Equipment

April 10, 2013 - 3:01pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway Phrankenwood
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The 'Phrankenwood' that Phil Mickelson will use at the Masters blends the heat of a driver with the workability of a fairway wood.

Phil Mickelson famously won the 2006 Masters using two slightly different Callaway drivers. This week, he's trying a similar strategy.

No, Mickelson doesn't have two drivers in the bag, but close. Along with his Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver, he's got what Callaway is calling the ''Phrankenwood.''

Essentially, it's a 2-wood (remember those?!), based on Callaway's X Hot fairway wood technology. Mickelson's prototype model has 8.5 degrees of loft with a 250cc head, and is outfitted with a Fubuki k 70X prototype shaft, says Scott Goryl of Callaway.

Like other X Hot fairway woods, the Phrankenwood has a stainless steel head with a Speed Frame Face Cup made of high strength Carpenter 455 stainless steel. The face cup – the front piece on the head, including the clubface – is 40 percent thinner than previous Callaway fairway wood faces, and contains a 90-percent larger sweet spot.

At his news conference at Augusta National on Tuesday, Mickelson said he began playing the X-Hot 3-wood earlier this year and was immediately impressed.

''I hit it as far as my driver,'' he said of the X Hot 3-wood. ''I couldn't believe it, it like shot off the face. It had, you know, the optimum spin that a driver would have, and I hit it as far as my driver. And if you've noticed, as I've played Doral and I've played Houston and I've played these last few weeks, I hit it off almost every tee because it's so easy to hit, and it just bores through the air and I don't have to manipulate it and it just goes so far. 

''So I asked the engineers to take that technology in that club, in our 3-wood, and just put it on steroids,'' which he joked was probably not the best way to phrase that. ''But I wanted to make it more like a driver.''

So the Phrankenwood, Mickelson explained, ''looks like a 3-wood, but it's bigger than our 3-wood. And it's almost like a small driver, but it's the 3-wood technology of our X Hot into a driver. What it's done is taken a lot of spin off of it. And if you watch, you'll see a lot of the shots off the tee that I hit have a lot more scoot on them.''

Mickelson said his practice with the club so far this week has produced exactly the results he had hoped for.

''Tee shots on 9 are getting down to the bottom of the hill, and I haven't been able to do that in years,'' he said. ''Tee shot on 10 is getting another 15 to 20 yards, giving me a club or two less than I've had in years. And the tee shot on 15 is getting down to where I have one or two clubs less, and because it comes off fast, as well as low spin, it's running, which is exactly what I wanted here.'' 

 

 

Phrankenwood in Phil Mickelson's bag at Augusta
April 8, 2013 - 10:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rickie Fowler's Masters outfits
Courtesy of Puma Golf
Rickie Fowler will blend right in Thursday through Saturday, then stand out as usual on Sunday.

Okay, all you fashion mavens, here's the post you've been waiting breathlessly for – the big reveal of the apparel Rickie Fowler will be sporting at the Masters.

The photo above shows his wardrobe from (left to right) Thursday through Sunday, capped off, of course, by his traditional all-orange final-round outfit.

Here's day-by-day details of each outfit, provided by Puma Golf:

Thursday: Golf Duo-Swing Polo shirt, Golf 5 PKT Tech pants, AMP Cell Fusion shoes, Monoline 210 cap and High Shine fitted golf belt 

Friday: Duo-Swing Diamond Polo shirt, Golf Tech Style pants, AMP Cell Fusion shoes, Monoline 210 cap and Spectrum fitted golf belt 

Saturday: Ombre Tech Polo shirt, Golf Track jacket, Golf Tech Style pants, AMP Cell Fusion shoes, Cat Patch Snapback cap and Form Stripe belt 

Sunday: Golf Duo-Swing Polo shirt, 5 PKT Tech pants, AMP Cell Fusion shoes, Cat Patch Snapback cap and High Shine Fitted golf belt 

For complete coverage of the Masters, including news, features, video, photo galleries and more, click here.

 
Rickie Fowler's Masters outfits are cool and colorful
April 6, 2013 - 6:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Titleist 712U utility irons
Courtesy of Titleist
The heads of the Titleist 712U utility irons are chrome plated with a satin finish, and are slightly larger than the standard 2-irons, 3-irons and 4-irons in the Titleist MB 712 and CB 712 series.

Last fall, Titleist quietly seeded some of its prototype 712U utility irons among its staff players, and said that their reaction would help the company determine whether the clubs would be released to the public. Not quite six months later, we know what that determination is – they'll be available to the public by custom order starting May 15.

Three irons will be available – an 18-degree 2-iron, a 21-degree 3-iron and a 24-degree 4-iron.

All three clubs are forged from 1025 steel and include a high-speed 455 steel face insert. They have a traditional profile with a rounded back design that many better players prefer over cavity back long irons with more offset. 

''During the development of 712U, we worked closely with our tour players to design a utility iron that delivers a great combination of consistency and control,'' said Titleist Golf Clubs General Manager Steve Pelisek. ''The deeper CG (Center of Gravity) results in a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) that increases stability at impact, helping players achieve more consistent distance and trajectory control, whether hitting shots high or low.''

The heads are chrome plated with a satin finish, and are slightly larger than the standard 2-irons, 3-irons and 4-irons in the Titleist MB 712 and CB 712 series. They have a wider, camber-sole design than traditional long irons, which promotes clean turf interaction and is more effective for a variety of attack angles. They also utilize a tapered-tip iron shaft for additional trajectory control.

Each iron carries a suggested retail price of $235 with a steel shaft and $259 with a graphite shaft. Custom up-charges may apply.

