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Golfers are going CRAZY over Costco’s new Kirkland Signature golf balls

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Costco, the home of wholesale, is a wonderful place where you can buy a 12-pack of steaks, a year’s supply of ketchup, two pounds of cheese balls, refurnish your house and re-up your wardrobe… all in one trip. Now, you can also pick up two dozen, four-piece urethane golf balls for $30 at certain local Costco warehouses, or online.

The golf balls are branded with the Kirkland Signature name, which is Costco’s in-house brand that makes all sorts of things: alcohol, food, house supplies and much more. Costco says the Kirkland brand must be equal to or better than the national brands, and must offer a savings to Costco members. The $15-per-dozen Kirkland Signature golf balls are USGA conforming, and are produced by Nassau Golf Co. Ltd of South Korea.

Sounds good, but what are real golfers saying about the Kirkland Signature golf balls?

GolfWRX members, who are some of the most knowledgable golfers in the world, have not hesitated to weigh in on the Kirkland-branded balls, filling up a 31-page forum thread (and counting).

Related: Join the discussion here.

“Same driving distance, and flight pattern (as the b330rx),” Forum member Two_Putt said about the Kirkland Signature Balls. “I can’t check the ball on the green but I did notice that it didn’t run out as far. Overall in my opinion a great value and my new ball of choice.”

As you may know, another popular manufacturer making four-piece urethane golf balls is Titleist with its Pro V1x, which sell for about $48 per dozen. A few forum members took it upon themselves to test the “KSigs” against the Pro V1(x)’s. Some of their reports below.

Coreyhr: “Here’s my hot take on the Kirkland. I normally game a Pro V1x and that’s what I was comparing against on my Skytrak. The feel off the driver in my opinion is better than the ProV, seriously the best feeling ball off the driver I’ve ever hit. The irons however left a lot to be desired for me. They felt clicky off of long and mid irons compared to the ProV. I don’t quite understand why one feels so good but the other not so much. I hit enough shots that strike shouldn’t be the culprit. The Kirkland was 2-3 yards longer for me during a 6 iron comparison due to lower spin than a ProV. Launch and peak height were virtually identical. Launch with a driver however was actually about 2 degrees lower with the Kirkland interestingly enough. I won’t be putting the Kirkland in the bag during tournament play, but absolutely will use it for those afternoon rounds after work. This thing is a serious threat to the big boys in the market.”

tomuch23:

GolfWRXCostcoBalls

“Lots of comparisons to the pro v1/v1x’s. There more similar to the project a’s in looks(almost identical), feel(tad firmer), and spin after playing them imo. When you put the $15 a dozen perspectives into consideration there isn’t any negatives that can really be justified I guess. Hopefully the price doesn’t jump $10 by spring but even then it would still be a great deal.”

tw_focus: “…Overall it’s a nice ball, BUT I think I will stick to ProV1s. I don’t spend a whole lot of money on golf balls (4x boxes of ProV1s during sale time have lasted me the season), the major cost / investment is my time. I don’t want to play with anything less than the best, and I think the Kirkland balls are slightly worse (though I admit a much better value).”

suprfli6: “Played 18 with one yesterday and it actually felt firmer off the driver than my usual Pro V1, but similar distances and spin with every type of shot I played. It was cooler than I’m used to so maybe that contributed to the feel difference. Too soon to tell for sure but personally it seemed to perform like a typical urethane tour ball so considering the price I’m optimistic.”

gripandrip: “Not like this will be a surprise, but I think I am a convert as well. Played two rounds this weekend, one on a links course in 25mph winds (on the shore of Lake Erie) and the other under normal conditions. No noticeable loss of distance, decent flight through the wind, acceptable spin on and around the greens. I am typically a Pro V1 player. Do these balls feel as good off my club as a Pro V in all instances? No. But close enough that I will probably change, for a while at least. However, I won’t be buying large quantities. If I bought 50 dozen balls, they would probably have to be cleaned out of my basement after I die. That’s a lot of balls.”

