Equipment

chart of long putter usage on pga tour
Charlie Kautz via Twitter
Charlie Kautz of TaylorMade put together this chart of long putter use on the PGA Tour this year, before the anchor ban was announced.

The USGA and R&A&'s ban on anchored putting strokes has certainly garnered its share of attention for the past few months. But this whole time, I've been wondering exactly how many players would be affected.

It's pretty impossible to get a real handle on long putter usage among everyday golfers. But when the ban was announced, TaylorMade's Charlie Kautz (who goes by the Twitter handle @CharlieTour) pulled together an interesting chart and some stats regarding long putters and the PGA Tour.  

Through the first 21 PGA Tour events of 2013, Kautz counted 287 putters classified as belly, midsize or long – though, he noted, not all of those putters were necessarily anchored. That, he figured, averaged out to 13.6 long putters per field, with the fields ranging from 93 players in the Masters to 156 at the biggest PGA Tour events.

In the Masters, 14 of those players – including, of course, winner Adam Scott – used long putters. And in the 64-man WGC-Accenture Match Play, which he described as the most "elite" field in pro golf, six players used putters classified as belly, midsize or long.

When Kautz posted his chart, he said: ''I'm curious how a line graph showing week-by-week usage'' of long putters trends in the coming weeks and months. It's pretty safe to say we all share that curiosity.

 

 
How many players could anchor ban affect?
Nike Golf, VR Forged Wedges
Nike Golf
Here's a look at the VR Forged Standard Grind in black oxide from Nike Golf.

 

Nike Golf has announced the release of its new VR Forged Wedges with three distinct sole grinds to personalize your wedge game: standard, dual wide and dual narrow.
 
Here's the press release from Nike:
 
BEAVERTON, Ore. (May 22, 2013) -- Nike Golf is capitalizing on the success of its VR Pro forged wedges with the introduction of the highly crafted Nike VR Forged wedges.
 
Available now at retail, the Nike VR Forged wedge family is made with a fine forged craftsmanship to deliver enhanced shot-making consistency, tour-level feel, and long-life groove performance. The wedges are crafted of a soft 1025 carbon steel and finished in premium satin chrome.
 
Built from the needs of Nike Golf Tour athletes, the VR Forged wedge features three distinct sole grinds to ensure ideal set-up from sand, fringe, fairway or deep rough for different players. The three sole grinds are Standard Grind, Dual Narrow Grind and Dual Wide Grind.
 
The VR Forged wedge with a standard grind is the most versatile profile for all conditions. This sole grind, which was inspired by the desires of Tiger Woods, ensures the correct address position without the need to open the face. This wedge is for the athlete that likes a multiple wedge system in their bag where loft is the primary difference.
 
Featuring a dual narrow grind, the VR Forged wedge has a narrow sole width with higher bounce and extreme heel relief. The wedge sits low to the ball whether the face is square or open. The dual narrow grind was influenced by Nike athlete Paul Casey, who likes to create more shots with fewer wedges.
 
Through research in conjunction with Nike Golf’s European Tour staff, who often face very wet conditions and heavy morning dew, Nike created the VR Forged wedge with a Dual Wide Grind. With the help of Nike athlete Francesco Molinari, club experts found that the Dual Wide Grind has all the benefits of a wider sole with a low bounce.  The easiest of the three grinds from any location around the green. This wedge is designed to get the ball up high in the air with ease. This grind allows the athlete to be accurate from the bunker but still deadly from the narrow lies. The Dual Wide Grind is an excellent second or third wedge option.
 
The VR Forged wedge features Nike’s high-frequency X3X grooves with a precision laser crosshatch pattern that is applied to the land area between the grooves.  This pattern adds three times the surface texture versus conventionally finished faces, creating more spin in all conditions.  With Nike’s X3X grooves, there are more grooves that are closer together and deeper on the clubface, which provides more control and consistency in all conditions off of the clubface, while conforming to the USGA and R&A rules.
 
