Golf Buzz

July 5, 2013 - 5:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura X mallet
Courtesy of Titleist
The Futura X mallet from Scotty Cameron combines a rear balance bar with deep heel-toe weights plus perimeter weighting under the face for balance and stability throughout the stroke.

The Futura X mallet from Scotty Cameron is new, but if you think it looks a familiar, you're right. It's the putter Adam Scott used to win the Masters.

Scott called his Futura X prototype ''the most stable putter I have ever played,'' and that's exactly what Cameron was shooting for as he and Scott worked together to refine the design. 

Precision milled from high-grade 6061 aluminum, the Futura X combines a rear balance bar with deep heel-toe weights plus perimeter weighting under the face. The resulting deep Center of Gravity provides stability throughout the stroke, Cameron says, while the perimeter weighting adds forgiveness and feel.

The Futura X contains four stainless heel-toe weights, two 20-gram weights on the rear balance bar and two adjustable sole weights (configured depending on the length) in the front corners of the putter under the face. The total headweight is 20 grams heavier than a standard Cameron Select putter, but because much of the weight is located behind the axis of the shaft and not directly under the golfer's hands, says Cameron, the putter feels stable but not heavy during the stroke.

''Futura X is what I call a 'force balanced' design,'' Cameron said. ''While the putter has a near-face balanced shaft configuration that would normally produce a slight toe hang, there's so much weight off the back of the putter that it forces the face to hang flat. The rear balance bar allows us to add considerable weight a fairly long distance away from the shaft axis, which is really what drives the high MOI [Moment of Inertia, essentially a measurement of stability].''

The Futura X will come in standard lengths of 33, 34 and 35 inches -- as opposed to Scott's long model. A double-bend, stepless steel shaft with one shaft of offset provides a square, technical visual at address. 

The putter has a Frozen Titanium finish that helps reduce glare, two black sightlines and red cherry-dot weights in the sole and balance bar. It carries a suggested detail price of $375, will be available at retail on Aug. 1.

 

July 4, 2013 - 7:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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True Temper golf shaft drawing
Project X Golf via Tiwtter
The Project X division of True Temper took to Twitter last week to show us this drawing of a True Temper shaft from 1941 -- about the time Byron Nelson began playing True Temper shafts.

To celebrate the Fourth of July, I thought I'd pass along a little bit of golf Americana that I ran across recently.

On June 27, the Project X division of shaftmaker True Temper tweeted out the photo posted above. It's a schematic of a steel shaft from 1941 – ''here's what we looked like without computers,'' the tweet said.

My favorite part, though, is at the top of the drawing – at the time, True Temper was a division of the American Fork & Hoe Co., whose roots can be traced back to the early days of the United States.

True Temper was formed in 1800 when several small companies that specialized in forging got together. In 1902, True Temper and several other toolmakers merged to create American Fork & Hoe in Cleveland. By the 1930s, it had become the largest hand-tool company in America, supplying about 90 percent of the hand tools used on American farms. 

Along with rakes and pitchforks, the AF&H plant in Geneva, Ohio, began making fishing rods, ski poles and golf shafts. As early as 1931, True Temper was displaying its steel shafts at tournaments and other events as golfers began switching from hickory shafts to steel.

True Temper got a big boost in 1940, when an up-and coming professional named Byron Nelson began using its shafts, and AF&H changed its name to True Temper in 1949. In 1967, True Temper created the first mechanical club-swinging robot for testing – its name, of course, was Iron Byron. And in 2010, True Temper's plant in Amory, Miss., built its billionth shaft as the company remains the all-time leader among shaftmakers in wins around the globe.

True Temper isn't the only American golf company that's been around so long – Wilson Sporting Goods has created in the 1920s, for example, and Titleist was founded in 1932. But it certainly played a unique and crucial role in the growth and development of both American agriculture and American golf. 

