Instant Classic: Cleveland Golf Driver a Beautiful Behemoth

As a guy who grew up playing woods made of a strange substance called wood, I find many of today’s drivers unappealing to the eye. There’s only one form a driver should take, and that’s pear-shaped.

Cleveland Classic Driver

Drooling yet?

So my heart skipped a beat when I saw Cleveland Golf’s new Classic Driver, due out early next year. Mahogany finish. Brass-colored face “insert” and sole plate. The word “Classic” scrolled on the crown as an alignment aid. Even a black leather head cover in a shape the company calls “RetroBarrel.”

Cue Homer Simpson drooling sound.

In a word, this is one gorgeous golf club. But that’s the end of the Cleveland Classic’s similarities with its ancestors. (You know, the ones made from trees.) The Classic maxes out the USGA volume allowance at 460cc, about three times the size of a persimmon driver head. Its face is massive – the deepest on the market, according to Cleveland. And off-the-rack models are powered by an ultralight Miyazaki graphite shaft.

While it’s not yet for sale to the public, the Classic has already been tested on Tour. In fact, 2011 Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley used it en route to winning (with Brendan Steele) the Franklin Templeton Shootout last weekend.

Bradley, who strikes me as the traditional type, instantly fell for the club’s old-school aesthetics. “When I looked at the new driver, honestly, I loved it,” he gushed. “I love the gold face on it… You look down at the face and the thing that you focus on is the sweet spot. I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s gonna change the way drivers are made.”

Of course, Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade et al will have something to say about that. In fact, TaylorMade just introduced its new wood lineup, which carries a decidedly non-traditional name: RocketBallz.

May the best club win.

 

 

Spy Review – Cleveland CG4 – Game Improvement Irons

The Cleveland CG4 Irons are definitely game improvement irons for the beginner golfer and the mid to high handicappers.

The clubheads have a progressive off-set, lower center of gravity and high moment of inertia which works well in getting the ball high and fast at impact.

The large head has a huge sweet spot, and the cavity back design and CMM (Carbon Matrix Material) should help reduce the vibration by absorbing the shock when you hit the ball.

Greg Hopkins, president and CEO of Cleveland Golf said, "These new CG4 irons will now give players of all abilities the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits experienced by our tour staff." He should know, with Cleveland being one of the top producers of golf clubs and accessories on the professional tour.

Pros

  • High moment of inertia – good elevation and speed at impact
  • Improved distance and feel for the player
  • True Temper shafts
  • Wider sole, larger sweet spot

Cons

  • Carbon metal mix (CCM) doesn’t absorb vibration for misaligned shots
  • Like many other brands, beware of knockoffs/fake

What players are saying about the Cleveland CG4 Irons

  •  “The feel of the head is buttery soft at impact, mushy with softer balls, harder balls improve distance.”
  • “I’m not seeing the distance benefits, possibly it’s the shaft not my correct fit.”
  • “I like the small club head, not clunky oversized.”
  • “These are fairly forgiving, make for a good swing.”
  • “Consistent, slightly longer, more game improvement than traditional blades.”
  • “Felt the vibration when I miss-hit, but the distance and direction of the ball doesn’t suffer
  • “I don’t hook the ball anymore. These are relatively easy to shoot.”
  • “My shots now seem laser guided with the CG4s.”
  • “They hit unbelievably soft even on most off-center hits. The feeling of a dead center hit is the best of any game improving iron. They hit straight if you want and, curve when you need it to.”
  • “I usually shoot mid 80's to mid 90's. These are 10+ yards longer than my present clubs.”
  • “I've been looking to upgrade my beginner set to a set that I can grow into as I get better…this is the best priced, best feeling, best forgiving and best distance all around irons.”

Cost

Complete previously owned sets can be found online from golf retailers like Golfsmith for $228 to eBay for $150 plus shipping.

