Most of the major brands in golf are bringing out new drivers, so over the next few weeks I am going to highlight the features of the best ones.
Starting with the new Ping G425. This is a driver that Youtuber, Rick Shiels has just rated as “The straightest and most forgiving driver I have ever tested”
The G425 comes in 3 head models; The LST, The Max and The SFT.
All three models continue to feature turbulators to reduce drag and increase speed and dragonfly technology that have been a mainstay of Ping driver design for many years now. The T9S+ forged face is also a feature to accelerate face flexing for more distance.
Ping are not ones to bring out completely different designs, but instead they have developed an amazing ability to improve upon already proven technology. Why try to reinvent the wheel?
The Max is so named because it elevates the moment of inertia (MOI) to PING’s highest level in history and provide golfers with the most forgiving driver ever!
The 460cc head features an adjustable 26g tungsten weight at the back that contributes to the high MOI and it can shift position to help you fine tune your ball flight curvature from a fade to a draw if desired.
In comparison to the LST this is deeper head, so the centre of gravity is further back from the face resulting in a higher launch and provides that unbelievable level of forgiveness.
The LST model is designed with a pear-shaped head and measures 445cc to deliver spin reductions of approximately 200 rpm compared to the G410 LST and 500-700 rpm versus the G425 Max. This too has the tungsten weight shifter to fine tune your ball flight, albeit a lighter weight than the Max at 17g.
The LST will flight the ball lower than the Max but the sacrifice in forgiveness means it is best suited to the better player who wants to flight the ball lower with less spin.
SFT stands for Straight Flight Technology and this driver is for anyone who suffers from a slice (a shot that curves off to the right for a right-handed golfer)
It comes in only a 10.5 loft but, just like the other models in the series, loft can be easily adjusted +/- 1.5 degrees.
The tungsten weight in the SFT is 23g and is fixed very much in the heel area of the club. This positioning, combined with a more closed clubface, reduces a slice by a further 10 yards compared to the G410 SFT and a massive 25 yards compared to the G425 Max driver.
If you want the most forgiving driver ever then the G425 Max is a winner.
If you are a good driver of the ball and want to flight the ball lower with less spin then the G425 LST will be your best choice.
But, if you tend to slice the ball you need look no further than the G245 SFT. I am confident it will be the best driver you have ever used.
Our price is £399 which includes a full fitting on the new Foresight GCQuad Launch monitor in the Studio at Dunes Golf Centre.
You MUST get fitted As always, these products only perform to their potential when fitted properly.
So much so that Ping have delayed the launch of the G425 to make sure that people cannot buy them online without getting fitted first.
We are taking bookings now for fittings from 19th February 2021 but if we still can’t do it by then then we will just rearrange it and you will not lose any fitting fee.
I turned Pro in 1997 and back then a typical set of irons went from a 3 iron through to a Sand Wedge.
We hadn’t heard of gap wedges and Taylormade’s famous ‘Rescue’ club, now more commonly known as a hybrid, was just about to make a name for itself.
Fast forward to 2020 and you will be hard-pressed to find a 3 iron from any supplier.
The reason for this is due to the vanishing loft phenomenon...
Advances in club design have meant manufacturers can position the weight lower down in the club resulting in a higher ball flight. This, in turn, has caused the loft of the clubs to decrease to produce the desirable ball flight trajectory.
When I turned pro my Tommy Armour 845s Silver Scot 8 iron was 42 degrees and now we see most Pitching wedges with lofts close to that. For example, the new Callaway Mavrik Max Pitching Wedge is 43 degrees!
*Tommy Armour Silver Scot 845s **Callaway Mavrik Max
This means golfers are hitting the ball further than the equivalent iron of 30 years ago but it has caused two problems:
1. A new club had to be invented.
To still be an effective bunker club the Sand Wedge loft has barely changed over the decades. It has remained at about 54-56 degrees. But, because the pitching wedge has decreased in loft down to the low 40’s there is this huge gap. So, we welcome the appropriately named ‘Gap Wedge’ which at 48 to 52 degrees is the old loft of the Pitching Wedg
2. Long irons are difficult to hit
With a 4 iron now at 20 degrees, it is a challenging club even for the most accomplished of golfers to hit with any degree of consistency. This is despite the advances in technology and clubhead design.
