Equipment

January 30, 2014 - 7:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade Tour Preferred golf balls
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The Tour Preferred (l) and tour Preferred X golf balls take over as TaylorMade's flagship models.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the sixth one:
 
A lot of us in the golf industry got our first look at the new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X golf balls from TaylorMade at the PGA Merchandise Show last week.
 
So, you ask, are they any good? 
 
Well, TaylorMade replied with an emphatic yes last weekend, when Sergio Garcia won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Jessica Korda won the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic with Tour Preferred X balls. That gave TaylorMade wins in two of the three big events played around the globe last week.
 
I'd say that's not a bad debut, except that Garcia also used a Tour Preferred X to win the Thailand Golf Championship in December. But you get the point. 
 
''Golf ball innovation doesn't just happen overnight. Rather, it is a series of ongoing conversation with our Tour players,'' said Dean Snell, TaylorMade's vice president of golf ball R&D. ''These conversations have led to the introduction of breakthrough technologies including low drag aerodynamics for ultimate wind resistance, a five-layer construction for superior control throughout the club set and now our softest and most durable cover.''
 
 
These two new spheres take over as the flagship balls in the TaylorMade line, and the company calls them tour-caliber balls that provide complete tee-to-green performance. As a result, they say, they expect most of their staff players to join Garcia and Korda in switching to them over the next few months.
 
One new technology in the new balls is what TaylorMade calls Soft Tech, the company's softest and most durable cover to date. Made of a cast urethane, the new cover provides an even softer feel around the greens than previous TaylorMade offerings. The Soft Tech cover also lasts longer and will provide higher resistance to shearing, while the 322-dimple pattern is designed to minimize distance loss on low-spin shots and maintain a penetrating ball flight into the wind.
 
Inside both models is a REACT Core for greater ball speed on all shots, along with a Spin Mantle designed to deliver precise and consistent spin rates on shots throughout the bag. What separates the two models from each other is their spin characteristics.
 
The Tour Preferred is designed for players looking for more spin in their mid- to long-iron shots. This additional spin also will promote a higher trajectory on approach shots. The Tour Preferred X generates less spin and a more boring trajectory.
 
Both the Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X will be available at retail on March 1 with a suggested retail price of $45.99 per dozen. 
 
Previously:
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Tour Preferred golf balls from TaylorMade
January 30, 2014 - 5:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Wilson golf bags and Odyssey putter covers
Courtesy of Wilson Golf and Odyssey Golf
Wilson Golf is marking the Phoenix Open with some retro golf bags, while Odyssey has come out with eco-friendly putter covers.
If you can tear your eyes away from all the fun at the wacky 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, there are a couple of interesting things to keep a look out for at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
 
First off, Odyssey has created special putter covers that reflect the tournament's green spirit – in fact, the exterior of the covers is made of recycled material, and the brown color was inspired by paper grocery bags. The inspiration, according to Scott Goryl of Odyssey parent Callaway, is Waste Management's push to create a greener, more sustainable world.
 
The covers, for both mallets and blades, will be found on the putters of several Odyssey staff players. Only about 100 were produced and none will be sold at retail, though Odyssey is giving a few away via social media.
 
Also, Wilson Golf is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and is marking the big occasion this week by outfitting its staff players with retro golf bags styled after those that its ambassadors – including Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead – used during the company's glory days. The red and white bags also feature the vintage Wilson Staff shield and retro branding.
 
Padraig Harrington, Kevin Streelman, Ricky Barnes and Jim Herman are using the bags in Phoenix, while Paul Lawrie, Anthony Wall and Marcel Siem are doing the same at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The Wilson Staff ambassadors are expected to use the bags for most of the year as well.
 
Here is a better look at the bags and covers, courtesy of Wilson's and Odyssey's Twitter account:
 
 
Odyssey and Wilson roll out special gear for Phoenix Open
January 30, 2014 - 8:55am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
CS2 training aid
CS2 Putting Aid
The CS2 putting aid serves many functions that all point to one major result for you -- a more consistent putting stroke.

How many times throughout the course of an 18-hole round of golf do you three-putt? If the answer is anything more than "zero," that's probably too much.

Even if you rarely three-putt, you can always use more consistency on the greens.

That's where a company called "CS2" comes to the rescue. "CS2" stands for: "Consistent Stroke/Consistently Square" (putter face at impact).

CS2 offers an incredibly helpful putting aid that's sure to improve your stroke, which will result in more confidence on the greens and less strokes recorded on your scorecard.

RELATED: PGA Professional mastermind behind popular Orange Whip swing tool

The CS2, essentially, is a board that is designed to give golfers a great visual as well as intuitive feel as to what is happening in their putting stroke.

