We all know how integral to our lives social media has become, and if you've been paying attention in the golf space, you know that the big equipment companies have mastered social media about as well as anybody in any industry.
But here's a first: Callaway is teaming with LinkedIn for ''Hit the Links,'' a social networking contest in which golfers and a foursome of their LinkedIn contacts can win a trip to Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., for a round of golf and a custom clubfitting.
Here's how it works: You log into the LinkedIn Connect API. It then looks through your contacts and recommends a foursome for you.
The three connection types that the API looks for to fill out your foursome are:
--The Company Insider: Someone within your company. The API seeks out a golfer first, but if one isn't available, then it selects the person with the most appropriate title.
--The Business Contact: Someone in your network and industry that you have the most connections in common with.
--The Golfer: To find the passionate golfer in your network, the API references attributes such as interests and group membership. The person with the highest number of connections in common will be selected.
And if you don't like the API’s recommendations, Callaway says, you can ''mulligan'' them out and pick your own foursome.
''We are disrupting the traditional influence models in golf because golfers' expectations about how they experience brands has changed dramatically,'' said Callaway Senior Vice President Harry Arnett. ''This partnership and concept are exciting because no other company has used LinkedIn's API in this way before, and we're using it to connect passionate golfers.''
For Callaway, the ''Hit the Links'' campaign follows the ''Tweet to Unleash'' introduction of its RAZR Fit Xtreme driver earlier this year. In that Twitter-based campaign, Callaway used real-time social conversation to unlock information about the driver, breaking ranks with traditional product announcements and marking a first for the golf industry. And before that, Callaway's ''Holiday Hit the Pin'' sweepstakes on Pinterest was the first time a golf manufacturer had meaningfully connected with golfers on that space, by encouraging them to create a board with their dream bag of Callaway clubs.
''Hit the Links'' launched yesterday and runs through May 24. For more information and complete rules, visit CallawayHitTheLinks.com.
One reason golfers miss putts is because they can't keep their putter completely steady and on line throughout their stroke. One way TaylorMade is trying to solve that problem is by counterbalancing – adding weight to the grip end to counter the weight of the clubhead.
"We started researching ways to keep the head from wavering from the intended swing path during the stroke," said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's product category director for putters and wedges. "We recognized that if we could make it easier to swing the putterhead on-path, we could help players roll the ball down their intended line. Counterbalance helps solve that problem."
As a result, both the new Daddy Long Legs mallet and the forthcoming Spider Blade are counterbalanced.
Adding weight to the grip end changes how the putter behaves when the golfer swings it. The grip on these new putters weighs in at 130 grams, more twice the normal weight of a grip. And properly adding that weight increases the Moment of Inertia (MOI, essentially a measure of stability) of the entire club, which makes it easier to keep the head on path during the stroke.
In fact, says TaylorMade, counterbalancing these putters makes them 60 percent more stable than a putter that isn't counterbalanced.
To get the most out of counterbalancing, you should keep about three inches of the top end of the grip above your top hand when you assume your normal stance, posture and grip, says TaylorMade. To make that possible, both the Daddy Long Legs and the Spider Blade come in two lengths: 38 inches (for players who favor a 35-inch length) and 35 inches (for players who favor a 33-inch length). Players who favor a 34-inch length putter could select either longer length, the company says.
Speaking of MOI, the Daddy Long Legs features the highest MOI of any putter TaylorMade has ever made, measuring in at 8500+ MOI. By contrast, the original TaylorMade Spider and Ghost Spider boast an MOI measurement of 6800, with the Ghost Spider S coming in at 6038 and the Itsy Bitsy Spider measuring 5375 MOI.
Blade putters, because of their rectangular design, have a lower MOI, but counterbalancing can help increase their stability as well. The Spider Blade has a 5200 MOI measurement, says TaylorMade.
"The higher the head's MOI, the more resistant it is to twisting on off-center hits, helping you roll the ball your desired distance, and on your desired line, on mis-hits," said Bazzel. "The exceptionally high MOI of the Daddy Long Legs and Spider Blade heads makes them a terrific choice for golfers seeking forgiveness in a putter."
To elevate the MOI, the head of the Daddy Long Legs consists of 16 different pieces made of eight different materials – stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, titanium, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). The Surlyn is included in the PureRoll face insert, which is designed for enhanced feel. In addition, the Daddy Long Legs features a white leading edge and a single black alignment line running perpendicular to the face to make aiming easier, along with a heel-mounted, one-bend steel shaft.
It is available at retail now, with a suggested retail price of $199.
The Spider Blade's head construction consists of 11 parts made of eight materials – 304 stainless steel, 17-4 stainless steel, aluminum, 3M Foam, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU. It will be available at retail on June 1, also with a suggested retail price of $199.
If you're looking to put some pop into your golf wardrobe this summer, Antigua might have just the clothes for you.