A seven handicap golfer recently installed a tracking system to his clubs which quite cleverly uses GPS to show how far each shot goes. The data this fed back to him showed that his 6 iron went further on average than his 5 iron.
His initial reaction was that the lofts of the club must be incorrect, so he brought the clubs in for us to inspect on our loft lie machine.
The machine showed that the loft gap between the clubs was correct so the problem was elsewhere.
The launch monitor in the studio at Dunes revealed that the 5 iron did go further but only on well-struck shots. This was not happening enough on the golf course and therefore the average shot distance was less than the 6 iron.
The solution… In this case, the golfer in question would probably be better off with a 5 hybrid instead of a 5 iron.
For many golfers, switching to hybrids is a challenge because they have been so used to playing with long irons all of their golfing life. But, now is the time to give a hybrid a go to see if it can make the game easier and more enjoyable.
We like the Mizuno JPX FliHi as they can be fitted with the same shafts as you would get in your irons, steel for example, which makes them feel much more like the rest of the set.
If you would like to try out your 5 iron against a 5 hybrid then come along to Dunes and ask for a demo. All you have to do is buy your range balls (baskets start at £2.80) and our staff will set you up with a few different ones to try.
Book a fitting
A custom fitting with one of our trained staff will show you exactly how far you hit each club and identify your best solution. Custom fitting benefits all levels of golfer, even if you have just started playing. For more information and to book click here, or give us a call on 01346 510693
We have heard what the likes of Rory McIlroy and the rest of
the tour players think of their new clubs but we wanted to find out how they
performed in the hands of the amateur golfer.
At Dunes we provided the opportunity for you to try the
latest and greatest drivers on the market – each promising unrivalled levels of
distance and accuracy.
Our Driver challenge proved a big hit as just under 40 local
golfers turned up throughout the day to try the new drivers and compare them
against what they were currently playing.
Of all the drivers currently available we had the best of
the best on demo, namely; Ping G410, Mizuno ST190, Taylormade M5/M6 and
Callaway Epic Flash.
Before we get into the results from the day let’s take a
look at the story behind each club.
Taylormade M5 & M6
First up is the new M5 and M6 drivers
from Taylormade that follow on from the hugely successful M1/M2 and M3/M4
franchises of the last couple of years.
The big story
here is that TaylorMade are revolutionising the process of creating driver
faces for the M5 and M6 by starting above the legal limit and dialling it back
by injecting resin in to two ‘tuning slots’ in the driver face. This is called
‘Speed Injecting’ and ensures that every driver is on the limit thanks to an
algorithm which calculates the right amount of resin to use for every face.
driver face flex was limited by the R&A to stop how far golfers hit the
ball but it has been impossible to produce drivers which consistently hit the
limit of 0.830 COR.
means is that all drivers have a different level of ‘hotness’, and while it
ensures no ‘hot’ drivers go on to the illegal side, it also means many golfers
end up playing with drivers which aren’t as close to the limit as they could
be. The ‘hottest’ drivers are hand-picked for tour players, leaving TaylorMade
estimating around 70% of retail drivers are outside the ‘hot range’ usually
used by pros.
state that the production methods in the past have made picking the hottest
driver for club golfers nothing more than just pure luck.
In the M5 and
M6 they are removing the luck element due to the fact the Speed Injected technology
will position every driver face right on the edge of the rules.
Dunes Price: M5 £449.00, M6 £399.00
Callaway Epic Flash
Two years ago Callaway launched the Epic driver that
featured Jailbreak Technology and this was a huge success. Last year they
improved it further still by enhancing the jailbreak in their Rogue product
This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new
Flash Face’s sophisticated architecture was created by
Artificial Intelligence – the first known instance of using A.I.in the golf
equipment industry — and “Machine Learning,” a field of computer science that
uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn”
with data without being explicitly programmed. Through Machine Learning
the Callaway computers cycled through 15,000 face iterations, learning from
each one, before arriving at Flash Face.
