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GolfSpy Dave

Dave's Impossible Project: Same Gear For A Year

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17 minutes ago, jlukes said:

Great stuff Dave! I've had similar experience with Callaway wedges: look great, pretty good around the greens, but give me anything more than a half swing with them and I struggled with consistency. 

Regarding your speed loss, you'd be surprised at how much speed is lost through early extension. 

In early summer 2018 I was swinging the driver around 112. By the fall I was swinging the driver 105. The kicker? I was in better shape in the fall. Some really ugly early extension worked its way into my game and was zapping me of speed. I am just about to finish up my winter lesson program and driver swing speed is now in the low to mid teens. Now that I've got my weight shift and sequencing in a better spot. Hopefully a few lessons will give you some lost mph back, too 

Thanks for the tip and hope about early extension. Something is off. Once it gets a bit warmer, I'll be in a lesson program somewhere around here for sure.

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That was a very good read, Dave. I feel like you were writing about me with the distance loss, age, and even the SI pain.

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Dave, take a look at the SuperSpeed golf trainer. Having the winters we do in the Northeast I generally started the season close to 10 mph off my driver swing speed than I ended the prior season. This is my second year of using the trainers and I get back to the start the year right where I left of the prior season. I don’t use it to gain speed but more to maintain it and at 42 years old with the body of John Daly I can still top out over 120mph when I jump on it and at around 115 mph for a stock tee ball.


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The Major Check In

tigerusa.jpg

Well since the first major of the year has passed (how about that Tiger guy?), I thought it a good time to update this thread with my project progress. Now some of you have just played your first round of the year, but though rainy, the NorCal winter was just mild enough that I was able to play golf, and generate some data to base my conclusions upon. Let’s take a look at the current bag and the club replacement threat status.

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash

Threat Level: GREEN

Collage Photos Bag - 2.jpg

This driver has performed better and better each week. The cool thing is that it is getting longer as I tweak my swing. Overall, I’ve been trying to shallow out my swing, and actually give the backswing time to complete before going forward. Swing changes can be dicey, but so far, the swings that match the new plan have been excellent.

I’m still tweaking the sliding weight a bit on the driver. I think that it’s down to two different adjacent spots, one that produces a slight fade, and the other that I can actually turn over to draw. I swear that the fades are deeper, but my brain/ego wants to see a draw.

All I know is that I’m hitting balls deeper on the home course than I was last year, and so the Epic Flash is going nowhere. My only concern is that drives are nearly all carry. I’d like to figure out how to shallow out the angle of descent to get some hard fairways roll, but that is a mystery that as of yet I’m a little clueless about. Teeing lower seems to help some, but also makes me more prone to wipes right as I alter my angle of attack and dynamic loft for some reason when the tee is lower.

I just keep telling myself that hitting fairways is more important than 15 yards of roll.

 

Fairway Woods: Callaway Epic 3W and 5W

Threat Level: BRILLIANT GREEN

joker_gun.jpg

The long game is coming into its own. These two clubs are so reliable and predictable for me that they are not going anywhere. The switch to the R-Flex Fujikura Pro Green shafts was a solid move. As distance is my main problem these days, it’s nice to have two weapons that work in the (not-that-long) long game.

These fairways deserve and Epic high five!

epic-high-five-batman.jpg

Hybrids: Callaway Big Bertha 2018 4H (and 3H)

Threat Level: GREEN AND GROWING

hybrids.jpg

I thought that these would be the first clubs replaced in the bag. For some reason, initial range and course interactions were awful. I had 180° dispersion and was hitting the 18° 3H about 140 yards. That was why I ultimately started this project with the 3H in the garage, and used the 5W to cover those distances.

Well, as I’ve changed my swing a bit, and become more comfortable with the 4H in my bag, I come to appreciate and trust the Big Bertha 4H, so much so that I’m adding the 3H back in to address another club issue that I’ll get to in a moment.

The only tweaks for these is that they are both set to draw and +2 loft, making the 3H 20° and the 4H 22°. These settings mesh nicely with the 15°/18° fairway woods.

This is a new plan, so data collection on the switch will start this weekend. I have high hopes that I will be able to rely on these hybrids like my previously favorited RAZR X hybrids.

 

Irons: Callaway APEX 19

Threat Level: YELLOW

fine.jpg

I should probably have two colors listed for the threat level, but YELLOW makes for a nice merger of the GREEN and RED conditions for the irons. It has definitely taken some time to adjust to these, but they are really responding to the new swing. I’ve actually had some GIRs in recent weeks, and for a one-putt-par guy like myself, that is an amazing feeling. Having two putts to make a par feels like cheating…

I feel confident in the irons 6-AW, but unfortunately the set also has a 5i in it, and thus the hybrid alterations above. I just can’t get this club to work. The 6i is fine, but once I get to the 5i, all bets are off. The other irons are all high launching, with the typical flight being a little right to left. The 5i really likes to take the pull-slice-corkscrew route. It’s maddening. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the issue is, and it’s become an issue, giving me zero confidence in hitting the green whenever it comes out. That’s why I’m adding and adjusting the hybrids.

5i.jpg

There is now a 4.5° gap between the 4H and the 6i, and I’m not sure how that will play out on the course. Am I now dead at 170 yards? Do I need to get the already strong 6i bent a degree stronger? I’m going to play and see.

My only other concern is that the Project X shafts may be too heavy for lots of golf, with end of round fatigue being a real thing. I’ve boosted my exercise plan, so that may help, but those thoughts of Recoil 95 just keep creeping back into my head.

