Equipment

March 7, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade-adidas Golf caps
Dustin Johnson via Twitter
TaylorMade staffer tweeted this photo of the #IER caps he's wearing at the Cadillac Championship.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf has been the biggest success story in golf – and I would argue one of the most notable success stories in all of business – in recent years.

The latest proof of that came Thursday, when TaylorMade announced that it achieved record sales in 2012, bringing in more than $1.7 billion. With sales of golf clubs, balls, footwear, apparel and accessories up 20 percent on a currency-neutral basis, the company said, last year was its best ever.

In 2012, the company said, TMaG further strengthened its position as the world's best-selling metalwood brand with a 21 percent increase in that category, which consists of drivers, fairway woods and rescue clubs. The company also grew its iron category by 32 percent. In the United States, which accounts for about half its global sales. TMaG's metalwood market share in dollars was 4 percent and its iron share was 25 percent.

Rounding out its portfolio of growth categories, TMaG saw significant sales gains in footwear (+19 percent), golf bags (+47 percent) and other golf hardware (+48 percent).

The company attributes its 2012 success to the popularity of its adjustable R11S driver and its distance-generating RocketBallz line of clubs. In fact, TaylorMade called the demand for its RocketBallz clubs ''extraordinary.''

Anecdotal evidence so far this year indicates that 2013 will be another strong year, with the second-generation Stage 2 RocketBallz fairway clubs, the RocketBladez irons and the new R1 driver taking the baton from their predecessors. The company also is continuing its relentless marketing pace – this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, for example, TaylorMade staffers are sporting bags and apparel with the #IER hashtag to promote the official tour launch of the RocketBallz Stage 2 clubs (they're ''RocketBallz-ier'').

March 4, 2013 - 12:49pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Cobra AMP Cell
COBRA PUMA GOLF
The Cobra AMP Cell, limited edition green driver is here just in time for the Masters.

 

Over the last several years, various golf manufacturers have pulled out all the stops to do something special for the major season-opening Masters.
 
Whether it's golf bags, headcovers, hats, clothes, shoes, or whatever, the common theme is Masters green.
 
Cobra has taken that one step further. In anticipation of the year's first major, Cobra has announced the release of a limited edition, green AMP Cell driver.
 
Here's the release:
 
CARLSBAD, Calif. (MARCH 4th, 2013) – It’s almost time for the first Major of the year and COBRA Golf is celebrating by bringing golfers the AMP CELL  Limited Edition – Green Driver. An AMP CELLTM head complete with MyFlyTM, SmartPadTM, E9 Face TechnologyTM and Advanced Material Placement, is paired with a Diamana Blue Board shaft, LE headcover, LE wrench and, of course, is being released in ‘Season Opener Green.’ 
 
Starting on March 15th, 1,800 of the Limited Edition Drivers will be available at select golf retailers globally. Each driver is marked with a ‘1 of 1800’ stamp on the sole for authenticity. 
 
“We are aiming to be the most desirable brand in golf,” commented Jose Miraflor, Director of Product Marketing, COBRA. “It’s one of the most exciting times of the golf season and this Limited Edition Driver builds off of that energy. With all of our game changing technology, like MyFly and SmartPad, we are bringing game enjoyment to golfers everywhere,- the added desirability of a Limited Edition Driver for the first Major is exciting for our consumers.” 
 
MyFly Technology offers a simple solution for golfers to optimize trajectory and distance. The Driver can be adjusted to the following lofts with a simple wrench; 8.5°, 9.5°, 9.5° Draw, 10.5°, 10.5° Draw and 11.5°. With MyFly, golfers can now customize their club based on swing speed (higher lofts for slower swing speeds and lower lofts for faster swing speeds), weather (lower lofts to bring ball flight down on windy days) and course conditions (higher lofts for more carry). 
 
Unlike other drivers that require a golfer to adjust the sole plate after adjusting loft for a square face, COBRA’s proprietary SmartPad technology delivers a square face at address regardless of loft setting and still allows for workability to slightly open or close the face as desired.   
 
