Equipment

September 9, 2013 - 10:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade SpeedBlade iron
Dustin Johnson via Twitter
TaylorMade staff player Dustin Johnson took to Twitter to show off the back of a SpeedBlade iron, which boasts a brushed silver finish with blue accents.

TaylorMade took a deep breath during the PGA Tour's off week, and kicked off BMW Championship Week on Monday night with an event to take the wraps off its latest creation – SpeedBlade irons.

The SpeedBlades continue the TaylorMade trend of cutting Speed Pockets into their clubheads, as found in such clubs as the RocketBladez irons and RocketBallz woods. The Speed Pocket is a deep slot that runs from heel to toe on the sole just behind the clubface that allows the face to flex and rebound faster. 

That, TaylorMade says, increases ball speed and elevates the launch angle to boost distance, and provides more control because shots land on a steep angle. In addition, TaylorMade lowered the SpeedBlade's center of gravity to further increase the launch angle and to put more power behind shots hit low on the clubface – which the company says happens almost three-quarters of the time.

The new irons will be available in October.

 

TaylorMade shows off new SpeedBlade irons
September 9, 2013 - 2:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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18 GREENS Apparel
18 GREENS
The 18 GREENS collections consists of fresh golf-inspired designs, sporty fits and functional fabrics that can be worn on and off the course.
Doug Timmons is a PGA Professional from southern California. 
 
Well, that's his day job anyway. When Timmons isn't on the practice tee, he's busily working on his apparel company, 18 GREENS. The vision of 18 GREENS, according to Timmons, is this: "A mission to take fashion to the fairways at an affordable price."
 
So far, the company is doing just that with clothing that certainly blends a SoCal look with a fairways feel -- and not a single item is over $75. The stylish men's polos, pants and shorts offered by 18 GREENS work just as well on the golf course as they do at a casual dinner afterward.
 
We recently had a chance to sit down with Timmons for a little Q&A about his double life, which as you'll see, is 100 percent golf. 
 
PGA.com: Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get into golf? At what age did you fall in love with the game?
 
Timmons: I got into golf at age 15. My grandpa always wanted me to play. So, I broke my leg playing baseball and wanted to play a sport for my school team so I tried out for the team with a cast on my leg. I picked up the game fairly easy at the beginning and then I fell in love with it and was hooked. 
 
I didn't realize it then, but it was awesome to be able to spend so much time with my grandpa and his buddies on the course. They played every 9 for coffee and I would get a Dr. Pepper. Soon I was drinking Dr. Peppers on the boys. 
 
PGA.com: One aspect of your story that I love is the fact that you're a PGA Professional. Chances are, you've spent a lot of time in pro shops and around golf clothing. Is that where your idea for 18 GREENS was born? Was it something you wanted in your golf clothes that you just couldn't find?
 
Timmons: I love the game and love to help the game grow. I love to get kids and adults excited about golf. It's such an amazing game. Getting a club in a kids hands for the first time and watching them make contact is pretty cool. 
 
The concept for what eventually became 18 GREENS was born in 1996, when I noticed there needed to be a huge shift in the market or golf was going to get stale. So making a crossover brand that related to a different demographic is where I started. I love design, business, fashion, people and golf. I really don't require a lot of sleep, so it's pedal to the metal at all times!
 
PGA.com: You've got a great concept with 18 Greens. The clothes are fantastic -- all of them. But your "Casual Water" pants and shorts are unique. Can you talk a little about the Casual Water line and what separates them from other golf pants/shorts on the market today?
 
Timmons: I actually developed the fabric. It took awhile to get it right but I think I nailed it. I have some friends that rep in the action-sports world. I took a board short, added two another materials and then heathered the fabric to make it look a little more formal. I wanted the casual to blend with formal so I named it "Casual Water Technology." You can wear the shorts from the beach to the first tee. The pants you can wear from the boardroom to the first tee. 
 
I'm really happy with the way they turned out and they're extremely comfortable to travel in.
 
