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Testers Wanted! Titleist SM10 and Stix Golf Clubs ×

ChiefMikeOfficer

 
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Everything posted by ChiefMikeOfficer

  1. HFL puts out some really cool products -- I was tempted to join their cover club this year, but they usually have a few extras each month that they sell to the public, so I'm holding back and seeing if they do the same this year (last year I bought a couple of the Nintendo-focused ones).
  2. Alright, now on to the real fitting experience. First, a big thanks to @GolfSpy_BNG for coordinating – I wasn’t even going to sign up for this one until I saw that he was getting the equipment and was much closer than the official fitting locations (closest was ~8 hours, or a flight) – even at 5 hours, it made for a long day, but I feel like MGS and the forum have done a lot of good things for me, and traveling for a day for a test is one way to reciprocate (yes yes, I do get the shaft in the end, which is always a great perk, but a good reminder to those that want to test: don’t expect it to be an easy score of an item). Also thanks to Algona Golf Ranch for allowing us to use the space. Mark described it perfectly when giving me directions: it’s off the beaten path, but an impressive setup. It’s a really cool little space on one of those gravel roads. I only got to explore a small part of it, but it seems super cool (see weather post – would have liked to use the outdoor facilities or stick around to do a few more things, but it was best to hightail it out of there). My best, short description of the fitting: it was a long way to go for an 8-swing fitting, but I think they may be onto something. If they can make the process more accessible and extend the shaft offerings further, it might even be groundbreaking. When I heard about this test opportunity, I knew nothing about Terra Forza (I’m a bit of a club/shaft junkie too – have played around with some of the smaller brands, but I guess I’m not deep enough into things to know this group). The fitting process seemed intriguing, but also fishy – ground forces determine what shaft you need, but also it’s one of these 5 shafts? I poked around their site, and made a guess – if I were to buy an “off the rack” shaft from Terra Forza based on specs, I decided I’d likely go with the Red, but I’d consider the Yellow. That just seems the logical choice, just like some of the other shafts on the market – like for my Graphite Design, I can review the specs and make a reasonable decision on which Tour AD model+weight+flex I should choose. The whole point of a fitting is to eliminate those questions and get to the best of the lot, right? Because of weather, we ended up indoors, in this space: I actually like indoor fittings because I can use my own balls. Of course, I forgot to stock my bag with the typical gamer and only had me “spring scraps”, which were still new and competitive balls (see my “how long do you use a ball?” responses?) – once we started with the fitting process, I used a TP5x for every shot (warmed up with that plus a Vice Pro Plus). For other fittings, the ball is a factor; for this one, unless they actually use the “after” stats in the final decision, it’s not a factor, but it’s nice to see real numbers and remove potential inconsistencies. I also used the Qi10 LS - my current gamer that I've used for a total of 18 holes (in warmups, my fitted Stealth+ just didn't stand up to it). Initial steps of the fitting saw a few challenges. The fitting system was having trouble picking up the ball – after some troubleshooting, we found it’s because the overhead lighting on the sim was too bright (or at least that’s what it seemed). Then, once we adjusted for lighting, the first swing got a “whoa, that’s not what I expected” response (not sure if it was the machine that misfired or if I just had a bigtime old-man swing – no offense to the older guys ). I also had some fun struggles with placing the ball correctly (seriously, try establishing your foot position, then walk up and put the tee in the right place – it’s surprisingly hard). But, the rest of it went well, and we got to some potential outcomes. From the output, it looks like it’s between the Yellow+ (Yellow, but tipped an inch) and the Red – so, I was pretty close, but also didn’t know that Yellow+ was an option. Even if I did, not sure I would’ve landed there on my own – a few years back I grabbed a TS (between S and X) instead of an X, and kinda regretted it (but maybe the shaft itself just didn’t work for me – the TS certainly didn’t). But, Mark is sending the data off to Terra Forza and they are going to make the final call. A couple shots from the analysis (don’t know what any of these numbers mean, but the pictures seem…straightforward? Weight is forward, toe of back foot, heel of front foot?): Then, the fun part – we get to try them. Mark had all of the options (note I did not try the Green – we threw that one out). We started with the Yellow+. First swing impression…it feels lighter than my typical gamer. Or maybe softer. Or maybe some combination. And what do I do with lighter/softer shafts? I pick up a hooker. And that’s exactly what showed on the screen. Because of the feel, I actually went back and adjusted the weights on the driver toward the toe – it helped, but still going left. Next we went with the Yellow – same shaft, but not tipped. Hooks. Then Red. First one, Hook? We’ll call it a Draw, just a bit left of target. But…there was something very notable. For one, Mark mentioned this sim tends to exaggerate the left-spin. But also, there was an odd level of consistency. The dispersion was tight. Now I’m not going to pretend my warmup session had all pure shots (or any session of mine, for that matter), so I made a couple adjustments myself – first the weight toward the toe, then also weakened my grip a bit. Which led to…Bombs. The end of the Red set and the following Yellow+ (decided to try it again after hitting the Red so well) were both spectacular. Spin is comparable to my initial set with my gamer. Distance is also comparable, maybe squeaking a few extra yards out of the Terra Forza (unfortunately didn’t take pics of the before numbers…). This is gonna be confusing, but Red is TF Yellow+ set 1, Cyan is TF Yellow+ set 2 (after all adjustments), Yellow is TF Yellow, and Blue is TF Red. The Cyan set is ridiculous – “spin is a little high” is the feedback I’d get from my old GolfTEC coach (he wants 2200-2300), but come on… even my current gamer is in the same spin territory. I'm very interested to see what the final shaft choice is, and am excited to bring it onto the course. I'm not sold yet...but it seems like there's something good here, and hopefully it helps my game this year.
