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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Golf Guide: New equipment can improve your game

Golf Guide: New equipment can improve your game

In the market for some new golf equipment? Want to hit the ball longer and straighter off the tee,

In the market for some new golf equipment?

Want to hit the ball longer and straighter off the tee, more accurately with your irons and then chip it close if you happen to miss a green or two?

And of course, once you’re on the green, don’t you want to make every reasonable putt and avoid those ugly three-putts?

Maybe you should invest in some lessons, but many of us crave the quick fix we believe comes from technology. Every year, golf equipment companies promote the next big thing, and thousands of golfers can’t wait to dip into their wallets to purchase something they hope will lower their scores.

Truth be told, the right equipment can at least help.

John Neet of Golf Galaxy, the former head pro at both Stadium Golf Club and Normanside Country Club, as well as a former assistant pro at Eagle Crest and The Edison Club, knows the sport and its equipment. He says there are plenty of new high-tech clubs that can make it a little easier to play one of the toughest games around.

As usual, the driver is the most popular club to upgrade for most players.

“There are some great new drivers out there,” said Neet. “TaylorMade has been a big company, as far as drivers. It’s not necessarily my favorite driver or company for my game, but they have done a great job in making drivers easier to hit.”

The newest driver from TaylorMade is the SLDR, which offers a much easier adjustment in terms of loft and the opening/closing of the face to promote hooks or fades. Other TaylorMade drivers have featured plenty of adjustable options, but it was much tougher to make those changes. Now, a simple twist on your club can make the changes for you.

“The SLDR, in my opinion, is the easiest driver to adjust out of all the TaylorMade drivers. It’s also the one with the nicest finish,” Neet said. “We hear from our golfers that it is giving people better numbers in terms of yardages and accuracy. But there are other great options, as well.

“I think the Ping line is really the hottest right now,” said Neet. “They’ve got the new G25 and i25, and they are both incredible. The i25 is a great driver. What Ping has done with the horizontal alignment across the crown of the head is fantastic. And they also have a simple adjustment for loft to the half-degree. Of all the ones I’ve hit, I think the G25 and i25 are the best,” he said.

Although there are dozens of “big sticks” from which to choose, Neet also recommended the Callaway Big Bertha.

“Callaway has two new drivers this year,” he said. “The regular Big Bertha is just like the TaylorMade SLDR, and they’ve come out with an amazing new innovative design. I don’t know if it’s legit, but you supposedly can adjust the center of gravity on this club to get the ball to go higher or lower.

”The other new Callaway club is the Big Bertha Alpha, and that one is supposed to make the ball go even higher off the face of the club. They have a vertical pin for adjustment. If you want a lower spin rate, for example, you just shut the pin in the crown. It’s very innovative. Nobody I’ve seen has done that before.”

If you’re looking for irons, there are plenty of different types from which to choose.

“Everybody is going to wider soles in their irons, because they are deeper and easier to hit,” Neet noted. “There are basically three types of irons out there: game improvement, game enhancement and player blades for the better scratch players. But you should get fitted correctly by a qualified club fitter to see what you need. The technology in the different lines from company to company is very close. The thing that matters is getting fit for the right club for you.”

Putters are the most personal club in the bag. What works for your buddy might not work at all for you.

But the newest flat stick out there is the Ping TR line.

“It’s called TR because of the true-roll design,” Neet said. “They’ve got new grooves on the face that are just incredible, because there are deeper grooves in the sweet spot and then more shallow grooves out on the toe and heel.

“These grooves really help with distance control. It’s just unbelievable as far as I’m concerned.”

Neet said they have tested the Ping TR with excellent results.

“With most testing involving putters, you hit a ball off the center, off the heel and then off the toe,” he explained. “You usually get three different distances. One might be five feet past the cup. Another could be two feet short, and the last one might be six feet short. With the TR line, all three putts from the center, toe and heel, are just about the same.”

No matter where you purchase your clubs, and what brand you choose, make sure you test them first and get fitted by a qualified professional. Why waste your hard-earned money?

“Buying off the rack is definitely a no-no,” Neet said. “Everybody is different. We all have different heights and weights, and theh length of our arms and leg are also different. You wouldn’t buy the same clothes that somebody who is bigger or heavier wears. You can get the clubs that are right for you.”

And don’t forget that most golf equipment stores have trade-in policies, where you can save quite a bit of money by trading in last year’s state-of-the-art equipment for this year’s modern marvel.

While you’re at it, stop by and pick up your favorite golf ball, some new tees, and maybe a new glove or two.

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