UPDATE: I wrote that paragraph a few days ago, and things may have changed as far as shafts. This morning I finally did the new Mizuno Shaft Optimizer fitting tool and found that the PX 5.5 are the 8th rated shaft for me. Ugh. Really, really, really liked the C-Taper Lite, and was actually getting the Mizuno Hot Metal Pro 5i on to the green at 175. I almost needed to change my shorts. That said, I am sticking to this project, and going with the adjusted hybrid - drop 5i plan for the next time period. I did look at the Hot Metal Pros online though...

Shaft Optimizer.jpeg

 

Wedges: Cleveland RTX3

Threat Level: GREEN

Locked Clubs 2019 - 3.jpg

Love these wedges. I’ve spent some time goofing around with a 56° Callaway PM grind, but nothing gets the ball to the target on the green like these Clevelands. I’ve actually added a couple of different shots to the short game arsenal with them. Though still puckering, high, short shots, and low spinners are now not completely impossible.

One plus of being so bad with my irons is that I’ve gained some skills with the short game to compensate.

 

Putter: Odyssey/Toulon Atlanta S

Threat Level: RED

Atlanta Out.jpg

I bet that it comes as no surprise that the putter is the first club to get the boot. I even went as far as to make this a 13 club project, knowing that the likelihood of any putter staying in the bag for long was unlikely. I’ve got putter promiscuity problems.

So what happened to the Atlanta? To this day, it is probably my favorite putter from distance. I can lag this thing in close for days. The Stroke Lab shaft and balance are outstanding. The issue is that I can’t aim it in close. From inside of seven feet or so, when putts should be easier, I spray more than a freshman at his first kegger. Seriously, I can’t stand over it an know for sure where it is going. I tried using the line on the ball as a training aide, and have spent lots of hours and putter trying it out, but I just can’t get the eye and the stroke to match.

I have the feeling that the round head aversion is coming into play. Something is just not clicking, and now that missing short thought is cemented in my head so the Atlanta is heading south.

putter.jpg

So what’s in the bag? It’s a bit rotational. The EXO 2-Ball shows real promise, but I hesitate there because of a long held belief that if I become comfortable gaming a 2-Ball that it will wreck me for all other putters that are not 2-Balls.

The old faithful Bettinardi Signature 5 and new mistress Queen B 10 have also gone out to play. I do have something super sexy coming in the mail that could swipe the spot, but as of right now, the putter well has gone dry.

 

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV

Threat Level: GREEN

Z-STAR-XV-6-WHITE-ALT4.jpg

Someone that I know and trust suggested that I play a firmer ball, basically saying that anything with “soft” in the name was costing me serious yards. As I’m prone to suggestion, I cleared out all of the Bridgestone 330-RXs and Callaway Chrome Softs from the bag, instead filling it up with Z-Star XV balls. I’ve had a couple of dozen in the garage for a while, but always passes over them as they are designed for people who swing harder than I do. But trusting a guy, we will call him “Tony”, I played the harder ball.

Since doing that, I have shot 82 each of the past two times I was out, with previous rounds being 85 or 86. For those not in the know, remember that I am a 11 HCP who has never broken 80. That was one of the reasons for doing this whole thing in the first place.

The full swing game was so much better. Longer, and straighter too. Had I had a putter of confidence, I could have broken 80 since both of those rounds had a couple of doubles in them.

I need to remember that shooting lower, not bagging shiny new stuff, is the whole reason for doing this.

See You Next Major 

Anyway, thanks for reading all of this. I appreciate all of you on the other side of the computer following along. It keeps me on track, and keeps me from just randomly ordering clubs on a whim. I went to a huge demo day today and bought nothing. Not a single club. Sure, I did walk around the used tent with a couple of putters (Metal X Milled 2 and old Anser 4) for a while, but I put them down unpurchased.

 

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Great stuff Dave, stay strong and you'll be under 80 very soon!

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Got the same shaft on the optimizer and absolutely fell head over heels in love with it...

Sounds like a really fun project with a lot of potential. Good luck!!

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p.s.  From one club ho to another.  Swapping shafts doesn't count as a different club 😉 

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17 hours ago, hckymeyer said:

p.s.  From one club ho to another.  Swapping shafts doesn't count as a different club 😉 

I endorse this thought. 

Great stuff Dave.  Can two staff members actually commit to and stick with a "locked in bag?" 

We shall see. 

 

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On 4/26/2019 at 5:34 PM, GolfSpy Dave said:

...
I feel confident in the irons 6-AW, but unfortunately the set also has a 5i in it, and thus the hybrid
...

FWIW, I have a set of Apex CF16s .. with Recoils .. that I'm pretty happy with. Up to the 6i, that is. I'm just too short - or so I keep telling myself 😉 - but just too under-skilled 😞 to effectively hit a 5i. At least for now (or so I keep telling myself). Got a Ping G Crossover 5 to fill that slot, and it seems to be working for me.

Mentioned earlier in the thread that I'm also trying to focus on improving my game - technique and strategery-wise - and trying hard not to make any club changes; learning to play the sticks I have. Been spending money on clinics and lessons. Cannot brag about breaking any milestones (..yet...) but I do see improvements over last year (yea!).

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Bettinardi QB Bee.jpg

Quick Update

Guess who has flown back into the putter well...

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320704042_BettinardiQBBee.jpg.90d332cf37db0887046ca2f88dfe0448.jpg
Quick Update
Guess who has flown back into the putter well...


I see the Bee! . Great putter


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