Sunday, October 22, 2017

2012 Hot List


ADAMS IDEA A7/A70S

STREET PRICE: $150
WEBSITE: adamsgolf.com
LOFTS: Idea a7: 17, 19, 22, 25; Idea a7OS: 17, 19, 22, 25, 28

TECH TALK: The Idea a7 (pictured) is smaller than the Idea a7OS and has a narrow, cambered sole for versatility on different lies. It also has a 41-gram rear weight to help increase spin and launch the ball high. The Idea a7OS has a wide sole, generous off-set and extra weight in the heel and toe to optimize forgiveness. The a7 comes with a UST Proforce AXIVCore shaft; the a7OS features a Grafalloy ProLaunch Axis shaft.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “Impact is really smooth with a solid sound.”… “Super easy to get up in the air.”
(M) “Has a great feel at impact — and long. I could barely tell I touched the ball.”… “I love the clean lines. No distractions, and the face doesn’t look hooked.”

HOT: Adams makes a hybrid for every player type, and we like that you can buy the Idea a7 and a7OS separately or as part of the ninth generation of Adams’ integrated hybrid-iron sets.
NOT: The longish shaft length of the a7OS 6-hybrid is the same as a typical 4-iron.


CALLAWAY DIABLO EDGE/DIABLO EDGE TOUR

STREET PRICE: $160
WEBSITE: callawaygolf.com
LOFTS: Diablo Edge: 20, 23, 26, 29; Diablo Edge Tour: 17, 20, 23

TECH TALK: The moment of inertia (MOI) on this year’s Diablo is 30 percent higher than that of last year’s model, to improve stability on off-center hits. The Diablo Edge features a wide, shallow profile and a low, deep center of gravity (CG) to help golfers launch the ball high. The Tour version has a slightly forward CG to give golfers with high swing speeds a boring trajectory.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “The weight and balance on this is ideal. I don’t think I can miss it.”…”Practically perfect. The ball just explodes off the face.”
(M) “A really penetrating, high ball flight. I crushed it.”… “Average looks but far above average performance on tight and fluffy lies.”
(L) “The misses aren’t too wild.” … “Good for someone who needs to get the ball in the air.”

HOT: Smarter manufacturing results in better off-center-hit performance. No one does forgiveness better than Callaway.
NOT: The flat sole makes it less versatile from really gnarly lies.


CALLAWAY FT-IZ

STREET PRICE: $200
LOFTS: 17, 20, 23, 26
WEBSITE: callawaygolf.com

TECH TALK: Callaway has increased the club’s resistance to twisting during impact by almost 50 percent by using injection molding to place high-density metal weights in the heel and toe areas of the sole. The company has also made the crown 30 percent thinner than the previous FT hybrid. To put it in perspective, the MOI on this club is as high as a Callaway driver from 2002. The wide body and hefty off-set contribute to its forgiveness.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “I like the weighting and the long head. Verges on greatness.”
(M) “Sometimes different is good. The triangle is blended nicely into an almost normal shape. One of the few hybrids where you feel the ball cutting through the wind.”
(L) “Sits underneath the ball before you even get into your stance. Great turf interaction.” … “A nice complement to the driver.”

HOT: An extremely low CG and a higher loft lower on the face help even thin shots get up in the air.
NOT: It’s fairly massive, both in the club’s dimensions and the effect on your credit limit.


CLEVELAND LAUNCHER DST

STREET PRICE: $150
WEBSITE: clevelandgolf.com
LOFTS: 15.5, 18, 20.5, 23, 26

TECH TALK: To reduce the club’s weight, the Launcher DST comes with a lightweight grip and shaft. (The 74-gram Mitsubishi Diamana Red shaft weighs less than a typical hybrid shaft.) The oversize, plasma-welded face is designed to prevent severe drops in ball speed on toe and heel hits. Two rails on the sole make it easier for the head to glide through rough.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “Nice weight distribution. Aggressive sound and really good distance. You can hit it anywhere on the face and still get good results.”
(M) “Performs exceptionally well from bad lies.” …”Who needs a fairway wood when you have this?”
(L) “Nice, compact head. Feels like the meat of it is right behind the sweet spot. Gives me that vibe that I’m going to hit a good shot.”

