Childhood buddies Tim Shaughnessy and Zac Nicholls are the proud owners of a small, New York-based company called Bellum Winmore.
Bellum Winmore is in the business of making custom milled putters.
"Zac and I first started throwing ideas around in 2010," Shaughnessy told PGA.com. "We came up with a concept for a highly adjustable putter head in 2011 and started Bellum Winmore shortly thereafter. Looking at the prototype, it's a very cool concept. However, in launching a new brand we decided to pursue more traditional designs first. We intend to revisit the idea of producing the adjustable head, but for now our focus is making precision 100 percent milled putters with unbelievable feel and performance."
Along with a variety of beautiful traditional designs, Bellum Winmore also offers custom back weighting on its putters so that customers can find that perfect balance we all look for in our favorite flat-stick.
We recently sat down with Shaughnessy for a Q&A to learn more about Bellum Winmore.
PGA.com: How did you come up with the name?
Shaughnessy: We wanted our name to speak to quality and tradition, without bashing people over the head with something obvious. We started searching foreign language translations of words and concepts related to our vision. We went back and forth for months, pouring over thousands of word combinations before agreeing on the name "Bellum Winmore." The abstract translation is "Win More Wars." The process was arduous, but the result was exactly what we were looking for.
PGA.com: Where are the putters made?
Shaughnessy: Originally we milled everything at our custom shop in Northern California. Recently we partnered with a state-of-the-art machine shop with the most high tech, high output machines on the market. At the same time we made a significant investment in testing and measuring equipment, which has enabled us to develop a quality system that is typically only found in extremely advanced manufacturing sectors. The integration of this approach into our business model has enabled us to repurpose our shop to focus solely on custom work, prototyping, and first run production.
PGA.com: What separates a Bellum Winmore putter from others?
Shaughnessy: There's an exotic finish section on our website (www.bellumwinmore.com) where we're showcasing the most amazing one-off finishes you'll ever see on stainless steel. They really are works of art.
From a performance standpoint we offer extensive counter-balance options that enable the golfer to really tune their putter.
Then there's the feel. We've done extensive resonance testing which really shaped our design approach. "Soft" is an incredibly overused word in our industry, and one we don't particularly care for. What I will say is that Bellum Winmore Milled Putters offer the most pleasing feel of any putter on the market.
PGA.com: Can you tell us a little about the process of constructing a putter? Does it literally start off as a block?
Shaughnessy: Our putters our 100 percent milled from a single piece of 303 stainless steel. In order to cut down on waste and machine time we use custom stock rather than a rectangular billet that produces copious amounts of wasted metal. There is no welding. The entire putter is precision milled as a single piece, then bead blasted to a matte finish. We then set aside a specific amount of putters that will get custom finishes, such as our torched Whiskey finish or our black PVD. I have to say, our black finish is the absolute best you will find.
PGA.com: Can you tell me about your customization options?
Shaughnessy: There is a little bit of variance model-to-model. Every model can be ordered with your choice of playing specs (length, lie, loft). Additional customizations include paint fill, face milling, sightlines, three different finishes, black or chrome shaft, and several grip options. However, the customization that sets us apart is the ability to really tune in your putter feel with grip weights ranging from 10g to 100g. Our site makes the whole process incredibly easy. If there is a desired customization or configuration that isn't listed on the product page we encourage our customers to contact us directly.
PGA.com: What is the turnaround time from start to finish on a putter once a customer places an order?
Shaughnessy: Our goal is to ship all orders within two days after the order is placed, though certain customizations require additional lead-time. We pride ourselves on constant communication throughout the process, so our customers are updated with both the progress of the order and any potential delays in production and shipping. Open and honest communication is the key to developing a positive relationship with our customers.
PGA.com: What has been the most rewarding aspect of this venture for you to this point?
