Without a doubt, the highlight of the week has to be PGA Professional Rob Labritz canning a 95-yard wedge shot in sudden death at the PGA Professional National Championship to earn a spot in the PGA Championship. Heck, it was even No. 1 on ESPN's top plays.
As happy as Labritz was with his fantastic feat, someone else pretty satisfied, too – Bob Vokey, the namesake of Titleist's Vokey Wedges and the man who designed the wedge that Labritz used to hit what he called ''the shot of my life.''
On Friday, the Vokey Wedges Twitter account tweeted out a photo from April, showing Vokey and Labritz working on the bounce of Labritz's wedges. ''How'd those wedges work out Rob?,'' Vokey asked in the tweet, and I think we all know the answer.
In case you missed it, you can click here to see Labritz's walkoff wedge as well as his joyous reaction to it. And you can click here to relive all the action from the PGA Professional National Championship.
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.
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.