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TwoSolitudes

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About TwoSolitudes

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    Bangkok, Thailand
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    25
  1. Maybe it is just me, but I feel like Cleveland Golf was on the edge of something really great and just missed that opportunity completely. I came to Cleveland around the time of the Hibore. There was nothing out there that looked like it and it preformed really really well. The Hibore XL is still (I think) one of the best drivers ever made and it remains iconic and unique in its design. The FWs were also tremendous and the release of the Hibore irons created whole new category of clubs. Hate it or love it, you knew it was a Cleveland. It must have brought lots of people in to look at the rest of the line. Fast forward a few years and Cleveland goes through a middling phase of the DSTs and XLs with frankly boring designs. They still have the wedges sure, but the woods were way out of the spotlight. I thought the drivers stunk. The woods were OK, but there was nothing high profile in that line up that really stood out. They looked like a million other drivers and woods. Then came the CG Black. Suddenly you had a very cool looking driver for slower swingers. The thing looked great and performed extremely well. It stood out in the crowd of ‘white'. Get an extra-stiff shaft on that and even 100+ swingers were loving it. The follow up woods were also great and they extended the CG Black line down through Irons. They had something really solid and easily identifiable. Then they had the throw-back Classic. Again the design was love it or hate – but everyone knew it was a Cleveland right away. And the thing really performed. There was demand for a wood line in the same style. And hey how about some classic hybrids. So they were sitting on two distinct, terrific looking and performing lines. The CG Black could have been the younger super cool long distance performance line. The Classic line could have been targeted to the over 40 crowd (who wouldn't want to be considered a classic? If John Wayne was alive he would play a set of classics.). Yes they had a problem with the look of Mashie woods and Hybrids, but a redesign of those into Classics (Think along the lines of the Bobby Jones Players series- not just a paint job) and they would have been looking at a really iconic line that could have easily lasted several seasons and made Cleveland a standout looking brand on the tour and on the public courses. But what happened? The CG Black was faded away. The Classic was painted black and then it was faded away. And not we have. The Altitude and Altitude Classic. Both are seriously boring looking club designs. There is nothing about them that stands out. Instead of standing in a unique position, they are again lost in crowd of similar looking and similar performing clubs. To me it seemed like someone over at Cleveland had identified segments of the market where very few were playing and created two lines that were directly appealing to those two audiences. They had what they needed to be dominant in that space (not everywhere- just in that space). And then they immediately gave it up. TM ran the white trend for many seasons. They stood out. Nike is running the Red cavity for the second season now and I am sure they will be a 3rd. Cobra is running the multi-colour thing for the 3rd or 4th season. They all saw a way to make themselves unique. They all gave the lines a few seasons to build. You can't create new ideas and then drop them every year and expect to build customers. Today. especially in woods and drivers, the majors are all pretty even when it comes to performance.So they need to stand out in some other way. The Altitude line will perform, but I don't think enough will care or notice. I like Cleveland, I really do. I think they are well made and perform well. But I also think that for the second time this decade they had something special and this time they just let it slip away….. Am I too hard on them? Maybe. Maybe I don't know what I am talking about. But I will be getting anther Classic XL Custom driver head (or two) so I can keep playing that club as long gas I can. If it's good enough for John Wayne….
  2. This is the only golf forum in which I am still an active member. My seat belt is buckled and I am ready for the ride.
  3. Except that in a progressive tax system everyone IS taxed equally. The money is taxed not the person. First 50K is taxed the same. Earn 100K and the second 50 will be taxed the same, earn a million and you will pay the same tax on that extra 800K as everyone else who has the extra 800. Whatever you earn (amount x), that amount is taxed at exactly the same rate as the first amount x that Phil earns. But that was not the point. A lifetime of work- sure. But he didn't work a lifetime and then win these two tournaments. He has been earning something like 30 million a year for a long time. He has been well well rewarded, many many times over- and good for him. But when he moans about paying tax because this 900K he just earned is just not enough to keep him motivated any longer- that is when I have to say Phil, just shut up. It isn't even about what he pays in the US. He went to the UK to play and to win. He knew the conditions before he left. Then moaned about it after he won! Pretty unprofessional. He could have said that the rate was higher than in the US but he was still honoured to take part. He could have said that he is happy to pay the taxes due where ever in the world he tees up, because that is part of the modern game. Those would have been classy professional responses. But he didn't. He said it was hard to stay motivated to play at all. Just sad. And why does my being in Thailand have to do with anything? ( I am Canadian by the way- and pay lots of taxes ) This was not meant to open a debate on progressive tax rates- it's just to me Phil now sounds like his ONLY interest is money and he seems to want everyone to know about it.
