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Its been a busy start to the 2019 season for the top manufacturers, their has been some awesome product releases from Ping with the G410, Taylormade with their M5 & M6 range and Titleist with their TS project family.
Sometimes we get bias reviews on these products from various media sources within the Industry, here at the THSG we have our own panel of testers and this week we are looking at drivers….!!! In particular the G410, M5 and TS2/TS3.
First up we had ROWGC member Tim Rigden file his report on the highly anticipated Ping G410 driver. The G410 comes in two different heads the SFT (straight flight technology) and the plus head.
Tim’s Report -
I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer the following observations on the new Ping G410.
Currently, my handicap is 11 and I am playing with a Nike VRS Covert which has an 11 degree flight, a stiff shaft and more often than not I use a Titleist Pro V1X.
The Ping G410 was matched with a 12 degree flight and a slightly open set up and again to give it a fair test I used the Titleist Pro V1X golf ball.
First impression - it looks good, which is hugely important for me, it is well balanced and is very comfortable in the set up and having a matt grey/black head negates any dazzle on a bright, sunny day!
When using this driver from the tee, with an orange castle, the sound of the ball strike had a very pleasing resonance and not all tinny or clumpy. For me the sound and look of any club is very important from a confidence, point of view, and the mental aspect.
The Ping G410 had an excellent high flight and a tight angle of dispersion which enabled me to obtain good distance, approximately 10-15 metres further than my current club.
Overall, it was an extremely pleasing and enjoyable driver to play with and if I was in the market for a new driver, then it would be one that would be well worth considering, not withstanding the price.
ROWGC member Andy Baldwin was up next testing the new Taylormade M6 driver. Taylormade always have huge presence on tour with some of the worlds best players playing their products inducing Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods….to name just a few!!
Andy’s Report -
I currently use a PING G Series Driver (SF Tec 10 degrees) and the M6 i tried out was set up to give a similar loft to my PING.
First impressions of the M6 were that it was a well balanced club that felt good to swing and in that it seemed similar to my own club.
However as a relatively high handicap golfer (19) the big problem I had with the club was its lack of forgiveness, if I got the sweet spot it went really well and the "Twist Face" did seem to straighten the shots out a bit.
If I didn't get the sweet spot - which didn't seem all that large to me - then it all went horribly wrong, much worse that my own PING
The ball flight was also similar (when it came out the middle) quite a high trajectory from a 10.5 degree setting, distance off the tee was longer than my current club - but not much maybe 5 yards.
In summary a good well made club but probably aimed at the low handicapper who can consistently hit it out of the middle. With a price tag of £440 it is not an investment i will be making.
Steve Jones - THSG Pupil / Tested the new TS2 Titleist driver set-up 10.5 tensei blue - stiff shaft
I play off a 17 handicap and have always struggled with a driver off the tee, short and wild is not a good mix around any course and in the past i often just settled with using my 4iron just to keep it in play.
I was a little bit fearful of being a tester for a driver because this area of the game has plagued me for years…….I bit the bullet and tested out the new Titleist TS2 driver set up with a stiff shaft and 10.5 loft. My previous driver is a Callaway Rogue and as mentioned i have never got on with it.
As soon as i put the TS2 behind the ball i gained confidence, the looks are sleek and streamline and gave me an inner confidence that this area of the game could improve. Upon on strike it felt solid and with the adjustments in the shaft i started to get rid of my slice. Tim set it up on a draw setting and my it made a difference.
Never before have i hit the ball so well off the tee, the TS2 made a huge difference and i reckon i was 20-30yards further. This confused me as i was now hitting 3 clubs shorter into the greens!!! First time out in testing i shot under my handicap for the first time in 8months……For me the testing was a real eye opener, Titleist have come up trumps and made a driver that sorted out my slice and helped me gain yards…..so much so i have booked in for a custom fit with Tim to purchase one myself!!
John Palmer ROWGC Member - Ping G410 SFT driver 10.5 degree
Tested by John Palmer, senior, handicap 12.7. played for 40 years.
Current driver Ping G25 - 10.5 degree
First impressions on sight was very good.
The head is shallower and less bulky than the G25 and with the turbulators give it a more streamlined look.
The club feels light and nicely balanced.
It is comfortable to play with and seems easier to swing and to generate a greater speed.
On impact it produces a nice sound with a high ball trajectory and straight. The weight in the head obviously getting rid of any fade. Distance is slightly longer than the G25 probably due to the 410 going straight and the slight fade i usually get with my existing driver.
The only drawback i found, when i tried to fade a shot, the ball went straight out at an angle which is a problem for example the 11th hole around the tree.
Overall:- a beautifully balanced club with straight flight and high trajectory. An ideal driver for anyone who tends to slice.
Thank you to all the testers that took part in the driver testing. It makes a huge difference listening to real golfers give their honest opinions on these latest clubs. Hopefully this will help you shape your decisions when it comes to purchasing a new driver in the future. If you would like any further information on custom fitting or club testing please see one of the team.
Wilson Stanley Hall & Ivy Grace Hall …..
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Its been an awesome journey for the THSG so far working with some very talented young players over the past few years. We have been lucky enough to work with some high level elite amateurs and pro's playing at the highest level.
Our US College contingent includes players all across the UK and america playing in various leagues. Close to home Niall has been flying the THSG/ROWGC flag at Kirkwood college based in Cedar rapids in Iowa. Over the past 6 months Niall has introduced us to a fine young player called George Kalpakas who is in his first year at Kirkwood. George is originally based in Cyprus where he grew up and played the majority of his golf at his home course Aphrodite Hills. We have put together a program for George and taught him online via various teaching platforms. Our holistic approach to his improvement has allowed us to build in change to technique and given him the pillars in place to practice better and improve performance both on and off the course. Like Niall, George is a real pleasure to work with and is a real student of the game.
After a busy first year at Kirkwood George headed back home to Cyprus at the start of May, to prepare for a busy summer season playing various competitions at his home club. His major the Cypriot Amateur championships just so happened to be in his first week back home. Players from all over the world fly into play this championships which was held at Elea golf club close to Georges home town. This competition is steeped in history and ironically has never had a Cypriot winner. The tournament is recognised all over the world, with world ranking points up for grabs.
The course was set up really tough and unseasonably hot and windy conditions plagued the opening rounds. George showed fantastic mental strength to battle hard in the first two rounds which saw him leading by just one shot heading into the final round.
After speaking with George after every round i could tell that his mind and game plan was solid and just following it could see him through for the victory. We all know how hard it is to cross the finish line but George did it in style, when it mattered he shot a -1 par back 9 to win by 4 shots from the nearest competitor. George passionately knocked in a 6 footer on the 18th, followed by a 'Tiger' esq fist pump to take the title and be the first ever Cypriot to win the championships. The hometown crowd around the 18th cheered George in and i was lucky enough to get a FaceTime with him straight after, congratulating him on the impressive win.
Myself, Oli, James and Niall who have all been part of George's improvements are so proud of him. George is going to be spending sometime with us in June training with the THSG at the club, if anyone fancies a game with him while he is here, please let me know.
Well done again George ....