Xenon Golf – Handcrafted Putters that make your jaw drop

Xenon Golf – Handcrafted Putters that make your jaw drop

Handcrafted Putters make your jaw drop

Xenon Golf PutterHave you ever had a day when the stars just align and things fall perfectly into place? We all dream about that happening, whether it be in your personal life, job or in this case golf reviews. I was given the awesome opportunity to go through the process of a custom putter build by the Xenon Golf Company out of Nashville, Tennessee. Small companies like Xenon exist out there and they will build you a custom putter to our liking. You can spend just about any amount of money you want. In the case of a Xenon Putter, you are truly talking about a one of a kind putter because each putter is handmade by Kenneth “Lumpy” Uselton.

These putters aren’t made in some huge factory with hundreds of employees running around the place. They are made in a rather modest workshop 200 square feet. That’s right 200 square feet, that’s a 20 foot by 10 foot building. Smaller than most two car garages. No air conditioning or creature comforts here, and we all know summers in Tennessee can get a little warm. Lumpy produces a couple hundred custom made putters a year. He makes putters out of all kinds of metals from common stainless steel and copper-nickel alloy to the more exotic Damascus steel and layered steel laminate Mokume-gane. Custom finishes, millings and stampings are all available to the customer.

Xenon Golf PutterThe process starts with receiving an order form from Xenon Golf Company. On this form are list of choices that you have to make before Lumpy can build you a putter. This had to be one of the hardest parts for me. What would your dream putter be like given the choice? What material should I choose? What stampings and options should I select? I really racked my brain for a long time deciding on them. I finally decided and these are the choices that I made.

I decided to go with an “Element” model (somewhat similar to a Anser in look) and these are the specifications I chose:

  • 34” in length
  • 350 grams weight
  • 3 degrees of loft
  • 70 degree lie angle
  • Full shaft offset
  • ¼ toe hang
  • Plumbers neck
  • Aluminum Bronze head with a Vintage Antique finish
  • Chopped sole (slot milled in bottom of the putter)
  • Brass “X” in the cavity
  • Jet Matte black steel shaft
  • Stampings on the toe and heel
  • Signature face milling
  • Orange “Pure” Xenon logo grip
  • Magnetic leather head cover by Delilah Club Covers

Next comes the wait, which seems like an eternity but actually isn’t when you look at it, as he is hand milling each one of these putters himself by welding, stamping, finishing, assembling, etc… I was sent a picture part way through the process of the putter after the milling was complete, before the custom stampings, face milling and Antique finish was completed. This was a very nice little tease! When the putter arrived it didn’t disappoint in any way shape or form! It far exceed my expectations in both the design, appearance and feel categories.

The Xenon Golf putter was more of a piece of artwork sculptured from metal than a putter one would use while playing golf. A golfer could spend more on what some may call custom putters from a major manufacturer, but what does that get you? A design that is not very unique or different from their standard issued putter with just a few customized items.

I would like to give my impressions of the putter from Xenon Golf in the following categories:

FeelXenon Golf Putter

The feel of the Xenon putter is very good. The putter is Aluminum Bronze, this material has a softer feel than Stainless Steel putters and is more resistant to rust than a carbon steel putter. If you are a golfer that is use to putting without a insert, you will really like this version. Some adjustment would be required if you are coming from an inserted putter. It has a nice consistency and roll off the face. Well done Xenon putters!

Forgiveness

Xenon Golf PutterThe forgiveness of the putter is very good. It is a ¼ toe hang putter with a full shaft offset so that design works great for a slight arc style putting stroke. Most golfers putt with an open-square-closed stroke where the putter moves on a slight arc (sometimes known as an in-to-in stroke or a barn door stroke). Heel and toe weighted putters have long been shown to twist less than any other style of putter with an off center hit. This means that the difference between where putts end up if struck by the sweet spot as compared with off-center hits is as small as possible.

Sound

The sound of the ball coming off the face of the Xenon putter is a very pleasant click. This comes from a combination of the putter materials and the “chopped sole”. This is a small slot cut into the bottom of the putter located just behind the face of the putter. I have always wanted a slot in the sole of my putter. The putter build has given me that opportunity.

Xenon Golf PutterAlignment

The only alignment aid on this putter is a white dot on top of the putter. A very simple way of aiming the putter but it works well for me personally because I putt while looking at the hole. I don’t need an over abundance of sight lines and other methods of alignments to take away from the appearance of the putter.

Quality of Construction

TXenon Golf Putterhe quality of the construction of the putter is second to none. You can tell right off that this a one of kind hand made putter, from the milling marks on the face of the putter, too the hand stampings on several surfaces of the putter. The addition of the brass “X” in cavity of the putter is one of those features you don’t get with a standard issue putter.

