Qwowi’s 2009 Golf Gear Guide: Final Thoughts and the Dream Bag
As the sun sets on the 2009 Golf Guide, you’d think that after writing 14 days worth of content (not including today) and well over 30,000 words I’d be completely over the whole golf thing. Instead I find myself looking forward to this season more so than any other to date. I’ve got a lot of great gear queued up to review, and plenty more that I’m working on getting my hands on. The 2009 golf season should, several times over, be the busiest we’ve ever had here at whatthedeuce/qwowi.com.
Once again, I’d like to say thank you to all my wonderful Marketing and PR friends who helped out along the way (a special thanks to all of you who provided samples for our giveaways). I look forward to working with you all season long.
While current economic conditions could be better (understatement), the industry as a whole is plodding along, and making sure there are plenty of options for us golfers to choose from. While those same economic conditions might force us to be a bit more conservative with our purchases, if there’s an upside it’s that I expect to see bigger sales, and steeper discounts than we’ve seen in years past.
The true beauty of the golf industry is that the market is highly competitive. While each of us may have our biases and personal preferences, the equipment, almost universally, is of similar quality, and offers similar performance. Not only does this mean that prices have to remain competitive, but it also all but forces the companies to put the customer first.
I’m actually in the market for nothing this year. I’m happy with my TaylorMade SuperQuad – although I would entertain replacing it. You couldn’t pay me to replace my Ping G10 Fairway woods. I’ll play my Titleist 585H until the face collapses. My Callaway X-20 Tour irons are probably the most vulnerable clubs in my bag, and yet, it’s highly unlikely I’ll replace them either. I just re-upped on wedges (Vokey Spin Milled) last summer, and bought a Mizuno Bettinardi BC-1 putter last April. My bag is pretty settled, but one never knows…
So with all that out of the way, it’s time to get to this year’s dream bag. This is the 3rd year for the dream bag, and while in each of the last two years I have bought a new club or two, I think it’s only fair to mention that nothing from any dream bag has ever made it into my actual bag. The lesson: always try before you buy.
With nothing left to be said, I present the final chapter in Qwowi’s 2009 Golf Gear Guide; The Dream Bag:
As much as I love the idea of the eco-friendly, corn fiber based Verterra Sport polo, and as impressed as I’ve been so far by the Opedix Posture Shirt (full review coming soon), PUMA’s golf collection has really been one of the biggest finds for me this year. Yeah, I mentioned the belts (and I think they look great). And yeah, I’m digging the notion of golfing in something other than khaki cargo shorts (Qwowi has style), it’s really the Invisibonding polo that I’m itching to get my hands on. What’s not to like about a moisture wicking fabric that moves with your body? Plus, it’s completely seamless. It has no seams! And yet it stays together. It boggles the mind. Also, without mentioning names, I’ve been tied to one specific brand of polo for 3 years now. It’ll be nice to mix it up.
Although I filed it away in my Sunshine & Rain post, I’m also bagging the new Titanium Performance Golf Gear from Columbia. Durable, lightweight, and waterproof, what else could you ask for? Oh, you want something that’s got a little stretch to it, moves with your body, and doesn’t fit like a Hefty bag? Well, it does that too. Since we’re playing with virtual money, I’ll take an entire rain suit and call it a day.
I’ll be completely honest; if I were actually buying footwear the most comfortable shoe would win. Technology is great. Stability is great. Microfiber is great. And yeah, memory foam is great, but if it hurts your feet, what good is it?
I’ve got two favorites in the footwear category. I love everything I’ve read about FootJoy’s new SYNR-G shoe, and I have no doubt it’s an all-star performer. I’m also incredibly curious about PUMA’s Swing Crown GTX with its “Smart Quill” technology and mis-matched soles. So both would be at the top of my list for new footwear this year, and whichever proves to be the most comfortable is the one that will be on my feet.
Regardless of which pair I’d actually choose, you can bet I’m covering them up with a pair of Golfskins. These things are simply brilliant.
