MP-20s – “Layers for Feel”By ED TRAVISMost muscle back iron…

MP-20s – “Layers for Feel”

By ED TRAVIS

Most muscle back iron designs owe a debt at least in part to Mizuno Golf engineers who over the years have created iconic clubheads with both great looks and the performance pros and low handicappers want. The company has now again come up with an outstanding new iron series the MP-20s which replace the current MP-18s.

The most talked about feature in the MP-20s is the addition of a layer of copper underneath the exterior chrome plating to produce the softer feel much sought after by better players. The copper layer is an idea that goes back thirty years to the 1988 Mizuno TN-87s made for Japanese star Tommy Nakashima.

“Most modern muscle backs and limited ‘tour edition’ irons can be traced back to the great Mizuno blades. Though what makes a Mizuno iron truly exceptional is everything you can’t see,” said David Llewellyn, R&D Director, Mizuno Golf. “If you could peel back the chrome plating, you would find a sandwich of nickel and soft copper before the Grain Flow Forged HD chassis. Under a microscope, you can see a perfect flow of grain within the steel from the hosel to toe, compacted tighter in the hitting area. Designers can mimic our lines, but not what’s inside.”

The three new MP-20 models are all forged from 1025E mild carbon steel covered with a layer of nickel followed by a 4-micron thick layer of copper then another nickel layer and finally the chrome plated exterior. Mizuno expects the new MP-20 MB (Muscle Back), MP-20 HMB (Hot Metal Blade) and MP-20 MMC (Multi Metal Construction) will be played both as individual complete sets and as part of blended sets.

WYNTK

MP-20 MB: Tapered blade profile for lower COG in long irons giving higher launch and a higher COG in shorter irons for lower launch. Grain Flow Forged head from a single billet of 1025E mild carbon steel, layered with copper plating then nickel chrome exterior. 5-iron 27° and pitching wedge 46°. Set 3-PW $1,300 with steel shafts.

MP-20 HMB: Hollow muscle back with tungsten heel and toe weighting in long and mid irons. Forged face and hosel lasered welded to stainless steel body. Copper layer between body and satin finish exterior. 5-iron 25° and pitching wedge 46°. Set 3-PW $1,400 with steel shafts.

MP-20 MMC: Second generation of Mizuno’s Multi-Material Concept construction with thinner topline and a titanium internal plate and tungsten sole weight. Forged from same steel as other MP-20s the MMC also have layered copper with either satin or chrome finish. 5-iron 25° and pitching wedge 46°. Set 4-PW $1,225 with steel shafts.

A Lot to Like From Tour EdgeBy ED TRAVISFor more than 30 years…

A Lot to Like From Tour Edge

By ED TRAVIS

For more than 30 years Tour Edge Golf has built clubs for recreational players with two important features, top performance and pocketbook-friendly prices. Through the use of innovative materials like maraging steel and construction techniques such as combo-brazing plus designs like the Iron-wood the company has carved an enviable place in the golf equipment market.

The primary goal is to build clubs that help ordinary golfers play and enjoy this often unreasonable and maddening game. Based in Batavia, Ill. and started in 1986 the brand has recently become a prominent name on the PGA Tour Champions with endorsements by Scott McCarron, Duffy Waldorf, Tim Petrovic and Tom Lehman.

Tour Edge markets three brands of clubs each targeted at a different segment of golfers. For better players there is the Exotics line with cutting-edge materials and construction, really a futuristic approach, that has been found wide acceptance from Tour professionals and low handicap amateurs. Average players wanting custom fit game-improvement category clubs should look closely at the Hot Launch series. It combines reasonable prices with a seemingly incredible turnaround time of 48 hours.

The latest series is called “Get in the Game” and features complete sets of the Bazooka line, the new 470 Black and 370 models.

“Our Get in the Game products include complete sets for men, seniors, women and juniors, as well as modestly priced golf bags, wedges and putters,” said Tour Edge President David Glod. “The entire Get in the Game concept is fueled by our desire to help grow the game of golf by offering great performing products at the best pricing in the industry. No one else is doing what we are doing as far as offering every type of golfer a quality option to get into new golf equipment.”

