Need to Know:
The TaylorMade Golf design tagged “Speed Bridge” in the M5 and M6 irons is their second really innovative club performance feature so far this year, the first being the face screws of the M5 and M6 drivers that allow resin to be injected so the amount of trampoline effect may be precisely controlled.
The irons have a metal bar or Speed Bridge from the top of the head over the cavity to the bottom which gives the head stability energy from the impact goes into creating more ball speed rather than being lost in head distortion and vibration. Early reports are ball speed gains from the design in the one to two mile per hour range which translates into two to five additional yards.
Matt Bovee, Senior Manager, Product Creation talking about the M6 model said, “At TaylorMade, we have always strived to push the performance envelope to give players maximum distance and forgiveness in our game improvement irons. Our new Speed Bridge technology allows us to do exactly that while improving sound and feel at the same time. “
For the M5 and M6 TMaG also designed a new more flexible version of their familiar Speed Pocket sole slot to help spin and distance particularly when the ball contact is low on the face. With the Speed Bridge making the top of the iron stiffer multi-material badges called Hybrar were added to the cavity back to further control vibration. The interior of the even thinner face continues to use the Inverted Cone Technology often likened to having the appearance of an upside-down volcano.
Hosel are fluted, 360° in the M6 and 180° in the M5, which took unwanted weight from the heel that could be put back into the head to improve ball launch parameters. The back cavity is a deep undercut construction further lowering the center of gravity. M5, with a more traditional looking head, is a players-distance category iron (45° pitching wedge) and the M6 (43.5° pitching wedge) is a game-improvement iron. See TaylorMadeGolf.com.
Brand & Model:
TaylorMade Golf M5 and M6 irons
Speed Bridge across rear cavity
Hybrar Compression Damper
Redesigned Speed Pocket
Inverted Cone Technology
Tungsten toe weight in M5 (4-7)
Retail Price & Availability:
M5 $999 steel shafts and $1,199 graphite shafts
M6 $899 steel shafts and $999 graphite shafts
At retail Feb.1
Pure Feel from Tour Edge
The new Pure Feel Template putter series includes two mallets, three blades and a semi-mallet. That all feature Tour Edge’s micro-groove technology which helps accuracy by giving immediate topspin to the ball with a very soft feel and less skidding. Each is milled from 304-Stainless Steel with a bead-blasted top-line and flange to cut sun glare. The face is a CNC milled micro-groove design. $99.99 with an oversized PureFeel TAC grip standard. Details at TourEdge.com
OnCore Avant 55
The Avant 55 two-piece distance ball is a very low 55 compression and produces lower driver spin rates for more yardage and OnCore says the Surlyn cover is soft enough for high launch wedges and a soft feel around the greens. Priced at $24 per dozen, $21.60 per dozen for three to five dozen and $19.20 per dozen for six or more at OnCoregolf.com.
New Drivers from Mizuno
Need to Know:
Mizuno’s new ST series drivers and fairway woods are meant to put the company back into the top strata of metal wood manufacturers. The company has earned high respect among golfers for their irons, but golfers don’t associate Mizuno and drivers…just irons.
The effort to become a factor in metalwoods began at the 2018 PGA Show with introduction of the ST180 and GT180 drivers and continues this year with the latest ST190 and ST190G. According to Mizuno both are designed with focus on producing more ball speed to provide more distance, which of course is the goal of all the other makers.
Both models have a newly engineered forged face of SP700 titanium alloy which has 10 percent more strength than the more usual 6-4 titanium with ribbing inside to help performance rebound and give a solid impact sound. Crowns are a carbon composite of just 12 grams compared with the 19 grams of the ST180. The 7 grams of weight reduction was moved into the sole, an Amplified Wave design with built-in ridges to let the face flex more, another factor for increased ball speed.
The ST190 has a fixed 6-gram weight towards the rear of the sole which gives recreational players a better launch trajectory while the ST190G has two sliding 7-gram weights for ball curvature adjustment, one near the heel and other near the toe. Both models have +/- 2° loft adjustable hosels.
Brand & Model:
Mizuno ST190 & ST 190G
High Strength SP700 titanium face
Amplified Wave sole
Carbon Composite Crown
ST190 Fixed sole weight
ST190G Two Fast Track sliding weights
Price & Availability:
In stores Feb.15
Equipment at Sony Open
Titleist Pro V1/Pro V1x balls are the most played week after week on all the major professional tours with the PGA TOUR the most notable example. This was again true this past week in Hawaii with 109 of the 144 players using on or the other. However, there was another statistic that is just short of amazing. Titleist also was the most used driver with 45 and 38 were the 2019 model…10 TS2 and 28 TS3. You have to go all the way back to when George W. Bush was in office and the 2001 PGA Championship to find the last time for any Tour event where that was true. TaylorMade who has been winning the driver count for years was second at the Sony with 32 and Callaway could count 21 of the new Epic Flash model. Making Titleist’s overwhelming driver stats even more attention getting, they also had the most fairway woods (48) hybrids (25), iron sets (41), wedges (213) and putters (49).
Winning for the second time this season Matt Kuchar it’s no surprise except a change in the shafts of his iron he hadn’t made any changes to the tools that added the Sony Open to his Mayakoba Golf Classic victory in November.
Driver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR (9.5°) – Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec 65 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist TS2 (13.5°) – Fujikura Speeder Evolution 757X shaft
Hybrids: Bridgestone Tour B XD-H (18°) – Accra Tour Z shaft; Ping Anser (20°) – Fujikura Motore Speeder HB 8.8 Tour Spec X shaft
Irons: Bridgestone J15 Cavity Back (5-PW) – True Temper Dynamic Golf 105 S300 shafts
Wedges: Bridgestone J40 Forged (52°) – SteelFiber Aerotech shaft, Cleveland RTX-4 (56°,62°) – KBS 610 Wedge 120S shaft
Putter: Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1 Arm Lock
Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X