Equipment

February 12, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Odyssey White Hot Pro putters
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The face of the new White Hot Pro putters from Odyssey Golf features an upgraded insert, wwhile the sole includes a series of dashes to be used with the new EyeFit fitting system.

Odyssey putters with a White Hot insert claimed more than 30 victories on tours around the world in 2012, so the company has expanded its White Hot offerings.

The new line of White Hot Pro flat sticks represents the next step in Odyssey's development of putter face inserts, as these new ones are better formed to match the shapes of the faces on which they’re installed. This is done, Odyssey says, with a new laser milling cutting process that helps make the inserts fit more perfectly and provide more consistent sound, feel and reaction across the face.

"The White Hot insert was pivotal in catapulting Odyssey to No. 1 in wins, top-10s and usage across the world's professional tours,'' said Odyssey Golf Principal Designer Austie Rollinson. ''At Odyssey, we are always striving to give the elite and amateur golfer more ways to sink putts more often, so we took our most popular insert on tour and engineered it for better overall performance and consistency. The result is the White Hot Pro line of Odyssey putters.''

A full line of styles is available, including Odyssey's #1, #7, #5, #2 Center Shaft, #9, 2-Ball, D.A.R.T. and Rossie. The Odyssey team also has developed new head shapes for 2013, including a high MOI mallet – with a modified High Definition alignment system called V-Line – and a smaller version of the D.A.R.T. putter called D.A.R.T. Mini.

The White Hot Pro D.A.R.T. and D.A.R.T Mini models, along with the 2-Ball – which, incidentally, is Odyssey's best-selling model – feature an adjustable weighting system that allows golfers to change the headweight of the standard-length putter from 350 grams to 360 or 370 grams. The weights and a wrench are included in the headcover for these models.

All the new White Hot Pro putters come with a Gun Metal PVD finish that creates a non-glare look. These new putters carry a suggested retail price starting at $129.99 for most models. The 2-ball and D.A.R.T. puttersretail for $179.99, while belly and long models of the 2-Ball and CS mallet retail for $189.99.

And in conjunction with the release of the White Hot Pro putter line, Odyssey has introduced a new retail fitting system called EyeFit that helps golfers select a proper head shape based on their general setup to the ball. EyeFit is based on the premise that your set-up dictates the shape of your putting stroke, and uses mirrors to help you see where your eyes set up to the ball.

The closer a golfer is to the ball (eyes over the ball), the more likely he will have a straight back-straight through stroke, Odyssey says, while the farther away a golfer is from the ball, the more likely he will have an arced stroke. Each White Hot Pro putter has a series of dashes on its sole that correlate to the fitting system. Odyssey’s new Versa line of putters features the EyeFit fitting system as well.

 

February 7, 2013 - 1:25pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Wayne Gretzky and Dustin Johnson
TaylorMade via Twitter
The "One Bucket" bucket hats from TaylorMade, modeled here by hockey great Wayne Gretzky and PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson, certainly stand out, even amidst the beauty at Pebble Beach.

The Monterey Peninsula is absolutely one of the most picturesque spots in all of golf – not to mention all the world. But there's a little something extra to catch your eye as you gaze longingly upon the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this week.

Out there among the celebrity hackers and drop-dead scenery over the next four days, you'll no doubt notice a lot of people decked out in bright yellow bucket hats.

No, all those folks don't have the same retro fashion sense. Instead, they're all taking part in TaylorMade's newest promotion.

It's called ''One Bucket'' – meaning all you need to do is hit one bucket of balls with the new RocketBladez irons to be convinced of their quality. To drive the point home, TaylorMade has supplied its staff players plus a number of celebrities and amateurs with the buckets, which are emblazoned with the Twitter hashtag #onebucket along with the RocketBladez logo. The photo above shows Wayne Gretzy and Dustin Johnson modeling the hard-to-miss headwear.

TaylorMade is the master of this kind of eye-catching promotion. Remember last February, the company had its staff players wear white caps with a big heart on the front to show their ''driver love'' for the R11S driver.

A month later came the ''17'' campaign in which players wore caps and even shirts emblazoned with the number 17 to indicate the number of yards a golfer could gain by using a RocketBallz 3-wood. And earlier this year, we saw ''war paint'' on some of its players to promote the new R1 driver.

