Equipment

June 28, 2013 - 6:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Titleist 714 Series of irons
Courtesy of Titleist
The four models that will make up the 714 Series of irons are now undergoing what Titleist calls the "performance validation process" before being released to the retail market for the 2014 golf season.

Two years ago at the AT&T National, Titleist gave its staff players their first real look at some of its 712 Series of irons. Last year at the AT&T National, Titleist gave its staff players their first real look at the 913 drivers and fairway clubs. 

And earlier this week at the AT&T National, Titleist showed its staff players the forthcoming 714 collection of irons, as a couple dozen sets were shipped to Congressional for some early testing.

Bringing the prototypes for the Titleist CB, MB, AP1 and AP2 irons that will make up the 714 Series is a big part of the development process. “All Titleist golf clubs go through this critical step to validate their performance before being launched to market,” the company says.

Of the four models, the CB and MB underwent the least change. In fact, Vice President of Golf Club Marketing Chris McGinley told PGATour.com that "the one thing we kept hearing from tour players was, 'Don't screw them up. '" 

So Titleist didn't – instead, the club designers chose to keep the makeover minor, focusing mostly on touch-ups to the sole and overall shape of these classic forged blades.

By contrast, the AP1 and AP2 irons received more of a renovation to enhance their forgiveness, starting with making their heads more progressive down through the set to keep the feel more consistent from club to club. Also, Titleist added more camber to the soles and cleaned up the way the hosel blends into the clubhead.

"We made some significant changes to [the AP] irons," McGinley told PGATour.com. "How significant? I'd say this was the largest amount of change we've made since the franchise began."

The new clubs won't be formally introduced until the fall at the earliest, and the final versions will make up Titleist's 2014 iron offerings.

 

 

Titleist gives first look at 714 series of irons
June 27, 2013 - 9:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature a rough face and aggressive grooves, and come in either a shiny or smoky finish.

Callaway Golf has been teasing us with hints about its new Mack Daddy 2 wedges for a couple of months or so, and now we have the big reveal.

The new wedges are forged from a soft carbon steel for enhanced feel and feature expanded grooves for more spin. They also offer a variety of custom sole grind options. 

''Golfers ask their lob wedges to perform a lot of different shots, so it's important to design these wedges to be extremely forgiving and versatile,'' said Chief Club Designer Roger Cleveland, who created these wedges. ''And that's what we've done with these new grooves and the added custom grind options. The MD2s will be a must for the golfer who wants to perform to his or her best in the toughest of conditions.''

Unique to the wedges with 56 degrees of loft or higher is a new 5V groove pattern, which features wider, more aggressive grooves that increase spin and promote more control around the green. In fact, Callaway says, this new groove pattern is 39 percent larger than on previous models and produces 25 percent more spin on full shots hit out of the rough compared to its 2011 predecessor.

The lower-lofted Mack Daddy wedges also feature the wider grooves, but with a different sidewall in the grooves to tone down the spin just a hair. The new grooves are right up against the USGA limit – in fact, Callaway says, they're actually bigger than the grooves in its models before the implementation of the USGA's 2010 rule – and the clubfaces feature Callaway's Lasered Micro Groove for added roughness across the face.

There are three custom sole grinds available for the 58- and 60-degree clubs:

The U-Grind, which Phil Mickelson inspired and which he has been using for more than a year, has a wide, concave sole and a rounded leading edge to make it easier to stay low and under the ball when opening the face. This grind is versatile in both firm and soft conditions, Callaway says.

The C-Grind is also relieved in the heel and toe to keep golfers from creating too much bounce when they open the face. The depth of the sole is narrow to help facilitate proper contact and to allow the wedge to perform in all situations.   

The S-Grind is relieved in the heel only, and is best suited for firmer playing conditions. This grind, also called the standard grind, is fitting for the golfer who doesn’t want to add loft for a shot and instead play it with a square face.

The Mack Daddy 2 Wedges will be available at retail nationwide on July 12, and will carry a suggested retail price of $119 per club. They will debut with 52-, 56-, 58- and 60-degree options, while 47-, 50-, 54- and 64-degree wedges will come out in November. All will be available in either a shiny Slate finish or a smoky, glare-reducing Chrome finish.

 

 

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges new from grooves to sole
June 20, 2013 - 8:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
GolfLogix, app, golf, smartphone, instruction, GPS
GolfLogix
The GolfLogix app is available on more than 60 smartphone models.
Are you looking for an alternative to an expensive GPS device for your golf game without sacrificing key features?
 
GolfLogix has just the thing for you. Instead of carrying around an extra device and remembering to charge it before you head to the golf course, you can simply download the GolfLogix App to your smartphone.
 
