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2015 Gear Trials: FAQ

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There’s a running joke around the GolfWRX office during the winter months. Before he goes to bed, GolfWRX Founder and President Richard Audi reviews the incoming votes from our Gear Trials Panelists. At least once.

[quote_box_center]”During the two weeks we are receiving the votes of our Gear Trials Panelists, I’m all over Zak [GolfWRX’s Editor] to send them to me ASAP,” Audi says. “I’ll open up all six on my computer so I can review them all on my screen at once. That’s where my wife says, ‘Just stop it.'”[/quote_box_center]

What our founder is in search of, like many golfers, is insight into the best-performing new clubs on the market. What new driver will be in his bag in 2015? Is it finally time to add a new fairway wood? Or a hybrid to replace that pesky long iron? Or a larger, more forgiving set of irons?

These are the questions that keep GolfWRXers up night, and the reason we created our Gear Trials Club test.

We hold Gear Trials sacred, because we understand its importance and special place in the industry. There is no shortage of best clubs lists, but Gear Trials is the only test we know of that’s 100 percent based on the feedback of the top club fitters in the world, and verified by independent Trackman testing.

Image from Cool Clubs, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Image from Cool Clubs, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

The golf equipment space is more confusing now than ever, with more new club models currently in stores than at any time in the industry’s history. That’s why we designed Gear Trials to cut through the noise, and give golfers a short list of the best-performing clubs in the following categories:

  • Drivers
  • Fairway Woods
  • Hybrids
  • Players Irons
  • Game-Improvement Irons
  • Blade Irons

Armed with our Gear Trials lists, golfers can narrow their new club search to just a few top-performing models. We hope that will save them time, money and most importantly, help them play better golf… or have more fun. Preferably both.

So what else goes into our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists? Here’s a list of frequently asked questions.

Who votes?

Image from True Spec Golf, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Image from True Spec Golf, one of our Gear Trials Panelists.

Our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists are created with the votes of our Gear Trials Panel, which includes six of the top golf club fitters in North America. Four of the fitters are on Golf Digest’s list of the best club fitters in America, while the other two (Modern Golf and True Spec Golf) are top international club fitters.

Our Gear Trials Panel includes:

The staffs of each Gear Trials Panelist perform more than 1,000 professional fittings each year — and more than 6,000 yearly fittings between them all. That level of experience is what we feel sets Gear Trials apart from all the other best club lists.

How the voting works

Photo from Gear Trials Panelist Modern Golf.

Photo from Gear Trials Panelist Modern Golf.

Each of our Gear Trials Panelists was asked to rank the top-performing clubs in three categories, which allows us to highlight the clubs that are the best for:

  • Distance: The clubs that fly the farthest.
  • Forgiveness: The clubs that are best on off-center hits.
  • Best Overall: The clubs with the best blend distance and forgiveness.

Our editorial team tallied the votes, and the six models that received the most votes in each category made our lists. If there were ties — for example, a three-way tie for fifth place — our Gear Trials Editors acted as tie breakers.

Who are the Gear Trials Editors?

GolfWRX_Best-Drivers

GolfWRX’s Staff reviews 2015 Gear Trials testing data at company headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

  • Richard Audi, GolfWRX Founder and President
  • Zak Kozuchowski, GolfWRX Editor
  • Andrew Tursky, GolfWRX Assistant Editor

Was a club test performed?

Gear Trials Panelist Miles of Golf performed an independent club test at its facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., for the each of the Gear Trials categories:

  • Best Drivers: 26 models tested
  • Best Fairway Woods: 20 models tested
  • Best Hybrids: 16 models tested
  • Best Players Irons: 24 models tested
  • Best Game-Improvement Irons: 14 models tested
  • Best Blade Irons: 14 models tested

The club test, which was arranged by Miles of Golf‘s team of trained club fitters, took place over the course of four weekends. It included 41 testers of different ages and ability levels, and was performed on Trackman launch monitors to verify the performance of the clubs chosen by our Gear Trials Panel.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jordan

    Sep 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the great review.. the same with bradford i want see real results during real game. Golf for me is a great sport to learn about…

  2. Chris C.

    Apr 8, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I agree with those who have expressed a desire to actually see the results of the extensive testing performed at Miles of Golf. All that effort spread out over the course of 4 weekends, thousands of shots and hours spent collating the myriad data points only to produce the numerical equivalent of gold and silver stars. This strikes me as a terrible waste of time and talent. You had the opportunity to actually provide details delineating distance( longest/average/mean/consistency). You had the opportunity to assess which clubs better suit different types of golfers( axis, launch angles, etc.). You had a chance to detail accuracy and consistency.Obviously, my critique applies not only to the driver tests but also to the fairway wood and hybrid tests. I spend WAY too much time reading club reviews so it frustrates me when I see such a wasted opportunity.

