PRODUCT REVIEW

KZG's forged wedgesKZ Golf launches
discount brand:
Carlton Golf

By Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer

BOSTON (Aug. 8, 2003) -- In the inaugural installment of the equipment column Sticks & Stones, I mentioned that KZ Golf (a.k.a. KZG) had launched a new line of value-priced clubs under the brand name Carlton Golf. In the past, KZG's drivers and forged wedges have faired very well in our informal, yet rigorous, testing and review processes. So when I opened the new 400cc Carlton Classic Ti Driver and took a few practice swings, I was not surprised by the club's excellent aesthetics.

I was, however, flabbergasted at the price: $139 (with graphite shaft, $119 with steel)!

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Immediately in such situations, one begins to search for the catch: shoddy workmanship, bad paint job, something. But under close scrutiny, no evidence of flaws could be detected.

Without further ado, the driver went into my bag and out to the practice tee and course.

Testing

Let's get one thing out into the open right away. I'm not a huge fan of huge drivers but not out of principle as much as out of pragmatism. Tiger Woods hits a small-headed driver. Phil Mickelson hits a driver twice the size. No one would argue that Phil needs the bigger head, or that Tiger can't handle a larger head. These are simply the clubs that they feel comfortable with, that work best for their respective swings.

Drivers of the 350cc to 450cc (or even larger) range are unarguably forgiving. And, if swung correctly, they place a once unimaginable amount of mass behind a golf ball. The trick is swinging them correctly.

Take, for example, a mid-handicapper with a fast swing, but sans the hand-eye coordination required to square up a toaster-sized titanium block on the end of a stick at the precise moment it impacts a tiny white sphere. That mid-handicapper will more likely than not hit a massive slice (and we won't even add the shaft flex into the equation).

Take another mid-handicapper with a slower swing, and the same driver/toaster might be ideal, though. The point is that voluminous drivers are no panacea against slices, hooks, topped or thinned shots.

This said, the Carlton Classic Ti Driver -- all 400ccs of brushed-nickel and jet-black finish -- represents perhaps the best value available for golfers who either already like oversized drivers, or who would just like to experiment with them.

In several visits to the practice range and a half-dozen rounds, the Carlton Classic delivered solid feel, excellent distance, and surprising consistency, even for someone who normally uses a driver less than 300ccs.

We passed the Carlton Classic Ti around to players of various levels (handicaps ranging from 6 to 25). Some found it longer than their current drivers, others shorter. Some controlled it well, others not so well. However, when we told them how much (or, rather, how little) the club costs, every single one agreed that it was a heck of a deal.

The Verdict

Remember the days when a 400cc titanium driver would cost you a sizeable chuck of your next mortgage payment? Well, those days are gone. The flagship Carlton Classic Ti driver is a solid performer at a rock-bottom price. Best of all, it's backed by the established quality of KZG and is readily available through Pro Golf Discount, which has selected Carlton as a "preferred vendor."

For more information, visit carlton-golf.com

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

 

 

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