VR Forged Standard Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 48/10; 50/10; 52/10; 54/12; 56/14; 58/10; 60/10 (Available in RH)
52/10; 56/14; 60/10 (Available in LH) Tour Satin only
MAP: $129.99
 
VR Forged Dual Wide Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 56/8; 60/6 (Available in RH)
MAP: $129.99
 
VR Forged Dual Narrow Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 56/16; 58/14; 60/13 (Available in RH)
MAP: $129.99
 
 
Nike Golf's VR Forged Wedges feature more grinds, increased precision
Jason Day with his 1-iron
Courtesy of TaylorMade
Jason Day is working with a specially made TaylorMade RocketBladez 1-iron to see if he wants to use it to combat the windy conditions he antcipates at the British Open this summer.

Players at the highest level of golf often try out special pieces of equipment in advance of specific tournaments. Jason Day used the HP Byron Nelson Championship to test-drive a 1-iron to see if he might want to use it at the British Open.

That's right, a 1-iron.

Day regularly plays a full set (2-iron through pitching wedge) of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons, but asked the TaylorMade club technicians for a 1-iron to use in the windy conditions he anticipated in Dallas and at Muirfield. To accommodate him, the club techs got a RocketBladez Tour 2-iron and bent it to down to a 16.5-degree loft.

To further simulate the feel and performance of a 1-iron, they also switched in a 125-gram UST Miyama Recoil prototype shaft that is ½-inch longer than normal. Day tried the club out on the range and even used it instead of a driver on most of the holes during his pro-am round last Wednesday.

In gusts of 10-20 mph, Day consistently carried his new 1-iron 250 yards, according to TaylorMade, and a launch monitor showed him hitting a number of shots in excess of 300 yards with bounce and roll. So he used it during the tournament. 

''We were going to try a 1‑iron … here because we know if we have a 1-iron here and it works well in the wind, when we go overseas to the British this year we can have the full confidence that it's going to go the right distance and can come out low and hit different types of shots when I need to,'' Day said last week in Dallas. ''I know that [Four Seasons TPC Las Colinas is] not the British Open course, but the wind is very strong here.''

Day's original thought was to take his driver out of his bag and replace it with a 2-wood. 

''We fiddled around with a wood and we couldn't quite get the right configuration with the shaft and the flight,'' explained Day, who said he last used a 1-iron when he was 13 years old. ''So [about a month ago] we were thinking about putting in a 1‑iron and just practicing with it because of the British.'' 

And while he's definitely thinking about using his new 1-iron at Muirfield, Day said he also might give it a try during the U.S. Open at the relatively short Merion Golf Club next month.

''I think that would be a very good club around there, but I don't know until I get there,'' he said. ''I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it for Memorial, but I know I'm going to use it at the British.''

For the record, Day shot rounds of 72-68-66-72 for a 2-under total of 278 as he tied for 27th place.

 

Jason Day plays 1-iron in advance of British Open
Zero Restriction, Pinnacle Rain Jacket
Zero Restriction
The new Pinnacle Rain Jacket by Zero Restriction is the lightest weight waterproof jacket in golf.

 

I have a confession to make: as much as I love playing golf, I can't stand bearing the elements out on the course when it's cold or raining. Compounding the issue is the bulky gear I have to wear in order to keep warm and dry.
 
Until now.
 
I recently played in a charity golf event. I was looking forward to it, seeing as it would be a rare opportunity for a Monday round. Then I saw the forecast. While there would be an abundance of sunshine under magnificent blue skies, it was going to be chilly.
 
That's what happens when you live in New England though. Recently we've been spoiled with glorious days in the mid-70s. This particular day for golf was going to be in the low 50s.
 
It certainly wasn't freezing by any means and -- let's face it -- low 50s is practically “shorts” weather in the Northeast. But, with a strong wind, like this particular day, low-50s felt a lot more like mid-40s.
 
Just as I headed out the door for the tournament, I received a package from Summit Golf Brands (makers of EP Pro, Fairway & Greene and Zero Restriction), which included the company's new Pinnacle Rain Jacket by Zero Restriction to try out. 
 
Talk about perfect timing. 
 
I immediately ditched the gear that I had in my golf bag, which felt like I was unloading a 100-pound weight, and replaced it with the feather that is the Pinnacle Rain Jacket.
 
