Equipment

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
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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.

August 7, 2012 - 1:16pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Phil Mickelson
getty
Mickelson put a new putter in play a week before the season's final major. Good call?

Equipment changes before a major are rare. Putter changes before a major are virtually unheard of.

Guys might experiment with a driver or two the Monday before. And a new wedge could occasionally slip into the bag. Depending on the venue, a driving iron or hybrid might make a temporary appearance. But almost never is the putter, the most important and intimate club in the bag, jilted for a new mistress on the eve of one of the Big Four. 

But Phil Mickelson did just that, putting an Odyssey prototype in the bag the Friday of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The club resembles an old friend, the No.9 model he has used in the past, with a low profile heel and a raised toe.

According to Mickelson, the design gives the putter “a kind of a hook roll.” 

Whether it’s the newness of the romance or the mechanics of the instrument, Mickelson averaged 28 putts per round with the new putter, putting him T13 in the field. He also gained 1.217 strokes per round putting, seventh in the field.

“It just rolls off the face like magic, and it has this great track,” Mickelson said. “I was making a lot more 15- to 30-footers because it was holding such a tight roll.”

Rain precluded practice on Tuesday and Mickelson canceled his press conference, so nobody could confirm if the affair continues. But if it does, Phil will once again generate a lot of a buzz with his decision making. 

 

 

August 5, 2012 - 11:01pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Keegan Bradley at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Getty Images
Keegan Bradley now has three wins on the PGA Tour in the last 15 months, all with the use of a long putter.

Another week on the PGA Tour, another win for a long putter as Keegan Bradley drained a key 15-footer to save par on the final hole at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational final hole, then watched Jim Furyk miss a five-footer with a short putter to salvage bogey and force a playoff. The latest win with a long putter prompted a few reactions from other Tour players via Twitter:

Joe Ogilvie: Hmm...5 months until I peg it at the Sony Open, do I waste my time mastering belly putter or re-master short putter? Golf is now Congress.

Joe Ogilvie: I think anchoring has 24 months left. Rule will be +/- shaft can't come in contact w/any body part except for hands until you are 50.

Luke Donald: Nice one @Keegan_Bradley you got a spare belly putter for me to try?!?!

Luke List: omg bellyputter wins again! Media is to blame. If using a belly was cheating everyone would use #upgradingboat #congratsKB

A couple of quick thoughts:

--Joe Ogilvie's opinions are as well-informed as any. If he thinks anchoring will be gone in 24 months, I’m inclined to think he’s on to something.

--I can only chuckle at Luke List blaming the media for the long putter controversy. We golf writers certainly like to talk about the big issues of the day, but we only reflect what we see and hear out there. If so many top players and governing body officials weren’t conflicted about whether long putters should be legal or not, the issue wouldn't stay on the front burner.

To read the complete story of Bradley's victory, click here.
 

 

 

August 1, 2012 - 1:29pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Steve Flesch
Getty Images
Steve Flesch believes that long putters don't eliminate mistakes.

One of my favorite parts about covering big tournaments is the chance to talk golf with the people who are playing the game at the highest level. The next best thing to being there might be to "listen in" to some of these conversations on social media, and recently there was a fascinating exchange on Twitter between PGA Tour veterans Steve Flesch and Bob Estes regarding one of the big equipment issues of the day.

Here’s a recap of their discussion:

Flesch to Estes: Don't waste time with this long putter nonsense, by which Ernie [Els] and Adam [Scott] were nearly last in putting [at the British Open], look at the ball. The real issue

Estes to Flesch: True, but would Ernie & Adam have finished 1 & 2 without the long or belly putter? They obviously thought it helped them. But you're right! The ball got away from the ruling bodies, as did the size of driver heads.

Flesch to Estes: From a guy who has used every type, length, and method of putting, I believe that belly and long don't eliminate mistakes.

Estes to Flesch: No method is foolproof. What matters is, does anchoring the putter make you a better putter than you would be otherwise?

Flesch to Estes: agree entirely, but anchoring doesn't appear to help so much that it needs to be banned.

Estes to Flesch: How can you say that when 3 of last 4 majors have been won with belly putters. They don't putt that way 2 putt worse!

If you’d like to follow these guys on Twitter, Flesch is at @Steve_Flesch and Estes is at @BobEstesPGA.

And, of course, you can follow PGA.com at @PGA_com

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