Both the Bazooka 370 and Bazooka 470 Black and have redesigned shapes with weight repositioned for more forgiveness and very thin faces for more ball speed. New golfers and golfers coming back to the game will find them easy to hit so it’s less of a hassle to hit productive shots.

Bazooka 370 Box Set all with graphite shafts either Regular or Senior flex includes:

Driver 10.5°, 44.5” length

3-wood 15°, 5-wood 19°

4-hybrid 24°

5-iron (27°) through sand wedge (pitching wedge 46°)

Anser-style putter

Stand bag (men’s set) or Cart bag (senior set)

The Bazooka 470 Black are a complete men’s set with aerodynamically shaped heads in the woods and large clubheads in the irons with a wider and longer blade.

The boxed set consists of the following. Steel shafted irons come with a stand bag or graphite shafted irons a cart bag.

Driver 10.5°, 45” length

3-wood 15°, 5-wood 19°

4- & 5-hybrids

6-iron through sand wedge (pitching wedge 46°)

Mallet Putter

WYNTK Bazooka 370

Driver – 460cc titanium clubhead, thinner face with added heel and toe weighting

Fairway woods – low profile oversized heads

Hybrid – shallower face with deeper CG

Irons – larger heads with undercut cavity, heel & toe weighting

Men’s set lightweight dual strap stand bag – 8-way top, 5 pockets

Senior set cart bag – 5 storage pockets and 2 garment pockets

Available now priced at $439.99

WYNTK Bazooka 470 Black

Driver – 460cc titanium clubhead higher MOI shape, variable thickness face

Fairway woods – shallow face

Hybrids – shallow face, CG lower and deeper

Irons – longer and wider cavity back blade, extreme perimeter weighting

Lightweight stand bag or cart bag

Available now for $539.99

Help for Recreational Golfers – Launcher HB TurboBy ED TRAVISTwo…

Help for Recreational Golfers – Launcher HB Turbo

By ED TRAVIS

Two years ago, when Cleveland Golf introduced the Launcher HB driver, they pointed out most recreational players do not need adjustability in their drivers. In fact, many don’t fully understand the benefits of adjustments and often leave the settings alone at one value, never changing. Added to that is adjustable hosels put weight in the wrong area of the clubhead so manufacturers must compensate to get the center of gravity properly located, and though adjustable sole weights may help with ball side spin and trajectory they also require design compensations.

The clincher according to Cleveland is in addition to a significant number of extra grams, all these adjustable features add to the price. For their latest answer addressing this problem look no further than the Launcher HB Turbo driver and fairways.

“Reintroducing Cleveland Golf Woods and Irons two years ago has been very successful,” said Brian Schielke, Marketing Director at Cleveland Golf. “However, the new Launcher HB Turbo woods represent a huge step up from the previous generation. They’re sleeker, faster, and more forgiving – exactly what all of us avid golfers are looking for off the tee.”

The original Launcher with a fixed hosel and no sliding sole weights produced high trajectory longer carry drives for straight distance and the new Turbo improves that with an even lighter hosel, deeper head weight placement and a reconfigured HB (HiBore) crown.

“The Launcher HB Turbo is engineered to help you hit long, straight drives,” said Jeff Brunski, Vice President of Research and Development at Cleveland Golf. “We’ve squeezed discretionary weight out of every corner of the club head in order to produce one of the most forgiving drivers we’ve ever made. We’ve paired it with a high-balance point shaft that’s easier to swing fast. Authentic technologies such as the Turbocharged Cup Face, the Ultralight Hosel, and a more aerodynamic crown help the Launcher HB Turbo earn its name.”

The cup face extends along the crown and sole and uses a variable thickness pattern Cleveland designed to create more ball speed when impact isn’t exactly in the center. The crown construction stands out with the a prominent HiBore stepdown that both reduces aerodynamic drag on the downswing and saves grams that were transferred to the sole pad. As a result, the center of gravity is 4.4 mm deeper and 2.2 mm lower than in the original Launcher HB.

The standard shaft is the new counterbalanced Miyazaki C. Kua. It helps to make the club easy to swing faster due to extra mass being added to the head balanced by the added weight in the shaft’s grip end.

Taking many of the same ideas aimed at giving the player added speed and distance Cleveland also has the Launcher HB Turbo fairway woods, a good choice off the tee or from the fairway.