Kirkland_Signature_Box

MarkCPA: “…Overall, I’m very impressed given the price of the ball. I saw no material differences in the K-Sig performance-wise vs. any other premium ball I’ve got good experience with including the TM TPX and the ProV1X. It has very good greenside control and is plenty long. I already placed an order for four dozen. I don’t see how anyone who wants a tour caliber ball but hates dropping $45+ on a dozen balls wouldn’t give the K-Sig a try.”

RSinSG: “…As I wrote earlier, I play ProV1x that I get for $20/dz from Golfballsdirect.com and to be honest I like the KSig’s as much if not a little better. I’m not saying they are a better ball than the ProV1 – only that I like them. If you’re on the fence try them. $15 a dz is a crazy good deal. I just ordered 3 more boxes before the free shipping ends.”

And remember, as per Costco’s policy, if you don’t like the product, you can always take it back for a full refund.

“I saw a lady return a jar of peanuts to Costco minus the jar,” forum member FiveSixAce said. “A gallon zip lock bag full of peanuts. They took it back.”

Tough to tell if he’s joking or not.

Read more reviews and thoughts on the Kirkland Signature golf balls.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

70 Comments

70 Comments

  1. Frank Cruz

    Jan 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    This ball will hit the industry between the eyes and really hurt most everyone in the ball business. Titleist balls like NXT, Velocity, DT could be dust now, PRO V will definitely suffer as only the few loyalists wanting the label on their ball will pay the price. All the balls from Bridgestone, Srixon and others will face serious trouble (many millions) if the ball were to comeback. I don’t expect to see that Kirkland ball ever again! The collective industry will stop it, they may buy the plant that makes these and close it down, they may call it a test pilot or Beta run that could not be sustained…. blah blah.

  2. Gary

    Nov 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Bought Kirkland 4 piece about 3 weeks ago and have played 4 rounds. I am 65 yr young retiree with a 9 hdcp. Ball is great distance wise with fantastic spin on greens. I have have played Snell and Vice both great balls but higher price than Kirkland. They do scuff a little easier. On a fixed income I look for great buys for the $$ and this ball is. Another great ball if you can find them is a Wilson Staff Zip(24 for $20) this 2 piece spins better than than duos I had been using since they came out. Glen Kirk is a fantastic 8yr old single malt for $19.95, make it a habit to find great value

  3. Pingback: Anyone teed these up yet?

  4. Mad-Mex

    Nov 5, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I am willing to bet if you held a blind test here and told all the elitist who have posted here to try this ball, unbranded and were told it was the 2017 Pro-V1 platinum prototype, they would be acting like teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert, giggling and screaming about how wonderful it is.

  5. Kevin A

    Nov 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Someone these posts remind me of why some of my friends won’t play golf. Because some golfers are elitist buttholes.

    Who cares what ball you play. Why rip another’s choice?

    These are the guys who buy escorts and end up in tax fraud cases.

  6. mitch

    Nov 2, 2016 at 9:05 am

    ughhhh! I get my Costco membership yesterday , and they are sold out online and in my Costco store!

  7. nick

    Nov 1, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    the reviews on the costco website are phenomenal. people dont blow smoke on reviews for the fun of it… these balls got nearly 5 star reviews by everyone. this isnt a gimmick or advertisement. not sure why people feel the need to trash this article. clearly it has people interested. im definitely gaming these this weekend. thanks Costco and GolfWRX for the heads up!

    all manufacturers make a legit 4/5 piece ball. just like all manufacturers make legit clubs. most pro’s play different setups from their clubs to their ball. most all golf equipment is created equal; different people winning every week on tour with different sponsors… Costco just changed the game here and these balls are only going to get better and evolve.

  8. WLBR

    Nov 1, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Americans, I urge you to buy American-made golf balls, certain models of Bridgestone, Titleist, Callaway, etc. Please buy American. Show these companies you value keeping their manufacturing jobs in the states.

