Equipment

October 23, 2012 - 8:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketBladez irons
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The TaylorMade RocketBladez (upper left) irons have more of a cavityback than the RocketBladez Tour models (upper right). The Speed Pocket, as shown in bottom view and side view, helps the face flex to provide more springiness upon impact.

TaylorMade Golf made a huge splash earlier this year with the release of its RocketBallz line of clubs. The company did it again on Tuesday, unveiling its new RocketBladez irons with a marketing push so successful that the number of people trying to watch its live webcast briefly knocked TaylorMade’s servers out.

TaylorMade officials are hoping the new RocketBladez and RocketBladez Tour irons are a knockout, too. The irons’ signature feature is the Speed Pocket, which TaylorMade is billing as ''that little thing'' but which they believe will make these clubs the next big thing.

The Speed Pocket is a 2-millimeter-wide slot cut in the sole of the 3-iron through 7-iron that permits the face to flex farther and more easily upon impact, particularly when a golfer hits the ball low on the face. The improved flex, says TaylorMade, promotes increased Coefficient of Restitution – or springiness – up to the USGA limit for high ball speed. In fact, TaylorMade says, these irons are as hot as many drivers, and could help most golfers add two to five yards per shot.

The Speed Pocket is sealed with a specially formulated polyurethane developed by 3M that keeps grass and other debris out. More important, it dampens vibration for better, more solid feel upon impact. The Speed Pocket, combined with a shorter hosel, also helps TaylorMade to redistribute 17.5 grams of weight to lower the Center of Gravity, promoting a higher launch angle, higher peak trajectory and a steep, quick-stopping descent.

Higher-lofted clubs like the sand wedge and lob wedge don’t include the Speed Pocket, but have redesigned cavities to improve their feel, and feature TaylorMade’s ATV (All-Terain Versatility) sole for improved workability around the greens. In addition, these clubs come equipped with heavier steel shafts to promote better rhythm and control in shorter swings.

Careful management of the RocketBladez’s face thickness, Center of Gravity location and the Speed Pocket help enlarge the effective sweet spot, which makes for more consistent shotmaking – and therefore more consistent distance gaps throughout the set.

The RocketBladez irons will be available at retail in December, and come standard with 85-gram ''Rocketfuel'' steel shafts for $799.99 per set or $899.99 per set with 65-gram ''RocketFuel'' graphite shafts.

The RocketBladez Tour irons will debut next February. They boast the same attributes as the standard RocketBladez models, but are tuned a little hotter. The heads are more compact, with a squarer toe, a thinner topline, minimal offset and a shallow cavity. There is also a slight camber on the sole, which also features what TaylorMade calls a ''tour-designed'' leading edge.

For more on the RocketBladez and RocketBladez tour irons, visit www.TaylorMadeGolf.com

Categories: RocketBladez
October 21, 2012 - 1:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Miyazaki B. Asha shaft
Courtesy of Miyazaki Shafts
The B. Asha series’ artwork was created by Miyazaki artist Ash Baharin, whose designs were inspired by the speed and accuracy of ancient Japanese swordsmen.

The new B. Asha series of premium ultralight graphite shafts from Miyazaki Shafts is a follow-up to Miyazaki’s breakthrough C. Kua premium ultralight series, which launched in 2010 and was golf’s first sub-60-gram shaft to be used in significant numbers on tours around the globe.

The B. Asha series builds on the gains made by the C. Kua series with even more weight reduction, elevated balance points and more stable International Flex Code profiles.

The B. Asha models push the limits of weight reduction across the series through the use of advanced shaft materials and manufacturing techniques. They offer three distinct driver and fairway wood International Flex Code profiles in up to four different flexes. Miyazaki created these IFC profiles to replace less specific measurements of frequency, kick point and torque.

The B. Asha 5 and 7 profiles were designed to feel extremely stable in the top 3/4ths of the shaft, with a slightly softened section under the hands to promote feel and a penetrating ball flight. These attributes are coupled with an active but stable tip section to produce a mid-trajectory ball flight with added ball speed and a slight fade bias. Miyazaki says the 5 and 7 series are excellent choices for players who value a very stable feel in an ultralight graphite shaft.

The 4 flex profile offers a stable feel similar to the 5 and 7 series, but with a slightly stiffer butt section and slightly softer tip section to help produce a mid- to high-trajectory ball flight. It has been engineered with a standard butt diameter to make it compatible with all standard golf grips, and Miyazaki calls it the ultimate combination of speed and stability.

The 3 series shafts for fairway woods features slightly softer mid-tip and tip sections to create a powerful loading and release, added swingspeed and distance with a mid-high trajectory ball flight. The 3 series is the lightest that Miyazaki offers, and is available only in a 0.350 tip configuration. Miyazaki says this shaft is best for players with a smooth tempo and transition in search of a faster swing speed.

