Matt, Author at Golf Sidekick

All posts by Matt

NIKANTI GOLF CLUB REVIEW

Nikanti Golf Club Thailand Review

If you have only ONE course to play while in the Bangkok area, Nikanti is the place. This is easily hands-down the best experience I have had in Thailand for golf. 

What makes Nikanti unique?

  • 18 holes broken into six of each par 3, 4, 5 - The course is not overly long and the plentiful par 5 and par 3 (six of each) make it such a pleasure to play instead of endless par 4s.
  • The best service in golf - From moment one you are greeted by everyone, and ushered around to make sure you don't get lost. You are treated like a true guest and not like an intruder. This is incredible and you feel like a total boss.
  • All inclusive pricing! You pay ONE price. There is no worrying about drinks, food or caddie tip. You pay for the day. You get either a free breakfast and lunch or free lunch and dinner. And yes, you can order more of the dishes included. It's not like some airline food either. it's LEGIT good food. The tip, the green fee, caddie fee, food, free water, golf cart are all included. 
  • Caddies are HIGHLY trained - With the inclusivity and the condition of the course, the caddies are also superb. Absolutely great fun and good natured, but well trained to be totally efficient. 
  • Nikanti in Thai language has something to do with the number 6, hence the 6/6/6 split of the course into 3 courses of 6 holes, 6 par 3, 6 par 4, 6 par 5.
  • The whole experience is superior to EVERYTHING else in ThailandFrom when you arrive to when the caddie puts your bag back in the car, you are treated as a guest. There's no dual pricing. You are taken care of with a smile.
  • It's super laid back. Despite being the best, most well kept, highest end service establishment, it is still chilled out. You don't have to feel rushed, or anything. you're a baus for a day. 

How does Nikanti look?

Here's a video of us playing Nikanti Golf Club.

The cold hard fact about Nikanti Golf Club

It is well maintained, has great service but if you are looking for a LONG course, this is not the one for you.

If however, you're looking for a place you will not forget easily, this is the course. Forget every other famous name course in the Bangkok/Nakon Nayok/Nakhon Pathom area. This course is hands-down the best experience and one you can take with you back home or keep coming to if you live here.

Play it early in the morning for a great view, temperature and quiet time. 

nikanti golf club green fee


Nikanti Golf Club Green Fee

Green fees: You can expect to pay between 3,500 THB ($110) and 6,000 THB ($200). Midweek is always toward the lower end of this price range.

Caddie fee: Included in the price above.

Caddie tip: Included in the price above

Cart price:  Included in the price above

Guides for how to play Nikanti Golf Club in Nakhon Pathom

Follow my channel and watch these videos of us playing there.

Other things to do around Nikanti Golf Club

It's quite a distance from Bangkok center. It's 1 hour or 67km from downtown.

You want to leave 1 hour 45 minutes before your tee time. If you want to stay in Nakhon Pathom, I don't think you'll find much to do out there. Find a transfer or rent a car to Nikanti and return in the evening.

Drivers on GRAB app and taxi drivers in Bangkok would be more than willing to drive you out there, wait around for 5-6 hours and then drive you back for the right fee. I'd guess you could get that for about 3,000 baht for 3-4 people and a big Toyota Fortuner. 

RED OUNTAIN GOLF CLUB PHUKET

Red Mountain Golf Course Phuket Review

Red Mountain is the most well-known course on Phuket island and mainly because it was once the most expensive at about 7,000 Thai Baht for 18 holes. 

It's an interesting course with a difficult lay out, and some beautiful scenery. The pictures are worth the trip. But for 7,000 THB ($220 US), I don't know about that.

If you can get on the course with promotions for less than 2,500 baht then I would say that's a pretty good deal and worth the memory if you're only going to be here once. 

What makes Red Mountain unique?

  • Two 18 hole courses  - Loch Palm is next door and run by the same Group - MBK. MBK also run Riverdale in Bangkok plus its close neighbor, Bangkok Golf Club.
  • The course is cut through insane terrain like a video game. The drops and the rises, the slopes and the scenery look like something out of a Tiger Woods PGA Tour Playstation game. Carts are mandatory and you cannot walk this course that's for sure. It has been designed by Jonathan Morrow and been open since 2007.
  • Photogenic - You'll get some great views and some nice pictures to share with buddies back home.
  • Caddies are phenomenal - The caddies at Red Mountain always know what club you need after the first 2-3 holes and take care of you knowing when you need a towel, rangefinder, water...everything.
  • Built on a tin mine - this makes the place look really wild with old jungle and untouched forest
  • Smooth bermuda greens and paspallum tees and fairways make for a brilliantly conditioned course. 

How does Red Mountain look?

Here's a video of us playing Red Mountain.

The cold hard fact about Red Mountain Golf Course in Phuket

It is a scenic golf course but at times can feel gimmicky. It is built on an old tin mine so the terrain is very outstanding. The 17th hole is the craziest one with a drop off of about 50 yards from tee to green on the par 3. 

The condition is very good and the greens are very challenging and also perfectly manicured. Condition and layout really are unique and the back nine, which wasn't in the video above, is EVEN MORE scenic than the first.

Riverdale and Red Mountain by the MBK group are very high-end golfing experiences so if it fits into your budget, you should play Red Mountain for the experience. 

I'd really suggest bringing your own clubs from overseas if you decide to play because it will be WAY LESS fun if you rent clubs that don't suit you.