    • Mat

      Nov 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      I’ll buy what fits me best. Manufacturing jobs aren’t some magical thing. They’re just jobs.

      “Made in the USA” failed in the Reagan era. No need to MAGA.

    • Dan

      Nov 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Also Taylormade tour and Project A are American made…..

    • Uncle Sam

      Dec 26, 2016 at 9:51 am

      oh please…..a bit too late for that now….

  9. Trumpthekunt

    Oct 31, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Geez how much did golfwrx/ TMZ get paid to run this article….. Golfers going mad for Costco ball….. Sure they are….. Best run down and get yourself some….. This website has just gone straight down the pan…

    • Mad-Mex

      Oct 31, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      With a name like that and the way your write, your what?!?! 15/ 16? Grow up!!!

  10. Uncle Buck

    Oct 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    My apologies, I’m pretentious and concerned about how I’m perceived on the golf course. I wouldn’t be caught alive with any golf products from Costco, Gemco, Target, Thrifty, CVS, Sears, Penny’s, FedCo, YourCo, or my local grocery for that matter. Kirkland will remain on all of my finer camping needs and H2o bottles. I’d rather lose the extra $15 and roll out the ProV’s, thank you very much. Save your alleged dollars and tell me all about how much you’re saving on the other umpteen vices in your life.

    • Furious Styles

      Oct 30, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      9.5/10

    • Travis

      Oct 31, 2016 at 2:25 am

      Extra $15 for Pro Vs… Try more like $30 a dozen more for the Pro Vs. At $15 a dozen Id probably use them for most of my practice rounds and club events and save a few dozen Pro Vs for when it actually mattered.

    • PCR

      Nov 1, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Geez… When is it going to get into people’s skulls that the Kirkland balls at $15 per DOZEN. PER DOZEN, folks.

      That’s:

      $1.25 per ball or,

      $3.75 per sleeve or,

      $15.00 PER DOZEN or,

      $29.99 per TWO (2) DOZEN (24 balls).

  11. ultimate hacker

    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    these advertisements on this webpage are out of control extremely annoying.

  12. pepperwhiteknight

    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Great article. I use recycled prov1x Academy sells $10-20 a dozen. Never heard of these balls but I am going to give them a try.

  13. Jurrrayyyyy

    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    So this isn’t the right place to post a review but I picked up 5-doz Vice drive balls last week for around $50 (or ~ $10/doz) and I really liked them. Tee to green they were about the same as my V1x, good feel, spin, and distance off the driver and irons.. They were a little bit of a let down on the putting green, (very hot off the putter face) but after a few holes I got used to them. They aren’t a urethane ball, I think they are 2-piece Surlyn, but definitely worth considering if you want a budget ball. Much softer feel than the other Surlyn balls I’ve played like the e6. And like all Suryln balls they seem pretty indestructible – I’ve played 2 rounds now with the same ball and it doesn’t have a scuff.

    • Mat

      Nov 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Vice quality leaves a lot to be desired. My shipment contained patterns that weren’t symmetric.

  14. Freddie 4x4

    Oct 29, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I was planning to load up a pallet of these today. Am I supposed to feel self-conscious about that?

  15. Pingback: You can now buy Costco-made golf balls, because of course you can - GolfDigest.com - Sportal.co.in

  16. Guia

    Oct 28, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    There are any number of very good golf balls that are around $30 a dozen, which I think is reasonable. Price is not really a major concern to me I can easily afford the $50 a dozen for Titleist but have found that they really don’t perform (for me) any better than the balls that are $30 a doz.

    I have gone to the less expensive Taylor Made, Wilson, Bridgestone, or the colored Korean Balls (the name escapes me now).

    More to the point, I have no interest in the Kirkland. The result of diminishing return applies at both ends of the spectrum.

    • Trackcoach13

      Oct 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Except these 4-piece urethane balls are $15 a dozen. Pretty scary that so many folks cannot comprehend something so simple.

