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Hopkins Golf adds distance balls to its lineup

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Hopkins Golf announced the addition of VL Speed golf balls to its lineup.  Known primarily for its direct to consumer custom wedges, Hopkins now has two lines of balls to offer.  The VL Pro are Surlyn covered three-piece balls are designed to be “long off the tee and medium-soft around the greens.”  They retail for $19 a dozen, but can be bought at further discount in 4, 8 or 12 dozen packs.

The new VL Speed is a two-piece ball designed to appeal to the distance market.  They have a resilient core and a ionomer-blend cover for a reported softer feel than many distance balls. At $19 for two dozen (with free shipping), it’s hard to find a lesser priced value ball.  Like the VL Pro, they are also available with a substantial volume discount.

Hopkins has also launched its “We’ve Got Balls” email, print and TV ads in support of their entry into the golf ball market.  A TV ad is below.

For more information, visit HopkinsGolf.com.

[youtube id=”2kyWe0XwToc” width=”620″ height=”360″]

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David

    May 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Clubupgolf.com has a full course review of them. They look alright.

  2. ClubUpGolf

    May 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I did a full review of them at clubupgolf, and comparing them to the Hex Chrome is inaccurate. They’re quite a bit firmer and they’re louder off the clubface. Distance-wise they’re very good, but we wanted to see more spin around the green. They just didn’t check enough. There’s a full review on our site.

  3. L

    Apr 5, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Never heard of hopkins before. Pretty cheap though, might give them a shot!

  4. Iain Clarke

    Apr 3, 2014 at 3:32 am

    I seriously doubt if he will associate with srixon ever again.

    GO GREG……, STICK IT TO ‘ EM.

  5. Jason

    Apr 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Sounds like a good deal. Will be trying them out, a hack golfer like me is always looking for a quality ball that won’t break the bank.

  6. O

    Mar 31, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Made by Bridgestone or Srixon?

  7. J

    Mar 31, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    What can BROWN… Err…. Hopkins do for you?’

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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2024: Top overall performers

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In our effort to assemble the 2024 best irons, we have again compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of the 2024 irons is best for your game.

Ultimately the best way to find your personal best iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders — so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player — this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. And of course, proper set makeup and gapping is essential. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2024: The process

The best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you determine which category is most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2024: The categories

2024 Best irons: Top overall performers

This category is the perfect place to start if you’re not quite sure what you are looking for. Distance? Check. Forgiveness? Check. Sleek looks? Check. The top five in the “best irons overall” category are perfect for those golfers who appreciate technology and want something that is going to give them shot options.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

Their story: MainFrame v2 was developed with an Automated Intelligence process, flex-maximizing variable thickness pattern of grooves, channels, and cavities carefully milled into the backside of Z ZX5 iron faces for high ball speeds. Not only does MainFrame boost COR, but it also repositions mass away from the face and into the toe and sole for a lower CG for easier launch, more consistency, and forgiveness.

Fitter comments: 

  • “I’m a big believer in the V-Sole. For high-speed guys who want a little forgiveness and are steep, it just doesn’t stick in the ground. Super soft and high launching. Not a ton of offset. It’s also been a good fit for moderate-to-high handicappers.”
  • “So I would say it, it kind of stands out in its category because it does launch higher than its competitors. It also sits in between some of the models, like, it doesn’t directly compete with a hollow cavity and it doesn’t compete with, like the Cobra King Tour. Like, it’s a degree stronger. For a forged iron, it performs great for us. The only problem is that it is a little bit light in a swing weight, so we have to be careful of who we fit.”
  • “It’s definitely one of our more popular irons for sure. You know, you get a guy who wants to play something small but still wants something more forgiving, and they don’t want kind of that full hollow body iron. I mean, that’s definitely one of our best sellers for sure. We’re seeing that a lot of combos — that’s a one iron that you can definitely combo with the ZX7 for sure.”
  • “I think a lot of guys like the concept of the V-Sole with them…If you’re talking an overall package, you know, for the guy that is looking for something clean. That’s a spectacular golf club. Good looks and good feel and great, you know, great performance, and it fits a lot of categories.”
  • “I think the one struggle a lot of companies have with that category is getting something to spin, so to try and give like guys so they don’t get those knuckleball shots or that fly out of the rough that goes 20 yards longer. I kind of think that that’s what I think makes that item so good is you get some spin on it, and I think it, it looks and feels good enough that like it, a guy that’s a mid-single digit can play it and be like, yeah, that’s good enough for me. But it’s also forgiving enough that a guy that’s in that kind of 12-to-15 kind of category if he wants to reach a little bit and play something that might look a little bit better. It just fits such a huge, huge range of players. I think it’s just awesome.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

Their story: Engineers utilized the variables of tungsten weighting, SpeedFoam Air, and internal mass — with an assist from AI — to precisely give golfers what they need in each iron. For example, launch and forgiveness in the long irons. More specifically, TaylorMade is using what the company calls FLTD CG (flighted CG) to strategically position CG throughout the set (lower in the long irons, higher in the short irons). CG is positioned almost a millimeter lower in the long irons compared to previous generations. In the shorter irons, the higher CG positions allowed engineers to dial in spin and promote accuracy.

