November-December 2012

Great gear and must have training aids

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NOW PLAYING:
CLEVELAND 588 RTX WEDGES

When it comes to new wedge technology, it's hard to beat the boys from Huntington Beach, Calif. The new Cleveland 588 RTX wedges ($119) have a proprietary laser-cut face texture between the already awesome groove design (16% bigger, by the way), lending these new wedges an unprecedented amount of spin and shotmaking control. Better yet, they're designed with some added forgiveness, too, which makes them the first real shotmaker's wedge that's also a game-improvement wedge, as well.

We've tried these wedges, and the control we get is incredible. We're hitting shots that reminded us of playing golf, circa 2009 (ahem, before the new USGA groove rules were enacted in 2010)! The new ROTEX pattern helps with open-faced shots, too, as you can really see and feel the texture on the toe, where most open-faced shots are played. So that makes three technologies on one face, equating to a set of wedges that are as playable as any we've ever seen from Cleveland Golf—which, mind you, is a pretty big deal, considering the company's track record as a worldwide leader in the category. Look for the RTX wedges to be a huge hit into 2013 and beyond. They're just that good. clevelandgolf.com

NOW PLAYING:
PING ANSER DRIVER

The new PING Anser ($399) driver has what the company calls "Trajectory Tuning" tech—otherwise known as an adjustable hosel that enables golfers to adjust the loft of the club for a custom fit by 0.5 loft increments. Other cool features include a low-spin head shape (for high-flying shots that cut through the air) and the popular matte finish, borrowed from the i20 metalwoods. And you'd never know it was adjustable, since the club retains a small hosel that hides all the fitting tech inside the clubhead.

By now, you know the driver is loaded with club tech, but how does it work? We contend, as we seem to do with just about every new driver from PING, that the Anser is the company's best driver to date, especially for good to better players. The ability to fine-tune the loft (which slightly affects clubface angle, by the way) is a plus for golfers who want different trajectories on any given day. But that's not our favorite part. We think the two best things the Anser has going for it are its sleek looks and unbelievably good feel. It's the kind of driver we've been waiting for from PING—and they delivered, big time. And the Trajectory Tuning? It really works. You'd be amazed at the differences 0.5 degrees of loft can have on your tee shots. PING.com

NOW PLAYING:

TOUR EDGE EXOTICS XRAIL FAIRWAY WOODS

The new Xrail fairway woods ($179) from the popular Tour Edge Exotics line is specifically designed to do what most of us want from a fairway wood—escape the thick stuff!

Weight has been repositioned more toward the heel and toe (a necessity for more clubhead stability), and the V-Sole makes it a cinch to extricate the ball from the rough. And, by the way, the V-Sole doesn't impede on shots from the fairway. It actually helps. The key is in knowing what to expect with your fairway wood shots.

Most golfers instinctively try to sweep or even hit up on their shots with a fairway wood. And while a sweep sometimes works, hitting up on the ball with a fairway wood almost never works. Truth is, hitting the ball on a downward path is the right way to go. Need proof? Next time you watch a Tour event, pay attention to shots hit off the fairway with fairway woods. Almost every player makes a divot, which indicates a downward strike into the golf ball.

The Xrail is best utilized with a downward strike, so don't be shy about making contact with the turf. This club is probably the most forgiving wood we've tried from the Exotics line (which is saying a lot) and employs a carpenter-steel face that's so long we'd consider it a driver as little as a few years ago. A solid performer for any skill set, the Xrail has the makings of a game-improvement fairway wood for the masses. It's almost too easy to hit. We love that Graphite Design G-Series shaft, too. touredge.com




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