**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?
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."
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.
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'').
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club