The Arizona-based company's Summer Performance Golf Collection for men and women continues the bolder and brighter color stories introduced this spring, and uses these trending pop colors as subtle details in the summer line-up.
"For Summer 2013, the focus of pop accent colors on less conspicuous fabrications throughout the collections shows off the styling and design features of the individual garments," said Sean Gregg, director of product development for Antigua.
This season, Antigua developed new performance fabrics with finer yarns to create ultra-lightweight knits in textures and in flat jerseys and interlocks that update the appearance of the traditional polo. And by using the finest denier yarns available, the company has achieved super-soft, super-lightweight fabrics that provide the same coverage as other polyknits but with faster wicking, more breathability and less restriction in movement.
The men's color palette includes such creatively named hues as Lapis, Margarita, Apple, Melon, Phlox and Zest, with Light Melon, Kiss, Pansy, Fountain, Margarita and Light Apple in the women's line. All the summer clothes incorporate Antigua's proprietary Desert Dry and Desert Dry Xtra-Lite moisture management technology to keep golfers as cool and dry as they are colorful.
In the men's collection, Antigua has added a pair of hybrid pullovers, known as Style Flare and Style Omega, which have the design lines of mid- to lightweight outerwear while utilizing the short-sleeve styling found on performance polos. They also feature a ¼-zip placket with a stand-up collar. The Style Flare comes in neutral colors such as Smoke, White, Black, Silver and Steel, and feature pop color contrast stitch detail. Style Omega features pop color contrast on the shoulder and polyester jacquard side insets.
Other new men's styles include the Style Balance and the Romeo. The Balance is a moisture management jersey polo with contrast printed engineered stripes, while the Romeo two-color jacquard polo comes in the entire range of this season's colors.
New styles for women include Style Gem, a short-sleeve geometric pattern jacquard polo with a five-button placket, and Style Reflect, a striped shortsleeve polo with pop color contrast underarm and on the cover stitch detail at the princess seams. In addition, the Style Escape is a lightweight interlock polo with an open V-neck placket and pop color contrast cut and sew color block details.
Two new sleeveless polo shirts join the women's collection for summer. The Jive pique sleeveless polo has a dyed-to-match flat knit collar and contrast piping detail. And for a blast of color, the Utopia sleeveless polo comes in every color of the women's color palette, and features a solid pop color on the front and a white jacquard contrast back panel that wraps around the shoulder.
With Adam Scott earning his first green jacket, Titleist certainly had a Masters to remember.
For starters, Scott played with a brand-new Titleist 913D3 driver – in fact, he put it in his competition bag for the first time at Augusta National, though he had been testing it for a month or so. He also was using a new Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura X long putter (and both Scott and Angel Cabrera played Titleist balls, Scott the Pro V1 and Cabrera the Pro V1x).
Scott switched to his new driver from a Titleist 910D3 – the model that preceded the 913D3. His new 913D3 9.5-degree driver has an A-1 (neutral) SureFit Tour Hosel setting with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8, X flex graphite shaft at 44.75 inches, according to Titleist.
Scott was custom fit for the new driver on the Wednesday before the Tampa Bay Championship, according to Titleist, then continued to play his old driver while working with the new one in practice leading up to the Masters.
"Adam came to Augusta ready to put it in play and was extremely confident in his performance with it following several practice rounds,'' said Titleist. ''Scott cited that he was getting a higher ball flight without increased spin for longer carry distance with the new driver – which would be beneficial to him at Augusta National and going forward.''
Scott had been famously playing a Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi long putter, but switched to the Futura X prototype for the Masters. Switching flatsticks for those daunting greens at Augusta National seems like a risky proposition, but Scott had been working with Cameron on the new model since December and the Futura is, generally speaking, quite similar to the Kombi.
The big difference, according to Titleist, is that the new one adds stability through the stroke thanks to the design of its head, and the fact that the head is perimeter weighted. The semi-circular head is made of aluminum and includes a balance bar running perpendicular to the face. In addition, four tungsten weights are positioned under four adjustable stainless steel weights in the far four corners of the head. The one Scott is using is 49 inches tall, and has a 79-degree lie angle and 3 degrees of loft.
In an interesting bit of trivia, Scott's victory completed the career Grand Slam for long putters – Scott at the Masters, Webb Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Open, Ernie Els at the 2012 British Open and Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship – and four of the last six majors now have been won by long putters.
Scott was asked whether he thought yet another major won by a long putter might have an impact on the USGA and R&A's decision to ban the anchored putting stroke.
"I don't know that this is going to impact any decisions at all. You know my feeling on it all; that it was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment, because you know, these are the best players in the world and they practice thousands of hours,'' he said. ''They are going to get good with whatever they are using. It's inevitable. I don't know that is going to have any impact on any decisions upcoming.''
PGA of America Championships
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club
Trump National Golf Club
Olympia Fields Country Club
Olympia Fields, Illinois
Quail Hollow Club
Charlotte, North Carolina