Like the C. Kua shafts before them, the B. Asha shafts are covered with graphics inspired by a talented but previously unknown artist. The B. Asha series’ artwork was created by Miyazaki artist Ash Baharin, whose designs were inspired by the speed and accuracy of ancient Japanese swordsmen.

Miyazaki Shafts is a division of Dunlop Sports, which also owns the Cleveland Golf, Srixon and XXIO brands.

For more on the B. Asha series, visit www.miyazakigolfshafts.com.

October 19, 2012 - 11:37pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Hickory Sticks Classic
Photo courtesy Rob Matre
It was as if Atlanta went 100 years back in time at the Hickory Sticks Classic at Ansley Golf Club

 

I am fortunate enough to get invitations to play in many great golf events.  I am unfortunate enough that I rarely get to accept these invitations. I've never had a bad invite; never seen a tournament or event that didn't appear to be a great time or for a great cause - and I'd love to play in each of them.  We all know, there is no better day than a day on the golf course.  But to be honest, I'm probably able to play in one out of every ten events that come up. The other nine that I miss, I spend pouting all day wishing I was out there. 
 
But at the last minute this week, I received an invite that I KNEW I had to accept and make whatever adjustments to my schedule I could. No, it wasn't to go to Augusta or Cypress (though if you send me one of those invites, I'll make more adjustments, I promise) - it was to Ansley Golf Club's Hickory Sticks Classic.
 
Ansley Golf Club is one of the country's hidden gems.  Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, it is actually a nine-hole facility that uses different tee complexes as a front and back nine differentiator, giving players a true 18-hole experience. The layout is championship, the conditions are always tremendous and the staff is as impressive as you'll find at any course in the country. The club is private, prestigious and to the locals who are lucky enough to secure an invite, it is memorable. Ansley can boast a number of prominent Atlantans - past and present - as members; including a number of Tour players and high-profile names in business, media and sports. It is more than an Atlanta landmark, it is a vital part of Atlanta history.
 
This weekend, Ansley celebrates it's 100 year anniversary. As part of the celebration, the club put on a "Hickory Sticks Classic" tournament, hiring Stirling Hickory Golf (out of Nashville, TN) to supply the club a number of bags and balls - exact replicas of the equipment used a century ago.  
 
How many times have you wondered how the best of yesteryear would fare with today's equipment - or how today's top players would do with equipment from a few generations ago.  Well today, a group of us learned how we'd do trying to play the sticks like the ones Bobby Jones had to use.
 
Brandon Clay, the owner of Stirling Hickory Golf, did give every group a quick tutorial on using the clubs - explaining that there was a little different technique in hitting the clubs (they are designed to dig down more than today's clubs - so be sure to hit the ball first) and a little more body shift and wrist hinge are helpful (think of old films of Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen).
 
The names of the clubs were both entertaining and confusing. Mashie? Mashie Niblick? Spade Mashie? Brassie? You are constantly looking at a little chart to figure out what you should hit - with the distance spreads of most of the clubs being 30 yards or so as to what most golfers of today have in their clubs (typically 10 yards.) The club heads are smaller, the hickory shafts obviously do not flex as much (and have only one standard flex). The ball is also different, a modern day replica (using current materials that look and react as the same gutta percha balls from the early 1900s.) The balls will not go as far and will react a bit differently than today's high-tech golf balls.  So the weight of the club, the feel at impact, the sound of the metal and the spin of the ball were going to be different - but other than that...
 
This might seem like it would lead to a day of frustration and bewilderment. No way. It was one of the most fun days on the golf course I've ever had.
 
Playing with a group that included a +1 handicap and a 20-something handicap, we all had more laughs, more great shots (and poor shots), and more camaraderie than you'd find in most current golf settings. There was constant talk, strategy and encouragement.  Many of the players dressed up in ties, knickers and dress shirts. My partner and I walked (I let him caddie as we shared a bag).  It was a throwback day in the best way.
 
It took us a couple of holes to acclimate ourselves to the clubs and distances, but the poor shots seemed just as fun as the good ones. And once we became comfortable, we actually started playing really well.  To make a long story short, collectively, our team missed a half dozen short putts (play your own ball, best two net scores per hole) and we ended up losing by one shot! (Actually, had the lead and made two bogeys on 17th hole!).  But in reality, there were no losers on the day - everyone learned, had fun and remarked how much they'd like to do this again.
 
