Equipment

January 10, 2014 - 7:54pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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New Balance golf shoes
Courtesy of New Balance
New Balance is entering the golf shoe market with both spikeless (l) and cleated models.
Athletic shoe maker New Balance is jumping into the golf market in a big way. The company is launching New Balance Golf, a golf footwear collection from licensee Klonelab, LLC, which debuts nationwide this month.  
 
Comprised of six styles for men and women in both cleated and spikeless models, the NB Golf collection features high-quality waterproof leathers and lightweight, breathable air-mesh fabrics. 
 
The spikeless models are part of The Minimus Collection, which is built on the New Balance Minimus running last, allowing toes to splay apart for increased comfort and freedom of movement. They contain a lightweight REVlite midsole, along with a spikeless rubber outsole that provides traction while you swing and walk the course. 
 
The cleated models feature a lightweight, flexible and supportive TPU outsole for stability and balance during the load-bearing phases of the swing.  These shoes also boast the new Champ state-of-the-art One-Lok cleat system, which makes it easy to replace cleats while positioning the foot close to the ground for superior feel, traction and balance. 
 
New Balance Golf footwear will come in D, 2E and 4E widths for men and in B and D widths for women in select styles. The collection's MSRP ranges from $119.95 to $159.95, and the shoes will be available at New Balance stores, select golf shops and golf retailers and on www.newbalance.com starting this month.
 
New Balance launches its first collection of golf shoes
January 6, 2014 - 7:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Tour Prefeered MB iron
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The Tour Preferred MB irons from TaylorMade have a compact, classic shape with a thin topline that transitions smoothly into the hosel, minimal offset and minimal camber on the sole.
TaylorMade has reaffirmed its commitment to better players with the introduction of its new Tour Preferred irons. The three new models – the Tour Preferred MB (muscleback), MC (muscle cavity) and CB (cavity back) – all are aimed at highly skilled golfers.
 
The Tour Preferred MB (muscleback) irons are forged from soft 1025 carbon steel, and created for elite players. Their shape is classic and compact, TaylorMade says, with a thin topline that transitions smoothly into the hosel, minimal offset and minimal camber on the sole. Their grooves are milled to exacting specifications to promote more spin and control from the rough, and they – like all of the new Tour Preferred irons – feature a hand-polished satin nickel-chrome finish.
 
Designed for players seeking a bit more workability, the Tour Preferred MC irons blend a classic shape with a shallow muscle cavity behind the face to boost the clubs' stability through the swing. Their heads' length, topline and sole width are all slightly larger than on the Tour Preferred MB, and the 3- through 7-irons incorporate TaylorMade's Speed Pocket technology to promote increased ball speed in the lower portion of the clubface for more consistent ball speed and launch conditions across the entire face. 
 
 
The Tour Preferred CB irons are full-fledged cavity backs that, TaylorMade says, are created for the better player who wants maximum performance technology in a compact and elegant head shape. The Speed Pockets in the 3- through 7-iron feature micro-slots to promote faster ball speed across the face and higher launch, which promotes more distance. That, the company says, helps make the CB one of the longest player's iron that TaylorMade has ever created. 
 
The heads on the short iron heads are compact with minimal offset, while those on the long and middle irons are slightly larger with progressive offset for more stability and easier launch. The CB irons also have stronger lofts to work with the higher launch angle generated by the Speed Pocket for what the company calls an optimal combination of distance and controlled trajectory.
 
All three models come in 3-iron through pitching wedge, feature a hand-polished satin nickel-chrome finish and are equipped with KBS Tour steel shafts and tour velvet grips. The Tour Preferred CB set includes a 51-degree A-Wedge. Custom shafts and grips are available. 
 
The Tour Preferred MB irons carry a suggested retail price of $1,099 per set, while the Tour Preferred MC are priced at $999 and the Tour Preferred CB are priced at $899. 
 
Here's a video from TaylorMade introducing the new Tour Preferred irons:
 
 
 
 
TaylorMade debuts three new sets of Tour Preferred player's irons
January 3, 2014 - 7:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Henrik Stenson
Callaway Golf via Twitter
Henrik Stenson will be playing a bag full of Callaway gear in 2014 and beyond.
Callaway Golf has signed endorsement deal with Henrik Stenson and Pat Perez, the company announced Friday.
 
Stenson finished the 2013 season in historic fashion, as he became the first player to win the FedExCup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai money title on the European Tour in the same season. Having amassed more than $12 million in earnings in 2013, he enters 2014 ranked No. 3 in the world.
 
"After having the best season of my career to date in 2013 using Callaway irons and fairway woods, the option of extending my relationship with Callaway Golf was a very natural progression, and I look forward to continued success in 2014 being back as part of the Callaway family," Stenson said.
 
Stenson played a mixed bag last season that at various times included clubs from Callaway, TaylorMade, Cleveland and Piretti. He ended the year playing Callaway fairway woods and irons. Callaway hasn't yet specified what clubs he'll play in 2014.
 