In normal driver testing approximately 6 different prototypes are used so given
A.I was able to pick the best from 15000 it will be very interesting to see how
the new Callaway Epic Flash performs.
Dunes Price: £449.00
The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is
the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade
Ping are often later to the party when
it comes to things like this but only because they ensure that new design
features offer a real benefit to the golfer without severely compromising
another area of performance.
positions (draw, neutral, fade) shift the CG location by 1/10″ in either
direction, which equates to approximately 10 yards — or 20 yards of correction
between draw and fade settings — of shot shape.
The SFtec version features a weight
50% further towards the heel than the G400 Sftec version so if you slice the
ball then this club will probably be the best on the market in 2019 for you to
help straighten the shot out.
Ping say the
G410 driver will be better than its predecessors through four ‘Fs’.
It’s Faster, more Forgiving, has a better Feel and can be Fitted better.
through the air due to improved aerodynamics and more efficient turbulators
They’ve been able to drag the weight right to the perimeter to keep the MOI
(resistance to twisting) as high, if not higher, than anything else on the
market so it’s super forgiving. Better fitting is also possible through the
loft sleeve which has eight positions with +/- 1.5˚.
this is a good one for the North East of Scotland, they’ve made the headcover
20% heavier to make sure it doesn’t blow away in the wind!
Dunes Price: £379.00
Mizuno ST190 and ST190G
Mizuno have struggled to compete in the driver market for
some years despite their dominance in the forged iron market. However, that may
be about to change as all the online reviews of their 2019 models show that
they could be their best yet!
drivers offer Mizuno’s lowest spin rates and incorporate every known factor in
the quest to enhance ball speed and driving distance. Mizuno’s ultra-fast
Forged SP700 Ti face now boasts a lighter CORTECH structure to deliver
consistently higher ball speeds, with a large carbon composite crown plus the
Amplified Wave soleplate, introduced in last year’s ST180 drivers, helping to
convert each additional mph into extra yards.
The ST190 is designed for mid to low spin with
maximum stability, and features a single, factory-fixed 6g backweight that
increases MOI for added stability on off-centre strikes
The ST190G is engineered for low spin and offers
Fast Track adjustability thanks to twin 7g weights on external tracks that can
reduce spin by an additional 200rpm, allowing players to achieve heavy fade or
draw biases by placing the weights in one track.
Dunes Price: ST190 £369.00, ST190G
THE RESULTS We asked each participant to rate the drivers on four different aspects;
Looks, Feel, Sound and Performance on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent)
Looks The Taylormade topped the best-looking list with an average rating of 4.19 which was quite a way in front of 2nd placed Ping on 3.94. The Mizuno and Callaway shared 3rd place, both on 3.81.
WINNER BEST LOOKING: TAYLORMADE
Feel The Taylormade claimed victory once again as you voted it the best feeling driver of 2019. The Ping came 2nd, Mizuno 3rd and the Callaway was in 4th.
WINNER BEST FEEL: TAYLORMADE
Sound The drivers certainly have their own distinctive sounds of which we have no doubt the manufacturers engineer deliberately. And, this was a very close contest with very little difference on your opinions of the acoustic qualities of each club. However, it was a hattrick of wins for Taylormade as once again it proved to be your winner.
WINNER BEST SOUND: TAYLORMADE
Performance You could argue this is the most important category of all. At the end of the day, does it matter what a driver looks, feels and sounds like if it does not perform very well?
I think it is fair to say that all of these products perform
exceptionally well but we can only have one winner!
And a huge congratulations go to Taylormade for making it a clean sweep as they claimed the top spot once again! It was a narrow margin of victory though with the Ping G410 coming a very close second.
PERFORMANCE: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
Which driver would you buy? No surprises when you consider the results so far that the Taylromade M5/M6 was your overall winner and the driver that you said you would buy next. Not by a small margin either, a whopping 47% selected the Taylormade with the other 3 sharing the remainder pretty evenly.