Red Mountain Phuket Green Fee

Green fees: Generally upwards of 2,500 Thai Baht as of mid 2021. This price includes caddie, cart and green fee. 

Caddie tip: Usually you want to match the caddie fee for the caddie tip.

My standard tip everywhere now since the pandemic is 500 THB if the caddie was remotely better than average. 

Other things to do around Red Mountain

Red Mountain is the most well known and challenging course in Phuket island and is located right in the middle of it.

Every well-known beach is within a 20 minute drive from the course. A lot of people rate Loch Palm (attached to Red Mountain property) as being an even better course, so check that out!

Phuket has tons of nightlife, and with so many transfer and taxi companies around, getting to Red Mountain should be easy, and even better if you rent a car. 

Blue Canyon Country Club Lakes and Canyon Course Phuket

Blue Canyon is the site of one of Tiger Woods victories when he was super young. He won the Johnnie Walker there and there's a plaque on one of the par 4s where he hit a drive on the green.

That doesn't sound like a big deal nowadays, but this was back in the day when he was playing balata golf balls, steel headed driver and steel shafts!

What went wrong with Blue Canyon?

For a while, there was a Singaporean company that owned the course and they really screwed the place up. They messed the members around and then cut costs everywhere.

The greens shrunk, the condition was bad and it seemed the course had its glory days WAY back. 

BUT!

A local Thai investor purchased the golf course and has restored the Canyon Course to its former glory. I got a chance to play it before it was reopened to members in 2021. Even before opening, it was special. The greens have been restored to world class quality and the layout and conditioning is superb. 

They've removed some trees and made it overall a picturesque golf course and one of the best value places on the island of Phuket. 

What makes Blue Canyon unique?

  • Two 18 hole golf courses - The Canyon and the Lakes courses are both super. The Canyon course was the site of the Johnnie Walker for very many years.
  • Located on an old tin mine. There are some spectacular drops and naked earth scenery that is breathtaking. 
  • Clubhouse overlooks the 9th and 18th green of the Canyon course. You sit perched high up on the grounds, overlooking the reshaped 9th hole and the now-restored 18th green. 
  • The food is so well priced, it's CRAZY. I usually flinch when someone gives me a menu at a golf course restaurant. But here, you want to order 4 or 5 dishes because the value is so good.
  • My friend, Golf, from Golf Every Second Youtube channel practices there and they gave him a very good deal as a local pro to use their facilities. He also teaches there in his time away from the tour due to Covid restrictions. You can see him for sure if you play Blue Canyon.
  • Tiger Woods made history here. He won the Johnnie Walker extremely young. To stand on the tee where he drove the green and imagine him doing that when everyone else in the field just would play it way to the right, is mesmerizing. I hit it over the green on my tee shot but I have a titanium driver, graphite shaft and Pro V1. He didn't Amazing to see such historical sites. 

How does Blue Canyon look?

Here's a video of Golf and me playing the Canyon Course.


The cold hard facts about Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket Thailand

The courses are very walkable. There are constantly promotions but with the country reopening, you may find, as tourists return, the price may increase a lot.

I say this because the place is in fantastic condition now and while and is worth the time. You can get two great courses while in Phuket. 

I would say it's a must play. 

Be careful on Google maps though. If you put it into the map, it may take you up a side road. Both courses are accessible from the same entrance but make sure the route you use is the blue one indicated in the map below.

Using the red route or any route other than the blue one below will send you up a service road to NOWHERE!

Blue Canyon Country Club Green Fee

Green fees: Generally between 1,500 and 3,000 Thai Baht depending on the season and day of the week. Courses are generally cheaper on weekdays and more expensive on weekend.

Caddie fee: around $13 USD. This is mandatory at all golf courses in Thailand anyway.

Caddie tip: Usually you want to match the caddie fee for the caddie tip at a minimum. The maximum should be reasonable but not insane. Anything above 600-700 Baht and you will be spoiling the market for the locals and members.  

My standard tip everywhere now since the pandemic is 500 THB if the caddie was remotely better than average. 

Guides for how to play Blue Canyon Country Club Phuket

Follow my channel and watch these videos of us playing there.

Guide for how to play Blue Canyon Lake Course

Other things to do around Blue Canyon

Phuket is a large island with plenty of beaches. 

There's a ton of nightlife and you can do anything you want there. The world is your oyster. 

black mountian hua hin review golf course

Black Mountain Hua Hin Golf Course Review

Black Mountain is the most well known golf course in Hua Hin and probably the most or second most famous course in Thailand.

The reason is simple. Great marketing. The course is easily the best marketed course in the country with advertising boards scattered throughout the town of Hua Hin showing the price, the deals and the name everywhere.

Often marketing leads to disappointment. But not here. Black Mountain is infinitely playable and fun.  

What makes Black Mountain unique?

  • Three nines - North, East, West. North and East are the championship courses they use on the Asian and European Tours.
  • Six (6) sets of tees. ANYONE can play this course, from the pro's at 7,300 to 7,600 yards all the way down to 5,600 yards. 
  • Clubhouse overlooks the 9th and 18th green of the championship courses. This is not unique in the west but in Thailand, this is VERY unique and makes you feel at home.
  • Caddies are HIGHLY trained and some are tour caddie quality. They provide a service second to none with conscientiousness, and accuracy. Their demeanor is ALWAYS cheerful and they always enhance your experience. 
  • The estate is run by Scandinavians and only residents are allowed to be members. The place is well manicured, spotless, brilliant.
  • They have a full practice facility: grass and mat driving range. Chipping green with bunker. Practice green. You can get fully warmed up. Many courses do not have driving ranges.
  • The entire golf experience is more 'international'. From when you arrive to when the caddie puts your bag back in the car, you are treated as a guest. There's no dual pricing. You are taken care of with a smile.
  • It's super laid back. Despite being a high end, championship experience, you never ever feel like you're in some stuffy place. It's super relaxed, everyone is having a great time, and the locals are totally chill.

