Golf Buzz

February 16, 2013 - 8:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The clubface on the TaylorMade Stage 2 driver is even bigger than on the original edition, which makes the Stage 2 even easier to hit for golfers of every skill level.

No golf club created more of a sensation in 2012 than the RocketBallz driver from TaylorMade, so the 2013 introduction of its successor – called the RocketBallz Stage 2 – is a noteworthy event.

This new edition has a lower and more forward Center of Gravity, a more aerodynamic head shape and an expanded face that, TaylorMade says, all combine to generate up to nine more yards of distance for better players compared to the first-generation RBZ driver.

''It's hard to imagine bringing a driver to market that outperforms the original RocketBallz driver,'' said Todd Beach, TaylorMade's vice president of metalwoods research and development. ''Making the head of the RBZ Stage 2 driver more aerodynamic while also making the clubface larger was a tremendous challenge.''

Though not as adjustable as TaylorMade's flagship R1 driver, the RBZ Stage 2 has been updated to offer 12 different lofts, lie angles and face angles within the window of a 1.5-degree loft adjustment. It also includes a Thick-thin Crown design in which various portions of the crown range from 0.6 to 0.4 millimeter thick, saving three grams of weight as compared to the crowns of the 2012 R11S and RocketBallz Tour drivers.

When creating the R11 driver a few years ago, TaylorMade engineers discovered that a low-and-forward Center of Gravity location helps promote faster ball speed and a higher launch angle, both of which promote more distance. The RBZ Stage 2 Tour driver incorporates a CG location that's lower and more forward than the first-generation RBZ, and it also includes TaylorMade's Inverted Cone Technology in which an inverted cone is milled into the inner side of the clubface to expand the sweet spot and help improve the result of off-center hits.

One of the primary characteristics of the original RocketBallz driver was what TaylorMade calls its ''large address footprint,'' and that footprint is even bigger this time around. The new clubface is even larger and deeper, encompassing 4,100 square millimeters. This, the company says, makes the Stage 2 even easier to hit for golfers of every skill level.

The Stage 2 driver comes standard with a 50-gram Fujikura RocketFuel shaft and a light grip that keeps the club under 300 grams of total weight. That, along with balancing the club to a slightly higher swing weight, allows the RBZ Stage 2 driver to promote faster swing speed for most golfers. And the lightweight characteristics of the shaft coupled with the head's mass properties work together to create a moderate draw bias.

One other interesting thing to note about the Stage 2 is its crown graphics. The head is white with a black face, like several other modern TaylorMade models, but the crown has black, gold and gray graphics even more complex than the gray and orange graphics on the R1 driver. To create these graphics, TaylorMade used its MAT-T (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) System to study how most golfers look down at their drivers and fairway clubs, and used a computer program to design the graphics to serve as an alignment aid.

There is also a Stage 2 Tour model, which has an even lower and more forward Center of Gravity and a stock Matrix 6Q3 shaft to promote a more penetrating ball flight. The standard Stage 2 carries a suggested retail price of $299, while the Tour version retails for $349.

February 16, 2013 - 1:20am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Old photo of golfer anchoring belly putter
Keegan Bradley via Twitter
Keegan Bradley took to Twitter on Friday to show us this photo of a golfer from many decades ago anchoring a putter to his body.

By now, we all know Keegan Bradley's stance on the issues of belly putters and the proposed anchoring ban.

On Friday, he let a picture do the talking in his ongoing contention that the USGA and R&A ought to drop their plans to ban the anchoring of putter strokes and, therefore, keep long putters legal and valid.

While walking through the clubhouse at Riviera on Friday, he ran across the photo posted above. As you can see, it shows a golfer clearly anchoring a putter to his body many decades ago. Looking closely, that flat stick doesn't exactly look like a long putter, but it is definitely anchored.

To golfers interested in the anchoring debate, this photo is a bit like an archaeologist discovering new fossils that indicate the presence of humans farther back in time than anyone had thought. Photos like this show that at least some golfers have been anchoring for many decades, if not centuries. That fact might or might not change anyone's mind regarding whether anchoring should be okayed or outlawed, but it certainly adds a new dimension to the debate.

When he posted the photo on Twitter, all Bradley wrote was, ''Picture in Rivera clubhouse. Early 1900's.''

Clearly, that caption was his "drop the mic" moment.

 

 

February 15, 2013 - 7:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cleveland 588 MT iron
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The clubhead length is constant throughout the Cleveland 588 MT iron set, but the height of the face increases progressively in the higher-lofted clubs to make those clubs more useful in getting the ball up in the air.

The new 588 MT Irons from Cleveland Golf get their name from their flight pattern – the MT stands for mid-trajectory.

Engineered to product a medium-height ball flight, the 588 MT iron set blends long irons made especially to be easy to hit with more traditional short irons. The clubhead length is constant throughout the set, but the height of the face increases progressively in the higher-lofted clubs to make those clubs more useful in getting the ball up in the air.

