March 18, 2015 - 7:53pm
Courtesy of Ecco Golf
Fred Couples has worn Ecco golf shoes for a few years now, and even has a model named after him. At the Masters next month, though, he'll be sporting a new shoe – and a few of us will be able to wear them as well.
Ecco has created 1,992 pairs – of the "Fred Couples Signature Edition 1992" in honor of Couples' victory in the 1992 Masters – for sale to the public. A version of the company's Casual Hybrid shoes, these Couples commemoratives are green and white and feature Freddie's laser-engraved signature on the heels.
The shoe, which Couples co-designed, is built on Ecco's E-DTS outsole, which features 100 molded traction bars in the sole to provide plenty of grip. It also has a premium leather upper, is waterproof and, like all Ecco shoes, is constructed with a direct-injection process that bonds the outsole to the upper without needing glue or stitching.
They'll carry a suggested retail price of $200 per pair, and will be available in time for the Masters. More info will be available soon on the Ecco USA site.
Ecco releases special golf shoe to mark Fred Couples' 1992 Masters win
March 17, 2015 - 6:13pm
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
While Odyssey Golf has been rolling out new putter families like the Odyssey Works and Metal-X in the United States over the last year or so, the company has been selling a different line – called the Milled Collection – in Japan recently. Those putters are proving so popular that Odyssey is bringing them to America.
You might see some of these ultra-premium putters at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week, and you'll definitely see them at retail next month.
PHOTOS: See images of all the new Milled Collection putters | WATCH: Odyssey Works 2-Ball
"Milled Collection has performed well both in the marketplace and on Tour in Japan, and we're very excited to introduce it this week on the U.S. tours," Odyssey Global Product Director Chris Koske said. "This is a great addition to the line for us. It's the intro of new and unique head shapes, and of course the Fusion RX insert that's been so key to the success of our Odyssey Works Putters."
The headline feature of the Milled Collection models is the Fusion RX face insert, which Odyssey describes as blending the feel of its popular White Hot insert with the roll from the ultra-light stainless steel mesh from its Works putters and its Metal-X face. The mesh helps to grip the ball upon impact and set it rolling quickly and smoothly.
Odyssey's designers also have refined some of their most popular putterheads to create options like flatter toplines and more squared faces. Speaking of putterheads, in the United States the Milled Collection will be offered in Odyssey's #2 squared-off, heel-toe weighted blade; #5 mallet, #6 scoop-back blade and #9 toe weighted, heel-shafted, flanged blade.
These new putters come with three sets of customizable weights to help you fine-tune your preferred weight and feel, and are created using advanced CNC milling with hand finishing.
They'll be available at retail on April 17, and will have a suggested retail price of $349.
Odyssey brings Milled Collection of putters from Asia to United States
March 11, 2015 - 6:45pm
Courtesy of TaylorMade
TaylorMade unveiled its new AeroBurner driver and fairway woods back last fall – and the driver won three PGA Tour events in the last two weeks (Dustin Johnson at Doral, Alex Cejka in Puerto Rico and Padraig Harrington at the Honda Classic).
So the timing is perfect for the company to roll out the rest of the AeroBurner family – a Mini Driver, irons and two versions of an AeroBurner ball.
The AeroBurner Mini Driver follows the successful launch of the SLDR Mini Driver, and is designed for players who prefer to hit tee shots with a 3-wood instead of a traditional driver. It also can serve as a replacement for the 3-wood.
"The SLDR Mini Driver captivated golfers on all skill levels by delivering better 3-wood performance from the tee," said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's Senior Director of Metalwood Creation. "With AeroBurner, we've now designed a metalwood that delivers even more speed and forgiveness to this new, popular club type."
The AeroBurner Mini Driver has a 253cc head (as opposed to the full-size 460cc heads on most drivers) and a 43.5-inch shaft, and TaylorMade's engineers say the club builds on everything they learned in creating the SLDR Mini.
