The first day of the merchandise show is the 'Demo Day.' It's held at Orange County National which has this humongous driving range that is in the shape of a circle. This year, most of the companies are in between a 2-year product cycle, so I don't think there was a lot of hype going into this show. However, the weather was gorgeous today, 75-80* with a nice breeze throughout the day.
The first thing I came across is the Tour Striker driver.
The main idea of the Tour Striker driver is the face design creates a smaller 'center' to help train the golfer to hit that center.
I have been reading Tom Wishon's book 'In Search For The Perfect Driver.' One of the things he says is that the sweetspot is:
1. A very small point where the CoG of the club is. It's about the size of a needle point.
2. The 'sweetspot' of the driver is in the center of the club...NOT towards the crown and toe.
One of the reasons why it is misinterpreted as the 'hot spot' of the driver for golfers is that with the deeper face drivers, the roll of the driver actually causes the driver to have more loft located up by the crown. So, the center of the driver face may be at 9.5* of loft, but the top towards the crown may have 11* of loft.
Wishon's claim is that golfers usually have NOT ENOUGH loft on their driver and have to hit it up towards the crown in order to get that loft. But, in reality they are causing themselves to hit the driver *SHORTER* than if they had the proper loft and worked to hit the center of the face.
My first couple of strikes came off the heel and missed the face and were basically 'worm burners.' But after that I started hitting it quite well and I was surprised at just how good the club feels. The driver will retail for $199 and is currently being sold. I will have up close pictures of it on Friday.
After that and some mulling around I got to meet with the Edel Golf people and try their new wedges.
The idea behind the Edel Wedges is to give the golfer enough buonce angle in the wedge so the golfer does not have to worry about the club getting stuck in the ground.
One of the things I noticed when I moved to Florida was how easy it was to stick a wedge into the ground on the wirey bermuda. But, I purchased some wedges with more bounce angle and that helped.
However, Edel wants to give a LOT more bounce angle. I was fitted for a 52* 'Digger' grind and a 56* and 60* 'Driver' grind. I cannot remember what the bounce angle was at, but it was around 25* of bounce.
Yes, that's right...25* of bounce.
I was told that was quite common with the Tour players they work with.
The idea is to make it so the golfer can take their swing without the fear of sticking it into the ground. And what will happen is now when you swing the wedge, the divot decreases.
I think one of the important things this does is with distance control. One can now not have to worry about catching one thick and losing yardage and wedges are mainly about distance control. You can also hit low punches without worrying about the club sticking and causing your pivot to stall.
The other thing Edel did was the moved the CoG of the club further away from the heel. And to top it off, the grooves now go all the way out to the toe. So if you ever have those marks towards the toe, those shots will actually be by the CoG and it will make impact off the grooves and you don't have to worry about hitting a knuckleball shot. Also, if you have a chip shot and the club is more upright, now you don't have to worry about the uncertainty of how the ball will react off the toe.
Edel also has a special grip that is 1 inch longer than the typical grip. Edel has done this so the golfer can choke up on the club more in case they are in between yardages or want to hit a lower shot.
I was fitted for a KBS C-Taper shaft and I should get my wedges in March. I will take more pics of the Edel Wedges on Friday.
Also, Edel is looking to make 99 sets of irons for 2012 and see how they perform. The concept will be similar, more bounce without a huge sole. I got to hit the 9-iron and really liked it. Although it was a cavity back club.
I then went over to Oban shafts and saw Oren Geri from Big Break hitting balls there. I don't think Oban quite fits me as when it comes to the driver shaft, but I think they make a great shaft. I tried their Kiyoshi line and thought it was pretty good. Oban also has some new irons shafts (graphite). I thought those were pretty solid as far as graphite iron shafts go.
I also got to try the Matrix Program shaft. In fact, Matrix was giving the 95 gram iron shaft out for free and I brought one home with me. The problem with graphite iron shafts is that it's made so long that it just doesn't quite feel right. Although the shots I hit well with it really went well.
After that I was very impressed with Honma's new driver (S-02). This is a 7-piece design and it's extremely forgiving and it's very long. I was quite impressed with this driver.
One of the big winners for me was the new Yonex EZone Muscleback irons.
These clubs look fantastic, feel fanstastic and really perform. I hit the 4-iron, 8-iron and PW and all of them were spectacular. I also got to hit the EZone driver. Yonex offers their heads in 380, 420 and 460 cc sizes. I think they have a winner here.
I also started to fall in love with a 9* Black Tour Cleveland driver and the Miyazaki Kusula shaft. I did hit the new Cleveland Classic driver but came away unimpressed.
I did hit the new Taylor Made Rocketballz fairway wood. The 3-wood does come off the head well, but it's rather large in size. Some may not like that big of a clubhead.
Lastly, I was turned onto Ernest Sports new ES12 launch monitor. I didn't get the entire spiel on it, but I believe it measures clubhead speed, ball speed and it can record your swing.
Here's a video for that.
More to come on Friday.