Shaughnessy: That's a tough one. It reminds me of the 10 minutes after an acceptance speech when you realize you forgot to thank your mom. The positive feedback from our customers has been extremely gratifying. Knowing that people believe in our product and our approach is very rewarding, and drives us to continue looking for ways to improve. At the end of the day the customer is what matters, and we are grateful to each and every one of them.
PGA.com: How difficult is it to break into the golf equipment business as a smaller company?
Shaughnessy: I don't want to discourage anyone from throwing their hat into the ring. It's extremely competitive, but competition brings out the best in you. We did our first PGA event at the John Deere Classic and it was extremely eye opening. It definitely cemented the reality that market entry is a marathon rather than a sprint. That said, the experience was encouraging and the feedback was entirely positive.
PGA.com: Is most of your business from word of mouth?
Shaughnessy: Our business is almost entirely word of mouth. At this point we do minimal advertising, and focus on a more "boots on the ground" strategy. This approach has helped us connect with golfers and better understand their needs. A mentor of mine used to say, "Start with the customer and work back," and that’s exactly what we do.
PGA.com: How much -- if at all -- has social media helped your business?
Shaughnessy: Staying relevant at this point in time is contingent on a social media presence. With our collective backgrounds rooted in manufacturing and operations, Zac and I are still feeling our way through things like Twitter and Facebook. It’s all quite new but we're learning.
PGA.com: Where do you envision Bellum Winmore five years from now?
Shaughnessy: We continue to pursue innovations that improve upon our design intent. Our five-year plan includes a tour presence at every level, as well as strategic partnerships with companies whose ideas and products we believe in. However we maintain the position that achieving high water cannot come at the expense of quality or customer service, which we consider immutable attributes.
PGA.com: Have you received any help or encouragement from other companies?
Shaughnessy: We've been lucky enough to partner with quality organizations that have been instrumental in our progress. Puregrips (www.puregrips.com) have continuously exceeded our expectations, treating us with a level of respect and urgency usually reserved for much larger companies. I'd like to give a special acknowledgement to Alvin who is as good a representative as a company could ever hope for.
We also appreciate all of the help and support we have received from Delila Harvey (www.girlygolfer.com). Her head covers are second to none, and anyone in the business can tell you how hard it is to get a quality head cover.
Also, Bellum Winmore is offering free shipping when you order. Simply add the discount code "PGA" at checkout.
Mizuno has introduced two new sets of irons sure to get the attention of the serious golfer: the JPX-850 Forged and the MP-15.
First, the new JPX-850 forged irons implement the first-ever use of "Boron" in the forging process. Boron, a chemical element with atomic number five, commonly found in Earth's crust and throughout the Solar System, establishes an entirely new standard for distance, forgiveness and feel in a Mizuno forged iron.
"The addition of Boron to our 1025 carbon steel in our patented Grain-Flow Forging process enabled us to stretch the limits of design within the iron to bring to market one of the longest and most forgiving forged irons ever, without sacrificing the Mizuno trademarks of look and feel," said Chuck Couch, Vice President of Product Development, Golf Division, Mizuno USA. "We held true to our history of quality and performance, while leveraging the benefits of Boron in JPX-850 Forged to deliver an iron that will stand above any other forged iron on the market."
The golf industry has seen Boron used as a decorative element to create an effective "finished" look. With JPX-850 Forged, Mizuno is capitalizing on Boron's superior performance benefits to give the new irons 30 percent greater strength. By infusing Boron, Mizuno was able to design a much thinner face in the JPX-850 Forged then standard metals to provide an industry leading COR and "sweet area" to allow for an aggressive approach to any golf shot.
Featuring an ultra CNC pocket cavity combined with a Power Frame design, JPX-850 Forged provides golfers the Mizuno feel expected in a forged iron with a large sweet area typically found in game-improvement clubs. In addition to the unparalleled feel and distance of the JPX-850 Forged, Mizuno utilized H.I.T (Harmonic Impact Technology) Power Frame, a vibration management technology, and acoustical badge design to deliver the iconic Mizuno sound and feel players crave at ball impact.
