Equipment

December 3, 2013 - 6:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade 14-degree SLDR driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
TaylorMade plans to release a SLDR driver with 14 degrees of loft, giving it several degrees of loft more than standard drivers.

For as long as I can remember, driver lofts have ranged from about 9 degrees to about 11 degrees. Better players usually fell in the lower end of that range, and some big-hitting tour pros even would go as low as 8 or 8.5 degrees to keep their tee shots from ballooning. Many of the rest of us settled in at the higher end of the range, needing that extra bit of loft to make up for our relative lack of swing speed.

Recently, though, TaylorMade has been exploring drivers with higher lofts, and has announced that it will produce a version of its new SLDR driver with 14 degrees of loft. I've never seen a driver with that much loft – heck, most 3-woods I've seen have about 15 degrees of loft.

''We have been chasing a driver that delivers high launch and low spin, a coveted combination off the tee sought after by all golfers,'' says TaylorMade Golf Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. ''Having made significant industry strides with innovation advancements like movable weight, larger faces, adjustable shafts and improved aerodynamics, we are confident that we have cracked yet another code to more distance. And it's through loft.'' 

GOLF BUZZ: TaylorMade unveils SLDR driver with many adjustability options

TaylorMade's SLDR driver, launched in August, features a low and forward center of gravity placement, making it the lowest spinning driver in company history. Because of its construction, TaylorMade says, it is encouraging golfers – including PGA Tour players – to ''loft up.'' And in fact, the company says, several tour pros have raised their SLDR driver loft by a degree or more over their prvious drivers.

''Everything we thought we knew about engineering drivers has been turned on its head,'' says Vincent. ''I have never been more convinced that building a driver with low and forward CG is the future in metalwood construction.''  

TaylorMade's engineers have calculated that 17 degrees of launch and 1700 rpm of spin create the perfect combination for maximizing driver distance. The new 14-degree SLDR driver, they say, is another step closer to achieving the optimal ball flight.   

TaylorMade hasn't yet announced a retail date or a price for the 14-degree SLDR, but the company says it is working to produce enough 14-degree heads to release in the coming months.

 

TaylorMade to release 14-degree SLDR Driver
December 2, 2013 - 12:48pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Maide Golf
Maide Golf
Maide Golf is offering 30 percent off site-wide, with even bigger savings on select products for Cyber Monday.

Maide Golf -- a new golf apparel company started up by the folks at Bonobos -- is offering up some incredible deals today, Cyber Monday. 

This is the best deal Maide offers all year offering 30 percent off site-wide, with up to 65% off select styles. In addition to Maide, you also have access to shop parent brand, Bonobos, as well, and receive the same discount on Italian wool pants, Cashmere Sweaters, Outerwear, and Suits.

Prices below are reflective of the incremental 30 percent off, one-day, Cyber Monday deal on already reduced prices.

- 65 percent off -- Select Maide golf Polo Shirts (Red and Khaki) Were $78, now $26.60
- 43 percent off -- Maide golf's Highland Pant in 7 colors, were $108, now $61.60
- 50 percent off -- All Merino Crewneck Sweaters (slim & standard fits): were $98, now $47.60
- 40 percent off -- Wool Suits and Flannel Suits: were $700, under $500
- 55 percent off -- 5 Pocket Corduroy Pants: select colors: were $125, now $54.60 - $68.60
- 50 percent off -- select Cashmere V-neck Sweaters: were $240, now $117.60
- 45 percent to 70 percent off -- select colors Pants were $88, now $26.60 - $47.60
- 34 percent off -- Select Trench Coats: Were $298, now $198

To see all the deals, which end at 11:59 p.m. PT tonight, visit www.bonobos.com/b/maide.

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

Maide Golf offering great Cyber Monday deals
December 2, 2013 - 12:05pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The new Callaway Big Bertha driver (l) features a sliding weight system to adjust shot bias, while the Alpha model has a Gravity Core to adjust center of gravity height.

Callaway Golf has unveiled a steady stream of innovative new clubs in recent years, but none of them was as important to the company as the new edition of the Big Bertha driver and its tuned-up companion, the Big Bertha Alpha.