 

 

 

July 4, 2013 - 5:03pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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John Daly
Getty Images
John Daly may not have had the best score - but he probably had the best pants.

The fourth of July is about freedom, family, fun and - awesome pants?

John Daly had a rough go in the opening round of the Greenbrier Classic, putting up a 5-over 75. However, he will still make headlines and many sportscasts because he will win the "most appropriately dressed" for this 4th of July.

His choice in pants are from one of his sponsors - our friends at Loudmouth Golf, and the pattern is called "Old Glory."

And regardless of Daly's score at the end of the week, his pants are going to be a perfect 10 on the 4th. 

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim_10

July 3, 2013 - 3:31pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nike Golf FI Impact golf shoes
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The women's Nike FI Impact golf shoe (l) was created with input from Suzann Pettersen, while the men's version (r) utilizes the Nike Dynamic Fit system for extra support.

Nike Golf's TW '13 golf shoes, which were inspired by Nike's Free athletic shoes, proved so popular that the company has expanded its offerings of lightweight, flexible Free-inspired golf shoes. And along with a new men's model is the first edition designed for women, created with input from LPGA Tour star Suzann Pettersen.

Pettersen had always preferred traditionally spiked shoes, Nike said, but on a visit to the Nike Sport Research Lab last summer, she quickly realized she could harness her power without the removable spikes. So Nike set to work to create a shoe for her that incorporated technology from the TW '13 footwear.

''We collaborated closely with Pettersen to create a shoe fit for her game,'' said Nike Golf Footwear Product Director Lee Walker. ''The FI Impact allows her to get the transfer of energy she demands, proving even a swing as powerful as Pettersen's can utilize the performance of Integrated Traction.''

''After I tried them once, I was dying to get them on my feet in competition,'' said Pettersen. ''I can really feel the ground and the increase in power through my swing.''

And in fact, she won the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii in April, her first tournament wearing the new shoes.

The outsole of the FI Impact is designed to mimic and conform to the foot's natural motion while delivering protection and traction. This allows the golfer to maintain contact with the ground longer, Nike says, to better harness the energy of the foot to the shoe and the shoe to the ground. 

The men's version also utilizes the Nike Dynamic Fit system to provide extra support. A Free-inspired platform and waterproof mesh upper offer increased flexibility with breathability to keep feet cool, dry and comfortable. 

The men's FI Impact shoes will be available at retail on Aug. 1 in Black/Metallic Silver; Light Base Grey/Black; Military Blue/White; and MD Base Grey/Team Orange, with Black/Venom Green coming out next year. They carry a suggested retail price of $160 per pair.

The women's edition also will come out Aug. 1 for the same suggested retail price of $160 per pair. They’ll be available in White/Vivid Pink; White/Turf Orange; and Black/Polarized Blue.

 

 

July 2, 2013 - 11:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Justin Rose at the airport
Getty Images
Justin Rose and his U.S. Open trophy returned to England on Monday to the news that his victory has sparked the sale of golf equipment.

We all know about the Tiger Effect. And we all see the Rickie Fowler Effect with all those little kids dressed up like their favorite shaggy golfer. 

Now, there's the Justin Rose Effect. 

American Golf, a big British golf retailer, saw its sales and its web traffic spike in the wake of Rose's victory the U.S. Open.

In the week after the U.S. Open, the company registered a 16.4 percent increase in total sales across its store network, compared to the week after the 2012 tournament. And traffic to its website at www.americangolf.co.uk jumped more than 50 percent over the same period.

''Justin's triumph in the U.S. Open is good for golf and good for business,'' American Golf CEO Kevin Styles told Golf Business News. ''It was a perfectly timed victory coming at the start of the peak golf season and will help to generate interest in the game.

''It's not only existing golfers that have been snapping up equipment,'' he added. ''We have had a lot of enquiries from people keen to take up the game for the first time.''