The JPX-850's are designed with a Triple Cut Sole and beveled leading edge allowing for greater versatility and ball workability from difficult lies. The irons are outfitted in Satin Nickel Chrome Plating with electro-form badge giving users an aggressive, sleek look Mizuno is known to produce.
4-GW (Right- and Left-Hand Models)
Steel Shaft: XP115
Graphite shaft: NEW Orochi
Grip: Golf Pride M-31 360 58 Round
Other Options available through Mizuno's Custom Department
Suggested Retail Price: $999.99 Steel / $1,099.99 Graphite
Pre-sale/Demo: Aug. 29, 2014
On-sale: Sept. 19, 2014
The JPX-850 Forged line will be available for pre-sale and demo through Mizuno's Performance Fitting System (PFS) cart. The irons will be on shelves at golf and sporting goods retailers on Sept. 19, 2014.
MIZUNO'S MP-15 IRONS
Former World No. 1 Luke Donald -- a long-time Mizuno advocate -- had a strong hand in the development of the company's new "players iron," the MP-15.
Mizuno collaborated with Donald to combine the favorite elements of the company's popular MP-59 and MP-64 lines into one powerhouse iron. The result is a "players" iron that merges the sleek head shape of the MP-64 with the groundbreaking Ti-Muscle technology in the MP-59.
"To have one of the game's truly elite ball strikers and iron players involved in the development process of our irons to ensure they meet his standard and gain his seal of approval cannot be underestimated," said Chuck Couch, Vice President of Product Development, Golf Division. "Our goal was to deliver a forgiving MP iron while designing a compact 'players' head to accommodate those golfers looking to gain an edge in ball striking, feel and forgiveness. MP-15 will be a game changer in the 'players' iron category."
Donald provided detailed feedback throughout the developmental stages of the MP-15 irons. His insight and knowledge of "feel and sound" at impact allowed Mizuno to precisely dial in the H.I.T (Harmonic Impact Technology), a vibration management technology, to deliver the buttery Mizuno feel players crave at impact.
A more versatile and compact head design infused with Mizuno's new 3D Ti Muscle Technology, expands the sweet area while adding thickness at the point of impact creating a forged iron that has the forgiveness of a much larger players club. The grain-flow forged 1025 Elite gives the iconic soft, solid and consistent feel golfers come to expect from Mizuno irons.
Its tour-proven sole design with a rounded leading edge gives golfers the confidence and versatility to work the ball from difficult lies allowing them to aggressively pin seek. MP-15 comes standard in elegant satin nickel chrome plating in line with its MP predecessors.
Steel Shaft: Dynamic Gold S300
Graphite Shaft: New Orochi
Grip: Golf Pride M-31 360 58 Round
Other Options available through Mizuno's Custom Department
Suggested Retail Price: $999.99 Steel / $1,099.99 Graphite
Pre-sale: Aug. 29, 2014
Available in-store: Sept. 19, 2014
The MP-15 line will be available for pre-sale and demo through Mizuno's Performance Fitting System (PFS) cart. The irons will be on shelves at golf and sporting goods retailers on Sept. 19, 2014.
Learn more about the new JPX-850 Forged and the MP-15 irons at www.mizunogolf.com.
As it nears its 25th year as one of the most consistent performers in the golf apparel space, Cutter & Buck has created a new array of its CB SunTec apparel options featuring ultra-violet protection of at least UPF 25+. The line also features pieces with Nano-Tex Aquapel, an eco-friendly water repellant that provides advanced protection against rain and spills while retaining breathability and comfort. For Spring 2015, the collection boasts bold brights in solids and stripes, plus woven-inspired prints with high-wattage color, as well as a mix of lightweight layering and weather protection pieces.
