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Everything posted by hartrick11

  1. During the last six weeks I have played 8 full rounds of golf, in dry, hard-pan Arizona courses, lush, green Southern California courses, and one really soggy post-rainstorm track. I have also gotten in 12 separate practice sessions (two off matts, the rest on grass and short game area). This test was a ton of fun and all the focused short game practice really helped my game. I can’t thank MGS and Bridgestone enough for the opportunity to put these beauties through the paces. With that, let’s get to it! Looks: (9 out of 10) Traditionalists will love the classic look of this wedge at address. The shape, the finish, the milling, and most of the detailing could fit in just as well in 1999 as 2019. I think the “B” badging on the back is an improvement from 2018, as well as the satin finish which I think has less glare when comparing against some of the reviews from last year. The Modus shaft & Golf Pride MCC grips complement the premium look. I deducted 1 point due to the excessive detailing on the back, which I think is a step back from last year’s model and detracts from the otherwise simple elegance these wedges seem like they are trying to evoke. First, there is no need for “Biting Rail Milled” to be etched in. Milled faces aren’t going to separate these clubs from other wedge offerings. Making a true forged wedge with premium feel for $140? THAT is what should sell the discerning golfer on Bridgestone over Vokey/Ping/TM/Callaway/Cobra. Just a thought, but if you feel the need to advertise something on the back of the club (in my book you don’t; less is more), lead with your biggest differentiator! “Biting Rail Milled” sounds like a gimmick that was cooked up in a Carlsbad marketing meeting circa 2014. Smaller nits for stamping the sole, which attracts dirt, as well as the random lines on the bottom of the back of the clubs, though these are not major issues. Sound & Feel: (10 out of 10) This is a 1020 forged wedge, and as one might expect, the feel is a top, and in my opinion the top, selling point for Bridgestone. As a recent convert to forged irons, I very much appreciated the muted thud of a well-struck gap wedge that closely aligned with my iron set. For me, there is nothing in golf quite like the feeling when I know I just nutted one with a single-piece forged iron, and I’m waiting to see where my ball will land, inner excitement building to an impossible-to-contain smile when the ball lands and sticks right where I want it. These wedges deliver the goods here. I would note that this feeling does not translate to poorly struck shots, however. The sounds became a bit clicky, letting me and my playing partners know that I’d just missed my mark, and led to a decidedly less exciting feeling & reaction on my part. I think this feedback is totally warranted (though a bit more clicky/harder feeling than my 1025 Cobra Forged CBs when mishit), and wouldn’t deduct any points, but think it warrants mentioning for those who may care. Basic Characteristics: 18 out of 20 Accuracy – Point-and-shoot, at least when my swing is working! For full swings, as long as you aren’t too steep with the angle of attack, the blades cut right through the grass, even in thick rough. I really appreciated the sharp leading edges when I was in the tall grass – these definitely didn’t get caught up as much as my Pings do, resulting in fewer “tugs” left of target. The milled face and sharp grooves also provide plenty of spin, comparable to most other offerings I’ve tried. Trajectory – These are high-flyers. In testing, my launch angle on full shots with the 50˚ was 33-38˚ (3-5 degrees higher than my set GW), and with the 54˚ was 40-45˚ (also about 3-5˚ higher on average than my Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 54˚ (my Ping LW is 58˚ vs. the Bridgestone 60˚, so that comparison wasn’t apples-to-apples). This was off of a mat with range balls, so exact numbers will of course vary in game conditions, but the stats did back up my experience on the course. I think the shaft choice (Modus 105) has a lot to do with this. It doesn’t make sense in my view to make a wedge targeting better golfers, who generally have higher swing speeds, and pair it with a lighter steel shaft that launches pretty high. For anyone ordering online, there are several no-upcharge shaft options so this does not need to be an issue for would-be buyers, but we were testing stock offerings. Distance Control – I added about ½ club of distance vs my other clubs, due to trajectory being higher. I eventually was able to control these just fine as long as wind wasn’t crazy, and importantly there were no random fliers. Workability – I would break this