What Gear Guide 2015

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Another year has brought about a flurry of new golf equipment in time for the new season. Club and ball manufacturers continue to amaze me, thinking outside the box to get around the rules imposed on them by our game’s governing bodies and enhance performance in exciting, innovative ways. There’s no sign of product launches slowing down. In fact, you could argue it’s harder than ever to make an informed purchase given the extensive array of clubs on the market. That’s why we’ve produced this complete guide to every club on sale in 2015, plus some handy buying tips to help you choose the best kit for you.

Drivers

Golf equipment laws are pretty strict when it comes to drivers. Both size (460cc) and CT (spring-like efect from the efective sweetspot) are restricted, so manufacturers are tasked with improving a driver’s performance in other ways. This year, some common themes are the use of sole weights and drag-reducing aerodynamics. Sole weight adjustability comes in many diferent forms and offers the golfer the opportunity to alter the spin and launch of your drives. Once you understand that having more weight low and forward reducing launch and spin while placing more weight back raises them, you’re half-way towards being able to fine-tune your driver to your optimum flight. Reducing aerodynamic drag is another way to help increase your club speed and therefore distance. Give your favourites a try and see which works best.

Fairway Woods

So often the saviour when your driver is misbehaving, the fairway wood now comes in many shapes and sizes – with lots of the same tech as its big brother. Depending on where you play the majority of fairway wood shots from should af ect the shape of model you choose. For example, if you tend to use it mostly of the tee, a deeper-faced model is better as this will increase your margin for error. This is why Callaway brought out its “Deep” range a few years ago, and TaylorMade has its “mini” woods. Use your club mainly of the fairway and a shallow face is preferable, to nip the ball of the grass. Adams’ and TaylorMade’s face slot technology is designed to enhance performance in this area, while reducing ball speed lost on shots struck low on the face – a common occurrence on fairway wood shots!

Hybrids

Rescue clubs, or hybrids as they’re better known, are there to replace the harder to hit irons in a set, with a typical set ofirons consisting of 3, 4, and 5-irons that are notoriously difficult to master for many golfers. A hybrid is best described as being a cross betweenan iron and a wood with dual characteristics. They have easy to hit properties associated with a fairway wood along with a larger, more forgiving head.They also have the same accuracy properties as an iron, but with shorter shafts and an iron-like face for enhanced control around the greens. Like the fairway woods earlier, today’s hybrids benefit from much of the tech in drivers, such as thinner faces, power-boosting slots and tons of adjustability.

Irons

Irons have never featured so much tech as they do this year. From TaylorMade’s face slots to Mizuno’s use of Boron, all this technology is here to help you hit the ball more consistently. The easiest-to-hit game-improvement category accounts for the most sales in irons, and the greatest number of innovations. They also appeal to the widest spectrum of golfers. These irons offer not only more forgiveness on off-centre hits, but higher moment of inertia properties and stronger lofts, meaning you can carry the pond on that par 3 even if you don’t catch it right out of the middle. A new set of irons is a big purchase, so make sure you try a few sets and get custom fitted for the ones you choose.

Wedges

Have you ever wondered why the top level golfers seemingly find it so easy to put the ball close when they have a wedge in their hands, yet it seems so difficult to do consistently for the rest of us? While they undoubtedly possess natural feel, they also understand the importance of having the correct gaps between the lofts of their wedges making it easier to know how far each one will go. Think of it this way, your irons have a 4-6 degree gap between each club, yet some people have a 10 degree gap between their PW and SW – that’s the equivalent of removing your 7-iron from the bag! Generally one degree of loft equates to 2-3 yards of distance, so by leaving a 10 degree gap in your wedges you are potentially leaving a 20-30 yard gap in distances between clubs, the difference between hitting and missing greens. Gapping is hugely impactful on your ability to hit the ball close, especially in your scoring clubs, so it makes sense to get fitted. By understanding the loft of the clubs you carry it allows the correct selection of wedges to leave optimal gapping between each club.

Putters

Putters come in so many shapes and sizes that choosing one can be confusing. How long should it be? Does it need an insert? Should it be heel or face-balanced? What kind of alignment aid works best? With so many models and styles out there, getting some professional advice is crucial. We bang on all the time about getting fitted for your driver or irons – the same goes for your putter. There isn’t a single player on tour who hasn’t been fitted for a putter to suit their game, and if the top guys on tour are doing it then it makes sense that you should be, too. There are some great additions to the putter market this year, with some of the biggest names in the game rolling out new models – Odyssey, TaylorMade, Ping and Scotty Cameron are just four of the major brands with all-new fl atsticks for 2015. All of them have innovative new ways of helping you hole more, whether that’s Odyssey’s Works models with their Fusion RX face insert, or Ping’s Cadence line which is designed to improve your tempo. You’ll see them all over the next few pages.

Golf Balls

We all want more distance, but how a golf ball performs on approach shots and around the green is what saves you the most strokes. Maybe that’s why manufacturers are focusing on feel in 2015 – by lowering compression and reformulating softer covers to make chips and pitches stop quicker. This year has seen a raft of new ball launches, including Callaway’s Chrome Soft, Wilson’s softest ever ball, two new Srixon Z-Stars, a whole new Bridgestone E range and a new Titleist Pro V1. We’d suggest a ball fitting to find out which is most suited to your game.