The Xenon logo grip from Pure has an excellent soft feel and just the right amount of tact to it. The putter cover is from Deliha Club Covers, Made in the USA. A magnetic closure keeps the cover tightly attached to the putter. Excellent graphics, and embroidery make this cover a perfect compliment to the putter.

Xenon Putter The complete process from start to finish was excellent with the Xenon Putter Company. If you are in the market for a “one of a kind” handmade putter be sure to take a look at them. They are on all of the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Xenon Golf Putter HeadcoverThe custom handcrafted putters are on full display with many pictures to look at. I bet you won’t find one putter that looks exactly like another. What’s great is that you can take the features you love from each putter and turn it into your own dream putter. So if there comes a day when the stars align and you feel the urge to make your dream come true, take a leap of faith and join the custom putter family.

Mike Hallee
Golf Life Contributor

Taylormade M1 Driver Review

Taylormade M1 Driver Review

TaylorMade M1 Driver

TaylorMade M1 Driver Review

In January of 2016, TaylorMade Golf introduced the M Family of metalwoods incorporating the use of carbon fiber with titanium to form a potent multi- material tee box launcher. This past December at Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach (just minutes from LinksNation HQ) and weeks later at the PGA Merchandise Show in January, TaylorMade unveiled the 2nd generation of M metalwoods. By now you’ve seen them on tour and maybe even in your local retail shop, but what has changed since the original?

2017 / 2016

Taylormade M drivers

The new 2017 model on the left has a 6 layer carbon crown design featuring a slimmed down and flared white front section (Original 2016 model is pictured on the right). Does the new one look better, go farther, feel better? Some of those answers are subjective to the individual, but one thing is for sure, the bar was raised awfully high with the original ’16 models, they are absolute monsters off the box.

Any time you’re conducting a review of a product known for being the industry leader for well over a decade, there’s a certain buzz  and excitement that follows – and let’s be honest, what golfer doesn’t get excited over testing new drivers. We headed to PGA Village (PGA of America’s flagship property) in Port St.Lucie and their state of the art Foresight Sports Performance center for testing, then a round on the Wannamaker course.

TECH stuff

M Family Driver

The success of M1/M2 in 2016 was huge, elevating the #1 Driver in Golf to another stratosphere of big stick domination. So what could the R&D Team at TMAG possibly do to further the success of the M Family? The new slogan for 2017 – “Same Letter. Better Everything”. That’s great marketing, but will the performance bear it out? One thing is fact, the adjustability quotient has taken another leap forward. TM engineers saved 3 grams of weight by using a lighter 9-1-1 titanium alloy core skeleton paired with a carbon toe panel (’17 M1 has 43% more carbon fiber than last years model) which allows for a larger T track – providing even greater adjustability. (3 grams doesn’t seem like much to you and I, but in the engineering world it’s gold. These brainiacs fight for every milligram to improve their golf products).

Taylormade M1 Driver

The new T-track (shown in neutral setting) allows for 64% more front to back movement than the ’16 M1. As far as method of adjustability, nothing has changed – move the 12 gram weight back = higher launch/greater forgiveness, move it forward = lower launch/less spin. Move the 15 gram weight to the heel = more draw bias, towards the toe = more fade.

Taylormade M1 Driver

This view illustrates the refined sole design, as you can see the sole plate lips over the weight on each track, this equals less debris caught in the T-track and a sleeker sole. Streamlined from the original M1.

Gen One

Taylormade M2 Driver

The original M2 was our pick for the Best Driver of the Year in 2016, and quite simply it produced performance #’s that no driver in our stead ever has – EVER. In our opinion, it also produces the ideal sound and feel at impact. So the new M models have a ton to live up to.

Powerplant

Taylormade M1 Driver headcover

Stock shaft offerings for the 2017 M1/M2 : Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage TiNi (shown above), Project X HZRDUS and Fujikura XLR8 56. Select shafts from Aldila, Fujikura, Matrix, UST, and Mitsubishi are available at no up charge.

Appearance

Taylormade M Family Drivers

Certainly appearance is subjective, some prefer last years traditional red/black color scheme over this years lime/charcoal combination. Personally, the color means less to me than the design aspects, and the more I look at the new models (M2 also shown) it reminds me of a high performance sports car – inspiring confidence.

Taylormade M1 Driver

M1 nameplate located on the rear section of the crown adds a nice touch.

