Equipment

August 30, 2012 - 5:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway X Utility Prototype iron
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Callaway's new X Utility irons are forged from 1020 carbon steel and contain removable sole weights that allow players to make swingweight adjustments.

In an era when more and more players are taking long irons out of their bags, it was quite refreshing to see Callaway Golf introduce its X Utility Prototype irons to its players on tour this summer. They’re proving so popular among the pros that Callaway has decided to bring them to retail – they’ll be available at select retailers on Dec. 1 and, presumably, more widely next spring.

Famed club designer Roger Cleveland created the X Utility irons – there are three, in lofts of 18, 21 and 24 degrees – and they were seeded to Callaway staff pros ahead of the U.S. Open. Players from Phil Mickelson to Branden Grace put some of them in their bags, and their real breakthrough came when Ernie Els used all three to win the British Open at Royal Lytham.

“I didn’t expect the [PGA Tour] players to gravitate much towards the 24-degree version,” said Cleveland. “I thought that loft would more address the needs of the Champions Tour, LPGA and skilled amateur golfers, but the guys on the PGA Tour put them right into play. Ernie Els immediately adopted all three and asked, ‘Where is the rest of the set?’”
 
The X Utility irons are forged from 1020 carbon steel, and contain a tungsten sole to precisely dial in the Center of Gravity location as well as a high-strength maraging steel face that promotes high ball speeds. Each iron also features removable sole weights that range from two to eight grams in two-gram increments that allow players to make swingweight adjustments to fit their individual length, shaft and grip options. 

“Many players have replaced their long irons with hybrids, which are easier to hit, but the X Utility protoypes offer a level of precision that our tour staff has been very pleased with, plus these clubs offer a tighter dispersion than hybrids on mis-hits,” said Luke Williams, Callaway’s Global Director of Woods and Irons. “The amount of excitement that our X Utility prototype irons have generated on Tour and among the avid followers of golf equipment has been overwhelming.”

The X Utility prototype irons will carry an introductory retail price of $199 per club with steel shafts and $229 with graphite shafts.

August 29, 2012 - 3:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Odyssey ProType Black putter
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The new ProType Black putters from Odyssey feature black heads, shafts and grips.

Odyssey has enjoyed great success this year with its ProType line of putters, and is now rolling out the latest additions to the top-of-the-line collection.

The new ProType Black designs incorporate feedback from hundreds of tour professionals worldwide and, says Odyssey, offer "an unprecedented integration of look, sound and feel."

Upon first glance, the most distinctive aspect of the new putters is their color – stealth black. The heads feature a black PVD finish, the steel shafts have a black powder coat, and the grips are black and seamless. 

The heads are milled from 1025 Carbon Steel that, says Odyssey, performs like stainless steel but with a softer feel. The face of each putter features a deep, sharp milling pattern designed to increase interaction between the face and the ball for better feel, a truer roll and increased consistency.

“Our new ProType Black putters may be the coolest, most premium designs we’ve ever developed,” said Odyssey Principal Designer Austie Rollinson. “The ProType Black line is born from feedback given by the world’s best players, which yielded features such as thinner top lines and thicker faces, and the forged-milled 1025 Carbon Steel offers a uniquely soft feel.”

The ProType Black line will arrive at retail on Oct. 12 in three models -- #2 (a blade with a squared-off heel and toe), #9 (a blade with more of a rounded head) and 2-Ball.  The new product introduction retail price for the blade models is $269 and $299 for the 2-Ball.

August 29, 2012 - 1:49am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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White Sox in Caddyshack attire
The White Sox aren't playing so great in Baltimore, but they looked hilarious getting there.

In, I can only presume, an attempt to ease the pennant-race tension for the American League Central-leading Chicago White Sox, Manager Robin Ventura ordered a relaxation of the team dress code for this week’s trip to Baltimore.

So the Sox players and their entire staff donned their best "Caddyshack"-themed golf outfits for the journey to Camden Yards. Alas, the Sox have had as much success against the Orioles as Carl Spacker had against the gophers at Bushwood Country Club, as the Sox have dropped each of the first two games – instead of being the ball, they're getting beat at ball.

But even if the Sox are striking out on the field, their traveling togs were definitely a home run as they were all decked out in their Loudmouth Golf attire and ’80s accessories. I can’t believe these guys all just happened to own these clothes, and I’d love to have seen their pre-trip shopping excursion.

The Sox are the second MLB team that I know of that has some fun with their road rags. Over the years, Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon has playfully ordered his players to wear grunge clothes to Seattle, beachwear to southern California and pajamas for a red-eye flight, just to name a few.

The Sox and the Rays are both very much in the playoff picture. If they happen to meet in the postseason, I say may the loudest-dressed team win.

To see more photos of the Sox in their Loudmouth gear, click here.

August 28, 2012 - 6:30pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Landshark golf bag
Courtesy of Margaritaville
Even if you're playing in the coldest of climes, The Landshark golf bag will have you thinking tropical swing thoughts.

Though my wife will never understand, I am something of a Parrothead – I love Jimmy Buffett, love the whole tropical-island, Hawaiian-shirt, sand-between-my-toes lifestyle (in theory more than practice, I admit).

If you’re like me, you might be interested in bringing a little Parrothead personality to your golf game – and now you can, with the Landshark Golf Bag.

The bag is made of water-resistant rip-stop nylon and leather, and contains six pockets, including a velour-lined valuables pouch. It weighs in at 7.7 pounds and features a 10-inch diameter top. It also comes with a single padded strap as well as a hip pad for carrying comfort, and is festooned with shark fins, palm trees and, of course, the official Landshark Lager logo.

But wait, as they say on late-night TV, there’s more: Act now and you can get free shipping as well as free personalization – you can have your name embroidered on it.

So if your golf game needs some Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude, maybe the Landshark Golf Bag is just what you need. It sells for $299.95 and is available from the Margaritaville website.

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."

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