Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We Tried It: Cleveland - Never Compromise
Four new sticks...put to the test
20.5° (five other
Shaft: Miyazaki C. Kua Series 59
The new throwback Mashie has been getting a lot of buzz because of its Retro-Raw finish. (Remember those metal woods from the 80s? They’re baaack.) Still, the 3-iron replacement we tried may look “old school,” but it’s got a lot of new-school technology “under the hood.”
Appearance: The first thing we noticed at address (in addition to its “rugged, bulletproof look” as Cleveland puts it) was its slight offset. While we were surprised to see that, it was a comfort on tight lies. There’s just something about a little bit of offset that builds confidence. It’s also easier to see the club’s loft, and that made us feel like we had a 7-iron in our hands, not a “3-iron.”
Technology: There was never any doubt that the ball would get airborne in a hurry and land soft. That was due in part to its offset, but also to the Gliderail sole that features a dual-rail design. It takes the danger out of just about any difficult lie. Golf clubs don’t swing themselves, but the Mashie certainly gave us that impression because we felt that confident standing over the ball. The Gliderail cut like a knife, but didn’t stick. It really did feel effortless.
Summary: We tested the 20.5° 3-iron replacement, but really, it could easily have replaced our 2-iron. It flew with a nice boring trajectory off the deck and higher when slightly teed up. One of the reasons for this is that the Mashie is, like the Ultralite driver series, lighter and longer. With a Miyazaki Series C. Kua 59 (gram) shaft, the engineers at Cleveland could place a longer shaft in it for greater distance. Consider the extra yards you’ll get with it, because you may be replacing the wrong club.
Royal (three other models available)
First Impression: “It feels heavy,” Loren said, when I handed him the limited-edition Never Compromise Gambler Royal. “Not to me,” I said. And that’s the nature of testing golf clubs. What feels “heavy” or “light,” or “long” or “short,” or even “good” or “bad” depends on who’s swinging it. Case in point: the Gambler. While I tend to use heavy face-balanced mallets, Loren putts with one of those old (and I mean really old) Ben Crenshaw blades. So to him, the Gambler was a significant change in feel, while for me, it was a significant change in looks. Ah, golf—so many choices.
Cosmetics: You’d think that our first impression of the Royal would have been its cosmetics. After all, the heel-toe weighted blade features flashy, Vegas-style artwork (spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds) on its sole and crank-neck hosel. However, when you stand over the ball, the playing-card motif vanishes. All you see is its classy “Anser-style” head made from very soft 303 stainless steel.
Feel: As a lover of mallets and urethane inserts, I often find blade-style putterfaces too hard. The ball usually just smacks the face and registers little feel, so I was surprised—shocked really—to not notice any of that with the Gambler. It’s got one of the softest milled-face putters I’ve ever used. With the Winn Grip on the end of the club, it also felt really good in my hands.
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