Foresight Performance Testing

Performance simulator

Pictured above, a staff member at the PGA Learning Center works on his game as we set up shop on the adjoining Foresight Simulator. We’ve discussed innovation and appearance of M1, but we all know fancy claims and good looks won’t get you onto the shortgrass or produce distance gains. It was time to get to work . . .

Needing a base of comparison the testing began with my gamer (’16 M2) that’s equipped with an Aldila Rogue Silver 110msi stiff flex shaft. Although my swing speed usually tops out around 107 mph for step on it all out swings, my normal playing gear is right about 103 mph. Consistency & accuracy were the objectives here, so after a dozen or so swings reaching normal speed and distance #’s, we went straight at it with the new M1.

*Just a bit of background on my game: I’m a scratch player who prefers to work the ball, but have recently gone back to my natural right to left “push draw” – which means I start my ball barely right of target and it peels off just left of it’s starting point. I never want to see a pull, not even when I play a fade. My miss often stays straight or is a block right. When the miss goes both ways it’s a smoke & mirrors day for me at best. If the adjustabilty of M1 can narrow in the miss and tighten dispersion all while giving me the same carry and roll as the gamer then we’ll give it a huge thumbs up.

foresight sports

Within a half dozen swings after switching to M1, it was evident that the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage wasn’t the correct fit for my aggressive transition. Spin rates, launch angle and dispersion were all over the place. A quick swap into the Aldila Rogue, and instantly the #’s were nearly identical with the M2 gamer. After some fine tuning, we got the settings dialed in (I prefer a slightly open face and an upright lie angle) and the data showed a very tight dispersion pattern. In order to keep the testing non-bias for either model we alternated back and forth between heads after every 5 swings (once finished and the data collected, we eliminated the single best and worst extremes with each), and here were the final results via Foresight.

Taylormade M1 Driver statsTaylormade M2 Driver stats

The Foresight results produced virtually identical performance stats (with launch angle being the only real significant difference). What does this mean? It means on paper the new M1 is on par with the absolute best driver that we’ve ever tested. Driver performance on an an indoor launch monitor is just one element of testing, these stats are just the beginning. The “reality” test would be out on the course, and luckily we had an afternoon tee time set up on the Fazio designed Wannamaker course next door at PGA Golf Club.

Feel/Sound

The original M metalwoods produce my personal favorite sound and feel of any driver previously tested or gamed here at LinksNation (2014 SLDR 460 gets runner-up honors) and that’s saying a bunch. The best way to describe the sound is as a muted thwack with a springy feel off the sweetspot when it compresses the ball at 100+ mph at impact. The new M1 feels really solid at impact and has a slightly louder thwack, somewhere similar to the SLDR.

On Course Performance

It was finally time to put the new TM weaponry to the real exam and see if it could be trusted under pressure in real conditions. It was blowing 20 mph all day on the Wannamaker course with intermittent precipitation, so this would be a stern test. Immediately the M1 impressed in a large way, rippin slight draws through even the toughest left to right crosswinds (typically the toughest wind for right handers). M1 showed it could launch high if need be, but its natural tendency (under this operator’s guidance) was a medium trajectory flat bullet. So far so good . . .

15th at Fazio's Wannamaker

Take a good look at the picture above, the 15th at Fazio’s Wannamaker is where it was put up or shut time for the industry leader’s new crown jewel. The tee box is actually 150 yds back and tucked to the right of this view with the entire carry over water. At 271 yards to the front pin, it would normally be nothing more than hybrid and wedge, but this was a driver test not a stroke play event, so taking on “Fools Gold” was mandatory.

A flared crop duster to the right would certainly end up in the water hazard, and at 255 yds to the front edge into the cross breeze it would take something solid. I decided to take dead aim at the mound just left of the green figuring a slight push would be online with the flag, a straight ball would possibly bounce back towards the green, and a draw would end up pin high in the swale leaving a tough but do-able up n down. The tee shot was struck solid and flew right at the intended target, it had a slight draw of about 3 yds and carried to the mound pin high and bounced down into the swale exactly the correct distance. After a decent lob shot and two putt for par, the questions were answered . . .

This was not the usual “get used to the driver somewhere on the front 9” type of experience that often accompanies new driver on the course testing, it was an instant love affair of long and precise tee shots all day long. Basically point and shoot from the every tee box, golf journalists Len Ziehm and Dan Hauser were first hand witnesses to the M1 highlights, “get your own”, I said. The exam was passed and with honors.

Summary

Certainly the Indian has something to do with how a test subject performs, but after you’ve done enough of these reviews you know a blue ribbon arrow when you see one. The ’17 M1 is just that – worthy. 

