Equipment

Callaway golf bag, Apex utility iron, Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Callaway staff players at the Open Championship are using special-edition golf bags as well as brand-new Apex utility irons and Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges.
For three reasons, Open Championship week is a big week for Callaway Golf – and not just because the company is gunning for a third straight claret jug after victories by Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els the last two years.
 
First, the company outfitted its staffers with Open-themed bags and headcovers, and Odyssey puttercovers. The red, white and blue bags are festooned with the Roman numeral XII in honor of this being the 12th Open staged at Royal Liverpool.  
 
The upper part of the bag features a Liver Bird – a mythical bird that has been a symbol of the city of Liverpool since medieval times. If you're lucky enough to have visited Liverpool, you might have noticed the two big Liver Bird statues atop the clock towers on the Royal Liver Building. The bottom of the bag carries the script "Respice et Prospice," which essentially means "remember the past but look to the future."
 
Inside several of the bags are prototype editions of Callaway's new Apex utility iron. Callaway hasn't said much about the new irons yet, but they're clearly the next generation of the X utility iron that the company developed in 2012. Those irons have a removable sole weight that allows golfers to precisely adjust the headweight, and these new models appear to have the same feature.
 
 
The bags won't be sold to the public and there's no word yet on the future availability of the utility irons. But the brand-new edition of the Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges are definitely out at retail – in fact, they hit the shelves in golf shops nationwide today.
 
The wedges are forged from 1020 Carbon steel, and come in two finishes – chrome and slate. They get their name from the custom grind on the sole, which gives them a straighter leading edge than the previous Mack Daddy 2 model for better turf interaction. They're also more rounded on the heel and toe.
 
These Tour Grind wedges also boast 30 percent larger grooves, which Callaway says provides 25 percent more spin out of the rough – the 58- and 60-degree wedges produce slightly more spin than the 52-, 54- and 56-degree models. In addition, Laser Milled Micro Grooves have been cut into the face to increase surface roughness for more spin and control, and extra roughness has been added to the face to maintain traction after the micro grooves wear off.
 
They're available with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shafts in several variations of stiffness and Golf Pride "Whiteout" grips. They carry a suggested retail price of $129.00 per club.
 
 
Callaway showcases Apex utility irons, Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges and special bags at Open Championship
Ian Poulter's Arsenal golf bag
Ian Poulter via Instagram
Ian Poulter has football on the brain, and on his bag, this week at Royal Liverpool.
A lot of golfers are wearing special clothes or carrying special equipment this week at the Open Championship. Among them is Ian Poulter.
 
But instead of commemorative Open gear, Poults is taking this opportunity to reaffirm his support for Arsenal – the London-based English Premier League team that he so passionately supports.
 
 
Not sure how well that is going over at Royal Liverpool, seeing as how Liverpool FC has as ardent a group of supporters as any. But I give Poulter credit – if you follow him on social media, you know he catches as many Arsenal games online or on TV as possible, and he is a die-hard fan.
 
Click on the Instagram link in the tweet below to see his original photo.
 
 
 
 
Ian Poulter sporting his Arsenal colors at Open Championship
Bettinardi putters for MLB all-stars
Courtesy of Bettinardi Golf
Seven Major League Baseball all-stars can hone their putting strokes with their new custom-made putters from Bettinardi.
Major League Baseball staged its annual All-Star Game on Tuesday in Minneapolis, and a handful of players are heading home with special golf-themed souvenirs of their big night.
 
Bettinardi Golf teamed up with Excel Sports Management to create custom putters for Excel's clients who were named as all-stars. The select seven are Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves; Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals; Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Derek Jeter, Masahiro Tanaka, and Dellin Betances of the New York Yankees.
 
"Being a huge fan of baseball my whole life, I was pleased to team up with Excel Sports to make the highest end putters for some of the top baseball players in the world," said Bettinardi President and CEO Bob Bettinardi. "It displays our unique ability to not only produce putters for the PGA Tour, but also being able to expand and create these one-of-a-kind coveted gifts for all-star players."
 
The putters are made of Double-Aged Stainless Steel (D.A.S.S.) designed individually for each player with what Bettinardi calls a "golden-flame" finish. Each putter has its player's name festooned on the pocket and their jersey number on the face. Each flatsitck also came with a custom headcover.
 
If the name Excel Sports sounds familiar it you, it's probably because the company also represents a handful of golfers including Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar.
 
Seven MLB all-stars receive custom Bettinardi putters
Scotty Cameron Gallery
Courtesy of Scotty Cameron
Scotty Cameron has opened a custom-fitting gallery in an old surf shop in southern California.
Scotty Cameron's putters have been among the most popular in golf for almost two decades now, but getting custom fit by Cameron and his team has been an experience generally limited to tour players.
 
That's about to change, though, as Cameron has just opened the Scotty Cameron Gallery in Encinitas, Calif. Located not far from Cameron's famed studio, the gallery – inside what used to be a surf shop – was created to give everyday golfers a tour-quality fitting experience.
 