COBRA’s E9 Face TechnologyTM with dual roll provides an elliptical face shape with a canted bulge and roll that improves distance and accuracy on mis-hits from heel to toe and above and below the centerline.  Advanced Material PlacementTM and Cell technology work together to enable a 12% larger elliptical E9 Face shape to deliver faster ball speeds and high MOI (moment of inertia) on mis-hits. The Cell technology saves and redistributes weight in a granular way and is visible on the drivers in the Cell band which wraps around to the crown. This wrap also visibly shows a golfer where the weight is distributed, with the Driver having a CG optimized for low-mid handicap players. 
 
The AMP CELL  Limited Edition – Green Driver (MAP $399) is available in right handed models with My Fly technology which allows any driver you purchase to be adjusted from 8.5° to 11.5° loft settings, including 9.5° and 10.5° draw settings. It is available in Stiff and Regular flexes and features a Diamana Blue Board Shaft (60g S and R, 55g L and 45.75” length). The grip and Limited Edition Headcover and Wrench match the head of the driver in Season Opener Green. 
 
The Limited Edition Driver will be available on March 15th, 2013. To find an authorized COBRA dealer near you, visit http://cobragolf.com/dealer-locator
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 26, 2013 - 11:45pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Phosphor Watches
Photo courtesy Phosphor watches
Phosphor watches are ideal time keepers for golfers

I'm not a "watch" guy.  Never worn them and now, with the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, I see no reason I ever will.  In fact, I can't think of a time or place where I didn't have easy access to the time -- except the golf course.

Sometimes cell phones are prohibited, sometimes they are frowned upon, sometimes they are just hard to keep nearby - but knowing the time while on the course is important. We all have busy lives and at the very least, want to know our pace of play is in line with what it should be. So now - I need a watch.

Enter Phosphor watches who have developed a sports watch - ideal for golfers - that is stylish, functional and durable.

The World Time Sport Watch uses E Ink technology (the same as your favorite E reader such as the Amazon Kindle, which requires no backlight for its digital display and makes telling time in its large display area easy for golfers in even the brightest of glares.  It offers a variety of modes and display options - and is light and thin - barely noticeable for even those who don't often wear watches.  The band is also strong enough to simply clip to your golf bag with no worries of it snapping away.

If you are, or know, a golfer who seemingly has everything - here's a unique and practical gift idea for you. 

February 25, 2013 - 11:19pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Colin Montgomerie
Getty Images
Colin Montgomerie was "positively aghast" at the idea that the PGA Tour might ignore the proposed anchor ban, according to PA Sport.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem provoked quite a bit of reaction on Sunday when he announced that the tour might not go along with the ban on anchored putting strokes being advocated by the USGA and R&A.

European Tour stalwart Colin Montgomerie was "positively aghast" at the idea that the PGA Tour might ignore the proposed anchor ban, according to the PA Sport newswire in England.

"The R&A and USGA have served the game of golf for a long, long time and long may that continue," Montgomerie said on Sky Sports. "This has opened up a whole new can of worms. It's a very dangerous situation we are getting ourselves into and I do hope they can sort this out very, very quickly.

"I thought, as we all did, that the rules of golf were set by the R&A and the USGA. Tim Finchem has obviously thought otherwise," he added. "Whether the European Tour think that or not has to be debated, too."

The European Tour, by the way, came out in support of the proposed ban last November, with Chief Executive George O'Grady saying that "I would urge the Tour to follow the rules as laid down by the governing bodies. The view of our leading members and our players must be listened to, but I haven't heard one of our members want to break away at the moment. They want to be connected to the game."

That's how Monty feels, too.

"I think we should go with what the R&A and USGA feel. Whether the long putter should have been banned 20 years ago or not, it should be banned now," he said. "We should abide by that. To now go against that and say 'my players aren't going to go by that,' then what happens when you come to USGA events or the British Open?

"Does that mean you have to use a different club? Does that mean other rules can change as well?," he asked. "We want to play as one under the same rules."