Additional Features:

Head: Carbon Metal Matrix
Grip color: Standard Black
Shaft: Graphite or Steel
Dexterity: Right and Left Handed
Player type: Men
Shaft Flex: Regular or Stiff
Originally Retailed $799.99

Find the Perfect Course for Your Next Round of Golf

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The following is an non-sponsored post from Jeff at FindTheBest.  To find out more about how to write a guest post for SpyGolfer send us a message via our contact page.

With Tiger dethroned from the clear number one spot, new up and coming golfers have been winning majors. While playing with a handicap and the occasional mulligan might not get you a shot to become the new number one, there’s no reason why you can’t beat your friends and colleagues on your local course.

Using the new golf course comparison tool from FindTheBest, players can find the perfect course for their skill level, location, and wallet. This golf course database contains over 10,000 courses which include every course in the US as well as some major international courses that can be sorted by course name, city, state, expert ranking, and several other options.

This tool also allows you to take all of these golf courses and filter your results to find a list of courses just for you. Looking to take the family out for a round and want to find a place with low green fees? Simply set the green fees slider to your desired amount, enter your location, and the tool will do the rest. Players can filter results to find public courses near them, private courses, or even find courses made by your favorite course designer like A. W. Tillinghast or Joe Lee.

Now that you have been able to find a list of great new courses to play by using the filtering system, how will you decide which one to play? Using the side by side course comparison option will take away any indecisiveness when facing this choice. By selecting a few courses you are interested in playing and clicking compare, a side by side comparison will appear showing you over 30 different features for each course. These features include expert rankings from sources like ESPN and Golf Digest, what practice facilities are available, types of fairway and greens grass, how many bunkers are on the course, and if there is a bar on the course to go to after your score is ruined by a bunker on the 18th.

Now that you have found the perfect course for your next round of golf, be sure to check out the spy review section to find that new iron or driver to finish your set and remember, whether you’re looking for the most challenging course to take on or an easy par 3 to play on your next vacation, the golf course comparison tool at FindTheBest can help you find the best course for you.

Ping G5 Hybrid Irons Game Improvement Irons

The Ping G5 Hybrid Irons replaced the Ping G2 and golfers of every handicap are still raving about these game improving irons.

Ping has been in business since the 1950s and have been known for their unusual putters, however as they progressed in technology they created “a process called ‘investment casting’ in manufacturing their irons, which allowed for more forgiving designs” than the old style irons.

Golfers will enjoy a longer set of irons with high performance. The Hybrids allow a high trajectory with the internal weight pads which give a good feel and reduced vibration to the player. The forgiveness in the clubs increases the confidence by almost every player who has tried these hybrid irons.

The solid feel of the club’s weight is immediately noticeable. The comfort is felt from the first swing. It seems no matter where you hit the ball; the G5 Hybrid Irons magically fly through the air to your target with little effort. These clubs are great for beginners and high handicappers.

Sizing

A benefit to having your clubs sized by a Ping retailer is that they will not only custom fit your clubs but if your swing should change in a couple of years they will refit them for free. Although Ping no long produces the G5, there are many sets on the market for those who are beginners or mid to high handicappers. Pay attention to the color coding which is the lie angle, check out the Ping website for more information on their color coding.

What players are saying about the Ping G5 Hybrid Irons 

Pros

  • “Large head, wide sole – an improvement over the Ping G2”
  • “The Ping G5 Irons provides forgiveness and consistency across the club face”
  • “The deeper, parallel cavity & wide sole allow the center of gravity to be lower and further for higher launching, more accurate results” – “increasing the MOI – moment of inertia, off center shots are straighter” and less loss in distance.
  • “Thinner, larger CTP also known as the Custom Turning Point – higher trajectory, stabilizes the club and dampens the vibration for a good feel.”
  • “I have more control with my shots.”

Cons

  • No hooks or slices, which can be seen as difficult to work the ball
  • Plain looking

Cost & Where to buy

The Ping G5 Irons have been around for awhile which means you’ll be able to find a decent set of previously used clubs at an affordable price.  Most golfers will agree that no matter how well the clubs are rated, nothing beats having your clubs properly fitted by a professional.

