Monday, January 30, 2006
One area where they do dominate the scene is professional tennis. Wilson tennis racquets are #1 in tennis and continues the tradition as the leading tennis racket brand on the ATP and WTA tour. Their Pro Staff 6.0/6.1 tennis racket was one of the most highly coveted rackets and played by professional tennis era giants like Chris Evert and Pete Sampras. To put it in some perspective, the Wilson Pro Staff 6.0/6.1 was about as popular as Titleist or Mizuno series of irons today.
They actually discontinued the model but Pete Sampras liked them so much he had them made for his career and they are still sold if you look around. Wilson is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to the tennis world today with players such as Roger Federer (#1 ranked player on the ATP), Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin - Hardenne on their roster.
The high point of Wilson Golf seemed to be in 1983-1989 when their Wilson Staff irons were the #1 played iron on the tour. Equip2golf.com has a great section dedicated to the Wilson Staff iron. In 1990-1991 they were #1 with wedges on the tour, but then after that they fell off the face of the professional golf planet..oh yeah, they did have the "Fat Shaft" series played by John Huston at one time. Wilson Staff even had some decent players on their payroll at one time..you may have heard of them..Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Walter Hagan, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Payne Stewart, John Daly and oh yeah..Vijah Singh..to name a few. Nowadays, it seems that all you hear when it comes to tour caliber golf equipment is Titleist or Mizuno.
The Wilson Staff golf equipment currently out now look promising to bring them into the next level. They've done a beautful job of maintaining clean lines and creating something that would actually be played by a professionals, like Padraig Harrington and Jesper Parnevik. I can truly appreciate the conservative nature they've taken in design and the classic, timeless look. Their new drivers are the Pd6 and Dd6. The Df6 fairway wood and the Dh6 hybrid are also new for 2006. I currently play with thie Hb5 hybrid and eagerly wait to get my hands on the Dh6. Their line of irons and wedges are equally as appealing which include the Fi5, their flagship forged iron.
Wilson Staff has always been a venerable, professional golf equipment manufacturer and I hope that they achieve or regain the same legendary status they did back in the days and the way their tennis division is doing now.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
I finally got to play a full round today with the new set. I showed up as a single and eventually got on about 7:30 am. It was extremely foggy in the morning but burned off by the time I teed it up. My first opportunity with them was a at about 150 yds . This shot is a normal 7 or 8 iron for me depending on conditions. I went with the 8 iron and hit it flush. I noticed that the trajectory seemed fairly low and actually seemed slightly lower than my previous set. I went to the Mizuno site and the Callaway site to compare lofts and low and behold! the lofts on the X-14 Pro Series were stronger than the MP-32! I couldn't believe it. I assumed it would be the other way around, but after being able to compare the 2 sets and with iron specifications of each set, the truth is now told..Callaway's, X-14 PS, are player irons.
Although both irons share the same loft, 21 deg., with their 3 iron, that is where the similarities end. The X-14 PS 4 iron is 23.5 deg. and the MP32 is 24 deg., 5 iron is 26 deg. vs. 27 deg, 6 iron is 29 deg. vs. 31 deg., 7 iron is 33 deg. vs. 35 deg., 8 iron is 37.5 vs. 39 deg., 9 iron is 42 deg. vs. 43 deg., PW is 46.5 deg. vs. 47 deg., respectively. An absolute surprise, but it made sense from what I saw on the course. Also I am running Rifle 6.0 on the X-14 PS and, with the tips being stiffer with the bore-thru technology, thus probably providing even a slightly lower flight path.
There's this one very short par 3, 120 yds., to the center. I usually use a PW when I had the MP32, so I did the same today with the X-14 PS. I hit it flush and it went all the way back of the green with a little check and roll to the left..about 130 I'd say. Fortunately, it was a blue flag and I ended up about a foot left of the hole. It felt kinda fat when I hit it and I asked my playing partners to see if I'd hit it fat and they said it was clean. One thing I'm beginning to notice with this set is that the ball seems to "spring" off the face fairly quick. I'd say probably because of the weight of the irons which feel slightly heavier than the MP32's, but either way an effortless feel.
I ended up playing pretty good today and shot an 86 (par 70) . I attribute this to my driving which was pretty on today and was playing fairway golf for the most part. My errant tee shots were just high pushes that weren't in bad shape. One thing I also noticed with the X-14 PS, and probably with the other Callaway irons, is that it moves through the rough very well. I had a couple occasions where I decided to punch it out with a 5 iron. They both came out perfect with excellent distance control. I landed both of them back onto the green for regulation. I remember I couldn't do this as often with the MP32. It was a little more difficult because the iron seemed to get caught up on numerous occasions and I had no idea as far as how the ball would come off the face of the MP32. It was either just out or too hot and passed the intended target. Another "plus" for the X-14 PS! They are excellent to chip or punch out with. Overall, these will stay in the bag for a long time.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I was surprised to know he and Pat Perez were close buddies. Pat flew in with John and his wife, Sherrie Miller Daly, on a private chartered jet plane to the British Open in the show. What really surprised me was that they showed the betting between him and Pat during the practice round. You can see when they're done they show Daly paying off this one guy, don't know who it was..maybe Pat's caddy, and then the camera pans to Pat and he's like running away when John shoves the money at him to take it..probably because the camera was on..but it's behind-the-scene stuff like this that makes "The Daly Planet" enjoyable. TGC's Mercer Baggs, "Bagg Check", seems to be following this series "A Busy Day on Planet Daly", "The Skinny on Big John". Gotta love those Lexus RX courtesy SUV's for the players there.
