability.
Linksoul offers the shirt in six color codes (White, Black Heather, Tidepool Heather, Ink Heather, Dark Gray Heather, and Dawn Heather). For $80, considering the caliber of the shirt, the only gripe I could make is that there aren’t more exotic colors available!
The brand’s Boardwalker Shorts are another piece of apparel that I found to contain the perfect blend of comfort and quality, as well as looking great. The shorts contain a four-way stretch fabric which gives you a plethora of flexibility during your swing, while the weight of the shorts I also found to be on point. The shorts are lightweight but not so much as to take away from the durability and quality of the shorts.
There is plenty of mobility on offer with the Boardwalker Shorts, while I also enjoyed that the shorts are a classic style length and sit right at the knee.
You can choose from eight different color codes (Black, Chalk, Khaki, Dark Gray, True Black, Bronze, Navy, Army, and River), and the shorts retail at $76. With their no-fuss look, high quality, and a clear focus on comfort, Linksoul’s Boardwalker shorts offer everything you’d want in a pair of golf shorts.
For those that prefer to play solely in trousers, you’ll be glad to hear that the company provide the same product in a pant style—the BoardWalker Pant.
There’s a huge amount to like about the apparel Linksoul is offering up, and at prices which are extremely reasonable considering the quality provided. Their site Linksoul.com offers a multitude of polos, button-downs (in both short and long sleeve), shorts, pants, and tee-shirts. If high-quality adaptable golf apparel is your thing, then it’s a company well worth checking out.
WRX Spotlight Review: Eminent Golf’s Conic putting trainer
The golf world is full of training aids. From the simple to the silly, there are no shortage of tools and machines being thought up to (hopefully) help golfers improve their games. It’s not very often you come across something that really has the potential to help improve consistency and “ingrain” a feeling (or “feels” as the pros say) into a part of the game that so many struggle with.
This is the Conic putting aid.
Before we go any further, let me be very up front: this is NOT a training aid intended or designed to be an impulse purchase during early morning reruns on Golf Channel. The Conic costs $1,350.00…but for good reason. It’s designed, manufactured, and built right here in the USA, milled from solid pieces of steel and aluminum. The entire system is built to last and to be a true lifelong training tool. The likelihood of this thing ending up the in a dusty corner of your garage is slim to none. Even the carrying case is something to behold.
On my first try, it took about 5-7 minutes to set up (I went full “dad-building-Ikea-furniture mode” and initially ignored the entire instruction manual. That’s on me), but after the first setup, getting this thing from the case to on the green took just a few minutes after that. It’s 100 percent NOT a “warm up before my tee-time, and throw it in my golf bag” style of training aid because of its size, but if you are headed to the green for a real “session” this is an indispensable tool.
So what does it actually do?
The Conic is designed to get you into the perfect putting setup and help you learn to make a repeatable motion built for your stroke and body type. This is not a one-size-fits-all training aid. It also works for both right and left0handed golfers.
So how does it do all of this:
- The Conic has five adjustable plane angles for different size arcs: 85,80,75,70,65. This makes sure you get set up based on putter type and your optimal stance. The goal is to have you get more consistent with your stroke not some arbitrary “ideal stroke model”
- The trainer controls the X, Y, Z axis of the putter head: Lie, Loft & Face Angle. Each one of these variables can make or break a putt (first putting pun in the bag), and so by being able to control those helps improve repeatability when on the course
- It puts you into the same position time after time to help develop the feeling of a correctly made putting stroke. As much as people might say it, muscles DO NOT have memory — your brain does. The Conic helps develop motion patterns which again lead to helping you be more consistent on the greens
- There is a built-in detachable arm that helps the golfer visualize both the target line and line the putter head up perpendicular to the target — a great tool for those that struggle with direction.
- The putter arm can also be controlled to help maintain a specific stroke length — little stops get inserted into the slide and create instant feedback when you take the putter back too far.
So does it work?
Heck yeah it does! Although not meant for extremely long putts, you can use the Conic 1.0 easily on anything inside 20 feet, and it really helps with the 6-10 footers. With all of the adjustability, it’s also easy to switch between putter models that you might have.
My personal theory with putting and alignment is quite simple: “Every putt is a straight putt. Just get it rolling and let gravity and speed take care of the rest.” The moment the ball leaves your putter face, your job is now over, and what the Conic does is allow you to work on, in a very structured way, hitting putts on line. My favorite use for the Conic was on roughly 7-9″ putts where you just set up, make the right stroke for speed, and watch the ball work its way into the cup.
This is an expensive tool — even PGA Tour pros that are using them paid in full. But like I said before, you get what you pay for with the Conic. Another feature is it can be used inside and out as long as you have a “green” or a nice piece of carpet to roll some putts. Beyond the players who spare no expense on clubs and fittings this seems like a bit of a no brainer – roughly the cost of three nice putters gets you something that will work for you, as long as you want to work with it.
I believe that one of the biggest markets for the Conic currently is for teachers to help students ingrain the feeling of making a solid stroke and increase consistency at setup. The cost is still the biggest factor that will detract people from purchasing this, but for the golfers looking for the ultimate putting aid, the Conic trainer could be your answer to those missed three-footers.
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