How does Black Mountain look?

Here's a video of us playing Black Mountain.

The cold hard fact about Black Mountain Golf Course in Hua Hin

It is a superb golf course. 

Not just because it's well maintained and championship quality, but because everyone can play the course. It's set up in a way that challenges the better player. At the same time, a newer player can also enjoy the course without pressure because the vibe is so relaxed. 

The greens are easily my favorite in the entire country. They're always in good condition and run no lower than 9.5 on the stimp meter. Down grain and downhill putts beware the speed! The grass on the greens is TifEagle Bermuda which is my favorite. 

Fairways are tightly knitted bermuda and rough is kept shortish for general play.

It's a tough walk especially if it's rainy season due to the soft ground. Getting a cart is recommended if you're not used to walking up and down slopes on the golf course. 

black mountain hua hin green fee

Black Mountain Hua Hin Green Fee

Green fees: Generally 1,600 and 2,000 Thai baht most of the year. That's roughly $55 to $65 USD.

At times, it can be closer to 3,000 Thai baht ($100) in high season.

Caddie fee: around $13 USD. This is mandatory at all golf courses in Thailand anyway.

Caddie tip: Usually you want to match the caddie fee for the caddie tip.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't tip too high because you spoil the market for the locals - this is not a joke and not "mean" - people playing golf locally are not holidaymakers so they are not blowing cash left and right for two weeks a year. Don't go too low because it's not that much money to you, but a lot to the caddies. If the caddie fee is $13, tip $13 (400 THB) for a standard service. If the service was especially good and you shot a great score with her help, tip more. Try not to tip higher than $20 though otherwise this becomes the 'expected amount' after a while.  

My standard tip everywhere now since the pandemic is 500 THB if the caddie was remotely better than average. 

Guides for how to play Black Mountain Hua Hin

Follow my channel and watch these videos of us playing there.

Other things to do around Black Mountain

Black Mountain has their own Water Park called the Black Mountain Water Park.

You can stay on the course or nearby the course with Black Mountain stay and play for multiple days and multiple rounds. 

The course is in Hin Lek Fai which is about a 15 minute drive to the beach in Hua Hin and about 30 minute drive to Khao Takiab which is also a lovely seaside town attached to Hua Hin city.

Most Forgiving Muscleback Irons 2021

Some may not admit it, but I’d wager that every golfer has looked at a set of muscleback blades, drooled and wanted to put them in their bag. When you see Adam Scott or Tiger puring their irons with ease, shaping the ball with ease, you want some of that action.

Then REALITY bites - or stings and anyone who has thinned a blade will tell you. Traditionally, muscleback irons have not been the easiest clubs to hit and were therefore reserved for the best ball strikers.

But things have changed. Forged clubs with thin top lines and minimal offset are now found in the bags of mid and high handicappers thanks to revolutions in club technology. So let's look at the most forgiving muscleback irons on the market today and see if they tickle your fancy.

Most Forgiving Muscleback Irons

  1. Ping i500 Iron (best for slower swing speeds)
  2. Srixon Z-Forged Iron (best value to performance ratio)
  3. Callaway Apex 21 (best for accuracy and consistency)
  4. PXG 0311P (most head turning iron)
  5. Mizuno MP20 MB (best for feel)

Impossible to hit a bad shot with these irons

Ping have always made forgiving game improvement irons, but their blades are usually reserved for only the best ball strikers. The i500 range changed that, giving all players the chance to get success from a bladed Ping club.

These hollow bodied irons are very forgiving and the face is super hot. The 17-4 stainless steel body has a Forged Maraging C330 steel face that is plasma welded on to it in order to maximise ball speeds. The lofts of these clubs are 1.5-2 stronger than traditional lofts meaning they create less spin and hopefully more distance. This will help golfers with slower swings get the most out of their shots.

Pros
  • Hollow body for maximum ball speed
  • Ideal for slower swing speeds
  • Amazing levels of forgiveness for such a compact head 
  • Stunning looks

Nothing feels like a Srixon 

*DISCLAIMER* I play these clubs. I love these clubs. They have given me a level of joy I didn’t think was possible from a set of clubs.

I tried many many muscleback irons, from Mizuno to Taylormade to Ping to Cobra to Itobori. I like them all but the Srixon Z Forged appealed to every fiber of my being.

Now that is out of the way, let’s talk specifics. These irons are the best looking blade on the market and feel like butter melting on a hot griddle. To me, nothing feels like a Srixon. 

These are one of the most forgiving muscleback irons I’ve played and it's because they use superior metals to any other big manufacturer. The metal is soft, the sweet spot feels like a tuning fork ringing in your loins.

The Z-Forged irons have a signature 'double curve' design which helps these clubs provide maximum workability. The forged construction delivers a fantastic soft feel and the V sole promotes optimized turf interaction and stability. 

Pros
  • Supersoft feel forged heads feels like you're hitting a marshmallow
  • Maximum workability with the correct shaft 
  • Perfect for steeper strikers as the sole is shaped to glide through turf
Cons
  • Be fitted for the right shaft otherwise it's hand pain city

An approachable blade from Callaway  

The Apex is Callaway’s premium player’s club and this 2021 version includes a few updates from the 2019 version.