  4. Poor poor Mickelson. It's just so hard to stay interested in playing golf. "In an interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo from The Barclay's golf tournament that aired on Friday, Mickelson was asked how it felt to pay over 60% of his British and Scottish Open winnings in taxes. "It's not making me want to go out and work harder," Mickelson said." Seriously? This is the second time he has moaned about how he is suffering because of taxes to media outlet. I like the way he plays. I think he is was a great golf ambassador for Callaway- but these comments make him look like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. I am no longer a fan. From Kos- which puts it well: For the record, Mickelson makes $36 million per year on endorsements alone. He won $1.43 million at the British Open and around $800,000 at the Scottish Open. Since he has to pay taxes where he earned the income, the Brits will take 45 percent of his take, with California taking another 13 percent slice. So assuming there are assorted other taxes that add up to 60 percent of the haul, he ended up taking home what, about $900,000? TYRANNY! I mean, he BUSTED HIS ASS for two whole weeks to earn that cash! Lucky for the world, there are plenty of other golfers that would be happy to pick up the slack for him. So he should feel free to retire to Somalia. They don't have socialist taxes there. Then some other poor sap will have to suffer the indignity of paying taxes on $2.2 million of earnings for two week's work." Phil, just play golf. If you are asked about paying the taxes which are due in a foreign country (which you knew you would pay before you went), the correct response is to say that the British Open and Scottish Open are some of the primer golf events of the season and you are just happy to have the opportunity to play in them and honoured to have won. The other option. If a 900K+ pot isn't enough for you? Stay home.
  5. Woods work better than hybrids for me. I need to just accept this and stop buying 21*+ hybrids.

  6. The best wedges I ever used were the CG14's. The ones with the little plastic insert in them. I could get those way way up in the air on flop shots and look like a pro- and get great outs from the sand. I am going back to them this season I think.
  7. Am I wrong in seeming to remember that the average distance gains for regular golfers has really not changed much? Maybe 5 yards more on average? Comparing what I played 10-15 years ago to now, my iron length is about the same, woods about the same and driver maybe 20-25 yards more (though everything is waaaaay more forgiving now). Yet the courses have gotten much much longer because the distance gains for the pros have been much more substantial. Most of the courses here are 7500 and up. It's ridiculous. So if Joe golfer is shooting about the same length on average but the average course is.. 20% longer? More? Then it's no surprise that the pace of play has slowed. I think the ball Jack is talking about is not the ball we all use on the weekend, but rather the ball used on on tour. You could make changes to that to make 6500 yard courses competitive for the pro's to play, while still keeping those same courses fun and challenging for Joe golfer using the balls made today.
  8. So eight rounds over the last three weeks in Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada. First week was pretty wet and foggy so I didn't see any change in the roll from my old driver. But the last few weeks it has been drying up a bit and very hot. The result? I am hitting drives into brand new territory with the Classic XL. I am still pulling quite a few shots and grouping everything left, (a swing issue) but over the last 5 rounds I was hitting over 70% of the fairways and rolling up to within 100 yards for so on a few 350+ yard holes. As long as the ground was not sopping wet, the rollout was excellent. Very nice to hit a huge high shot and see the ball come down and bounce along forward instead of dropping dead. And all of this with spinny, soft Wilson Staff and Callaway balls. It was also quite a conversation starter. I was the only one using the Cleveland so it was good fun to have the all the TM and Callaway owners asking me about the driver every time I went out. Is it new? Is the headcover standard? Bottom line: If you struggle with high spin on a driver the Classic XL will bring that spin way down while keeping launch and carry numbers high. A great overall package.
  9. Tough call on the shafts. I had the CG Black in stiff, which is a very soft stiff shaft (perfect for my sub-100 mph ball speed). I then got the 290 Classic 10.5 in stiff and found (for me) that the combination of that head and stiff shaft was just way too low. The shaft is much stiffer than the stiff on the CG Black. But that could be a result of my comparing it with the CG Black. (If you found it whippy stay away from the CG Black in anything but an X-Stiff!) On the Classic XL I went with the Reg shaft and found it to feel smoother to swing than the shaft on the 290 and about as stout as the stiff shaft on the CG Black. I would think a stiff version on the XL would see my spin numbers drop into the toilet. So for me anyway, the B. Asha feels better throughout the swing- particularly at impact- and in Reg flex gives appears to be about as stout at the stiff shaft of the CG Black. It's worth trying out. But as we saw on a story MGS did earlier the relationship between the shaft and golfer is pretty unique.
  10. Just another quick update. I did another session with the Classic XL today. Along with much lower backspin I am also getting MUCH lower sidespin. 100-150 +/- on average. So this is a spin killer in every direction. My backspin today was getting down around 2000 which is almost too low for me- a slightly spinner ball should get that back up to 2500 or so. Nice to be able to look for balls with some spin. Bagging the XL will not only improve my drives, but by using spinner balls, my short game should improve as well. I would think someone with a 100+ ss using this driver at 10.5 stiff would get some absolutely massive drives out of the XL.