The ProV1 is the easiest, and most obvious choice, but that’s not how I do. In the absence of a new TaylorMade TP Red (my current favorite ball), I’ll take the new Nike One Tour, and hope like hell it offers everything Nike says it does (reduced spin and increased distance).
As a guy whose played everything from the ProV1 down to a TopFlite XL-200, believe me when I say that there are differences between golf balls, and and those differences are so pronounced that even a beginner can tell one from the. I’m a huge proponent of playing the best ball you can reasonably afford, which is also why this guide won’t come to an end without one more mention of LostGolfBalls.com. LostGolfBalls.com offers premium golf balls, in like new condition, at incredible discounts. You could spend $50 on a dozen balls, but why would you when you can get that same dozen for under $30?
I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the point where umbrellas have evolved enough to deserve anything more than a passing mention. Clearly they have, as I’ve moved from writing sentences like “2009 is a big year for umbrellas” to being torn between the Mibrella and the Davek Golf Umbrella (the one with the anchor spike). While I like that I can stick the Davek in the ground to keep it from blowing around, and the fact that it could probably be used for self-defense, it’s very difficult to pass up the oversized, asymmetrical canopy, and the really cool Load-N-Go cart system of the Mibrella. I’d be completely happy with either, but for the sake of the Dream Bag, I’m bagging the Mibrella.
As much as I love my uPro and I do. And as much as I have no actual plans to replace my uPro (I don’t), this is a dream bag scenario, and the rules say I have to pick something new, which is why I’m bagging the OnPar Golf GPS from Savant. It features sweet touch screen action and OnPoint technology. It also tracks statistics and even makes club recommendations. The OnPar is probably as close as most of us will get to having our own caddy on the payroll. What’s also really cool about the OnPar Golf GPS is that your purchase price entitles you to each and every course in the OnPar library. There are no subscription fees, no download fees, nothing. The OnPar is a one-time, and one time only expense.
I’m not a fan of training clubs you can’t hit balls with. I’m also not one to work on his putting nearly as much as he should (which is why I’m not bagging the TOMI). What I do like to do, however, is hit range balls with the the hope that all that practice will eventually make me a better ball striker hasn’t happened yet, but the new Tour Striker gives me cause for optimism. The Tour Striker, which looks an awful lot like an 8-iron with the mother of all leading edges, is the only training aid designed to teach you how to make ball contact utilizing a forward shaft lean and a descending blow. I don’t ever remember being more excited about a training club. I’m bagging it, and with a little luck I’ll be reviewing it too.
I’m an OGIO guy so you might expect that I’m going to once again pick an OGIO bag. Well, you’d be right. But…it’s never been more difficult. I am taking the new Anomaly, because I’m generally a fan of big cart bags that can hold a ton of stuff, and have lots of cool features like Zipperless Ball Pouches, and flip-up side pockets. I don’t travel light. It’s also true that I’ve been carrying OGIO bags for 6 years now, and I’ve never once have I been disappointed.
So yeah, give me the Anomaly, but understand that I’m really intrigued by both the the Golfoholic bag with its sleek European lines and optional solar electronics charger, and the Bennington Quiet Organizer and its innovative club storage system. Had I hands on experience with either, I might have gone in a different direction.
I’m sweet, real sweet on the new TaylorMade R9. As both a solid TaylorMade driver guy, and as a guy who is an admitted sucker for Moveable Weight Technology, and other adjustabilities, it’s hard to imagine I’d look beyond the R9. Of course, I’m also hot for the new the Cobra L5V. I’ve never gone composite before, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if, after having opportunity to demo, one or the other found its way into my bag (please don’t tell my wife). That said, for the Dream Bag I’m bagging the Adams Speedline. I don’t think I’ve ever chosen an Adams club before – in fact, I’m sure I haven’t, but the whole wind-tunnel testing, drag-reducing, science thing has placed the Speedline alone on the top of my list for 2009. Quite frankly, I never saw it coming.