It's got a new aerodynamic shape with a shallow face designed to help get the ball up in the air, as well as a low-forward center of gravity to launch the ball on a boring trajectory. The head has a raised center crown and a hosel has a new fin to help maximize clubhead speed during the downswing.
And like the rest of the AeroBurner metalwoods, the Mini Driver features the biggest open channel Speed Pocket of any TaylorMade metalwood in company history, which helps increase the size of the sweetspot while reducing spin. The club also has a new matte white finish, a black PVD face and linear crown graphic.
The Mini Driver will be available in both standard and TP models; the TP edition, for better players, is designed with a longer hosel, flatter lie angle and more open face angle. The standard version comes in three loft options (12, 14 and 16 degrees), while the TP comes in 12- and 4-degree options.
The standard Mini will have a suggested retail price of $279 with a lightweight Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 shaft, while the TP will have a suggested retail price of $349 with a Matrix Ozik White Tie 70X4 shaft. Both will be available at retail on March 27.
TaylorMade calls its AeroBurner irons "the ultimate distance iron," and explains that its engineers have optimized loft and center of gravity placement for consistent, powerful shotmaking from any lie. And by incorporating Speed Pockets, the long-bladed heads can promote higher launch angles and more ball speed on well-struck shots while also protecting ball speed on shots hit low on the face for more consistency on mis-hits.
Aesthetically, the AeroBurner irons feature a dark, matte head finish like that on TaylorMade's recent SpeedBlade irons. The darker finish reduces glare off the clubface while delivering a sleek look.
The new irons will be available at retail on March 18. A standard eight-piece set (3-iron through pitching wedge) equipped with stock REAX 88 High Launch steel shafts will have a suggested retail price of $699, while a set with REAX 60 graphite shafts will have a suggested retail price of $799 in stiff, regular, senior or ladies flex.
AeroBurner Soft and Pro Golf Balls
Created for the majority of golfers with mid to high handicaps, the AeroBurner Soft golf ball is TaylorMade's softest two-piece ball and was engineered to deliver distance with stopping power. The company calls the AeroBurner Soft "a distance balls that actually stops," and says it delivers high greenside spin to help amateur players where they need it most.
The keys to its performance are its new, softer REACT Core for greater ball speed on all shots and Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics 342 high-lift, low drag dimple pattern, which was designed to launch high and sustain flight.
By contrast, the Aeroburner Pro is a three-piece ball engineered for high ball speeds off the clubface – like the speeds generated by elite players. Its spin control and soft feel come from the interface of TaylorMade’s Sin Mantle and proprietary Iothane cover.
Both balls are available at retail now. The Aeroburner Soft carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 per dozen, while the Pro model carries a suggested retail price of $26.99 per dozen.
TaylorMade Golf expands AeroBurner line with mini driver, irons and balls
January 30, 2015 - 10:58pm
USA Today Sports Images
If you haven't seen Keegan Bradley play golf lately, you might have noticed something different this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bradley carded a cool 6-under 65 Thursday using a regulation-length putter, and followed up with a 73 in the rain on Friday.
In fact, he put his famous long putter away right after the Ryder Cup, and has played exclusively with a conventional putter ever since. After trying a Scotty Cameron Futura X5 Tour Dual Balance putter recently, he's playing an Odyssey Versa 90 Sabertooth putter in Phoenix.
"I haven't touched it. I still travel with it, but I haven't used it or even thought about going back to it," Bradley said of his long putter.
So if he hasn't thought about going back to it, why bring it along?
"I don't know," he admitted. "I heard that Webb [Simpson, who is also making the switch to a regulation-length putter] snapped his putter. I think that's actually smart. I don't know why I travel with it, because I have no plans to use it. I feel like it's a lot of superstition. I can't explain it. You don't have a clue how many superstitions I've got."
The Phoenix Open is Bradley's fourth event since making the switch and he's pleased with the way he's been putting.
