Equipment

February 25, 2013 - 11:19pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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
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John Holmes
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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
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John Holmes
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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.

 

February 23, 2013 - 3:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cobra AMP Cell iron
Courtesy of Cobra Golf
Red is just one of the accent colors available to help golfers create a personalized set of Cobra AMP Cell irons.

When it came to creating a set of irons to round out its new line of AMP Cell drivers, fairway clubs and hybrids, Cobra didn't hesitate to go bold. So, when choosing a set of AMP Cell irons, golfers can pick from four different accent shades, allowing them to color-match them with other AMP Cell clubs or create a personally mixed set. For traditionalists, silver irons are the stock option, while the other choices are the Vibrant Orange, Directoire Blue and Barbados Red that are also available in the AMP Cell drivers, fairways and hybrids.

Color choice isn't all the AMP Cell irons have going for them, though. They also feature a metalwood face-weld construction, E9 Face Technology and AMP Cell technology as well as a V-Skid sole design, vibration management system and speed channel to help provide enhanced distance, forgiveness and accuracy.

The AMP Cell 4- through 7-irons feature a metalwood construction with a thin, high-strength steel face that is welded to a softer 431 stainless steel body. This optimizes the irons, says Cobra, and helps to generate faster ball speeds for improved distance and forgiveness. E9 Face Technology helps to expand the sweet spot across nine spots on the face and improve distance, feel and forgiveness regardless of where on the face the ball is struck.

The internal cell weighting in the AMP Cell irons enables precise Center of Gravity placement, while the V-Skid sole combines a higher-bounce leading edge with heel-toe relief, resulting in a sole that is versatile for better players, yet forgiving for mid- and higher-handicappers. This works with the vibration management system to reduce unwanted impact shock and sound for exceptional feel.

The new irons (3-iron through lob wedge) come in right- and left-handed models in both steel and graphite shafts. Eight-piece sets (4-iron through gap wedge) carry a street price of $699 for the steel set and $899 for the graphite set. The steel irons feature True Temper Dynalite 90 shafts and the graphite irons use Cobra MRC AMP Cell shafts. All irons feature Lamkin REL .600 grips designed specifically for them.

February 22, 2013 - 8:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ping G25 driver
Courtesy of Ping Golf
The Ping G25 driver meets the USGA volume limit of 460cc and its face is even larger than that on the previous Ping G20 model.

The new G25 driver from Ping has something to help every from from PGA Tour players to everyday amateurs.

For starters, it's Ping's second adjustable model – golfers can add or subtract one-half degree of loft from the standard 8.5-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12-degree settings to optimize your launch conditions. The adjustability resides in the hosels, and the changes are made using a lightweight titanium screw and aluminum hosel sleeve.

The 460cc titanium clubhead, says Ping, has the same diameter and mass as Ping's traditional fixed hosels, so the G25 provides benefits of adjustability without sacrificing the performance that can be lost with a larger, bulkier hosel. In fact, Ping calls the G25 its longest and most forgiving driver to date.

The face on the G25 is even larger than that on the G20 model that preceded it, and variable thickness across the face helps the ball jump at impact. The clubhead's thinner crown and a deeper profile allow Ping engineers to relocate the saved weight lower and farther back in the head to optimize its Center of Gravity position and enhance ball flight. Specifically, this head configuration helps produce a higher trajectory and more forgiveness on shots hit slightly off-center.

The G25 driver, which serves as the flagship of an entire line of fairway metals and irons, comes with a charcoal, non-glare matte finish. It carries a suggested retail price of $385.

February 18, 2013 - 8:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Golf Speedline Super LS driver
Courtesy of Adams Golf

Adams Golf is billing its new Speedline Super LS driver as "easy to hit … easy to fit."

The Super LS is the first to contain Adams Golf's newest iteration of Velocity Slot Technology (VST) – essentially, it's a slot cut into the sole of the clubhead right behind the face that runs form the heel to the toe and flexes upon impact to increase ball speed and expand the sweet spot. The slot in the Super LS is deeper than those in other Adams clubs to increase the prime hitting area across the face and help generate even higher ball speed.

"The Super LS driver's combination of adjustability and performance makes the first shot off the tee the last thing the golfer needs to worry about," said Adams Golf Director of Product Development Justin Honea. "With the newly added VST, we have created a high performance driver with an extremely large sweet spot for maximum distance."

The Super LS also features Adams' Fast Fit fitting system, which gives golfers the ability to adjust the face angle, length and swing weight.

The driver features a Center of Gravity that is low and back on the sole to produce very low spin. In fact, Adams says, the Super LS is its lowest-spinning driver. It is topped off with a matte white crown with contrasting PVD face that reduces glare and makes the club easy to align.

The Super LS comes in lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees in right-handed models, and 9.5 and 10.5 degrees in left-handed models. It features a Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage shaft, and has a suggested retail price of $449.99. 

The driver is the flagship of a line of LS clubs that also includes fairway woods and hybrids.

"The Super LS product lineup is packed with a lot of technology," said Adams' Vice President of Research and Development Tim Reed. "The goal of the Super LS line was to provide golfers with clubs that give them exceptional performance in every category."

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