Equipment

March 10, 2013 - 10:12pm
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. 

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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 - 8:47pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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 - 6:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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'').

March 4, 2013 - 11:49am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Cobra AMP Cell
COBRA PUMA GOLF
The Cobra AMP Cell, limited edition green driver is here just in time for the Masters.

 

Over the last several years, various golf manufacturers have pulled out all the stops to do something special for the major season-opening Masters.
 
Whether it's golf bags, headcovers, hats, clothes, shoes, or whatever, the common theme is Masters green.
 
Cobra has taken that one step further. In anticipation of the year's first major, Cobra has announced the release of a limited edition, green AMP Cell driver.
 
Here's the release:
 
CARLSBAD, Calif. (MARCH 4th, 2013) – It’s almost time for the first Major of the year and COBRA Golf is celebrating by bringing golfers the AMP CELL  Limited Edition – Green Driver. An AMP CELLTM head complete with MyFlyTM, SmartPadTM, E9 Face TechnologyTM and Advanced Material Placement, is paired with a Diamana Blue Board shaft, LE headcover, LE wrench and, of course, is being released in ‘Season Opener Green.’ 
 
Starting on March 15th, 1,800 of the Limited Edition Drivers will be available at select golf retailers globally. Each driver is marked with a ‘1 of 1800’ stamp on the sole for authenticity. 
 
“We are aiming to be the most desirable brand in golf,” commented Jose Miraflor, Director of Product Marketing, COBRA. “It’s one of the most exciting times of the golf season and this Limited Edition Driver builds off of that energy. With all of our game changing technology, like MyFly and SmartPad, we are bringing game enjoyment to golfers everywhere,- the added desirability of a Limited Edition Driver for the first Major is exciting for our consumers.” 
 
MyFly Technology offers a simple solution for golfers to optimize trajectory and distance. The Driver can be adjusted to the following lofts with a simple wrench; 8.5°, 9.5°, 9.5° Draw, 10.5°, 10.5° Draw and 11.5°. With MyFly, golfers can now customize their club based on swing speed (higher lofts for slower swing speeds and lower lofts for faster swing speeds), weather (lower lofts to bring ball flight down on windy days) and course conditions (higher lofts for more carry). 
 
Unlike other drivers that require a golfer to adjust the sole plate after adjusting loft for a square face, COBRA’s proprietary SmartPad technology delivers a square face at address regardless of loft setting and still allows for workability to slightly open or close the face as desired.   
 
COBRA’s E9 Face TechnologyTM with dual roll provides an elliptical face shape with a canted bulge and roll that improves distance and accuracy on mis-hits from heel to toe and above and below the centerline.  Advanced Material PlacementTM and Cell technology work together to enable a 12% larger elliptical E9 Face shape to deliver faster ball speeds and high MOI (moment of inertia) on mis-hits. The Cell technology saves and redistributes weight in a granular way and is visible on the drivers in the Cell band which wraps around to the crown. This wrap also visibly shows a golfer where the weight is distributed, with the Driver having a CG optimized for low-mid handicap players. 
 
The AMP CELL  Limited Edition – Green Driver (MAP $399) is available in right handed models with My Fly technology which allows any driver you purchase to be adjusted from 8.5° to 11.5° loft settings, including 9.5° and 10.5° draw settings. It is available in Stiff and Regular flexes and features a Diamana Blue Board Shaft (60g S and R, 55g L and 45.75” length). The grip and Limited Edition Headcover and Wrench match the head of the driver in Season Opener Green. 
 
The Limited Edition Driver will be available on March 15th, 2013. To find an authorized COBRA dealer near you, visit http://cobragolf.com/dealer-locator
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 26, 2013 - 10:45pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Phosphor Watches
Photo courtesy Phosphor watches
Phosphor watches are ideal time keepers for golfers

I'm not a "watch" guy.  Never worn them and now, with the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, I see no reason I ever will.  In fact, I can't think of a time or place where I didn't have easy access to the time -- except the golf course.

Sometimes cell phones are prohibited, sometimes they are frowned upon, sometimes they are just hard to keep nearby - but knowing the time while on the course is important. We all have busy lives and at the very least, want to know our pace of play is in line with what it should be. So now - I need a watch.

Enter Phosphor watches who have developed a sports watch - ideal for golfers - that is stylish, functional and durable.

The World Time Sport Watch uses E Ink technology (the same as your favorite E reader such as the Amazon Kindle, which requires no backlight for its digital display and makes telling time in its large display area easy for golfers in even the brightest of glares.  It offers a variety of modes and display options - and is light and thin - barely noticeable for even those who don't often wear watches.  The band is also strong enough to simply clip to your golf bag with no worries of it snapping away.

If you are, or know, a golfer who seemingly has everything - here's a unique and practical gift idea for you. 

February 25, 2013 - 10:19pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
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."

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