Equipment

August 8, 2013 - 9:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Bag by Nick Raffaele of Callaway, coins by Harry Arnett of Callaway
The Callaway staff bags for the PGA Championship feature an oak leaf in honor of Oak Hill, while the each of the four challenge coins for 2013 features a distinctive design element.

I said a few days ago that one of my favorite parts of major championship weeks is the special products that some of the big golf equipment companies create.

Callaway, of course, outfits its staff players with limited-edition bags themed for each major, and you can see Phil Mickelson's oak leaf-adorned PGA Championship bag above.

Also above is something truly unique that Callaway creates – they're called ''challenge coins,'' and there's one for each major of 2013.

This year's designs include a magnolia blossom for the Masters, a star for the U.S. Open, the Union Jack for the Open Championship and, of course, an oak leaf for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Callaway mostly distributes to the coins to its employees and staff players, though a lucky few civilians have gotten a few as well.

Challenge coins have a long military history, and I've also seen them created for colleges and companies. Few of them, I have to say, look as distinctive as these. 

 

Callaway up to the 'challenge' with coins and bags
August 6, 2013 - 9:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade headcover and bag for 2013 PGA Championship
Headcover by Roberto Castro via Twitter, bag courtesy of TaylorMade
The logo on TaylorMade's 2013 PGA Championship headcover and staff bag includes many references to the history of both Oak Hill and Rochester.

In what has become one of my favorite traditions of each major championship week, some of the big equipment companies are rolling out limited-edition gear to mark the occasion. No one does it better than TaylorMade, which has created a special bag and headcover for the 2013 PGA Championship with an Oak Hill theme. The photo on the left is the headcover on the bag of Roberto Castro, and I included it here because it shows off the logo so well.

The logos on the TaylorMade gear are always intricate, and full of detailed iconography. Here, courtesy of TaylorMade, is the full explanation of every aspect of the 2013 PGA Championship logo:

--Oak Hill Country Club is located in Rochester, N.Y., the home of Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer, orator, writer, statesman and abolitionist who escaped slavery as a young man. Douglass lived in Rochester from 1847 to 1872 and is buried in Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery, and the logo's shape was inspired by a part of his tombstone. The star at the top of the logo represents The North Star, the famous anti-slavery newspaper Douglass founded in Rochester in 1847.

--The trophy image represents the Wanamaker Trophy, named for Rodman Wanamaker, a department store magnate who in 1916 hosted the exploratory meeting of the Professional Golfers Association, at which the idea for the PGA Championship was conceived. Wanamaker also provided the trophy for the first championship, which is still used today.

--The yellow-colored honeycomb pattern is a nod to the YellowJackets, the name of the University of Rochester's athletic teams. Oak Hill swapped the land it was originally located on with UR, giving the country club a piece of land large enough to eventually build two 18-hole courses, the East Course and West Course, the former of which has hosted U.S. Opens, a Ryder Cup and three PGA Championships (including 2013).

--The six oak leaves refer to the six different prominent tournaments that Oak Hill has hosted during the past 60+ years, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship.

--The plaque with 2013 on it is a nod to Oak Hill's ''Hill of Fame,'' a series of bronze plaques located on the hill leading up to the 13th green, which are emblazoned with the names and faces of numerous golf luminaries, including past winners at Oak Hill.

--''Gloria Ultimus'' is Latin for ''Glory's Last,'' a reference to the nickname the PGA of America has given to the PGA Championship, ''Glory's Last Shot,'' which alludes to the tournament's position in the schedule as the last Major Championship of the year.

--R stands for the last name of the East Course's highly respected architect, Donald Ross; W stands for the last name of Dr. John R. Williams, the member who, in 1926, planted tens of thousands of oak trees on the grounds.

If you're interested, you can buy the headcover directly from TaylorMade.

 

TaylorMade unveils special PGA Championship gear
August 1, 2013 - 12:54am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Golf logo
Courtesy of Adams Golf
The blue Adams Golf script logos will debut on the new Tight Lies fairway woods.

It might be the middle of the year, but to Adams Golf it's the perfect time for makeover. The company has unveiled a new logo, a new color palette and a new generation of its famous Tight Lies fairway woods.

All this effort is part of Adams' efforts to integrate its ''Make Golf Easy'' philosophy into every facet of its business. And to help it resonate with the golfing public, Adams is offering a money-back guarantee on those new Tight Lies fairway woods.

