The new golf clubs for 2015 are slowly starting to creep to the market. November was big and then after the new year we’ll see a blitz of new woods and irons from most of the major equipment manufacturers. It should be an interesting year as the golf business lagged severely in 2014 and many consumers started to lash out at the likes of Taylormade and their short product cycle. Taylormade has a new guy calling the shots and things are supposed to change, but that didn’t impact a new iron launch last month and the new woods coming in January. Can you say Aeroburner? Probably not.
Since many of the few readers of this blog are golfers, I thought I’d quickly summarize all the new gear (since I’ve hit all of it), and then get to the much less valuable information–the NFL picks.
Titleist 915 Series: The 915 series will be familiar to golfers with two driver offerings and two head shapes in the fairways and hybrids as well. The 915 is Titleist’s 1st club with any type of “slot,” utilizing what they call the Active Recoil Channel “ARC” to increase ball speed and forgiveness.
Thoughts: The ARC definitely seems to give the distance a boost in the hybrids and fairways. Titleist has never had the hottest or most forgiving faces, but these clubs take a positive step in that direction. For the drivers, the spin has come down on both heads and the D3 feels a lot more tolerable on mis-hits than past iterations. They’ve also mixed up the shafts a little in the stock options. I’m personally a big fan of the Aldila Rogue Silver and in combination with the D3, it’s among my favorite drivers available. A good head that highlights the importance of finding the right shaft for you…
Callaway Big Bertha Series: Callaway has two new versions of the Alpha. The 815 and the 815 Double Black Diamond. I don’t know why it’s called that, either. The fairways and hybrids for this series, which I’ve seen, but aren’t available may end up stealing the show–especially for better players.
Thoughts: For the average player, I’m not sure Callaway has improved upon the x2hot, but the regular 815 does provide an interesting lower spin option that still offers some forgiveness. The Double Black Diamond has an incredibly deep face and stout body that might appeal to good players, but won’t be for everyone. It’s a club targeting a limited market. I wouldn’t pick this club up unless you can break 80 and hit your driver at least 270 yards.
Taylormade R15 and Aeroburner: The SLDR gets an update with the R15 and the more forgiving line moves from the Jetspeed to the Aeroburner. Taylormade has gone back to the white head as the primary offering and the Aeroburner driver is NOT adjustable.
Thoughts: The 430 CC version of the R15 is a good loooking club and the two weights on the sole (as opposed to one for the SLDR) give a players countless setup options. It is a little disconcerting to see such inconsistency from Taylormade, though, as they are now back to white heads and you probably won’t be hearing nearly as much about ‘lofting up’ this year. The Aeroburner has a massive speed pocket that gives the club a bit of a dead “hit” in my opinion. It’s a hot face, but for my money the company has not improved on the original RBZ for your average player.
Coming Soon: Nike Vapor, Cobra Fly-Z.
Definitely looking forward to the Fly-Z as the Bio Cell+ remains as one of my favorite drivers. If Cobra has improved on that club they will certainly have a winner. Nike’s new offerings should be worth a look. They’re no longer red and if Tiger can turn his game around that should drive sales–at least a bit.
Nike Vapor Line. The Vapor line (pro/combo/speed) is slanted a bit toward better players. Like Titleist, there’s really only one offering for a bogey golfer and that’s the Vapor Speed. In fact, the iron bears a striking resemblance to the AP1 at address. It is physically long (+.5″ over standard) and quite forgiving as well. Could be a player if people give them a shot. The Vapor Combo is a great looking iron that will be competing in a crowded market for better players, but Nike has not been able to crack into Titleist’s and Mizuno’s market share in the past. If you are looking at MP-15s for example, the Vapor Pro Combo might be worth a look, but I doubt many people will look. The Vapor Pro will have an even smaller market.
Taylormade RSI 1&2. Again, think AP1 and AP2. The technological change here is the “face slots” which create what the company is calling a “floating face.” It’s supposed to be the most forgiving iron ever made on heel and toe hits. For the first time in a while Taylormade is not talking about more distance, but the clubs are still plenty hot. If they stick around for a few more months they should sell pretty well as both clubs are long and incredibly easy to hit. The RSI 2, in particular, is a great feeling club and would be a great option for a 6-12 handicap or a lapsed better player who still likes a compact head but needs a bit more forgiveness.
Callaway Big Bertha. The graphite set that comes with hybrids checks in at $1299. The idea here is that Callaway has put their hybrid technology into irons. They claim to be two clubs longer (than something). The club is physically long and the lofts are quite strong, but there is something to the hybrid technology in the face. If you can stand to look at them, they are quite long. Personally, I can’t stop hitting them fat and hate the way they look, but if you aren’t good and have money to burn…give ’em a shot.
Coming: Callaway XR, A new offering from Ping (i30?), Cobra Fly Z.
*Also of note for iron shoppers, Mizuno is offering free shaft upgrades on custom orders. With the exception of steelfiber and possibly the Nippon Pro Modus, you can get the irons for the base price with any shaft, KBS Tour, C-Taper, Project X, etc. For any high speed player this can turn out to be an incredible bargain. And, the new clubs, out for some time now live up to the Mizuno standard.
Pittsburgh (-2) over Atlanta. The Falcons got their doors blown off for three quarters last Monday night. They’re on a short week. They play in the worst division in the league. Julio Jones might be hurt. Don’t take this pick an endorsement of Pittsburgh. Take it more like I hate the Falcons and every game on the slate this week.
Carolina (-3) over Tampa Bay. If you think I’m going to pass on a chance to bet on Derek Anderson, you are SORELY mistaken. Any start could be D.A.’s last. Let’s sit by the fire and remember the golden years. Remember when D.A. was in Cleveland hooking up with…(can’t think of a Browns receiver)? Those were the days. D.A. can beat the Bucs in relief. It can and will happen.
Green Bay (-5) over Buffalo. Is this a Bills line? I don’t care, because last night was a big old Rams line and they messed themselves. There’s no fixing a horsebleep offense and that’s what Buffalo has. It may not be vintage Green Bay, but they hardly need anything electrifying to beat the Bills by a score.
Philadelphia (-3.5) over Dallas. If you know me, you know I have this thing where I say “this is the game,” or “this is the season.” Sometimes it’s a joke. Sometimes it’s not. No joking here. This is Philly’s season. They can go from great progress to total waste of a year in 4 quarters. I happen to think the Eagles match up well against Dallas and don’t think the REVENGE will be as much of a factor. The whole idea that division teams always split is mostly crap.
New Orleans (-3) over Chicago. How could you stay away from this tire fire on Monday night? Easily the two most disappointing teams in the league battling it out. You have to be demented to pick this game. I’m demented. Could be close, could be a blowout either way–who knows? Who cares? I think Chicago, to their credit, is SLIGHTLY more dysfunctional. Dare you to argue.