February 25, 2013 - 9:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Cleveland 588 TT iron
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The heads of the Cleveland 588 TT irons include a modest cavity back with an engineered undercut to improve ball speed and accuracy on off-center hits.

Of the three new sets of 588 Cleveland irons, the 588 Tour Trajectory (TT) irons are the most ambitious. Like the MT (Mid Trajectory) models, the TT irons are named after the flight pattern they produce – a lower, more piercing trajectory preferred by better players.

The 588 TT irons feature a constant clubface height throughout the set, but have a progressive face length to promote more forgiveness in the long irons and a more penetrating, controlled trajectory in the short irons. The 588 TTs also have forged clubfaces to enhance feel and ball speed.

The clubheads include a modest cavity back with an engineered undercut to improve ball speed and accuracy on off-center hits, while a multi-material iron plaque of polymer and aluminum behind the face dampens vibration at impact for a more consistent feel.

In addition, the 588 TT irons, 588 MT irons and 588 Altitude irons can be easily interchanged to customize a set with the preferred combination of ball flight, feel and forgiveness.

The standard TT set includes a 4-iron through ''D'' wedge (a D wedge is a 50-degree wedge that works both a pitching wedge and sand wedge), though a 3-iron and standard sand wedge are also available. They retail for $699.99 per set with steel shafts and $799.99 per set with graphite shafts.

February 24, 2013 - 11:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade R1 driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade

Adjustability is the dominant trend in drivers these days, and the new R1 driver continues TaylorMade's mastery of this current generation of custom-tunable drivers.

The R1 model offers the greatest range of adjustability of any driver in TaylorMade's history, as well as in the industry today. It gives the golfer 12 loft settings and seven face-angle positions, and includes two movable shot-shape weights. These three features allow the driver to be tuned 168 different ways to optimize distance and accuracy – and, importantly, allow a golfer to adjust the loft and face angle independently of each other.

''Offering a wide range of loft settings is imperative, because our research indicates that 80 percent of golfers are playing the wrong loft, which costs them distance,'' said TaylorMade Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. ''The R1 offers 12 positions to help golfers find the loft that delivers the launch conditions that deliver maximum distance.''

That stat – that 80 percent of golfers don't play the correct loft – seems incredible, but TaylorMade says that many of us typically choose the wrong loft when we buy a driver off the rack. We usually opt for too little loft because too many of us believe that a lower-lofted driver will provide longer distance, but that typically costs the average player carry and distance by promoting a too-low launch angle.

In addition, recent advances in driver design to create less (such as moving the Center of Gravity lower and more forward in the clubhead) help achieve a blend of higher loft and lower spin, making it logical for many players to switch to a higher loft. And because it is so adjustable, the R1 can be tuned for players of almost every type and skill level.

The R1's 12 loft settings mean it can be set anywhere from 8 degrees to 12 degrees of loft (seven of the settings are at the standard lie angle, and five at an upright lie angle). The seven face-angle settings include: neutral/square, slightly open, more open, maximum open, slightly closed, more closed and maximum closed. And the two shot-shape weights allow the Center of Gravity to be shifted by five millimeters to promote either a draw or a neutral/straight trajectory.

This new driver also includes TaylorMade's Inverted Cone Technology – in which an inverted cone is milled into the inner side of the clubface – which expands the sweet spot for extra distance, even on off-center hits. The head is covered with a white matte finish to reduce glare and contrast with the black face to make alignment easier. The new gray and orange crown graphic is eye-catching, and the triangular white space immediately behind the face acts as an alignment aid.

The R1's standard shaft is the Aldila RIP Phenom 55, which, at 55 grams, helps produce a faster clubhead swing than heavier models yet is strategically weighted to deliver the feel of a heavier shaft. It also features Aldila's Hyberbolic Flex Technology, which incorporates a stiff tip section to aid launch and spin control, a very firm butt section for a stable feel and a softer center section that promotes an added kick through impact for maximum ball speed.  

The R1 carries a suggested retail price of $399, while the hotter R1 TP model retails for $499.

 

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