How do I know this? Because the Big Bertha name matters more to Callaway than anything. The company wouldn't put that name on new products unless it had the highest of confidence – and hopes – in them. 

The original Big Bertha driver, introduced in 1991, changed Callaway Golf's fortunes forever, catapulting it from the ranks of aspirational club companies into one of the world's biggest and most influential. That driver – made of stainless steel instead of persimmon wood and far larger than almost anything else on the market at the time – was one of a handful of metal woods that kicked off a revolution in club design and construction unlike anything that had preceded it.

Callaway followed that original Big Bertha with several brand extensions, including the Great Big Bertha and Biggest Big Bertha woods and even a couple of models of Big Bertha irons. And now, the Big Bertha brand is being resurrected in the form of these two new drivers.

The Big Bertha Alpha is the most ambitious club in company history. It is best suited for elite players with above-average swing speeds who prefer low-spinning drivers to produce flatter drives that typically result in more roll.

It's the first driver to let golfers independently adjust four significant performance characteristics to optimize trajectory, control and distance. These four variables are loft, lie, shot bias and, for the first time ever, center of gravity height.

GOLF BUZZ: Callaway X2 Hot clubs emphasis distance and speed

Callaway calls the latter of these features Gravity Control Adjustability and, essentially, it lets golfers adjust spin independently of launch angle – an option never before offered.

To enable this adjustment, the Big Bertha Alpha comes with a Gravity Core, which fits in a carbon tube in the head that connects the crown and sole. It has a glass fiber-reinforced body that weighs in at 1.5 grams connected to a tungsten end weighing 10.5 grams. 

Either end of the core can be inserted into the clubhead, allowing golfers to raise or lower the center of gravity and thereby alter their spin rate. When the tungsten end is closest to the sole, it lowers the center of gravity and reduces backspin; when the tungsten end is closest to the crown, it raises the center of gravity and increases spin.

Generally speaking, players with above-average head speeds or those trying to prevent excessive spin will benefit from the lower center of gravity, which a creates a flatter, more penetrating trajectory accompanied by more rollout, Callaway explains. Golfers looking for a more controlled and workable ball flight and less roll, they add, might be better served by using the higher center of gravity.

How much difference can the center of gravity placement make? Player testing has shown as much as a 600 rpm spin differential between the two settings without a change in loft, Callaway said.

The Big Bertha Alpha also enables golfers to adjust its center of gravity bias, which helps influence shot shape. The driver has screw ports in the heel and toe, and comes with four interchangeable weights of 1, 3, 5, and 7 grams that provide a lot of flexibility in controlling both shot shape and overall head weight. The 1g and 7g screws are installed as standard and deliver a D3 swingweight, but the swingweight can be adjusted from D0 to D5.

 
In comparison to the Alpha model, Callaway calls the new Big Bertha a ''total performance driver'' that provides a balance of speed and control. It's designed for the broadest segment of the player population – those golfers seeking forgiveness and solid performance on off-center impacts.

The new Big Bertha doesn't have the weight ports or the gravity core. But it is the first Callaway driver to feature Adjustable Perimeter Weighting – a sliding 8-gram weight that golfers can move along a five-inch track around the perimeter of the head to help optimize shot shape and trajectory. The placement of this weighting system also helps give the driver more stability through the swing.

The faces on both the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha are built around Hyper Speed Face technology, which Callaway engineers use to determine how thick or thin to make the various parts of the face. It's based on their understanding of the probability of where players will make contact on the face and, Callaway says, results in an extremely lightweight face that helps deliver more ball speed where players need it most.

And speaking of lightweight, the new Big Berthas also contains the Forged Composite material found in other recent drivers. This high-strength, lightweight composite material enables Callaway to keep the total head weight under 200 grams even while including multiple forms of adjustability.

In addition, the Big Berthas' Advanced Adjustable Hosel helps golfers to independently adjust their loft and lie angle to help translate their added ball speed into more distance. Golfers can chose from four different lofts to optimize launch angle and backspin and two different lies, denoted by 'D' for Draw and 'N' for Neutral, to optimize the directional bias. This new hosel, the company says, is the only adjustable hosel that allows changes in loft and/or lie without having to rotate the shaft on its axis between settings. 

