• The Big Test

If you’re in the mar­ket for any new clubs this year, don’t spend a penny un­til you’ve checked our re­sults

Golf Asia - - CONTENTS -

Chris Ryan, pro Chris is se­nior in­struc­tor at The Bel­fry’s PGA Na­tional Academy.

Simon Daddow, 10 hand­i­cap A former club de­signer, Simon is a slow-swing­ing player who is very con­sis­tent.

Chris Jones, 11 hand­i­cap Chris has been test­ing golf clubs since 2005. He’s a hard-hit­ting but in­con­sis­tent player.

We started or­gan­is­ing it last Oc­to­ber, but here it fi­nally is – the big­gest and most com­pre­hen­sive gear test we’ve ever pub­lished, Top Gear 2017.

There are two rea­sons we’ve done it. The first is that the in­ter­est in last year’s Top Gear, both in print and on­line, told us we needed to make it an an­nual event, so that’s what it will be.

And sec­ondly, the golf equip­ment mar­ket con­tin­ues to change. Most brands (Ping and Titleist the no­table ex­cep­tions) are now on an­nual prod­uct cy­cles, which means a raft of new clubs at the start of the year. So there’s no point in us test­ing put­ters in July or wedges in Septem­ber when they’ve been on sale for months. That’s why we’ve put them all in one spe­cial is­sue, right at the start of the golf sea­son with lots more de­tail.

Who did it

He’s an ex­pert in club fit­ting, too.

How we did it

We asked all the ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers to sub­mit their en­tire 2016 ranges for test­ing. Only one, PXG, de­clined.

In or­der to en­sure a level play­ing field, each of the three testers was fit­ted for the equip­ment tested. We con­ducted a test ev­ery week from Jan­uary, when ev­ery new club was avail­able.

We tested both in­doors with a pre­mium ball and out­side in a range bay us­ing range balls, as that’s how many golfers will get fit­ted. We col­lected a ton of data from ev­ery shot, us­ing a Fore­sight Sports GC2 launch mon­i­tor, and then pored over all this in­for­ma­tion to come to a con­clu­sion.

Our launch mon­i­tor

We again picked Fore­sight Sports’ GC2 launch mon­i­tor with Head Mea­sure­ment Tech­nol­ogy (HMT). Thanks to its high-res cam­era and stereo­scopic lens (which cap­tures up to 10,000 frames per sec­ond) we were able to col­lect thou­sands of pieces of data not only from the ball, but also from the club­face. We picked it for sev­eral rea­sons: • We were able to record where ev­ery shot im­pacted the club­face, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to an­a­lyse where the fastest shots came from and mon­i­tor how much ball speed was lost on off-cen­tre hits. • It can be used both in­doors and out­side. That means we were able to cre­ate a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment in­side at a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture to col­lect data

while us­ing a pre­mium ball. To en­sure data was rel­e­vant to you, we also tested out­side us­ing range balls. • By hook­ing the sys­tem up to a lap­top and us­ing Fore­sight’s soft­ware we saw where ev­ery shot had gone and how it had flown. • Its porta­bil­ity let us take it to dif­fer­ent ranges

when we needed to gain more data. • The GC2 is recog­nised by man­u­fac­tur­ers, players and teach­ers of the game as giv­ing un­matched ac­cu­racy. Fore­sight’s new and im­proved GC Quad only be­came avail­able af­ter we’d started test­ing, so for con­sis­tency we stuck with the GC2. • Visit www.fore­sight­sports.

com for more.

How we picked our win­ners

To help you choose the best new clubs for your game, we picked our top 10 prod­ucts (five for Bud­get and Per­for­mance driv­ers) in each of the fol­low­ing 12 cat­e­gories: • Driv­ers (Bud­get; Per­for­mance; Pre­mium) • Fair­way woods • Hy­brids • Bet­ter player irons • Game-im­prove­ment irons • Su­per game-im­prove­ment irons • Wedges • Put­ters (blades, mal­lets, high MOI models)

Each tester also came up with a per­sonal top three in each cat­e­gory to show which prod­ucts they’d put in their own bag.

Where we did it

We’ve been test­ing gear at the Na­tional Fit­ting Cen­tre at The Bel­fry since 2005. It’s a fab­u­lous fa­cil­ity in the heart of the coun­try.

*Please note cer­tain equip­ment fea­tured may not be avail­able in your mar­ket

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