The Golf Channel, so far, is doing a great job showing JD in his true form and I'm sure there were better stuff too, but that's on the editing floor somewhere. New episodes air on The Golf Channel (TGC) on Wednesday nights.
Monday, January 23, 2006
After much debate I sold my Mizuno MP32's today on Craigslist. For anyone who wants to sell golf equipment Craigslist really sells. In a matter of hours I sold them without any problem to a nice guy..he was a spitting image of that Saab salesman that was dating Elaine on "Seinfeld", David Puddy, you know..the guy that that always said "Hi Five!". (BTW: Wikipedia has an awesome entry of "Seinfeld" minor secondary characters) Although the MP32 were rated the "Testers' Top Pick" in GOLF Magazine's 2005 Club Test, I decided that I needed to try something more forgiving, thus equating more fun, to hit.
Don't get me wrong, the MP32's are an absolute work of art and I believe I was just merely holding up the performance they were intended for in the hands of a professional, or someone better than me, like Luke Donald. I really enjoyed the time we had together and admired the looks of approval from fellow golfers as they sat graciously in my bag.After doing some research I decided to get the Callaway X-14 PS (Pro Series) from Callaway Preowned. They come with less offset compared to the regular X-14 and are a D-2 swing weight compared to D-1, respectively. They may not be the cheapest, compared to scrounging for the same on Ebay, but I could rest assured it wasn't going to be a knockoff and they have a great money/buy-back guarantee. I have purchased from Callaway Preowned on numerous occasions and their service remains consistently impeccable.
The X-14 came out in 2000 and is probably considered outdated technology when it comes to todays golf equipment, but it is still considered one of the most widely sought after iron in Callaway's lineup. The X-14 PS has a much more traditional, smaller profile, looking head that doesn't look like the your typical Callaway shovel (excluding the new X-Tour). I ended up buying the used set from their "average" condition rating (their lowest rating and cheapest), but with Royal Precision Rifle 6.0 shafts (4-PW) for $331, shipped (FedEx ground). Although the X-18 PS is one of the newest "X" series irons from Callaway, IMHO the X-14 PS look much more pleasant at address and look unbelievably identical to the old PING EYE2 at address.
When I received them they were in outstanding condition for just being rated as "average". I can only imagine what their "good" rating is like. (BTW: Callaway Preowned rates their irons as: Outlet, Like New, Very Good, Good, Average) After hitting a couple buckets the first thing I immediately noticed was a more muted feeling at impact with the X-14 PS. I guess this the difference between forged (MP32) and cast (X-14).
It wasn't a bad feeling and it did feel like there was some more punch behind each shot, but as far as shaping shots it didn't compare to the MP32. I tried for the life of me to intentionally cut/slice and the worst it would do is just pull left straight. I do have to say that the MP32 had a livelier feel and felt so pure when hit on the sweetspot, but compared to the X-14 PS, it definitely required more exact hitting where as the X-14 PS sweet spot seemed like the whole face. I was able to hit the longer irons with more consistency than the MP32's and am debating to pick up the 3 iron.
If you are a seasoned golfer and want a Callaway iron with a thinner topline and less offset, the X-14 Pro Series is something to be looked at for sure.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
After reading numerous golf blogs, does the golf blogdom/blogosphere need another? Probably not, there are so many good ones right now ( www.thesandtrap.com, www.sirshanksalot.com, www.eatgolf.com, www.hookedongolfblog.com ) why bother..? Thinking about the whole idea it came down to 2 reasons I wanted to start one:
One, as a New Year's resolution, I am making an all out effort to become a better player this year (in relation for all the time and money previously spent). By keeping a blog I think it will push me to fulfill this hearty task.
Two, I feel compelled to share with the world what your average, hard working, golfer experiences on and about the golf course. All the trials and tribulations your average public/municipal golfer normally deals with. I'll also try to make an attempt to keep up to date with the latest/coolest trends that I may run across on my journey.
A little about myself: I'm married with 2 kids and have been playing golf, on and off, for about 15 years. I really do have a passion for the game, however, my ability may not reflect this. I have had the opportunity to have played courses in New Mexico, Nevada, California. Although I don't have an "official" USGA index, I am working on getting one this year. If I have to say right now I would play around to bogey golf, but am no stranger to a "blow up" round.
Although I'm not begginer, I'm not a "player" by any means. I can't promise you the best advice or tips when it comes to playing but I can guarantee you I know what not to do. I don't belong to a private country club but I'm just your everyday working hack that wakes up, grabs a Yum-Yum coffee, and puts his name on the waiting list to get a round in.