Is the Gen2 version an upgrade though? That depends on exactly where you stand. If you’re already gaming the original M1/M2 driver, than any type of distance upgrade is likely to be minimal at best, but if you’re in the market and want the very latest top of the line technology, it’s a no brainer – but keep this in mind, the proper shaft and head model are absolutely critical as we detailed during testing. GET PROPERLY FIT, it WILL change your game.

Value wise, there are good deals to be had on the original M drivers Dustin won the U.S Open with, JDay ruled the world rankings with and Justin Rose won the Gold Medal with – TM is the #1 driver brand in the game and for good reason. As far as my gamer is concerned, the testing will continue as we try to figure out exactly which one to go with, but as of this moment there’s a refined new “M” in the bag . . .

For more info on M1 and Taylormade products: http://taylormadegolf.com/

You can check out a video from Golf Life on the Taylormade M1 Driver here.

 

Picture
Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NEW High Heat 3 Wood

The NEW High Heat 3 Wood

The NEW High Heat 3 Wood

Dean Knuth has 16+ years as a Senior Director of the USGA. During his time as the Senior Director, he created and invented the USGA Course Rating System & Slope Rating System along with the USGA Pace Rating System. To say that Dean has been very influential to the game of golf is an extreme understatement. He brings his passion for golf and his passion for helping golfers succeed into the clubs that he makes as well. High Heat is a company the prides themselves on creating clubs for the amateur golfer. Having golf clubs that are extremely forgiving, with tons of distance, is their cornerstone. Golf Life had the ability to head out to San Diego CC to find out what members and the average golfers think of the NEW High Heat 3-wood!

It’s all about allowing all golfers to enjoy the game of golf, and that is exactly what the 3-wood allows you to do. With the CG down and back, this club has unbelievable control and forgiveness off the tee or off the deck. Also, because the CG is down and back with an extremely high MOI rating, the golf club gets the ball up in the air in a hurry. Very similar to a lofted hybrid, the 3-wood creates tons of height and distance no matter what. The first thing you will notice about this club (or any of their clubs) is the beautiful blue. The blue is a unique color that you can pick out of any bag. The accented chrome doesn’t hurt either, in fact, it makes it even more appealing to the eye. This specific club was named “Best” 3-wood by numerous major golf media outlets.

Check out the full video review above. If you want to learn more about the technology of the 3-wood or want to see what other clubs High Heat has to offer, CLICK HERE!

Hot Golf Clubs for 2017

Hot Golf Clubs for 2017

Golf Life’s Hot Golf Clubs For 2017

Over the past year, you have watched, read and listened to all of Golf Life’s product reviews on the latest and greatest golf equipment. But what is in store for 2017? We are here to show you some of the hot golf clubs for 2017. From woods, to irons, to putters, these are the three BIG items you need to look out for in 2017!

Cobra King Oversized Irons

Hot golf clubs cobra king 2 Hot golf clubs cobra king

This set of Cobra Irons is LONG overdue. Cobra released their first set of oversized irons in 1994 and they quickly became a benchmark in performance. Since 1994, this style of iron has been one of the games most iconic irons. These oversized irons come with quality craftsmanship that will turn your game around in a hurry!

  • LARGER SWEET SPOT: Because these irons are made for the amateur or the higher handicap player, they have a huge sweet spot! Hitting the ball on the toe or heel is not that big of a problem anymore. With a larger sweet spot comes more forgiveness giving you plenty of straighter shots, every time!
  • PWRSHELL FACE: Hitting the ball farther means you have to have a powerful face and an increase in ball speed. The New PWRSHELL FACE increases the ball speed by helping the ball jump off the face like a trampoline. It gives you a delivery that is easy and the distance that is unforgivable. Hitting the greens on Par 5’s become an easy task with these irons.
  • FULL HOLLOW BODY: The hollow body allows for the club face to feel soft, yet extremely firm. Lowering the CG gives you an improved consistency you won’t see with other irons!

Hot golf clubs cobra king 3 Hot golf clubs cobra king 4

To learn more about these irons hot golf clubs of 2017, check out their website at cobragolf.com.

High Heat Fairway Woods

 hot golf clubs high heat 4 hot golf clubs high heat 3

High Heat is a company based on helping the average golfer hit better shots. By constructing quality, forgiving golf clubs, the amateurs will be longer and straighter.The High Heat 3 wood is the first fairway metal in the High Heat Family and it is a perfect club for the hot golf clubs of 2017!