Ping’s website has a Custom Fitting section where you can enter your data and receive a webfit on Ping clubs. That said, most Ping G5 Iron sets can be found at local and online shops like Golfsmith at $285 for a 4-GW with steel shafts. Ebay has sets 4-W with steel shafts starting at $120 plus $30 for shipping.

Additional Features:

Grip: Color coded, customized for hand size – black dot is their standard
Grip color: Black
Shaft: graphite or steel
Dexterity: Right and Left Handed
Player type: Men and Women
Shaft Flex: Stiff or Regular

Spy Review – Callaway Big Bertha Fusion – Game Improvement Irons

Golfers are always looking for a way to knock off a few strokes from their game. And then there are golfers who are looking for clubs which can create the miracle that they just don’t seem to be able to attain with their present set of clubs.

Callaway has long been known on the professional tour for their drivers and woods, however the past few years golfers have been introduced to a set of game improvement irons that have been known as the “forgiving clubs”.

Jeff Colton, Senior VP of Research and Development at Callaway Golf described the Big Bertha Fusion Irons with their Tunite creation as “denser than steel and the forgiveness of the Big Bertha Iron built in.” Fusion technology allowed Callaway to have “an extreme weighting which has a very low center of gravity and is so deep that it plays like a wood.”

Colton went on to say that the Big Bertha Fusion Irons were developed “for the golfer who has trouble getting the ball into the air, with an easy, wide sole, just about forgiveness.”

Technology

  • Callaway developed an alloy called Tunite for a soft cradle. The “Tunite alloy cradle allows 77% of the mass to be positioned around the extreme perimeter of the iron for ultra-high MOI and a low, deep CG.”
  • 3 distinct materials – “Tunite alloy cradle, lightweight 6-4 titanium face, and special vibration-dampening TPU SenSert (also eliminates hollow sound and feel of oversized cavity-back) fused together in the most technologically advanced irons manufactured. Faster ball speed with the 6-4 titanium face insert compared to a steel face.”

Fusion

Callaway created a fusion of three parts which are a contributing factor in the feel. The parts are the frame, club face and the back of the club – which are the 3 types of materials used in the head and face.

Pros

  • Best distance.
  • Superb sole design, prevents digging
  • Great feel on center shots – urethane damper works great for those with arching joints; have your Fusion irons with graphite or sensicore shafts increase the damper.
  • The large, bulky head and perimeter weight creates great toe shots, thin and fat shots.

Cons

  • Initial cost was between $1200 and $1400 a set.

Costs

When the clubs first came out, you were lucky if you found a new set for under $1200. Now that the Fusion has been out for a few years, you will be able to find a great deal on various online sites as well as your local shops which carry previously owned sets.  Used sets of 3-PW with graphite shafts can be found for as little as $154.99, however most sets are roughly under $300 a set.

What players are saying about the Big Bertha Fusion Irons

  • Plays longer, very forgiving clubs
  • Looks great, unique, not typical Iron club look
  • 3 & 4 irons are easier to hit than typical irons, however they come up a little short compared to some hybrids.
  • Mid Irons – 5, 6, 7 are easy to hit, but they are long.
  • These clubs were designed for the mid-handicapper, but can fit a wide range of golfers from the low to middle.
  • Short irons and wedge – capable of higher trajectory that guarantees a soft landing. Easily worked and versatile. The 8 and 9 are easily turned into pseudo wedges. Superior performance.
  • The feel of the clubs are not too light or too heavy, which is the case with many clubs
  • The Big Bertha Fusion Irons play with lots of forgiveness due to the big head and face, low CGs and outstanding perimeter weighting. The head seems very lightweight for their size. These clubs are easy to swing and true Callaways.
  • Compare to Great Big Bertha tungsten titanium irons or Big Bertha 2002 irons, these are not as good
  • Easily scratched, shorter than most irons
  • Too much offset, graphite shafts hard to control, many said they preferred steel shafts in their irons.

