Sunday, May 29, 2011

King's Walk Golf Course TaylorMade Demo Day

Last week I got to experience another Demo day at King's Walk Golf course.  This time TaylorMade was the company that was there.  It was windy that day with the winds at around 23 miles per hour straight down the driving range helping make all your shots go longer (go figure a windy day in North Dakota).

The first club I tried was the Burner 2.0 6 iron.  The distance seemed O.K. with the ball landing just past the 150 yard flag.  The club did not seem as easy to hit though as the Callaway and Ping clubs I hit.  The TaylorMade iron seemed smaller.  I couldn't compare it side by side with anything but it seemed smaller.  The one thing I really didn't like about the iron is the vibration.  When you hit the ball the vibration was annoying and didn't make it feel like a solid hit.  After hitting about 50 balls or so I really couldn't take the vibration anymore and put the club down and grabbed a Burner 2.0 pitching wedge.
The pitching wedge was not anything to special in my opinion it felt just like the 6 iron.  It was difficult to hit compared to other clubs I hit and had the same annoying vibration when you hit the ball.  Even compared to my cheap Golden Bear clubs the Burner irons were not enjoyable to to hit.  In the defense of the Burner irons though, they are apparently longer than the irons from any other company according to the TaylorMade website.  I cannot vouch for that though due to the wind conditions at the driving range.

The final club I tried out was a 10.5 degree Burner Superfast 2.0 regular flex driver.  Let me tell you this driver is light.  It almost feels like your just holding a graphite shaft.  With this driver being so light you can really whip it around fast.  Distance on the driver is pretty decent.  I was easily blasting the ball over the 250 yard flag especially with the help of the wind.  I can't compare it to the other driver's I hit on distance again thanks to the wind, but the ball went pretty far with this driver.  I had a few issues with the driver though.  The first one was the feel.  Since the driver was so light I really could not feel the club head when I swung.  Like I stated before it just felt like you were swinging the shaft.  Also when you hit the ball with the driver the sound and feel is not that satisfying either.  The ball flies far, but you don't really feel like you killed it.  For a lot of people this doesn't matter as long as the ball goes far, but if i was paying over $300 for just a driver I would like it to feel like it is somewhat worth the money spent every time you hit it.  The final and bit thing for me was the club seemed very inconsistent on where the ball was going.  When I'm not swinging well my ball starts slicing to the left (remember left handed).  When I was hitting this club the balls were going every which way left, right even every once in a while straight.  I hit the irons straight, but not this driver.  I can only assume it is because this driver is not very forgiving compared to the other ones I have hit.  I was pretty disappointed I didn't get to hit the almighty R11 driver.  This is because by the time I got done with the Burner driver the TaylorMade rep was packing stuff up.  Hopefully sometime this summer I will get a chance to try the driver out at another demo day.

In conclusion, I guess don't believe the white driver hype until you try the club out yourself first.  To me it seems like TaylorMade just like every other club company tries to promote distance in their clubs.  In TaylorMade's case though it seems to be at the cost of feel from what I've experienced.  I still like the Razr Hawk driver best and the Ping irons.  These TaylorMade clubs may be for you, but at this moment they are not for me.  With that I will end you with a quality Callaway ad and some pictures I took of the demo day.
The almighty white driver

TaylorMade's demo day setup

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

King's Walk Golf Course Demo Day

Yesterday I got to experience my first ever demo day.  It was at King's Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks North Dakota.  There were 3 manufacturers there.  Titleist, Callaway, and Ping.  Being my first ever demo day I didn't know exactly what to do, but apparently you just grab some clubs and hit away on the range.  The companies also had swing analyzers to fit you to the proper club.  First about the equipment each company had there.  Ping had one set of every club they currently have.  That included clubs for left handers which made me happy.  Callaway had all the clubs they currently have for right handed people, and then for left handed people just the Razr and Diablo line.  This was fine I guess.  Titleist was a little different.  They had a bag full of left and right handed wedges then two bags full of shafts and a padded box full of driver heads.  The rep for Titleist pretty much made a driver just for you and tweeked it to your liking.  They had no left handed heads that I could see.

So after looking around on I went to try out some clubs.  The first club I grabbed was a Ping i15 6 iron.  First thing I noticed was "Holy Cow why doesn't my cheap Golden Bear 6 iron fly this far?"  I also noticed that there was no slice and the ball went nice and straight.  I thought I guess these must be Ping's game improvement line so I will stick with trying them out.  So I put the 6 iron back after about 50 shots with it and picked up and i15 3 wood regular shaft.  The driver was being used by someone else so I couldn't use it.  I started hitting some balls with the 3 wood off the tee and off the ground.  The exact same things kept going through my mind as before.  How are these balls going so straight and how are they going so far.  I was easily hitting and most of the time going over the 200 yard green on the range.  Only one ball out of 50 sliced with the 3 wood.

Next I moved to Callaway.  I grabbed a Razr X 6 iron.  The Razr X felt pretty good.  The ball was flying a little bit further than with the Ping 6 iron I tried, but not as straight as the ball mostly slowly and slightly would go off to the left.  After about 25 shots with the Razr X iron I grabbed a Diablo Edge 6 iron.  I had high hopes for these irons, because these were the irons I was convinced I was going to buy used this summer.  To my saddness I didn't really like these irons to much.  The ball again went further than with the Ping 6 iron I used but it didn't really feel as nice as the other two irons I tried.  It was a tiny big shorter than the Razr X irons, but was still hitting over the 150 yard green on the range which I considered to be far.  I hit about 25 shots with the Diablo Edge Irons.