PGA.com: Professional golfers -- for the most part -- have to wear pants to play even when temperatures approach or are in the triple digits. For many years, that meant wearing uncomfortable polyesters or cottons that may as well have been like wearing a snowsuit. Clearly fabric technology has evolved. With the 18 GREENS materials, the pants are truly like wearing shorts. Was that your goal?
 
Timmons: Funny you say that. I was playing golf in Vietnam once and after the first hole it looked like I had an accident in my pants because the sweat was so bad and I don't even sweat much. 
 
So that's when I started messing around with tech fabrics to make something lightweight and functional. When I was messing around with the board short hybrid I hit on this fabric and man did it make a comfortable pair of pants in any temperature. Of course, I'm biased, so you'll have to check them for yourself!
 
PGA.com: On your website, along with all the great products, you also have a link to your Golf Academy out at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course. How important is it to you to stay close to the game -- the playing and teaching aspects -- as your clothing company grows?
 
Timmons: I will never stop teaching, I hope. I started learning from Carl Welty. He is an amazing mentor and also Jim McLean -- Carl and Jim work closely together. I'm a student of the game and I love to study film. I was lucky that Carl gave me a job in 1995 at La Costa Golf School. It changed the course of my life. I love to teach people how to enjoy the game. I truly feel they work hand in hand. I try and make everything I do affordable so I do not keep people away because of price.
 
PGA.com: You're a golfer who is making clothes with the golfer in mind. What kind of feedback have you received from your peers on 18 Greens?
 
Timmons: So far so good. I really like feedback so everyday I keep my ears open. I'm always looking for what the new trend could be, studying the history of golf fashion and fashion itself. 
 
I love to look at what guys like Jimmy Demaret wore and how you can make it relevant in today's world. I hope I bring little things to the market that are done just a little differently at an affordable price. I am always open to suggestions.
 
PGA.com: What, so far, has been the most rewarding part of starting your own clothing line?
 
Timmons: Seeing other people that I don't know wearing it. When I first started I used to go up to everyone and ask where they go, it but as it grew I stopped. I like to get feedback from customers and buyers -- that's how I grow as a designer and developer.
 
PGA.com: If you would, please tell our readers where they can go to buy 18 Greens clothing.
 
Timmons: Check your local pro shops, ask for it please if they do not carry it, the more they hear the more chance I have getting it in the shop. You can go to www.18greens.com and get it there if you cannot find it in shops.
 
I love to do high school uniforms and all high schools that get their uniforms from 18 GREENS have the opportunity to sell apparel for fundraising with a promo code and I dontate a big percentage back to the program. I also love to do logoed shirts for tournaments and charity events and I can beat most any price out there. I just want to get the product out there.
 
To see the great products 18 GREENS has to offer, visit www.18greens.com.
 
You can also check 18 GREENS out on Facebook or on Twitter, @18GreensApparel.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
PGA Professional doubles up as instructor, clothing designer
PGA Authentic Junior Apparel by Fore!! Axel & Hudson
PGA Authentic Junior Apparel by Fore!! Axel & Hudson
PGA Authentic Junior Apparel by Fore!! Axel & Hudson was honored with a 2013 Earnie Award for Best Licensed Apparel.
Stylish clothing for the links isn't just for adults. PGA Authentic Junior Apparel by Fore!! Axel & Hudson has proven that and, thanks to their work, has been honored with a 2013 Earnie Award.
 
Here's the release with news of the award:
 
MONTEREY PARK, Calif. -- Fore!! Axel & Hudson – maker of stylish, sharp, golf-inspired, eco-friendly children’s clothing – announces its PGA Authentic Junior line of boys and girls clothing has received a 2013 Earnie Award for Best Licensed Apparel.
 
Presented by leading fashion trade magazine Earnshaw’s, the Earnie Awards annually celebrate childrenswear design excellence. No stranger to these honors, Fore!! Axel & Hudson was named Best New Company in 2011 and nominated this year for Best Boys Collection. Its newly-launched sister line – Fore’N’Birdie – was also nominated as Best Girls Collection.
 