No doubt the "One Bucket" promotion will generate the kind of visibility that TaylorMade wants for its RocketBladez irons. And, hey, if you want a bucket hat of your own and can't make it out to Pebble (or the Joburg Open on the European Tour) this weekend, you can always buy your own right off the TaylorMade website.

For more on TaylorMade's new RocketBladez irons, click here.

 

February 6, 2013 - 2:11am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cleveland 588 Altitude iron
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The heads of Cleveland Golf's 588 Altitude irons contain internal weights that create a lower, deeper Center of Gravity to improve both forgiveness and a higher ball flight.

What are the 588 Altitude irons from Cleveland Golf built for? Their name gives that answer away.

Designed for mid- to high-handicap players and other golfers with slower swing speeds, these super game-improvement irons are a blended hybrid-iron set. Every club in the set is engineered to get the ball up into the air easily for both playability and performance.

The clubs feature what Cleveland calls Full Hollow Construction. In essence, the clubheads are hollow, with the exception of internal weights that create a lower, deeper Center of Gravity to improve both forgiveness and a higher ball flight.

Each club in the Altitude set has a forged face to enhance feel and ball speed, along with a bendable hosel. To fit different swing types, the hosels can be bent up to 3 degrees upright or 2 degrees flat and the loft can be bent 2 degrees weaker or stronger.

And finally, the 588 Altitude, 588 Mid Trajectory and 588 Tour Trajectory irons can be easily interchanged to customize a set with the preferred combination of ball flight, feel and forgiveness.

The standard Altitude 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 carry a suggested retail price of $699 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts and $799 for an eight-piece set with graphite shafts. There is also a women's set.

Categories: 588 Altitude
February 5, 2013 - 3:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson and his Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver
Callaway Golf / Getty Images
Phil Mickelson enjoyed a record-setting victory in his first week using a Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver.

Back in the good ol' days of NASCAR when the race cars actually looked like street cars, there was a saying: ''Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.'' That meant, of course, that fans would want to buy the cars that prevailed on the track.

There's no similar adage in golf, but the same principle applies. That's why you so often see golf equipment ads touting the success of products on tour.

Seldom, however, is the correlation between tour success and sales as immediate and direct as it was over the weekend.

Phil Mickelson put a new Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver in his bag last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, then went out and shot a 60. Afterward, he spoke glowingly – and specifically – about the new club.

''I finally gave our new RAZR Fit Xtreme a chance,'' Mickelson said after his round. ''And I tell you what, on Tuesday, when I hit it, I kept looking up and I was almost in disbelief at how easy it was, how straight it was, and the misses weren't bad. I put it into play in the pro-am yesterday and I hit it great.

''I drove it phenomenal, and felt really good with it,'' he added. ''And the thing that's so great about it is I can make the same swing with my irons as I do with my driver and the ball goes very straight and easy. … So that was the big thing. I drove the ball much better here.''

Mickelson went on to a wire-to-wire win, tying the Phoenix Open scoring record and barely missing the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record. And because of his performance, and his vocal support of the driver, sales began to pick up – and up!

Over the weekend, Harry Arnett, the senior vice president for marketing at Callaway, sent out this tweet: ''At 2:30pm it was already the most drivers we've sold in one day on our Ecom site. #xtreme #phileffect.''

I asked Callaway for details and, while they wouldn't provide specific sales figures, they did confirm that the weekend – even with the distraction of the Super Bowl – was one to remember.

Callaway sold more drivers on its e-commerce site on Saturday than any previous day, the company said. That record lasted exactly one day, when 20 percent more drivers were sold on Sunday. Sunday also ranked as one Callaway’s top five days ever for web traffic, the company confirmed, and the weekend in total was Callaway's biggest for web traffic.

There are two obvious lessons here:

--For all the recent talk of bifurcation (different equipment rules for tour pros and amateur golfers) last week shows very vividly that everyday golfers still pay very close attention to the gear that the pros play – and that they want to play the same gear that their favorite players use.

--Phil can still move the 'ol needle.

Are you interested in buying the equipment mentoned in this post? Check out the Pro Shops -- a one-stop destination for new and used equipment sourced, inspected and sold by an elite group of PGA Professonals nationwide.

