As it’s winter time, what else is there to do than try out new equipment.
While the Epic shaft from Grafalloy is not exactly brand new, it is still one of the newer shafts on the block. Bag Chatter got the opportunity to trial the standard Driver shaft, the Tour Driver shaft (available for Tour Concept dealers) and the Fairway wood shaft.
Grafalloy are one of the best known and most respected shaft manufacturers with a healthy representation on Tour, mostly with their Prolite, Blue and Prolaunch shafts. The Epic, released to the public in a blaze of publicity in March 2007, is their latest shaft aimed at the higher end of the market. An area that may be more commonly associated with products from the likes of Diamana and Ozik. The Epic shaft got a fair bit of notice when pictures of Tiger Woods trialling it made their way onto the web and when he used it for a driver swing lesson in a major magazine (GolfWRX partner Golf Digest).
The Epic then quickly picked up 2 wins on the Senior Tour, the Regions Charity Classic and the Senior US Open, quickly followed by a victory on the European PGA at the Alfred Dunhill Classic. This was part of Grafalloy’s impressive 2007 resume of 5 wins on the US PGA, 6 wins on the Senior Tour and 9 wins on the Nationwide Tour where incidentally 7 of the 25 players that graduated to the main tour play Grafalloy shafts. So far so good, but the real question is what is the Epic like?
Exceptionally good looking. The brushed silvery metallic look with calligraphy-like lines covering the top half of the shaft and the reversible EPIC logo, finished off with inkish blue-violet highlights. It fact I might go as far as to say that they are possibly the best looking shafts currently available, more attractive than an ion finish Diamana even. The finish feels slick and tough and not easily damaged presumably from the large amount of metal in the shaft (and yes, you can stick a magnet to it) unlike some other ‘fancy’ shafts. Looking down the raw shaft, you can see that the shaft is not made from one material as there are 2 separate regions to this shaft – an inner black ring surrounded by an equal thickness of a shiny more metal-like outer ring – highlighting the fact that this shaft is made from two materials. Once installed, the graphics on the shaft aren’t distracting at all and the metal finish does not reflect any glare.
The marketing info from Grafalloy tells us that the Epic is made from a proprietary new material called Nanofuse. Originally developed for the Defence industry, this material has expanded into the aerospace industry and is now available for commercial use such as sporting goods. The aforementioned 2 layers of this shaft are an outer layer of Nickel alloy while the inner layer is high modulus carbon fibre. While the Nanofuse bond between these two layers is quite narrow, it is exponentially stronger than steel giving the shaft extremely high levels of strength. It is interesting to note that Grafalloy tell us the this is the only shaft of the 2008 line-up to use the Nanofuse technology.
There are actually 6 versions of this shaft. Four retail versions – Driver, Fairway wood, Hybrid iron, Hybrid wood – and 2 Tour versions: Tour 75 and Tour 90. Here are the specs for extra-stiff flex versions of the shafts we trialled.
|Shaft Type||Length||Weight||Tip Size||Torque|
From first glance it’s pretty obvious that this shaft is reasonable heavy, even the regular flex version of the driver shaft weighs a minimum of 69g. Grafalloy tell us that this is a mid kick shaft with a stiff tip but that it is difficult measure and quantify the tip and butt stiffness of the Epic shaft because the material is unlike either graphite or steel.
The first thing that you notice is that Epic shafts do definitely feel different from graphite shafts or steel shafts. The best way to describe them would be to say that they feel like a very tight and smooth graphite shaft without any boardy qualities. Then again, that is as it should be for a high end/high cost shaft whether or not it is made from some proprietary material. The added weight means that they offer a great sense of location throughout the swing while the balance point ensures that you never feel as though you are swinging a sledge hammer even with the extra heft. As you would expect, the retail Driver shaft has the loosest, most active feel due to the softer tip but it manages this without feeling vague. The Tour 75 is smoother but also has more solidity to it with the stiffer tip section and the Fairway wood feels so right you think it might swing for you. As a general guide, they all feel excellent.
Grafalloy would have us believe that this shaft offers the strength, light weight and feel of graphite with the accuracy of steel. So does it?
Actually it does. While it is ostensibly a high launch, mid-low spin club, all versions of the Epic allowed great control over shot making. High/Low, Fade/Draw, these shafts allow you to play the shot you want at a distance you almost can’t believe and with a phenomenal sense of accuracy. For once the marketing blurb is not fluff, there is a real perceived difference in how the shaft feels and this translates into how much confidence you have in how you play your shots. The precision throughout the swing means that you are never lost and always have the sense that good swings are rewarded and bad swings can be recovered and turned into good swings. The distance is as good as anything else I have tested but what stands out here is the dispersion and control. The retail Driver shaft is easier to load than the Tour 75 version and produces a higher flight with very good dispersion but the Tour 75 has a better feel and has a better resistance to being over-powered when you swing hard and is exceptionally accurate. The higher torque of the Driver shaft does mean that there is the risk that really hard swings can generate unwanted excess spin but if you have that sort of hard loading, fast swing then you would be using the Tour 75 version anyway. The Tour 75 has a slightly lower and more penetrating trajectory compared to the standard Driver because of the stiffer tip section and it never produces an overly high trajectory, even on full out swings. The fairway version is flat out outstanding. I can’t say a single thing against it. It’s long, incredibly accurate and has a great trajectory similar to the Tour 75 but with an even greater ability to control shot shape to a degree that I thought was unthinkable. The confidence produced by this is astounding and makes a mockery of tight driving holes where it almost guarantees landing the ball on the short grass.
Firstly, hats off to Grafalloy for producing a superb shaft. The Driver version is very good and the Tour 75 is pretty much everything you could ever want in a heavy driver shaft but hands down, the fairway shaft is the best shaft I have ever had in a wood, and wasn’t just me either. I managed to convince a Tour player who just happened to be practising nearby to give it a go. To say that he was impressed was an understatement. He had two 3 woods with him, one with a Diamana Blueboard 103X and one with a Matrix Ozik TP-7x. He felt that the Epic was better than either of those as it gave the same distance but with better feel and tighter dispersion. Not a bad report at all for a shaft that he picked up only a few minutes before.
All in all, the Epic is a great shaft that offers great distance with outstanding control and being part of the Callaway Optifit system for 2008 can only be a plus. Those that do give it a go will experience a real treat as this is a top class shaft and deserves serious consideration for better golfers looking for that top end shaft.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app
An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.
Crossrope – The details
Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.
This is NOT your middle school jump rope
The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.
The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.
When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.
As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com
WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of
One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.
So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.
These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.
Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims
The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things
- Design that delivers more power and stability
- Custom comfort that lasts all day
These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.
Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.
On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.
After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.
I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII
Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.
Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.
Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII
First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.
In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.
Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.
Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.
The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.
The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.
Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.
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