The Big Bertha comes in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees, and its stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z graphite shaft. It carries a suggested retail price of $399 and will be available at retail on Feb. 14, 2013.  

The Big Bertha Alpha comes in lofts of and 10.5 degrees, and its stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT graphite shaft. It carries a suggested retail price of $499 and will be available at retail on Feb. 14, 2013.  

Here is a Callaway video previewing the new Big Bertha driver:

 
And here is a Callaway video previewing the Big Bertha Alpha driver:
 
 
 
 
Callaway unveils two new Big Bertha drivers in ambitious relaunch
November 29, 2013 - 8:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf
Nike Golf
Nike Golf's new VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf has introduced the new VRS Covert 2.0 family of drivers, promising to be bigger, faster and longer than last year's industry game-changing VRS Covert drivers.

The new driver -- the world's first to feature conforming High Speed Cavity Back technology -- delivers more forgiving distance, faster ball speed and simple, intuitive customization to meet the swing needs of every athlete. High-Speed Cavity Back technology redistributes weight to the heel and toe allowing for increased distance and more stability across the face of the driver.

"We re-engineered the VRS Covert 2.0 with enhancements to our High Speed Cavity Back technology that allow athletes to experience more forgiving distance than ever before," says Nate Radcliffe, Nike Golf Director of Engineering. "The new VRS Covert 2.0 driver features a redesigned cavity with Fly-Brace technology that ties the sole to the crown. By stiffening the rear portion of the club, more energy is transferred to the face at impact. The end result is even greater ball speed and up to six yards of distance gain over last year's model."

RELATED: Nike RZN ball franchise gets four new models with improved core

"It's similar to an automotive frame design," Radcliffe adds. "Fly-Brace technology reinforces the rearward portion of the club head to focus impact stress, flexing and subsequent energy transfer to the point of impact."

Several Nike athletes, including Rory McIlroy, Kevin Chappell and Nick Watney, have put the VRS Covert 2.0 driver into play in 2013.

"We work very closely with our athletes and the new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers deliver on the shape, stability, and speed they have asked for," Radcliffe says. "The added stability and speed realized by our athletes with VRS Covert 2.0 allows for an aggressive approach off the tee which is essential in the modern game."

The VRS Covert 2.0 drivers feature two additional proprietary technologies: A larger, re-engineered NexCOR face for increased ball speed and distance, and FlexLoft adjustability, which allows athletes to easily customize loft and face angle positions for 15 drivers in one.

The redesigned NexCOR face incorporates variable face thickness for a faster, hotter face and as a result, more speed at impact. It is 15-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and seven-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf's patented FlexLoft system offers the same, intuitive adjustability system featured in the VRS Covert driver. Athletes can adjust lofts from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees while independently modifying for three different face angle positions to optimize launch and spin conditions for maximized distance and accuracy.

The second generation of Mitsubishi Rayon's Kuro Kage shafts are the standard graphite option for both models. In the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, the Kuro Kage Silver 60 graphite, featuring Titanium Nickel fiber in the tip section, creates more stability and lower spin. The VRS Covert 2.0 utilizes the Kuro Kage Black HBP Graphite 50 shaft with a higher balance point, allowing for higher swing speeds without adding shaft length.

Both drivers will be available for pre-order on Nike.com on Jan. 6, 2013. The VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and VRS Covert 2.0 driver will be available on Nike.com and at select retailers on Jan. 31, 2014 for a suggested retail price of $399 and $299, respectively.

VRS Covert 2.0 Tour Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: R, S, X

VRS Covert 2.0 Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: A, R, S, W

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

Nike Golf introduces new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers
November 26, 2013 - 1:33pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
The Puma Monolite golf shoe.
PUMA Golf
The Puma Monolite golf shoe.

Puma Golf has introduced a new shoe for its 2014 line up -- the Monolite -- a versatile shoe designed to provide comfort and style for all 19 holes.

According to Puma, the Monolite weighs in at only 9.5oz., which, it says, is 30 percent less than comparable styles on the market.

"The Monolite is the perfect shoe to kick off our new LiteStyle platform we are launching in 2014," said Tom Manthe, Global Marketing Manager for Puma Golf. "The spikeless shoe goes from the tee box to the clubhouse in effortless style and lightweight comfort."