WYNTK Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Driver:

-Cup Face with a new variable face design for higher rebound over a larger area

-HiBore step crown moves center-of-gravity by 2.2 mm lower and 4.4 mm deeper

-Deep Weighting 35-gram sole pad increases MOI and forgiveness

-Ultralight Hosel with external and internal weight reduction redistributed for a higher launch and more forgiveness

-Counter Balanced Miyazaki C. Kua Shaft made specifically for Launcher HB Turbo with center of gravity relocated toward grip allowing for additional head mass to raise MOI

The Launcher HB Turbo Driver is available in two different models. The standard with loft choices of 9°, 10.5° and 12° and the Draw with 10.5° loft. Both carry a retail price of $349.99. The Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Woods offer a 15° 3-wood and 18° 5-wood for $229.99 each. The driver and fairway woods may be preordered on the Cleveland website and will be in shops Oct. 4. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo

TaylorMade P790 UpdateBy ED TRAVISFirst offered in 2017 the…

TaylorMade P790 Update

By ED TRAVIS

First offered in 2017 the P790s have been the best-selling iron model in TaylorMade Golf’s history and now they have not only announced an update but added a new titanium model. Both the updated P790 and all new P790 Ti borrow heavily from the preceding model which many low handicap players and professionals considered to be among the best, if not the best, performing irons in the industry.

The forged hollow body steel P790 has a 7 percent thinner face and to counter the tendency for long irons to hit the ball to the right, TMaG’s Progressive Inverted Cone Technology (PICT) is moved towards the toe in the lower lofts. As with the original model, foam is injected inside the head to dampen vibrations and improve impact sound plus support the face for more ball speed. The new model also uses the familiar Thru-Slot Speed Pocket to allow the face to flex more which also adds to ball speed. The tungsten sole weighting has been increased by 15 percent lowering the center of gravity further and making it possible for excess weight to be removed from the toe.

According to the company, “To improve on an iron as successful as the original P790, engineers faced the challenge of taking everything learned from its design, refining and emphasizing many of the unique design elements that made it so successful without drastically changing its DNA. The result is a forged iron that continues to deliver remarkable distance and playability combined with exceptional feel in a medium-compact head design with a refined topline, more compact blade length and reduced offset preferred by discerning players.”

A new driving iron was also introduced the P790 UDI (Ultimate Driving Iron) with a redesigned metal injection molded (MIM) tungsten weight that raises the MOI for better resistance to twisting.

However, the more significant announcement was the ultra-premium P790 Ti which puts TMaG squarely in that evermore crowded higher price end of the market. Unlike some manufacturers whose ultra-premium models make use of cosmetics to rationalize double or more the usual prices the P790 Ti justifies its pricing because the body is made of titanium. Titanium is more expensive than steel and more difficult to work with, but this new blade proves the advantages.

Inside the head is a massive tungsten weight of 117-grams or nearly half of the head’s mass putting the P790 Ti solidly in the game-improvement category. Compared with the first P790 head shaping is different with a 2mm longer blade, 2mm taller face and increased offset complemented by a wider sole with additional bounce. The titanium body is much lighter and stronger while the face is thinner with a bigger sweet spot while utilizing TMaG’s Thru-Slot Speed Pocket. Ball speed is improved since the flexing area of the face was increased plus consistency was improved.

TaylorMade said in the product announcement, “A complement to the P790, the P790 Ti was designed from the ground up to be an extreme performance P·790; a game improvement iron loaded with technology packed into an aspirational players’ preferred shape while maintaining the critical ratios between blade length, offset and topline width.”

P790 2019 Players Distance Irons

Forged steel with 7% thinner face

Hollow body construction with Speed Pocket

Progressive variable thickness face

Face supported by injected foam

15% larger tungsten weighting

5-iron loft 23.5° and pitching wedge 45°

$1,400 steel shafts or $1,600 graphite

Available September 6

P790 UDI Iron

MIM tungsten weight

$230 – 17° 2-iron only

Available September 6

P790 Ti Game Improvement Irons

Titanium body and face

117-gram tungsten internal weight

Thin face with larger sweet spot

Speed Pocket

5-iron loft 21.5° and pitching wedge loft 43.5°

$2,800 steel shafts or $3,000 graphite

Available November 8

Phantom X – Lots of Putter TechBy ED TRAVISScotty Cameron is one…

Phantom X – Lots of Putter Tech

By ED TRAVIS

Scotty Cameron is one of the most respected putter designers in the industry and when he comes up with a line of putters such as the Phantom X and that they are high-tech it is well worth paying attention.

