Equipment

March 16, 2013 - 6:31pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Barber Pole Golf putters
Courtesy of Barber Pole Golf
The Portrush blade (left) has a classic plumbers neck design, while the Waterville mallet has a thicker crown between the face and the rounded-off back cavity.

When you hear the name Barber Pole Golf, it'd be natural to think it's a red-blooded American clubmaker. Truth is, Barber Pole is based in Dublin, Ireland.

The boutique putter company makes its flatsticks in the United States, though, and is bringing them to the American market this spring.

Barber Pole specializes in solid brass putters with Radius Face Technology, which the company says helps each putter produce topspin immediately upon impact to get the ball quickly rolling on line. In essence, Radius Face Technology removes the loft found on many modern putters and, the company says, makes Barber Pole putters a good choice for putting out of the fringe as well.

"Radius Face Technology is designed to stroke the golf ball above the equator," says Barber Pole Putting Technologist (yes, that’s his title!) A.J. Crinion. "The connection produces immediate topspin and a true, forward roll for improved control and accuracy."

Each putter face is carved from a block of solid brass, which the company says eliminates dead spots or air pockets, which can happen with cast putters. By using CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling technology, Barber Pole guarantees the quality and integrity of each putters.

Barber Pole is bringing the four models in its Irish Links series, all of which conform to USGA and R&A standards, to the United States:

--The Ballybunion mallet features a double-bend shaft to help align the shaft with the center of the face, making the putter face-balanced. The crown contains a single alignment dot, and the putter retails for $369.

--The Portrush blade has a classic plumbers neck design. It features a single alignment dot on the crown and an alignment line on the flange to help square the face up. It retails for $349. 

--The Waterville mallet has a thicker crown between the face and the rounded-off back cavity for a solid feel. It also contains both an alignment dot and line, and retails for $369.

--And the Lahinch blade has a flow-neck design for a clean view of the ball at address. The overall design has a touch of the old ''Bullseye'' in it and the crown also contains a single alignment dot. It retails for $349.

All four putters come in 33-, 34-, 35- and 36-inch lengths, and can be bought with either a standard tour grip or a red and white striped Barber Pole grip.

For more information, visit BarberPoleGolf.com.

 

Barber Pole putters debut in United States
March 15, 2013 - 11:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ogio golf bag
Ogio
The Ogio Straight Jacket, Recoil Stand Bag and Shoester (all in the Madrid color style above) make up the perfect combination for the traveling golfer.

 

Ogio, known for its collection of innovative bags and apparel, is making a splash in 2013 with its Recoil Stand Bag, Straight Jacket golf travel bag and Shoester shoe bag.
 
Have you ever owned any kind of Ogio bag? I've had several Ogio backpacks, which are fantastic for a number of reasons -- for me, it was travel. There were so many pockets for so many different things. Rather than have all your stuff scattered over one or two compartments in a backpack, Ogio made finding things easy. There was a place for sunglasses; a dedicated pocket for valuables; a pocket for your iPod; a pocket for your laptop; etc. Easy access is what it's all about when you're traveling.
 
Well, we've come to learn, that's pretty much the mantra for all things Ogio. 
 
Here are the particulars on the Recoil Stand Bag bag:
 
- 14-way Diamond Performance stand top with full length club dividers
- ZBP™ (Zipperless Ball Pocket)
- TORQ™ Strap
- Load equalizing SHOXX™ X4 full suspension system for extreme comfort
- Advanced molded XX shoulder pads
- Low-profile OGIO Ball Silo™
- Cart strap channel
- 6 pockets (5 zippered)
- Weather-resistant fleece lined valuables pocket with cell phone sleeve
- Walking accessible insulated water bottle holster
- Weight: 7.8 Lbs.
 
For those of you who love to walk, this is a fantastic golf bag. The straps are incredibly comfortable and you have easy access to everything you could possibly need. The Recoil retails for $259.99 and comes in three colors: Madrid, Charcoal and Acid.
 
