Equipment

Jason Day's putter
TaylorMade via YouTube
Welding the hosel into the proper position is a key part of the construction of Jason Day's TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider putter.
 
Jason Day could probably sink putts with a monkey wrench these days, but the fact is that he's won three of his last four starts – the RBC Canadian Open, the PGA Championship and the Barclays – with a prototype model of TaylorMade's Ghost Itsy Bitsy Spider mallet.
 
Earlier today, TaylorMade posted a video that shows how its technicians build Day's putter from scratch. It is definitely worth the 152 seconds it'll cost you to watch it.
 
TaylorMade describes the putter as an Itsy Bitsy Japan model whose hosel is cut off and then hand-welded with a #3 short slant neck. Day prefers no sightline, TaylorMade says, so the technicians hand-weld in the existing line and buff the top until it's smooth. The head is then coated with a custom acrylic to give it its grey finish. 
 
 
The face insert is the 80/20 insert from the Ghost Tour line, TaylorMade explains. However, the insert must be hand ground to fit into the head, which is slightly smaller than other similar models.
 
The most interesting thing to me is how many individual parts and pieces TaylorMade uses to create this one putter. More specifically, I should say, I'm impressed with how well all these individual components fit together and work together. I don't yet have the details on Day's Itsy Bitsy Spider prototype, but the Daddy Long Legs  – also a large, high-MOI mallet– includes 16 different pieces made out of eight different materials ranging from carbon steel to Surlyn.    
 
The video is also a welcome reminder of the creativity and craftsmanship it takes to produce not only these putters but all of today's best golf clubs. And I'm glad to see that the TaylorMade technicians who assemble these putters get to take a bow at the end of the video – they, and their counterparts who make high-quality equipment at companies large and small around the world, deserve some recognition.
 
By the way, TaylorMade hasn't yet announced any plans to bring Day's putter to market. The company did create 20 exact replicas (since Day set the PGA Championship scoring mark of 20 under par) for sale at $750 apiece, but as you might guess they sold out awfully fast.  
 
Here's the video:
 
 
TaylorMade shows how Jason Day's putter is made
Sun Mountain's ClubGlider
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain's ClubGlider luggage.

MISSOULA, Montana -- ClubGlider revolutionized the golf travel bag with the introduction of extendable legs that support all of the weight. That same technology has now been applied to a line of wheeled-luggage that includes a suitcase and a carry-on.

ClubGlider Suitcase offers the same ease of use as the golf travel bag thanks to the extendable leg that supports 100 percent of the weight and then simply retracts away for travel. The suitcase is constructed with the same highly durable, ballistic-style nylon as the ClubGlider Meridian golf travel bag. The ClubGlider Carry-On coordinates with the suitcase and is sized to fit in airplane overhead bins.

Both pieces are available now at $349.99 for the suitcase and $239.99 for the carry-on. For the retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit www.sunmountain.com.

The ClubGlider Suitcase is H 30" X W 13" X D 13" and weighs 17 lbs. with multiple internal pockets and a main compartment that expands 2.5” for added capacity. The wheeled-suitcase features multiple handles for ease of use and comes with a TSA-approved lock.

The wheeled-carry-on was designed to coordinate with the other pieces in the ClubGlider line. The bag's multiple handles help with maneuvering it in and out of car trunks and overhead bins. The carry-on is H 23" X W 13.5" X D 11.5" and weighs 8 lbs. with a main compartment that expands 2.5" for added capacity. ClubGlider Carry-On offers external pockets and two, inside mesh pockets to organize gear and comes with a TSA-approved lock.

ClubGlider golf travel bags are available in four different models -- Pro, Tour Series, Meridian, and Journey -- offering protection for golfers ranging from weekend warriors to touring professionals.

All of the bags in the ClubGlider line glide from parking lot to luggage counter thanks to legs that extend and support 100 percent of the weight and pivoting caster wheels that handle corners, curbs and escalators with ease. Once checked-in, the legs easily tuck away securely for carefree travel. 

Sun Mountain's ClubGlider technology expands to luggage
Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond drivers
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The new Great Big Bertha driver (l) has a sliding weight around the sole's perimeter, while the Big Bertha Alpha 816 DBD has two gravity cores.
 
Callaway made a great big splash last year with the release of a brand-new generation of Great Big Bertha drivers – the Great Big Bertha, the Great Big Bertha Alpha 815 and the Great Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond. This week, the company unveiled the 2016 editions of these clubs.
 
The new drivers are the result not only of technological advances but also of Callaway's study of thousands of golfers that it custom-fits each year. The company's research shows that many golfers are forfeiting considerable distance off the tee because of three specific factors: Low ball speed, poor direction, and poor launch angles and spin rates.
 