RELATED: PUMA Golf brings music to the course with new SOUNDCHUCK

The Monolite's Carbon Rubber outsole uses SmartQuill to enhance grip and traction throughout the golfer's swing by strategically shaping and positioning traction lugs directionally. The compression EVA midsole is fully integrated with the external heel counter, creating one cohesive unit that allows for ultimate lightweight comfort and cushioning while maintaining high levels of support and traction.

A premium, waterproof upper made with full-grain leather features subtle design and color details in five hard-to-resist color options. Everfoam is strategically positioned within the upper for a comfortable fit that has slow recovery memory foam adjusting to the contours of your foot with every step.

The Monolite is available in two perforated leather options (Monaco Blue/Lime Green/White and White/Tradewinds/Pomegranate) and three smooth leather options (Tradewinds/White/Monaco Blue, Chestnut/Black Coffee/Vibrant Orange and Black/Castlerock/Deep Lavendar). Each shoe comes with two laces to customize your look as often as you want.

The Monolite Wns (for women) is available in four trendsetting color combinations with an upper inspired by an oxford silhouette. Featuring a yoga mat sockliner (that is literally made out of yoga mat material) the Monolite Wns provides all day comfort and cushioning to keep your feet feeling relaxed and looking great.

The Monolite ($100) and Monolite Wns ($70) are available for pre-order now at http://www.pumagolf.com/monolite-golf-shoes and will hit shelves at select golf retailers starting Dec. 1, 2013.

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

Puma Golf introduces new Monolite shoe for on and off course
November 25, 2013 - 8:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Nike RZN golf balls
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The four new RZN golf balls from Nike Golf features a Speedlock interlocking core design that helps improve the transfer of energy at impact.

In creating the four new models in its RZN golf ball collection, Nike Golf worked from the inside out.

The company's proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology features an interlocking core design – the core's surface is similar to a waffle iron. This design helps the core connect with the compression layer surrounding it to form a tighter bond that helps improve the transfer of energy through the layers at impact.  

Similar to the way that snow tires utilize aggressive tread to bond with a road surface, Nike Golf explains, the Speedlock core's interlocking geometry helps eliminate the slipping that normally occurs between a traditional, smooth-surface core and the outer layer. When a core slides or slips on impact, the ball loses energy and, as a result, speed and distance. 

''We knew we hadn't pulled 100 percent of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core,'' said Rock Ishiii, Nike's senior director of golf product development. ''Working in partnership with DuPont, we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created the interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact.

''The lightweight RZN material allows us to add weight to the perimeter of the golf ball, which gives the new RZN family an extremely high Moment of Inertia (MOI) in a golf ball,'' he added. ''This provides incredible ball flight stability in all wind conditions.''

GAME CHANGERS: Nike VR_S Covert Driver

When they began considering how to build these new balls about a year ago, Nike Golf designers looked to the past – specifically, the original Haskell ball, which emerged in the early 1900s as the first rubber-core golf ball. The Haskell design – consisting of elastic thread wound around a rubber core under extreme tension – helped make slower materials faster, and Nike engineers explored what that could mean for a lighter, more modern RZN material in the core.

''Tightly wrapped material pulls more energy through the layers, and converts that energy into additional ball speed,'' Ishii said. ''One additional mile per hour produces an average of five yards in additional distance.''

A new spin-optimized coating on the ball's outer surface helps grip the grooves on the clubface for better control on wedge and iron shots. This coating, along with a softer cover and softer compression in the core, helps provide improved sound and feel, especially on off-center shots.

The four new models include:

--RZN Platinum: Tour-level control with moderate spin
--RZN Black: Tour-level distance with less spin
--RZN Red: Distance with longer carry
--RZN White: Distance with softer feel for swing speeds of 95-100 mph

The new balls will be available at retail on March 1, 2014. The Platinum and Black models carry a suggested retail price of $58 per dozen (and a street price of $45.99), while the the Red and White models carry a suggested retail price of $40.00 (and a street price of $29.99).

 

Nike RZN ball franchise gets four new models with improved core
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