November 5, 2013 - 6:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Callaway Apex Pro irons
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The Apex Pro clubs are more compact than the standard Apex clubs, and have less offset, a thinner topline, a narrower sole and a shorter blade length from heel to toe.

Back in September, Callaway unveiled its new Apex irons, which it bills as ''forged performance'' clubs. Now comes the Apex Pro edition, a tuned-up version for better players.

The Apex Pro clubs have a one-piece, 1020 carbon steel, forged construction designed specifically to deliver a soft and responsive feel – that is also a primary goal of the standard Apex clubs. The Apex Pro heads are more compact than the standard Apex clubs, and have less offset, a thinner topline, a narrower sole, and a shorter blade length from heel to toe.

One of the standout features on the Apex Pro irons is what Callaway calls its High Performance Wide Groove profile. Callaway engineers discovered that tour players and better amateurs were often generating too much spin out of the rough, largely because of high clubhead speed, reducing both distance and consistency. To remedy this, they came up with a new wide-spaced groove.

GOLF BUZZ: Callaway unveils Apex 'forged performance' irons

In addition, the Apex Pro clubface is about 17 percent thinner than the 2013 edition of the X Forged irons, which improves ball speed. Increasing ball speed was secondary to improving sound and feel on the Apex Pros, and to that end Callaway added a high-damping polymer insert in the back of the head that helps eliminate unwanted vibrations at impact.

The soles of the long irons (2-5) have tungsten inserts to lower the Center of Gravity, which produces a higher launch angle and makes easier to hit. The Center of Gravity gets progressively higher down the set from longer to shorter irons. In the 9-iron and pitching wedge, this higher CG helps flight the ball down a bit and deliver a flatter trajectory.

The stock shaft on the Apex Pro irons is the new KBS Tour V, which Callaway describes as a premium, mid-launch, low-torque steel shaft that maximizes energy transfer for a smooth feel and faster ball speeds. A graphite UST Recoil shaft will be available through custom order.

The Apex Pro irons will be available at retail in early January. Callaway hasn't yet announced a suggested retail price.

Here is a video from Callaway talking about the new Apex Pro irons:



Callaway Apex Pro irons ramp up feel for better players
November 1, 2013 - 12:24pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
From now through Dec. 31, 2013, Titleist is offering free personalization on each dozen golf balls sold.

Titleist has announced that from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013, the company will offer free personalization on every Titleist golf ball dozen sold.

During this two-month period, personalization charges will be waived on all orders of Titleist Pro V1, Pro V1x, NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT SoLo golf balls. Free personalization is also available on custom orders of Pro V1 and Pro V1x with double-digit play numbers (00 and 10-99).

Personalization includes up to three lines of block text (17 characters per line) imprinted on each golf ball in black, blue, green, red or pink ink. Titleist says that popular choices include names, nicknames, initials, holiday greetings, congratulations and inspirational messages. Twitter usernames (i.e., @Titleist) and hashtags (i.e., #TeamTitleist) are also growing in popularity.

READ: A golf club fitting at the Titleist Test Facility

On Pro V1 and Pro V1x models, the combination of a single- or double-digit play number (1-9, 00 and 10-99) with personalization is often used to commemorate a holiday, birthday, anniversary or other significant date or event. Lucky or favorite numbers and athlete jersey numbers are also popular options.

Individual numbers are also available on NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); and DT SoLo (1-4) models.

The minimum order for free personalization is just one dozen. Orders can be placed by visiting any authorized Titleist golf shop. To locate a local Titleist golf shop, click here.

For custom individual and double-digit play numbers, an additional charge may apply.

Here are all the details on the holiday promotion:

- U.S. customers only.

- Offer: Free personalization (single pole personalization only).
- Products: All Titleist golf ball models.

- Imprint: Black, Blue, Red, Green or Pink ink.
- 1 color per personalization.
- Maximum 17 characters per line, up to 3 lines of personalization.

- Minimum: 1 dozen (packaged in standard dozens).
- Dates: An order must be placed between Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2013.
- Orders received by Dec. 10, 2013 are guaranteed to arrive by Dec. 24, 2013 via normal ground freight. Orders requesting Fast Forward Service must be received by Dec. 18, 2013.
- December 3, 2013 is the last day that orders will be accepted for Double Digit Play Numbers, with guaranteed delivery prior to December 24, 2013.
- Orders for individual and double-digit play numbers may incur an additional charge.
- Individual play numbers: Pro V1 and Pro V1x (1-9); NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); DT SoLo (1-4).
- Double-digit play numbers (Pro V1 and Pro V1x only): 00 and 11-99.

To learn more, visit

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

Titleist offers free personalization on all golf balls for holidays
November 1, 2013 - 9:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Hopkins Golf
Hopkins Golf
Hopkins Golf offers Tour-level, personalized, custom wedges to suit your style at a reasonable price.