These  irons feature improved tungsten weighting a semi cavity to give you maximum forgiveness with a precision strike you're used to from Ben Hogan irons. Callaway bought the Apex range off Hogan and this is the result. 

I play quite a bit with very low handicappers and pros and these feature in the bag quite often. I've hit them plenty but for me the look of a Callaway iron just doesn't feel 100% right to my eye which is the most important part of your clubs. You MUST love them.

Callaway have created a very forgiving iron with the Apex series. 

Pros
  • Classic looks with thick top line if you like a top line that's thick
  • These are irons you will not need to replace for very long
  • Satisfying sound off the face which feels consistent and high flying
Cons
  • Can be pricey but Callaway fans will like it regardless
  • Thick top line if you prefer a butter knife look like I do

From elite only moving into everyday golfers bags

most forgiving muscle back

PXG made a name for themselves as only for the elite with eye watering prices. 

The prices have come down and that is great news for every day golfer because these clubs are superb. The weighting, the design and the feel are right up there with some of the best in the game.

Yond from the channel, and Joe who contributes from England on this site both play these PXG irons and have fallen back in love with the game. What is important from both Yond and Joe's experiences is that you should be fitted for these clubs to understand your specs. 

Lofts are slightly stronger in the PXG 0311P but the ball flight is high and handsome with a soft face for buttery contact. While the price is high, it's because you get the best of the best. PXG won't release new clubs unless they are confident their new model is much superior to their prior models. 

Pros
  • Talking point every time you play with people
  • Soft feel and high launch using superior materials and engineering
  • One of the sleeping giants in the golf world
Cons
  • Very very pricey
  • Fitting is important for maximum output for your money

"Nothing feels like a Mizuno"

Mizuno clubs have to be included in any muscleback list - they pretty much invented the term almost.

They are seen as the players iron and when you buy a set of the MP range of Mizunos, you keep them for years and years because NOTHING ever compares and the new models of any other iron never impress you enough to give up your 8 year old set. 

I know, because I had 2 different model of Mizunos from 2001 to 2019. Steve on the channel only plays the MP range and has had his set for 18 years. He loves them so much, he has a backup set with the identical specs in case his current set goes missing.

The Mizuno MP20 MB has a thin layer of copper in the face to enhance feel. Where these clubs offer forgiveness is in their stability. They are very accurate and even mishits won’t go wildly off line. You will sacrifice some distance but you will be rewarded with supreme feel and feedback.

The differences between these and the Srixon Z Forged are minimal. If I weren't playing Z Forged I would have a long hard look at purchasing a third set of MP Mizuno irons. I tried the JPX 919 Tours and if you're in the air about which to purchase, I would say go for the MP range every time. 

Pros
  • Mizuno premium craftsmanship and forged goodness
  • Consistent stability and with low dispersion both long and short, and left and right 
  • You will not replace a set of Mizuno MP range for at least 5 years
  • Similar looks as previous models with the standard beautiful top line thinness
Cons
  • Not as visually appealing as prior models
  • Thin top line which can be good if you like it

Conclusion

Musclebacks are not really the most forgiving clubs in the world, but with modern technology, they can be as forgiving as they will ever get.

Gone are the days of the old 1980 butter knife blades with amputated toes. The new era of big faces and more forgiving rears of the club have made musclebacks accessible to everyone.

My personal bias is toward anything Srixon. Next I would say Mizuno take the cake and then Ping for forgiveness. If you have the money, the PXG is really a good purchase, but remember to be fitted and get your specs before finding those specs online. 

best cheap golf balls

Best Cheap Golf Balls for Affordable Fun

This is one of the hottest topics in golf. It might be one of the hottest topics in LIFE. Many players tell me that they want to play a premium golf ball, but that the thought of slicing a brand new Pro V1 into the bushes and water brings them out in a cold sweat. 

Why is it that the shots which keep us awake at night are the bad ones?

Is the ball we think we should play actually causing us to play bad golf? 

Golf balls don’t need to cost the earth to be good - some of the best cheap golf balls in the world will be better suited to your game and I'm going to tell you why. So put your preconceptions away, and open the door to golf ball enlightenment. 

Best Cheap Golf Balls 2021

  1. Srixon Soft Feel  (best overall cheap golf ball)
  2. Callaway Supersoft Max  (best for the slower swing speeds)
  3. Kirkland Signature (big value urethane golf ball ever)
  4. Bridgestone e6 (best for long, straight rolling shots)
  5. RZN Star  (best for value for distance golf ball) 
  6. Wilson DUO Professional (best cheap urethane ball for slow swing speeds)
  7. Taylormade Project (s) (Taylormade two-piece for max distance)

Spin isn’t what you think 

The PGA tour on TV has ruined spin for the vast majority of golfers. When you see highlights reels of players ripping balls 30ft backwards you think that’s what you should be doing.

Here’s a question for you though, how often have you actually seen that happen in the cold light of day on the course? Probably rarely or never. 

We are led to think that it is the ball which is the key ingredient to that tour level zip on the greens. Yes, it is important, but it is one of MANY FACTORS. Club choice, club age, groove sharpness, attack angle, quality of strike, ground conditions, green firmness, swing length, air moisture - yadda yadda yadda. It’s a list so long you’ll start to sound like Bryson and do you really want that? 