Stenson is set to play both tours again in 2014. He is scheduled to begin his season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January, and make his U.S. debut about a month later at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
 
Perez made 22 starts on the 2013 PGA Tour, making 14 cuts and earning $974,800 to finish 84th on the final money list. He picked up an extra $125,000 in four starts in the early part of the 2013-14 wraparound schedule. 
 
He played TaylorMade clubs last year, with the exception of an Odyssey putter.
 
Callaway also hasn't formally said which clubs Perez will be playing, but Perez spent much of Friday afternoon tweeting out photos of Callaway gear that we might assume he'll be using. He showed us a Big Bertha driver, a 17-degree H2 Hot fairway wood, Apex irons, Speed Regime 3 golf ball and an Odyssey Metal-X Milled putter.
 
Callaway has hinted that several more signings will be announced next week. The company announced the signing of two-time PGA Tour winner Harris English on Thursday, and earlier signed youngsters Thomas Pieters, James Erkenbeck and Chase Seiffert.
 
Henrik Stenson and Pat Perez sign endorsement deals with Callaway Golf
January 3, 2014 - 11:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Low Tide Custom Putters
Low Tide Custom Putters
Low Tide Custom Putters offers a variety of personalization options on putters and also offers a "Putting Puck" which is great for practice any time, especially on a crowded green before tee off.

In case you didn't know, your options for high-quality/high-end putters isn't limited to what you find in your local golf shop.

There are quite a few boutique putter makers out there who not only build incredible putters that can double up as pieces of art, but they can also customize your flat-stick however you desire.

One of those boutique putter makers relatively new to the business are Josh Bumgarner and Zack Potts, owners of Charlotte, N.C.-based, "Low Tide Custom Putters."

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Like most great stories in these circles, Low Tide's started on the golf course.

In the spring of 2012, Bumgarner and Potts where playing a round of golf when they came up with the idea to design their own custom putters. They strived to come up with something that couldn't be purchased off the rack -- something that was more personal and could be passed down through generations for families.

Between the two, 10 years of design experience and another 12 years of machining and CAD experience, Bumgarner (Low Tide owner, putter designer, putter maker, CNC programmer and machinist) and Potts (Low Tide owner, putter designer, graphic designer and marketing specialist) were able to make their vision become a reality.

We recently caught up with Bumgarner and Potts for a Q&A about the new company.

PGA.com: Tell me a little about yourself. What is it that got you involved in making putters?

Potts: Josh and I met on the golf course. We knew that there were many putters available to the public, but we wanted to create something that was unique and personal. Having over 10 years of design experience and a dozen years of machining and CAD experience under our belts, we knew that we had the know-how to make it happen. We each have been playing the game for nearly 30 years, so we knew what we wanted. We came up with a couple of designs that we liked and started working on them.

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PGA.com: Was this a hobby that turned into a business?

Bumgarner: It was completely a hobby, until we made our first putter... The night that we made the original FIN, we looked at each other and knew that we had started something special. After we shared our story online, we immediately received positive feedback. Within the first 30 minutes of our story being posted, we already had nearly a dozen inquiries of people asking how and where they could purchase one of our putters. We didn't expect that at all.

PGA.com: Boutique putter makers -- such as yourself -- seem to be popping up all over the place lately. Why do you think that is? Do you all just envision a need or want that you can't seem to find elsewhere?

Potts: There are many great putter makers out there but we live in a day and age where people want something different, something personal. Using the foundation for the designs of our putters, we allow the customer to have say in how their putter is made. We want it to fit their eye perfectly. Many off the rack companies don't make that accessible for the majority of golfers.

PGA.com: What separates Low Tide putters from others?

Bumgarner: We allow the customer to customize in more ways than one. Many manufacturers are mass producing their clubs and because of this, they limit the number of adjustments that can be made to their product. We're different. If someone calls us and wants a putter with 8 degrees of loft, 63 degree lie angle, and a length of 38.25 inches, we'll make it happen. We also like to keep our customers updated as much as possible during the process. We usually send pictures of the putters in progress so that they can see where their putter is during different stages.

PGA.com: Tell me about your current offerings. It looks like you've got three different models with seemingly endless customization options.

Potts: We set out to make putters that are different, not similar. We keep it simple. We use minimal lines with easy alignment. When we designed the first putter, the FIN, we wanted to make a wide body blade style putter that squared up to the target easily. The Whale Tail followed shortly after. We knew that Mallets were hot in the marketplace and that they were growing in popularity .

PGA.com: What has been the highlight of Low Tide so far? Any customer feedback that truly sticks out?

Bumgarner: We think that the customers deserve all of the credit. We have a lot of passion for what we do but to receive the kind of feedback that we do on a regular basis is incredible. We love getting emails or phone calls saying how they were completely blown away by their experience and how well the putter feels.

PGA.com: Can you tell us about the process involved in making a putter?

Potts: Each one of our putters is milled from a solid billet. Nothing is cast and every piece that we do, is done by us in Charlotte, N.C. Because each piece is milled on the CNC, the tolerances are extremely tight and we are able to produce a high quality and precise product for our customers.

