Club Junkie: Reviewing UST Mamiya LIN-Q shafts and Tour Edge 722 fairway and hybrid
I finally review the UST Mamiya LIN-Q Purple, Gunmetal, and M40x Blue shafts out on the range. Was really impressed with the smooth feel and consistency they each offered. Tour Edge’s new C722 hybrid is long and easy to launch, but with a flatter flight. The Exotics E722 fairway is very easy to hit and offers tons of distance with a high launch.
Club Junkie Review: TaylorMade Stealth 2 drivers
The TaylorMade Stealth 2 drivers still have red carbon faces, but that isn’t the only carbon fiber in the head. The heads now only have titanium to support the face and connect the shaft. The rest of the driver head is made from carbon fiber and carbon composite. This allows the talented TaylorMade engineers to move more weight around and add more forgiveness to a very long driver.
Like last year there are three flavors to cover every driver need: Stealth 2, Stealth 2 Plus, and the Stealth 2 HD.
For a more detailed review, please take a listen to the Club Junkie below or on any podcast platform. Just search GolfWRX Radio.
Stealth 2 Plus
I typically like the bigger and more forgiving drivers, but this ended up being the one I hit the best. My miss is a low-left hook that comes from some swing flaws, and it was a shot I saw too many times with last year’s Stealth. My first time on the range, I noticed that shot would actually launch a little higher, stay in the air better, and not go as hard left.
The Plus might be the lowest-launching of the three, but it is still easy to elevate off the tee and produces flat, boring drives. I averaged a launch of 11.1 degrees in a 10.5-degree head with a Fujikura Ventus TR Red shaft. Spin was also the lowest and averaged 2,874 RPM, but the bigger part of that number is how the spin variation from center strikes to off center is very low. Only a few hundred RPM separated the highest and lowest spinning shots.
The Plus also offered the least draw out of the group with a very straight ball flight and even a few shots that went a hair to the right.
This the bread-and-butter driver option offering hefty amounts of forgiveness and is easy to launch while offering low spin. This is the model that should launch and spin in-between the other two, but it actually ended up being the lowest launching for me. It wasn’t by much, but I had an average launch of 10.2 degrees with a 10.5-degree head and the same shaft as the Stealth 2 Plus. The spin was a little higher but only by a very small margin, as I averaged 2,917 RPMs.
For most players the nice thing about the Stealth 2 is that it seems a little easier to square up and turn over at impact. I saw a little more draw in the shots and the starting line was more straight to just slightly left. Like the Plus, I was pleased with the face that my miss off the high toe launched a little higher and stayed in the air a bit longer for a more playable shot.
Stealth 2 HD
I was actually the most excited to try this head because of how it looks. Most higher launching, draw-bias drivers sit very closed, and I don’t love that look. First time I set the HD down I was impressed that it looked square and a little larger, mostly from the visible red Carbon Composite Ring around the back. The HD also has a slightly shorter hosel that makes the driver play 1/4 inch shorter than the other two.
The HD did launch the highest at 11.5 degrees and spun the most, 3,105 RPM, out of the three Stealth 2 models. Those numbers still don’t sound like a high launching, spinny driver to me. The HD was the easiest of the Stealth models to turn over and really took away any shots to the right and any fade that I could have hit with the Plus. Off-center hits held up with solid ball speed and the added forgiveness in the head kept most shots online.
TaylorMade’s Stealth 2 line of drivers mixes distance with added forgiveness this year to really help golfers of all levels. Each model can cover a wide array of golfer abilities and the better players will still like the confident look from address. If you are looking to add a new driver to your bag this year, the Stealth 2 line is worth swinging.
Club Junkie Review: Vega Golf VDC and Mizar Tour irons
You may not have heard of Vega Golf, but the company has been making golf clubs for quite some time in Japan. Vega is known for their expertise in forging metal and the great feel their irons offer. This week I get to talk about different irons in their lineup and how they performed for me. For a more detailed review, please take a listen to the Club Junkie below or on any podcast platform. Just search GolfWRX Radio.
Star Line: Mizar Tour
The Mizar Tour is a compact players distance iron that is packed with technology. Wheres a lot of multi-piece irons just have a forged face, the entire body of the Mizar Tour is forged from S25c steel. The face is crafted from a high strength maraging steel and only 3.5mm thick for added ball speed.
Out of the box, the Mizar Tour look good with a lightly satin chrome finish and small black badge in the cavity. The irons look compact, with a thin sole, and you would not think it is made from multiple pieces. If you are a fan of less offset, the Mizar Tour is going to fit your eye really well as even the long irons have almost none. These irons might have the lest amount of offset I have seen in a retail iron that isn’t a blade. The shape is a little softer and more rounded than the VDC irons.
Hitting balls with the Mizar Tour is really pleasant, and as you would think, you get a very soft feel upon impact. Even off center shots have a good feel to them but with a little added vibration for feedback. The ball flight is mid/high and the irons are easy to launch off the turf. The long irons, like the 4, are a little intimidating because of the compact look and almost no offset. The longer irons are still pretty easy to launch and much more playable than you would expect.