You've probably noticed a fun trend in golf these days with manufacturers going out of there way to make your clubs more personal.

It's not just about custom-fit clubs anymore. Now, you can have your clubs personalized. Many golf companies are taking personalization to a new level and Hopkins Golf is a leader in the clubhouse to that end.

First off, you might be asking: What is Hopkins Golf?

RELATED: Vessel Bags -- customize your golf bag like the pros

Started by Greg Hopkins, who previously spent 16 years as the CEO of Cleveland/Srixon Golf before resigning in 2012, Hopkins Golf opened its doors in June of 2013.

Hopkins -- who knows a thing or two about great wedges -- had one goal in mind: bring the Tour-level wedge personalization to the masses.

Now, with Hopkins Golf, not only can you purchase a Tour-level wedge with Tour-level personalization -- you also don't have to break the bank in the process.

In the words of Hopkins, "It's like having your own Tour van."

The Hopkins Golf website features an easy-to-use tool that gives you a number of options to personalize your wedge or set of wedges. Everything from stamped icons to engraved initials to selecting the color paint fill you want used on the stamping and engraving.

The base price of a single Hopkins Golf wedge is $99.99 without personalization. Prices vary depending on the level of personalization you desire. For instance, if you'd like custom colors in paint fill, add an additional $15 per club. For engraving or stamping, add an additional $30 per club. All of that sets a price point right around the average cost of other Tour-level wedges on the market.

RELATED: MannKrafted Milled Putters -- the ultimate in putter customization

You can also choose from a variety of grips, shafts and even ferrule colors (that little piece near the bottom of your club where the shaft meets the top of the hosel).

All Hopkins wedges are made the same way for you as they are for the company's Tour players (it's currently the No. 3 wedge used on the Champions Tour). Features include the following:

- 8620 Carbon Steel, unchromed, for great feel and rusting purposes.
- Grooves that have maximum USGA dimensions for increased spin.
- Face milled pattern with maximum surface roughness for maximum spin.
- Stock wedges include Lamkin Crossline grips.
- Stock wedges include Hopkins Golf OTM (On The Money) steel shafts.
- Six different custom grinds.
- Custom personalization including engraving, stamping and custom colors.

The turnaround time for customized Hopkins Golf wedges is almost as impressive as the wedges themselves. From the time you place your order to the time the wedges arrive at your doorstep is typically less than seven days.

To learn more about Hopkins Golf, visit You can also find Hopkins on Facebook, or on Twitter, @hopkinsgolfco.

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


Hopkins Golf: Personalized, custom wedges to suit your style
October 31, 2013 - 12:54pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag
Nike Golf
The new Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag is the company's lightest bag to date at just under 4 pounds.

Nike Golf announced the release of a new golf bag Thursday -- the Nike Sport Lite.

The Nike Sport Lite, weighing in at less than four pounds, is Nike's lightest carry bag to date.

Features on the Sport Lite include Nike's proprietary EquaFlex revolving double strap system, which distributes bag weight evenly across the shoulders through an ergonomic design that brings more comfort to the often tiring task of carrying a bag around the course for hours at a time. A five-way, two full-length divider system with putter well maximizes club visibility and organization.

Six fleece-lined functional pockets, including a full length apparel pocket, provide enough space for athletes to be prepared on the course without creating extra bulk. The Sport Lite also has an integrated GPS loop, pen sleeve and glove patch; custom grip leg end-caps; and a matching rain hood.

The Nike Sport Lite comes in six different color schemes and will be available at retail Nov. 1 at $155.

For more information, visit

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

Nike Golf introduces Nike Sport Lite golf bag
October 31, 2013 - 10:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
TaylorMade Golf
TaylorMade Golf's SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, will be available Nov. 15. The SLDR driver is available at retail now.

TaylorMade Golf has long been a leader when it comes to golf club innovation.

Most famously, the company took the golf world by storm with its introduction of the white-headed R11 driver in 2011.

It was a risk, but -- as it turns out -- a wildly popular one.

The latest innovation by TaylorMade has the golf world buzzing yet again.

RELATED: SLDR driver features sliding weight on sole

This summer, the company introduced the SLDR driver -- built to help a player hit longer/straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate and faster ball speed. That, the company says, is what makes SLDR its longest driver ever.

In addition to the driver, TaylorMade recently announced the SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, which will be available at retail on Nov. 15.

SLDR fairways woods and rescue clubs combine two of TaylorMade's most recent innovations: Speed Pocket technology and an exceptionally low-and-forward center of gravity (CG) location.

The company says smaller is better; so the new Speed Pocket is smaller (introduced in the RocketBallz fairways and Rescues), which actually makes it more efficient at increasing how fast the face flexes at impact, promoting faster initial ball speed across a wider portion of the face, helping a player get consistently long distance on every swing.