Quoting Cameron: “Phantom X is by far the most high-tech putter line we’ve designed to date. This product is so much faster looking, and taken to the next level, that it needed a new name. It’s a major leap in performance. We’ve designed a variety of flange setups, alignment options and shaft bends to offer mallet players more models to choose from. I was inspired by Tour players who’ve asked for slightly smaller profiles with more alignment options and solid face construction. The engineering has been ramped up to an entirely new level to bring this brand-new line to life. Phantom X is the ultimate lineup for mallet players.”

Many players prefer mallet style heads and the new Phantom X has five new mallet head shapes with a variety of shaft bends to accommodate any preference. Each has two stainless steel toe weights that may be changed out and a stepless steel shaft. Made from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum the Phantom X components have black anodized misted finish as do the 303 stainless head pieces.

The familiar Cameron three-dot identificaton can be seen in the back cavities of the Phantom X 5, 5.5, 6 and 6STR as unpainted circles formed by milling away the black anodization.

A critical question about the design of each in the line has to do with the one-piece construction for the putter faces. Cameron said, “For these shapes and for what we’re trying to accomplish—next level mallet design, alignment and performance—solid 6061 aircraft aluminum is the perfect option. First, the feel is pure. I’ve been using aluminum for faces since even before the days of the original Futura, and with Phantom X it really fit the design. Tour players like to know that they’re contacting a solid face. This gives solid feedback, while preserving the soft feel players prefer. Even with our success using multi-material heads in the past, I really wanted to design Phantom X with solid faces even though each putter is actually made up of multiple components.”

He continued, “Each Phantom X mallet is constructed with a standard-milled aluminum face anodized black that extends back and through the flange areas of each model. It’s very easy to mill to our tolerances and allows me to move weight around due to its lightness. And, by allowing me to increase the physical area of the mallet head, I can craft longer sight lines and visual cues that really capitalize on the overall design.”

Brand & Model:

Titleist Scotty Cameron Phantom X putters

Key Features:

Multiple alignment and shaft bend options

6061 aluminum face wrapping around the flange

Five head shapes

Price & Availability:

$430 in shops now

Need to Know:

Large wings increase resistance to twisting

Alignment lines neon yellow

Monday After the ’19 MastersBy ED TRAVISTiger Woods is back….

Monday After the ’19 Masters

By ED TRAVIS

Tiger Woods is back. It’s almost like he never left, and his two-stroke win over a trio of first-class younger players plus the self-destruction of Francesco Molinari gave the Masters a compelling finish. It was a must-see even if you aren’t a Tiger fan.

Not mentioned by the CBS TV coverage is the fact the purse was increased this year to $11.5 million up $500,000 from the last two years which meant Woods take for his 15th major was a record $2,070,000 or $90,000 more than Patrick Reed last year and Sergio Garcia in 2017.

It has been pointed out, perhaps with some significance, the Masters is not run by the USGA and as is true week to week on the PGA Tour there were no rules controversies. That may be a cheap shot, but the proof will come at Pebble Beach in June and when the USGA-run U.S. Open is held.

Prior to the 83rd bestowing of the green jacket Augusta National Golf Club further strengthened its connection with amateur golf exemplified by the club’s co-founder Bobby Jones with the first Women’s Amateur Championship. The finals were played the previous Saturday followed on Sunday with the Drive, Chip and Putt competition for 80 youngsters in four age groups.

Along with the Wednesday par-3 contest these events are each important in their own way but merely the preamble to six amateurs and 81 pros teeing it up on Thursday.

One of what many at the time considered a “reality lapse” occurred prior to the start of the tournament when oddsmakers had Tiger Woods listed at 14 to 1 to triumph, the same guess as Justine Rose’s chances (missed cut) but less favored than Rory McIlroy (T21) at 8 to 1. The kicker though is someone placed a bet on Woods to win at those odds, plunking down over $80,000 for a payout of more than $1 million.

