Equipment

August 27, 2012 - 5:25pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nick Watney
Getty Images
Nick Watney clearly was happy with his putter at The Barclays, but a couple dozen players across the Atlantic weren't so fond of their flststicks.

Last weekend was very interesting in a number of ways – Nick Watney’s first win of the year at The Barclays, Sergio Garcia’s final-round fizzle in a quest for two straight victories, Tiger Woods' latest weekend swoon, Paul Lawrie winning for the third time in a year, and Lydia Ko becoming the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour.

But here is the stat that caught my eye: According to SMS, the company that surveys equipment usage on the European Tour, 22.4 percent of the players at the Johnnie Walker Championship used a different putter than they did in their last European Tour start. That figures out to 35 players who were so disappointed with their putters that they put new ones in their bag in the span of a couple weeks.

Other stats from the Johnnie Walker:

--24 players used different drivers than they did at their last European Tour event (not as surprising as the putter stat since companies like Titleist and Ping are seeding new drivers into their tour staffs at this time of the year).

--7 players used new irons.

--6 players used different balls.

 

 

August 27, 2012 - 12:37pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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CamCaddy
CamCaddy
A South Carolina entrepreneur has solved the problem of videoing your swing on the range with the easy and affordable CamCaddy.

When Ben Hogan and Sam Snead played their now historic match at Houston Country Club for “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf,” the round took forever because 200-pound cameras had to be moved and stabilized between every shot.

Now, almost everybody carries a video camera in their pocket.

Unfortunately, golf is well down on Apple’s priority list when it comes to accessories for the iPhone. And while tour players have their caddies or instructors filming their practice sessions from all the proper angles, the average amateur has been forced to prop his camera-phone up on his golf bag, or beg a spouse or friend to film a swing or two.

Greensville, South Carolina entrepreneur Bill Silva saw this problem and designed a solution. It's called CamCaddy, and it's one of the most useful, inexpensive new accessories on the market.

This product couldn't be much easier to use. It's a cradle that can mount onto any of the many alignment sticks that are in golfers' bags. The cradle adjusts to hold any smart phone and can be raised or lowered on the stick depending on what you are trying to capture. Then you film away. It's even great for putting.

"Video is so common in teaching and people grow so much once they see their swings, because they understand what it is the teachers are trying to get them to do" Silva said.

Launched two weeks ago in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Wyndham Championship, Silva has been overwhelmed by the response.

"Right now we are online, but we are working at setting distributor relationships up," he said. "We're in talks with guys in the U.K. the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia. We don't have anything formal, but we're getting calls and requests for this from all over the world."

In a short period of time Silva has a large compliment of tour pros using CamCaddy, including Kyle Thompson, Lucas Glover and Jay Haas.

"You don't understand the level of excitement going on around here since this was launched," Silva said. "We spent so much time in the design process. Seeing people's reactions has been fun."

August 27, 2012 - 12:38am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Swedge golf training aid
Courtesy of Avid Golf USA
The Swedge is a small, washable half-moon pillow covered with a durable nylon casing and a clip that attaches right to your bag.

One of the things about golf that amazes me the most is the sheer creativity of the people who love it. Specifically, I love the millions of training aids out there – some are so complex it seems like it took rocket scientists to develop them, while others are as simple as first-grade math.

One new swing aid that falls into the simple-but-effective category is the “Swedge.”

Among the most widely practiced swing drills in golf is the one where you tuck a towel or a headcover under your arm to counteract the dreaded “chicken wing.”

A few years ago, Dana Clark was taking lessons to battle her chicken wing, but felt a little ridiculous making swings with a headcover tucked under her arm. She wondered why no one had developed a training aid that would work better, so she set out to create one herself -- and, two years later, she’s come out with the Swedge.

The Swedge is a small, washable half-moon pillow covered with a durable nylon casing. It comes in black, red and blue and has a convenient clip that attaches right to your golf bag.

Its goal, of course, is to help keep your back elbow – (the right elbow for right-handed players) – tucked in closer to your body throughout your swing to prevent your elbow from flying away and to help you keep your swing tight and compact.

The Swedge was introduced at the ING Spring Conference, where it won the "Best Product" Award, and was on display during the recent PGA Expo in Las Vegas. Made in America, it retails for $29.99 and is available at Golfsmith and at avidgolfusa.com.