The deal is this: Any golfer who buys a Tight Lies fairway wood can return the club to Adams for a full refund within 30 days of purchase if he or she isn't completely satisfied. The offer begins on Aug. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. More information is available at www.adamsgolf.com/tightliesguarantee

"This promotion celebrates a legendary club whose hallmark is making the game easier to play, and reflects the start of a new era for Adams, where interacting with our company will be simpler for golfers, vendors, retail partners and pro shops," said Adams Golf President John Ward. "The entire industry will experience a new Adams that offers trouble-free purchase promotions, strategic expansion into international markets, an easy-going, fan-friendly Tour team, strategic business and marketing partnerships and a renewed commitment into our pursuit of product innovation – all with the mindset to 'Make Golf Easy.'"

Along with the money-back guarantee, Adams has unveiled a new logo – a script typeface "Adams" that will appear on clubs and accessories as well as marketing materials. And for the first time, Adams also has created a secondary mark – a  standalone script "A'' that has a golf club on its left leg and is surrounded by a two-stripe oval that represents the golf swing path.

The company also is switching from its traditional red and black to a new palette of blue with red, white, black and silver as complements.

Adams staff players already have begun sporting the new look on their headwear and bags. The first product to feature the mark will be the new Tight Lies fairway wood.

 

Adams Golf offers money-back guarantee on new Tight Lies fairway woods
July 31, 2013 - 2:28pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Miura irons with Black Boron finish
Courtesy of Miura Golf
The Black Boron finish on some new Miura irons is deeper and more durable than other black finishes.

Japanese clubmaker Miura Golf occupies a unique place at the very high end of the golf club spectrum. The company produces small amounts of clubs that are highly prized among a certain segment of golfers – and its prices reflect that.

Miura's latest development isn't a new line of clubs, but rather a new finish called Black Boron. It recently has begun producing a few sets of its CB-501 irons and Passing Point 9003 irons in the special finish instead of its usual nickel chrome finish.

"We've found black finishes so popular that we really had to look into making these, even though we can only manage small quantities and maintain Miura standards," said Miura President Adam Barr. 

In fact, the company says it can produce only about 10 sets of clubs with the new finish every other month because its painstaking production process is further complicated by switching over the final part of the production line from its usual set-up.

Miura has produced its Limited Forged Black Blades and Black Wedges with a black finish, but those fade over time into a silvery-grey patina. By contrast, the company says, the density of the new Black Boron looks more deeply black than other black finishes, and the color is more durable as well. 

The Black Boron irons carry a suggested retail price of $2,275 per set (4-iron through pitching wedge), or $325 per club. 

For more information, visit www.MiuraGolf.com.

 

Miura offers Black Boron finish in limited editions of irons
July 30, 2013 - 9:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Luke List's named Callaway irons
Nick Raffaele via Twitter
When Luke List needs to power an iron to a faraway green, he can ask his caddie for the "Lean on it."

Some golfers give their drivers names, like ''Big Dawg.'' And, of course, some very famous putters have names, like Bobby Jones' ''Calamity Jane.'' 

Most of the clubs in between are just known by their numbers. Until now, anyway.

The photo above was tweeted by Callaway's Vice President of Sports Marketing Nick Raffaele on Tuesday. It shows a brand-new set of Callaway RAZR X Muscleback irons that Callaway just made for big-hitting Luke List. Instead of numbers, each club has a name – like Rack 'em, Fireball and Lean on it. That is just awesome.

I've never named my clubs, though I admit I have occasionally called them names when they misbehaved. 

List is playing the Reno-Tahoe Open this week. It'll be fun to see if his new babies live up to their monikers.

 

Luke List's irons have names
July 29, 2013 - 3:05pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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TaylorMade Golf, SLDR, driver, golf
TaylorMade
TaylorMade's SLDR driver.
TaylorMade Golf is no stranger to reinventing the driver game.
 
Just a couple of years removed from turning the golf world upside down with the release of its smash-hit, white driver heads, the folks at TaylorMade are at it yet again with the introduction of its latest invention (available to the public beginning August 9): the SLDR driver. 
 
Moveable weight in your driver head is nothing new, but on the SLDR the system to move the weight is. 
 