Rose was England's first U.S. Open winner in more than four decades and, not surprisingly, his equipment is now among the company's biggest sellers. Sales of TaylorMade's R1 drives were up 21 percrent for the week, while RBZ Stage 2 Tour fairway woods sales rose 38 percent. And those were small compared to the sales of ATV wedges, which were up a whopping 63 percent over the week before.

 

July 1, 2013 - 11:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway FT Optiforce driver and fairway wood
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The lightweight 440cc FT Optiforce driver (left) produces a boring trajectory, while the fairway woods (right) create a higher ball flight similar to that of the RAZR Fit Xtreme fairway woods.

The new FT Optiforce driver and fairway woods from Callaway Golf are designed to increase clubhead speed and, therefore, improve distance. 

Callaway is launching two variations of the FT Optiforce driver clubhead – a full-sized 460cc head and a slightly smaller 440cc version. And in a first from Callaway, the loft and lie on these new drivers can be adjusted to optimize launch conditions. 

''Players using an 8.5-degree driver are fundamentally different than players using 12.5 degrees of loft, so with the FT Optiforce Driver we have optimized each of the two available heads and adjusted critical elements like size, weight, center of gravity position, Moment of Inertia and others so that golfers have the best chance to optimize their launch conditions for better total performance,'' said Callaway Senior Vice President for Research and Development Alan Hocknell.

The FT Optiforce driver was created from an extremely aerodynamic prototype and, as a result, is tops among the most aerodynamically efficient drivers Callaway has ever brought to market. In fact, the company says, the 440cc FT Optiforce has 23 percent less drag than a Callaway X Hot Pro 9.5-degree driver.

The heads of the new drivers include Callaway's lightweight Forged Composite material in the crown – it's same composite found in the RAZR Fit Xtreme drivers – and two stock shaft offerings that keep their overall weight under 300 grams. The primary stock shaft is a 43-gram Project X Velocity shaft, the lightest shaft Callaway has ever included in a standard driver offering. The secondary shaft is a 62-gram Mitsubishi Diamana S+. 

Like the other 2013 Callaway drivers, the FT Optiforce models include Speed Frame Face Technology, which distributes stress across the titanium clubface for a larger, more consistent sweet spot and increased ball speed. The Speed Frame Face also saves weight that is redistributed in the head to improve the Center of Gravity and maximize stability, which enhances forgiveness and ball flight.

The new drivers also feature an advanced OptiFit Hosel that allows players to adjust the loft 1 degree down or 1 to 2 degrees up. This helps golfers find their ideal launch angle and amount of backspin, while the neutral or draw lie settings – also contained in the hosel – help locate their proper side angle and sidespin.

The 460cc model, with red trim on the sole, has a standard loft of 10.5 degrees and a Center of Gravity positioned low and back in the head to create a higher trajectory. The 440cc version, with white trim paint, has a standard loft of 9.5 degrees, and a low and forward Center of Gravity to produce more of a boring ball flight. The larger clubhead is also slightly more forgiving.

Also available is a full line-up of FT Optiforce Fairway Woods that includes 3-, 4- 5-, 7- and 9-woods. The construction of these clubs produce distance gains similar to the X Hot fairway woods, Callaway says, while their trajectory resembles that of the RAZR Fit Xtreme fairway wood.

The FT Optiforce fairways have a Forged Speed Frame Face Cup made of high-strength Carpenter 455 stainless steel that produces significantly hotter responses all across the face. The optimized Center of Gravity, accomplished in part through a proprietary design called the Internal Standing Wave, delivers a higher launch with slightly more spin than the X Hot Fairway Wood, resulting in consistent distance from all turf conditions. 

The fairway clubs are also available with two stock shaft offerings, a 53-gram Project X Velocity shaft and a secondary Mitsubishi Diamana S+ shaft.

The Optiforce drivers and fairways will be available at retail on July 12. The drivers will carry a suggested retail price of $399, while the fairway woods will carry a suggested retail price of $229.