Product Reviews

Round 4 Competition Putters

Fresh out of the box!

Fresh out of the box!

Round 4 is anything but your typical off the rack offering, they barely advertise and have decided to simply let the brand grow through word of mouth and satisfied customers.  This slow growth has allowed them to provide top quality service. 

Our customers right now are the guys who seek out quality brands that fly under the radar and enjoy being in-the-know about up and coming new products.
— Al Vikmanis - Founder

After receiving the putter, I immediately put it in the bag and headed down the street to my local putting green.  I  felt confident with the feel and sound of the putter right away and after holing putts for a half hour or so I decided to put it in play the next day at Chambers Bay.  While I do not have a miracle story about only having 18 putts the next day, what I did find was that my lines were spot on and I it was incredibly easy to start the ball on my intended line.  It was just a matter of time before I start rolling everything in.

Over the next 10 rounds or so, my confidence increased with each round and each putt.  I was eager to get to the green and score.  I believe in creating a long term healthy relationship with one's putter and this is definitely the start of a great friendship.

It’s a marriage. If I had to choose between my wife and my putter, well, I’d miss her.
— Gary Player

If you are in the market for a putter change and are looking for a top of the line option from a company that has a true passion for putting, you owe it to yourself to consider Round 4 Competition Putters.  But that's not all folks, I saved the best news for last.  Readers of pjkoenig.com are eligible to receive 15% off of their order with Round 4.  Just simply use coupon code: PJKoenig.  Valid until the final putt is holed at the 2016 Masters.

For years I have played a Scotty Cameron GOLO putter, that was "gifted" to me after a particularly generous man 5-putted the 18th hole at Pasatiempo Golf Club.  While the story of receiving the putter is fantastic, my putting with it never was.

Being in the market for a flat stick change, I was interested when I met Round 4 founder, Al Vikmanis.  It was immediately clear that Al has a passion for putters.  He started the company with an interest in doing something different and special that wasn't focused on brand recognition.  Round 4 Putters are designed with the highest craftsmanship available for those who have a true passion for the game.

Our putters aren’t special because of who designed them; they’re special because of how well they’re made, how beautifully they’re designed, and how well you can putt with one that fits your eye and your stroke.
— Al Vikmanis - Founder

One of the best things about Round4 is the high level of customization and service that you will receive.  After several email exchanges with Al, I decided to go with the heel shafted Slider with orange paint and a hot orange grip.  At 365 grams, 4 degrees of loft, and 32" in length, I was ready to party.

After rolling in birdies on #3, #6, and #16, I made a sweet 30 footer for birdie on 18 at  Wolf Creek  with my new Slider.  

After rolling in birdies on #3, #6, and #16, I made a sweet 30 footer for birdie on 18 at Wolf Creek with my new Slider.  

The birdie putt drops!  Disclaimer: Round 4 putters do not come with the Red Hot Chili Pepper soundtrack.

UPDATE:

After putting my Round 4 putter into play about 9 months ago, I have seen a noticeable improvement in my putting.  Mostly, I attribute this to my comfort level with the new putter.  With each birdie putt that drops, the relationship grows stronger.  

With the putter getting so much love, the orange paint began to wear.  The good news is that the folks over at Round 4 have a dedication to customer service.  I shipped the putter back and they quickly outfitted me with a new paint job.  The green feels right!

 

Taylor Made Ultimate Driving Iron (UDI)

For years, I have struggled with the gap in between my 3 wood and 3 iron.  With my 3 wood going about 250 and my 3 iron traveling 210, i was in need of that 220, 230 sweet spot.  I have tried just about every hybrid and 5 wood imaginable.  I was even foolish enough to put a 1 iron in play for some time.   This past summer I met Taylor Made's 2 iron or Ultimate Driving Iron, and the search has officially been called off.

Taylor Made's UDI is available in a 1, 2, or 3 iron with lofts at 16, 18, and 20 degrees respectively.  I opted to go with the 2 iron as it fit the 220-230 gap I was looking for.  The club is easy to hit, has a solid feel and is relatively forgiving on miss hits.

The look of the club from the setup position is not intimidating at all as it has some meat to it on the top line.