Having no significance at all was the new logo Woods displayed on his pre-tournament shirt, a depiction of his tiger headcover he calls “Frank.” That along with his on-course gum chewing each day merely gave the media something else to talk about.

What can we take away from this years Masters? Several things starting with the long ball hitters didn’t win. Tony Finau led in driving distance and finished in a tie for fifth while Woods averaged 10 yards less in 44th spot which in fact was two yards less than the field average. Nor did Woods putt lights-out having 120 putts over the four rounds earning another 44th place with the field averaging more than one-half a stroke per round better. What we can say is, though his driver accuracy was not tremendous at 62.5% (T47) his greens in regulation was superb at 80.56% (1) and with 22 birdies he was only three behind Xander Schauffele who had the most with 25.

It proves again as it has in the past and contrary to what those who say the ball goes too far, being able to hit the ball on the green and make a score wins more often than not.

We also were shown how vulnerable Augusta National is when played in soft conditions and little wind. The lack of firmness on the greens allowed many shots that would have been long gone to hold. The greens rolled much slower taking away at least some of the usual terror of previous years. Woods score of -13 was 1.4 shots lower than the average of the past 10 Maters but one stroke higher than Patrick Reed’s 2018 win.

It goes without saying next month’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black can’t come too soon to give Tiger a crack at his 16th major.

Monday After the ’19 MastersBy ED TRAVISTiger Woods is back….

Monday After the ’19 Masters

By ED TRAVIS

Tiger Woods is back. It’s almost like he never left, and his two-stroke win over a trio of first-class younger players plus the self-destruction of Francesco Molinari gave the Masters a compelling finish. It was a must-see even if you aren’t a Tiger fan.

Not mentioned by the CBS TV coverage is the fact the purse was increased this year to $11.5 million up $500,000 from the last two years which meant Woods take for his 15th major was a record $2,070,000 or $90,000 more than Patrick Reed last year and Sergio Garcia in 2017.

It has been pointed out, perhaps with some significance, the Masters is not run by the USGA and as is true week to week on the PGA Tour there were no rules controversies. That may be a cheap shot, but the proof will come at Pebble Beach in June and when the USGA-run U.S. Open is held.

Prior to the 83rd bestowing of the green jacket Augusta National Golf Club further strengthened its connection with amateur golf exemplified by the club’s co-founder Bobby Jones with the first Women’s Amateur Championship. The finals were played the previous Saturday followed on Sunday with the Drive, Chip and Putt competition for 80 youngsters in four age groups.

Along with the Wednesday par-3 contest these events are each important in their own way but merely the preamble to six amateurs and 81 pros teeing it up on Thursday.

One of what many at the time considered a “reality lapse” occurred prior to the start of the tournament when oddsmakers had Tiger Woods listed at 14 to 1 to triumph, the same guess as Justine Rose’s chances (missed cut) but less favored than Rory McIlroy (T21) at 8 to 1. The kicker though is someone placed a bet on Woods to win at those odds, plunking down over $80,000 for a payout of more than $1 million.

Having no significance at all was the new logo Woods displayed on his pre-tournament shirt, a depiction of his tiger headcover he calls “Frank.” That along with his on-course gum chewing each day merely gave the media something else to talk about.

What can we take away from this years Masters? Several things starting with the long ball hitters didn’t win. Tony Finau led in driving distance and finished in a tie for fifth while Woods averaged 10 yards less in 44th spot which in fact was two yards less than the field average. Nor did Woods putt lights-out having 120 putts over the four rounds earning another 44th place with the field averaging more than one-half a stroke per round better. What we can say is, though his driver accuracy was not tremendous at 62.5% (T47) his greens in regulation was superb at 80.56% (1) and with 22 birdies he was only three behind Xander Schauffele who had the most with 25.

It proves again as it has in the past and contrary to what those who say the ball goes too far, being able to hit the ball on the green and make a score wins more often than not.

We also were shown how vulnerable Augusta National is when played in soft conditions and little wind. The lack of firmness on the greens allowed many shots that would have been long gone to hold. The greens rolled much slower taking away at least some of the usual terror of previous years. Woods score of -13 was 1.4 shots lower than the average of the past 10 Maters but one stroke higher than Patrick Reed’s 2018 win.

It goes without saying next month’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black can’t come too soon to give Tiger a crack at his 16th major.