So, Callaway designed its new drivers to address these shortcomings in golfers' swings. In fact, the company says these 2016 clubs have more distance-enhancing features and technologies than any they've ever created – and that the new Great Big Bertha drivers have a blend of aerodynamics and multi-material construction unlike any other drivers they've ever  built.
 
The standard Great Big Bertha – which Callaway says is best for the vast majority of golfers – features a 10-gram sliding weight that moves on a track around the perimeter of the sole. Golfers can set the weight wherever they prefer along the track, giving them the most options yet for dialing in their shot shape. The Bertha also features Callaway's Optifit Hosel, which provides eight different configurations to fine-tune loft, lie, and face angle.
 
In its studies, Callaway discovered that the one area where most golfers have the greatest room for improvement is the "smash factor." To help golfers generate more ball speed, even on mis-hits, Callaway's R•MOTO clubface technology employs a system of internal ribs that run from the center of the interior sole to the clubface, adding strength to the perimeter of the face. The heads also have Callaway's Variable Face Thickness, in which the face is thinner in strategic places to expand the area in the middle of the face that delivers fast ball speed.
 
 
The Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond – Callaway's Top-Fuel dragster – doesn't have the sliding perimeter weight because golfers good enough to handle this club don't need that. Instead, it features what the company calls Dual Distance Gravity Core Chambers.
 
Callaway pioneered the gravity core in the original Big Bertha Alpha. One end of the core – essentially a small stick – has a heavier weight while the other has a lighter weight; golfers can move the club's center of gravity up or down depending on which way they insert the gravity core into the head. 
 
The new 816 Alpha DBD has two gravity cores, one in each hemisphere of the sole. This, the company says, provides even more options for golfers looking to fine-tune their ball flight to increase their ball speed and distance along with their shot shape. The DBD also features the standard Big Bertha's upgraded R•MOTO Face and Opti-Fit Hosel, buthas a deeper face and a low center of gravity for a blend of forgiveness and workability that elite golfers are seeking. 
 
Callaway is offering a wide variety of custom shaft options to help golfers find their optimal blend of swing speed and control. These shafts range in weight from 295 grams to 325 grams, and come from such prominent shaftmakers as True Temper, Mitsubishi, Matrix and Aldila.
 
The new Big Bertha driver will be available for pre-order beginning August 14, and will arrive in stores on August 28 with a suggested retail price of $449.99. The Big Bertha Alpha 816 DBD also will be available for pre-order on August 14, and will hit stores on September 18 with a suggested retail price of $499.99.
 
Here's a video on the Alpha 816 DBD driver:
 
 
Callaway unveils 2016 editions of Big Bertha driver line
Ping GMax and i irons
Courtesy of Ping Golf
The Ping GMax irons (left) have a Custom Tuning Port housed in the cavity structure behind the face, while the i irons feature a head and hosel geometry that ensures trajectory control.
 
Ping has dramatically expanded its iron family with the release of two innovative and complementary new sets.
 
The GMax irons introduce what Ping calls its COR-Eye Technology, which increases the flex across the entire face for faster ball speeds and enhanced forgiveness. The new i irons, by contrast, have softer players-style heads – the first Ping has ever made from soft 431 stainless steel – for improved feel and ball-flight control. 
 
The COR-Eye Technology in the GMax irons simultaneously activates the sole, face and top rail to increase ball speed up to 3 mph over previous Ping models, the company explains. COR-Eye creates faster ball speed that is consistent across the entire face, so even off-center strikes deliver longer, straighter results. 
 
The cavity structure behind the face houses a Custom Tuning Port that connects to the sole. With the port, positioned deep in the wide sole, Ping says, each iron's center of gravity is moved lower and farther back to increase its stability for more forgiveness, accuracy and consistency. 
 
Ping also optimized the lengths and lofts of these irons to provide more consistent gapping and the distance control and high trajectory needed to hit and hold more greens. An enhanced leading edge, more trailing edge relief and refined bounce help optimize turf interaction. 
 
 
The set also has a unique swingweight progression in which the 4,- 5- and 6-irons have lighter swingweights to help square the face at impact for longer and straighter shots. And the faces on the 4- through 8-irons are heat-treated with a special process that strengthens them by approximately 40 percent, which allows the face to be thinner for greater flexing and faster ball speeds. 
 
The GMax irons are available in 4- through 9-irons, plus pitching wedge, utility wedge and sand wedge. They come with a stock steel Ping CFS Distance shaft (in Soft R, R, S and X stiffnesses), or you can get them outfitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 or X100 shafts; True Temper XP 95 (R, S); Project X 5.0 or 6.0 shafts; or Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X) shafts at no extra charge. They carry a suggested retail price of $121.25 per club with steel shafts and $136.25 per club with graphite shafts.
 