Costs

You could find a previously used set of 3-PW on ebay for about $220 with covers, and the stock mix of steel shafts on the irons P-7 and graphite shafts on the 3-6.

Additional Features:

Grip color: Adams Stock Rubber Black
Shaft: Adams A2 OS Graphite/Steel
Makeup/Loft: Stiff Flex 3-PW (8 irons)
Lengths/Lie: Standard/Standard
Dexterity: Right and Left Handed
Player type: Men and Women
Flex: Stiff or Ladies

Spy Review – Adams Idea A2 OS Hybrids Irons – Game Improvement Irons

The Adams Idea A2 OS Iron Set was designed to be the easiest set of irons to hit using hybrids. Adams Golf claims that their Idea A2 OS offer the “maximum in game improvement design” and made the bold statement that “long irons are dead.”

Adams may not be as dominant on the professional golf tour but they have made a name for themselves with Tom Watson, American PGA and Champions Tour golfer; when he teamed up with Adams Golf to create the 3 Wedge System golf clubs and has been known to be using the Adams Idea game improvement Irons and Hybrids on the Champions Tour.

The 2, 3 and 4 Adams Idea A2 OS Irons are actually hybrid iWoods. They are designed like woods, while the other irons are hybrid irons. Adams claims that these are "The ideal iron set for the golfer struggling with their mid and long iron shots.” This is due to the longer shafts, lower center of gravity and deeper than your average irons. The Idea a2 OS Irons also have a high launch which increases the distance of your game, while providing forgiveness at impact of the ball.

These game improving hybrid irons could replace all of your irons and woods, minus your driver. The PW has a large sweet spot which allows you to hit shots with great accuracy.

Features of the club:

  • Center of Gravity is 11% lower and 2.5 times deeper when compared to conventional irons
  • 30% higher MOI (moment of inertia), provides more forgiveness – [“MOI is the term applied to a clubhead’s resistance to twisting when a ball is struck. A clubhead with a higher MOI will twist less as a result of the miss-hit, creating a better chance that the ball will still go where you intended and with less loss of distance.”]

What players have to say about the Adam a2 OS Hybrid Irons

Pros

  • Easy long iron shot
  • Great sweet spot
  • Looks good
  • Highly recommended for beginners as well as the experienced golfer
  • Great price – four hybrids and four irons
  • Replaced all my utility clubs
  • Hit these better than my fairway woods

Cons

  • The clubs may feel a little long

Costs

You could find a previously used set of 3-PW on ebay for about $220 with covers, and the stock mix of steel shafts on the irons P-7 and graphite shafts on the 3-6.

Additional Features:

Grip color: Adams Stock Rubber Black
Shaft: Adams A2 OS Graphite/Steel
Makeup/Loft: Stiff Flex 3-PW (8 irons)
Lengths/Lie: Standard/Standard
Dexterity: Right and Left Handed
Player type: Men and Women
Flex: Stiff or Ladies

Spy Review – Nike VR Pro Driver

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Overview

The Nike VR Pro Tour and Nike VR Pro driver is Nike's brand new brainchild with a huge push to tour level control as well as shot-shaping. This Nike VR Pro's motto includes "It allows you to imagine more. You can imagine more choices for more distance upon more shots."

Technology

The 4 piece titanium forging alongside the thin crown in order to save weight will make the Nike VR Pro beautiful to behold. The hosel will feature thirty-two adjustable settings which permit you to target nearly all imaginable shots. Variable thickness cupface will improve the off-center hits with a larger degree of accuracy than the additional drivers. The best in tech talk includes the "Compression Channel," that’s made to equate to quicker ball speed for both off-center as well as on-center hits.

Lofts: 11.5, 10.5, 9.5 and 8.5.

Here include some actual golfer feedback:

"The appearance works for everybody...feel and sound is powerful!"