The truth is that Pro V1 MIGHT help you to stop the ball on the green quicker, but it is probably harming your drives and approach shots because it is spinning TOO MUCH. 

Sidespin on your drives is what causes the ball to veer off from the target. Softer premium balls are designed to spin more. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

Golf ball psychology

Have you stood on the tee and a buddy shouts, “Don’t slice it” and you proceed to hit it into the next state? When we play with premium golf balls, a common thought is “I don’t want to lose this ball, it cost me $XXX!”

We often try to remove this demon by teeing up with an old or cheaper ball. Then the ball goes where we want it miraculously!

Why not remove the headworms before you hit the course by playing a ball which suits your budget AND your capacity to keep it on the course. A Pro V1 might fit into this bracket but the best cheap golf balls shouldn’t be any less productive than the premium models. 

Always a winner, time after time. 

Now in its umpteenth iteration, the Srixon Soft Feel remains an anchor in Srixon's ball collection. It's a two-piece golf ball so it's made for distance and durability but the thin cover gives this ball a soft feel so it doesn't feel like you're playing a rock. Expect long drives and irons that roll out with a soft feel on the club face.

Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a golf ball as high or mid handicapper, I immediately, without hesitation say Srixon Soft Feel. I've loved these balls since I used them dropping from a mid/high handicapper down to a 5 handicapper. Soft feeling off the face and big distance off the tee. 


Best for slower swing speeds on the cheap!

Callaway deliver excellence ball after ball. The Supersoft Max is made for the slower swinger for maximum distance and forgiveness, aerodynamically designed to get high up for a long strong carry.

The soft mantle and cover system work in tandem to reduce spin. Reducing spin also means reducing side spin, so on your longer shots you can reduce those slices and hooks.

I'm not the biggest fan of these balls when I use the insert putter. When I use my steel faced putter, I like them a lot as the feedback is evident. If you use an insert putter, I'd suggest something firmer like the E6 or the Vivid below.


Older but recent model - nothing wrong with this!

This 2021 model is preferred by a lot of golfers. The performance and feel overall seems to be better in the older model, and on top of that, the price is incredibly low!

Slashing your handicap comes from hitting fairways and greens. The Bridgestone E6 gets you in the fairway easier and boosts long and mid iron performance to get you closer to the green more often. You may need to change your aiming - no more aiming way left. The ball goes where you aim.

Like with other Bridgestone balls, it's easy to notice the shallow dimples. They've done something right with their golf balls because most guys I play with loves these balls. I find the cover is quite hard so don't expect a bar of soap when you undo the packaging. This is for you if your priority is straight hitting and reducing slices and hooks.

Once again, this is a two-piece ball as the prior two options are and so you'll notice more rollout and consistent spin of these balls.


Nike golf balls reborn 

Nike stopped making hard goods in 2016, but the original manufacturer of the RZN balls has brought them back to courses everywhere for super low prices.

The RZN Star is the cheapest ball that RZN offer, and is aimed at beginners and high handicappers.

That being said, it performs way above what I was expecting. It’s long off the tee and feels great off the putter. For this price point, there is not much that can rival it. Perhaps Inesis Distance 100 golf balls.


Best for swing speeds under 90 who want urethane balls

When comparing the Wilson DUO Professional to other balls in the list above, it's clear the difference comes in the short game. With short irons, the Duo Professional spins much more and on all shots provides a softer feeling.

The surlyn covered balls might have a slight edge in purely distance but all-round the Duo Professional is a high-value golf ball for golfers who want some feel and spin with an amazing bang for the buck.

When you first touch the Duo Professional ball, you notice the texture of the cover and the 'bite test' tells you straight away the ball is softer than others. Feel off the club face is pleasant and off wedges feels surprisingly soft. 


TaylorMade quality at a great price 

TaylorMade’s 60-compression Project (s) offers good all-round performance, and gives players a TaylorMade option without breaking the bank.

The ball’s fast core stores and releases energy efficiently throughout the bag for excellent distance. The high-lift, low drag dimple design promotes a high launch and keeps the ball up in the air longer for optimum distance.

When it comes to putting and chipping, the cover offers a soft feel to help you play those scoring shots with ease. I really like the yellow version of this ball as it’s so easy to see after hitting tee shots and in the rough


Conclusion

When you're buying cheap balls, you can get urethane options, or you can get the cheaper surlyn options. The manufacturers have every base covered.

The rest is up to you and your priorities. If you want spinny action, you have to try the urethane options which are the best value possible above. Then if you're happy with more bump and run, more rollout, then you can go for the 2 layer options with surlyn covers and 2 piece construction. 

Try a few and get the one you really like and use it exclusively to understand the way it reacts and you will slash strokes from your score with your deep knowledge of your game.

Most Forgiving Ping Irons in Golf

Ping don’t get into the same flashy advertising battles as some of the other major golf manufacturers. Their irons are found in the bags of Tony Finau, Bubba and Louis Oosthuizen, and these guys often go years without changing clubs.

So what's the big secret, and what are the most forgiving Ping irons? Let’s take a look at what they have on offer to try and solve these burning questions. Genevieve Ling uses Ping irons.

PING’s dot system explained 

Before we look at the specific irons which Ping offer, it’s worth going over Ping’s unique dot system. You may have noticed that on all Ping irons, there is a little colored dot somewhere on the head. This dot is used to identify the lie angle of the club and with 10 possible colors/angles, it’s worth getting the right one for you.

A professional club fitter will be able to fit you into the correct color easily, but if you’re buying off the rack, the chart should give you a good indication of which color is best suited to you.  

