Equipment

January 28, 2014 - 8:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 driver and irons
Courtesy of Wilson Golf
The distinctive black Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons are designed for feel players.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the fourth one:
 
For much of the 20th century, Wilson Staff one of the dominant brands in both clubs and balls. Players like Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen helped bring golf into the mainstream in the United States with Wilson Staff equipment, and the company's pedigree runs through Sam Snead and Armold Palmer, Payne Stewart and Ben Crenshaw, John Daly and Vijay Singh.
 
And though Padraig Harrington has won three majors sporting the Wilson Staff shield in recent years, the brand has slipped down out of the ranks of the top clubmakers over the past decade or two – at least in the United States (it's maintained a bigger presence in Europe).
 
There have been signs of life lately, though. Sales in the United States were up about 20 percent last year, and the company is poised to make even more gains as it rolls out an impressive club line this spring to mark Wilson's 100 years in golf. Getting back into the ranks of elite clubmakers is an incredibly tall task, but its new FG Tour M3 family of clubs is a solid start. 
 
These new drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons are designed for better players, and all but the irons feature what Wilson calls its Multi Fit System. Golfers can use the six adjustable hosel settings and three interchangeable sole weights to maximize their clubhead and ball speeds, while selecting the proper launch angle and spin rate to enhance their distance.
 
The FG Tour M3 driver is Wilson Staff's first adjustable driver – the head comes set at an initial loft of 9.5 degrees, but can be adjusted in half-degree increments from 8.5 to 11.5 degrees. Along with its adjustability features, the 460cc head contains a variable thickness face that maximizes the sweet spot. A light, chemically-etched crown helps create a favorable sound and allows for weight to be redistributed around the perimeter of the head, while the deep face and pear shape make the head appear more compact at address.
 
 
The fairway woods feature the same adjustability options and similar variable face thickness and perimeter weighting. The three head options come standard at initial lofts of 13.5, 15 and 17 degrees, and can be adjusted from 12.5 to 19 degrees in half-degree increments, depending on the respective head. 
 
The hybrids offer three loft settings in each head and the same three lofts at 2-degree upright lie angles – along with three sole weight options – for optimized trajectory and increased clubhead speeds. The loft changes allow feel players to optimize their distance and trajectory, the company says, while the lie changes improve control and turf interaction. 
 
The four head options come standard at initial lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 23 degrees. The lofts can be adjusted from 16 to 24 degrees in half-degree increments with upright options, depending on the respective head. 
 
The FG Tour M3 irons were built with the goal of providing the feel and workability of a forged players' iron while also delivering a significant level of forgiveness. The topline is thin on all the irons for a better look and to help lower the Center of Gravity to get the ball up in the air more easily.
 
The heads also feature a progressive cavity design to optimize the weight placement from club to club. Much of the weight is moved to the heel and toe in the long irons for more stability and forgiveness, transitioning to a more uniform thickness in the short irons for consistency and repeatability. 
 
All the FG Tour M3 clubs are finished with a distinctive black coating, making them stand out in every bag. The driver retails for $349.99, while the fairway woods go for $219.99 per club, the hybrids for $199.99 per club, and the irons for $899.99 per set with graphite shafts and $799.99 per set with steel shafts. They will be available this spring at select golf shops and online at www.Wilson.com.
 
Previously:
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Wilson Staff FG Tour M3 clubs
January 28, 2014 - 2:21pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf, VRS Covert 2.0 Irons
Nike Golf
Nike Golf's latest irons -- the VRS Covert 2.0.

Nike's latest line of irons -- the VRS Covert 2.0 -- will be available for purchase beginning Friday, Jan. 31.

A larger cavity in the VRS Covert 2.0 irons moves more metal to the perimeter of the club head and allows for a larger face, which amplifies the 'trampoline effect’ and produces more ball speed at impact. Coupled with a larger cavity, Nike's proprietary NexCOR variable face thickness technology allows for greater ball speed off the face, resulting in more distance.

A new leading-edge bevel provides more sole area to hit through the turf. The design delivers an additional, effective bounce to the golf club, which is a crucial benefit especially in soft conditions.

The VRS Covert 2.0 irons feature Dynalite 105 steel and Kuro Kage graphite shafts with Golf Pride 2G wrap grips.