"A sweet hit is nearly hydraulic, and the hang time is awesome!"

"The appearance is a lot more conventional."

"If Tiger places it inside his bag, he may find his game once again!"

Golf Gear Select Cons and Pros

Adjustability of the driver is amazing, albeit more enjoyed by the better golfer for shot-shaping. The brand new appearance ought to fit a majority of players. The only channel is a brand new technology which is keen upon raising ball speed... a fantastic concept. Finally, including the brand new Project X Graphite is absolutely no slouch. It is still early, yet the major driver makers are fiddling with the shaft length. This one includes 45-3/4 that might affect a few golfers who are used to the 46-- this remains to be seen. Also, it seems most players don’t yet believe Nike to be a major player within the driver field. It shouldn’t be an issue for the marketing mogul Nike, yet nonetheless, will be intriguing to witness if they could push the driver upon the exact same scale as the Callaway as well as the TaylorMade.

My Rating includes a:

99.5%

My Final Thoughts on the Nike VR Pro Driver

There isn’t any doubt that the brand new Nike VR Pro Tour, as well as the Nike VR Pro driver will gain a bit of traction. Every bit of this technology that is bundled into a single driver will be enough to make most players salivate!

Spy Review – Ping G15 Driver

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Overview/Technology

The brand new Ping G15 driver was presented this year and its popularity continuously grows at a shocking rate primarily because of its appeal to a huge array of golfers. The Ping G15 is for golfers who seek longer distances off the tee with an aspect of forgiveness, as well as control.

A quicker ball speed is the byproduct of the bigger face. However, the greatest highlight includes the brand new high balance point which produces a higher launch as well as a rise in moment of inertia.

This 460 cc titanium head will be longer on the front to back than its predecessor, as well as will feature Ping's signature ultra-thin crown technology that will offer a boost in all-around performance. The weight savings from this thin crown paired with it becoming positioned as an outside sole will result in frequently higher trajectories as well as decreased spin rates.

Ping G15 Specifications

Loft Length Offset Lie Head Weight Swing Weight

9° 45.75" No 58.0° 204 grams D3
10.5° 45.75" No 58.0° 204 grams D3
12.0° 45.75" No 58.0° 204 grams D3
13.5° 45.75" No 58.0° 204 grams D3

Actual Golfer Feedback

"I just adore my Ping G15 Driver! I possess the twelve degree soft regular and I am amazed at the difference within the distance as compared to my older driver!"

"I bought my Ping G15 driver around one month ago and following four rounds with it, I could honestly state it’s firmly in the bag."

"The Ping G15 driver obviously sank lots of cash into R & D prior to coming out with this bad boy."

Positives/Pros

This is a driver that is made for the masses as well as possesses several fine qualities which fits a majority of profiles. You really cannot go wrong with this one.

Negatives/Cons

There aren’t many, however if I was forced to pinpoint a chip within the armor, it’d be in shaft choice. The stock shaft choice is always underneath scrutiny with me, but the Ping TFC 149D, as well as the Aldila Serrano 60 tend to be a bit of a short list for such a common driver.

Overall Rating

There is maximum forgiveness, accuracy, as well as distance that will all be rolled within a single neat package referred to as the Ping G15. This Ping G15 driver will be a must have for any avid player of golf.

Spy Review – Cleveland Launcher Ultra Lite Series Driver

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Cleveland's 2nd generation of lightweight drivers has come on the scene with excellent feedback and results. The brand new Cleveland Launcher Ultra Lite Series driver provides the TL, SL, and XL, SL Series sure to fit nearly any kind of swing and golfer... which includes Cleveland's objective.

Technology

To provide you a thought of how light this new Launcher is, the newer 2011' 270 g version includes a complete 25 g lighter than the previous year's Launcher DST. Lighter shafts and drivers are absolutely a hot concept and technology right now. As you could create the technology needed to withstand the power and torque of the average swing as well as still produce lighter materials, the final result is a rise in ball speed, distance, power, and eventually control is an extra bonus.