Which PING irons are right for you? 

If you shoot in the 100’s or 90’s, you are probably looking for a club which will get the ball in the air quickly and maximise your distance. Ping offers a range of clubs which could be suitable for this type of player each with subtle differences. 

But like all golf clubs, how they look and feel is just as important as the tech which is built in. You have to look down at your clubs and LOVE them. If you don’t, you need to think about why and reassess your tools. With this in mind, you might find that the most forgiving Ping iron for YOU is a blade. It probably won’t be but it could be. 

Most Forgiving Ping Irons in Golf

  1. Ping G710 irons (Game improvement performance with sleek looks)
  2. Ping G425 irons (best styling with Ping forgiveness for every player)
  3. Ping G410 irons  (older model iron for budget forgiving player)
  4. Ping i210 irons (cavity back “players” iron with max forgiveness)
  5. Ping i500 irons  (for golfers who want a higher forgiving ball flight)

Game improvement performance in a super slick package 

most forgiving ping iron

When PIng released the G700 in 2018, it was part of a wider hollow body revolution taking place across the iron space. Ping has sometimes lagged behind their competitors when it comes to the looks of their game improvement models, but that is no longer the case.

The Ping G710’s are not only the most forgiving Ping irons, they are also some of the best looking clubs on the market. 

Loft options for all level of player 

The G710 irons are available in two loft options - standard and Power Spec. A standard loft 7 iron comes in at 29.5 degrees whereas the Power Spec is a beefy 28 degrees. Traditionalists will probably opt for the standard option, but those with higher swing speeds should probably consider the lower lofts as an option.

Loft “jacking” has been common practice for OEMs for some time now as they seek to attract buyers with promises of extra distance.

Game improvement models often launch the ball higher with in-built tech, and higher swing speed players could lose some distance with higher lofts due to higher spin rates. As always, get a fitter to look at your needs to be sure you’re getting the best product for you. 

Pros
  • Maximum forgiveness 
  • Consistent ball flight
  • Sleek looks with Anti glare and water repellent finish 
  • Arccos trackers installed as standard
  • Very thin topline for a game improvement iron looks so good at address 
Cons
  • Black finish marks more easily
  • Straight shooters, not for ball-shapers

forgiving ping irons g425

Looks great at address with understated styling

This latest iteration of Ping’s famous G series all rounder iron delivers on all fronts. The styling has been toned down from the red of the G410’s and the blade is slightly smaller giving the clubs a more premium feel overall. 

Centre strikes feel beyond solid and heel/toe hits are compensated for by the perimeter weighting across the face. These irons still have the signature “Ping” sound but it is not as pronounced as the gunshot which the G710’s produce. As will all Ping G series irons, these have a decent amount of offset, but a thin topline doesn’t make this too distracting at address. 

Arrcos premium shot tracking sensors are embedded in the grips which is a great feature for the stat focused player. Knowing your club distances is more likely to improve your game than many other things you do, so download the tracking app and get to know your game intimately. 

Ping has resisted the temptation to jack the lofts in these irons, leaving that to the beastly G710 model. This places the G425 firmly as a frontrunner for the most forgiving Ping iron which will appeal to the widest range of players. 

Pros
  • High class looks and styling
  • Arccos sensors as standard 
  • Standard wedge features the same tech as the Glide 3.0 flagship wedge
  • Laser straight ball flight
Cons
  • Not for the player looking for maximum shot shaping but if you're looking for forgiveness, you give up shot shaping - catch 22.

For golfers who want a higher ball flight with blade styling

The i500 Ping irons are simply some of the best looking blades out there. But wait a minute, this is meant to be about finding the most forgiving Ping irons, not butter knives for ego maniacs! While the i500 irons look like a blade, they are actually hollow. 

This hollow body tech makes these irons some of the most innovative on the market and they are quickly gaining legendary status. The face is constructed from C300 maraging steel which is bendier than a gymnast, allowing the ball to be propelled at impressive speeds and launch angles. 

The club head isn’t too small, but the lack of offset will make these desirable for players who want blade looks but with serious power. 

Pros
  • Seriously long
  • Stunning blade looks 
  • High penetrating ball flight
  • Loft options for all levels of player 
Cons
  • Not as consistent as the i210s
  • Expensive (but better value than most OEM) 

Cavity back players iron with max forgiveness 

The i210 is Ping’s “crossover” model, aimed at the better player while providing high levels of forgiveness.

The head is noticeably smaller than those in the G series models and there is little offset. At address these have Mizuno levels of appeal and the HydroPearl finish always looks delicious.

There is an elastomer insert in the cavity back which provides a lot of forgiveness for off centre hits. This was a feature in the older i200 but has been beefed up following feedback from players.

These clubs are far more workable than the G series irons and should be considered by players on the way down from a mid to low handicap. 

Pros
  • Premium looks
  • Supreme accuracy, they go where you aim. 
  • Beautiful sound off the face
Cons
  • More expensive than other models 
  • Some will have their heads turned by the i500

Conclusion 

Ping has turned from best kept secret to major player in recent years. They offer a great range of products for all players. Ping irons also hold their value really well over time so they make a great investment whether you are buying new or used.

The winner for me here are the hollow bodied models when it comes to forgiveness with the G710 edging it over the i500 due to the black finish. Overall the G4 series is probably the best value option, with the i210 offering the best of all without really shining. 