Where the GMax irons fall into the game-improvement category, the i irons are most definitely players' irons. Ping engineers created them out of 431 stainless steel, they explained, because of its high strength-to-weight ratio and softer feel, which helps the clubs deliver more workability. 
 
A good part of that workability comes from a head and hosel geometry that ensures trajectory control for precise shotmaking, and a deep position for the Custom Tuning Port that allows for expanded perimeter weighting and extra stability. An elastomer weight that tucks into the tuning port helps provide a more solid sound and feel, while a tungsten toe weight in the 3- through 7-irons increases forgiveness. 
 
The i irons are available in 3- through 9-iron, plus pitching wedge and utility wedge. They are available with a steel Ping CFS Distance shaft (Soft R, R, S or X stiffness) or a Ping CFS Graphite (65 Soft R, 70 R, 80 S) shaft. They also can be outfitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 or X100 shafts; True Temper XP 95 (R, S) shafts; Project X 5.0 or 6.0 shafts; or Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X) shafts. They carry a suggested retail price of $135 per club with steel shafts or $150 per club with graphite shafts.
 
Here are a couple of videos:
 
 
 
 
Ping unveils GMax distance irons and i irons for precision players
Callaway Mack Daddy 3 wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
They circular weight ports in the back of each Mack Daddy 3 wedge allow Callaway the company the freedom to reposition weight for better shot-making.
 
Callaway's Mack Daddy family of wedges has become so popular on the PGA Tour and among everyday golfers that its next generation is both bigger and better.
 
The Mack Daddy 3 Milled wedges, of course, follow the current Mack Daddy 2 generation, and offer three different sole grind options, along with a variety of custom choices for finishes, shafts and grips. As with the previous Mack Daddy wedges, the new MD 3s were designed by Callaway's famed club builder Roger Cleveland, and the company calls this the most complete wedge line it has ever produced. 
 
They have a high toe profile and a semi-straight leading edge, and the circular weight ports in the back of each wedge allow the company the freedom to reposition weight for better shot-making, especially out of the deep rough. They also have what Callaway calls Progressive Groove Optimization that optimizes spin for each loft.
 
The grooves milled into the faces are designed to create a smoother spin transition from irons to these wedges. The narrower 30V grooves in the pitching and gap wedges are best for shots that require a steep angle into the ball, while the 20V grooves in the sand wedges are designed for full shots and bunker shots. And the wider 5V grooves in the lob wedges provide better control for shots out of the rough and around the green.
 
 
Callaway also has focused on the sole grinds as much as the face grooves. The three available are:
 
--the C-Grind creates a thinner contact area on the sole, and is designed for firmer conditions and versatility around the green. The grinding on the heel and toe allow for a number of shots, Callaway says, especially those shots where you need to open up the face and keep the leading edge low.
 
--the S-Grind is the line's most versatile option. Callaway says it's best for a wide range of conditions, shot types, and swings ranging from steep to sweeping. It'll dig a moderate-sized divot.
 
--and finally, the W-Grind creates a slightly wider sole, which the company says its preferred in softer conditions – bunkers, most notably – and for golfers with a steeper swing. It'll take a larger divot.
 
A handful of players have put the MC 3 wedges in play at this week's John Deere Classic. They'll be available for pre-order in mid-August in lofts from 48 to 60 degrees, and will be available at retail on Sept. 4. 
 
Here's a video:
 
 
Callaway expands wedge offerings with new Mack Daddy 3 wedges
Robert Streb
Getty Images
Robert Streb's sand wedge, after serving as his putter last week, now boasts an encouraging message.
 
All of us golfers love our clubs, but few of us love them as much as PGA Tour player Robert Streb loves his. We found this out a couple months ago, when Streb showed up at The Players Championship with a 60-degree wedge festooned with an image of TPC Sawgrass' famed "island green" 17th hole.
 
And though that wedge is clearly a work of art, Streb doesn't hesitate to make his wedges work overtime. We found this out on Sunday, when he accidentally broke his putter on the ninth hole of the final round of the Greenbrier Classic and had to use his sand wedge to putt for the rest of his round.
 
Most of us would have been doomed. Streb, however, wedge-putted like a champ – he made five birdie putts, and wound up tying for the lead before finally losing out to Danny Lee in sudden death.
 
That was an amazing feat, and wedge wizard Aaron Dill of vokey Wedges commemorated it by adding a special inscription to it. As you can see below, it’s quite motivational:
 
 
Robert Streb's sand wedge has an awesome inscription this week
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