"I played China, didn't do very well [tied for 64th at the HSBC Champions]. I actually putted pretty well. Then Tiger's tournament [tied for 3rd at the Hero World Challenge], putted really well, probably the best I putted for a tournament in a long time, as a whole," he explained. "And at Humana [tied for 48th at the Humana Challenge], I putted just okay. I didn't putt bad, didn't putt great. Just middle ground. But, you know, I'm realizing the fact that I'm going to have bad weeks and bad days putting just like I would with the belly putter."
In terms of getting used to his new short putter, Bradley said he's finding both positives and negatives.
"I have so much more touch with my short putter. I feel like I have – best way to explain it, I feel like I have more of the hole to use," he explained. "With the belly putter, I felt like every putt I hit I had to hammer in the back. I couldn't finesse any putts in. I feel like I have more of the hole to work with.
The downside, he is discovering, is that he has to worry about his set-up much more now than with the belly putter.
"Now I'm constantly having to be aware of my ball position, where I'm holding the club, my posture," he added. "Those are things I didn't have to worry as much about. There are pluses and minuses to both."
He had one pretty good "plus" on Friday, draining a 49-foot putt for birdie on No. 8. Check it out:
Keegan Bradley's switch to regular- length putter going well
January 27, 2015 - 8:09pm
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The buzz in Phoenix on Tuesday was all about Tiger Woods' 2015 debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Also making its debut is Woods' new golf shoe – the TW'15 from Nike Golf.
The shoe's headline: It's the first golf shoe to feature the Flyweave technology that Nike implemented in its basketball shoes last year.
Even though the movements of a basketball player's feet are different from a golfer's, Nike explained, both require stability and a natural range of motion. Flyweave, the company said, lets designers create a one-piece upper that is woven to provide great strength-to-weight support where it's needed most.
And due to the light weight of the Flyweave technology and the golf-specific Nike Free-inspired outsole, the company said, the TW '15 shoes are 10 percent lighter than last year's model.
"Nike keeps answering the bell every time I want to push the envelope," said Woods. "The new Flyweave technology provides even more stability and support for my foot, and when you pair that with the Free-inspired outsole, I noticed I can push off the ground better and finish my swing with power."
Woods provided detailed feedback that, Nike said, that led to the creation of an outsole three millimeters lower than the TW '14 shoes to maximize feel and longer contact with the ground. Meanwhile, Nike's Integrated Traction in the toe area offers more flexibility to help golfers swing fully without sacrificing traction.
Woods' love of diving and spearfishing also is reflected in the shoe's design. The first sketch from Tobie Hatfield, Nike's senior director of athlete innovation, had starfish-shaped traction elements, while the final product features traction elements in the toe shaped like octopus beaks and the rubber in the tip and heel are inspired by shark scales.
The Nike TW '15 shoes will come in three colorways: University Red/Black, Metallic Silver/Black and Black/White. They'll be available at retail on March 5 with a suggested retail price of $250 per pair, though a limited number will be available on nike.com beginning Feb. 2.
Here's a video introducing the shoes:
Nike Golf's new Tiger Woods golf shoe is stronger and more flexible
January 22, 2015 - 1:32pm
In recent years, golf shoe makers have seemingly have been trying as hard as they could to make shoes as lightweight as possible. Light is still right, but many of this year's footwear releases include more comfort and stability to create a more well-rounded shoe.
PUMA: With Rickie Fowler carrying its torch, Puma Golf has always exuded coolness as a brand. And to hammer home its point that its new TitanTour shoes are the "coolest shoes in golf," the shoes in its booth here at the PGA Show are packed in ice.
The reason: The TitanTour features proactive Outlast cooling technology – which was created to help astronauts stay comfortable in their spacesuits – to regulate the temperature in the shoes and keep golfers cool throughout their rounds.
To achieve this, Puma applies its Outlast coating to the shoe's insole, and the coating stores excess heat away from the foot. If the temperature inside the shoe cools off, the shoe releases the warmth. And if not, it keeps the heat away from the foot.
The TitanTour also features Puma's Shapelock memory foam – like that in beds – for comfort and stability, an ultra-thin "Power Frame" in the midsole for flexibility and stability, and low-profile cleats. It's available in seven color options: black/white, white/vibrant orange, white/strong blue, white/gray violet, brown/mustang, white/black, and "flash" (a reflective material).