      • Tom

        Oct 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        BAZINGA!

      • Guia

        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        So, they are a 4 piece ball. What is your point?

        • Trackcoach13

          Oct 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm

          It is $15 per dozen and not $30 as you mentioned. There is a huge difference between $15 and $47 per dozen for similar construction and performance. A number of folks here have made comments that at $30 it is not worth the savings. However, it is $30 for two dozen.

          • Guia

            Oct 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

            That is sound reasoning.

            • GuiaRETARDALERT

              Oct 30, 2016 at 8:59 am

              “That is sound reasoning.” – Looks like somone actually has to spell it out for you eh?

  17. Jamie

    Oct 28, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I would love to step up to the tee and have the guy with the ProV1’s and PXG irons ask what ball i’m playing and say “Costco Black Dot” and then proceed to take his money.

  18. Dylan

    Oct 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    37 people don’t mind paying $50 for 12 golf balls that perform about the same as a Pro V1, unless you’re a tour pro…doubt you guys could tell the difference if you played both balls without brands on them.

    • Justin

      Oct 29, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I’d be curious, as well. We can say that for almost any product made, though. The looks are different, to avoid infringement, but when it comes to performance, who can tell a difference?

      Blind tests would be best. It’s incredibly hard to do, especially with club heads, and people will always find flaws in the methodology (shaft wraps altering performance, for example).

      At the end of the day, though, Brand Loyalty is a thing, and it always will be. We gotta make ourselves happy, and if it takes a $50/doz ball or a $30/2 doz ball to do that, it is what it is.

  19. Ronald Montesano

    Oct 28, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I want to know what links course exists on the shores of Lake Erie!?!?

    • Greg Gaynor

      Oct 28, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Probably Maumee Bay State Park on Ohio Rt.2 between Toledo and Port Clinton. It’s an Arthur Hills layout that’s about 25 years old.

  20. Greg chambers

    Oct 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I will wait for the site that does real testing to publish their results.

  21. Deadeye

    Oct 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I will buy some soon!

  22. alfriday

    Oct 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I give this “article” a shank.

    The writer does nothing to advance the discussion on the ball. The article is nothing but two paragraphs of introduction, two paragraphs of transition and a number of quotes from a long forum thread on the ball.

    This reads like an essay a high school student would put together an hour before class when the student forgot to do the assignment the night before. Write a couple of paragraphs, copy and paste liberally from Wikipedia and hope for a passing grade.

    • Mat

      Nov 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      That’s because either this article is an ad placement, or it’s an “article” with no research and a very lazy writer. It would be awfully nice if the article had anything on it more than “it’s a 4-piece”. It sounds as if it plays like a rock, but there’s no comparison with any other ball made by the SK firm…

  23. B. Parsons

    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

    How can people not read? $30 for TWO dozen is a steal even if they perform half as good as everyone is saying! And there are way too many people speaking highly of this ball to doubt it is a very playable ball.

    • Tom

      Oct 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      for various reasons, some players/commenters are harder to convince than others.

  24. Ron

    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:37 am

    $15 a dozen, and you know there is a small profit margin in that…so have you figured out why ProV1’s are $48 a dozen..besides every time you buy a dozen you are paying for at least one more dozen for the the pros on the driving range….this Kirkland will not be on any pro driving range, note it is made in Korea (a Korean company owns Titlist golf balls if you did not already know) This is not the first good Urethane ball at a good price point MG golf has had a good one (C-4) for years.

    • Jonny B

      Oct 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Love the Tour C4’s from MG Golf. Been playing this season and just as good as other tour urethane balls.

  25. moneypowerrespect

    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

    good deal for the hacker – I have the opposite problem, I try to find excuses to get rid of balls. A single ball could last many rounds. If it scuffs up I toss them to my friends. Don’t need to save money when you only use a box or 2 a year.