At first, I thought, "This isn't going to be warm enough. It's so thin and so light."
 
Then I said, "Whatever, it's not going to be THAT cold, and I want to try this out."
 
On to the course I went. I don't have a lot of gripes about golf raingear in general. The way I always saw it was this -- it's designed to keep you dry and warm. It serves a purpose and if that means sacrificing comfort, so be it.
 
Now I know that’s wrong, because Zero Restriction has completely changed the way I think about weather-related golf gear. 
 
I put the jacket on as soon as I got to the range before my round. I wanted to see how it felt to swing with the jacket. Would it be one of those that looks great, but I need to take off to play shots and put on between shots?
 
I quickly noticed a number of things:
 
1. It was the furthest thing from bulky.
2. It didn't even feel like I had a jacket on.
3. It was warm.
4. There were "zero restrictions" (pun intended) in terms of my swing. 
 
The Pinnacle Rain Jacket never once got in my way. The length of the sleeves were perfect. The zipper never got in my line of sight standing over putts. The jacket moved with my body as I swung, rather than making me feel as though I had a load of laundry under each arm while wielding a golf club in my hands.
 
It's impossibly light and just as impossibly warm. As the folks at Summit Golf Brands so accurately articulate in Zero Restriction's Twitter account hashtags, the Pinnacle is golf's #LightestWeightWaterProof jacket and #CaddiesBestFriend because it is so light.
 
The Pinnacle Rain Jacket isn't just the perfect golf jacket... It's the perfect anything jacket.
 
When I mentioned that to someone at Summit Golf Brands, he wasn't surprised to hear my review and relayed a message employees got from the company's non-executive Chairman of the Board Tom Nolan a few month's back, upon Nolan's appointment.
 
“The key here for me," Nolan told the Summit Golf Brand folks, "is literally everybody at this company is a golf guy. If I can’t wear (Fairway and Greene or Zero Restriction) playing in the U.S. Mid Am or the club championship, we’re not making it. That, in itself, will separate us from everyone else in the marketplace.”
 
Indeed, it already is. This jacket is a hole in one.
 
Here are the specifics on the Zero Restriction Pinnacle Rain Jacket, which retails around $350:
 
Premium 2.5 layer waterproof and windproof stretch fabric for maximum protection. Power torque back and multidirectional stretch elbow panels allow for full freedom of movement during swing. Two-way waterproof zipper allows front of jacket to lay flat and release when putting. Self-fabric cuffs with Bemis tape at high grip points, makes more tactile and durable. High storm collar with memory points allows you to shape the collar as you need to fight the elements and customize the fit. Chest and side pockets have waterproof zippers for secure protection of valuables. Guaranteed Waterproof for the life of the garment. 
 
To learn more about all the great products Zero Restriction has to offer, visit www.zerorestriction.com.
 
You can also visit Zero Restriction on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, @zr_golf
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Zero Restriction's new Pinnacle jacket is a golf rainwear game changer
PING Moonlite
PING
The new PING Moonlite bag features a new water-resistant belly -- an addition implemented by PGA Professional Marty Jertson.

 

As you’ve probably heard if you’re visiting this site, PGA Professionals wear a number of different hats.
 
The common misconception is that they’re always playing golf. That couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. That’s because, in most cases, your PGA Professional is the man or woman who gives lessons, manages a pro shop, coordinates tournaments, helps with rules situations and so much more.
 
And, if you’re PGA Professional Marty Jertson, your duties involve wearing a very unique hat. 
 
Jertson works for PING Golf. His official title is, “Senior Design Engineer II.”
 
So what does that mean?
 
“I’m practically a club designer,” said Jertson, who is also an accomplished player having teed it up in the last two PGA Championships by virtue of top-20 finishes in the 2011 and 2012 PGA Professional National Championships. “Most of my time is spent doing the detailed design work, including all of the 3-dimensional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for various products that we launch, and doing the research and analysis that powers the designs.  
 