The GolfLogix App is free and easily downloaded to more than 60 smartphone models for 32,000 golf courses worldwide. It provides accurate distances to points throughout the hole, yardage-book quality imagery, scorekeeping, logged club tracking to produce a mapped history of every hole and aerial flyovers just like you see on TV.
 
As GolfLogix explains on its website, there are two levels of membership:
 
The Free Club Membership and the $19.99 Annual Champion Membership.
 
The free GolfLogix Club Membership includes GPS yardage to the Green Center, yardage book quality aerial imagery of each hole, score & stat tracking, 4 player scorecard and storage of all your rounds in the Member Clubhouse at GolfLogix.com. These features are available to use on 30,000+ mapped golf courses.
 
When becoming a free Club Member, you will also get two free rounds to try all of the Champion Member features. After completion of the two free Champion Member rounds you will have the option to upgrade and "Become a Champion Member" or "Continue as a Club Member."
 
The annual Champion membership features are valued at over $39.95, but you can join today for only $19.99. Champion Members get all of the Club Member features listed above as well as precise GPS measurements to the front, center and back of the green, pin positions, distance to all hazards and layups, target distances to any point on the imagery, hole flyovers, patented club tracking and plotting, view of your club ranges on top of the hole imagery, calorie counter, and digital yardage book notes that you can place and store on each hole. No other distance measuring device or app can match the feature set, pricing and high-quality standards of GolfLogix.
 
To learn more about GolfLogix, visit www.golflogix.com.
 
You can also find GolfLogix on Facebook and on Twitter, @GolfLogix.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
 
GolfLogix app provides GPS for device you already have
June 19, 2013 - 3:25pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mantis, golf
Mantis Golf
The Mantis Golf putter isn't just unique in style; it's also unique in function.
Have you ever heard anyone say, "You know, I just make too many putts?”
 
Yeah, we didn't think so. Thanks to a new company called, "Mantis Golf," you might find yourself making a lot more putts.
 
Michael Dill and Chris Maher, longtime business associates, friends and golf partners, got tired of their putting woes and decided to devise a plan with the hopes of correcting the problem.
 
Dill wondered if there was a way to draw a golfer's eye away from the putter and instead focus it on the golf ball during the putting stroke. As subliminal as it is, your eyes actually do follow the putter during a stroke instead of focusing in on the golf ball. If you think about, it makes sense -- isn't it natural for your eyes to instinctively follow a moving object instead of a stationary one?
 
Dill and Maher's goal was to try and subtly, but significantly shift attention from the putter to the ball. With that, Mantis Golf was formed in 2012.
 
The current Mantis offering -- and there are more models to come -- is a green mallet putter. However, unlike the white putter heads that have been all the rage in recent years and brilliant from a marketing standpoint, the green Mantis putter actually has a functional benefit.
 
"We did some testing and developed a product that could reduce visual distraction, or random eye movement during a putting stroke," said Maher, who serves as the CEO of Mantis Golf. "With a matte green finish, the putter is less distinct. It blends in with the green almost like camouflage. My background is in advertising and marketing. Taylormade's strategy was brilliant to go to white clubs from both a branding and marketing standpoint. Whenever Dustin Johnson is on TV, you know he's hitting a Taylormade club because it's white. Like Taylormade or the Cobra AMP line, we have a distinctive golf club. But, it's distinctive beyond branding. It provides a functional measure, which is why we have a patent. We have a utility patent because our product is tied to a functional benefit. We have quantification around that."
 
The design of the Mantis putter -- a color to match the putting surface; a matte finish to reduce reflection; and minimal alignment markings -- serve the purpose of minimalizing the visual impact of the putter during a putting stroke.
 
"It's improved my putting," Maher said. "I can't give it credit for anything else. Of course I have a Mantis in my bag and the more I putt with it, the more I like it. The Polyurethane insert gets the ball rolling more quickly. If I put it in your hands, your eyes won't move. You won't notice the putter over time. People tell us at demos, 'I lose the putter on the backstroke.' That's because their eyes didn't move. When you don't have to think about your eyes moving, you're able to create a more consistent stroke."
 
At the end of the day, Mantis Golf isn't just creating a unique, cool-looking putter. It's creating a putter that will improve your game. 
 
In fact, Maher is so convinced the putter will benefit your game that he and Dill offer a 30-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If you're not satisfied with your putter within that 30-day period, you can send it back for a no-questions-asked, full refund.
 
"We realize it takes a little while to get used to a new putter and that's why we have our 30-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee," Maher said. 
 
Based on looks alone, Maher said, people are drawn to the Mantis putter. 
 
