Equipment

July 30, 2013 - 9:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
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
tj.auclair's picture
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'
Bushnell's Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder, golf
Bushnell
The Bushnell Tour V3 and Tour V3 Slope Rangefinders provide the most accurate yardages you can get on a golf course.
One of the easiest ways to get better at the game of golf is to know just how far you hit your clubs.
 
Seems pretty elementary, doesn't it? But, time after time, I see guys that I'm playing with who think there's a standard for the distance that each club should travel. For instance, some of these guys think their pitching wedge should travel 130 yards. Hey, maybe it can. But, most likely, that's what it will travel when a shot is flushed -- and for recreational players like me, you might only flush one out of every five shots.
 
Over the last couple of years in a valiant effort to get better at this game I love so much -- basically to try and become a single-digit handicap -- I've decided to check my ego (not that I'm even worthy of one) at the door. I hit the club that I know will get me relatively close to my target... not the one I think I should be hitting to get to my target.
 
To help me to that end, I've tried a number of GPS devices over the last few years. Many of them have been nice, but not always precise. Of course, when I say "precise" I don't mean I'm the type who needs "perfect" yardage. But, if I know exactly how far away my target is, I have a much better chance of getting it closer than if I'm guessing, or even walking off yardage.
 
And that's where the single greatest tool I've ever come across -- aside from a PGA Professional -- comes into the equation. I'm talking about the new Bushnell Tour v3 Laser Rangefinder with Slope.
 
Whenever I have any spare time, I try to head over to the driving range. The GPS golf devices I was using were great on the course, but they couldn't help me at the range. Recently, I was able to spend some quality time with the Bushnell v3 Tour with Slope and I've been blown away by the results.
 
I've never been one of those people who like to go to the range and "hit balls." As wise a teaching professional once advised me: "Instead of hitting balls when you go to the range, hit shots."
 
This means approaching each shot on the range the way you would each shot on the course. Breathe. Think. Imagine where you want to hit the ball and hit it there.
 
Thanks to the Bushnell Tour v3 with Slope, I'm able to shoot a target to learn it's precise distance (and, surprise, the yardages they display at the driving range for various flags are rarely accurate). That allows me to hit a variety of shots with a variety of different clubs. I know close to how far a certain club will send the ball when I hit it perfect and not so perfect. 
 
Here's how Bushnell describes its Tour v3 line:
 
With its new ergonomic design and its award-winning PinSeeker with JOLT Technology, the Tour V3 sets the standard for being the complete laser rangefinder package -- design, performance and feel.
 
JOLT Technology eliminates all doubt by delivering short vibrating bursts to reinforce the laser has locked onto the flag. Use what the Pros use, feel the exact distance.
 
Features:
 
- PinSeeker Technology with JOLT Technology to zero-in on the flag
- Accuracy within 1-yard
- 5 yards - 1,000 yards ranging performance. 300+ yards to a flag
- 5x Magnification
- Ergonomic design provides a stable grip
- Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
- 3-Volt Battery and Premium Carry Case included
- Rainproof Construction
- 2-Year Warranty
 
As stated, the model I've used was "with slope." It's amazing. It takes into account the terrain your playing and -- depending on the terrain -- might give you two yardages. The first is the "actual yardage," or, how far away your target is. The second yardage takes slope/elevation into consideration, which means it will be more or less than the actual yardage.
 
Say you're playing a hole where the actual yardage is 150, but it plays severely downhill. The yardage with slope might be adjusted to 135 yards. So, while the hole is 150 yards long, the Bushnell Tour v3 with slope is telling you: Hit your 135 club.
 
I've had the chance to use the Tour v3 with Slope both on the range and for two casual rounds of golf. While the Tour v3 doesn't actually hit the shot for you, the results speak for themselves -- my two best rounds this season were the two with the Tour v3.
 
It should be noted that he Tour v3 is legal for use in competition, while the Tour v3 with Slope is not. That said the Tour v3 with Slope is an outstanding tool for practice.
 
There's no denying -- distance control will make you a better player. You won't believe how much the Tour v3 by Bushnell can help you to that end.   
 
To learn more about the Bushnell Tour v3 and Tour v3 Slope Edition, as well as other Bushnell golf offerings, click here
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
Perfect practice companion: Bushnell's Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder
July 26, 2013 - 7:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Tom Stites of Nike Golf
Getty Images
Tom Stites has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including the ones in Tiger Woods' bag.

Tom Stites, the chief club designer at Nike Golf since the company entered the club business, is retiring. He will stay with the company as a consultant.

''Officially, Tom has retired,'' Rob Arluna, Nike Golf's global golf club business director, confirmed to Golfweek. ''He is moving into a consultant's role, and we call him the Chief Imagineer.''