Then I went to the big boy.  The Callaway Razr Hawk left handed regular flex driver.  With my first shot I suddenly realized the difference between a driver that comes in an under $200 set of clubs and a driver that costs $400 just in itself.  On the first shot I screamed the ball over the 250 yard green.  I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't see the 300 yard green due to the way the slope and hills of the range was set up so I really can't tell how far the ball ended up.  I just could not believe how far I hit the ball.  I was just killing it.  It was about this time I realized my cheap set of clubs was really no match to this new technology.  Hell my driver in my Golden Bear set isn't even titanium!  After killing about 25 balls with the driver I was starting to get a little worn out from hitting so many balls so fast.  the shots slowly started going to the left more and more.  I ended up shooting about 50 balls with the driver.

After that I grabbed a 56 degree left handed wedge from Titleist.  I was hitting that pretty straight, but I was swinging a lot slower than I was with the driver.  Nevertheless I was still landing the balls on and around the 50 yard green.  I was getting pretty worn out by 10 balls in so I stopped hitting the club and watched some other golfers try out the clubs to compare my abilities to theirs.  I found out shots while still inconsistent in my book was more consistent than most of the golfers out there.  There was one kid who was amazing me though.  He was hitting the right handed version of the Razr Hawk driver almost 400 yards with a fade.  So I watched him for a while in amazement, but after about 10 shots all his shots were hooking out of the range.  So there went his edge on distance I guess.  After that I grabbed the Razr Hawk driver again and tried to hit a few more balls, but my muscles were a little worn by then and after 10 balls that all faded to the left I stopped and decided to go home.

On my walk back to the car I was just amazed in how amazing I did compared to how I normally do on that range with my clubs.  I though "are these clubs really that superior to improve my game that much?"  I concluded that it must be but for the price of those brand new clubs it was not worth it especially since I was only out golfing for fun and exercise.  It made me and still makes me want those clubs bad though.  Especially that Razr Hawk driver.  When I got back to my apartment I started doing a little research on the Ping clubs I hit, because I really knew nothing about them.  To my surprise the i series of clubs is designed for low handicap players that like to shape their shots.  Well thanks to that I'm confused now because I was actually hitting those clubs pretty straight.  So now I have no idea if my swing needs improvement or not.  That is something I guess I can try to figure out over the summer.

Now for my demo day awards:

Best Iron:  Ping.  This is because hitting these irons felt the best and they went the straightest for me.  Runner up is the Callaway Razr X irons, because of how long they went.

Best Wood:  Without a doubt this has to be the Callaway Razr Hawk driver.  I really wish I would have gotten the chance to hit the Callaway Diablo Edge driver and the Ping Driver, but there was no left handed Diablo Edge driver there and the Ping driver was being constantly used so I never got the chance.  Either way I was still killing it with that club and it felt amazing.  The Ping 3 wood was nice and straight but I have no other 3 wood to compare it to other than my Golden Bear one which is no comparison.

Company with the best looking clubs:  Callaway, because every club in their lineup looks mean and manly.

I can't really say Titleist was the best wedge, because it was the only wedge I hit and I was a little worn out at the time.

In the end I can say I really had a blast.  Demo day gives you the ability to use the driving range for free, get fit for clubs if you want, and play the top dollar clubs without actually having to buy them.  I suggest it to anyone who is looking to have fun for free.  Below are a few pictures I took

Callaway's setup

Some golfers trying out different clubs

Ping's setup which had the most clubs

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to save money on golf this Spring

Here are my top 5 tips to save money on golf this Spring.

1.  Don't buy expensive balls if your not a scratch golfer especially if your out only playing for fun.
Yes it is fun to brag that you are shooting an expensive Pro V1, but for most golfers the ball does more hurt than help.  Most of us can not draw or fade the ball on purpose, so why would need a ball with the control to do so.  Also if your out only playing for fun why would you want to make the game become more expensive than it needs to be.  For example it is almost 4 dollars per ball lost if the ball was a Pro V1(over $5 per ball if you buy them on amazon).  Could you imagine how expensive that could get on one of your bad days?

2.  Don't rent a cart
I use golf as a form of exercise and what better way than carry your own clubs.  If you are physically able of taking your clubs with you why not do it.  Rental carts are expensive and for people my age a unnecessary cost.  I promise you it is great exercise to walk the course.

3. Don't buy that new driver.
This kind of goes along with the golf balls.  Most people in golf want the newest, the best, and the most expensive to brag about it.  Sometimes though the newest and best does not help out your game.  Do you really need a new $300 driver every year because it is the new hot item.  Most people like to pay the extra money for the tour version of the driver, but a lot of tour pros don't even use the tour versions of the driver.  If your driver is working fine for you and still in good shape wait for a year before you get a new or used in my case look for a cheap used driver of last years model.  This goes along with other clubs as well.

4.  Look for the deals in the local coupon books.
I know in the local coupon books here give coupons such as $5 off some courses or so much off a membership.  Look through these and see what you can find.  You might be surprised at what you find.

5.  Make use of the twilight rates.
I make use of twilight rates all the time to be able to golf on courses that are way to expensive for me to normally go to.  Also during those times the course is usually much less busy.  Also you usually get to see a sunset over the golf course.  All these things combined make for some very relaxing golf, and some great money savings.