 

 

 

Categories: RAZR Fit Xtreme
February 4, 2013 - 2:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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David Duval
Getty Images
Nike Golf has re-signed David Duval, who used Nike gear during the most successful portion of his career.

Around the first of the year, Nike Golf made a big marketing splash by unveiling a series of new signings – first, Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, then Thorbjorn Olesen and Seung-yul Noh, and finally Rory McIlroy.

Almost a month later, the Swoosh has announced that it has re-signed David Duval. This is noteworthy in that Duval and Tiger Woods were Nike Golf's first big stars – and, in fact, Duval was the first player to win a major using Nike clubs at the 2001 British Open. His original deal with Nike ran out many years ago, though, and he recently has been endorsing clubs from boutique clubmaker Scratch Golf.

Now 41, Duval was on top of the world – even ranked No. 1 for a while – with 13 PGA Tour titles, three Ryder Cup teams and three Presidents Cup teams, but in recent years he has struggled to stay on the PGA Tour. He's been back to Q-School a couple of times – a broken toe kept him out of yet another trip to Q-School last fall. He apparently took a big hit when the housing market crashed, and couldn't even get an exemption into the Humana Challenge last month despite giving that tournament its defining moment by shooting a 59 there several years ago.

He had a miserable 2012 campaign, making only three cuts in 17 starts, and earning only about $32,000. As the new season dawned, though, Duval expressed excitement over his chances for 2013, but it's taken him this long to even get a PGA Tour start – he'll make his season debut this week at Pebble Beach. He has said he'll play anywhere, anytime – even the Web.com Tour if that's what it takes. And he said on Twitter at the beginning of the year that he was returning to the Nike stable, but stressed that, at the time, he hadn't signed anything with the Swoosh.

Well, the Swoosh just made it official, and that's got to give Duval some kind of a boost, even if the financial terms are nowhere near those of some of Nike's other big offseason signings. Tiger and Phil have dominated the PGA Tour headlines the last two weeks. It'd be nice to see Duval make a headline or two of his own this year.

Here's the gear he will play:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert (8.5 degrees, Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft)
3-Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15 degrees)
2-9 Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades
48-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro Blade
53-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
58-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
Putter: Nike Method 006 prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Footwear:  Nike Lunar Control

February 3, 2013 - 1:53pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Ghost Spider S
Courtesy of TaylorMade

The Ghost Spider S putter from TaylorMade is big – and big on stability.

The oversized mallet delivers a Moment of Inertia (MOI) measurement of 6,030, dramatically higher than previous TaylorMade mallets like the Ghost Manta (4,900) and Corza Ghost (3,830). This high MOI makes the Ghost Spider S extremely stable, even on off-center hits, and makes it easier to control the head and square the face to the ball at impact. That's a key benefit, as articulated by the tour pros who have put it in play.

"Ghost Spider S isn't an evolution in mallet performance, it's a revolution," said Michael Fox, TaylorMade's product line manager for putters and wedges. "To create it, we started with the DNA of our most successful putter franchise and applied more than a year of obsessive feedback from our toughest customers, our Tour Staff professionals. In terms of the two most critical aspects of putting -- alignment and stability -- Ghost Spider S is the complete package."

The putter's multi-material head (aluminum and steel) combines a white-colored steel frame perimeter and top line with a new, non-transition black crown. The contrast between the white leading edge and black crown makes it easier to focus your eyes on the top line, TaylorMade says, making it easier to aim accurately.

In addition to the standard hosel, the Ghost Spider S is also available in a tour-inspired "short slant" hosel designed for the player who swings on an arc. Unlike the standard hosel, which promotes a straight back-straight through swing path, the short slant is toe-weighted to broaden the scope of players who can benefit from the Ghost Spider S.

"Mallet putter use on the PGA Tour has grown during the past decade to where, today, more than 30 percent of PGA Tour pros use a mallet," added Fox. "We're confident that tour pros and amateurs who favor a mallet will want to explore Ghost Spider S because the performance benefits are impossible to ignore."

The standard Ghost Spider S carries a suggested retail price of $179, and $199 for a belly model.

Categories: Ghost Spider S
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