“We are unique at PING in that we do a lot of our own shaft and grip designs too, and I’ve been very involved in that over the last eight years.  Most recently, I’ve worked on the G25 irons, Anser driver and Anser irons, and i20 driver and fairway woods.  I’ve also assisted in some of our soft goods product development, and was influential in the development of iPING -- which is an App that we developed to measure various attributes of your putting stroke and bring the quality of a high-end custom putter fitting directly to your iPhone.”
 
Jertson’s latest idea that’s come to fruition for PING Golf is a new feature to the company’s popular Moonlite bag (think, ultra lightweight, Sunday bag). This particular feature is a game changer for this type of bag. It’s also an idea that Jertson admits he’s surprised no one had thought of before.
 
This is how PING describes the bag:
 
Sleek and ultra light with Enhanced Ergonomics for added comfort and convenience, the Moonlite can tote your entire set of clubs and stow your belongings in three pockets to make your round of golf an easy walk. The adjustable standing strap ensures the Moonlite is easy to lift without bending down, and it features a new water-resistant belly.
 
Ah… that “new water-resistant belly” -- that was Jertson’s idea. Since the bag has no stand to keep the weight at a minimum for those who prefer to carry their bags, the water-resistant belly was truly the only thing missing from the Moonlite until now. 
 
“Being from Arizona, one thing we don’t get a lot of is moisture and dewy mornings,” Jertson said. “When I first turned professional out of college, I had a handful of good friends that would go Monday qualify for Web.com Tour events and travel with their staff bag (for if they got in) and a Moon bag for the Monday qualifier.  The Moon bag, by the way, was named after the Moonwalk golf course – a par-3 course at nearby Moon Valley Country Club near PING headquarters – for which the bag was first devised. “
 
At those qualifiers, Jertson’s friends noticed an issue with the Moon bag.  
 
“The problem with the Moon bag was that their grips would get wet on the dewy mornings,” he said. “So, to fix this, they would wrap plastic grocery bags around the bottom of the bag and duct tape them in place.  Well, when we went to design the new Moonlite, I knew we had to solve this problem for golfers out there, and we needed to broaden our scope from just designing for Arizona.  The material that we ended up using for the bottom of the bag is fantastic – and you can use this bag on wet days, and any geographic conditions."
 
So there you have it, a seemingly elementary fix to make a great bag virtually perfect.
 
“Some of the best ideas out there are the ones that you end up saying, ‘Boy, why didn’t I think of that?’ This feature probably falls in that category,” Jertson said. “The bag itself has a lot of other great features in addition to the new bottom.  It also has a dual strap, which can be removed to make a single strap for the traditionalists out there.”
 
With so many golf companies out there these days, it isn’t easy coming up with unique ideas and products. It’s a challenge to say the least, but one that Jertson and his team at PING are always up for. 
 
“What we do in product development at PING, whether it’s for clubs or soft goods, is to focus on solving true problems that our customers face,” he said. “We see this as a never ending challenge. In clubs, we focus on longer and straighter, with good sound and feel.  In soft goods, we are really making a push for improving the ergonomics of our products.  You’ll notice an ‘E2’ on all of our bags now, which stands for ‘Enhanced Ergonomics.’ If we can keep improving ergonomics and focusing on true customer needs, as engineers, we will naturally create unique ideas and features that are innovative, while being functional.”
 
Somehow, Jertson is finding a way to juggle his duties at PING while also maintaining a game that most of us could only dream of possessing.
 
“It’s getting harder and harder to keep my golf game is good shape, but I’m truly fortunate to have great equipment combined with great club fitting,” he said. “It really helps. I play our biggest, most forgiving model of irons, because I know I’m not going to flush every single shot. Additionally, I have a very supportive wife. I try to practice as smart as possible, and stay focused on fundamentals.  I do most of my putting practice indoors at home, at night. And, I get to hit balls 3-4 times a week at work for testing, which helps.  Golf is a tough sport, so you have to seize the opportunities when they are there.”
 
To learn more about the new Moonlite bag by PING, click here
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
PGA Professional develops key new feature to PING Moonlite bag
The Faas Lite Mesh
PUMA Golf
Here's a peak at the new PUMA Golf Faas Lite Mesh golf shoe.

 

Over the last several years, it's not only people who play the game of golf who have gotten more athletic... it's also the gear.
 
