One of the hottest recent trends in golf equipment is the rising popularity of putters with oversized grips. Datrek Golf has responded to this development in its new Lite Rider bag, which contains an expanded putter well designed to handle those extra-big grips.
The Lite Rider, part of Datrek's 2014 line-up, is designated as a cart bag. But as it weighs in at a mere 4.7 pounds, it could easily double as a carry bag. And as we've come to expect from Datrek, it also includes a 14-way organizer top and the IDS (Individual Divider System) to keep your clubs from banging around while the bag's in motion.
Made of durable nylon fabric, the Lite Rider has seven pockets that are all easily accessible when the bag is on a cart. The pockets include two oversized apparel pockets, a large ball pocket, a fleece-lined valuable pocket and an oversized insulated cooler pocket.
The Lite Rider has two soft-grip lift assist handles for easier loading and carrying, along with a Velcro glove holder and holders for tees, a divot tool, a pen and an umbrella. The bag's bottom has rubberized feet for added stability on a riding or push cart.
The Lite Rider is available in seven color combinations: white/black, white/red, black/charcoal, black/red, black/royal and charcoal/pink and navy/lime. The suggested retail is $169.95 and it will be available in golf shops and golf specialty stores on Oct. 15.
The life of a tour pro might sound glamorous, but if you follow some of them on social media you quickly realize that they endure the same hassles as the rest of us (except for those lucky dogs who fly private all the time). Flight delays, cancellations and lost luggage happen to most of them at some point and, as is often the case, these problems always seem to happen at the worst possible times.
Mostly, the inconveniences are just that – inconvenient. Occasionally, though, they become truly problematic. That's the situation Kenny Perry finds himself in this week. He and his luggage made it from central New York to Seattle for the Boeing Classic, but somewhere along the way the shaft of his Adams driver was snapped right where the hosel meets the head.
This wasn't just any driver, either – it's ''the one I won all of my tournaments with this year,'' Perry told The Seattle Times after he discovered the broken big stick in his bag. ''It broke the head right off the shaft.''
Perry was upset, needless to say, in large part because he attributes much of his success this season to his driving prowess. And he has been quite successful – he won two senior majors – the U.S. Senior Open and the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in back-to-back starts. He's amassed nine top-10 finishes in 13 starts this season, and is dominating the Charles Schwab Cup points list.
Adams Golf technicians on-site at TPC Snoqualmie were able to get Perry squared away, reshafting his Super LS 10.5-degree driver with a UST Mamiya VTS silver 60g X flex shaft. Now, it's up to Perry to get the confidence in his driving game back.
''I've been bombing it,'' Perry told the newspaper. ''I've been taking advantage of all the short holes and the par 5s. But that's the only driver I've used all year.''
The irony in this situation is that Perry, like many Adams staff players, is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. His clubs were in a Southwest Airlines-festooned bag – and the big break occurred while Perry was flying Delta.
No one has been more in demand than Dave Stockton as a short-game instructor in recent years. Now, he's getting a chance to influence flatsticks as well as those who use them.
Stockton has signed on with Nike Golf, where he will assist in product development and design – specifically in the realm of putters.
''I'm thrilled to be a part of what I believe is one of the most innovative brands in sports,'' said Stockton. ''I look forward to sharing my putter insights with Nike engineers so they can continue to create amazing product that help golfers putt better.''
Stockton, who received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from The PGA of America, already serves as putting instructor for some of golf's biggest names, including Nike Golf staff players Rory McIlroy and Suzann Pettersen. His list of students, past and present, also includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Morgan Pressel, Annika Sorenstam and Yani Tseng.
He runs his own golf instruction program, Stockton Golf, with his two sons, Ron and Dave Jr. His book, ''Unconscious Putting,'' quickly became a best-seller after its 2011 release, and he followed it up with a sequel, ''Unconscious Scoring,'' earlier this year. He won the PGA Championship in 1970 and 1976, along with nine other PGA Tour titles and 14 Champions Tour victories, played on four victorious U.S. Ryder Cup teams, and captained the 1991 Ryder Cup team to victory.
For any golfer using an adjustable driver, an incident over the weekend is well worth a good look.
Charles Howell III was disqualified from the Wyndham Championship before the start of the third round on Saturday for using a non-conforming driver. But the reason why the driver was declared non-conforming is a new one.
Howell began the week using a new SLDR driver from TaylorMade. Golfers can adjust the SLDR by moving a small weight along a track that runs from the heel to the toe along the sole. Next to that track is a small weight port covered by a cap. The cap can be removed if the golfer wants to switch in a lighter or heavier weight.
While Howell was warming up on the range before the second round on Friday, that cap somehow came off. Howell checked with company officials, who told him that wouldn't affect the club's performance, so he used the driver minus the cap and finished the round tied for 10th place.
On Saturday, however, rules officials told Howell that the missing cap made the driver non-conforming – and because he had used it on Friday, he was disqualified.
''Prior to teeing off, I spoke to the guys at TaylorMade about the toe-cap coming off to be sure that it wouldn't impact the performance of the club. I was assured it would not affect the club's performance,'' Howell said. ''The idea that the club would no longer be conforming, because of the missing toe-cap, never entered my mind.''
Under the rules, if the cap had come off during the round, Howell could have finished the round without penalty and then fixed the club before his next round. But because it happened before the round, he was out.
Discussions among some of my golf buddies raised two specific questions about the ruling:
1. Was the driver ruled non-conforming because officials thought the missing cap might provide a bit of an aerodynamic advantage?
2. Or was the driver ruled non-conforming because it was approved with the cap in place, but not without the cap?
The answer, basically, is both.
"TaylorMade has been making drivers with movable parts since 2004," said TaylorMade Public Relations Manager Dave Cordero. "What happened in the case of Charles Howell III's driver is very rare and we will make the necessary adjustments to ensure this does not happen again."
Adjustable drivers have been around for the better part of a decade now, and are more popular than ever. This is the first time I'm aware that this particular issue has arisen, but it is a lesson for every golfer using a club with any kind of movable part. This ruling is more than enough reason to check your gear before every round and make sure everything is just as it should be.
Approximately a dozen TaylorMade staff players have been using SLDR drivers in recent weeks, and Howell plans to use his this week at The Barclays as he begins the PGA Tour FedExCup playoffs.
"I put this driver in play two weeks ago and it is the best performing driver I've played," he said. "This driver will be back in play [this] week."