And as a student of golf history, to play with those clubs was not only a great education in golf equipment and the advantages of today's technology - but it enhanced my appreciation of the skill and talent that the greats of yesterday possessed.  Nothing against Tiger, Rory or even Jack and Arnie - I don't see how they could put up the numbers that Bobby Jones and company could put up using the same set of equipment. 
 
At the end of the day, it was like any other golf outing. Food and drinks were enjoyed, stories were shared about putts that should have gone in and promises were made to get together again soon.  But every golfer walked away with a little more passion and love for the game. If you're looking for a different perspective and a great way to love golf even more - going "old school" will give you a whole new appreciation for the greatest game we know. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
October 19, 2012 - 11:23am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
TRUE Linkswear Sensei
TRUE Linkswear
On the same day, the True Sensei was part of winning a PGA Tour event and running in a marathon

Forgive me for being a little late to the party, this should have been posted earlier.  That said...it does not diminish from how cool a story this is.  

Earlier this month, Ryan Moore won the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (longest name ever for a golf event!) out in Las Vegas.  He did it one week after being inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame (Moore went to UNLV).  But that's not even the coolest part of the story.

Moore won playing in his own company's shoes (True Linkswear).  Moore co-founded the company a couple of years ago.  The President of the company, Rob Rigg, ran a marathon (his first marathon) on the same day, in the same type of shoe Ryan wore to win a Tour event.  Bizarre.

Of course, True had to send a press release out about it.  I don't blame them.  Here it is:



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Oct. 8, 2012) Late Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Ryan Moore won his second PGA TOUR event and his first since co-founding TRUE linkswear, which he’s been wearing on the PGA Tour for more than two years.  Earlier in the day, TRUE co-founder, Rob Rigg, completed the Portland Marathon in his TRUE shoes.  The incredible feat was made possible by the new TRUE sensei platform, which is featured in the new TRUE sensei and proto models.
 
“What a crazy and amazing weekend for our company,” said Moore.  “I really thought the novelty of Rob running a marathon in golf shoes would be pretty unique and would generate some buzz for our brand.  Winning a PGA TOUR event the same day just takes it to a whole new level.  It really speaks to the comfort and versatility of these shoes.”
 
Moore wore both styles in recent weeks as he rose up the FedEx Cup rankings and then won the season’s first Fall Series event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, with a 24-under par total.   
 
Running in his first marathon, Rigg completed the Portland Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 48 minutes. He also will compete in the New York Marathon next month in the sensei.
 
“As far as I can tell, I was the only person running in golf shoes,” said Rigg.  “I’ve been running in our shoes since we founded the company and completing the marathon was just a natural progression in my training.  I’m really excited about this new sensei platform.  I’ve been running in them and wearing them on the course all summer, and my feet have never felt better.”
 
TRUE became the first company to build a golf shoe on a barefoot platform.  By removing the midsole of the shoe and providing a wider toe box, the foot is able to operate naturally throughout the swing.  The sensei platform builds off of TRUE’s original sole design, but features a new spike configuration.  The sensei platform provides durability and the thinnest sole in golf (only 2.5 mm), while maintaining slipper-like comfort.

The TRUE sensei is the first shoe by TRUE with a mesh upper.  Many TRUE customers were starting to run and work out in their shoes and asked for a style with a more breathable upper.  The TRUE sensei will be available on Nov. 4th at select retailers and online at www.truelinkswear.com.  It will be available in four color options and will retail for $99.

The TRUE proto features the same sole platform as the sensei, but with a waterproof leather upper.  The proto will be available in January of 2013.

About TRUE linkswear

TRUE linkswear, a Scottsdale-based footwear and apparel company, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform, allowing the golfer to truly "Feel the Course," while enabling them to walk 36 holes right out of the box in total comfort. TRUE was inspired by the emerging minimalist trend in running, where many shoes have shifted away from highly-engineered structures, such as arch supports and heavily-cushioned heels, to a shoe that better utilizes the anatomical features of the foot. TRUE brings this nature-engineered approach to golf by creating a shoe built on a barefoot platform featuring a wide-toe box so toes can function naturally through the swing, which encourages proper weight transfer, balance and natural stability. TRUE has emerged as a leader in the minimalist movement in golf, which has recently been adopted now by some of the world's largest brands. Many customers have proclaimed TRUE as "the most comfortable shoes" they have ever worn due to the unique construction method. While many companies tout a "barefoot" experience, they still feature large midsoles that separate the player from the ground. Only TRUE offers the thinnest sole in golf (2.5 mm), while still providing the durability to stand up to the most avid player. TRUE products are now available at many national retailers, including Golfsmith, PGA Tour Superstores, Edwin Watts and GolfTown in Canada. For more information, visit www.truelinkswear.com. 