From more athletic clothing that moves with your body as you swing right down to your shoes, playing golf has never been more comfortable.
 
PUMA Golf is trying to make it all even more comfortable with the release of its new Faas Lite Mesh golf shoes, which look like sneakers and weigh in at only 6.5 ounces.
 
Inspired by minimalist running shoes, the zero heel-to-toe drop gives golfers a barefoot feeling and allows for a more natural stride and posture during the swing. The Faas Lite Mesh also features strategically placed corrugated flex grooves, SmartQuill traction technology, Evertrack carbon rubber in the forefoot, and an OrthoLite sockliner.
 
Available in Blue/Limeade, Vibrant Orange/White and White/Black for men and Black/Virtual Pink or White/Brilliant Blue for women (which is even lighter at 5.5 ounces), the Faas Lite Mesh is taking the mashup of style and technology to a whole new level, according to PUMA.
 
You can watch a video on the Faas Lite, featuring Rickie Fowler, if you click here.
 
Here's the press release from PUMA with the official announcement:
 
CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 15, 2013) -- PUMA Golf has officially announced the release of the Faas Lite Mesh – the lightest shoe in golf.
 
“Weighing in at only 6.5 ounces, the Faas Lite Mesh is lighter than other golf shoes in the market,” commented Tom Manthe, Global Marketing Manager, PUMA Golf. “The new, spikeless footwear style is designed to take you from the street to the course in lightweight, maximum comfort and trend-setting style.”
 
Inspired by minimalist running, the zero heel-to-toe drop gives golfers a barefoot feeling and allows for a more natural stride and posture during the swing. The zero heel-to-toe drop refers to the sole of the shoe staying the same height, much like a foot would stand if wearing no shoe.
 
Strategically placed corrugated flex grooves move with the foot for a more natural movement. The grooves provide optimal flexibility and increases ground contact throughout the swing for improved traction and stability.
 
Additionally, the Faas Lite Mesh features SmartQuill traction technology that provides directional grip elements to enhance ground contact for improved stability and traction. Evertrack® carbon rubber in the forefoot and heel provide long lasting durability and an OrthoLite® sockliner provides long lasting comfort and enhanced fit, so golfers can rock the Faas Lite Mesh comfortably round after round.
 
In addition to the lightest shoe in golf, PUMA Golf will be releasing the Faas Lite, an extremely lightweight and waterproof golf shoe. A combination of FaasFoam+ (a proprietary blend of foam and rubber that is 25% lighter than previous foams) and lightweight materials in the lining package and tongue create an extremely light and comfortable shoe that weighs just 8.7oz. Microfiber leather with stormCELL provides super lightweight performance and waterproof protection. Like the Faas Lite Mesh, zero heel-to-toe drop, corrugated flex grooves and SmartQuill traction technology is found in the Faas Lite to deliver a lightweight, performance golf shoe.
 
The lightweight technology is packed with unquestionable style in three colorways for both the Faas Lite and Faas Lite Mesh. The Faas Lite Mesh is available in Brilliant Blue/Limeade, Vibrant Orange/White and White/Black and the Faas Lite is available in White/Vibrant Orange, White/Black/Brilliant Blue and Black/Castle Rock. All styles come with two laces, one tonal and one pop color for golfers to customize their footwear look.
 
The Faas Lite Women’s and Faas Lite Mesh Women’s have all the same features and benefits as the men’s versions but weigh in even lighter at 7.0 oz and 5.5 oz, respectively. Women can choose from two colorways: White/PUMA Silver/Virtual Pink and Black/White/Virtual Pink in the Faas Lite Women’s and Black/Virtual Pink and White/Brilliant Blue in the Faas Lite Mesh Women’s.
 
PUMA Golf will also be releasing a limited edition version, the Faas Lite Splatter. Taking inspiration from Rickie Fowler’s ‘Golf Art’ in 2010 and the graphic designs on COBRA Golf’s AMP CELL line of products, the Faas Lite Splatter features paint splatter designs on a white outsole with an orange formstripe. For more information, visit puma.com/golf
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
PUMA Golf debuts the lightest shoe in golf -- The Faas Lite Mesh
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