  3. Long travel day for my Terra Forza test, so figured I'd end it with a glass while I draft the initial review -- recently picked up a bunch of wine from Underground Cellar's bankruptcy liquidation, and have been cracking one open to try each time a new case shows up (very slow shipping process because of the situation). This one showed up yesterday -- well worth the the $11/bottle ($7/bottle, + $50/case shipping). And yes...I do know that's a beer glass. Close enough.
  4. <Putting this up front so it's not misunderstood - this is a fun post about the adventure of today. This is not about the fitting. I still need to put things together for that and will post separately, probably tomorrow at this point> Travel experience: 2/10. Would not recommend. At least not on a day like today. To be clear, on a nice day, it's a nice, fairly easy drive. It was basically a straight-shot down US-18 (often just 1 lane each direction, sometimes 2) -- but of course, sticking on 18 would have added like an hour to the trip vs. veering off at times. I followed some of Google's "faster" shortcuts, which ended up being not faster at all because the "city sounding" roads (like "take 120th St to bypass Postville") were actually loose gravel roads -- Google Maps thought they were 55mph, but I was skidding out a bit at 35-40 (pretty confident I would've had trouble staying on the road at 55, even on the earlier dry one). Pretty sure a couple of these added time, and I avoided them on the way home. Then...the weather. Woof. Mild on the way, but then about 5 miles out from the destination: Luckily Mark's fitting location had a solid indoor setup (and honestly, I prefer indoor because it removes range balls from the equation - technically that wasn't relevant for this fitting, but still nice to see a consistent ball on the sim). Chatted for a bit, warmed up, knocked out the fitting, and then I got out of there because worse stuff was incoming. Worse stuff was also on the way home. Almost felt like storm chasing...only by accident, and I don't know how to do that safely. Pulled out my phone when things seemed really rough, and, TORNADO WARNING -- technically the warning was back where we did the fitting (hope everyone stayed safe), and after a refresh, I was only in a Watch: Stopped at a gas station to wait it out a bit -- the Wisconsin in me struggled with the fact that it was a Kwik Star rather than Kwik Trip, but I got over it. But...where's my wallet? I took it out during the fitting and put it on top of my bag, forgot to pick it up at the end. Texted Mark - no wallet in sight. Dug through the bag and car as much as I could (but again, Tornado Watch), not finding it anywhere. Luckily I keep a credit card in the car. Continued on. This storm was moving roughly the same speed as the car, which made it a rough last couple hours (kept speeding up, getting into it, needing to slow down for visibility, getting out, speeding up, getting back in...there was another storm like 20-30 minutes behind it, so waiting it out wasn't much of an option). But, positives: got home before kids' bedtime (which was not expected, even with fair weather); emptied the bag and found the wallet down by the grips (as much as I knocked the Stitch bag in last year's test, they had a feature that would've helped me find it immediately when looking at the gas station - with Vessel I had to pull everything out); got to spend some QT with the new ride, which I just picked up on Friday, and even avoided the hail! (that became a legitimate concern at one point). Oh, and the fitting -- that was also a positive, coming soon.
  5. This is helping with some of my skepticism already - I saw only 5 shafts with no flex options, and immediately thought it wasn't enough. But, if they can build things like + options on those shafts (and maybe other tweaks), it expands the offering a bit. I guess I'll find out in a couple days...
  6. Fitting scheduled! Making a day trip out to Iowa to visit @GolfSpy_BNG on Tuesday afternoon, since he now has all the equipment for it. It'll be a long day, but hopefully we get some good results!
