Equipment

January 3, 2014 - 11:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
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
December 24, 2013 - 8:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain's new ClubGlider Golf Travel Bag.

New for 2014, Sun Mountain has introduced its ClubGlider Golf Travel Bag -- the only golf travel bag that offers extendable legs and wheels to support 100 percent of the weight, while eliminating the repeated bending and lifting required with traditional travel bags.

Sun Mountain explains that ClubGlider glides 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 and curbs with ease. Once checked-in, the legs easily tuck away securely for carefree travel. ClubGlider offers all of the protection and storage space of a traditional golf travel bag while eliminating the heavy lifting and the need to bend over to pick up and set down every time the check-in line moves three feet.

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Making the cut from over 1,000 entrants in the Golf Channel "Fore Inventors Only" reality show, ClubGlider was named one of five finalists in this search for the next great golf invention. Following a successful introduction, Sun Mountain increased the offering to include additional models. ClubGlider Meridian is the name of the original ClubGlider. ClubGlider Pro is the largest of the models made to accommodate tour players' oversized staff bags or two lightweight carry bags. ClubGlider Journey is a smaller and lighter version and the new for 2014 Tour Series was designed to coordinate with the new Tour Series line of golf bags.

ClubGlider includes heavy-duty two-way zippers, thick foam padding extending down the travel bag to protect clubheads and shafts, storage pockets, internal cinch straps, reinforced wear areas, and a lift-assist handle.

ClubGlider is available in four different models: Pro, Meridian, Journey and the new Tour Series -- offering protection for golfers ranging from weekend warriors to touring professionals. Retail prices are $349, $289, $219, and $319 respectively. For the retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit www.sunmountain.com.

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

 

Sun Mountain offers new ClubGlider Golf Travel Bag for 2014
December 19, 2013 - 6:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver incorporates the same innovative sliding weight mechanism as in the original SLDR 460, but in a smaller head preferred by better players.
TaylorMade is wasting no time growing its family of SLDR drivers. The original SLDRs made their debut in July, with fairway woods and hybrids following in October and then the 14-degree SLDR driver being announced just a few weeks ago.
 
Now comes the SLDR 430 – a more compact version of the original SLDR. The ''430,'' of course, indicates that the head has a 430cc volume as opposed to the larger 460cc heads on the original SLDRs. The smaller head, generally preferred by better players, is designed to help shape shots without sacrificing distance.
 
The SLDR 430 incorporates the same innovative sliding weight mechanism TaylorMade introduced in the SLDR 460. The blue, 20-gram movable weight allows the golfer to shift the clubhead's center of gravity horizontally toward either the heel to promote a draw, or toward the toe to promote a fade. 
 
The weight slides along a 21-point track on the front of the sole, and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight at any of those points, the golfer simply loosens the screw, slides the weight to the desired point, then tightens the screw – a process that make as little as 10 seconds. The SLDR's adjustability, TaylorMade says, promotes a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. 
 
The new driver also incorporates TaylorMade's Loft-sleeve Technology, which allows the golfer to easily adjust the loft by choosing from 12 positions within a range of plus or minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. The more loft added, the more the face closes, and vice-versa.
 
The SLDR 430 comes in lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 67 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, called the SLDR 430 TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 7.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. The club carries a suggested retail price of $399. 
 
TaylorMade rolls out SLDR 430 driver with smaller head
December 18, 2013 - 11:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
18 GREENS Apparel
18 GREENS
The new GSTAR Track Jacket and an assortment of headwear are among the new offerings by 18 GREENS Apparel.

Earlier this year, we profiled PGA Professional Doug Timmons, who doubles up as a golf instructor and is the founder and designer of a clothing line called, "18 GREENS Apparel."

As noted in that initial piece, Timmons is on, "A mission to take fashion to the fairways at an affordable price."

The pieces -- which are just as fitting and comfortable for the golf course as they are for an early evening stroll on the beach -- include lightweight pants ($75), shorts ($65), polo shirts ($39.50-$49.50), hats ($25) and now, the new "18 GSTAR Track Jacket," which sells for $65.

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"One of our favorite clothing articles at 18 GREENS is a comfortable, functional and stylish jacket," Timmons said. "I think everyone needs the go to jacket to play and lounge in, we hope this is going to be one of those for our new customers. The cotton, polyester and spandex blend makes it soft, holds the shape and has just the right amount of stretch in the fabric to make it very easy to move in. One of the most important things about making a jacket or any piece is getting the weight correct. It needs to be just heavy enough to stay warm, but light enough to not get too hot. The patch work on the sleeves and the woven label on the back neck makes it ours. We also ride motorcycles so it is very essential to have zippers for the side pockets so stuff doesn't fall out when we are cruising down the road. Most track jackets use 100 percent polyester. We wanted a cotton-based jacket for style and comfort. The goal is always to make product that is versital, functional for the course and stylish for the everywhere else."

And, if you're waiting to see the offerings for 2014... wait no more. Timmons is so excited about what's new at 18 GREENS that he released it all early.

"We have some pretty cool stuff coming for 2014," he said. "We couldn't wait so we released them a little early. But we designed a hybrid fabric Casual Water Technology that some jumped in on early. Pants and shorts with 4-way stretch that are wrinkle resistan. The shorts have mesh pocket lining and a side pocket zipper so you can wear them in the water too. They have to be one of the most comfortable bottoms out. We got so excited that we couldn't wait and brought them in 5 months early!"

Along with the track jacket, pants and shorts, Timmons is also excited about the company's headwear.

"We have some fresh new hats that are custom made," he said. "The front panel is unlike any other. We are adding cotton-based blends and 100 percent cotton into the collection for 2014. We have a very cool hidden pocket design that we think people will really like. The line is growing and I'm hoping everyone tries it out."

And if you'd like to try out 18 GREENS, Timmons is offering a 30-percent discount if you use the code "PGA18" at checkout.

To learn more about 18 GREENS, visit www.18greens.com.

You can also find 18 GREENS on Facebook and on Twitter, @18GreensApparel.

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

18 GREENS Apparel expands line with new offerings for 2014
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