Stites made his name as a club designer at Ben Hogan Golf in Fort Worth – under the watchful eye of Hogan himself – and had formed a popular boutique firm, Impact Golf Technologies, when Nike knocked on his door in 2001. Nike Golf's first club launches under Stites came in 2002, and he has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including all the ones in Tiger Woods' bag – ever since.

Nike Golf established a research and development facility nicknamed ''the Oven'' in Fort Worth, where Stites has created dozens of clubs, including the recent VR_S Covert line of woods and irons. Stites will continue to work there, but instead of focusing on day-to-day operations going forward, he'll concentrate on conjuring up the clubs that'll make up Nike's long-term future.

Stites' move has been in the works for some months and, late last year, Nike Golf hired Cleveland Golf veteran Nate Radcliffe as director of engineering for golf clubs. Also, Golfweek said, Mario Lafortune, director of the Nike Sport Research Laboratory for the past 15 years, will move to Fort Worth from Nike's headquarters in Oregon.

 

Tom Stites retires as Nike Golf chief club designer
July 23, 2013 - 6:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Adams Tight Lies fairway woods
Courtesy of Adams Golf
The new Adams Tight Lies fairway woods feature Cut-Thru Slots in the sole to help flex the face.

Back in the 1990s, Adams Golf earned the attention of golfers everywhere with the introduction of its Tight Lies fairway woods, and for years those clubs were among the most prominent in all of golf.

Two decades later, the Tight Lies line is back. The new iteration features many of the same design elements that made those originals so successful, along with the Velocity Slot Technology found in current Adams clubs.

Just like the original, the new Tight Lies line will debut with a 16-degree 3-wood in mid-August, with other loft options to follow later.

''In the ever-present pursuit of maximum distance, today's fairway woods have become mini-drivers – extremely difficult to hit from anywhere other than from a tee,'' said Adams Golf Director of Research and Development Justin Honea. ''The low-profile design places the center of gravity (CG) below the CG of the ball, making it easy to hit the ball in the air.'' 

A hallmark of the original Tight Lies fairway wood was its revolutionary low-profile, upside-down design, and it is back in the new version. This design feature allows for a very low center of gravity – below the ball's center of gravity – making it easier to get the ball up in the air with distance and accuracy.

The Cut-Thru Slots in the crown and sole create extra flex in the face, which helps create faster ball speeds as well as increased forgiveness across the face. And that unique tri-sole design reduces turf interaction to improve performance from the fairway, rough, sand – even, as Adams says, tight lies.

The new club already has made a fan in eight-time major winner and 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.

''The most important thing for me is to know how far the ball is going to go,'' he said, ''and with the new technology, here with Tight Lies, we can hit it where we want it to go and that's what you want in a golf club.''

The regular Tight Lies woods will come standard with the Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara Eagle graphite shaft, while the slightly hotter Tight Lies Tour edition will feature the Aldila Tour Blue shaft. Both models will feature a matte black finish, while the women's model will have a matte grey crown. All will include the familiar white half stripes low on the shaft that were also featured on the original. 

Along with the 16-degree models available soon for lefties and eighties, the Tight Lies line also will include 14-, 19- and 22-degree models in right-handed, and 19 degrees in left-handed. The Tour clubs will add 14.5- and 18-degree models for right-handers, along with a 14.5-degree model for lefties.

The women's models will come in 3-wood, 5-wood and 7-wood models for right-handers, and 3-wood and 5-wood clubs for lefties.

The standard Tight Lies will carry a suggested retail price of $199.99, with the Tight Lies Tour going for $229.99.

 

Adams brings back Tight Lies fairway woods
July 22, 2013 - 9:58am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Truline Greens, golf, short game, putting, tool, training
Truline
Unlike other artificial greens, Truline mimics the speeds you'll face on the golf course.
If you've played golf for any amount of time, you know that the most important part of the game is the short game.
 
Unfortunately for many, when it comes to practice, the short game is often the most neglected.
 
We think we've found a solution for you. And the best part is, you don't even have to leave home.
 
Paul Branoff is the CEO of a company called Truline Greens, makers of indoor, portable putting greens (they can also be used outdoors and are perfect for an office setting). We know what you're thinking: "I've tried those cheap, roll-up turf greens before. They're nothing like the greens I deal with on a golf course."
 
No argument here other than this -- that's because you haven't tried Truline yet. While a Truline green does roll up, that's only for your convenience. Truline delivers the ideal year-round practice surface that will help build confidence to step up to those 5-10 foot putts and drain them every time.
 
Incredibly, even with its synthetic surface, Truline greens are available in the speeds you encounter on the golf course. One speed available comes in at 9.9 feet on the Stimpmeter -- the pace most amateur players see on the course; the other is Tour Speed, which is 12 feet on the Stimpmeter.
 