  7. Thanks to both Terra Forza and MGS for giving me this opportunity! I’ve been golfing in some way pretty much my whole life – starting with plastic clubs and mini golf early, then par 3 courses, evening rounds with dad, and then went “competitive” (not, like, competitive-competitive, but High School, D3, and various local tournaments). I’m currently right around my best handicap ever – the 8-of-20 calculation helps that a bit, because my rounds are wildly inconsistent. I’m excited for this test, because it’s focused on one my favorite things: driver fittings (and outcomes). The driver is my favorite club to tweak over time (putter is close second, but I’m regularly changing something with the driver) -- there’s always this feeling that it could be at least a little bit better. I generally switch out the driver every ~2 years, but will often use the same shaft with multiple driver heads (assuming it performs well on first trial). I’m intrigued by the concept – it’s using data that I have not seen used in fittings before (at least not in my own). My past fittings have varied from just looking at lines on the launch monitor, to using some wearable sensors while swinging a special driver to track body/club motion, but nothing with the feet. So, one of the main things I want to get out of this test is how confident the fitting makes me in the outcome. I can compare/contrast to somewhat recent driver fittings at: Golf Galaxy, GOLFTEC (prior to their execs saying they’ll step up the fitting game), Club Champion, and a TaylorMade Player Development Center (using Gears). Then, in terms of the actual shaft test, I’m planning to put it up against multiple shafts from those fittings (an Accra from CC, a Mitsubishi from TM PDC, and a Graphite Design that I got with my most recent driver just to try, because I was fit into something somewhat similar for my “hybrid”-build long irons). To be up front with it, my main skepticism is that it seems the goal is to fit into the best Terra Forza shaft, of which there are only 5 (and I have a guess at which one I should pick) -- I'm actually curious if the concept could extend beyond the Terra Forza line of shafts.
  8. Every 4-6 holes for regular play, maybe less depending on what happens to it. Cart path or tree? Gone immediately. Full wedge? Need to take a closer look -- usually they can last a couple solid wedge shots, but depends on the ball; if I blade that wedge, it's gone. Basically anything that scuffs the ball or marks it might make me toss it. Some of my friends rib me for how small of a scuff does it for me (and even pick the ball up and use it themselves), but I also have way too many new balls stashed in the basement, so I don't worry about it too much. I know that's basically the opposite of a lot of people -- some people (like my dad) pride themselves on keeping a ball going as long as possible; others love the rush of finding a top of the line golf ball and don't care about the small marks. So, any time I retire one, I either keep it for the shag bag (greenside/yard practice), or toss it into a visible place so someone else can pick it up. I do the same with found balls -- if I don't know the history, I just leave it for someone else (but normally in a spot they can find it, not back where I found it).
  9. Turns out I'm a sucker for Limited Edition stuff... Did not need more of any of these items, but, added these to the collection anyway.
  10. Eh, maybe I was wrong - I just ran some searches, and there's not much on eBay for either of those brands, at least not for mallets (I've seen some come through their Facebook BST groups in that price range, but I thought there was a lot more on eBay). The headcover market is wild. Most of the headcover-focused brands will be a bit higher than that price -- some of them worth it, some not (some are really good quality; others it's just chasing limited editions that might fall apart if used all year). If looking 50/under, and not wanting something that has a club brand on it, best best are probably places like Etsy (can be some surprisingly good stuff on there), eBay, or directly brands that you can find at big box stores and/or are popular directly in pro shops like CMC, PRG, etc. (or shop directly at Golf Galaxy/PGATSS or a pro shop / course's website). Even the specialty brands that were in the $40-50 range a couple years ago seem to be up in the $65-75 range now, with many pushing $100+.
  11. What kind of design/theme are you looking for, and what price range? I have a way too large collection that's brand agnostic, so based on that might be able to make some decent recommendations. A couple reasonable-priced options with a solid range of wild to classic designs: I'd recommend checking eBay or Mullie for older designs from Patrick Gibbons / American Flatsticks -- good quality with some really cool designs, and the market is way down on those brands (used to be a high after-market price tag, and tons of people kept them in new condition for resale, but they're offloading them in the $50-60 range now, sometimes less). Same with Hole9Design (now Rocket) - if you're into Pop Culture / 90s references, they could be a good option (quality not as high, but still good, probably more in the $30-40 range outside of their TMNT designs). Dormie is also great quality with quite a few "in stock" designs (might be made to order, depending on design) and also allows a custom option, but they're in the $100-$150 range for stock.