After their introduction to Titleist staffers last fall, 712U clubs are currently in the bags of such players as Adam Scott (2-iron), Tim Clark (4-iron) and Geoff Ogilvy (2-iron), who prefer a utility iron over a hybrid as an alternative to traditional long irons. In fact, Titleist says, the 712U already has become the most-played utility iron model on the PGA Tour this season.

''I don't like the look of hybrids, but the 712U (2-iron) looks great at address,'' said Ogilvy. ''It is a bit stronger than a 2-iron, it goes farther than a 2-iron and it's easy to hit. It feels great, performs how I need it to, and I like having it in my bag.''

 

Titleist makes 712U utility irons available for custom order
April 5, 2013 - 5:55pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jim Furyk at the Valero Texas Open
Getty Images
Jim Furyk, at the Valero Texas Open, is finding his 9.5-degree Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver to be longer and the 10.5-degree model a little more accurate.

Jim Furyk has two drivers in play this week at the Valero Texas Open, and he's thinking he might use them both at the Masters, too. After all, Phil Mickelson won the 2006 Masters with a pair of Callaway Fusion FT-3 drivers.

Furyk is working with a pair of Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme drivers, one with 9.5 degrees of loft and the other with 10.5 degrees of loft. He's alternating them, more or less, and has ended two rounds at 5-under 139, high up on the scoreboard – and that's despite not getting in a full practice round. (He arrived in San Antonio on Tuesday, then only got in four holes of his pro-am round on Wednesday before it was washed out, so he played a video game to see where to hit the ball on the various holes.)

''I wanted to give it a practice run,'' he told PGATour.com about employing the dual driver strategy in Texas before heading to Augusta National. He added that it might take him until next Wednesday before he's completely settled on which clubs will be in his Masters bag.

So far, Furyk said, he's finding the 9.5-degree driver to be longer and the 10.5-degree model a little more accurate, which is what you'd expect. 

Adding the second driver to his bag caused him to remove his gap wedge, and that's what he said he'd do again next week – he's learned over the years that he seldom hits a gap wedge at Augusta National.

 

Jim Furyk trying two-driver strategy at Valero Texas Open
ASICS
ASICS
The ASICS Gel-Ace Pro retails for $185.

 

Asics, long recognized as the makers of some of the best, most comfortable running shoes on the market also happen to be in the golf business these days.
 
I stumbled upon the shoes at a recent trip to the local Golfsmith and was intrigued, seeing as I love my Asics running shoes.
 
As I learned more, it turns out Asics has been making golf shoes for three years now. Not sure how I missed that.
 
Here's more information from a press release about the company's GEL-Ace Pro model, endorsed by Japan's Shingo Katayama, who finished fourth at the 2009 Masters:
 
Best known for performance oriented running shoes, ASICS has translated key technical features and craftsmanship into a golf shoe that enhances athletic performance. Most notably, an extended trusstic that contours the heel and provides a solid base of support under the heel and arch, leading to a reduction in fatigue while also enhancing foot stability during the golf swing.  
 
Additional features include waterproof inner lining that keeps the foot dry while maintaining breathability; a sockliner that is reinforced for additional arch support; hidden lacing system that allows for a snugger fit and slimmer profile, and replaceable Scorpion Stinger Spikes.  
 
“We are thrilled to enter the golf category and bring ASICS technology to today's golfer,” says Matt Donnelly, Footwear Manager for ASICS America Corporation. “Based on the excitement and interest Katayama generated wearing the shoes at the Masters, we feel confident consumers are interested in a functional yet stylish golf shoe.” 
 
ASICS Corporation, with more than 50 years of footwear manufacturing experience, offers a full line of performance-driven athletic shoes and technical active sports apparel and accessories. 
 
The GEL-Ace Pro is just one of several models offered by Asics. It retails for $185.
 
Asics also offers sneaker-looking golf shoes like the Match-Play Classic ($95) and the MatchPlay33 ($80), among others.
 
For more information, click here to check out all of the Asics golf offerings.
 
You can also visit Asics on Facebook, or via the Asics Twitter page, @ASICSamerica.
Asics no longer just for runners thanks to golf line
April 3, 2013 - 1:54pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Lethal golf ball
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The success of such TaylorMade balls as the new Lethal has prompted the company to construct a new golf ball plant.

TaylorMade will build a new golf ball manufacturing plant, company officials announced Wednesday. The 120,000-square-foot facility will occupy 25 acres in Liberty, S.C., about 28 miles east of TaylorMade's current facility in Westminster, S.C.

The company expects to break ground on the new plant in May and open up next January. The transition from Westminster to Liberty will be complete by July 2014, they said.
 
''The innovation by our R&D team, the passion of our work force in South Carolina and the rapid adoption by the best players in the world have dramatically improved our position in the golf ball category,'' said TaylorMade Executive Vice President John Kawaja. ''The byproduct of this success was the need for a new ball plant that will improve our unit production, quality and margin position.''

The new Liberty plant is expected to be more energy efficient and require less maintenance than the current Westminster plant, TaylorMade said, while also allowing the production process to be revamped to be more efficient.

The current plant turns out about 72,000 balls per day (6,000 dozen) and 24 million balls per year (2 million dozen).

TaylorMade currently markets close to a dozen models of golf ball across the price spectrum, including the RocketBallz, SuperDeep (white and yellow), Burner (white and yellow) and Noodle (white and yellow). Its newest ball, which debuted earllier this year, is the Lethal, a premium five-piece sphere that TaylorMade says is the second-most popular ball on the PGA Tour as well as its best-selling high-end ball ever.

TaylorMade to build new golf ball plant in South Carolina
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