    • LookAtTheHeroAbove

      Oct 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Congrats you’re a real hero. A little bit insecure are we? Jacked up truck? Mustang/Camaro/Challenger in a bright obnoxious color? European luxury vehicle that post all over social media? Cheesy high-priced designer clothes with logos all over so everyone know what you’re wearing? Will tell everyone that you make a ton of money without them even asking? McMansion that is decorated completely awful? I would guess at least one of these applies to you.

      • Jamie

        Oct 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        Hilarious! i was thinking the same thing.

      • moneypowerrespect

        Oct 28, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        hahaha, that was good, you are correct sir, my psychiatrist has mentioned that I’m insecure, but that’s ok, the people who leach off of me give me all the affirmation I need.

      • PCR

        Oct 29, 2016 at 9:38 am

        “Yeti” sticker on the rear window of the SUV?

      • Leave A Comment

        Oct 29, 2016 at 9:45 am

        Threads like this one is what makes the United States of America such a great country. Thanks to each and every one of you.

  26. D.J.T.

    Oct 28, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Dimples look like they have a “hint” hexagonal shape to them. Callaway much? Anybody agree?

  27. PCR

    Oct 28, 2016 at 10:21 am

    SHANK. LOL!!!

  28. Cornholio Golf

    Oct 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

    On the site they are listed for $30.00. No thanks. I’LL rather spend a bit more for a better ball.

    At $15.00, sure, $30.00? A shank all the way.

  29. G P

    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:53 am

    No kidding about the “shanks”! $30 for 24 four-piece urethane balls, and 9 CLOWNS are giving it a “shank”? I guess some folks have money to burn!

  30. Sloop

    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I bet you get a free can of soup when you buy these.

  31. Golfbuddy

    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I need to pick up double dozen or two next time I’m in the States. Not yet available in Canada, unfortunately.

  32. Trackcoach13

    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Why did some people vote this article as a shank? A shank? Really?

    • erlybrd

      Oct 28, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Because for lots of folks here, brands they so admire and donate their money to are the only things that hold them together; so that they can escape the reality of their level of play.
      Bushes are full of ProVs and other top level performance balls.

      • Mad-Mex

        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:33 am

        WOW!! You came off the top rope and the ones you aimed it at are to ignorant to reply!! Great post!!

        Standing ovation with “golf clap”!!!

    • Tom

      Oct 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      It’s mind boggling! Virtually MIND boggling. $1.25 for a 4 /pc. ball or $4.00 for a 4/pc. ball. This information is scaring some posters back into a relapse event. The mere fact that something of same quality as a higher priced product can be produced and sold for less than what is currently being offered is MIND BOGGLING!

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Equipment

Korea’s FreeFlex shaft proves that lightning strikes twice

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The biggest obstacle to success is said to be a closed mind. If past innovators had not been bold in trying new things and testing conventions, we may still be playing with featheries and hickory shafts. Thanks to their pioneering ways, the game was able to evolve into the wonder that it is today and I am grateful for all the advantages I have enjoyed.

According to a recent YouTube video uploaded on TXG, one such innovative product they have tested in recent years is the Autoflex shaft. Despite the shocking pink color and a high price tag, the whippy shaft from a relatively unknown Korean manufacturer has won over a significant number of golfers with its promise of distance and accuracy while going easy on the body. The shaft opened up a whole new shaft category by itself, and after almost three years it is still pretty much the only fighter in the ring.

So why haven’t more companies been entering this niche pioneered by Dumina? The market is clearly there. Surely, there must be other manufacturers capable of putting out their own versions? Is KHT really something that no one else can figure out? Whatever the reason, there hasn’t been any serious contenders making a run at the champ. Until now, that is.

The premium ultralight shaft category has a new entrant in FreeFlex shaft… from South Korea, where else?

Ottophlex?

In the absence of established shaft makers, I did see a lot of individuals on various online forums trying to find their own version of a cheaper Autoflex. Affectionately dubbed as OttoPhlex, I have come across several impassioned posts where golfers have detailed their endeavors to find an effective replacement. To their delight, many have said their bargain shafts also produced noticeable distance gains while retaining accuracy.