The Launcher XL270

This is thought to be the lightest driver today in golf. This XL270 was engineered with a single thought in mind - optimal head speed when sustaining the forgiveness attribute that Cleveland will be well-known for. This XL270 will come with the hottest golf shafts upon the PGA Tour, Miyazaki Kua 39 Series.

The Launcher XL 270 Draw

The exact same characteristics of XL270 Draw will apply as XL270, just with a draw bias of two degrees closed. It offers the average player a straighter ball flight for an unwarranted slice or fade.

The Launcher SL 290

It’s similar to XL270 with a shorter stock shaft than XL, as well as twenty grams heavier. Nonetheless, this SL290 comes twenty-five grams lighter than many of the drivers upon the marketplace today. It additionally comes with a Miyazaki C. Kua forty-three gram shaft.

The Launcher TL 310

It’s designed more for the tour-caliber golfers. It’s the lightest driver on tour with the intention of delivering quicker ball speeds as it still allows a workability feature, mandatory on tour.

The Pros/Cons

The lightweight drivers are absolutely coming of age, as the lighter weights produce a lot quicker ball speeds as well as longer results. Miyazaki shaft as the stock option will be an absolute plus! Alongside the lighter weight driver concept comes the longer driver shaft that I disagree with. The average golfer ought to be utilizing shorter shafts, not the longer ones. Of course, it’s only an opinion, yet the longer shaft negates the power gained and replaces it with a harder swing to manage, that’s counter intuitive to Cleveland's objective with the release... Cleveland pushes the limit with this over 46” shaft.

Final Thoughts

In summary, I liked the brand new Cleveland Launcher Ultra Lite Series Driver. Many golfers will discover the lesser weight will eventually raise distance. The sole issue I have includes adding length toward the stock shaft that I hope players decide against.

Spy Review – X Series Jaws CC Wedges

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X Series Jaws CC Wedges, engineered by Roger Cleveland, Callaway’s Chief Designer, will feature the brand new Tour CC Grooves which will meet Condition of Competition upon Tour, presently the sole location they’re needed for play. Callaway's signature groove pattern will produce an advanced spin, even underneath the brand new United States of Golf Association’s rules. C-Grind Sole, as well as classical head design will assure versatility for a short game as it provides a Tour-level feel from the soft forged construction of 1020 carbon steel.

These X Series Jaws CC Wedges are obtainable just upon Callaway’s Forged products.The signature groove pattern will pack up to forty percent more grooves on the clubface. All testing has proven that these grooves will generate the most spin upon the shots out of the rough as they are compared to additional makers.

The CC Grooves: Will include twenty-one tightly spaced grooves that have sharper edges because of the superior Triple Net Forging process that will offer the optimum conforming region capacity, that will provide the highest spin levels as well as control out of a rough as it is compared with additional club makers.

It has versatility for precision shot-making: The special grind choice has been created to work with every club head’s bounce and loft angle for regular turf interaction. This C-Grind® sole, that is discovered upon the higher bounce offerings, will allow a golfer to lay the face open as he keeps the leading edge down – permitting for more bounce without having to compromise playability. The design will relieve the toe, heel, as well as trailing edge, that will result within a 'C' shape upon your sole.

Soft feedback as well as feel: The higher-grade forged carbon steel will provide a golfer a better feedback as well as feel around the golf greens. A special Triple Net Forging process will permit Callaway to make grooves which will generate more of a spin as well as control around the golf greens.

Shaft options as well as finish: The extended lineup will involve lofts that are obtainable in either a brushed or a slate chrome finish as well as the Fujikura 85 graphite shafts or the True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts.

Here include some of the pros of the X Series Jaws CC Wedges:

• Solid Feel
• Smooth
• Good grip
• Forgiving
• Easy to hit
• Accurate

Best uses for the X Series Jaws CC Wedges:

• Rough; and
• Fairway

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