A Truline green can be customized to your preferences, but here are the standard sizes available with their particulars:
 
- Big Murph 12’ Long x 65" Wide
- Little Murph 10' Long x 45" Wide (stance end), enabling you to stand on the putting surface and putt from various angles
- Will not leave “trails” or “grooves” on putting surface
- Regulation cup (4.25” diameter)
- Ability to easily create various degrees of break (system provided)
- “Backstop” to prevent balls from rolling off end of putting surface
- 18” of putting surface beyond cup (ideal putt believed to roll 17” past the cup)
- Indicators may be placed on both sides of green, at any distance, to assist with various practice putting drills
- Portable: Rolls up easily for storage or transportation. Lightweight.
 
The Big Murph and Little Murph are a nod to five-time PGA Tour winner and longtime commentator Bob Murphy, who helped develop the greens.
 
The Big Murph is available for $409 at the standard speed, or $429 at the Tour Speed. Little Murph, meanwhile, is available for $309 at the standard speed, or $329 at the Tour Speed.
 
We recently had a chance to chat with Branoff to learn more about the greens.  
 
PGA.com: What is it that got you into the business of creating these greens?  
 
Branoff: Simple -- winters in Michigan. And I couldn’t find a high-quality, portable putting green at a reasonable cost.
 
PGA.com: Tell me about the quality of your greens -- it's certainly not the standard turf mat you can pick up at the local sporting goods store.  
 
Branoff: I believe we have the highest quality material and workmanship possible. Our greens are cut and assembled by highly skilled people using only the best material and equipment. They are 100 percent made in Michigan, with the exception being the raw/base material, which comes from an excellent source in Georgia. The material they ship us for the "regular" Murph green is only made for our company.
 
PGA.com: How are you able to create Tour-level green speeds on your artificial greens?  
 
Branoff: We use the same base material, but the mill in Georgia "shaves" or "trims" the surface to the height we need for faster speeds.
 
PGA.com: Can you talk a little about your offerings from a size perspective? It looks like you have a couple of "standard" sizes, but you can also customize, can't you?  
 
Branoff: Our greens come in standard 4’ x 10’ and 6’ x 12’, but we do offer custom sized greens, also, to suit our customers’ needs. We have shipped greens 6’ x 27’, 12’ x 29’, 4’ x 22’, 6’ x 15’, etc. We can manufacture from 12 feet wide to lengths up to over 100 feet -- but then they wouldn't really be portable.
 
PGA.com: Bob Murphy is a big endorser. Furthermore, a couple of your products are named after him. Can you tell us a little about Murph's influence with Truline?  
 
Branoff: Murph and I go back to the mid-90s and I know him from playing golf with him; and I thought that with his stats and reputation as a great putter, he would be a wonderful person to help with our greens.  
 
A few key points in our greens from my collaboration with Murph called for a wider green at the "stance" end to putt from different angles and with different degrees of break. With a wide stance end, you're also able to stand on the same surface as your ball, which is very critical, especially for the better player. We also have 18 inches of green behind the cup for distance control practice, and a true rolling/realistic surface.
 
PGA.com: How long have you guys been in business?  
 
Branoff: Since 2008.
 
PGA.com: What has been the highlight for Truline so far?  
 
Branoff: Luckily, we've had a few. TaylorMade asked for a Big Murph for use on the TV Show "The View." TMAG (TaylorMade/adidas Golf) was launching its Ghost putter series and believed our green to be ideal for the show.  
 
Our greens were used by a leading putting analysis system company at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando two years in a row, and then Dave Stockton and his sons used our green in their booth at the PGA Show and Dave was kind enough to place advertisement for us at the booth and allowed me to share the booth with him. He introduced me to countless people from the Tours, who now use our greens.  
 
At the end of July, our greens will be in the men's locker room for players wishing to relax by putting during their breaks at the BB&T Atlanta Open professional tennis tournament.
 
PGA.com: Can you talk about the significance of the ball stopper that sits behind the green -- you know, other than to stop the ball?  
 
Branoff: There are leading putting instructors who believe the ideal putt should roll 17 inches past the cup, so we placed a backstop at 18 inches. If you hit the backstop, you’re putting a little too aggressively.
 
PGA.com: What does the future hold for Truline?  
 
Branoff: We have begun shipping to Canada and we will continue to look into how to distribute to Australia, the UK, and Europe. We receive numerous requests from overseas, but shipping costs make this prohibitive -- at least at this point. Another future market I believe is ideal, based upon their love for golf and tight space requirements, is Japan. We don’t advertise yet, but have been growing only by "word of mouth" so far.
 
PGA.com: Can you tell our readers how they can get their hands on a Truline green?
  
Branoff: Readers can visit our website at www.trulinegreens.com. Locally, in Michigan, there are a few retailers and golf clubs carrying our greens. We do offer professional discounts to professionals, instructors, and schools.
 
 
To learn more about Truline Greens, visit www.trulinegreens.com.
 
You can also follow Truline Greens on Twitter, @TrulineGreens.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
 
Truline Greens: Improve your putting without leaving home
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