PING G30 Leads in Driver Sales

Pink G30 "Bubba" Driver

Pink G30 “Bubba” Driver

PING Golf is justifiably letting the world know that, according to Golf Datatech, their G30 model is the bestselling driver on the market.

Golf Datatech, which tracks golf equipment retail sales in the U.S., says not only was the G30 tops in number sold retail in March but for January through March it holds first place as well.

According to PING spokesman Pete Samuels, “In March, the G30 driver earned a 13.2% share in units (up 23% from February) and 17.46% share in dollars (up 20% from February). For the months of January through March combined, the G30 driver ranks first in units (11.38%) and dollars (15.29%).”

“The success of the G30 driver continues as golfers are seeing the performance benefits of its overall design,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “The combination of the Turbulator Technology and T9S face are leading to faster clubhead and ball speeds for longer drives. In addition, the G30 driver also features the highest MOI of any PING driver ever designed to ensure golfers the accuracy and consistency to hit more fairways.”

Added Solheim, “It’s especially rewarding to see the G30 driver gaining even more momentum as we enter the peak season for golf equipment sales. As golfers get out on the course and have the chance to attend fitting and demo days, we’re confident players of all skill levels will experience the benefits of the G30 driver.”

The PING G30 (street price $330) was used by Angel Cabrera last summer to win the Greenbrier Classic the first week it appeared on Tour and fan-favorite Bubba Watson, after switching the same week to a G30 with a distinctive pink-shaft,  went on to lead the PGA Tour in driving distance with an average of 314 yards. Plus, Billy Horschel put it in his bag and ended the year with two wins and take the FedExCup.

Since the G30 driver arrived in golf shops in late July, it’s been the top-selling driver model combined for the months of August through March, first earning #1-selling status in September. In eight months on the market, the G30 driver holds a 13.9% dollar share and 9.63% unit share – both #1 in that timeframe.

10 Rounds with PING G30 Driver

PING G30 Driver

PING G30 Driver

The G30 driver from PING Golf got a great introduction last year when it was used by fan-favorite Bubba Watson and received a lot of air time plus of course his G30 has a vivid pink shaft which attracted fans and was easily distinguishable.

In case you want to know, Watson uses the 9-degree model opened to 8.25 degrees and the shaft is a 44 ½ inch Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Rocket Pink X-Flex (1/2 inch tipped) swinging to D4. However since he swings at 120 mph and regularly hits the ball 350 yards those specification don’t have much relevance to the average golfer (and even most tour pros).

What I was interested in was the results an average player could get so the G30 went in my bag for an extended trial in actual course conditions, i.e. wind, rain, hard and soft fairways not to mention the inconsistencies of my swing on any given day.

Striations on the crown called “turbulators” added 2 mph to Watson’s clubhead speed and presumably add speed to an average player’s swing as well.

The biggest plus for the G30 though is the confidence inspiring sound and feel at impact, characteristics club makers work on very hard and PING got the right combination with this driver.

Distance with two different tour ball brands was comparable to other drivers when tested on the course and the G30 particularly seemed to cause the ball to penetrate well into the wind.

If you are a fan of Bubba, PING clubs and results he gets, take the time to evaluate the G30. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Sun Mountain Two 5 Bag

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What do you wind up with when you shave a couple of ounces here and a couple there from an already lightweight and well-designed carry bag?

If you’re Sun Mountain, you get is a 2.5 pound strikingly good looking stand bag, with efficient pockets and four full length dividers.

Their Two 5 bag has an 8.5 inch top, a full length pocket for clothing and convenient accessory pockets and we were impressed but not surprised by the quality of the construction and materials…all Sun Mountain bags are well thought out and well made.

The legs are carbon-fiber, rather than aluminum, and a higher grade lighter plastic was used in the top and base plus to save ounces a fabric that weighs less with a lighter zipper were employed.

Projected to be in golf shops by June at a retail price of $229 and if my family is reading this—the Two 5 Bag is a great Father’s Day gift.

10 Rounds with the Talon

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It probably seems self-evident but the purpose of wearing a golf glove is to help the outcome of our golf swings by providing a secure and comfortable grip on the grip.

It’s the same principle as a wide receiver donning gloves to help him catch the football or your favorite homerun hitter at the plate.

It was those two examples that Rod Dunlap and the people at CaddyDaddy Golf put together to come up with the Talon golf glove. Their investigations showed the construction of gloves used by players in other sports didn’t work for golf but the idea of making the glove tacky was a real winner.

The Talon is made with what the company calls a “Tack-Fusion Palm” and after extended wear on both the course and range I can vouch for the fact it works. Living in Florida I found this new glove feels better when the humidity was high than some gloves do in the Arizona desert.

The use of synthetics meant CaddyDaddy could build some other nice features into the Talon such as putting mesh in the right places to give a conforming fit and lots of perforations to help keep your hand cooler. And I particularly liked that it can be washed with the tackiness being the same as ever.

You can pay more the Talon’s $18 for a golf glove but to give a sense of how club professionals have taken to it I quote Dunlap in an email he sent to me relating his experience at January’s PGA Merchandise Show. “Attendees and golf pros were literally begging us to sell our samples on the show floor as they’d never seen anything like them.”

Enough said.

A Special Place for Golf—Reynolds Plantation

I had no more returned from a stay at the Reynolds Plantation east of Atlanta than I found Golfweek magazine had placed four of the courses on their list of “Best Courses You Can Play.” From firsthand knowledge the magazine is certainly correct in their evaluation.