I’m going to cheat and hold on to the clubs I already own. Maybe I’d think about the new Bobby Jones clubs when they hit the market. Maybe the Mizuno MX-700 could get me thinking too. There’s never been a TaylorMade wood I haven’t thought about, and I do love the sound and feel of a Titleist, but… As far as I’m concerned I have two perfectly perfect (yup, I know I just almost repeated words) Ping G10s in my bag right now. Yeah, this is the dream bag, and yeah, I’m supposed to find something for new 2009, but even being the gear whore that I am, there simply isn’t any reason (good or otherwise) to think about pulling the Pings. I’ve never hit a fairway wood as consistently as I hit my G10s. There’s no way I’m taking them out of my bag. You want me to get rid of my Pings? From my cold dead hands…
Once again I like the TaylorMade. Flight Control Technology, and the whole adjustability thing in a hybrid makes the Rescue Mid TP very appealing. I could easily see myself picking one (maybe two) up. Early feedback on the Mizuno MX-700 is also extremely positive too, so that could be an option as well. But the thing is, I love my current Titleist 585H. In fact, it’s my go to club from a variety of lies; especially after I’ve gotten myself into some trouble (as I often do). If the shaft broke tomorrow, my inclination would be to fix it rather than replace it. So with no other Titleist clubs high on my list this year, I’m going to play it safe, go with what I know (and love). I’m bagging the the 909H.
I’ll be honest, there’s not too much in the way of irons I’m overly excited about. That said, I’ve hit the Mizuno MX-200s and really liked them. If I’m foolish enough to hit them again, I might be inclined to buy them (again…don’t tell my wife). I’m also really looking forward to checking out the new Cobra SZ irons. I love the clean lines, and general lack of flare (obnoxious graphics and colors) - a rarity in a game improvement iron. Forced to pick a winner, I’ll take the Mizunos for the soft, forged feel, the Mizuno reputation, and the fact that I already know that I like them. But yeah, the Cobras look pretty sweet too and you can bet I’ll demo a set before the season is over. As long as we’re playing a ”what if” game. What if I were a handful of strokes better? Mizuno MP-52s…it’s not even a question.
I love wedges. I think I own 8 of them now (not counting my pitching wedge). I’d happily own 8 more. With the USGA cracking down hard on the size of grooves, it’s high time we all started thinking a bit less about spin (not that my choice won’t spin), and paying a bit more attention to feel and functionality.
Focusing on the feel thing actually makes my decision a whole lot easier. With more grind choices than anyone, and far and away the softest steel in the industry, the forged 1018 wedges from Scratch Golf will absolutely find a place in my bag. Sure, I’d love to find room for the 73° Feel Dart Thrower (just for the fun of it), but if we’re talking about assembling a new set of 3 wedges, let’s see… How about Scratch, Scratch, and Scratch.
There are two schools of thought here. If I’m keeping it traditional, I’ll take the outstanding feel, and immediate roll that comes with the Rife Bimini blade. Of course, I’m not always a traditionalist, which is why my pick is the new Axis1 Eagle. Yeah, it looks strange, and the whole axis in line with the shaft thing sounds a bit gimmicky. The thing is, for a putter that’s been on the scene for all of about 2 weeks now, it’s already received a tremendous response, and numerous accolades from the industry. My buddy Tony over at HookedOnGolfBlog speaks highly of it, as do the guys at Golf.com who named it Best in Show (PGA Merchandise Show). The next bad word I read about the Axis1 will be the first. It’s quite simply this year’s must-try club.
Every year there seems to be one really hot product that comes out of the PGA Merchandise Show. This year, I think that product is the Axis1 Eagle. Funny looks aside, I’m bagging it.
With my golf guide complete (at least for now), and my dream bag full, I’m heading out to play 18 (as soon as this damn snow melts).
Check back all season long for detailed reviews of some of the products featured in this guide, plus many many more.
Hit ‘em straight,