That’s just awesome. I think it’s great that Autoflex generated such an interest in golfers to turn over every stone in our search for all the advantages we can get. One caveat, however, seems that an OttoFlex shaft that worked wonders for one guy sprayed the ball all over the place for another. Of the various OttoPhlex shafts I have seen online, I have yet to see a true contender that worked for a wider group of golfers like Autoflex.

In a way, Autoflex reminds me of Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the unbeaten boxing champ. Love him or hate him, one can’t deny that his boxing skills are effective. Similarly, whatever Korea Hidden Technology may be, it simply works and deserves its just dues.

One unique attribute to FF’s water color shaft is that no two shafts are the same.

A Korean Lightning Strikes Again

Now a promising new challenger has entered the ring to contend for the title of the ultra-light premium shaft. The contender, also hailing from South Korea, goes by the name of FreeFLexx (OttoPhlex was taken, obviously) and comes with an extraordinary spec sheet. And to save you readers some time, the shaft is nothing short of amazing.

Dr Seung-jin Choi, founder and CEO of SJ (Special Joy) Golf Engineering Lab, is a lifelong golfer/entrepreneur with an impressive resume and some pretty unconventional ways of thinking. With a PhD in materials engineering, he has over 30 patents in various fields, including materials engineering, architecture, and industrial design and 12 patents (and growing) in golf clubs and shaft design. His appetite for knowledge is only rivaled by his keen ability to adapt and apply them effectively to his research and inventions.

Ever since AF came on the scene, I’ve been waiting for other OEMs to offer similar tech and performance to the AF at a lower price tag so that it can be more accessible to a wider audience. Err… let me return to that idea later. 

When I first met Dr Choi, I thought I’d stepped into a golfer’s version of Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory. I’d love to mention some of the jaw-dropping golf innovations he is working on, but an embargo dictates otherwise. But I guarantee you will hear more of his mind-blowing creations soon. Just remember I said it here first.

Care for some ultra-light carbon putter shafts that can make any putter stand upright on its own? Then RolyPoly is for you. Just one of many zany things in the works at SJ Golf Lab.

Opening the box, I half-expected to see the color pink and breathed a sigh of relief at the sleek matte black carbon weave design. But aesthetics aside, the shaft had to first check all the requisite boxes for me to even consider it a true contender to the AF. After all, this weight class is not for just any AF wannabes or conventional senior-flex shafts.

To be clear, I am a big fan and user of AutoFlex shafts. But seeing the FreeFlex shaft check all the same WOW factor boxes gave me goosebumps. “Has AF finally found a match in the FF?

From Theory To Reality

According to Dr. Choi, FF technology is a totally different animal from KHT in concept and manufacturing method and is solidly rooted in measurable and verifiable science. It all began over two years ago with a single question, “Which part of the swing most determines the performance of a golf shot?”

After consulting hundreds of top amateurs and pros along with top professors in sports sciences, he determined that an effective downswing transition was key to long and accurate shots. This led to his next question, Can a shaft be made to provide golfers with a repeatable and effective downswing transition for better impact and ball control?”  With this specific goal in mind, Dr Choi embarked on his research, drawing on his 30+ years of golf experience and scientific background. To many people’s surprise, he was able to prove some pretty eye-opening facts along the way.

I’ve often said that some of golf’s commonly-held conventions should be re-examined lest we may have overlooked anything. With new materials and applications for its use being discovered each year, I definitely think new ‘breakthrough’ discoveries are possible. AF and FF are just the tip of the iceberg.

Before I begin, let me also state that I am an absolute novice when it comes to shaft engineering and manufacturing. I still don’t know what KHT is about, and I am just as ignorant about FreeFlex technology (FFT) as it, too, is veiled in secret and awaiting a patent. So bear with me as I try to explain the idea and innovation of FFT, as translated from speaking with the inventor.