August 24, 2012 - 1:31am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Speedline Tech Driver
Courtesy of Adams Golf
The Speedline Tech driver can be tuned by unscrewing the hosel and rotating the head to fit any golfer's swing type and preferred ball flight.

With its newest adjustable driver, the Speedline Tech, Adams Golf is promising significantly greater distance as well as significantly improved accuracy.

"We used advanced construction methods and made refinements to driver technologies that we've developed over time to make this our most customizable and best performing driver for golfers of all skill levels," said Vice President of Research and Development Tim Reed. "It's easy for the golfer to make adjustments and find their perfect ball flight while achieving even higher swing speeds and more distance through our aerodynamic shaping."

FASTfit Adjustability is Adams' solution for quick and easy club customization. The Speedline Tech driver can be tuned by unscrewing the hosel and rotating the head to fit any golfer's swing type and preferred ball flight. FASTfit allows the club to be set open or closed by up to 1 degree, thereby adjusting the loft +/- 1 degree as well. The clubhead also can be adjusted 2 degrees upright.

Through their research, Adams engineers found that golfers hit the ball high on the toe area of the clubface and low on the heel area as much or more than they hit it dead center. Taking this into account, they designed the Speedline Tech's clubface to provide optimal spin and launch in all three of those hitting areas. As a result, they say, the Speedline Tech produces drives up to 11 yards longer and 54 percent more accurate than golfers are used to hitting.

The new driver features such lightweight materials as titanium and carbon fiber to make it easier to swing, and the sixth generation of Adams’ aerodynamic shaping of slopes and curves help the club cut through the air faster for even more clubhead speed and distance.

The Speedline Tech driver comes in 8.5-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12.5-degree right-handed models and 9.5- and 10.5-degree left-handed models. It is available now with a suggested retail price of $449.99.

 

Categories: Speedline
August 22, 2012 - 7:30pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade logo

Outside Magazine has named TaylorMade-adidas Golf to its fifth annual "Best Places to Work" list. TMAG ranked sixth out of 10 selected large companies and 32nd overall (there also are categories for small and medium companies) on the list, which is published in the magazine's September issue.

“We’re a company of golfers,” President and CEO Mark King told Outside, “and that fuels our passion in the office and on the course.”

The list celebrates what it calls innovative companies that set a new standard for a healthy work-life balance, and was compiled with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group.

Outside's profile of TaylorMade says the company has 937 employees and operates out of a 75,000-acre campus lined with palm trees, within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean in Carlsbad, Calif. “And while the links addicts get their fix with frequent R&D outings to the nearby Shadowridge and Torrey Pines courses,” the profile says, “everyone on staff gets access to a 1,300-square-foot fitness center.”

Congrats to TaylorMade for a well-deserved honor, and I applaud Outside for including a golf company on its list. But seeing as how Outside has, over the years, vastly expanded the outdoor sports and activities it covers, it’s an easy argument that multiple other golf-related companies fit the criteria for inclusion on these lists as well. 

Oh yeah, if you’re interested in a job at TaylorMade, the magazine says they’re hiring designers and engineers. I suspect they also might need people to help rake up all the cash they’re making with the record-setting sales of their R11S and RocketBallz gear.

August 8, 2012 - 12:36am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketbBallz fairway wood
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The popularity of TaylorMade's RocketBallz club line has help expand the company's market share.

Golf’s largest equipment makers likely will get even larger and more smaller companies will be bought up or disappear over the next several years. That’s the take of Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade, which has grown into golf’s biggest equipment company in recent years.

“It’s a very challenging industry to find success,” said King in an interview with Bloomberg News. “In some parts of the industry, like retail, we’ve seen not only consolidation, but shrinking. We’ve seen the reduction of some of the golf courses. We’ve seen plants disappear. So there’ll still probably be some consolidation.”

Sales of golf equipment in the United States dropped by 17 percent to $2.41 billion between 2007 to 2011, according to Golf Datatech. Nevertheless, TaylorMade grew its sales by 27 percent over that period and parent company Adidas recently bought Adams Golf.

TaylorMade has gotten a huge boost this year by what the company calls “fast-growing” sales of its RocketBallz line of clubs, and King told Bloomberg he hopes to boost TaylorMade's global market share for irons to 30 percent from its current 25 percent. To help get there, the company is building a series of performance labs nationwide that allow players to get their swings analyzed and their clubs custom-fit.

TaylorMade plans to try to capitalize on golf’s return as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. King also sees China as offering a huge growth opportunity over the next decade or two.

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