How to Break 90 Without Swing Changes

How to Break 90 Easily With Your Game

Julian had never broken 90 before this round. He's been playing for a year and has a personal best of 91, only one time.

I'd never met him before this day and would learn his tendencies as we played. But below are the highlights for you to apply to your own game.


The course is par 90

I guided Julian around the course with the idea in our heads that each hole had one stroke added to the par to make the course a par 90.

WHY? Because it removes pressure you feel to play professional style or scratch golf. Your new par means you can aim to hit par 4 holes in 3 strokes, par 5's in 4 strokes and par 3's in 2.

This is essential in breaking 90. You're not playing to break 72. You're not a pro. When you create an attainable goal with this system, you relax and hit better shots.

You should NEVER be SMASHING a ball when trying to break 90. If you are doing that, you are doing it wrong.


Adapt to Julian's style - know yourself

I quickly picked up some things in Julians game and needed to work around it. If you have seen my whiteboard videos on breaking 90, you'll know i recommend getting rid of trouble clubs that destroy your game, very often the driver.

But I couldn't do that in Julians case so driver was going to be our main club because he had no other tee-club. 

Some holes he was going to be close enough to the green to go for it comfortably. This is where you can take advantage but only when its comfortably in reach. You can't be forcing anything playing the breaking 90 system.

Strengths to utilize!

1. DRIVER: He hit a solid pull-slice off the tee and it worked almost every time. As long as his aim point was correct, he would always be on the right side of the fairway and with decent distance. 

The consistency of his shot shape was the important part and it helps when you have this so you can plan accordingly.

2. Chipping consistency with the SW: He chips so well around the greens but needs to understand the consistent rollout vs carry he is getting. Once we started getting that dialed, he was able to chip much closer to the hole.

The consistency of his chipping is a huge strength and will be the aspect that will mean he can SLASH strokes, as long as he practices the 5 footers and closer to the hole.

3. His irons are very good: 9i to 5i work really nicely for him. He gets the ball toward the target, leaving himself very few partial pitch shots after duffed shots. He usually leaves himself normal chip shots and with his good chipping, he will excel.

I would never let him hit something other than the driver off the tee because it's reliable and he likes to hit it. He doesn't have confidence in his other clubs off the tee. Driver is then the default.

I'd like to set him up shots he would like into the green, but his distances are very good of the tee and we were playing the shorter white tees. We could not avoid the partial shots at times or the wedge into the green. Some holes we were just going to expose a significant weakness that ALL golfers have and particularly 90 and 100 breakers. 

Weaknesses to avoid!

1. Putting: Julians line-reading is perfect. He just has a single problem in his mind regarding putting. He is scared of the return putt if it goes beyond a foot behind the hole.

This aspect of the game could save him so many strokes. Not only on the 5 footers if he practices them, for when he leaves a chip 4 feet from the hole, but also for more confidence to roll the approach putt past the hole. If he can roll it past the hole, he will make more of his longer putts.

He left a few in the mouth of the hole, purely out of fear of going past the hole. This is easily curable with putting practice particularly the ladder drill and the circle drill.

2. Inside PW distance: This is every shot inside 120 yards but most important, the wedges as approach clubs for Julian.

VERY IMPORTANT IS THE NEED TO KNOW YOUR CARRY DISTANCES LIKE A RELIGION. You need to know them so you can plan the approaches and KNOW where the ball will land. 

100% of the time, not a single 90 or 100 seeker can tell me the distance of their wedges. It's almost always a guess. This is most neglected area in golf. Everyone is concerned about drilling driver at the range, but no one hits a bucket of wedges. 

3. Mentality that you are not consistent or good enough: Watch Julians round and tell me he is not consistent! Impossible. He is consistent in his shot shape, his putting distance control, his chipping carry vs rollout. 

We just need to play to our strengths and avoid the weaknesses. 

4. Caddies are a hindrance sometimes: The caddies in Thailand don't play golf and have never hit a golf ball. They will comment on every shot, thinking it's supposed to be like a pro.

This is incredibly distracting a a higher score shooter. "Slice" "oooh short" "not good" "rough" "water" "Water left OB right" - all these little comments as if the shot is not good because it's not perfect sucks. I always applaud a shot that will be playable and in a decent position for the playa. 


EVERYONE NEEDS THE PUNCH SHOT BECAUSE HERO SHOTS ARE DUMB.

If you are in the trees, which you will be A LOT as a mid to high handicapper, you need a punch shot.

Here's the nitty gritty stone cold truth on hero shots.

HERO SHOTS ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO HIT BUT ARE NEVER ACTUALLY WORTH DOING EVEN IF YOU PULL THEM OFF. That's why there are NO HERO SHOTS IN AMATER GOLF, ONLY STUPID SHOTS.

The shot through the trees? The shot over and under and through the little window in the gap between the....blah blah. What's the best case scenario?

Truth is, the best case scenario is still shit. Sorry. Take your medicine and use a lower lofted club. Chip it back into the fairway and approach the green. 

The downside to failing this shot means lost balls and frustration that spoils your entire day and mood. The upside is minuscule to pulling it off, and still being in the shit.

Let the ego go. Hit the smart shot. Hit the shot that does not give you stress.


This game is hard - don't make it harder

You can play this game on easy mode or hard mode.

Easy mode is hitting the stress free shot in every moment, knowing you have plenty of strokes to get the ball in the hole because it's not a pro regulation course anymore. 

Hard mode is chasing birdies and getting angry because you're hitting stupid shot after stupid shot, expecting a Dustin Johnson birdie extravaganza. 