up into full shots & short game. For short game purposes, these are extremely workable. I loved opening the face with these, which I don’t do a ton of with my Pings. Another favorite is the toe down chip for shorter shots, utilizing the M grind’s relief. Here are a couple of videos from one of my practice sessions (note: I will update so that these are embedded). https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxQj_mUF_9x/?igshid=7o00azf3vqrl https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxQjioWFFwE/?igshid=h5gmxrjx7mh2 For full swings, I have two shots with these wedges – high, and higher. I am not the best at flighting down a wedge anyway, but absolutely couldn’t do it with these. https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxaSGE1hQpU/?igshid=tgdpjr6sll49 Forgiveness – On full swings, hitting out by the toe would cause me to miss my target short, and hitting thin would send me off the back. If you are in the target market for these wedges, that is likely to be expected. On shorter shots like pitches & chips, I think the versatility of these clubs is a major benefit as mentioned above, but the drawback to that versatility is that they are not as forgiving as some other offerings. They can definitely dig in soft conditions or if your angle of attack is steep, especially on the 54˚ that I use for a lot of 30-60 yard pitches and tend to get steep with. Now that my testing is complete and I have a substantial dataset, I may adjust the loft on the 54˚ up to 55˚ just to add a little extra bounce, and hopefully forgiveness on stock chips where I am not laying the face open. On-Course Performance: 25 out of 30 These clubs perform as they should. Sure, you can say that about offerings from all the OEMs really, but at $140 per club, to get that performance in a one-piece 1020 forging is quite a feat in my book. The versatile sole grind should appeal to golfers with a strong short game. If you are that type of golfer, you can do pretty much anything you want with them. For my game, I LOVE the feel, the performance on full swings, elevating out of thick rough, and chipping in firm conditions. The highlight of my testing was a 78 on Torrey Pines North where I set a personal best with 7 up-and-down saves, 5 for par and 2 to save bogey. Have I always tracked up-and-down stats this closely? No! But I feel very confident this was a high water mark for my short game. That being said, I deducted points for ball flight being higher than ideal, and for the sole grinds requiring just a little bit more precision than I currently have. I need to keep working at my game to feel more confident using a wedge with a sharp leading edge and lower bounce in certain situations, and have had several chunks over the last few weeks, as well as overcorrection skull jobs as a result of fearing the chunk. Note – the bounce listed on all three of these is 10˚. I’ve included a side-by-side of my Ping 54 and the Bridgestone. The Ping has a higher listed bounce of 12˚, as well as additional camber on the leading edge (at least to my eye and turf interaction experience). If you have confidence in this part of your game, you can feel very confident in the performance of these clubs. Miscellaneous: 8 out of 10 I’ve already covered my thoughts on the stock shaft offering, and my view on the busy look on the back of the clubs. I should also note that these wedges feel lighter than wedges I have used in the past. The 50˚, 54˚, and 58˚ have swing weights of D3, D3, and D4, respectively – this is lighter than Vokey and TaylorMade, and in line with Ping and Callaway, though the lighter shafts gave them a lighter overall feel than my Pings. I got used to this pretty quickly, but your mileage may vary. The other quibble I have is that they should probably have added the A grind for the 54 degree wedge as well. With modern lofted irons, more golfers use the 54 degree loft as their sand wedge than in the past. Since Bridgestone is marketing their A grind as their most forgiving, it seems like even with a limited budget, they should introduce this grind at 54 degrees in addition to the 56 degree offering. I know this is probably a slippery slope and product teams at some point need to just make tough decisions on what to produce/not produce, but to me that addition would impact a large number of would-be buyers, and wouldn’t create as much added cost as, say, adding a lefty line (sorry southpaws!). Finally, I’d also note that the wedges are surprisingly durable – I’d expected forged wedges to wear really quickly. Below is from my last range session following 6 weeks of serious work. This includes whacking a few off of the desert floor in AZ after plenty of missed fairways! Play it or Trade it? (17 out of 20) All