PGA.com: How did you come up with the name, "Low Tide?"

Bumgarner: After brainstorming about 200 different names, we each picked our favorites. Low Tide was the one that we both picked as our first choice. We live in Charlotte and love the beach. We feel that the words alone can evoke a feeling or memory in people. We wanted something casual, laid back, and fun.

PGA.com: Along with the beautiful putters, you also offer something called, "the Putting Puck." Tell our readers about it. It looks like a fantastic tool to keep in the bag for those times when you want to warm up on a practice green only to find there are no holes cut out on the green -- or great even for putting practice at home.

Potts: We wanted to create something for our first 20 customers as a commemorative token, but we wanted it be useful. The putting puck was designed to be the exact diameter of a golf hole. You never want to show up at the course on a Saturday morning and try to compete for one of the five holes on the practice green. The putting puck is a great tool (and conversation piece) to have in your golf bag or at home. Because it's mobile, you can place it anywhere on the putting surface to practice the type of putts that you need to.

PGA.com: If someone was trying to decide between a Low Tide putter and one from a big-time manufacturer in a box store, why would you encourage them to lean toward Low Tide?

Bumgarner: During our research, we've discovered that most people are not using a putter that fits their stroke. Our goal is to not only make you a stellar flat stick, but also make sure it's set up for you. For years it seems the industrial standard has been 71-degree lie angle. We have found most golfers have a flatter lie angle. The average seems to be around 68 degrees. We believe that the optimal position for the putter head is for the sole to lay flat on the ground. The putter should be parallel with the ground at impact. All putters have loft and when the toe or heel is pointed toward the sky a compound angle is created causing the face angle to open or close.

PGA.com: I read on your site where you want your putters to be something that people can pass down in the family -- almost like a family keepsake. How satisfying is it when you complete a putter for a customer that tells a story? Is there any one in particular you can share with us?

Potts: When someone places a custom order we really want the experience to be personal. There have been some amazing stories that our customers have shared with us on why they have chosen the custom engravings that they want to include. From children and loved ones, to meaningful nicknames and lucky numbers, it is a piece of their story and we are happy to apply it to something that they will be proud to use out on the course. Golf is a social sport and we want our customers to be proud to share their personal story when someone asks about their putter during a round.

To learn more about Low Tide Custom Putters, visit www.lowtideputters.com. You can also find Low Tide on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, @LowTidePutters.

Pricing for Low Tide Custom Putters start at $275 and go up depending on finish and level of personalization.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

Low Tide Putters: Custom putters that tell a story -- your story
January 2, 2014 - 8:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Harris English
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Harris English is making his debut playing Callaway and Odyssey gear this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui.
Harris English has signed an endorsement deal with Callaway Golf, company officials announced Thursday.
 
English is making his debut playing Callaway and Odyssey gear this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui. Callaway hasn't yet revealed the specific clubs in his bag.
 
"I've been really happy with the new Callaway clubs, and the team at Callaway has been fantastic,'' said English. ''In a short period of time I've been able to take advantage of the resources they have and I'm excited about the start of the 2014 season."
 
 
English is coming off a breakout season in which he earned his first PGA Tour win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last summer, and backed it up with another win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba at year's end. English was a four-time All-American at the University of Georgia, and won on the Nationwide Tour as a college amateur in 2011. 
 
English, 24, is just the latest young talent to join the Callaway tour staff. In recent days, the company also signed Thomas Pieters, James Erkenbeck and Chase Seiffert.
 
Pieters, a native of Belgium, won the 2012 NCAA individual championship at the University of Illinois and has earned status on the European Tour. Erkenbeck was the Mountain West Player of the Year at the University of New Mexico and a member of the victorious U.S. Palmer Cup team. And Seiffert was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection at Florida State University as well as the winner of both the 2012 Florida Open and the Florida Amateur.
 
Harris English signs endorsement agreement with Callaway Golf
Ernie Els
Getty Images
Ernie Els moves to Adams Golf after previous stints with Lynx, TaylorMade and Callaway.
Ernie Els has signed an equipment agreement with Adams Golf, meaning the Big Easy is making yet another big change. 
 
The four-time major champion will use a variety of Adams gear and wear the Adams logo on his bag and on his headwear, company officials have announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
 
Els has won three majors with different equipment companies: Lynx (1994 U.S. Open), TaylorMade (1997 U.S. Open and 2002 British Open) and Callaway (2012 British Open). 
 
 
Adams Golf was acquired in 2012 by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, so the 44-year-old South African is in a sense returning to a company that sponsored him earlier in his career. Els, who last month signed a footwear deal with Ecco to wear its street shoes, could wind up using a variety of clubs throughout his bag as the specific clubs he'll use have yet to be finalized.
 
Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. He is No. 27 in the world going into the 2014 season, which he is scheduled to begin on the European Tour's Middle East Swing in late January.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
Ernie Els signs equipment deal with Adams Golf after few years with Callaway
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