At their core, super-game improvement clubs are designed to do whatever they can to make bad golfers have more fun playing golf by making them better than they are.
There's a spirit of levity in the category. After all, SGI players recognize they need some help -- badly! -- and have to take their lumps on the course, preferably with a grain of salt.
It is with that ethos in mind that Wilson Staff has come out with their new Launch Pad family of clubs, consisting of a driver and fairway woods, irons and a new hybrid-type club dubbed the FY Club. The goal is to eliminate the right side of the course off the tee, at least as much as equipment can, and make the irons easier to hit higher and farther from any surface.
Driver and fairway woods
The Launch Pad driver and fairway woods are all about preventing a slice. The clubs have a moderate hosel offset, an upright lie angle and 13 grams of weight in the heel of the driver -- all to promote a draw. The driver is just 272 grams, with the idea that a lighter 1-wood makes it easier for players to generate clubhead speed.
The Variable Face Technology in the driver is designed to deliver higher launch angles and improved ball speeds across the face.
In the fairway woods, a Carpenter Custom 455 stainless steel face insert delivers maximum ball speeds for players who need to take out these clubs often on par 5s.
The Launch Pad driver retails for $300, with men's and women's options. The stock shaft is from the UST-Mamiya Helium Series.
The fairway woods are $200 each, and they're available in a 15-degree 3-wood and an 18-degree 5-wood for righties and lefties with the same UST-Mamiya Helium Series shaft. The women's version of the fairway woods are in 16 and 19 degrees, respectively, with the same shaft line.
The Launch Pad irons are built around the sole featured in the set, designed entirely to prevent chunks. The short irons have a more traditional game-improvement sole. Advancing through the set, the soles get wider and more forgiving. The bounce angle keeps the leading edge up and decreases turf interaction, which is the heart of the chunk.
Wilson believes this approach will allow more SGI players to get away from hybrids, which have their own pluses and minuses, and bring a long iron or two back into the bag.
Like the driver, the irons are designed to be lightweight to make it easier to generate club head speed. Wilson chose a bigger midsize grip to make it more comfortable for a player to hold without the death grip that negatively affects so many higher-handicap players.
The Launch Pad Irons will be offered with a KBS Tour 80 steel shaft ($700) or UST-Mamiya Recoil 460 graphite shaft ($800).
What is the FY Club?
The FY club looks like a hybrid. But it's not. The FY club is the direct result of Wilson testing which indicated to them that a 41-inch club with 19.5 degrees of loft was the spec combo that made for the easiest club to hit for players over a 10 handicap index.
The idea of the FY club, then, is to replace the 3-iron, 3-hybrid and/or 7-wood of a higher-handicap player. A three-in-one club of sorts.
The FY club has a similar design to the fairway woods in several ways, including using the same Carpenter Custom 455 stainless steel face insert. It has a moderate hosel offset and some draw-biased weighting built in.
The Launch Pad FY club is available for $180 in right- and left-hand options at 19.5 degrees with the UST-Mamiya shaft. A women's version of the FY club is is available for righties only in a 20.5-degree head.
The whole Wilson Launch Pad family will be available for on Jan. 13, 2020 on Wilson's website.