Reynolds Plantation Ritz-Carlton Lodge

Reynolds Plantation Ritz-Carlton Lodge

Of the six courses at Reynolds Plantation the Jim Engh-designed Creek Club is private but visitors shouldn’t feel short changed because the remaining five provide a great way to spend a week. You can stay at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge and Spa or in one of several cottages on the property but in either case be prepared for a really fun golf experience.

Start your visit with a lesson at the Reynold Golf Academy run by director Charlie King who is ranked as one of the best instructors in the country. Follow up with a club fitting session at The Kingdom, TaylorMade Golf’s state-of-the-art fitting center which until recently was reserved for use by TaylorMade’s tour staff.

The real fun begins on the course and you might start with the Bob Cupp designed Plantation and Landing 18s. The Landing which opened 1986 was the first course on Lake Oconee and renovated by Cupp in 2014. It plays to a par-72 with the rearmost tees 7,048-yards. His Plantation course has had an updating of fairways, greens and bunkering in 2005 and the original layout was designed in conjunction with two U.S. Open champions, Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller.

The 11th hole on Great Waters

The 11th hole on Great Waters

We especially liked Great Waters which for three years, from 1995 to 1997, was site of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf. This Jack Nicklaus design is a dramatic layout with the front playing through forests lining the hills overlooking Lake Oconee. As you make the turn, the lake which you have been seeing from afar, is all at once the major feature you must play around…and over.

A quotation from Nicklaus is very appropriate. “The first time I went to Great Waters, I knew we had the potential to have a great golf course, but we had to find it. I think we found it. I think we have great balance on the golf course. I think we have great tree-lined holes. We have great water holes. We’ve utilized the lake to a large degree for some of the difficulty of the holes. But we’ve also taken the holes and utilized the lake for view and kept the holes off of it. It’s one of the really great pieces of property that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”

The other Reynolds Plantation course that was really appealing were the three nines of the National by Tom Fazio with the Ridge and Bluff nines opening in 1997 followed by the Cove in 2000. Fazio oversaw a major remodeling last year tweaking what was already a fine experience into one you will really remember.

The 6th hole on the Ridge nine at the National

The 6th hole on the Ridge nine at the National

If you play at the right time of the year you will be treated to the flowering of the dogwoods sprinkled along the hillsides as the fairways above the lake provide views worth stopping to make a record of with your camera.You will also like the Oconee layout, a Rees Jones design that he refurbished in 2013. Jones, who is known as the “Open Doctor” for the work he has done in preparing sites for the U.S. Open, routed the fairways along the shoreline and made it a track where prudently taken risks can be rewarded with relatively easy scoring opportunities.

Reynolds Plantation has a number of other ways to spend time when not on the course from bass fishing, boating, water skiing to the Peter Burwash International Tennis Center and the Lake Club Wellness Center.

So, whether it is golf trip with “the guys” or a family vacation Reynolds Plantation is a place to build warm memories.

10 Rounds with Callaway Chrome Soft

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Back last year when I first heard of Callaway Golf’s Chrome Soft golf ball it didn’t strike me as anything special but as more information became available my interest grew. It really got my attention when Callaway people explained the technology behind the new ball saying this will be a “game-changer for them.”

We are used to thinking low compression golf balls while having a softer feel didn’t go as far as those with a firmer feel. Ladies and seniors played the lower compression models since they couldn’t get the distance benefits of high compression golf balls due to their slower swing speeds. Since the introduction of multi-layer solid core balls like the Titleist ProV1 the spread of performance has widened but everyone acknowledged it would be nice to add the softer feel of low compression golf balls to the distance gains of solid core construction.

Building a ball with a very soft core meant, especially with longer clubs, though the spin rate was lower the core didn’t react fast enough to produce distance.

According to Callaway that was true until now. Hex_Control_2pk_LID_rev_FRENCH-ENG_v3

The 3-piece Chrome Soft is billed to have a soft feel and still produce the distance, high ball speed and low spin with their aptly named “SoftFast Core” and a urethane cover.

During February and March I took them to the course for an extended trial and as it turned out, though my northern friends were envious, played them in four southern states for a total 16 rounds.

The questions everyone immediately asks are, “How long were they? Did they go as far as a Pro V1?”

The answer is the Chrome Softs were long, certainly comparable to every other golf ball model including the Titleist’s Pro V1 we have reviewed and certainly within the variability inherent in my very average swing. Coincidentally, we received unsolicited samples from another manufacturer of a “distance and feel” ball and took them along with the Callaway’s on a trip to Georgia.

No contest, the “distance and feel” ball didn’t have anywhere near the “distance” of the Chrome Soft and the “feel” around the greens was like a rock while the Chrome Soft showed control properties we really appreciated. The comments from friends to whom I gave sample sleeves (usually two sleeves so they would have an extended opportunity to make their evaluation) were positive and two of them said they liked the Chrome Soft so much in comparison to their usual brand they would be switching.

Negatives. On some downwind shots, particularly with a driver, it seemed as though the Chrome Soft though hit well, fell out of the air very quickly. Admittedly this is a subjective impression but it happened on more than one occasion. Unfortunately in each case when that happened circumstances were such it wasn’t possible to hit additional tee shots so this remains an impression only worth mentioning in passing.

Secondly some may object to the price but at $38 dozen the Chrome Soft are $10 less than market leader ProV1 and $7 less than the Bridgestone B330-RX series.

Recommendation. The Callaway Chrome Soft is really worth trying and I believe you will be happy with the results.