Fitter comments:

  • “Best combination of everything. The amalgamation of all irons on the market blended into one mathematically perfect design.”
  • “I think people recognize the name. It’s a very popular club. It stands up to every model in a category.”
  • “That’s the staple in the players distance category. It’s year-in, year-out. It’s tough to beat TaylorMade — they don’t go wrong with that iron, for sure. They make little refinements, but it’s almost like, yeah, just keep making little refinements. Don’t kind of mess that up just because the, I mean, it, it fits such a wide range of players and it’s just such a good iron that fits a wide, wide range of handicaps.”
  • “I think where TaylorMade kind of struggled over the past is getting that spin on the golf club, and I think each generation it just keeps getting better. I think they did an awesome job.”
  • “If it’s not our best-selling iron in the fitting center, it’s always like number two. It’s such a great, great performer across the board. And yeah, it just keeps getting better every year. It’s really awesome; crazy distance on that thing too.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T150

Their story:  The T150 is slightly larger than the T100, with a thicker topline to help increase distance and forgiveness. Like the T100S irons that came before them, the T150 irons are built 2 degrees stronger than the T100 irons, as well. To improve feel at impact, the T150 has a muscle channel in the back cavity behind the face for a more solid feel at impact. Like the 2023 T100, the T150 also has D18 Tungsten weights in the back cavity, and a refined sole for improved turf interaction.

Fitter comments:

  • “All around great iron and fits a wide range of players.”
  • “A perfect club for those single digit handicaps that still want that extra line of defense when it comes to making the jump to a player iron. Hardly noticeable but that added size and offset compared to the T100 makes it much more comfortable to the golfer and fitter.”
  • “Best combination of forgiveness, feel, workability, and distance.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX7 Mk II

Their story: The players iron ZX7 Mk II features PureFrame: an 80-percent thicker portion of 1020 carbon steel forged behind the sweet spot in the body of the iron for soft-yet-solid-feeling impact. Also significant to the design: A refined Tour V.T. Sole Proprietary sole widths, bounce angles, and notches in the heel and toe of the club aid clean contact from a variety of lies.

Fitter comments:

  • “What I love about that is for that guy that hits it, like square on the face of the golf club. It’s, this is the way I kind of explain to customers and they hit it like, it’s not gonna be the longest. It’s probably not gonna be the straightest, but you will hit seven iron in the exact same distance every time you hit it. And, and I think that’s the appeals to that better player because like very rarely do.”
  • “I’m a personal fan of it. No hot face. No jumpers, does a great job of controlling the spec which we like a lot…quite forgiving. That’s a, that’s a, that’s a major player in that category.”
  • “I mean, two of the five fitters out here play them. I mean, they’re awesome, like they’re still, you know, a small compact players iron, but you still get a lot of help and forgiveness out of them, which I like. You see a lot of these on tour that are non, you know, non-contract guys playing them.”
  • “They did a really good job of not screwing up a good thing. ZX7 was fantastic. It seemed like 50 percent of the non-contract guys in pro golf played that iron. It continues to give very consistent numbers. The better player wants a consistent number. They need to know it’s going to go that distance. This club does that very well.”
  • “Srixon has been the “sleeper” iron company for a number of years now, but I think the secret is out. The ZX7 Mk II fit many different player types, from tour pro to mid-handicapper. The forging is very soft and forgiving, and the iron is very workable for the player with more ability. They didn’t change the shape from ZX7 to Mk II, and I think that’s a great thing.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Mizuno Pro 245

Their story: Pro 245 2- through 8-irons — which are crafted from Gain Flow Forged 4135 Chromoly — feature Hollow Body COR construction for higher COR, higher MOI, and solid feel. Mizuno is also keen to highlight the soft muscle-back feel produced by its Harmonic Impact Technology and the substantial amount of tungsten (47 grams) in the long and mid-irons for ease of launch. Engineers achieved lowest possible placement without contacting the sole for lower and deeper CG via Suspended Tungsten placement.