HOT: Cleveland is sticking to its new “lighter, faster, longer” mantra even in the hybrid category. It’s a gamble that seems to be paying off.
NOT: Also available with a shorter, heavier steel shaft. This would seem to fly in the face of the lighter, faster, longer DST theory, no?


PING G15

STREET PRICE: $160
WEBSITE: ping.com
LOFTS: 17, 20, 23, 27, 31

TECH TALK: Shaped like an iron with a large appendage on the back, the G15 has a deep face and off-set. The CG is positioned close to the face, but the off-set keeps it farther back from the hosel to produce a high ball flight with little spin. An internal weight pad extends from the toe to the back of the head for a high MOI. Each flex in the proprietary shaft has a different stiffness, torque and weight (from 55 grams in the L-flex to 77 in the X-flex).

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “Flies like a rocket, with a really high trajectory. Exactly what you want from a hybrid.”
(M) “If you can get over the looks, it’s a very solid golf club. You pick up a lot of forgiveness, good distance and a nice, iron-like ball flight. It gets up and goes.”
(L) “I can’t believe how easy this is to hit. It makes every ball look like it’s sitting on a tee.”

HOT: For diggers and high-spin players looking for a penetrating ball flight, this is a good choice. The wide range of lofts is another plus.
NOT: To quote one of our testers: “It looks like a swollen thumb.”


TAYLORMADE RESCUE/RESCUE TP

STREET PRICE: Rescue: $160; Rescue TP: $200
LOFTS: Rescue: 17, 19, 22, 25; Rescue TP: 17, 19, 22
WEBSITE: taylormadegolf.com

TECH TALK: The Rescue has a tall face with less bulge to improve alignment at address. The head’s walls are very thin (0.6 millimeters), allowing the designers to move weight to the sole and lower the CG. The classically shaped Rescue TP has an adjustable hosel that lets users change the lie, loft and face angle to eight different settings.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “The weight of this club makes you want to hit it. Excellent design.”
(M) “The best-looking Rescue they’ve come out with.” … “On thin shots, you don’t lose as much distance as with others. Good, boring ball flight.” … “Incredibly easy to hit: It feels more forgiving than most hybrids.”
(L) “Consistently good height. Nice job hiding the adjustable hosel.”

HOT: While so many others are making fairway wood-like hybrids, here’s a model taking us back to where we belong.
NOT: Some might find the crown decal gaudy or distracting.


ADAMS IDEA PRO BLACK 9031

STREET PRICE: $200
LOFTS: 16, 18, 20, 23, 26
WEBSITE: adamsgolf.com

TECH TALK: Because it’s designed with a shorter blade length, a shorter front-to-back measurement and a decreased bulge and roll, the head lets better players work the ball horizontally and vertically. A weight plug that can be customized at the factory lowers the CG and allows for swingweight adjustments.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “It feels like it has a forged face. Makes you think you’ve got skills when you hit it.”
(M) “The compact design is very workable. Finally a hybrid that’s a true iron replacement.” …”Even choppers should get this because it looks so good in your bag.”
(L) “Small and slick with sexy, clean lines. Has the control and shaping power of an iron.” … “I don’t know how they did it, but they’ve removed every trace of a metallic sound.”

HOT: Shockingly, there are still some players not happy with hybrids. This club, with its sleek matte finish, is for them.
NOT: Difficult to get airborne for players with slow swing speeds and shallow angles of attack.