  12. If you're swinging 116-119mph, the stock X may not be the right play, and they probably should have had you try some others (just curious, which shaft is it?). It could also just be a weight thing - around the time of my last driver fitting, I was around 112mph, and none of the stock options worked, but the top shaft in my fitting was just a heavier version of one of those (9g made a ton of difference). That's basically in line with one of the comments above - didn't need to pay more, but did need to custom order. Yes, get fit. Do research ahead of time and be ready to talk the talk (and push back on upselling). If considering CC, there's a big chain on here with varied experiences -- my experience with them was one positive fitting, and another just OK fitting, but neither were bad by any means (that said, I don't plan to go back...); others share both positive and negative experiences, and I think it comes down to expectations going in and your specific fitter. Expect it to be expensive -- some claim they shoot for the highest price shafts, but I didn't experience that in either fitting (they did try to upsell some things, but I was nowhere close to the top priced shafts).
  13. Have a love/hate relationship with this format. Hate it because of how many MCs I've had (and those have some severe punishment); love it because the alternative "money" format has me at $73k right now but I'm tied with someone that has $1.3 million
  14. Oh, that's not all of them...this is just the putters that I would consider using for practice or putting in the bag for any given round (minus Happy -- that's just for show, and doesn't seem like it's actually built to strike a ball. Yes I have tried). The putters missing are: a Guerin Tour Spec blade to match the mallet (5th from left - blade is in my office for use with the Perfect Practice), a Golf Gods...umm...phallic putter (only game in joke rounds or as a group punishment for things like not getting it past the forward tees, felt like I should keep it out of the picture), and a handful of Scotties that my dad gifted to me last year (he thinks they're "valuable" and collected them over time, but they're all pretty well used -- technically could include them with the gamers because of condition, but I'm kinda anti-Scotty on the course). Might be missing a few others too. That's why I said this probably won't be the last putter purchase. I'm eyeing up a DF3, but want to try it and actually get fit for length/lie/loft before pulling the trigger. We have one local shop that is listed as a L.A.B. fitter, but still need to go explore to make sure they have all the right tools for the fitting (definitely trust them with TaylorMade, but L.A.B. seems very specialized for their shop, so we'll see).
  15. Because a club ho does not discriminate. Nah, it's somewhere buried in older posts in this thread, but we found out the youngest (just turned 3) is a lefty, so I decided to pick up a partial set to learn alongside him - so far have a Driver, 7i, 2 wedges, and a putter. Basically going RH/natural for typical practice/play, but when I go to the range with him, I'm bringing the LH sticks. Secondary, more spiteful reason -- have a buddy that's LH that just bought a lifetime membership at a local course, and he claims he's going to beat me this year because of it...so my new goal is to beat him LH vs. LH
  16. Sure is - one of the original 1000. My brother found it a few years ago and got it for my birthday - still need to pick a good spot to put it on display.
  17. Hi, my name is Mike, and I'm a club ho. It's been only two days since my last club delivery... and then this one showed up like 3 weeks early. Did I need a new putter? No. Did I even try it before buying it? Also no. Is it going to be my last putter purchase this year? (Probably) No. Ok, so which putter are you getting rid of now that you have this new one? It doesn't work that way... Got the AI-One Cruiser Jailbird. For no reason at all, other than...I want one. Resisted the temptation to buy those special release versions after Rickie and Wyndham called so much attention to them, but caved on the AI-One. And it's niiice - only hit a few putts on the BirdieBall so far, but early signs point to it being in this year's rotation. That brings the lineup to:
  18. I did the same with GOLFTEC initially -- bought the 10+practice bundle, pushing close to a grand, only to find our location was almost always booked when I was available (I think I used the practice one time because of that). I did end up getting through all of the lessons, but only after the coach let me extend beyond the expiration date. Since then I've never bought anything more than a 5-pack of lessons -- they seem to hate selling in packs that small and don't apply the discounts, but it's hard for me to justify anything more than that.
  19. We have a few of them - one on a practice putter, one on my wife's putter, and one or two unused. Plus a guy on my league team swears by them (and he's more of a club ho than I am). Have not seen any issues like that with any of ours - how long have you been using it? You should probably just get in touch with them directly - if that happened quickly, I'd hope they just replace it.
  20. Gotta love the places that don't know what they have - FJ still a solid price, but FJ 50% more than Greyson?? Yikes
  21. Ope, on a roll this week... ordered this a few weeks ago to replace the Stealth. Got a slightly lighter shaft that should still work for me, but TBD on whether I use this or just swap the ZF over from the Stealth. Wasted a grip upgrade though - got a Lamkin Calibrate just to try, but must have missed the option to install at +0.75 (there's a rib down the back, so it needs to be installed straight).
  22. Dang, I was ready to send an "I'm back" gif because I was high up on the board after round 1... but now, T19 with two MCs. I still suck.
  23. Well I'd say this is a pretty solid mail day. Reunited with an old favorite 3w (inspired by some CHA chatter a couple weeks ago). New hat, that Bogey Jones cooler I mentioned earlier today, and, after 10+ years of trying... Tuesday tickets!
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