The waggle test that put AF on the map can be seen in the FF as well

FreeFlex Tech – The New Secret Sauce?

Prototypes of the FreeFlex shafts were first launched in April 2022 exclusively in Korea and were tested extensively among the pros and the club fitting community. Soon, word of mouth began to spread among the pros, who were taken aback by the performance benefits of FF. More interestingly, the FF also came under scrutiny from the sports academia as well as the club fitters, most of whom were absolutely skeptical that the shaft can do what it claimed. And Dr Choi was more than happy to show the science and the research to back up his work with FreeFlex.

Having listened to the inventor, however, I can’t really fault them for being doubtful. After all, Dr Choi’s questions and unconventional thinking challenged many of the established notions that I also thought were rock solid. For example, can a single shaft exhibit two different flexes? That is, can one side can be stiff to promote accuracy while the other side is flexible to add an extra kick for more distance?

When everyone said that’s impossible, Dr Choi said “I’ll show you. Let me boot up my computer.”

“We have developed a unique shaft to which the pronate and supinate principles have been applied by considering not only the swing toque acting upon the shaft; but also in considering the warping moment and bending torsional moment to optimize Impact and MOI.” – Dr. Seung-jin Choi, inventor of FreeFlex Technology

Before all this, I thought I knew the relationship between a shaft’s flex and torque. Namely, a low torque corresponds to a stiff flex and vice-versa, and more flex may lend itself to more distance, but at the risk of less accuracy. Despite what I thought I knew, Dr. Choi informed me that this was not always the case. In fact, he found that torque and flex (CPM) can be independent of each other and that a 35g shaft with 170cpm can have a torque as low as 2.0. That’s even lower (and firmer feeling) than an extra stiff tour shaft!

In explaining how he can manipulate torque and flex in any combination desired, the actual math and science went straight over my head but I was offered a simpler explanation. Imagine that one side of the shaft has a limiter on it, while the other side has an accelerator. The limiter prevents the shaft from twisting and bending past a certain threshold to increase the chances of the shaft returning back to its original position for accuracy. In turn, the accelerator would activate on the downswing to increase club speed for added distance. As improbable as it sounds, this is the basis for FreeFlex.

But hey, we all know that anyone can talk the talk and all is for naught if it can’t perform. So can FF really put its money where its flex is?

Battle Of The Flexes

Over the past three years, many golfers have given testimony to the effectiveness of AF and I have also enjoyed my own AF to mostly good ends. While I’m not the foremost expert by any means, below is my own assessment of the similarities and differences that I have observed between AF and FF.

Overall, I found that FF not only was comparable to AF in both distance and accuracy, but it also offered three key differences which may be welcomed by golfers hesitating to pull the trigger on the pink bomber.

Observations

The first difference was the swing weight recommendation for both shafts. The AF 405 and FF 405 had similar weights (45g raw) and flex (190cpm), but the swing weight was totally different at C8 and D1.5, respectively.

From the beginning, AF shafts have frustrated many a golfer trying to get the swing weight down, since the average driver heads were too heavy. As a result, it required switching to lighter head weights or removing them altogether. In addition, certain brand club heads were not suitable for AF, and sometimes the overall driver build length had to become shorter as well. Needless to say, this irked a lot of players and golf fitters who had never encountered such hurdles in their drivers. It is a testament to AF’s performance that so many golfers have put up with it at all.

In comparison, the FF shafts seem more accommodating in this department. The recommended SW for the 38-series is at D2~D5, which should make club fitting all that much easier for a wider variety of driver heads.

FF shafts feature the weight, CPM, and torque. The bow and arrow symbolizes the idea of FreeFlex Tech, as the shaft reacts to even a small amount of energyacted upon it, much like a bow.

The second key differentiator between the two is swing mechanics. By nature, I am more of a swinger than a hitter, and AF suits my swing super well. With a slow and measured backswing and a smooth downswing transition, I have gained nearly 20 yards over my past conventional shaft. As such, many golfers have testified to benefit from slowing down and smoothing their transitions to unlock AF’s performance. However, for golfers with an aggressive or quick transition, the AF proved difficult to tame, which has led many to believe that AF is only suitable for smooth swingers.