  • BETA TITANIUM CUP FACE: A Beta Titanium Cup Face provides a “spring effect” like no other across the club face. It will give you extra distance and forgiveness with every shot, compared to other steel face woods
  • OPTIMAL CG GAME CHANGER: Having a deep and low center of gravity, you get a launch angle that is optimal for the amateur golfer. Getting the ball airborne quickly is the key to having distance and forgiveness!
  • FIRE ZONE FACE TECHNOLOGIES: The CG angle is 50% larger than other major brands, so this technology allows for a hotter clubface, giving you the ability to square up the ball more consistently!

To learn more about these fairway wood hot golf clubs of 2017, check out their website at Knuthgolf.com.

hot golf clubs high heat 2 hot golf clubs high heat

Cure Putters: CX 3

Hot golf clubs cx 3

Cure Putters is known for their extremely high MOI putters. They have been making a name for themselves on the Champions, PGA, and LPGA Tours. The new CX3 is a putter you should be keeping an eye on in 2017 and that is why we have put this in the hot golf clubs for 2017 category!

  • MALLET DESIGN: The mallet design gives you the “arched back” which is going to allow for high MOI and extreme control over the clubface. The more control you have, the more consistent you putting stroke will be! Having a better dispersion and with each and every putt will bring your putting to the next level!

To learn more about these hot golf clubs of 2017, check out their website at cureputters.com.

Carnoustie Sportswear: Fall 2016 Collection

Carnoustie Sportswear: Fall 2016 Collection

Carnoustie Sportswear: 2016 Fall Collection

Carnoustie Sportswear Logo

Twenty years ago, Carnoustie Sportswear was created, and since then, they have been recognized as having some of the finest golf apparel available today! Using some of the top fabrics like cotton, wool, and synthetics, you get a combination of exceptional golf apparel that looks great and feels great! Carnoustie Sportswear sent Golf Life a couple of new items in their 2016 Fall Collection. We took them out on the golf course to try out and test, and the consensus was that their tradition and craftsmanship of the apparel stood strong in any situation.

Now that the Fall Season is upon us, it is time to get those pullovers, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts out of the closet. In many parts of the world, you are not able to show up to the golf course in shorts and a polo anymore. It is getting chilly out there and Carnoustie Sportswear has the perfect items for that. They sent Golf Life a couple of cotton, wool, and knit-weave sweaters to test out and ALL of them were extremely comfortable. Sometimes you get the sweaters and coats that are made from cotton or wool and they are uncomfortable, but Carnoustie really did a great job in making them very soft and easy to wear. Because it is the Fall Collection, you get the unconventional colors like orange, beige, light blue, and black, which is not a bad thing. The other thing that we really enjoyed about the sportswear was the fact that you can wear these sweaters on the golf course and then immediately take them out on the town and you will look great! They are more of a lifestyle sweater that you can wear on the golf course and still be comfortable. Classy, innovative, and stylish are the words we would you to describe Carnoustie’s 2016 Fall Collection.

The one negative (and we don’t even know if you would call it a negative) is the fact that the sweaters ride up your body when you hit a golf shot. We advise you to get a size up from what you would normally wear to compensate for this problem. Maybe you like showing your stomach off, maybe you don’t, but that was just one downfall in an amazing line of clothing!

Check out our full review above and learn more about Carnoustie Sportswear Golf Apparel. We are sure you will enjoy these items this fall whether you are on the golf course or out on the town. Check them out today at carnoustiesportswearonline.com!

Use HWedge to Hit 3 Shots into Greens

Use HWedge to Hit 3 Shots into Greens

hybrid wedges

GET 15% OFF WHEN YOU ORDER THE HWEDGE

HWedge is a brand of hybrid wedges that is available in multiple lofts. In this video Brad Cochran of HWedge takes you from approach to pitch shot and bunker shot using the 55º version of these hybrid wedges. This new wedge design places the face forward so that the hosel is back, eliminating shanks. The HWedge also has an oval face with USGA approved grooves, so the golfer will gain consistent contact with the large face and sweet spot.

As you see in this video, Brad Cochran is able to hit normal approach shots with hybrid wedges off the fairway and tee box.  His shots are high with spin into the greens, allowing the ball to land softly and stop closer to the pin more consistently.  Because of the sole design of the hybrid wedges you will notice how easily he is able to chip a ball onto the green out of the rough.  You will note in the video that he sets up straight at the pin on his sand shots, making it much easier to aim at his target and hit the ball onto the green.

Currently HWedge is offering a pre-order savings of 15% of retail price if you use our code.  Please enter your information in the form on this page and we will provide you with a code to order any of the new hybrid wedges.  If you are ready to start hitting better shots into greens, while getting out of the bunkers and rough with ease, maybe its time to try an HWedge.

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