Cameron describes his new gallery as "part retail space, part high-end product gallery, 100 percent putter fitting facility." It is his first public fitting studio in the United States, and follows his existing facilities in Japan and South Korea.
 
 
"Opening the Scotty Cameron Gallery is something I've dreamed about for a long time," he said. "I've always wanted to have a place open to the public where I can share the things that I have created and love. But above all, the gallery is a place where golfers can come to understand what is happening between the ball, the putter and the player – and how we get those three things to work in harmony."
 
Golfers who book a two-hour fitting session will receive a putting stroke analysis using Cameron's proprietary high-speed video tools and the expertise of his trained fitters to create a flatstick that best fits their game. Customers also can purchase an ever-changing array of rare Scotty Cameron tour putters and one-off creations, along with a variety of other merchandise.
 
"When people come into the gallery, we want them to feel the craftsmanship, the vibe, the experience," Cameron said. "This is a place where you come to get fit and learn about your putting stroke, but also to get something that there's only one of in the world."
 
You can get more info on the gallery and its custom fitting program by clicking here.
 
Scotty Cameron opens retail space where golfers can get custom fit for putters
Wilson Staff 8802 putter
Courtesy of Wilson Golf
The brand-new Wilson Staff 8802 putter re-issue looks exactly like its predecessor, though its stainless steel head weighs in at 335 grams, making this one lighter than before to better handle today's quicker greens.
Wilson Golf is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – you might have noticed Ricky Barnes, Padraig Harrington and Kevin Streelman using golf bags styled like the classic Wilson Staff bags that players like Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen used back when the company dominated the golf industry.
 
As part of its centenary celebration, Wilson also is reviving some of its classic clubs, the most recent of which is the Staff 8802 putter. The heel-shafted blade, which debuted in 1950, is instantly recognizable to golfers of a certain age.
 
Arnold Palmer made it famous, but Ben Crenshaw probably made it historic – his Masters-winning "Little Ben" putter is likely the most accomplished 8802 flatstick of all time, as Crenshaw, widely regarded as one of the best putters ever, used it throughout his career. I've added a YouTube clip below in which he talks about it.
 
The brand-new re-issue looks exactly like its predecessor, though its stainless steel head weighs in at 335 grams, making this one lighter than before to better handle today's quicker greens. And while the original model had a smooth face, the face on this one is double milled to make it completely flat and improve its ability roll the ball steadily.
 
The gold paint fill logo on the sole pairs with the old-fashioned red Lamkin 3GEN smooth pistol grip to commemorate Wilson's centennial anniversary. And this modern/classic package is completed with a 
vintage red, white and gold logo headcover.
 
The new 8802s are available now, right-handed and with a 35-inch length only, with a suggested retail price of $179.99.
 
 
Wilson brings back its classic Staff 8802 putter
nike performance fitting center
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The Nike Performance Fitting Center includes the full range of Nike equipment and technology, and was created to give golfers of all skill levels the same custom-fitting experience that Nike provides its tour players.
In a first for Nike Golf, the company has opened its first Nike Performance Fitting Center at Archerfield Links Estate in New Berwick, Scotland, just outiside of Edinburgh. 
 
The facility includes the full range of Nike equipment and technology, and was created to give golfers of all skill levels the same custom-fitting experience that Nike provides its tour players. Golfers visiting the center also get access to Archerfield's elite coaching panel, which includes former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart and European Tour coach Gary Nicol.
 
"This incredible facility takes club fitting to another level," said Rory McIlroy, who was on hand for the grand opening. "It's so impressive that Nike is providing the consumer the same type of service that we get as Nike athletes."
 
Golfers looking for a complete experience can sign up for a three-day package that features full club and ball fitting, game assessment, physical fitness consultation and a playing lesson on either the Fidra or Dirleton Links at Archerfield. The cool part: You get fit for clubs on Day 1, and they're delivered in time for your on-course playing lesson. Golfers also get a distance mapping session to get familiar with their new sticks. 
 
"Today marks a critical step in our journey as we deliver an experience designed to serve the golfer in fitting and performance," said Nike Golf President Cindy Davis. "It's not enough to simply make great product – we have to serve our consumer with world-class experiences that enable them to unlock their true potential.  Our partnership with Archerfield, an authentic site located on Scotland's Golf Coast, does just that." 
 
In addition to the two stunning courses designed by DJ Russell, the Archerfield Links Estate boasts a 17th century Mansion House with a spa (recently voted in the top-six new spas in Europe), a gym and a range of luxurious accommodations just outside Edinburgh. This facility provides easy access by road, rail and air.  
 
The Nike Fitting Performance Center joins a growing collection of performance and fitting centers operated by leading equipment companies. These also include the TaylorMade Center of Excellence in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif.
 
 
Nike Golf opens Performance Fitting Center in Edinburgh, Scotland
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