Fitter comments:

  • “Great combination of ballspeed with a streamlined look.”
  • “It fits a lot of guys that are blade players but with more distance.”
  • “Good looking, forgiving, great feeling players distance iron with very good consistent distance control.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Best irons of 2024: Meet the fitters

RELATED: Best driver 2024

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Scottie Scheffler’s winning WITB, 2022 Masters

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At the 2022 Masters, Scottie Scheffler delivered a steely Sunday performance to capture the green jacket in the 86th contesting of the tournament. Beginning the final round with a three-stroke lead, Scheffler was steady all day, tallying a final-round 1-under 71 to finish three strokes ahead of Rory McIlroy.

Here’s a look at what Scheffler had in the bag two years ago.

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (8 degrees @7.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (16.5 degrees @15)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Utility: Srixon Z U85 (3)
Shaft: Nippon Pro Modus3 Hybrid Tour X

Irons: Srixon ZU85 (4), TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 56-14F, 60-06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

More photos of Scottie Scheffler’s WITB in the forums.

 

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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2024: Most technology packed

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In our effort to assemble the 2024 best irons, we have again compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of the 2024 irons is best for your game.

Ultimately the best way to find your personal best iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders — so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player — this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. And of course, proper set makeup and gapping is essential. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2024: The process

The best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you determine which category is most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2024: The categories

2024 Best irons: Most technology packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers — it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke

Their story: At the core of Callaway’s new Ai Paradym Smoke irons is the Ai Smart Face. With the Ai Smart Face, these irons are designed to promote exceptional distance, tight dispersion into the green, and optimal launch in a modern construction. The new shape consists of longer blade lengths, thinner toplines, and optimized sole widths in a bid to create a forgiving, yet streamlined look at address. In addition, an all-new Dynamic Sole Design features a pre-worn leading edge with variable bounce that cuts through the turf with efficiency.

Fitter comments:

  • “That thing is an absolute rocket launcher. For the guy who flips at it, it’s perfect. It definitely launches lower spins less. it just goes forever compared to, you know, compared to a lot of them that we, that we tested.”
  • “I mean, it’s actually probably one of the cleaner-looking kind of game improvement irons. You know, some of them, they can get kind of beefy, but the look of that one that’s very appealing to the eye. The AI technology that Callaway has been using for a couple of years now, it’s generating a ton of ball speed for guys, but also at a point where they’re still getting a lot of peak heights on it. So it’s not like you feel like you’re just hitting bullets out there.”
  • “If a guy is looking to just hit it far, that’s probably the best thing out there. Callaway’s always had like crazy hot iron faces in that mid-size game improvement-type club. And this is just the next version of it. This thing is crazy fast. Shockingly, for how strong the lofts are, the ball still gets up in the air pretty good.”
  • “When it comes to pure technology the Paradym Ai Smoke iron has it all. Super computers helping engineers design the back of the face based on over 250,000 shots make it an amazing tech iron alone.”
  • “Classic Callaway story with face variability that is AI-driven along with material and design. Tons of tech. With Ai Smart Face and a hollow body design, they make it to the top as far as technology goes.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

Their story: Engineers utilized the variables of tungsten weighting, SpeedFoam Air, and internal mass — with an assist from AI — to precisely give golfers what they need in each iron. For example, launch and forgiveness in the long irons. More specifically, TaylorMade is using what the company calls FLTD CG (flighted CG) to strategically position CG throughout the set (lower in the long irons, higher in the short irons). CG is positioned almost a millimeter lower in the long irons compared to previous generations. In the shorter irons, the higher CG positions allowed engineers to dial in spin and promote accuracy.

Fitter comments:

  • “Best combination of everything. The amalgamation of all irons on the market blended into one mathematically perfect design.”
  • “I think people recognize the name. It’s a very popular club. It stands up to every model in a category.”
  • “That’s the staple in the players distance category. It’s year-in, year-out. It’s tough to beat TaylorMade — they don’t go wrong with that iron, for sure. They make little refinements, but it’s almost like, yeah, just keep making little refinements. Don’t kind of mess that up just because the, I mean, it, it fits such a wide range of players and it’s just such a good iron that fits a wide, wide range of handicaps.”
  • “I think where TaylorMade kind of struggled over the past is getting that spin on the golf club, and I think each generation it just keeps getting better. I think they did an awesome job.”
  • “If it’s not our best-selling iron in the fitting center, it’s always like number two. It’s such a great, great performer across the board. And yeah, it just keeps getting better every year. It’s really awesome; crazy distance on that thing too.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T350

Their story: The new T350 irons are still built for maximum distance and forgiveness, but they were redesigned with a hollow-body construction that’s inspired by the T200. Like the T200, the T350 also uses Max Impact Technology behind the face to maximize speed and forgiveness, and dual-tungsten weights in the back cavity. The T350 irons are noticeably larger, and with thicker toplines, than the T200 irons for golfers who need the additional surface area and stability.