"When people see it, it causes them to want to try it," he said. "They say, 'let me roll a couple of putts.' It's a great feeling putter, so we get a positive response to that. A number of people that I play golf with now have a Mantis putter in their bag, which is fantastic. Anyone who plays golf knows that they're not going to buy a putter unless they truly think it's going to benefit their game."
 
The Mantis putter -- which conforms to USGA Rules -- is available for $159.99 at www.mantisgolfco.com
 
You can also visit Mantis Golf on Facebook, or follow Mantis Golf on Twitter, @Mantis_Golf.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Mantis Golf confident in improving your putting woes
Rickie Fowler paint-splattered gear from Cobra Puma
Courtesy of Cobra Golf
Rickie Fowler himself created the the paint-splattered pattern on these new limited-edition cap, belt and shoes from Cobra and Puma.

We see plenty of professional golfers wearing special clothes for special events these days, but we saw something new from Rickie Fowler today.

The Shaggy One showed up for his Wednesday U.S. Open practice session at Merion in all white – mostly. His cap, belt and shoes carried a paint-splattered look, as if he'd stumbled into one of those Jackson Pollock drip paintings (that are worth millions but I swear look like you or I could make them. OK, the art critic's corner is closed; let's get back to golf…)

Specifically, Cobra Golf tells us, Fowler replaced his usual Puma Monoline cap with a limited-edition Paint Splatter Cobra 110 Snapback cap, and wore a Paint Splatter Cobra Fitted Belt and Paint Splatter Puma Faas Lite shoes. While obviously not for everyone, the splatter look works, to me, because it is an accent and not the dominant visual feature.

But the cool part is the way the splatter designs were created. Fowler himself took golf balls covered with different colors of paint and chipped them at blank canvases. White hats were placed between him and the canvases, so the paint splattered all over them as he hit the balls. The splatter patterns that Fowler created are used on these products – as well as on the shafts and headcovers of some of Cobra's AMP Cell clubs earlier this year.

Rickie's creations are now available to the public in limited quanities. You can get more info on them and order yours at www.cobra.com and shop.puma.com.

 

Rickie Fowler makes a splash, er, splatter, at Merion
Hao-Tong Li (left) and Xin-Jun Zhang
Courtesy of Nike Golf
Hao-Tong Li (left) and Xin-Jun Zhang will represent Nike golf in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories.

It's not on the level of signing Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, but Nike Golf has taken a potentially big step in the world of golf sponsorships. The company announced Monday that it has signed its first head-to-toe endorsement deals with two players from China who aren't yet known around the globe.

Hao-Tong Li, age 18, and Xin-Jun Zhang, 26, have signed multi-year agreements and will represent the Swoosh in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories.

Li, from the Hunan Province, turned professional in 2011 at age 16. As an amateur, he won nine gold medals and six silver medals in the Asian Games in various cities in China. Before turning pro, he tied for 21st in the 2011 Nanshan Masters on the OneAsia Tour, and was named Best Amateur Player. 

He also represented the Chinese National Team as an amateur in 2010 and 2011.  More recently, he tied for 39th in this 2012 Australian PGA Championship and tied for fifth in the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship on the PGA Tour of AustralAsia. He has won $6,664 by making two cuts in five starts on the 2013 OneAsia Tour.

From the Shanxi Province, Zhang turned professional in 2010 at 23. In 2007, he was selected to the Chinese National Team for several international tournaments. He won two gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese Professional Tournaments in 2011 and 2012. He also tied for 13th in the 2011 HSBC Champions in Shanghai, an event won by Martin Kaymer.

''We are excited to welcome these two young and talented athletes to the Nike Golf family,'' said Mark Thaxton, Global Director of Sports Marketing Operations at Nike Golf. ''Hao-Tong and Xin-Jun are our first head-to-toe athletes in China and they will make great additions to our stable of athletes at a global level.'' 

Nike's siging of these two players reminds me a bit of Major League Baseball teams signing amateur teenagers from the Dominican Republic or Taiwan in that you're often betting on potential. But it seems more likely every year that the next wave of raising golf stars will emerge from Asia, and these deals help Nike show those young players that the Swoosh is serious about helping to cultivate their talent. And signing a couple of the higher-profile players in China sure can help Nike broaden its exposure over there.

And speaking of young Chinese golfers, Guan Tianlang remains an amateur unbeholden to any specific equipment company. During his foray in the United States this year, he's been playing a TaylorMade R1 driver, a Callaway X Hot 3-wood and two X Hot hybrids, Nike Pro combo irons, Scratch wedges, an Odyssey White Hot Pro #7 putter, and a Callaway HEX Black ball.

 

Nike Golf signs two young Chinese players to endorsement deals
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