“I was completely blown away to be nominated in three categories and truly cherish this victory for PGA Authentic Junior,” says Paul Nguyen, Fore!! Axel & Hudson Co-Owner and Creative Director. “It’s a testament to the amazing relationships we’ve built with retailers and their customers and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us!”
 
Launched for Spring 2013 for the off-course market, PGA Authentic Junior is an official partnership with the PGA of America. It includes a range of classic and fashion-forward apparel, accessories and headwear for boys and girls. Capturing Fore!! Axel and Hudson’s Southern California roots and the PGA’s pride and passion for the game, the designs feature eye-catching details and luxurious, eco-friendly fabrics. Retailing from $34 to $101, items are available in sizes 2T through 12.
 
As the only comprehensive awards program for manufacturers in the industry, the Earnie Awards denote children’s retailers’ seal of approval. All winners will be presented with a trophy and a cast of adorable kids to model the front-running looks during the annual runway show at the Earnie Awards Ceremony, taking place at the Javits Center on Monday, October 7. 
 
PGA Authentic Junior Apparel by Fore!! Axel & Hudson honored with 2013 Earnie Award
September 6, 2013 - 9:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Salty Grips
Salty Grips
Salty Grips are cork putter grips that are a sustainable alternative to rubber.
In 2012, Mark Button and Whitfield Flowers -- two entrepreneurs with a love for both fishing and golf -- set out to combine their two passions by developing a lightweight putter grip inspired by the cork handles on fishing rods.
 
From that premise, Salty Grips was born.
 
A premium cork putter grip company based in Richmond, Va., Salty Grips aren't simply pretty grips that look different from others.
 
While they sure are pretty and different, the fact is Salty Grips also provide two key elements any golfer can appreciate. First, Salty Grips are a sustainable alternative to traditional rubber grips. And second, the light weight of cork and the smooth texture of the grips enhance feel and encourage a confident putting stroke. 
 
Unlike rubber grips, which need replacement, you can restore Salty Grips without even removing them from your putter. Simply give the grip a light brush with a fine-grit sandpaper and the cork will be restored to its original feel and hue.
 
"My Salty Grip is just what I need to feel quiet hands during my stroke," says Adam Smith, the 2008 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Teacher of the Year. "I teach tempo and connection during putting lessons. My students will truly improve their stroke and feel with this putter grip!"
 
Salty Grips are hand-crafted in Portugal and harvested from sustainable cork oak forests, and then finished, sealed and engraved in Richmond, Va. Currently, there are two grip options available: Mid-Plus Salty Grip at 40 grams (the lightest mid-plus putter grip available) and the Oversize Grip at 70 grams.
 
Custom engraving options are available on both grips and the grips, it should be noted, conform to USGA rules.
 
Salty Grips are available for purchase at www.saltygrips.com, retailing from $34.95 to $39.95 with an additional cost for custom engraving. Free shipping in the U.S. and discounts on bulk orders is also available.
 
You can also check out Salty Grips on Facebook, or follow Salty Grips on Twitter, @SaltyGrips.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
Pass the salt: Salty Grips bring cork to your putter
September 4, 2013 - 8:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain
These Sun Mountain H2NO Lite bags are just two of the waterproof offerings for the company's 2014 line up.
In 2007, Sun Mountain introduced the first waterproof golf bag. New for 2014, the H2NO collection of bags will be expanded to include cart bags and carry bags, all constructed with waterproof fabric, taped seams, and waterproof zippers. The full range of H2NO golf bags will be in stores in October with retail prices from $259-$289. 
 
In part, here's the press release with the announcement from Sun Mountain:
 
Sun Mountain’s most popular bag in Europe, the H2NO carry bags feature tops with integrated handles for ease in picking up and setting down, a top-molded stand attachment for stability, Sun Mountain’s proprietary E-Z Fit Dual Strap System for a balanced carry across both shoulders, patented Roller-Bottom stand mechanism for easy leg activation, and for those rounds that you ride, H2NO stand bags feature leg lock straps and a cart-friendly bottom that will fit into a cart’s bag well. H2NO carry bags feature ample storage space, too, including a full-length clothing pocket, a velour-lined valuables pocket, and multiple accessory pockets. The 2014 collection of waterproof carry bags will include the H2NO Lite ($259), H2NO Ultra Lite ($229) and the H2NO Staff.
 
