Archive for August, 2013
The Scotty Cameron line of putters from Titleist is an interesting collection. On the one hand, Cameron putters are some of the most classically-designed beautiful pieces of art that you could possibly find in a golf bag. Models such as the Newport and the Studio Select series are simply gorgeous in their design. At the same time, Scotty Cameron has also devised some of the more ‘interesting’ looking putters on the market. In this case, ‘interesting’ is another word for ‘ugly’.
However, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if the ball finds the bottom of the hole frequently enough to keep the putter in your bag. With that in mind, the Scotty Cameron Futura X putter has hit the market and it will not likely win any awards for beauty. A large mallet head with a curved bar across the back for stability, the Futura X combines features from a few different older Cameron models into one all-new product.
The idea with the Futura X, as it is with any mallet putter, is to make the putter feel stable through the strike of the ball. Also, the forgiveness that is achieved through the size and weight of the putter head helps the golfer to start the ball on line and get the speed right more often than not.
A Winning Design
In the case of the Futura X, it seems that Cameron has been very successful. While the putter head is large, it doesn’t feel too uncomfortable while making a stroke and the ball comes off with an easy roll. Unlike some previous Cameron mallets, like the original Futura, this putter has nice weighting and a low-enough profile so as not to dominate the ball visually at address. If you are making the transition to this putter from another mallet, you will have no problem adjusting your stroke and should see good results right away.
It’s Not for Everyone
One warning with this putter – its design is intended to limit ‘toe-release’ through the ball, so it will only work properly for those that swing the putter in a straight-back, straight-through manner. If you like to swing the putter open and closed during the stroke (like a golf swing), you will not feel comfortable with this mallet and probably miss most of your putts to the right of the hole. For that kind of putting stroke, you will be better served with a blade-design putter.
The Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura X putter is not for everyone, but there are some putting strokes out there that are sure to love it. The balance and stability at impact is truly incredible, and you just might find yourself starting more putts on line that you ever thought possible. Once the putts start rolling into the middle of the hole, you will quickly realize you don’t care what the putter looks like as long as it works. Even the high-end price tag that is associated with Scotty Cameron putters won’t bother you much when you start collecting on your bets with buddies you beat with more regularity during your weekly game.
It is a surprise to no one that Taylor Made is once again on the cutting-edge of golf club design and technology. After all, many of the major innovations throughout golf history have come thanks to this Carlsbad, CA company. While they seemingly produce a new club at least once or twice a year, they still manage to make them fresh, exciting, and worth putting in your bag. So, does the SLDR live up to that reputation?
First, a quick explanation as to what the SLDR is all about. The name ‘SLDR’ is meant to sound phonetically like ‘slider’, because the movable weight technology on this driver is in the form of a 20g weight that can be slid back and forth across the sole of the club. The idea is the same as with the interchangeable weights that have been found on the sole of Taylor Made drivers for more than a decade now. By moving the weight closer to the toe or heel of the club, you can alter the ball flight you will achieve and help to correct any mistakes in your golf swing.
The greatest asset of the new Taylor Made SLDR driver is that the weight system is far easier to use for most average golfers. For one, there are no extra weights to keep track of like there were with the old system. Also, the sole is clearly marked with ‘fade’ and ‘draw’ so you can quickly slide the weight in the direction that you need and off you go. The old system never seemed all that complicated, but this mechanism is still a marked improvement. Practice sessions on the driving range where you adjust the weight after each shot to dial in your ball flight will be quick and easy with the SLDR.
The white-crown look of recent Taylor Made drivers such as the R1 have been a love-or-hate kind of thing with golfers. Looking from the address position, the SLDR has a much more traditional appearance. The crown is charcoal grey with only a small silver-colored accent toward the back of the club head. These aesthetics should please just about every played with their neutral tones and clean design.
Loft Sleeve Remains
Along with the sliding weight on the sole, the SLDR driver from Taylor Made also retains the ‘loft sleeve’ that allows for quick change of shafts and adjustment of the loft of the club +/- up to 1.5 degrees. When you combine those technologies, you are left with a club that can achieve more than 250 different unique settings. If you can’t find one that works for your game, it might be time to look at your swing rather than the club.
Overall, Taylor Made has outdone itself yet again with the SLDR driver. While the technology and how it is used doesn’t change that much from previous driver editions, the mechanism is significantly improved and made to be basically fool-proof. Those in the market for a new driver will love everything that the SLDR can offer to their game. This club is starting to ship mid-August, and retailers have been accepting pre-orders.
If you watched the PGA Championship from Oak Hill in Rochester, NY, you saw Jason Dufner calmly stroll his way to his first major title. It was redemption for Dufner, who folded down the stretch of the PGA two years ago when Keegan Bradley stormed back to win. Despite a putter that looked shaky at time, the steady Dufner used incredible ball-striking to outlast the competition on a course that got much more difficult as the weekend wore on.
Drive for Show and Dough
A big part of the success that Dufner saw at Oak Hill was due to his consistent driving of the golf ball. Where other players were missing fairways or backing off and hitting long irons, Dufner was able to fire away with his Titleist 910D3 driver and split the fairway time after time. It was an impressive driving display, although it is something that Dufner does with regularity on the tour. His driving is one of the strongest parts of his game, and the Titleist driver has something to do with that.
Still Big, but Smaller
What makes the 910D3 different than the other driver options available on the market today? To start with, it is slightly smaller than just about every other option for sale in your local pro shop. The maximum club head size allowed under the rules is 460cc’s, but this driver comes in at 445cc. While that might seem like a small difference, it makes for a more compact club head that gives the player a little bit more control over the ball flight. For a great player like Dufner, that slight change can mean the difference between splitting fairways and drifting off into the rough.
Even though the 910D3 is a little bit smaller than normal, it doesn’t lack for power. When the sweet-spot is found on this deep faced driver, huge drives are sure to result. By finding the right combination of club face loft and shaft flex, you will be able to max out your distance with the 910D3 just as you can with any other driver. However, even if you were to sacrifice a few yards in total distance, wouldn’t that be worth it to find the short grass hole after hole?
If you like the look of the 910D3 but just aren’t sold on the smaller club head size, you can opt for the 910D2. The D2 version is the same basic club design, but in the full-sized 460cc club head. Some of the gains you get in control will be lost, but the larger club head is more forgiving and will let you regain some lost yards on miss-hit shots.
The Titleist 910D3 driver is a great choice for players of all skill levels that wish to have more control over the flight of their drives and place a high value on finding fairways above all else. You don’t have to be Jason Dufner to reap the benefits that this classically designed club has to offer. Although, if we all adopted Dufner’s relaxed and even-keeled demeanor, we would probably all play a little bit better.