The DUFFIES: Best Golf Equipment and Apparel of 2014
Every year we at ChicagoDuffer.com have the privilege of testing the season's newest golf equipment and fashion from companies all over the world. While it is true that we have a soft spot for independent golf companies, it would be foolish to not appreciate the amazing products the "big brands" release every year. In an attempt to highlight which products were our favorite from this season, I am proud to unveil the inaugural DUFFIES -- a completely made-up trophy that will be awarded to the best of the best.
So without further adieu, here are our votes for the best golf equipment and products from 2014:
Best Driver -- Callaway Big Bertha Alpha
We tested more than two dozen drivers this season, but we kept coming back to this magnificent boomstick time and time again. While it was not the longest driver we tested, the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha was far and away the most consistent and well-rounded of the bunch. It is still my driver of choice every time I step on the golf course, and it is going to take a small miracle for another club to replace it in my bag.
Best Irons -- PING i25
Nobody produced a better mid-handicap set of irons than the folks at PING. Their incredible PING i25 iron set not only catered to those of us who aren't cool enough to play blades but still wanted shot-shaping ability, but they also look and feel amazing. They might be a step away from the "traditional" PING iron look, but we could not find a set of sticks that fit our game better.
Best Wedges -- Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0
Don't let the annoying numbers in their name fool you: hitting the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedges are easy as pie and require little to no math. Unless, of course, you need help adding up all the money you'll take from your friends with these in your bag. Their look, feel, and performance stood above the rest in the wedge market, and that is no small task.
Best Putter -- Nike Golf Method MOD 90
Ok, this putter was released toward the end of 2013, but we have to include it here. Nike Golf is making some incredible golf clubs as of late, and that is exemplified in their impressive Method MOD 90 putter. I'm usually a fan of mallet putters, but this ultra-thin blade design felt too good and performed too well to not keep it in my bag.
Best Golf Ball -- 3UP Golf 2S14
Everyone loves the Titleist Pro V golf balls, but you can keep them for all I care. No matter which category I can think of -- distance, feel, spin, durability -- the 3Up Golf 2S14 golf ball rose handedly above the rest. Don't let the fact that 3UP is an indie golf brand scare you; these guys make a damn fine product.
Best Overall Apparel Company -- Bunker Mentality and Dunning Golf (tie)
This was a difficult choice for me since I love both companies so much. So, instead of choosing one over the other, let's all play nice and share! The UK-based Bunker Mentality specializes in providing highly-personable golf apparel that scream individuality. Conversely, the US-based Dunning Golf exudes traditional charm and high performance. While these two juggernauts may reside on opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, they both make up most of my golf wardrobe.