 

October 18, 2012 - 12:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Tommy Hilfiger Golf Spring 2013 collections
Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger Golf
The women's collection (l) for Spring 2013 from Tommy Hilfiger Golf contains about 75 different options, while the men's collection (r) has about 100 pieces to choose from.

The Spring 2013 collection from Tommy Hilfiger Golf is inspired by the preppy heritage and spirit of the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

"Golf represents the ultimate prep lifestyle," said Tommy Hilfiger. "Our golf collections are inspired by the integrity and tradition of the sport. We've added a twist to the classics through an innovative use of fabrics and details, delivering performance, comfort and style in golf sportswear that can be worn on and off the course."

The collections for men and women include three different lines:

--The first draws inspiration from the wide-open Arizona desert with a neutral palette that emphasizes strong graphic details. Pieces include lightweight cardigans, cotton zip-neck sweaters, shorts and classic slacks.

--The second incorporates the summer vibe of Bar Harbor. Nautical stripes, sleeveless polo shirtdresses and red, white and blue plaid pants give a classic New England shoreline feel.

--The third, inspired by the sun and sand of Palm Beach, features shades of sun washed yellows, pinks, blues, and greens paired with subtle patterns.

Key to the collections are designs that incorporate three technical performance fabrics -- TH Comfort Tech, TH Tech and TH Cotton. TH Comfort Tech is a hybrid cotton fabric that combines style and comfort with the functional properties required in performance-driven garments.

TH Tech is a polyester fabric with moisture-wicking capabilities that keep garments dry and provide anti-odor properties. And TH Cotton is a cotton fabric designed for superior quality and comfort.

The men's collection, with approximately 100 styles, offers a wide selection of garments with suggested retail prices ranging from $65 for short-sleeved polos to $120 for more sophisticated outerwear options. The women's collection includes about 75 styles with suggested retail prices ranging from $65 for bermudas and polos to $120 for knits and outerwear.

The men's and women's golf lines are available in the United States, Canada and Europe at golf clubs, golf specialty stores, sport specialty stores and select resorts, as well as on www.tommy.com.

October 17, 2012 - 10:20pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Adams Idea Tech V4 hybrids and irons
courtesy of Adams Golf
The Idea Tech V4 irons and hybrids feature the latest versions of Adam Golf's Velocity Slot Technology to help the ball jump more efficiently off the clubface.

The new Idea Tech V4 hybrids and irons represent the latest generation of Adams Golf’s Velocity Slot Technology, which adds slots to the clubheads to help make the clubfaces springier and propel the ball farther.

This latest iteration includes Velocity Slots in both the crowns and soles of the clubs, as well as a Thru Cut channel sliced through the clubhead from the top slot to the bottom, enabling even more face deflection. The channels must be sealed for the clubs to comply with USGA regulations, Adams engineers said, so the backs of the Idea Tech V4 hybrids include a TPU insert that also improves feel and gives the clubs a crisp sound similar to that of an iron.

When Adams designers introduced the original Velocity Slot Technology in their Idea a12 OS hybrids, they saw a 20 percent increase in CT (“Characteristic Time,” a measurement of clubface flexibility) versus the Idea Tech V3 hybrids. And now, in the new Idea Tech V4 hybrids, they have achieved a 67 percent increase in CT – equivalent to the springiness found in titanium drivers, but accomplished here in stainless steel hybrids.

"With refined Velocity Slots, we were able to produce a CT around 240, which is what golfers will find in today's drivers," said Senior Design Engineer Justin Girard. "This is something the industry hasn't seen in a standard stainless steel hybrid. The increased CT is going to deliver a higher launch angle and higher ball speeds. Golfers will quickly notice that these hybrids are as hot as their driver."

To further improve their hotness, the Idea Tech V4s use a multi-material construction with tungsten heel/toe perimeter weighting in the long irons to improve increased forgiveness and higher launch.

And because the Tech V4 line is offered in two distinct sets -- a forged iron set and an all-hybrid set -- featuring high-performance stainless steel, the V4s cover a wide range of golfers looking to launch the ball higher and gain more distance. The forged set features a 3-hybrid (19 degrees), 4-hybrid (22 degrees), 5-hybrid (25 degrees) and 6-iron through pitching wedge using forged 8620 carbon steel with nickel plating. The all-hybrid set is 4-hybrid through gap wedge.

Both sets feature a premium PVD finish for a sleek, non-glare look, and are available in both mens’ and women’s models, and in right-handed and left-handed editions. The iron sets carry a suggested retail price of $899.99 (steel shafts) and $1099.99 (graphite shafts). The hybrids carry a suggested retail price of $249.99 per club.

For more on the Idea Tech V4 hybrids and irons, visit www.adamsgolf.com

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