Here's the official release from TaylorMade:
 
CARLSBAD, CALIF. (July 29, 2013) -- Following three weeks of buzz on the PGA and European tours sparked by the release of a prototype driver, TaylorMade Golf today announced the official arrival of SLDR – a revolutionary new club featuring a sliding weight system engineered to launch the golf ball high, fast and long. How long? Tests show that SLDR is the longest driver in company history.*
 
Key to the leap in distance is a lower and more forward center of gravity (CG) that promotes a hotter launch, low spin and faster ball speed. Similar to the impact the “Speed Pocket” had on the performance of the RocketBallz fairway and Rescue clubs, TaylorMade engineers believe SLDR’s low and forward CG placement will redefine driver distance.  
 
“Without a doubt, this is the longest driver we have ever created,” said TaylorMade’s Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. “Our expertise at positioning the CG low and forward sets us apart from our competitors, and is vital to making SLDR the spectacular distance machine that it is.”
 
In addition to the low-forward CG benefits, SLDR also incorporates a complete reinvention of TaylorMade’s movable weight technology (MWT), making it more effective and easier to use.  SLDR features a blue, 20-gram weight that slides on a track located on the front of the sole. 
 
Movable weight shifts the clubhead’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or toward the toe, to promote a fade. SLDR delivers six millimeters of movement – that’s 50% more than R1 – promoting a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. The SLDR weight slides on a 21-point track system and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight in any one of  them simply loosen the screw, slide the weight to the point selected, then tighten the screw. Golfers can adjust for a “draw” or “fade” by sliding the weight across the slider track into the appropriate position in as little as 10 seconds. 
 
Nearly 10 years ago, TaylorMade brought to market its first movable weight driver, the r7 quad –which featured four small weight cartridges that could be used to change the head’s CG location and influence ball flight. Since that release, TaylorMade’s R&D team has been searching for a way to improve and simplify MWT. The company believes SLDR’s new sliding system is a significant leap forward in its quest to engineer a driver that offers outstanding performance with simple and intuitive technology.  
 
SLDR also incorporates TaylorMade’s Loft-sleeve Technology, which allows the golfer to easily adjust the loft. Golfers can choose 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.
 
In addition to its performance and easy-to- use MWT system, golfers will also take note of SLDR’s look and sound. At address, golfers will see a driver that possesses a classic shape and a rich charcoal-gray crown color that contrasts with a silver face to aid with alignment. At impact, the sharp and crisp sound that echoes from the tee box will undoubtedly be that of a TaylorMade driver.
 
“TaylorMade is well-known for creating technologies that help golfers hit better shots, but we also revere in the beauty of a golf club,” said Executive Vice President Sean Toulon. “It’s a very special feeling when you sole a club for the first time and fall head-over-heels in love with what you see.  SLDR is that club. And it is going to make you fall in love with your driver all over again.”
 
Love at first sight happened when TaylorMade brought a small quantity of SLDR’s to the PGA and European Tours. In its first three weeks on Tour, TaylorMade’s Tour representatives were met with overwhelming player demand to see and hit SLDR.  The tour staff even received texts and phone calls from players who followed other tour pros reaction about SLDR on twitter, demanding they get one to test at the Open Championship.
 
Via twitter, player feedback included:
 
- Justin Rose (@JustinRose99): “It’s Solid. Great acoustics and Hot Flight.”
- Ken Duke(@DukePGA): “I love this driver.”
- Justin Hicks (JustinHicks2010): “(SLDR) works right out of the box. Hit 100% of fairways in first round using it.”
- Shawn Stefani (ShawnStefani1): “Best driver I have hit in a long time.”
- Darren Clarke (DarrenClarke60): “It goes like a dream.”
 
In week one, nine SLDR’s were put into play at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, while four players played the driver at the Scottish Open. Given the scarce availability of SLDR’s, a total of 13 in play worldwide in its first week was unexpected. The following week, 14 players put SLDR in the bag at the Open Championship.  TaylorMade expects SLDR to become the No. 1 played driver as early as the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Pricing, Options and Availability:
 
Available in four lofts – 8°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°, SLDR is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 57 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, SLDR TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 6.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. Availability for SLDR and SLDR TP begins August 9 at a suggested retail price of $399.
 
*driver claim based on robot testing of 9.5 drivers in neutral setting at approximately 150mph ball speed.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
 
TaylorMade Golf touts new SLDR 'company's longest driver ever'
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