  11. CG 10.5 stiff has been my driver for the last year. Superb for around 90mph ss. But I find the XL even better. It is the B.Asha on the XL, and I find it feels smoother than the Classic or the CG Black.
  12. So I am a bit of a Cleveland fan. I struggled with drivers for a long time and even gave up using them for a while, choosing to tee off with a 3 wood instead. When the Cleveland Hibore XL came out it was like a revelation to me and I have committed to at least try new Cleveland drivers as they appear. The XLS was good but not as good as the Hibore XL. The 2009 Launcher as great- but not as good as the Hibore XL. The DST I didn't like. The whole series of ultra-lights that followed were in my opinion terrible. But then came the CG Black. Oh man. Super long, super easy. Loved it and bagged it. But… there was also the Classic. It looked fantastic and felt and sounded like nothing else. I tried so many combinations of the Classic, but I could never get it right. The 12* stiff was the best combination for me- but it remained stubbornly 20 yards short of the CG Black and not as forgiving. There it sits in my closet always tempting me…. But wait… What is this new Cleveland driver? The Classic XL Black! Could this be the combination of CG Black and Classic I am looking for? First up the look is great- but I must admit I like the colour and style of the old Classic better. It was more unique. However, the black head and shaft combination of the Classic XL suits my eye more than the spaceship look of the CG Black. They say the face is even deeper than before, but if so it must be just millimeters of difference. I couldn't notice the difference- even with a measuring tape. Deeper? Not so sure. The shaft is a bit longer than my Classic 290 version and of course the weight is 5 grams less. But the combination on the Classic XL feels much better to swing. I really felt I was making better contact with the XL and on the monitor that was reflected with higher swing and ball speeds. In fact, I was getting swing speeds equal to what I get with the CG Black, which is pretty impressive. Classic, Classic XL and CG Black That great sound has remained. A nice deep pop that lets you know when you have nailed it. Hit one in the middle and you are really rewarded with a sound and feel that lets you think you have compressed the ball into a pancake. But hit one outside the middle and it still sounds and performs really well. This was a major difference from me between the Classic and Classic XL. The forgiveness in off-center hits is much higher. But the real test is in the distance. If the Classic XL is still 20 yards short of my CG Black I can't bag it. I don't have the distance to give up 20 yards. So how did it fair? Well previously my good drives were about 200 and with the CG Black I have been getting an average of 215-220 over the last year or so. For me this is really great. If I can get close to those numbers with the XL I would switch. My first drive with the Classic XL was just over 230 yards. After about 20 shots my average drive was 227 and I hit one long one (which I didn't include in the average, of 243). Stunning numbers for me. Dispersion was good- though my shots were all getting grouped about 15-20 yards to the left. The major factor in these numbers was spin. I am a very high spin player. Like 4000+ on most drivers. With the CG Black I can manage to get that down to 3000-3500. On the old Classic the spin was so low that I couldn't play anything less than a 12*, which left me with shots that carried 190 yards or so and had almost no roll. But with the XL my average spin rate with a 10.5* Reg was around 2500 while my launch was about 17*. So the result is that my carry is nearly identical to the CG Black but I end up with much more roll at the end of the shot. I couldn't have asked for a better result. I still wish they made a version with the Classic brass and wood design, but that (and the headcover which is not as easy to get on as before) would be my only complaint with this club. For anyone who struggles with high spin drives, the Classic XL deserves a serious look. Great looking head cover. But hard to get on. So is the Classic XL really the best of both worlds? Yes. Yes it is. The forgiveness and length of the CG Black, with the feel and look of the Classic. Cleveland has a winner here. In two weeks I will be on summer vacation. I plan to play often, and the Classic XL will be joining my luggage. A winner
  13. Ah, I see. The place that had the club. Yes I suppose I could try to go back and find a wrench. But its hard to judge from a few swings in a bay without any monitors. I guess the thing I am looking at is that currently I hit my 24* hybrid about 15-20 yards further than my 27*. So a 3* difference = about 20 yards. But some of that is due to the shaft on the 24* being longer. If they were the same length shaft then what would the distance difference be? 3*=10 yards maybe? Less? The Nike 4 goes from 21-25, a spread of 4 degrees and the shaft is 1/2 a inch more than my current 24*. So set at 25* I should get pretty close to the same distance as my current 4H. But what happens when I set it at 21 or 22? Will distance go up by 10-20 yards, or will it mostly change the ball flight and keep the same distance with maybe a bit more roll. If the answer is ball flight then I would look at getting the 3H and set that at the 21* max. If the answer is distance then I would get two 4's with identical shafts and use them because I can use a more consistent swing/stance using the same shaft. Make sense?
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