WINNER BUYING CHOICE:
What was clearly evident from the day was that getting
fitted for your next driver is an absolute must. You could easily dismiss a
driver on its performance simply because you were fitted with unsuitable shaft,
head type, length, settings on the head or most likely a combination of all of
We have invested heavily in technology and training to help
us quickly and confidently optimise the set up for each individual golfer. We
are committed to providing a World class service to the golfers of North East
Scotland and offer you the leading brands in golf at the most competitive
prices. Best of all we will make sure you get what is right for you.
If you could not make it to the Driver Challenge then do not
worry! We have the full range of demo products and shaft options in the Golf
Studio for you to get fitted with 7 days a week.
We are open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am to 4pm.
A fitting costs £30.00 but this is refunded against the
value of any club purchased as a result of the fitting.
SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £30! Get a FREE fitting from one of our expert club fitters during the month of March with this special promotional code ‘MARCH19’ Simply go the website – click the button to book and then enter the code in the Redeem Coupon section to get your £30 discount
The new golfing season is fast approaching but how ready are you….and your clubs?
Your only point of contact with the club is through the grip, so it’s vitally important that yours aren’t neglected. However, it’s very common for a golfer not to notice the wearing of their grips as it’s a process which occurs slowly over time, by which point the golfer gets used to the change.
WHY DO GRIPS WEAR OUT?
The natural oils on your hands, UV light and dirt all cause wear, which reduces tackiness and traction.
ARE WORN GRIPS HARMFUL?
Less traction can cause the grip to slip and the clubface to twist, resulting in off-centre strikes and less accuracy.
CAN YOU COUNTER THIS EFFECT?
We often see golfers with tight grip pressure try and secure their clubs, but this adds tension to the hands, wrists and arms, which reduces clubhead speed and distance.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I RE-GRIP?
It might seem obvious, but the more you play the sooner you’ll need a re-grip, so we recommend replacing annually, but if you play more it might be more often
Old, worn grips can lead to a lot of problems, including poor accuracy and a loss of distance as we outlined above, but if you ignore the problem things can get a whole lot worse and you’ll struggle to keep hold of the club altogether.
Be clear on these warning signs
Most golfers just do not know when it is time to replace their grips. Here are some tangible warning signs that you can look out for.
SMOOTH OR SHINY SURFACES
These are the most common warning signs and mean tackiness and traction are in short supply. Less traction can cause the grip, and consequently the head, to move mid swing, resulting in off centre strikes and misdirected shots
FADED OR BARE SPOTS
Faded patches often start to appear around where your thumb and fingers sit and with less traction in those areas you’ll find yourself adopting a tighter grip to hold on to your club, which adds tension that in turn reduces head speed and distance.
CRACKS OR SPLITTING
If you spot cracks your grips have likely lost their traction long ago. Not only are these likely to fully split, they’ll also reduce the feel you experience making a consistent short game harder to achieve.
HOW ARE YOUR GRIPS LOOKING?
If you haven’t already, go and take a look at the condition of your grips – are any of these warning signs ringing true for you? If you’re wondering how you could benefit from a new grip, come in store and we’ll talk you through your options.
World Famous golf coach David Leadbetter had this to say in a recent interview with Foremost Golf…
“I’d recommend players ideally change their grips every 40 rounds as it’s amazing the wear and tear you place on them. Grip pressure is vital and in golf if you’ve got a slick grip your pressure instinctively increases to hold on to the club and that’s something us coaches are constantly fighting.”
He also added this on grip fitting, “One of the most important things is making sure the grip is the right size. Using a standard size grip is like going in to a shoe shop and getting assize nine because that fits everybody. It’s just not the case.”
BEWARE OF FAKES
We all want a bargain but in most cases you truly get what you pay for, or even worse in many cases.
There are so many fakes coming from online sources like ebay. I’ve seen some shockers, completely inconsistent sizing and they wear out in no time. Do your game a favour – call in to see us soon and talk about your grips. We will give you a totally honest assessment on their conditon (they may just need a good clean!) and also advise on the grip size that will help you to play your best.
Improve your scores – guaranteed!
Your ability to score is significantly influenced by your ability to minimise the number of putts per round.
But it is not simply a case of going out there and practicing your putting!
Did you know?…The leading money winner on the PGA Tour (Dustin Johnson) last year only made 58.87% from the 5-10 foot range. Bubba Watson only made 46.09%.