The look of the club from the setup position is not intimidating at all as it has some meat to it on the top line.

After putting the Taylor Made UDI into play, I told my golf buddies about it and they eventually ended up joining the 2 iron party. 

No matter how I am playing, if the fate of the free world depended on me hitting a fairway, I’d pull out my 2 iron and we’d all keep partying.
— John Kennelly - Local golf bro

The best part about having the 2 iron in the bag is it's versatility.

  • Off the tee - Got a tight par 4 that requires a shot in the fairway?  Nothing better than pulling a club that you know will get the job done
  • From the fairway - Just ripped a big drive and going for that par 5 in 2?  One of the unique aspects of the Taylor Made's UDI is the high launch you get off of the club face.  Carry that bunker, land it softly, and prepare to line up your eagle putt
  • Headed across the pond to compete in The Open?  Or maybe just a windy day at the local muni?  The UDI is also a great wind option when you need to keep it low off of the tee.
This golfball would resume it's normal shape and come to rest on the green.

This golfball would resume it's normal shape and come to rest on the green.

If you are looking for a great option off of the tee and from the fairway where accuracy is a must, this 2 iron is one option you should definitely consider.  At $99.99 you will certainly get your money's worth.  You can order them here from Taylor Made.

The Original Jones Bag

Since I always opt to carry my clubs, the sort of bag that I carry makes a serious difference.  With so many different options out there here is the main criteria that I consider.

  • Weight - Today's best carry options range from 2.5 pds to 6 pds depending on features. The trick here is to find the bag that gives you everything you need without unnecessary weight.

  • Pockets - With approximately 150,000 golf gadgets available to put in your golf bag, you need to figure out what is necessary and how many different places you need for things. Do you separate out your new balls from your used balls? Do you need a special pocket for your 1919 Buffalo Nickel ball marker? How about your phone? Maybe you plan on drinking 7 beers on the back nine?

  • Too Stand or Not too Stand - You can ditch some serious weight by going stand-less. How important is it that your club heads are within your immediate grasp?

  • Style - This one comes down to preference. For me, I like to keep it simple and clean.

  • Club sleeves - The answer here is that you DO NOT need a separate sleeve for everyone of your individual clubs. All of your golf clubs will get along fine in 3-5 different slots. The only real issue is grip wear and by the time this happens, you should change your grips anyways.

  • Durability - Will this bag be subjected to harsh weather and airport security? Is there a chance that it will be thrown into a pond? Choose accordingly.

With my main criteria established, I decided to give the Original Jones Bag a play through at Chambers Bay.  Based out of Portland, OR, Jones Golf Bags are perhaps the most iconic carry bags in the game of golf.  Known for their simplistic and classic appeal, the style of the Classic Jones has changed very little in the past 40 years.

 

Quick Facts: 

  • Weight: 3.15 pounds

  • Single carry strap, no stand

  • Pockets: 3

  • Club dividers: 3

  • Construction: Nylon, no inside structure

With the Jones Bag, you have two pockets on the front of the bag.  I found there was plenty of room for all the necessities (Balls, tees, phone, range finder).  There is also a large pocket on the back of the bag that is perfect for storing jackets and larger clothing items...  or even 7 beers.

Having used a carry bag with a stand for years, how was I going to deal with having to put my clubs down on the grass!!?? Turned out that it wasn't that big of a deal to just pull out my 6 iron before I set the bag down.  A couple of times, my club heads got sandy and dirty.  But then again, so did I.

Another perceived challenge was only having the single strap to carry.  I ended up alternating between shoulders throughout the round and although I still prefer the double strap method, I didn't mind as the load was very light.

The best part about carrying the Jones bag was the simple feeling that it gave me.  I was just some guy with a bag of sticks out in a field whacking around a ball.  It was just plain and simple golf, not a million different things to think about.

I also received several compliments and "What type of bag is that?' questions from other golfers.  For me, the style ranking of the Classic Jones Bag was a 10.  The fine folks over at Jones were also able to personalize the bag for me with @pjkoenig on the side.  

While the lack of stand and dual strap might give some golfers pause, the light load makes this bag a great selection for a day on the links.

Check out the full lineup of Jones Golf Bags here.

Overall Score: 9.1