 
The Straight Jacket is Ogio's smaller, sleeker, more compact golf travel bag. It features the following:
 
- Large main compartment
- Smooth rolling urethane wheels
- Easy entry opening with internal cinch-down straps
- Twin outer pockets for accessories
- Fully padded top
- Fits tour bags and stand bags
- Tip-resistant
- Dimensions: 50" H x 15" W x 15" D
- Weight: 5.8 Lbs.
 
The Straight Jacket retails for $159.99 -- a steal for a quality golf, travel bag -- and comes in three colors: Madrid, Chrome/Acid and Black.
 
 
The best thing about the Straight Jacket is this -- if you're like me and able to travel to some great golf destinations with your clubs in tow, you've probably nocticed once you get to baggage claim, a lot of the golf travel bags look the same. That's not the case with the Straight Jacket. It's easily recognizable, easy to maneuver and it's not bulky like other golf travel bags.
 
Finally, there's the Shoester shoe bag, which retails for $39.99 and comes in the colors Madrid, Acid and Black. 
 
The Shoester features a carbon-based, anti-microbial interior and can easily be cleaned with a quick wipe down, or thanks to the material inside, a hose even.
 
Much like the Recoil and Straight Jacket, the Shoester has a sleek look. 
 
 
All three items are highly recommended for any traveling golfer. 
 
You can follow Ogio on Facebook and on Twitter, @ogio.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Ogio: The perfect bags for the traveling golfer
March 11, 2013 - 12:27pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
G/FORE
G/FORE
As you can see, the G/FORE golf glove is available in just about any color you can think of.

 

Not all golf gloves are created equally. If you've played golf for any amount of time, you probably know that when it comes to gloves you get what you pay for. 
 
One particular glove that has caught my eye the last couple of years are the G/FORE gloves worn by the likes of Ricky Barnes, Alex Cejka and Tommy Armour III, among others.
 
Aside from the premium AA Cabretta leather used to make the gloves, Fashion Designer & G/FORE Creator Mossimo Giannulli has put a twist on the gloves that will certainly make you stand out on the course.
 
The G/FORE website explains how the gloves came to be:
 
Fueled by founder-designer Mossimo Giannulli's love of golf and background in fashion, G/FORE combines function and style in eye-catching, premium golf products. Crafted from the finest materials, tested on the course by pros and weekend warriors alike, and designed to bring a touch of personality, fun and colour back to the game, G/FORE products honor golf's storied past while looking toward the sport's bright future.
 
A fashion industry veteran and avid golfer, Mossimo founded the billion-dollar clothing company Mossimo Inc. in 1987 and brokered a first-ever designer-exclusive distribution deal with Minneapolis-based Target Stores in 2000. G/FORE embodies his expertise in fashion, passion for golf, and dedication to creating products of unmatched performance and unparalleled style.
 
G/FORE gloves come in a variety of colors. You can be conservative and traditional with a basic, white, leather glove, or you can get bold with colors ranging from clover, to azure, to tangerine, to lemon, to lavender and more.
 
As for comfort, the G/FORE is second to none. You can see the G/FORE glove for yourself at the official website, here
 
The gloves retail for $35 each.
 
Visit G/FORE on Twitter, @gfore, or check out the G/FORE Facebook page.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 10, 2013 - 11:12pm
Posted by:
John Kim, Coordinating Producer
john.kim's picture
Tiger Woods Nike
Getty Images
Tiger Woods was one of three Nike Golf players to win this past weekend with another former ambassador winning as well.

**UPDATE: Apparently, Kevin Kisner, winner of the Chile Classic on the Web.com Tour, is no longer an official Nike Golf player. We will still try to find out what clubs he was playing for his victory this weekend. 

********************************************

I'm sure this has probably happened before - but I can't recall the last time I heard or read this. Nike Golf completed its own version of the Grand Slam this weekend - 4 for 4 in Tour wins. (Actually, 3 for 3 -- see note above).  How's that for validating your equipment?

With all the talk about the early-season struggles of Rory McIlroy, the one topic that seemed most out of place to me was all the conjecture over his move to new clubs.  As has been established multiple times: 1.) All the equipment made by the major manufacturers right now is REALLY good and 2.) It's not like Nike Golf players have collectively been struggling (see Russell Henley - Sony Open; Tiger Woods - Farmers Insurance Open).
 
