Golf Buzz

July 31, 2013 - 2:28pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Miura irons with Black Boron finish
Courtesy of Miura Golf
The Black Boron finish on some new Miura irons is deeper and more durable than other black finishes.

Japanese clubmaker Miura Golf occupies a unique place at the very high end of the golf club spectrum. The company produces small amounts of clubs that are highly prized among a certain segment of golfers – and its prices reflect that.

Miura's latest development isn't a new line of clubs, but rather a new finish called Black Boron. It recently has begun producing a few sets of its CB-501 irons and Passing Point 9003 irons in the special finish instead of its usual nickel chrome finish.

"We've found black finishes so popular that we really had to look into making these, even though we can only manage small quantities and maintain Miura standards," said Miura President Adam Barr. 

In fact, the company says it can produce only about 10 sets of clubs with the new finish every other month because its painstaking production process is further complicated by switching over the final part of the production line from its usual set-up.

Miura has produced its Limited Forged Black Blades and Black Wedges with a black finish, but those fade over time into a silvery-grey patina. By contrast, the company says, the density of the new Black Boron looks more deeply black than other black finishes, and the color is more durable as well. 

The Black Boron irons carry a suggested retail price of $2,275 per set (4-iron through pitching wedge), or $325 per club. 

For more information, visit www.MiuraGolf.com.

 

July 30, 2013 - 9:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Luke List's named Callaway irons
Nick Raffaele via Twitter
When Luke List needs to power an iron to a faraway green, he can ask his caddie for the "Lean on it."

Some golfers give their drivers names, like ''Big Dawg.'' And, of course, some very famous putters have names, like Bobby Jones' ''Calamity Jane.'' 

Most of the clubs in between are just known by their numbers. Until now, anyway.

The photo above was tweeted by Callaway's Vice President of Sports Marketing Nick Raffaele on Tuesday. It shows a brand-new set of Callaway RAZR X Muscleback irons that Callaway just made for big-hitting Luke List. Instead of numbers, each club has a name – like Rack 'em, Fireball and Lean on it. That is just awesome.

I've never named my clubs, though I admit I have occasionally called them names when they misbehaved. 

List is playing the Reno-Tahoe Open this week. It'll be fun to see if his new babies live up to their monikers.

 

July 30, 2013 - 1:57pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Christian Collins, Rory McIlroy
Photo: Courtesy Caddy For A Cure
Caddy For A Cure spokesman Christian Collins poses with 2012 PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
Our friends at Caddy For A Cure are at it again.  The group that offers every golf fan a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go inside the ropes and actually caddy for some of golf's biggest names is offering a chance to carry the bag for defending PGA Champion Rory McIlroy during a practice round at The Barclays (Date would be August 21st at Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, NJ). In addition to McIlroy, you can also bid on the chance to carry the bag for U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and European star Lee Westwood. No other opportunity in golf can get you this close to the action from the game's biggest names.
 
Obviously, the chance to contribute to such a worthy group that supports organizations like Birdies for the Brave, Fanconi Anemia research and a host of other great charities should be motivation enough - but for golf fans, here's a chance to take part in an experience unique and incredible beyond words.
 
To not only meet, spend time with but play an integral role in a golfer's preparation for a championship means more than playing alongside - it's joining the team.  The players know the value of Caddy For A Cure and have been eager to offer support. Here's your chance to get involved like few others ever have. 
 
Such notable names such as Open Champion Phil Mickelson, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Masters Champion Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, and Rickie Fowler are just a few of the golfers who have taken part in Caddy For A Cure. 
 
You can learn more about the organization or bid on one of the loops by going to their website at: CaddyForACure.com
 
July 29, 2013 - 11:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Michael Phelps in Barcelona
Michael Phelps has traded his golf spikes for a boot while he deals with a stress fracture.

Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimming superstar and burgeoning golfer, was in Barcelona over the weekend, where he popped in on the swimming world championships and participated in the dedication of a mural in which he is featured.

As eye-catching as the mural is, what really stands out in the photo of Phelps at the dedication is that big black boot on his right foot.

Apparently, Phelps was nursing a stress fracture in that foot, then exacerbated it while playing golf – perhaps, he believes, by stepping into a hole.

"He hit his foot somehow in the house and then he did that tournament when he walked about 20 miles and got a little stress fracture," Phelps' coach Bob Bowman told the Associated Press. Bowman didn't specify which tournament he was referring to. 

"Golf really is a dangerous sport," Phelps joked. "The good thing is, I only have to pack one shoe."

Phelps also recently starred in the most recent season of ''The Haney Project,'' in which he received instruction from PGA instructor Hank Haney. And, of course, he owns 22 Olympic swimming medals. 