The H2NO Cart bag features a larger diameter, individual club-divided top, and waterproof pockets to include two full-length clothing pockets, multiple accessory pockets and a velour-lined valuables pocket ($289).
 
The waterproof pockets and rainhood on the H2NO bags feature the same waterproof construction as Sun Mountain’s line of rainwear to include waterproof fabric, taped seams, and YKK waterproof zippers. The extra technology required to make a bag waterproof will be much appreciated by golfers who carry items like cigars, mobile phones, and range-finders. Additionally, when used with the matching rainhood the waterproof protection of the H2NO bags extends to the clubs.
 
For 30 years Sun Mountain has been a pioneer in the golf industry, revolutionizing golf bags, golf outerwear and golf carts. Sun Mountain's many innovations, including the first lightweight golf bag and modern stand bag, have made it the top golf bag company in North America. Within golf outerwear, Sun Mountain redefined golf-specific performance first with the windshirt, then fleece, and again with its four-way stretch, waterproof, and breathable rainwear. The Sun Mountain Speed Cart® golf push cart transformed walking carts and created an entirely new category of golf products. Sun Mountain's "Ahead of Time Design" motto drives the company to continually design and refine golf equipment. 
 
For the Sun Mountain retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit www.sunmountain.com.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair
 
 
Sun Mountain expands collection of waterproof golf bags
September 3, 2013 - 9:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Mizuno MP-54 irons
Courtesy of Mizuno Golf
The long and mid irons in the Mizuno MP-54 set feature a Milled Step Muscle with a cavity cut into them to help provide extra forgiveness and a higher ball flight.

Many players get into golf by playing game-improvement irons and, sure enough, their games improve. Then what?

That was the question Mizuno's designers and engineers asked themselves. Their answer: the new MP-54 irons, the follow-up to Mizuno's MP-53 set.

"Over the past several years, Mizuno's MP iron category has expanded to a point where consumers expect a 'player' iron look and feel with the forgiveness of today's technologically advanced equipment," said Vice President of Product Management Chuck Couch of the challenge Mizuno faced.

The MP-54s are created for better players – those with handicaps from scratch up to about 12 – who want a bit more forgiveness than classic blades provide. At various stages of development and testing, Mizuno staff players including Luke Donald, Charles Howell III and Jonathan Byrd provided their feedback.

What makes them unique is the ''Milled Step Muscle'' in the 3-iron through 7-iron. As is the case with many Mizuno clubs, each MP-54 is forged from mild carbon steel, and the 3- through 7-irons feature a thick muscleback with a 4-millimeter-wide slot. 

This Milled Step Muscle allowed the engineers to reposition the removed weight around the head's perimeter, which increases stability on off-center hits. It also creates a deeper center of gravity for more forgiveness and a higher ball flight, all while maintaining the necessary heft behind the ball to deliver a solid impact. 

The scoring irons – 8-iron down through pitching wedge – don't have the slot. Instead, they feature Mizuno's Solid Muscle Design – essentially, a solid clubhead, thicker in its bottom half, to improve playability. Those attributes also are enhanced by a perimeter grind on both the heel and toe, and the clubs feature Harmonic Impact Technology (H.I.T.), in which Mizuno's engineers tune the clubhead design to maximize feel and feedback.

By comparison, Mizuno says the MP-54 clubheads will be about the same size as the MP-53s, but will offer a more heavily beveled sole for cleaner turf interaction. And, of course, the cavity cut into the MP-54s gives them a lower center of gravity than the MP-53s.

The MP-54s will be available at retail on Sept. 9 in both right-handed and left-handed models, and will carry a suggested retail price of $999.99. They come outfitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and Golf Pride M-31 58 round grips, though a variety of custom shafts and grips also are available. Custom set make-ups also can be assembled from in mixed or combo sets or with MP-H4 long irons.

For more information, visit www.mizunogolf.com.

 

Mizuno MP-54 irons feature 'Step Muscle' design
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