If any amateur golfer can average over 50% over the course of a season from this critical scoring range, I would very much like to meet them!
In the words of Dave Pelz, short game coach to the world’s top players, “If you want to score, the most important “game” to improve is your short game. Second most important is your putting game. And the least important is your power-swing, ball striking game, the game you’ve been practicing all these years!”
Here is why… Dave Pelz places the short game (this is chipping and pitching) above putting because all the stats show that how close you hit it to the hole has a significant impact upon how many putts you take.
Take a look at the 2016 season putting stats from current World Number One, Dustin Johnson.
Notice how the percentage success rate from outside 10ft drops off a cliff. Outside of 15ft Dustin doesn’t make many putts at all!
This means all golfers will benefit hugely by hitting the ball closer to the hole from 110 yards and in.
Practice is not just about hitting ball after ball and spending a lot of time at it – in fact it is entirely not that! Good practice is about being deliberate with what you are doing and to make practice more like your play.
We have developed some superb practice games that will guarantee you lower scores on the course. The first of these is called ‘Target Pitching’.
Very simply, you play 5 balls from 20 yards and score points depending how close to the hole you finish. This is repeated at 10 yard intervals right out to 110 yards. Important: We highly recommend using your normal ‘match’ balls for this game as we do not want to create extra variables by changing the ball type. So, if you normally play a Titleist ProV1 make sure you have five, in good condition, for this game.
Add up your score total on the score sheet provided and each time you play you should try to beat your best ever score.
You can only play the game once in a day and, if you start-off badly, you are not allowed to start again!
A more advanced way to play the game is to play with just one ball from each distance and to randomise the order in which you play each shot. This makes it even more like your play!
The Golf Studio at Dunes provides highly accurate distance information and is ideal for playing this game and it means you can use a brand new ball as you can get it back each time.
Wedge Fitting at Dunes Golf Centre
Over the last 15-20 years the manufacturers have strengthened the lofts on Iron sets meaning the Pitching Wedge has strengthened from 52° to 45°. In fact, the Pitching Wedge on one new set of Irons is 44°. That is a three club length gap to the Sand Wedge.
No wonder we haven’t seen a drop in scores despite the longer tee shots. With a gap between the Pitching Wedge and Sand Wedge (which they couldn’t strengthen as we needed that loft to get out of bunkers) extended to 11°, in the scoring zone you are effectively playing with a Sand Wedge and 8 Iron!
If you want a better short game, as a minimum you must do the following: get very good at playing 1/2, 5/8 or 3/4 and 7/8 Pitching Wedge shots and, as I would also recommend, you put a 50 or 52° Wedge in your bag.
This Wedge (the ‘Gap’ Wedge to fill the gap the manufacturer’s have created between the PW and SW) will make it much easier for you to play better shots into greens.
I currently carry 3 wedges; They are a 48° wedge, a 52° Gap wedge and a 56° Sand wedge. I feel this gives me the versatility around the greens that I require although the inclusion of a 60° Lob wedge could also prove beneficial.
We are a Custom Fitting Centre for Cleveland Golf with a cart that carries all of the different heads and shaft combinations. We also have fitting clubs that you can try from Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Mizuno and Orka.
What wedges do you carry?
We have a loft and lie machine and will gladly check your loft gaps FREE of charge! It only takes us a few minutes to do by using our special Loft and Lie machine. We can also talk to you about what distance gaps you have in your set as well as what bounce angles would suit you best – are you a Digger or a Sweeper?
If you want to make 2017 your best and most enjoyable year on a golf course we suggest you come for an assessment lesson at Dunes Golf Centre. It is open to golfers of all ages and levels of ability and is a fantastic learning experience costing from just £20 for the 60 minute session.
We have heard what the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson think of their new clubs but we wanted to find out how they performed in the hands of the amateur golfer.
At Dunes we provided the opportunity for you to try the latest and greatest drivers on the market – each promising unrivalled levels of distance and accuracy.
Our Heavyweight Driver Battle proved a big hit as 54 golfers turned up throughout the day to try the new drivers and compare them against what they were currently playing.
