How Golf Monthly Tests Products
When it comes to buying new golf equipment, be it a new driver or a pair of the best spikeless golf shoes, the wealth of choice on offer can be overwhelming. Golf Monthly has proudly become your first port of call when it comes to giving you crucial insights into how the latest releases perform, how they compare to their predecessors and where they stack up in relation to the competition.
The quality of Golf Monthly's reviews and buyers guides is built upon a rigorous testing procedure as well as the knowledge and experience of the test team that has a sterling reputation in the industry, known for delivering the key insights you want to know in a concise, easy-to-digest manner.
Our commitments to you are:
- The products we review are tested by competent club golfers – we believe that's more useful than the opinions of PGA pros or robots.
- If we say we've reviewed a product, that means we've used it out on the golf course and hit it on a launch monitor where applicable.
- Manufacturers can't pay for a good review – we tell it how we see it.
- From the latest launch monitors to shot tracking technology, we will always endeavour to use the best technical equipment to assess performance.
It's worth mentioning that everyone's golf swings and style choices are different, so a club or shoe that works for one golfer might not work for another. Please keep this in mind when reading our reviews, much of the content is subjective but based on years of experience in every field.
We also try and verify manufacturer claims about performance details such as 'five yards longer than its predecessor' or 'improved grip', where applicable. If it's not possible, we'll refer to these features as 'manufacturer claims'.
Who tests products for Golf Monthly?
The product testing is headed up by technical editor Joel Tadman, ably assisted by digital editor Neil Tappin. They are experienced golf writers with low single-figure handicaps and have been doing this for over 25 years between them. The team also includes former tour player Sam De'Ath, professional Joe Ferguson, and Dan Parker.
With so much new golf equipment hitting the shelves every year, Golf Monthly has established a new category leaders approach to develop experts in different areas of the market. Each category has a small team of reviewers testing products and working under an experienced lead writer who themselves are consistently testing new products to hit the market. Golf Monthly also has two US-based product testers in Scott Kramer and Mike Bailey, both bringing a wealth of experience to the team, to help cover the vast market in America.
By dividing golf equipment into categories, the team are in a better position to compare between brands, identify stand-out products and trends and offer game-improving buying advice. Below is a list of categories and their leaders:
Drivers - Joe Ferguson
Fairways - Sam De'Ath
Hybrids - Sam De’Ath
Utility irons - Joe Ferguson
Irons - Joe Ferguson
Wedges - Sam De’Ath
Putters - TBC
Balls - Joe Ferguson/Sam De'Ath
GPS/Laser - Joe Ferguson
Shoes - Dan Parker
Trolleys - Dan Parker
Bags - Dan Parker
Training Aids - Sam De’Ath
Women’s gear - Alison Root
Where are the products tested?
Before testing, the Golf Monthly team will usually attend product launches and meet with the manufacturer's R&D experts to understand the new technology.
The Golf Monthly team is spread around various locations in the UK and US. As such, there are a wide variety of different golf venues used for testing products, both indoors and outdoors. The team also uses the latest technology, be it the Foresight Sports GCQuad, Trackman 4 or Full Swing Kit launch monitor, to gain quantifiable insights into club performance.
How does Golf Monthly rank products?
Golf Monthly reviews have a five star rating system. No product that receives less than 3 stars will be published. Golf Monthly doesn’t rank products within its buyers guides, but it will reference stand out features and link to individual reviews for those who want a deeper dive into how a product performs.
Golf Monthly Star Rating Guide
5 stars - Stands out from its competitive set by tangibly looking, feeling and performing better. Has innovative new technology that delivers on all attributes a golfer looks for with no significant weakness, at a price that offers value for money.
4.5 stars - Delivers a high level of all-round performance that matches the best of its competitive set in all areas and has minimal weaknesses of relative insignificance or that are subjective to the user.
4 stars - Performs to a high standard in multiple areas of consideration but falls short against competitors in the category in areas golfers typically consider important - be it looks, feel, performance or value.
3.5 stars - Didn’t perform to the level of products that lead their respective categories. Has some plus points but enough negative points to be of concern and that need referencing around the design, how the product looks/performs or the value on offer.
3 stars - Somewhat delivers what is expected but broadly offers a disappointing user experience. Lacks modern technology and resulting performance. Questions over build quality, durability, looks and performance.
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Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: Ping i230 4-UW
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x
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