"What's impressive about the VRS Covert 2.0 set is that golfers can be aggressive and confident with these irons," says Chris Savage, Nike Golf Irons Innovation Engineer. "This set utilizes our largest cavity and thinnest perimeter to deliver higher ball speed and greater distance. We have also refined our leading edge bevel to make it easier for these irons to go through the turf. Throughout development, these irons have proven to be the best distance irons we have created to date."

Specifications: 4-AW, SW, Dynalite 105: S/R (RH/LH); Kuro Kage Graphite: S/R (RH/LH).

Street price: Steel: $700; Graphite: $800.

For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.

WATCH: Ken Griffey Jr. tests out the Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Driver

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Nike Golf announces release of new VRS Covert 2.0 Irons
January 27, 2014 - 8:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Smart Body Golf
Courtesy of Smart Body Golf
The equipment in Smart Body Golf's Performance Pack helps golfers increase rotational power, flexibility, balance and stability.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the third one:
 
I get older and stiffer every year – heck, every day – so I'm more interested in the fitness aspect of golf than ever, especially in the winter. There were tons of fitness-related products at the PGA Show, but I was intrigued by the Performance Pack from Smart Body Golf.
 
Smart Body Golf is committed to ''innovation in golf performance and instruction to help golfers of all ages and levels live well and play better,'' says company spokesman Randy Myers, the director of fitness at Sea Island. Specifically, its gear is designed to help golfers improve their core, stability and overall strength.
 
The Performance Pack includes four pieces of equipment:
 
--the Swing Ball Pro is a six-pound medicine ball-like orb outfitted with handles to use in building core strength and rotational strength. The slots and handles allow golfers to hold the ball lightly and swing it without tension, while the alternating grips can help promote either draw or fade motions. The ball's two colors represent both sides of your body, the company says, to help balance the force generated from the left and right sides through the swing.
 
--the Inside 80 is a vest that promotes resistance training and helps improve stretching, synchronization and distance control. It is made with elastic tubing to allow arm extension while adding resistance to engage the core, and it synchronizes the upper body and core for better swing control. Its cross-handle system allows one handle to pull on the opposite shoulder to create maximum shoulder turn for increased torque.
 
--the Leverage Discs are big air-filled doughnuts designed to improve stability, leverage and rotational movements. You stand on them, and the hole in their middle helps to optimize the swing sequence and stability as well as develop the toe- and heel-based movements unique to the golf swing. The discs can help prevent swaying and improve weight transfer while enhancing stability.
 
--the Smart Toner is a resistance tube designed to help develop consistent, explosive movement. It comes with a foam door anchor and is available in three different resistance levels. The tube itself is covered by a sleeve to protect both it and its users, and the company says it will last far longer than traditional tubing.
 
As you can see in the photos above, you use this equipment to help increase your rotational power, your flexibility, your balance and stability, and your overall body awareness throughout your swing. Exercising with this equipment also can help improve your overall fitness level and help prevent injury.
 
You can use these pieces individually or use some of them in combination with each other – like the standing on the Leverage discs while swinging the Swing Ball Pro or using the Smart Toner. 
 
The individual pieces can be purchased separately, but the best deal is to buy everything in the Performance Pack at once. The Pack retails for $199.95 and is available at SmartBodyGolf.com.
 
Previously:
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Performance Pack from Smart Body Golf
January 26, 2014 - 7:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
The Game camera from iON America
Courtesy of iON America
The compact Game camera from iON can be used to easily record, play back and upload golf swings.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the second one:
 
By now, we're probably all familiar with the kind of wearable POV (point-of-view) cameras popularized by companies like GoPro. At Demo Day before the PGA Merchandise Show, I ran across what seems like a perfect match for golfers – The Game camera, by a company called iON America.
 
iON already has a big presence in action sports like BMX, surfing and snowboarding, thanks to its Air Pro, a small, cylindrical camera that easily mounts on a helmet or bike handlebars or even goggles. By contrast, The Game is a small rectangle that golfers set on the ground in front or behind them or off to the side (though it also can be mounted to various things). It captures video in 1080p HD, can take still photos and has time-lapse and slow-motion options.
 
 
Built into it is a 2.4-inch LCD color screen, so you can film your swing and instantly play it back. And via its built-in Shoot/Share Wi-Fi capability, The Game camera easily transmits to iON's iOS and Android apps to allow golfers to upload their swings to their phones or other devices.
 
