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Should I ditch my 5 iron?

I turned Pro in 1997 and back then a typical set of irons went from a 3 iron through to a Sand Wedge.

Taylormade's original firesole rescue club

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 854s Silver Scot vs Callaway Mavrik Max Iron
My Tommy Armour Silver Scot vs the new Callaway Mavrik Max
Iron1997*
lofts
2020**
lofts
42620
53023
63426
73830
84234
94638
PW5043
SW5654
*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.

Case study

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.

Watch me trying out the Mizuno JPX FliHi Hybrid

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

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Mizuno Tour Fitting Experience Coming to Dunes

Mizuno are heading to Dunes to give you an amazing fitting experience.

Thursday 13th August 2pm to 7pm.

Whether it is a new driver, wedges or a set of irons you will be taken through a comprehensive fitting to make sure you go away with the best setup to improve your game.

Free of charge fitting!

Booking is by appointment only with just 5 slots available to make sure everything can be sterilised before and after use.

Go to this webpage to book https://dunesgolfcentre.as.me/mizunofitting
Or call us on 01346 510693 but don’t delay as space is very limited.

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Driver Challenge 2019 – The Results

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.

In 1998 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.

What that 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.

TaylorMade 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 line.

This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new Flash Face…

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

Ping G410

The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade bias.

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.

The three 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.

It’s faster 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˚.

Finally, and 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!

The ST190 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 £399.00

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 M5/M6

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 M5/M6

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 M5/M6

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.

WINNER BEST 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: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

MY THOUGHTS

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.

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

Book online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting/ or call 01346 510693 and quote the code above.

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New Drivers for 2019 in the spotlight

The big boys are flexing their muscles as most of golf’s premium manufacturers are releasing new products right now.

In this feature I am focusing on the best new drivers that have just come out or about to be launched. So, if you are thinking of buying a new big stick then read on….

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.

In 1998 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.

What that 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.

TaylorMade 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.

Available for fitting: Now
Release Date: 15th February 2019
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 line.

This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new Flash Face…

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.

Available for fitting: Now
Release Date: 15th February 2019
Dunes Price: £449.00

Ping G410

The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade bias.

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.

The three 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.

It’s faster 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˚.

Finally, and 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!

Available for fitting: 7th February 2019 (come along to our free of charge demo day on 7th February 3pm to 7pm)
Release Date: 21st March 2019 7th March 2019
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!

The ST190 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.

Available for fitting: 11th February 2019
Release Date: 11th February 2019
Dunes Price: ST190 £369.00, ST190G £399.00

The importance of fitting…

No matter which driver you like the sound of, the single most important thing, if you are looking for the best performance, is to get fitted by an expert using a launch monitor.

Our PGA staff at Dunes are highly trained and lead the way in Custom Fitting in the North East of Scotland. The technology in the studio is the best in the World for fitting as the data provides accurate feedback so you and the PGA fitter can see the difference between each option that you try.

Book your custom fit appointment online now at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting or telephone 01346 510693

Price match promise
We have set our stall out to be THE place for you to buy all your golf equipment. Our well stocked shop, knowledgeable PGA staff and highly competitive pricing all backed up by a caring after sales service mean we so no reason why you should buy elsewhere.

We want your feedback….

A couple of years ago we ran a challenge to see which of the new drivers you liked the best. It was so successful that we are going to run it again. However, we do not just want the big hitters to come along. We would like golfers of all ages and abilities, male and female to come and give the latest models a try.

You will be asked to rate each driver on looks, sound, feel and performance. There is no charge for the event and certainly no obligation to buy anything – we just want your feedback.

DRIVER CHALLENGE – FRIDAY 22nd FEBRUARY
Book your time slot online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/driverchallenge

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How to improve your scores…

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.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A  FITTING AT DUNES GOLF CENTRE

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.

Telephone 01346 510693 to book or go to www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk

SUMMER OPENING HOURS
We are pleased to announce that the Golf Centre is back on Summer opening hours so we are now 7 days a week:
Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 4pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm

Please note: The café is not going to be open on a Sunday until April 2017