Danish shoemaker ECCO unleashed a winner with its Men's Golf Street hybrid shoe a few years ago, and is building on that success with the release of its Street Retro model. It features street-inspired upper patterns made from highly water resistant Hydromax treated leather, and has an easy-care performance textile toe and heel cap. The removable textile insole wicks moisture while providing extra cushioning, and the patented E-DTS outsole technology has approximately 100 molded traction bars and more than 800 traction angles for excellent grip.
No trend in golf is hotter than customization, and no category of golf fashion is cooler right now than belts. So how great would it be if you could design your own belt? That's the idea behind Francis Edward, which counts PGA Tour player Paul Stankowski as one of its co-owners (Francis is Stankowski's middle name and Edward is the middle name of his partner Mike Vicary. To make your own belt, you choose the skin or leather you want – such as alligator or crocodile – the color, the length and even the stitching. These are, no doubt, high-end accessories, but, hey, you can match it to your favorite outfit, your golf bag or even your car seats.
Everybody wants to stay cooler and more comfortable out on the course. The latest option from fabric pioneer Garmatex is IceSkin, which combines the company's CoolSkin microfiber with natural jade mineral. This permeable fabric promotes evaporation and lowers the skin's temperature by reflecting the sun's rays off the jade minerals, throwing thermal energy away from the body. The shirts also contain Bact-Out, a proprietary, antimicrobial nanotechnology that resists odors and controls 99.9% of bacteria, even after 50 washes.
Garmin remains a leader in GPS technology, but its golf watches have progressed far beyond their roots. The new Approach S6 includes first-of-its-kind Swing Metrics that help golfers synchronize their swing mechanics and fine-tune their tempo, which makes it as useful on the range as on the course. It can also display emails and texts, and includes course mapping and the other features of previous Garmin GPS models.
Golf clubs are getting lighter by the year, as are golf shoes – and, at Kentwool, so are golf socks. The new KW Series blends wool and bamboo to create a line of golf socks that is thinner than the company's original models but maintains the strength and durability of those now-famous trailblazers. The KW Series features a couple of men's and women's versions of ankle-height and slow-profile models in light and dark colors.
The people of Atlanta might know Missy Maude as the daughter of Braves CEO Terry McGuirk, but the fashion world is getting to know her as a fast-rising designer. The 20-something Maude broke into the industry with her Lissa Mar line of women's resort clothing, which proved so popular that she was actively encouraged to branch out into golf. Her first golf collection is out now, with a family of tops and bottoms in pastels and prints that are as appealing off the course as on.
Seamus headcovers stand out for the elegance in their simplicity. They're handmade – yes, handmade – of wool and fleece in Oregon, and come in a wide variety of tartans and other patterns – including some inspired by Oregon's famed Pendleton blankets – that give them a one-of-a-kind look atop your favorite driver. They also can be personalized with custom embroidery on the top or custom leather tags along the bottom.
How many times have you taken a practice swing or hit a shot and come away with a clubface full of dirt or grass? What do you do – wipe the debris off on your glove or your clothes, or get your towel wet or all dirty? The Shoetoothe, which clips onto your shoe, is a small brush made of thermo-plastic Rubber that is designed to remove debris from your clubface with just one quick swipe. The brush has a cuff guard to keep your pant leg clean, and comes in a variety of color options.
The biggest advance in equipment in recent years is adjustability, but all that functionality comes at a price. Tour Edge has tackled that problem with its new Hot Launch driver, which offers multiple loft options but carries a suggested retail price of just $199. The driver features a 460cc deep-faced head made of titanium, with the center of gravity positioned low and deep to help get the ball airborne. A non-adjustable Draw version ($149) also will be available when the clubs come to retail this fall.
British clothier Wolsey is one of the world's oldest apparel brands – it dates back to 1755 – but it is increasing its push into the American golf market with its new Sportsman men's golf/lifestyle collection. Several of its garments are made in the United Kingdom, and the line combines traditional British menswear colors with minimal and strong textual patterns to create a "less-is-more" aesthetic. The line offers a silhouette that is more middle ground than slim, and many pieces rely on Invista ThermoCool technology that helps regulate body temperature.