Of all the drivers currently available there are really only 3 that people are talking about: The Callaway Epic, Taylor Made M1/M2 and the Ping G.
Before we get into the results from the day let’s take a look at the features and benefits of each.
The new Epic is probably the most talked about new driver since the original Great Big Bertha was launched in the mid-nineties.
The most notable feature on the Epic is what Callaway have called Jailbreak Technology.
Jailbreak works by dramatically increasing distance through stiffening the body to transfer more energy to the ball. On normal drivers, the face and crown flex upon impact with the crown moving up and sole moving down. This creates a loss of energy so Jailbreak creates a vertical connection with two lightweight titanium vertical bars. This drastically reduces the flex on the face to double the impact load for more energy and ball speeds across the face.
Taylor Made M1/M2
The all-new M1 driver takes multi-material construction to the next level to deliver distance, forgiveness and complete personalisation. Featuring a new 6-layer carbon crown and additional carbon toe panel, the 2017 M1 driver has 43% more carbon than last year’s model.
Ping G Driver
Inspired by an approach called biomimicry, PING engineers analysed the dragonfly’s intricate wing pattern to design ultra-thin crown sections for extreme centre of gravity location and maximized MOI. Dragonfly Technology, Vortec Technology, turbulators and a strong T9S face have created Ping’s longest and most forgiving driver ever.
So, that’s the information on the technology but what did you, the general golfing public, think of them?
All participants were asked to score each club on; Looks, Feel, Sound, Performance and ultimately which one they would buy.
Callaway topped the best-looking list with an average rating of 4.14, just a fraction ahead of the Taylormade. The Ping was certainly not a favourite aesthetically and finished a good way behind the other two.
WINNER BEST LOOKING: CALLAWAY EPIC
The best feel was a very close run affair between all three drivers but it was the Ping that came out on top, defeating the Callaway into second place by the narrowest of margins.
WINNER BEST FEEL: PING G
The three drivers certainly have their own distinctive sounds of which we have no doubt the manufacturers engineer deliberately. It was our prediction that the softer thud made by the multi-material Callaway and Taylormade would be popular but it seems we were wrong. The much louder crack created by the Ping proved to be the preference overall and therefore claimed the top spot.
WINNER BEST SOUND: PING G
You could argue this is the most important category of all. At the end of the day, does it matter what a driver looks, feels and sounds like if it does not perform very well?
I think it is fair to say that all three of these products perform exceptionally well but we can only have one winner!
We have long promoted the Ping G Driver as one of the best on the market but since the launch of the new M1 and the Callaway Epic we were questioning if it’s crown could now be taken. Well, according to your ratings, the answer was NO. Despite the Ping selling for £299 versus the Callaway and Taylormade at £429 you rated it as the best performing driver of them all.
WINNER BEST PERFORMANCE: PING G
Which driver would you buy?
An interesting result here as you would think that it would be the Ping given that it was rated as having the best performance. However, the totals showed that the Callaway Epic will be filling more of your golf bags this year than both the Ping and the Taylormade.
WINNER BUYING CHOICE: CALLWAY EPIC
What was clearly evident from the day was that getting fitted for your next driver is an absolute must. You could easily dismiss a driver on its performance simply because you were fitted with unsuitable shaft, head type, length, settings on the head or most likely a combination of all of the aforementioned.
We have invested heavily in technology and training to help us quickly and confidently optimise the set up for each individual golfer. We are committed to providing a World class service to the golfers of North East Scotland and offer you the leading brands in golf at the most competitive prices. Best of all we will make sure you get what is right for you.
Rodney Trail certainly benefitted from a good fitting and the newer technology available today. His current driver is a Callaway Diablo driver from 2009 but with the new Callaway Epic he gained 42 yards in length. That is what we call a ‘Game Changer!’
If you could not make it to the Heavyweight Driver Battle then do not worry! We have the full range of demo products and shaft options in the Golf Studio for you to get fitted with 7 days a week.
We are now open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
If you would like to see how much more yardage and accuracy you could gain then book a fitting today. It costs £30.00 but this is refunded if a purchase is made as a result of the fitting.
Don’t forget to bring your own club along as we only want you to buy a benefit!