RELATED: SLDR fairway woods, rescue clubs join TaylorMade line

Of course, the most distinguishable feature of the new SLDR driver, is the blue, sliding weight on the sole.

"The SLDR weight slides on the track and never comes loose from the clubhead," TaylorMade says. "To slide the weight to any of the 21 positions on the track, simply loosen the screw, slide the weight, then tighten the screw. It takes as little as 10 seconds. And the sole is marked with the words 'fade' at the toe-end of the track and 'draw' at the heel-end of the track to make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want."

I had a chance to test out samplings of the SLDR family this week, including a driver, 19-degree 5-wood and a 19-degree 3-rescue.

"We learned with the SLDR driver that a low-forward CG location allows many players to increase their loft to achieve the right combination of high-launch/low-spin that promotes maximum distance," TaylorMade says. "The same thing goes for SLDR fairway and Rescues, which is where our Loft Sleeve technology serves such an important purpose, by allowing you to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down to dial in their optimal launch conditions."

The first thing you feel with the SLDR offerings, is that difference in the center of gravity. The head itself feels slightly heavier than others. And, speaking of the clubhead, it's one of the prettiest you'll ever lay eyes on at address.

RELATED: TaylorMade shows off new SpeedBlade irons

The shocking white was fantastic in previous models, but the SLDR family is more of a classic look -- a pretty charcoal-gray crown with traditional shaping. With its dark crown color and silver-colored clubface, the SLDR family is easy to align accurately at address.

Like most amateurs, it took a few swings to get used to the driver. The natural reaction of holding a beautiful new driver that's advertised as TaylorMade's, "longest yet," led me to swing out of my shoes for those first few range balls.

Once you settle in and realize you can let the club do the work, the results are incredible. At impact, the SLDR is as solid as any driver I've tried previously. You can truly feel that low-and-forward center of gravity the company describes.

At least for my game -- about a 10 handicap -- I typically find the fairway woods and hybrids to be the most difficult clubs in my bag to hit. This becomes particularly frustrating for me when all I ever read about is how easy a hybrid is to hit.

Well, if this SLDR test is any indication, my issues with fairway woods and rescue/hybrid clubs are a thing of the past. The ball absolutely flew off the clubface with ease from a variety of lies. Like the driver, slight misses with both the fairway wood and rescue club were extremely forgiving. Most importantly, the misses stayed in play.

I don't consider myself a big tinkerer. The standard settings on all three clubs worked for me. However, it is nice to know that there are products available out there today (not just from TaylorMade) where -- if you're a little off -- rather than go spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment, you can use a special tool to make an adjustment.

The SLDR driver retails for $399.99. There's also a Tour-Preferred (TP) model (with more customizable options) that sells for $499.99. The SLDR fairway woods (available for shipping Nov. 15) go for $249.99 and the TP version retails for $349.99. The rescue clubs -- also available for shipping Nov. 15 -- are $219.99 for the regular SLDR version and $289.99 for the TP version.

To learn more about the SLDR family and all of TaylorMade's offerings, visit You can also find TaylorMade on Facebook and on Twitter, @TaylorMadeGolf.



THE VERDICT: TaylorMade isn't kidding with its "longest driver we've made yet" billing -- the SLDR driver is the longest I've ever hit, flying roughly 15-20 yards past where my usual driver lands.

The look you get at address on the entire SLDR family -- at least for me -- just feels right. I don't feel like I'm swinging a frying pan at the ball. These clubs are as forgiving as they are pretty.

For me, longer isn't always better. But, when the misses stay in play, I'm all for a few extra yards with the longest clubs in my bag.

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


TaylorMade SLDR: Driver, fairway woods and rescue clubs impress
October 30, 2013 - 11:49am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain's new Cumulus rain jacket and pants.

Sun Mountain has a new rain suit offering for 2014. It's called the "Cumulus" -- the company's most breathable golf rain suit to date, offering the light weight of 2.5 layer technology with a two-year waterproof guarantee.

Cumulus has a woven shell laminated to a waterproof, breathable membrane, with a protective inner layer. The slick inner layer makes the Cumulus easy to put on and take off and there's virtually no resistance when you swing.

Features of the Cumulus Jacket include a pleated back which allows an expanded range of motion, a two-way front zipper that lies flat and out of the way when putting, adjustable hem and cuffs, zippered hand warmer pockets, and a stand-up collar.

Sun Mountain says the Cumulus rain pants offer the same ultra-lightweight, 2.5 layer, guaranteed waterproof and breathable construction as the jacket along with a partial elastic waist and zipper fly, zippered hand warmer pockets and wallet pockets, deep lower leg zippers, and a snap system that allows length to be shortened by 2 1/2 inches.

The Cumulus is available now in men's full-zip jacket ($129) and pants ($119).

For more information, visit

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

Sun Mountain introduces Cumulus golf rain suit
<div class="breadcrumb"><a href="/home">Home</a> » Equipment</div>