things equal, I would be happy to buy these clubs knowing what I know now. At $140 per club for a premium forged wedge, these clubs offer outstanding value. That said, all things aren’t equal! I didn’t give 20 out of 20 here because I wouldn’t buy their stock offering if I were starting from scratch. The Modus 105 shafts are too high-launch for me, but I think I’d be ecstatic with these if I had a lower-launching shaft, and Bridgestone doesn’t charge extra for many of these upgrades. In an ideal world, I would buy an F grind 50, A grind 54, and M grind 60, all with the KBS $ Taper or Modus 3 120, both of which are lower-launching, no-upcharge offerings on the Bridgestone website. I am going to play these for another month or two before making a final decision on keep/trade. Now that I have two sets of wedges I may just game these and keep the Pings on standby in case I play a soggy course. CONCLUSION (87 out of 100) These wedges can compete with the best offerings on the market, albeit with more of a limited selection befitting a niche OEM. While every wedge will have pluses and minuses and the limited grind selection may not work for every golfer, these should be contenders for players who fit Bridgestone’s target demographic. If the 2020/2021 update brings a heavier stock shaft and an additional higher bounce grind (as well as simplified graphics please!), this club would be a perfect 100/100 for me, and I think it would end up being one of those cult classic clubs that you see discussed in forums well after subsequent offerings have come out. TL;DR If you are a golfer with a better than average short game and want a versatile, buttery-feeling forged 1020 wedge for a price that will beat most cast offerings from the big OEMs, these will fit the bill! Just be leery of the shaft you select, as the stock offering may be too high-launch for the target audience.
  2. Hello MGS world! Thank you to the MGS team for selecting me, and of course to Bridgestone for providing the goods. This is my first review on the site so hopefully I don’t screw it up! Intro: I am 32, live in San Diego, CA with my wife and our Chocolate Lab, and am hopelessly addicted to golf. I work M-F for an investment firm, so play is limited to weekends, holidays and the occasional vacation day. I have played 40-50 rounds/yr over the last 4 years, and would expect that to keep up for 2019, but kids will likely cause a significant drop before too long. My dad introduced me to the game as a kid growing up outside Boston, and while I loved the game and basically lived at my local 9 hole course as a junior during summers, I chose football over golf once I got to high school, which along with being broke while in college and immediately after, led to a long hiatus (I played maybe 2-3 rounds/yr during this time). That ended when I picked up and moved to San Diego in 2011. Playing Torrey Pines as the sun dropped into the Pacific on my first day in town got me completely hooked. I think this shot from that day explains it all... My Golf Game: I've worked to get my handicap down from the mid-teens when I moved west to under 6 last summer, but it’s been volatile lately as I’ve been working to slow down my tempo & correct my early release. I am starting to see better results now, and am looking forward to my best golf year yet. My goal is to get down below a 5. Strengths: Driving (consistently ~275 and usually a high draw which can sometimes turn into a hook) and putting (lag putts not so much, but I make far more inside 20 ft than my HC would indicate). I would call myself decent around the greens and in bunkers. I hit a variety of chips and pitches, and I have worked to eliminate duffs and skull jobs, but could definitely use more kick-in up and downs. #pagingDrChipinsky Weaknesses: hole-killing hooks with the 3w/hybrid/long irons, and less than full wedge shots (the dead zone!) as my tempo tends to get too quick. I also have trouble working the ball left to right. Wedge game: Currently gaming Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 54 SS and 58 ES for the last 8 months or so. My prior gamers were Vokey SM5 54 M and 60 M. My 50 is a set GW (Cobra King Forged CB). I am pretty good with a full 50, 54, or 58 in my hands, but hit a high ball and am not great at flighting it down, which can get me into trouble on windy days. My full shot yardages for the 50, 54 & 58 are: 125-130, 115-120, and 95-100. Anything between 60-90 yards, I’ll generally use the 54 unless I have no room to play with in front, and anything under 60 is with the 58. I also love the Eye Sole grind on the 58 in bunkers and for most chips. Preconceptions: After reading the reviews on last year’s wedges, I expect a pretty, if somewhat busy looking on the