July 20, 2014 - 7:36pm
Courtesy of Titleist
This past week was a big one for the folks who make wedges at Titleist.
First, wedge creator extraordinaire Bob Vokey celebrated his 75th birthday and is still going strong.
More important, however, Titleist's Vokey Designs released the latest addition to its Spin Milled 5 line-up of wedges. They are Indigo Blue, and are arguably the most breathtaking golf clubs on the market.
"We've had the Indigo finish in WedgeWorks in the past, but only in the 400 Series. People went crazy for them," said Vokey. "We took them to the PGA [Merchandise] Show this year and everyone was gravitating towards the Indigo finish and asking us when we would offer it in SM5. Even some of the Tour guys saw it and loved it, so we've decided to put out a limited release."
The SM5 Indigo wedges officially became available to the public on Wednesday. They are standard SM5 wedges – which are the most popular wedges on the PGA Tour – that are plated and then treated with a special PVD finish to give them their unique iridescent blue appearance. The Indigo finish will wear over time, Vokey said, but the wedges won't rust.
Like all SM5 wedges, the Indigo models include Vokey's new, deeper Spin Milled TX3 grooves, which Vokey says deliver more spin for more precise trajectory and distance control. In addition, TX3 scorelines – a progressive design with seven percent larger groove volume – produce additional backspin by channeling away grass and sand.
The SM5 Indigo wedges are available in two SM5 mid-bounce grinds, M and S. In total, there are eight different loft, bounce and grind combinations: 54.10 (M and S) 56.10 (M and S), 58.07 (S), 58.09 (M), 60.07 (S) and 60.08 (M).
The M grind is Vokey's original tour grind, and the one he considers his favorite. It has a crescent-shaped forward bounce sole and relieved heel, toe and trailing edge, along with medium camber and bounce.
By contrast, the S Grind – a full sole with moderate heel relief and a medium ribbon ground along the trailing edge – was inspired by Steve Sticker, who likes to play his wedges in a square position with the shaft leaning away from the target.
"Steve has a shallow angle of attack, with little to no wrist action. The S Grind gives him the versatility to hit many different shots around the green, even with his neutral style," Vokey explained. "For players that like to rotate the face open, the M Grind is a very popular option."
The Indigo wedges carry a suggested retail price of $185, including customization and personalization options, and are available at Vokey.com and certain U.S. golf shops. They join the full line of SM5 wedges, which launched last spring, and come in Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black finishes.
Titleist's Vokey releases Indigo edition of his SM5 wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
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.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Follow the Open Championship along with us all week
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
July 17, 2014 - 5:23pm
Ian Poulter via Instagram
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.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Follow the Open Championship along with us all week
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
July 15, 2014 - 11:02pm
Courtesy of Bettinardi Golf
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
July 10, 2014 - 12:36am
Courtesy of Scotty Cameron
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.
GAME CHANGERS VIDEO: Scotty Cameron's Futura X Dual Balance putter
"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
July 8, 2014 - 7:03pm
Courtesy of Wilson Golf
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
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