FreeFlex, on the other hand, claims that its shafts can be swung effectively regardless of the type of downswing transitions. From my own limited testing with three friends in this regard, I can say that FF did fare better than AF for hitters with a more aggressive swing. More specifically, FF shafts were noticeably more resistant to the left side and kept hard hooks to manageable draws to keep the ball in play more often. Dr. Choi also added that the shaft is less prone to break, as it uses higher grade carbon content over its counterpart.The third big difference noted by most testers is that the FF shaft feels more stable throughout the swing. Keep in mind that feel is subjective, and “stable” here is only referring to the feel and not the actual shot result. From my experience, the AF shaft is soft and malleable on both the backswing and the downswing, which took me a few weeks to get used to and trust that the head will return to square.

In contrast, FF has the same low CPM but the shaft is noticeably firmer especially on the downswing, giving a feeling of stability. I was better able to feel where the club head was at all points of the swing, and that gave me a slight edge in confidence on the money shots. 

The three aspects were the biggest differences that were reported by FF users, and I can also agree on the observations. On a Trackman, my current AF was on average longer by 2m with a 4% smaller dispersion, while the longest single drive by each shaft favored the FF at 239m to 231m.

What gave me pause was that while AF has been my trusted gamer for the past 2+ years, I only hit the FF a couple of times since receiving it. And despite the short duration and novelty, FF performed just as well for me as AF, with the alluring promise of further fine-tuning and additional improvements to be had. Welcome to the weight division, FF.

Measurements on the butt end makes it convenient to trim the shaft to desired length.

Price And Availability

Unfortunately, FreeFlex tech shafts are currently available in Korea for the time being, though an English website is in the works at www.freeflexshaft.com for February. According to the company, offline retailers and custom fitters will soon be available to offer FreeFlex in three color options; matte carbon black, glossy carbon blue, and a one-of-a-kind custom watercolor design. 

All these ultralight and performance-enhancing factors do not lend themselves to low pricing either. The retail price of the FF driver shaft is set at $650, and while it is much higher than most premium shaft offerings on the market, it is nearly 20-percent less in comparison to the Autoflex at $790.

Aside from multi watercolor, FF comes in matte and glossy carbon weave tinged in blue color that looks amazing outdoors

For a limited time starting in February, SJ Golf is also taking applications from professional golfers and reviewers to test the FreeFlex demo shafts. Applications and inquiries can be sent to [email protected] and the company will notify the results individually. 

And there you have it. The FreeFlex shafts have arrived to join the party and I can’t wait to see who else joins this exclusive club. It would be great to see who rules this ultra-lightweight division, but no matter who is crowned champion, it will be us golfers who will be the ultimate winners.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (1/31/23): Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

From the seller (@Tyrick24): “Bettinardi Hive BB0 – $1500 or trade. Indoor rolled only. Bettinardi SS Pistol GT 1.0. 35″. Lie 68*. Loft 2*.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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Modern Classics (Ep. 3): Testing the TaylorMade Rocketballz RBZ Tour from 2012

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GolfWRX recently launched a new 8-part video series, called “The Modern Classics,” in partnership with 2nd Swing Golf. Throughout this video series, GolfWRX’s Head of Tour Content, Andrew Tursky, tests out 8 legendary used golf clubs that are still being played on Tour today. How do the older, less expensive products compare to modern technologies?

In the first two episode’s Tursky tested out TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC 2011 irons, and Adams Idea Pro hybrids from 2006.

For episode 3, we highlight the TaylorMade Rocketballz RBZ Tour 3-wood, which first hit the market in 2012. The fairway woods are currently available for $84.99 on 2nd Swing’s website.

Check out the video at the top of the page for more on the product, design, and how it stands up in testing against a modern 3-wood.

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