back, set of wedges with great feel due to the forged 1020 steel. I’m leery of turf interaction on the “multi-purpose” sole given the lack of information and pictures provided on the Bridgestone website. To kick my Glides out of the bag, they need to outperform, plain and simple. While I am comfortable with the Glides, and I love the DBM finish that goes nicely with my set of irons, I won’t hesitate to list them on the classifieds if the Bridgestones make me feel more confident. When I found out I was selected, after first texting all my golf buddies in excitement (duh) I went right to the Bridgestone site to decide on my configuration. To be honest, I wish they had more information on the different grinds. Additional pictures would certainly help. From what I could gather, I think the A grind would be great in a 54 degree offering, but didn't feel comfortable giving up the bounce to bend the A grind 56 down, so I chose 50 (F), 54 (M) & 60 (M). First Impressions: The wedges arrived packaged nicely with foam over the heads for added protection and a spec sheet matching what I ordered. I don’t have a lie/loft machine but plan to bring these into my local Golf Mart to measure for confirmation. As expected, these were very nice looking clubs. They certainly have a premium look & feel, which is complemented by the Modus shafts & Golf Pride MCC grips. Despite added graphics and paint fill from last year’s model, in person I think they actually look less “busy” on the back of the clubface than expected based on initial pictures. Overall I think they are in line with other mainstream offerings from Titleist, Ping, Callaway, etc. This is good since they increased the price by $40 from last year to be in line with those offerings! Additionally, my aesthetic “concern” was removed immediately when I put the new clubs in my bag. From my view they look pretty sweet contrasting with the black irons! I’ve included comparison pics of the 60 vs my Ping 58 ES, as well as vs a Vokey M grind which I think is the most similar to these Bridgestone M grinds. I will be sure to take more comparison pictures with various other wedges and angles as the review goes on. Testing Plan: I plan to do on-course and practice range testing for every type of chip and pitch I can think of, as well as full shots. If readers are interested I can also get on a launch monitor to gauge spin numbers, although the only one I have access to uses turf matts and range balls, so I’m not sure how helpful that would be. Questions I am looking to answer: With updated grinds from last year’s model, how will the turf interaction be on full swings, chips, and pitches? Can they perform in firm and soft conditions? Since these are only offering one grind per loft, is this enough of an “everyman” grind for me/their target demographic? Will I notice a big difference between cast wedges and forged wedges in terms of feel? Does the “biting rail milled groove” do anything out of the ordinary in the spin department? Thanks to all the readers in advance. Please let me know how I can help here along the way. I hope I can provide you all with the same level of service that I have enjoyed on other reviews!
  3. Update - I couldn't pull the trigger on the 3i! I went to return the cobra utility and hit a couple other DI, started pumping the ball with the Gapr LO and the stock stiff shaft (lighter and whippy shaft scared me, but the dispersion data was very clear), so I went with that. I am such an easy mark when I walk into Golf Mart... So I've got 3 more months with this one before I need to sh*t or get off the driving iron pot!
  4. My iOS app crashes when I try to load pics on a post. I don't have a space issue since I've only uploaded a few pics since joining, but I plan to upload more while I am testing the new Bridgestone wedges over the next few months. Any advice? This happens on my iphone and ipad too btw.
  5. I have the F8+ at 44.75", with HZRDUS black 6.5 75g. I also swapped in the 8g weight for the 2g dummy weight to get the SW back up to (over?) D2. Unfortunately I don't have the swing weight measurement for this setup.
  6. My swing thought is "slower for longer" Eventually, I want to get to a high MPH when I'm making contact with the ball (agreeing with @revkev), but when I'm in a rush to do that my sequence gets screwed up. Steep, early release swings and the resulting hooks ensue. If I can stay slower and controlled all the way to the top, 90% of my work is done.
  7. No added line for me. I just line up the manufacturer's logo roughly perpendicular to my line as a reminder to not break my wrists. I used to add the alignment line and I ended up with extra thoughts in my head at address. Now I just pick a spot and go with much better results.