They'll be available at retail on Feb. 1, with a suggested retail price of $190.
FOOTJOY: One of the shoes that hits this new sweetspot of comfort and stability is the HyperFlex from FootJoy – which looks more progressive and less like a traditional FootJoy release than perhaps anything the company has ever created.
The HyperFlex's most distinctive feature is its FlexGrid 2.0 exoskeleton, which is made of a high-performance material that helps to control the foot during the swing. If the exoskeleton pattern looks familiar to Northeasterners, it's because it was inspired by the cable-like structure that supports the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston.
"Our designers have carried out research in civil engineering and construction to create the distinguishing aesthetics of HyperFlex that are also fundamental to its performance," said Doug Robinson, FootJoy's vice president of design and development worldwide. This outer layer also incorporates a breathable membrane that's guaranteed waterproof for two years.
Stability comes from the bottom as well as the top of the HyperFlex. An Optimized Performance Stabilizer (O.P.S.), which you can see on the rear of the shoe, provides support and motion control to the heel during the swing, and the sole is outfitted with SoftSpikes' brand-new Tornado cleats that provide even more grip that standard SoftSpikes models.
The HyperFlex comes in four styles (Navy/Electric Green, White/Grey/Blue, Black and Grey/Orange) for $190, along with three styles (White/Grey/Blue, Grey/Orange and Black/Red) with the Boa Lacing System ($210). The standard model will be available Feb. 15 for $190 per air, while the Boa version will be available April 15 for $210 per pair.
ADIDAS: In its new adipower Boost golf shoes, adidas focuses on optimizing energy return – storing and releasing energy during the golf swing. The company is adapting this technology from its running and basketball shoes to golf for the first time.
In the Boost, thousands of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) energy capsules are imbedded in the show via a high-pressure steam molding process. The integrity of the EVA foam used in many other shoes can get hard in cold weather and break down in the heat, adidas says, but its Boost material retains its cushioning and responsiveness in all weather conditions.
"During the swing, the energy return is noticeable – as if you can feel the technology in action," said PGA Tour player Jason Day. "They feel good, and look good, too."
Adidas rounded out the shoe by adding gripmore spikes of varying sizes, and placing them in strategic locations on the outsole for improved traction and stability.
The adipower Boost will be available Feb. 27 in four colorways, and will carry a suggested retail price of $190 per pair.
NIKE: The big news about Nike's new Lunar Control 3 shoe is that incorporates a lot of feedback from world No. 1 Rory McIlroy. His big suggestion – make the shoe more stable so he can swing more aggressively without having to worry about slipping.
The Nike designers listened. They widened the shoe's base to improve its stability and remain in contact with the ground longer through impact. They also added a lightweight carbon fiber midfoot shank to make the shoe stronger yet still flexible.
The Lunar Control comes in four colorways: Black/Pure Platinum, Pure Platinum/Bright Crimson, White/Pure Platinum and White/Volt. It is available now with a suggested retail price of $210 per pair.
ECCO: Danish shoemaker Ecco Golf is out with its BIOM Hybrid 2, the next generation of its best-selling golf shoe. This new edition – worn by Fred Couples, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell – is 15 percent lighter than the original model thanks to an extra-thin midsole that helps bring players closer to the ground.
The shoe also has a dual-density TPU outsole, which is harder in areas that need the most stability and softer in the key comfort zones around the foot.
Like all Ecco golf shoes, BIOM Hybrid 2 is created using a direct-injection process that bonds the upper and outsole unit to make a one-piece shoe without glue or stitching. This, the company says, gives it an exceptionally water-tight seal as well as comfort and flexibility without the need for a break-in period.
The shoes contain soft and breathable uppers made of yak leather and treated to resist both staining and water. The bottom is outfitted with molded bars that offer hundreds of traction angles for superb grip.
They're available now at a suggested retail price of $195 per pair.
New golf shoes offer improved comfort and stability
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