Though he hasn't yet publicly commited to a return, speculation remains high that Phelps will jump back in the pool for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Bowman doesn't believe the foot situation will make any difference in Phelps' potential return.

"I think he'll be fine,'' Bowman told the Golf Channel. ''He can wait that out. I don't think that's imminent."

 

July 29, 2013 - 3:05pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
TaylorMade Golf, SLDR, driver, golf
TaylorMade
TaylorMade's SLDR driver.
TaylorMade Golf is no stranger to reinventing the driver game.
 
Just a couple of years removed from turning the golf world upside down with the release of its smash-hit, white driver heads, the folks at TaylorMade are at it yet again with the introduction of its latest invention (available to the public beginning August 9): the SLDR driver. 
 
Moveable weight in your driver head is nothing new, but on the SLDR the system to move the weight is. 
 
Here's the official release from TaylorMade:
 
CARLSBAD, CALIF. (July 29, 2013) -- Following three weeks of buzz on the PGA and European tours sparked by the release of a prototype driver, TaylorMade Golf today announced the official arrival of SLDR – a revolutionary new club featuring a sliding weight system engineered to launch the golf ball high, fast and long. How long? Tests show that SLDR is the longest driver in company history.*
 
Key to the leap in distance is a lower and more forward center of gravity (CG) that promotes a hotter launch, low spin and faster ball speed. Similar to the impact the “Speed Pocket” had on the performance of the RocketBallz fairway and Rescue clubs, TaylorMade engineers believe SLDR’s low and forward CG placement will redefine driver distance.  
 
“Without a doubt, this is the longest driver we have ever created,” said TaylorMade’s Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. “Our expertise at positioning the CG low and forward sets us apart from our competitors, and is vital to making SLDR the spectacular distance machine that it is.”
 
In addition to the low-forward CG benefits, SLDR also incorporates a complete reinvention of TaylorMade’s movable weight technology (MWT), making it more effective and easier to use.  SLDR features a blue, 20-gram weight that slides on a track located on the front of the sole. 
 
Movable weight shifts the clubhead’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or toward the toe, to promote a fade. SLDR delivers six millimeters of movement – that’s 50% more than R1 – promoting a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. The SLDR weight slides on a 21-point track system and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight in any one of  them simply loosen the screw, slide the weight to the point selected, then tighten the screw. Golfers can adjust for a “draw” or “fade” by sliding the weight across the slider track into the appropriate position in as little as 10 seconds. 
 
Nearly 10 years ago, TaylorMade brought to market its first movable weight driver, the r7 quad –which featured four small weight cartridges that could be used to change the head’s CG location and influence ball flight. Since that release, TaylorMade’s R&D team has been searching for a way to improve and simplify MWT. The company believes SLDR’s new sliding system is a significant leap forward in its quest to engineer a driver that offers outstanding performance with simple and intuitive technology.  
 
SLDR also incorporates TaylorMade’s Loft-sleeve Technology, which allows the golfer to easily adjust the loft. Golfers can choose from 12 positions within a range of plus-or-minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. The more loft added, the more the face closes and vice-versa.
 
In addition to its performance and easy-to- use MWT system, golfers will also take note of SLDR’s look and sound. At address, golfers will see a driver that possesses a classic shape and a rich charcoal-gray crown color that contrasts with a silver face to aid with alignment. At impact, the sharp and crisp sound that echoes from the tee box will undoubtedly be that of a TaylorMade driver.
 
“TaylorMade is well-known for creating technologies that help golfers hit better shots, but we also revere in the beauty of a golf club,” said Executive Vice President Sean Toulon. “It’s a very special feeling when you sole a club for the first time and fall head-over-heels in love with what you see.  SLDR is that club. And it is going to make you fall in love with your driver all over again.”
 
Love at first sight happened when TaylorMade brought a small quantity of SLDR’s to the PGA and European Tours. In its first three weeks on Tour, TaylorMade’s Tour representatives were met with overwhelming player demand to see and hit SLDR.  The tour staff even received texts and phone calls from players who followed other tour pros reaction about SLDR on twitter, demanding they get one to test at the Open Championship.
 
Via twitter, player feedback included:
 
- Justin Rose (@JustinRose99): “It’s Solid. Great acoustics and Hot Flight.”
- Ken Duke(@DukePGA): “I love this driver.”
- Justin Hicks (JustinHicks2010): “(SLDR) works right out of the box. Hit 100% of fairways in first round using it.”
- Shawn Stefani (ShawnStefani1): “Best driver I have hit in a long time.”
- Darren Clarke (DarrenClarke60): “It goes like a dream.”
 