Watch the video below where European Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, who has been known to make some huge putts under pressure, explains how you can use the CS2:

 

 

The CS2 is basically a two part training system.

"The first part is what we call the base plate," explained Ronnie Mathews, one of the men behind CS2. "We recommend that golfers start with this only, as it will help them to understand their own preferred putting path. We do not believe that there is one perfect putting stroke -- rather that each golfer needs to find his own preferred path. The guide rails on the base plate are completely adjustable to accommodate any putter head size, and also the golfer's current skill level. In addition, you will see that the rails can be set up for a 'square to square' stroke, or can be arced to accommodate an 'in to square' stroke. This arc can vary from slightly inside, to quite radically inside."

Once the preferred putter path is determined, Mathews recommends that the golfer record the preferred setting and set up to those specific numbers for each practice session. Golfers should become so comfortable with the setting that they can make a putt with their eyes closed.

The second part of the CS2 training system involves learning how to return the putter face to square at impact.

"In this stage, the runway is clipped onto the base plate, and the two adjustable end gates are clipped onto the runway," Mathews said. "To start, the end gates should be set at their widest setting. The objective now is to roll the ball through the end gates without hitting either side. Once the golfer is regularly doing this, the gates can be made tighter. Once the golfer is getting the ball through the tight setting most of time, they are already vastly improved putters."

CS2 also teaches the golfer proper alignment and aim. The base plate has lines which show a square putter face at address, as well as a reflective patch to give an indication of where there head is.

"We do not believe that every golfer's head has to be directly over the ball, therefore the reflective patch is not an 'eye mirror,' but rather a guide as to where your head is," Mathews said. "The line on the runway gives the golfer a great visual image of the intended line of putt."

The beauty of the CS2 is that it works just as well indoors as it does outdoors -- welcome news for those of us who can't get out to the course in brutal winter weather conditions.

To learn more about the CS2, visit www.cs2putting.com.

The CS2 Putting Aid is available for $89 and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

CS2 also offers a Putting Cup (included with the putting aid, or sold separately for $12.99).

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

 

CS2 training aid: Excellent for improving your putting stroke
January 29, 2014 - 6:03pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Mobile Warming outerwear
courtesy of Mobile Warming
The women's softshell vest (l) and men's jacket from Mobile Warming contain heating elements powered by small lithium-ion batteries that are sewn into each garment.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the fifth one:
 
With most of the country in the deep freeze, it seems like a great time to explore clothes that can keep your warm on the golf course. I could name a dozen or more clothiers that produce outerwear that is easy to swing a club in while fighting off the wind and rain. But to me, the one company that stands out in making golfwear for those most challenging days on the course is Mobile Warming.
 
Based in Milwaukee, Mobile Warming creates golf clothes – as well as separate lines for motorcyclists and general outdoors enthusiasts – with a unique feature. They contain portable heating units powered by batteries that are sewn into each piece.
 
Specifically, the company's products – which also include a heated back wrap, heated mitts and even a heated golf cart seat – use what Mobile Warming calls far-infrared heat (FIR) and ultra-fine metal fiber heating technologies that provide active heat through a portable power-supply in the form of a small lithium-ion battery. Each garment contains heating panels on the chest and back lined with steel alloy fibers that insulate the upper body quickly and for up to 10 hours.
 
 
The Mobile Warming line of golfwear includes a rain jacket, softshell jacket, heated shirt and a sleeveless vest that the company says was designed with input from PGA Professionals. Among the benefits of these garments is that the heating system keeps the upper-body muscles warm and loose, and eliminates the need for multiple layers that can restrict the full-swing motion.
 
The battery units have a built-in control so wearers can choose from among four different levels of heat and, the company says, the batteries can be recharged 500 times (a charger is included). Each garment is made from lightweight Windshark fabric, which is waterproof, windproof and stretchable. And in case you were wondering, the garments conform to USGA rules.
 
Some of the pieces, like the heated shirts, can – and should – be worn under regular outwear. The shirts in particular are made of a stretchy antibacterial fabric designed to wick away perspiration, and even have mesh side inserts to help you regulate your temperature.
 
The price range for Mobile Warming gear ranges from $219.99 for rain jackets down to $159.99 for heated shirts and softshell vests, and there are lines for both men and women. They are available at select retailers and at www.MobileWarmingGear.com.
 
 
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Mobile Warming heated outerwear
January 28, 2014 - 7:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 driver and irons
Courtesy of Wilson Golf
The distinctive black Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons are designed for feel players.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the fourth one:
 
For much of the 20th century, Wilson Staff one of the dominant brands in both clubs and balls. Players like Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen helped bring golf into the mainstream in the United States with Wilson Staff equipment, and the company's pedigree runs through Sam Snead and Armold Palmer, Payne Stewart and Ben Crenshaw, John Daly and Vijay Singh.
 