Check out these two videos so you can go from stuck on default hard mode, to easy street.

Coolest Golf Ball Markers – Best Ballmarkers in the Game

Coolest Golf Ball Markers 2021

  1. Waddaplaya Poker Chip Set (coolest set of five markers)
  2. Waddaplaya Jewel Ball Marker (best for making more birdies)
  3. Waddaplaya Decision Coin Ball Marker (how to decided between BDE or chill)
  4. Waddaplaya Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Ball Marker
  5. Kraken Golf Ballmarkers

Most Forgiving Titleist Irons

Titleist have never been known for the most forgiving irons in the world but after their recent AP1, AP2 and AP3 irons, they moved into the everyday golfer market instead of being the niche for advanced players.

The T-range consists of T100, T200 and T300 which is in reverse order of forgiveness. The T300 are the game improvement irons for players who need maximum forgiveness and the T200 range is for the slightly more consistent player looking for some forgiveness but without the big clubhead.

The White Fox on my channel jams Titleist irons and has for the last 4 years. He's never going back.

In both these clubs you'll find forgiveness but it just depends on your skill level. The T300 mainly for high handicappers while the T200 is mainly for mid to lower handicappers. The AP1 is the prior model of the Titleist range which was also loaded with forgiveness if you can find a set.

It's probably one of the most forgiving Titleist irons ever.

Most Forgiving Titleist Irons

  1. Titleist T300 (Game Improvement Titleist irons)
  2. Titleist T200 irons (Players-distance Titleist irons)
  3. Titleist AP1 (most forgiving irons one model prior)

Most forgiving in the range

The forgiveness of the T300 is something most people will not associate with Titleist. Due to Max Impact design and stronger lofts, distances on the same as a lot of new game improvement irons.  Any mid to high handicapper would be happy to game these without fear of pain in the fingers and hard impact. 

Higher lofted irons in the set are stronger than any other irons in the Titleist range so you'll see distance gains if you're playing a very old set of clubs. Traditional lofts are only found in the pro-level irons in the Titleist range. 

What does that mean? Well it means if the loft numbers are lower for the same club, then you'll hit it further. 

T300 is a mid-low spinning iron. Of course this can mean sometimes it is harder to hold a green but when we're talking forgiveness, we have to make some sacrifices. So if you can roll the ball up or have big enough greens, the lower spin shouldn't concern you much. The big advantage of lower spin means that you'll A) hit it further and B) have less dispersion left and right!

Titleist made a silicone-polymer core and put it behind the face so they could make the face thinner, so the ball pops off the face instead of feeling like it mushes into the face like on forged clubs. That means higher balls speeds and more distance.  

The prior model which this one replaces, the AP1 was a hollow body construction but Titleist have used a genuine cavity back in the irons this time. As I always say on this website throughout, cavity backs are always the most forgiving. 

The irons have a wide sole and large face so you have plenty of margin for error. The club prevents digging and also keeps mis-hits online, as well as reducing the losses of distance.

The top line at address when you look down at the club, you notice the T300 is much thicker than the T200 model, but the length of the clubface is about the same. A bit unexpected is that the T300 seems to have less offset than the T200.

Pros
  • Minimal offset if you don't need help to make the ball go more left
  • Low to mid spinning iron for more distance
  • Stronger lofts in the lower irons especially for more carry
  • Wide sole for easy movement through turf
Cons

Most forgiving for lower handicappers

forgiving titleist irons

In the T200 irons, you get a game improvement iron that looks more classic and as the successor to the AP3, is starting to look closer to a players iron, but not quite.

What you'll notice between the T100 which is the pro level club, and the T200 is the offset and that definitely defines it more toward the game improvement. Offset is used to prevent the slice and fades.

Where the T200 is just a little in a class of its own is that it really doesn't look clunky and chunky at address. When you look down at the club, it's got a thick top line but it's not chunky and it when in the bag, they look really slick. 

Another aspect of the club that defines it in the more forgiving section, but for lower to lower-mid handicaps is the loft. Basically, the 9 iron in this set is the same loft as the 8 iron in the more advanced player iron, the T100. 

The point is, they may look and appear as advanced players irons, but these are very much forgiving Titleist irons. But having them in your bag would look good and perform well whether you're trying to break 90 or you're on the cusp of breaking 80. 

Why fight your equipment by going for the player iron if you can get super performance form an iron like the T200? It has an appearance that better players will like and performs in ways that help you maximize distance and forgiveness.

The T200 (unlike the T300 which has a cast head) has a forged face which wraps around a portion of the sole to create more rebound. They put 90g of Tungsten in both the toe and the heel of the club to stabilize the head at impact for solid strikes.

Titleist made a silicone-polymer core and put it behind the face of this club, similarly to the T300, so they could make the face thinner, and increase speeds on the face while the forged face gives you a slightly softer impact feeling. That means higher balls speeds and more distance.  

Pros
  • Tungsten weights in heel and toe to stabilize at impact
  • Looks like a players iron, plays like an Average Joe iron
  • More offset than the T100 
  • At address, looks like a classic iron, not a real Game Improvement look
  • Excellent for anyone who wants to go from double digit into single
Cons
  • Much less forgiveness for higher handicappers

Conclusion

it all depends on your priorities. If I were looking to get from an 18 handicapper or more, so let's say shooting over 90 every round, I'd go T300. If I were a golfer shooting under 90 every now and then and wanted to start moving toward the low 80's and the 70's I would try the T200.

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