In week one, nine SLDR’s were put into play at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, while four players played the driver at the Scottish Open. Given the scarce availability of SLDR’s, a total of 13 in play worldwide in its first week was unexpected. The following week, 14 players put SLDR in the bag at the Open Championship.  TaylorMade expects SLDR to become the No. 1 played driver as early as the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Pricing, Options and Availability:
 
Available in four lofts – 8°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°, SLDR is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 57 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, SLDR TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 6.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. Availability for SLDR and SLDR TP begins August 9 at a suggested retail price of $399.
 
*driver claim based on robot testing of 9.5 drivers in neutral setting at approximately 150mph ball speed.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
 
Bushnell's Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder, golf
Bushnell
The Bushnell Tour V3 and Tour V3 Slope Rangefinders provide the most accurate yardages you can get on a golf course.
One of the easiest ways to get better at the game of golf is to know just how far you hit your clubs.
 
Seems pretty elementary, doesn't it? But, time after time, I see guys that I'm playing with who think there's a standard for the distance that each club should travel. For instance, some of these guys think their pitching wedge should travel 130 yards. Hey, maybe it can. But, most likely, that's what it will travel when a shot is flushed -- and for recreational players like me, you might only flush one out of every five shots.
 
Over the last couple of years in a valiant effort to get better at this game I love so much -- basically to try and become a single-digit handicap -- I've decided to check my ego (not that I'm even worthy of one) at the door. I hit the club that I know will get me relatively close to my target... not the one I think I should be hitting to get to my target.
 
To help me to that end, I've tried a number of GPS devices over the last few years. Many of them have been nice, but not always precise. Of course, when I say "precise" I don't mean I'm the type who needs "perfect" yardage. But, if I know exactly how far away my target is, I have a much better chance of getting it closer than if I'm guessing, or even walking off yardage.
 
And that's where the single greatest tool I've ever come across -- aside from a PGA Professional -- comes into the equation. I'm talking about the new Bushnell Tour v3 Laser Rangefinder with Slope.
 
Whenever I have any spare time, I try to head over to the driving range. The GPS golf devices I was using were great on the course, but they couldn't help me at the range. Recently, I was able to spend some quality time with the Bushnell v3 Tour with Slope and I've been blown away by the results.
 
I've never been one of those people who like to go to the range and "hit balls." As wise a teaching professional once advised me: "Instead of hitting balls when you go to the range, hit shots."
 
This means approaching each shot on the range the way you would each shot on the course. Breathe. Think. Imagine where you want to hit the ball and hit it there.
 
Thanks to the Bushnell Tour v3 with Slope, I'm able to shoot a target to learn it's precise distance (and, surprise, the yardages they display at the driving range for various flags are rarely accurate). That allows me to hit a variety of shots with a variety of different clubs. I know close to how far a certain club will send the ball when I hit it perfect and not so perfect. 
 
Here's how Bushnell describes its Tour v3 line:
 
With its new ergonomic design and its award-winning PinSeeker with JOLT Technology, the Tour V3 sets the standard for being the complete laser rangefinder package -- design, performance and feel.
 
JOLT Technology eliminates all doubt by delivering short vibrating bursts to reinforce the laser has locked onto the flag. Use what the Pros use, feel the exact distance.
 
Features:
 
- PinSeeker Technology with JOLT Technology to zero-in on the flag
- Accuracy within 1-yard
- 5 yards - 1,000 yards ranging performance. 300+ yards to a flag
- 5x Magnification
- Ergonomic design provides a stable grip
- Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
- 3-Volt Battery and Premium Carry Case included
- Rainproof Construction
- 2-Year Warranty
 
As stated, the model I've used was "with slope." It's amazing. It takes into account the terrain your playing and -- depending on the terrain -- might give you two yardages. The first is the "actual yardage," or, how far away your target is. The second yardage takes slope/elevation into consideration, which means it will be more or less than the actual yardage.
 
Say you're playing a hole where the actual yardage is 150, but it plays severely downhill. The yardage with slope might be adjusted to 135 yards. So, while the hole is 150 yards long, the Bushnell Tour v3 with slope is telling you: Hit your 135 club.
 
I've had the chance to use the Tour v3 with Slope both on the range and for two casual rounds of golf. While the Tour v3 doesn't actually hit the shot for you, the results speak for themselves -- my two best rounds this season were the two with the Tour v3.
 
It should be noted that he Tour v3 is legal for use in competition, while the Tour v3 with Slope is not. That said the Tour v3 with Slope is an outstanding tool for practice.
 
There's no denying -- distance control will make you a better player. You won't believe how much the Tour v3 by Bushnell can help you to that end.   
 
To learn more about the Bushnell Tour v3 and Tour v3 Slope Edition, as well as other Bushnell golf offerings, click here
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.