L.A.B. Golf pushes the limits of putters and putting to try and help as many golfers as they can make more putts. Lie Angle Balanced putters are different because the face of the putter is always pointed towards your target. We all know L.A.B.’s famous Directed Force 2.1 putter. However, a lot of golfers didn’t like the looks and size of it. So L.A.B. developed the Mezz.1 putter that has a more traditional mallet look that so many golfers use, but with Lie Angle Balanced technology engineered into it. This year, the Mezz.1 Max putter was introduced to make a great putter even better. The Mezz.1 Max is 20-percent larger than the original Mezz.1 and offers more forgiveness and stability.
I have played the Mezz.1 this year and think it is a great putter, so to be honest, I wasn’t that excited to try the Mezz.1 Max at first. That changed pretty quickly once my putter showed up. To start, getting fit for a putter is one of the last things we golfers think about. L.A.B. has a very unique and effective remote fitting process if you cannot get to a fitter in person. You email a short video to them using your current putter and they use their internal genius to get your specs processed. The remote fitting video took me about seven minutes from start to submission.
Once you have your putter specs, you can then order a stock or custom Mezz.1 Max. I went down the custom path of various head colors, alignment aids, shafts, grips, and even a headcover to build my putter. My original Mezz.1 is black, and I wanted to go with some color to change things up and, for whatever reason, the cappuccino color kept grabbing my attention. The cappuccino color online looks more gold, and I was pleasantly surprised that in person the color is more brown and muted than I expected. The color goes well with the matte white Accra shaft and Press II 1.5-degree smooth grip.
Headcovers are now becoming big accessories, and the brown headcover I chose is kind of retro-looking while feeling high quality. Overall, I love the look and my Mezz.1 Max stands out without being too flashy and distracting.
As soon as I got the putter out of the box, I rolled a few putts on the carpet here at the office, not expecting much difference. From the first couple of putts, I could immediately tell something was a little different with this putter. The weight and balance through the stroke is more stable and you get an even better feeling of the putter wanting to keep the face pointed at the target. The other interesting find is that I didn’t even notice the 20-percent larger size that the Mezz.1 Max has over its older sibling. Maybe if I had them both side-by-side I would notice the size difference more, but the Mezz.1 Max on its own looks normal to my eye.
The first putts I hit on the carpet were great feeling and the Mezz.1 Max felt like it wanted to stay on its path regardless of how your hands tried to manipulate it. The same feeling was present on the putting green, and it was far stronger to me than the standard Mezz.1 felt. When you put the Mezz.1 Max on a target, the putter just wants to hit the ball at that target. The other interesting note is that, to me, the new Max has a softer and more solid feel compared to the smaller head. The sound at impact was more muted and had a lower pitch to it, even on mishits. Just like the original, the grooved face puts immediate forward roll on the ball and reduces almost all skipping.
L.A.B. says this Mezz.1 Max is 20-percent more stable, and I don’t think that is just some marketing talk. I have been in this putting funk where I have been making contact on the toe of the putter regularly. This miss has caused me to miss more than a few putts this year, and I hit a few with the new putter as well. Those toe misses still went straight and I wasn’t losing much speed. Those putts left the toe of the putter and either came up just short or just missed my intended line by a small amount. Those misses are a great improvement over the traditional blade that has been my gamer all summer. The biggest problem I had with the original Mezz.1 is that it took me awhile to get used to longer lag putts. This wasn’t the case with the Max, as I felt much more comfortable from long range and was able to get putts closer and reduce the 3-putt chances by a good amount.
Overall, if you’re searching for a new flatstick, the new L.A.B. Golf Mezz.1 Max putter is something to check out. You have a putter that can truly help you make more putts thanks to the Lie Angle Balanced technology, additional forgiveness, and stability.
For more information on my Mezz.1 Max putter review, listen to the Club Junkie podcast, which is available below and on any podcasting service.
Club Junkie Review: Cobra’s new King Tour irons
The Cobra King Tour irons have been proven on the PGA Tour already and will be in bags of better amateur players this year. The previous King Tour MIM irons were very underrated and offered great precision with a solid shape that many players liked. Cobra went away from the Metal Injection Molded construction and went with a five-step forging process for soft and solid feel.
Make sure to check out the full podcast review at the links below and search GolfWRX Radio on every podcast platform.
I was a big fan of the previous Tour MIM irons and played them in rotation throughout the last two years. Out of the box, I was impressed with the more simple and clean look of the badging on the new King Tour. Badging is mostly silver with just small black accents that should appeal to even the pickiest golfers. I didn’t notice the shorter blade length in the new irons but did notice that the leading edge is just slightly more rounded. Topline is thin, but not razor thin, but still has enough there to give you the confidence that you don’t have to hit it on the dead center every shot.
Feel is solid and soft with just a slight click to the thud on well struck shots while mishits are met with a little more sound and vibration to the hands.
These King Tour irons are built to be cannons and place more emphasis on consistent and precise shots. I also felt like the new irons launch easily and maybe a touch higher than some irons in the same category.
My launch monitor showed my 7 iron with an average launch angle of 22 degrees and spin right around 5,800 with a Project X LZ 6.0 stock shaft. Ball speed isn’t the ultimate focus of this iron but it did well with an average around 108mph and the iron was able to keep the speed up well when you didn’t strike the center. You will still see a drop off in speed and distance when you miss the center, but you don’t have to be Navy SEAL sniper accurate on the face to achieve a good shot. Dispersion was very tight, and while there are bigger irons with more forgiveness, this players cavity still allows good playability when you aren’t bringing your A-plus game to the course.
Cobra lists the King Tour as an iron for a Tour level player up to a 7 handicap and I think this iron could see the bags of more golfers than that. I am a 9.4 handicap, and I felt more than comfortable playing this iron even on less than perfect days.
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.
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