  8. I'll take a "Broke 80" and 2019 tester badge whenever you get the chance. Thanks!
  9. I appreciate this point and agree with it now. Forum readers, club hos and tinkerers can and should come to their own conclusions, and I think those who take the time to read and post on here would likely agree with your assertion. My only counter is that the conclusion to agree with you is easy only in hindsight, now that I have invested a substantial amount of time to test a dozen different irons, and have read similar comments to yours both here and on WRX which all helped encouraged me to go with a compact iron. Having only been a serious forum reader for really less than a year, my only previous exposure to new clubs was in reading about occasional product releases which just contain marketing speak of the various golf companies, and occasionally trying out a friend's new club or a demo if the OEM happens to have a setup at the range when I go (which I think is representative of the average golfer but not the average active spy). IMO, the OEMs have created this generalization for the average golfer, and the various publications follow suit (most wanted SGI, GI, Players, CB, MB, Players distance etc). For those who either don't want to or can't invest the time to try/read everything out there, I think the generalizations are appropriate, even if not 100% correct for each golfer.
  10. I had an issue with the Forged Tec Blacks being chunky looking at address in the shorter irons so I went with the King Forged CBs from 5-GW and a Forged Tec Black 4i. I've been very happy with the decision, and was worried about the "players" irons being too hard for me to hit as a ~7 handicap, but I haven't had issues at all. My other consideration was to get a PW & GW in the CB, and the 4-9 in Forged Tec Black (or get 4-8 in FTB all bent 1* weak and then bend the CBs 9-GW 1* strong). That might be a good way for you to save some money & not buy a full new set, but get slightly smaller scoring clubs that match the amazing DBM finish.
  11. I am still in the honeymoon phase with my Cobra CBs that I got in December and love everything about them. They’re a good bit smaller than my Pings were but I feel more confident than ever when I setup with them, and the feels are as good as anything I’ve ever hit. Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  12. Thanks MGS and to all the well wishers! Can't wait to put these through the paces and see if they can kick my Pings out of the bag. I'm reading past wedge reviews on the forum to prep, but please let me know if there is anything in particular that you'd like to know about.
  13. hartrick11

    Combo sets

    The original post resonates with me. I wanted to get a full set of Cobra's Forged Tec Blacks, but being used to the progressive Pings with smaller wedges (i20 and later iE1, and old DCIs before that), the forged tec wedges looked clunky. I couldn't get a traditional blended set without major bending (didn't want to bend more than 1* strong or weak), so I just got 5-GW in their CB line and 4i forged tec black. My other option would've been just getting the 4-9 set of forged tec and then 4 different wedges, but if I'm taking mostly full swings with a club I want it to match the set, so I like having PW and GW match, and then most of my less than full swings are done with my 54 & 58. I really like what Srixon & Mizuno are doing with their lines that are made to be blended, as I agree that is the future. Same deal with the new Callaway Apex/Apex pro line.
  14. Totally hear you that the lefts are more of a swing issue than equipment. I have had a few lessons and am working through the swing change with as much range/drill time as I can get in. That work, combined with the fitting into a much more stable, lower launching shaft (I think), has led to improvement on the hooks.