Fitter comments: 

  • “The T350 is super good. They definitely cleaned it up, cleaned up that topline a little bit and made it…a little bit more compact, a little bit smaller for sure.”
  • “You know, I think is one of those irons that maybe sometimes can get overlooked. I don’t know…some guys, they think ‘Titleist,’ they can’t hit it. If someone’s in this category, it’s always a club you’re gonna have.”
  • “So like this is the first one in that model that’s had like a forged face and, and, and, and I think that just improved the feel of it. Topline to me looks a little bit cleaner and, they do a nice job of hiding the offset doesn’t look quite obnoxious when you look down at it. I don’t know if it’s like the chrome that they put or whatever, but it looks a lot cleaner at address. The iron’s always been super easy to get up in here.”
  • “That type of customer, I know they all want to do is just hit it nice and far. But we’re seeing so many guys come in that just need help getting it airborne in that moderate kind of clubhead speed category. And this thing is probably, if not the easiest, one of the easiest irons in this category to launch. And I think that’s what makes it so great.”
  • “High launch is a key component to this iron. Clean look, with reduced offset and a better look for a players game improvement iron. Players are surprised that this is a game improvement iron based on the looks and package size.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

Their story: MainFrame v2 was developed with an Automated Intelligence process, flex-maximizing variable thickness pattern of grooves, channels, and cavities carefully milled into the backside of ZX5 iron faces for high ball speeds. Not only does MainFrame boost COR, but it also repositions mass away from the face and into the toe and sole for a lower CG for easier launch, more consistency, and forgiveness.

Fitter comments: 

  • “I’m a big believer in the V-Sole. For high-speed guys who want a little forgiveness and are steep, it just doesn’t stick in the ground. Super soft and high launching. Not a ton of offset. It’s also been a good fit for moderate-to-high handicappers.”
  • “So I would say it, it kind of stands out in its category because it does launch higher than its competitors. It also sits in between some of the models, like, it doesn’t directly compete with a hollow cavity and it doesn’t compete with, like the Cobra King Tour. Like, it’s a degree stronger. For a forged iron, it performs great for us. The only problem is that it is a little bit light in a swing weight, so we have to be careful of who we fit.”
  • “It’s definitely one of our more popular irons for sure. You know, you get a guy who wants to play something small but still wants something more forgiving, and they don’t want kind of that full hollow body iron. I mean, that’s definitely one of our best sellers for sure. We’re seeing that a lot of combos — that’s a one iron that you can definitely combo with the ZX7 for sure.”
  • “I think a lot of guys like the concept of the V-Sole with them…If you’re talking an overall package, you know, for the guy that is looking for something clean. That’s a spectacular golf club. Good looks and good feel and great, you know, great performance, and it fits a lot of categories.”
  • “I think the one struggle a lot of companies have with that category is getting something to spin, so to try and give like guys so they don’t get those knuckleball shots or that fly out of the rough that goes 20 yards longer. I kind of think that that’s what I think makes that item so good is you get some spin on it, and I think it, it looks and feels good enough that like it, a guy that’s a mid-single digit can play it and be like, yeah, that’s good enough for me. But it’s also forgiving enough that a guy that’s in that kind of 12-to-15 kind of category if he wants to reach a little bit and play something that might look a little bit better. It just fits such a huge, huge range of players. I think it’s just awesome.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Ping G430

Their story: Billed as Ping’s “longest iron ever,” the G430 irons combine a lower CG with stronger, custom- engineered lofts and a thinner face that delivers up to two more mph of ball speed, per the company. At the heart of the new addition is the PurFlex cavity badge, an innovation that features seven flex zones that allow more free bending in design to increase ball speed across the face. In combination with a lower CG, the badge aims to contribute to a solid feel and pleasing impact sound.

Fitter comments:

  • “The best G.I. iron on the market. Easy to hit and launch while making great ball speed for distance.”
  • “The best iron in the game improvement category. High launch and packed with forgiveness on those off-center hits. It’s one of the easiest irons to hit. So easy to hit and look at for the average golfer.”
  • “Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely a go-to and in the matrix for sure. I mean, it’s just super easy to hit, super forgiving. They don’t mess that iron up.”
  • “Ping does a great job of building golf clubs. Their design is fantastic and it’s not for everybody, you know, it’s not the lowest-spinning club…but it sure is one of the most forgiving golf clubs and most consistent golf clubs. Ping G430 in that category of club, you can have something that a good player who needs a little help maybe can use because it’s consistent across the face, and you can’t do that with some of the other clubs because they’re not as consistent across the face for the ball speeds. It is a monster for us.”
  • “The best iron in the game improvement category. It’s one of the easiest irons to hit.”

Best irons of 2024: Meet the fitters

RELATED: Best driver 2024

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