The nice thing about the Mizar Tour is that when you miss that thin face allows you to still get minimal drop off in distance. Shots also stayed online better than I expected with these irons. Heel strikes and shots low on the face carried very well and online where you noticed a little more distance loss when you struck the ball on the toe. I love the players distance irons that allow players like myself to play a more compact iron without sacrificing performance.
Classic Line: VDC
The VDC shows off its fantastic milling work on the back side with dual cavities that allow Vega to adjust the CG higher on the irons for the perfect players cavity set. The irons look great with a slightly more square toe and edgier look to them than the Mizar line. The blade length is a little longer from heel to toe while still giving a traditional compact look. Faces on all the irons are micro-milled as well for precision shots and distance control. The sole is narrow and has a pre-worn leading edge for improved turf interaction. These irons again have very little offset, with maybe just a hair more than the Mizar set. Overall the shape is very proportionate and discerning players should be confident standing over them.
Feel on the VDC irons is wildly soft, making two-piece range balls feel soft. Shots struck in the center are met with a solid “thud” sound and that feeling of did you even make contact with the ball. While the face didn’t give you the sense of ball exploding off the face, the VDC provided solid distance and an ability to work the ball in any direction. The ball flight was more mid launching with a noticeably flatter trajectory than the Mizar.
If you are a player that likes to shape shots, the VDC will allow you to not only go right and left, but also allow you to pick your trajectory and really dial in those touch shots. The VDC is a little more demanding when it comes to forgiveness, and you will notice more of a distance drop off when you get away from the center of the face. The shots hit near the heel kept that solid and soft feel where the shots out on the toe and low are met with a little added vibration and click. Nothing is harsh, even in the cold weather I was hitting in and that responsiveness should help those feel players.
The VDC is a high-end players cavity iron set that offers great, soft feel that you would expect with precision shot making.
Overall, the Vega line of irons are high performance and great feeling. You can go down the Classic Line for traditional shapes and buttery soft feel or take the Star Line for technology packed irons with added firepower. Either way you go, there is probably a Vega iron that fits your game.
Club Junkie Review: Mizuno RB Tour, RB Tour X golf balls
Mizuno has long been known as an expert in forged irons, but the majority of golfers don’t realize the company makes everything a golfer needs. Mizuno woods, wedges, putters, bags, clothing, and even golf balls are extremely high quality. Golf balls might be the least known, but the new RB Tour series could change that.
Mizuno’s RB Tour and RB Tour X golf balls are both three-piece, urethane cover, golf balls that are designed for skilled players looking for precision. The RB Tour launches lower and produces less spin with driver, while the RB Tour X does the opposite and has a slightly firmer feel. Both have a glossy white finish and smaller logos and markings that should appeal to discriminating players.
For more details on the Mizuno RB Tour golf balls. make sure to check out the Club Junkie podcast below, or on any podcast platform. Just search “GolfWRX Radio.”
The RB Tour is the ball that is designed for players looking for a flatter launch, lower spin, but who still want to have a lot of green side control. Out on the course, I easily noticed that shots off the tee started out in a lower window and had a very flat trajectory. The RB Tour did offer a straighter flight with less curvature to my draw and hook while offering a soft and solid feel. Distance was good with the ball but I think the combination of lower launch and spin took a few yards from me compared to the RB Tour X.
With irons and wedges, I noticed less of a difference in launch, and I was easily able to launch the RB Tour high, and it landed softly on the green, when I hit them. Wedge shots carried a lot of spin and a fairway lie would often result in a ball that had very minimal release. I am not one to zip balls back off the green but felt like the small amount of release on the green was consistent and predictable. Shots out of the rough had a little more release after they hit the green, but again the amount was easily judged and only took a few shots to get used to.
The feel on the RB Tour is soft and solid with minimal audible click at impact. RB Tour is a soft ball, but not so soft that you lack feedback. Feel off the putter or wedge is pleasant, and you know immediately where you struck the shot.
RB Tour X
This ball fit my game a little better with the higher launch and added spin on tee shots. Driver launch was clearly higher that the RB Tour and hit my preferred trajectory. The added spin seemed to help my shots stay in the air a little longer and carry just a bit further than the RB Tour.
Like I said before, the iron launch seemed to be very similar, and the RB Tour X was easy to get up in the air from the turf and land softly on the green. The higher flight and aded spin aided in distance control on the green where there was very minimal roll out. Shots from the fairway checked up immediately while shots from the rough rolled out a shorter distance than the RB Tour.
Around the green, I felt like the RB Tour X checked up just a little bit faster for me. The shorter chip and pitch shots had a little more grab on the first hop and less roll after that. Opening the face to hit higher lofted shots resulted in soft landing ball that again wanted to stop pretty quickly. Putting with the RB Tour X yielded a slightly firmer feel, but not wildly firmer than the RB Tour.
If you weren’t really paying attention, or using a soft insert putter, I think some golfers couldn’t tell the difference between the two. The roll is good and you get a slightly more audible click at impact that can be more responsive when you miss the center of the face.
Overall, I think the new Mizuno RB Tour golf balls are solid tour-level golf balls that offer good performance. If you are looking for a new golf ball this year, I think trying the new options from Mizuno out on the course would be worth your time.
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