And though Padraig Harrington has won three majors sporting the Wilson Staff shield in recent years, the brand has slipped down out of the ranks of the top clubmakers over the past decade or two – at least in the United States (it's maintained a bigger presence in Europe).
 
There have been signs of life lately, though. Sales in the United States were up about 20 percent last year, and the company is poised to make even more gains as it rolls out an impressive club line this spring to mark Wilson's 100 years in golf. Getting back into the ranks of elite clubmakers is an incredibly tall task, but its new FG Tour M3 family of clubs is a solid start. 
 
These new drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons are designed for better players, and all but the irons feature what Wilson calls its Multi Fit System. Golfers can use the six adjustable hosel settings and three interchangeable sole weights to maximize their clubhead and ball speeds, while selecting the proper launch angle and spin rate to enhance their distance.
 
The FG Tour M3 driver is Wilson Staff's first adjustable driver – the head comes set at an initial loft of 9.5 degrees, but can be adjusted in half-degree increments from 8.5 to 11.5 degrees. Along with its adjustability features, the 460cc head contains a variable thickness face that maximizes the sweet spot. A light, chemically-etched crown helps create a favorable sound and allows for weight to be redistributed around the perimeter of the head, while the deep face and pear shape make the head appear more compact at address.
 
 
The fairway woods feature the same adjustability options and similar variable face thickness and perimeter weighting. The three head options come standard at initial lofts of 13.5, 15 and 17 degrees, and can be adjusted from 12.5 to 19 degrees in half-degree increments, depending on the respective head. 
 
The hybrids offer three loft settings in each head and the same three lofts at 2-degree upright lie angles – along with three sole weight options – for optimized trajectory and increased clubhead speeds. The loft changes allow feel players to optimize their distance and trajectory, the company says, while the lie changes improve control and turf interaction. 
 
The four head options come standard at initial lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 23 degrees. The lofts can be adjusted from 16 to 24 degrees in half-degree increments with upright options, depending on the respective head. 
 
The FG Tour M3 irons were built with the goal of providing the feel and workability of a forged players' iron while also delivering a significant level of forgiveness. The topline is thin on all the irons for a better look and to help lower the Center of Gravity to get the ball up in the air more easily.
 
The heads also feature a progressive cavity design to optimize the weight placement from club to club. Much of the weight is moved to the heel and toe in the long irons for more stability and forgiveness, transitioning to a more uniform thickness in the short irons for consistency and repeatability. 
 
All the FG Tour M3 clubs are finished with a distinctive black coating, making them stand out in every bag. The driver retails for $349.99, while the fairway woods go for $219.99 per club, the hybrids for $199.99 per club, and the irons for $899.99 per set with graphite shafts and $799.99 per set with steel shafts. They will be available this spring at select golf shops and online at www.Wilson.com.
 
Previously:
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 clubs
January 28, 2014 - 1:21pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf, VRS Covert 2.0 Irons
Nike Golf
Nike Golf's latest irons -- the VRS Covert 2.0.

Nike's latest line of irons -- the VRS Covert 2.0 -- will be available for purchase beginning Friday, Jan. 31.

A larger cavity in the VRS Covert 2.0 irons moves more metal to the perimeter of the club head and allows for a larger face, which amplifies the 'trampoline effect’ and produces more ball speed at impact. Coupled with a larger cavity, Nike's proprietary NexCOR variable face thickness technology allows for greater ball speed off the face, resulting in more distance.

A new leading-edge bevel provides more sole area to hit through the turf. The design delivers an additional, effective bounce to the golf club, which is a crucial benefit especially in soft conditions.

The VRS Covert 2.0 irons feature Dynalite 105 steel and Kuro Kage graphite shafts with Golf Pride 2G wrap grips.

"What's impressive about the VRS Covert 2.0 set is that golfers can be aggressive and confident with these irons," says Chris Savage, Nike Golf Irons Innovation Engineer. "This set utilizes our largest cavity and thinnest perimeter to deliver higher ball speed and greater distance. We have also refined our leading edge bevel to make it easier for these irons to go through the turf. Throughout development, these irons have proven to be the best distance irons we have created to date."

Specifications: 4-AW, SW, Dynalite 105: S/R (RH/LH); Kuro Kage Graphite: S/R (RH/LH).

Street price: Steel: $700; Graphite: $800.

For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.

WATCH: Ken Griffey Jr. tests out the Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Driver

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

Nike Golf announces release of new VRS Covert 2.0 Irons
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