Golfers also can take advantage of iON's recent purchase of PowerChalk, which specializes in web-based analysis software for motion sports such as golf, tennis and baseball. iON now bundles The Game camera with its PowerChalk online service, creating what the company says is the industry's first camera-software solution that includes a coaching marketplace (they say they're looking to grow their roster of golf instructors). 
 
In golf, a player would shoot his swing from various angles and upload it to the service, where an instructor could analyze it and provide feedback by voiceover or actually annotating the video – what iON calls its "chalk talk." The PowerChalk service already has a large user base of amateur coaches and players, and also hosts private video analysis servers for professional baseball teams and sports organizations.
 
The Game camera carries a suggested retail price of $299.99 and is available at select retailers like Best Buy and at www.ioncamera.com/e-shop/ .
 
Previously:
 
 
 
 
 
PGA Show Spotlight: The Game camera from iON
January 25, 2014 - 9:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Cure Rx2 putter
Courtesy of Veritas Golf
The Cure Rx2 putter from Veritas Golf features large weights on either end of the lightweight head and big silver buttons that form a triangle with the ball to aid in alignment.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'll roll them out over a 10-day period. Here is the first one:
 
There are always a lot of golf-world celebrities on the Show floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, but I still stopped in my tracks when I saw former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman in the booth of a small company called Veritas Golf. I went over to say hello, and discovered that he had recently gotten involved with Veritas, which has come out with what can truthfully be called a one-of-a-kind putter.
 
As you can see in the photo above, the center-shafted Cure Putter – there are two models, the Rx1 and Rx2 (as in the prescription for your putting ills) – looks like nothing else on the market. For one thing, its lightweight aircraft aluminum head is huge, yet no heavier than a standard putter head. 
 
For another, both the heel and toe can be outfitted with large weights. These aluminum and stainless steel weights can be easily switched in and out to give the head a weight anywhere from 350 grams to 600 grams – and with so much of the head's heft on the far ends, the putter feels extremely stable through the stroke. That extreme perimeter weighting also means the head will deliver solid blow even when the golfer hits the ball off-center – which, Beman says, most of us do a lot of the time – and keep the head from twisting.
 
 
The original Rx1 came with those weights on the end. The Rx2 features Beman's innovation – those two bright silver buttons on either end of the dark head in the photo above. These buttons create a ''triangulation alignment'' – they form a triangle with the ball that, Beman explains, makes it easier than ever to aim properly. 
 
The lie of the Core putter also can be adjusted from 10 degrees all the way to 24 degrees, and every head can be easily configured for either a left-handed or right-handed golfer. In addition, the Center of Gravity is positioned right at the golf ball's equator – much higher than on most standard putters – to give the putter zero loft and reduce the backspin that so many putters impart on the ball at impact.
 
Veritas was founded by PGA Professional Jeff Ryan and Steve Davis, an architect with a scratch handicap. And now Beman – a two-time U.S. Amateur champion and five-time PGA Tour winner renowned for his putting – has come aboard as vice president. It'll be fun to see what kind of impact the company can make with its putters like no other.
 
The Rx1 retails for $199. The Rx2 goes for $269. Both are available at select golf shops and online at CurePutters.com.
 
PGA Show Spotlight: Cure Putters from Veritas Golf
January 16, 2014 - 12:57am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Will Wilcox golf glove
Srixon Golf via Twitter
Do you ever have trouble keeping your swing thoughts front-of-mind while you're out on the course? I know I do.
 
You know who doesn't? PGA Tour player Will Wilcox doesn't. That's because he jots them down on his glove, as seen in this photo tweeted by Srixon Golf on Wednesday from the Humana Challenge out in Palm Springs, Calif.
 
If you can't make out his writing, here’s what it says on his glove:
 
--''Straight legs'' (above the Srixon logo in the photo)
--''Soft hands'' (to the right of the logo)
--'Tall smooth'' (also right of the logo)
 
The last one, below the logo, says ''Sft right arm.'' I'm presuming that means ''soft'' right arm, but I have to admit that's not a thought I've ever had. That's probably one of the many reasons why Wilcox is playing professional golf and I'm sitting here writing about it. But now that it's in my head, I'll have to try it.
 
Here's the original tweet:
 
 
Will Wilcox keeps his swing thoughts hand-y
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