  3. Golfraven

    Mar 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    ok, so where is the data from all those test? You have it on the table so why not sharing?

    • E

      Mar 26, 2015 at 12:39 am

      Agreed no relevant information is provided, I frequent the forums to get someone’s feeling on a club. Disappointed golfwrx is seriously lacking in the testing/review department compared to some other sites…

      Non of the top 7 were close to the best preformer for me and Id like to see some numbers showing how they came to those conclusions.

      Seems this is just a re-done golf digest hot list.

      I appreciate the time and effort that went into the trials, just wish a better comparison was does with some evidence behind it.

  4. 8thehardway

    Mar 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve held my own Gear Trials since 2007:
    Pre-trial goal – 10 more yards (dispersion not a problem)
    Round 1 – Hit everything
    Round 2 – Pit the best against my 2005 Ping G5
    Round 3 – Re-grip Ping G5

  5. cliche

    Mar 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    would like to see that with wedges

  6. bradford

    Mar 25, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Looking forward to results. They will provide a great method of determining which clubs to choose for simulator golf. Unfortunately, without actual on the course testing, none of it will be very telling- as each club will behave differently for each person, especially under “real-golf” situations.

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Equipment

Bettinardi unveils limited-run SS9 ‘Forever 90s’ putter

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Bettinardi has introduced its third limited-run of 2021: the Studio Stock 9 “Forever 90’s” putter, with just 325 pieces available worldwide.

The SS9 head shape on the new putter is milled to 353 grams from 303 Stainless Steel, re-mixing a hit by giving the putter a full Flymill face insert with a rainbow PVD finish to bring alive the retro 90’s style with every roll.

Completed in a fresh Tour Blast finish, the flat-stick features engraved abstract shapes and milled horizontal lines across the sole, with a 90’s themed neon paint scheme.

The SS9 putter comes equipped with a hot pink stitched, black perforated leather Gripmaster grip and a matching “90’s or nothing” premium Made in USA headcover.

The putter is priced at $900 and is available for purchase at select Bettinardi specialty dealers worldwide on August 5th, 2021, and online in the Hive at Bettinardi.com at 10 am CDT. 

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Rory McIlroy’s switch to Scotty Cameron putter paying off in The Olympics

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Editor’s note: We filed this story on McIlroy’s switch to the Scotty Cameron 009M GSS Chromatic Bronze Prototype for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report.

Struggling with his iron play earlier this year, Rory McIlroy went back to a set of blades he had had much success with. Going back to his TaylorMade Rors Proto blades paid off with another win at the Wells Fargo Championship, his first TOUR title since 2019.

At this week’s Olympic golf competition outside Tokyo, McIlroy is applying the same logic to another portion of his golf bag.

McIlroy, who is representing Ireland alongside Shane Lowry, is doing his work on the greens of Kasumagaseki Country Club with a Scotty Cameron 009M putter, which is similar to the flatstick he used to win his first two majors.

“I think I sort of want to get back to being as athletic and instinctive as possible and I feel like that style of putter, that blade, it sort of helps me do that,” he said Friday after shooting 66. “It makes me become very target oriented, at the hole and having my focus be out there, instead of in here (looking down).”

When asked if the 009M reminds McIlroy of the younger, free-wheeling version of himself, he replied, “Yeah, it does.”

Read the full piece here. 

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Equipment

What modern classic driver would you game? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing modern classic drivers. WRXer ‘Burkmi19’ asks members which cult driver they would choose to play: Titleist 975J, TaylorMade R510 TP, Callaway VFT Pro Series or Cleveland Launcher 400, and our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum, with plenty of other drivers chosen.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Phabs: “Cleveland hands down. Played one for 4 years through high school.”
  • grm24: “Voted for the R510TP. So many other great drivers that should have been part of the poll. However, the true tour issue TM R580XD TP driver was and still is a 440cc beast. Same for the TM 300 “Holy Grail” 9* driver is another I’ve gamed over previous seasons. Even though now they are museum pieces. Great drivers that were HTF for left-handed players.”
  • PJE: “Great Big Bertha from the 1990s. (1995 release date?). I hit that thing a figurative mile and straight too.”
  • kasting333: “905S 10.5 w/ graffaloy blue. If I had my choice, I would go with this one. I could hit down on this driver a little bit and have a much more consistent swing. With the 460 drivers you now have to have a driver swing for swinging up on the back and an iron swing for striking down. I use a 460, but I do think it leads to inconsistencies with my swing. Driver sucks.

Entire Thread: “What modern classic driver would you game?”

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