  15. Here's the progression at the top of my bag. I wonder who else might have had a similar path through this latest driving iron fad. 2017: Cobra Bio-cell 2-3 hybrid and 3-4 hybrid, Ping iE1 5-UW. Everything was off the rack stiff, with more than the occasional hook from the hybrids. This was when I started reading the wrx forums (didn't find the friendlier MGS confines until a bit later). Early 2018: Cobra King 4 utility kicked the 3-4 hybrid out of the bag. This club carried well when well-struck and my lefts, while still not great, weren't as bad as with the hybrid. I eventually swapped the stock graphite for a C-taper lite 110 shaft which lowered the flight path a bit but didn't solve the lefts (my steep back swing and early release would require lessons which I started last summer). about 85 days ago: bought the King black 2-3 utility and paired it with an extra stiff steel shaft to match my irons. After falling in love with my irons (see signature) which were purchased following my first ever fitting (I know someone who works for Cobra, so will generally buy their stuff unless something else substantially outperforms) I thought I would add the utility to the top of my bag and get rid of my last hook machine: the 2-3 hybrid. Fast forward to today, I think the steel extra stiff shaft has helped straighten me out (along with continued drill work on the bi*ch of a swing fix), but at the end of the day my numbers with the utility are no better than a 3 iron, and with feel that is worse than my 4i. Before making my final decision on what to do next, I tried the UDI, the Srixon, the T-MB, and none of those offerings were meaningfully better performing (using the in-store launch monitor at Golf Mart, and the various shafts that were in these demo clubs at the time) than the Cobra utility, so I've decided to return the utility and just get a Forged Tec Black 3 iron to match my 4i. I'm sure there is a utility iron/shaft combo out there that would unlock yardage beyond a players distance 3i (which is pretty strong as it is at 19*) while keeping my hook tendencies at bay. Maybe someday I will get a specific driving iron fitting and splurge for a heavy graphite design shaft, but for now, with no more time left on my 90 day return window, I don't feel confident guessing on another utility when I can get a 3i that I know I will like. Has anyone else who took the driving iron plunge abandoned it for a 3i yet?
  16. 1. Patrick / San Diego, CA 2. 9 3. Cobra King Forged CB 50* / Ping Glide 2.0 54* & 58* 4. 50* / 56* / 60* (DG s400 stiff shafts if possible) Thanks for another great opportunity!
  17. I am heading to Arizona next month for a golf weekend and would love some advice on courses. Looks like we are going to do Seville on Friday and Stadium course Saturday, but Sunday morning before we leave town we’re looking to book one more. We’ve narrowed it down to Gainey Ranch Talking Stick We Ko Pa Troon North Sun ridge canyon The price difference between the cheapest and most expensive of those is less than $100 so we are just looking to play the best course we can. Anyone out there that can speak to the differences or pros/cons of those? Thanks in advance! Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  18. Final price drop, let's find these irons a home!
  19. hartrick11

    Ping G410

    I'm going to try this one out next week. I have 3 weeks left on my 90 day period at Golf Mart with the Cobra utility I recently bought (haven't exactly been setting the world on fire with this), so I'm wondering if the 410 crossover can kick it out of the bag.
  20. Been a wet winter in so-cal but the rain usually ends when we turn to spring, and we might not see more than 2-3 days of rain until October so I'm going to sit this one out and let those who have to deal with much worse weather provide better insight than I could.
  21. For San Diego there is enough competition from teeoff.com and JC golf for the non-private courses, as well as Torrey Pines & Balboa if you are a resident. Maybe they have more of a monopoly on different golf markets (we are definitely spoiled with options here) to make the fee savings worth it, but that would be a hard pass from me, and I would imagine anyone in this area that works M-F. Why not expand the free round benefit for the + membership option?
  22. I'm no equipment junkie (I guess this is relative, my wife would beg to differ) so may be missing something, but I don't think I've seen DT4 stainless forged irons/wedges before. What are the benefits of using that as the club material vs a more traditional (1025 carbon steel for example) that you tend to see marketed elsewhere? I won't be in the market for irons for hopefully a long time but would definitely consider these wedges if the reviews/demos are positive. They look great and you can't beat the cost. I really love the growth of boutique brands like this and hope this model proves successful.
  23. I agree too, although this is a little depressing having just done my first fitting a few months ago and then buying a new set of irons that I justified by telling myself I would keep them as-is for at least 5 years...
  24. I played there once a few years ago, and loved the location, conditions and the fact that all the holes have ocean views. It's about 90 minutes from me, and pretty pricey so I haven't really been tempted to go back. If I'm nit-picking, I did find some of the holes to be a little circus-like, and generally enjoy subtle niceties rather than the gaudy luxury that you find there. To each their own though!
  25. +1 for the new releases in March. That means my last dozen is going to have to last a while which might be tough with how I’m spraying it lately... would love to see the reds get a duller cover closer to the look of the blacks Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
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