COBRA BAFFLER RAIL H

STREET PRICE: $150
LOFTS: 17, 19, 22, 25, 28
WEBSITE: cobragolf.com

TECH TALK: A thin, maraging-steel face insert is designed to improve ball speed, and stronger-than-average lofts add distance. The dual-rail sole is intended to help the club move through the turf easily regardless of the lie. The Baffler comes standard with a light, 65-gram Fujikura Motore shaft designed to increase clubhead speed.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “One of those clubs that works automatically, just set it and forget it. The rails really help me get through the rough. Feels like it almost self-corrects.”
(M) “You can strike this practically anywhere on the face and get something out of it.”
(L) “Most hybrids hook too much for me, but this one doesn’t. Toe hits draw back nicely, softly. It would be easy to hit greens with this. Seems like the ball always comes down right where it’s supposed to.”

HOT: Cobra’s long-standing success with the Baffler hybrid is inarguable. The aggressive sole design makes it a true trouble club.
NOT: We miss the sleeker-looking tour version.


MIZUNO MP CLK

STREET PRICE: $200
LOFTS: 17, 20, 23
WEBSITE: mizunousa.com

TECH TALK: This compact clubhead features a 431 stainless-steel body with a variable-thickness, 1770 maraging-steel face that has been laser-welded to the crown and sole to eliminate weld lines on the face and promote consistency. The sunken crown lowers the CG and allows a heavy internal sole weight to be positioned forward to help promote a low-spinning ball flight.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(M) “A bit hollow-sounding at impact, but you can’t argue with the distance. The ball gets up quickly and goes a mile.” … “It gives me the higher trajectory I want. If you’re looking to replace some long irons, this is a great choice.”
(L) “It looks like the rest of them, but it’s amazingly easy to hit.”

HOT: Even while maintaining a classic look, Mizuno rarely under-engineers a product. The MP CLK is no exception: a player’s hybrid, with extra horsepower. NOT: The all-white Fubuki shaft has a polarizing effect: Some think it looks cool; for others, it’s a deal breaker.


MIZUNO MP CLK

STREET PRICE: $200
LOFTS: 17, 20, 23
WEBSITE: mizunousa.com

TECH TALK: This compact clubhead features a 431 stainless-steel body with a variable-thickness, 1770 maraging-steel face that has been laser-welded to the crown and sole to eliminate weld lines on the face and promote consistency. The sunken crown lowers the CG and allows a heavy internal sole weight to be positioned forward to help promote a low-spinning ball flight.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(M) “A bit hollow-sounding at impact, but you can’t argue with the distance. The ball gets up quickly and goes a mile.” … “It gives me the higher trajectory I want. If you’re looking to replace some long irons, this is a great choice.”
(L) “It looks like the rest of them, but it’s amazingly easy to hit.”

HOT: Even while maintaining a classic look, Mizuno rarely under-engineers a product. The MP CLK is no exception: a player’s hybrid, with extra horsepower. NOT: The all-white Fubuki shaft has a polarizing effect: Some think it looks cool; for others, it’s a deal breaker.


TITLEIST 909H

STREET PRICE: $190
LOFTS: 15, 17, 19, 21, 24
WEBSITE: titleist.com

TECH TALK: The 909H is a no-nonsense, stainless-steel players head with a Carpenter-steel face insert that’s designed to improve ball speed. The CG, off-set and head size are progressive throughout the set to create the ideal ball flight for each loft. It’s available with the Aldila VooDoo or Diamana Blue hybrid shaft.

PLAYER COMMENTS:
(H) “I was doubtful at first because of the small head, but the ball just explodes off the face.” … “It has BMW looks. I wonder why I don’t own this one.”
(M) “It looks just like a hybrid should. It’s not too forgiving, more of a players hybrid, and it performs and feels like a Titleist.” (L) “Terrific trajectory. The leading edge snuggles right under the ball at address.” … “It has a solid, muted feel that still gives good feedback.”

HOT: It’s a low-handicappers’ favorite, but average players will be comfortable with its clean lines.
NOT: Stock (and even custom) shafts tend toward the heavier and stiffer end of the spectrum.

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