So last week Rory has a tough week and then a couple of so-so rounds this week.  Hello? Tiger Woods was going on a birdie binge the likes we haven't seen in a long time. And Scott Brown won the PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico. And Suzann Pettersen won on the Ladies European Tour. And Kevin Kisner won the Chile Classic on the Web.com Tour (UPDATE - still trying to validate his equipment now). And you know what all four players have in common? Wait for it...the Swoosh. (Ok, three players with the fourth being TBD)
 
I'm not here to praise one company over any other (love them all!) but want to put one ridiculous argument I see pontificated on, by many who honestly should know better, to rest. No one on tour, any tour, is going to compete with 'inferior equipment.'  Not in today's world.  Are certain clubs better for certain players? Perhaps. But fittings nowadays are so advanced and precise, this really should not be an issue.  No club brand is causing a player to play poorly. 

Whatever you have in your bag, you should feel confident that it is full of the best material and best technology to help you play your best. That sounds very 'industry-friendly' but it's also very sincere.  To paraphrase a famous golf quote: "It's the Indian, not the arrow."
 
Still, this is a special week for the folks at Nike Golf. Give them due credit for what their players pulled off. You might not see it again for awhile from any one company ... if ever. 
 
To see what all the players had in their bags, check out this week's Winner's Bag.
 
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim_10
March 9, 2013 - 9:47pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Tank putter from Odyssey Golf
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The Tank putter from Odyssey golf features two wings flanking a large cutout, and a line of red dots to aid with alignment.

One of the things golfers like most about long putters is that they're heavier than standard-length models, and that extra weight tends to make them more stable during the stroke. The future of long putters might be in doubt, but that stability is a trait golfers will seek no matter the length of the shaft.

The new Tank putter from Odyssey is, as its name suggests, heavier than your average flatstick – its head weighs 400 grams, while its shaft weighs 150 grams. This extra weight, plus a counterbalance weight (weighing 30 to 40 grams, depending on the individual model, at the top of the shaft) helps to keep the Tank stable through impact and to quiet the hands during the stroke. In addition, the added weight engages the big muscles to promote a pendulum stroke that helps keep the wrists from breaking down.

''With Tank, we wanted to enhance the stability of the putter by increasing the Moment of Inertia [in essence, its resistance to twisting or rotating] of the entire club,'' said Odyssey Golf Principle Designer Austie Rollinson. ''We feel this achieves most of the benefits of anchoring without actually touching the body.'' 

In redistributing weight to enhance the Tank's stability, Odyssey focused on placing the balance point in each shaft in relatively the same position as in a conventional putter. So at each length, the balance point is in a slightly different place on the shaft. And because of their extra weight (19 percent heavier than a standard putter), the conventional-length Tank putters have a total club MOI that is 34 percent higher than a standard putter, while the longer options (32 percent heavier than standard) have a total club MOI that is 109 percent higher than a standard putter.

"At every golf club in the world, we've heard golfers say, 'I just want something a little heavier,'" said Odyssey Golf Global Director Chris Koske. ''With the proposed anchoring ban in discussions, we thought it was the right time to service golfers with an alternative and stability-focused method to putting and putter design.

''We didn't just do heavy – each component is carefully weighed to ensure a proper balance point and ultimate stability,'' he added. ''We brought two prototypes out to Riviera and one went in play immediately."

The Tank's head, with its two wings flanking a big cutout in the middle, looks a bit like the reverse of Odyssey's famous 2-Ball models. A string of small red dots on the crown provides an alignment aid, and the face contains Odyssey's popular White Hot insert, which claimed more than 30 victories across the worldwide tours in 2012. For 2013, Odyssey developed a new laser milling cutting process that better matches the insert shapes to the various head shapes.

Tank putters will be available at retail starting on April 12. They, along with the Metal-X Arm Lock putters that Odyssey unveiled in November, should attract serious looks from golfers either considering long putters or weaning themselves off of long putters.

March 7, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
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'').

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