The MT irons feature Cleveland’s Full Hollow Construction in which each clubhead is essentially hollow but includes advanced internal weighting to promote forgiveness on off-center hits and help get the ball up in the air as easily as possible.

Every iron has a forged clubface to enhance ball speed, and a multi-material insert of polymer and aluminum behind the face dampens vibration at impact for more consistent feel.

Also, the 588 MT irons can be easily interchanged with the 588 Tour Trajectory (TT) irons and 588 Altitude irons to customize a set with the preferred combination of ball flight, feel and forgiveness.

The standard MT set includes a 4-iron through ''D'' wedge (a D wedge is a 50-degree wedge that works both a pitching wedge and sand wedge), though a 3-iron and standard sand wedge are also available.

 

February 15, 2013 - 12:27pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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President Obama
OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
President Barack Obama is headed to Palm City, Fla., for some golf instruction from Butch Harmon and son, Claude III.

 

President Barack Obama will be headed to Palm City, Fla., to play some golf this weekend. 
 
President Obama -- The First Lefty (?) -- won't just be playing golf at the immaculate The Floridian GC.
 
Tim Rosaforte reports on GolfDigest.com that the Harmons -- Butch and his son Claude III -- are also headed to Palm City. The Harmons will be providing Obama with some instruction.
 
Rosaforte wrote:
 
The President's host, club owner Jim Crane, also owns the Houston Astros. He received a call last week playing the AT&T National Pro-Am about the President's interest in his facility. As part of his remodeling of the club, Crane hired Butch Harmon to design and build a state-of-the-art learning facility that includes a gym, indoor hitting bays, launch monitors, a putting lab and the latest in video cameras.
 
"He's a left-handed player, I've seen film of his swing before," said Harmon, who analyzed Obama's swing when the President first took office. "It'll be fun to get him down in the learning center, show him stuff in his golf game and see how he takes it to the course. He's just like all of us that play golf. He wants to get better."
 
 
GolfDigest.com also has a photo gallery of President Obama playing golf. You can view that here.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 15, 2013 - 12:37am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Courtesy of Matrix Shafts

Valentine's Day prompted several of golf's most prominent equipment and accessory companies to get creative in their commemoration of love and golf. Some were blatantly commercial, but most were clever and kinda fun. We picked out a dozen or so of the best images and have assembled them in a special photo gallery.

And we closed it out with one very ''punny'' entry from one of our favorite golf characters. So be sure you go to all the way to the end for his groaner of a curtain-dropper.

Click here to see the gallery – and Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

February 14, 2013 - 7:18pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Trevor Immelman
Getty Images
The 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, Trevor Immelman, was surprised by the USGA's decision to end the almost century-old event. Like all past champions, Immelman has fond memories of the tournament.

The USGA’s recent announcement that one of its oldest championships, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, would be eliminated after 2014 caught a lot of people off guard, including some of the event’s most prominent past champions.

“I must say I was definitely caught by surprise,” said Trevor Immelman, who won the Pub Links at Torrey Pines in 1998.“ After reading through the release I understand what they’re saying. Back in the day, the Pub Links was for people who were not members of the USGA because only members of the USGA were allowed to enter the U.S. Amateur. Now that all those rules have changed and anyone can enter the U.S. Amateur and compete, there really is no need for the Pub Links. But, man, there is such a great history behind that tournament.”

Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore, Billy Mayfair, Tim Clark and D.J. Trahan all won the Pub Links, but the event also showcased such colorful champions as Omer Bogen and Smiley Quick. Reactions have varied, but all living champions are wistful that an event dating back to 1922 is being kicked to the curb.

“I’m sure they have their reasons,” Immelman said. “Maybe the casual observer doesn’t realize how many tournaments they put on between the men’s and women’s Amateurs, the U.S. Junior, the Mid-Amateurs, it is quite a busy schedule, so I guess they’re trying to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of so they can grow. That’s the tricky part. Change is difficult for everybody. [The Pub Links] is almost 100 years, so that part of it is tricky, because people obviously have an emotional attachment to it.”

For years the Pub Links has not only allowed public course golfers their own championship, it has given top-flight amateurs another avenue to earn an invitation to the Masters. That is how Immelman made his first trip to Augusta National in 1999.
 
“It was always a goal of mine to play in the Masters as an amateur,” he said. “I lost in the finals of the British Amateur the year before, which was devastating, but [the Pub Links] provided me with another avenue to earn an invitation.”
 
Now that avenue will be gone.
 
“Augusta National has the tournament in Asia [the Asia Pacific Amateur] now, so there’s another chance for an amateur to play in the Masters,” Immelman said. “It’s the USGA’s call. Like I say, I was surprised when I heard about it, but it’s one of those things.”