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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The High Heat Driver - Taking on the Big Boys

It takes brave souls in any business to take on the industry leaders, but in the golf business many would say you have to be certifiable. Well, crazy or not, two gentlemen, Dean Knuth and Steve Trattner decided to take on the behemoths of Callaway, TaylorMade and Titleist and launch a very cool and effective new driver. It's called High Heat and it is already making waves in the business. I'm told their first production run is already sold out and more drivers are on the way. And that's because it performs even better than advertised.

Both Dean and Steve have a long history in the game of golf. Dean is the "Pope of Slope" and if you have a USGA approved handicap you know his work, if not his name. He's the math whiz from the USGA who came up with the rating and slope system used in modern handicapping. His resume contains many extraordinary accomplishments (you can read it here) and suffice to say it was just a matter of when, not if, he created a great driver. His business partner is Steve Trattner and for full disclosure Steve is a family friend. He and Dean worked together for many years at the USGA where Steve was the intellectual property attorney (imagine the fascinating documents that came across his desk during that time). So, you know the patents and intellectual property for High Heat were in the best of hands.
I have worked with golf club manufacturers for many years, so I try not to get too caught up in the invented buzz words and marketing speak which invariably come with new clubs. For me, it's much more about understanding the tech without getting too wrapped up in the terminology. Look and feel mean more to me and these are tough concepts to sell, but are the most important factors to me when testing a club. So, let's get the tech bit out of the way. Thankfully and rather wisely High Heat has kept the marketing speak to a minimum  - they focus on High Heat having a deeper and lower center of gravity and a higher MOI than the major brands. 

That's all I need to know, as I understand both concepts. So that should lead to improved trajectory and longer distance, right? Well, in my tests both indoors on a launch monitor and outdoors where I was simply watching ball flight, the High Heat beat my existing Callaway RAZR Fit driver by a solid 10-15 yards and the flight dispersion with the Fujikura Pro 63 shaft straightened me up too!

The other really cool element is the no groove, shiny face that allows you to see where you actually strike the ball on the club face. It had the effect on me of focusing on a pure strike, rather than simply just trying to smash it - a strange calm took over and I started swinging instead of simply hitting, with very positive results! (See below - hard to shoot a great picture, but you get the idea!) I asked Dean about the smooth face for clarification and here's what he had to say,

"Another benefit of the mirror face is that it helps to lower backspin rates. Too much backspin causes distance loss. Lastly, there are seven zones of internal thinness behind the face for increasing the size of the sweet spot zone and putting grooves over this area would have created variability in performance."

If you would like to buy this great driver, go to the High Heat site where Dean and Steve have a MacDuff Golf special. In the "How did you hear about us?" section check the "MacDuff Golf" box and you'll get a $50 discount reducing the price from $399 to $349. You will love this driver! Read more about High Heat here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The 144th Open Championship at The Old Course

It's The Open, The British, the British Open, the Open Championship - a major so good they named it four times. Call it what you will (and even as a Brit, I'm not hung up on the title), it's always very special when it is played in the Auld Grey Toon of St Andrews over The Old Course.

I was at University in Scotland (in Glasgow) and have played The Old Course many, many times in competitive and friendly matches. I even got it around in under par on one occasion. Ok, you don't really care about my score, but like all golfers I feel the need to tell you!

The real reason for this quick blog is to highlight my friend, Lee Wybranski's latest Official Poster for the Championship. Featuring a wonderful view down the 18th highlighted by The Swilcan Bridge, R & A Clubhouse and Hamilton Grand, it's a gorgeous addition to any golf collection. You can buy a signed copy here on his website.