Friday, October 9, 2009

New irons from TaylorMade, Titleist

Titleist's new AP1 and AP2 are multi-material, dual-cavity irons that feature what the company calls its "Tuned Feel System," an insert made of molded medallion of soft elastomer and aluminum plate. Titleist says the technology increases speed in the larger AP1 and feel in the smaller-face AP2.

It also thickened the face of the AP1 to provide enhanced heel, toe, and deep weighting to the frame and moved the tungsten nickel material to the sole resulting in increased stability and forgiveness.

Suggested retail for the AP1 is $100/$125 per club for steel or graphite and $142/$167 for AP2.

Stock Shafts and Grip: Stock NS Pro 105T is a high performance lightweight steel shaft with a medium tip for control and softer mid section for feel. Stock graphite shaft is Aldila VS Proto-T 75 exclusively for Titleist. Stock grip is Tour-proven feel and traction of the Titleist Tour Velvet Rubber by Golf Pride. Other shaft, grip, length and lie options are available through Titleist Custom.

TaylorMade releases R9 Irons

TaylorMade's new R9 TP is for better players with compact head with design cues from CBS announcer and major champion Nick Faldo to help make them appeal to the better player.

The set gets progressively thicker to make longer irons easier to hit. The longer irons have a foam-filled chamber behind the head to promote more distance and enhance feel.

The R9 TP irons come equipped with KBS Tour Series steel shafts and retail for $1,125.

The standard R9 ($999 steel/$1,249 graphite) are more the everyday player and are designed for distance. The long and middle irons were designed separately from short irons to optimize performance and have the foam-filled chamber. TaylorMade has also tried to design the irons so they don't look so "fat" to the golfer, to aid with confidence

Custom-fit putter line to debut next month

Nike has gotten a lot of industry buzz around its new Method putter and has decided to give consumers an early peek. It'll go on sale in limited quantities Nov. 2 at 12:01 a.m. online at The sale will run through Nov. 30, or until the quantities run out.

The putter, available in five models, combines steel and polymer to make the putter generate forward roll almost immediately after impact, and the company says it minimizes bounce and helps keep balls on line.

Nike golfers Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink both used the Method putter to win the 2009 U.S. Open and Open Championship, respectively.

The $499 putters will be custom built at Nike's Research facility in Texas. They will be carved with initials or numerals personal to the consumer, made to desired length and lie angle - and each consumer will get a certificate signed by Tom Stites, Nike Golf’s Director of Club Creation and the actual club builder.

Monday, September 21, 2009

GPS vs. The Rangefinder

One way to make your golf rounds more enjoyable is to know your exact yardages - to the pin, to the sand trap, to the trouble. On some courses, the carts have GPS technology built in to give you rough estimates of yardage to the pin.

There are much better technologies out there to make the game even easier -- and faster since you are no longer walking off yardages to yard markers on the course.

There are many GPS devices, which you hold in your hand, almost like a cell phone, while they flash all types of information on the screen. Some of these devices, like the popular SkyCaddie, add an annual charge to download courses into the device. The Rangefinder, akin to holding binoculars in your hand, don’t come with any charge fees and allow you to measure direct distance to wherever you point the device.

But which is better?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve tested a SkyCaddie SG4 model against the new Bushnell Pro 1600 Slope Edition.

The Bushnell is simple to use. You remove the cap on one end, look through the lens and press a button to lock in on your target. The slope version, which is not legal for tournament play, will even adjust your distance for elevation. This way you’re not guessing how much extra club to take to reach an elevated green.

The unit is waterproof and has 7x magnification, allowing you to measure things up to 400 yards away.

The SkyCaddie displays yardages to different points on each hole. You simply look down and instantly get information. You can get yardage to different pins and measure how far your tee shots are going (tip: you don’t hit it as far as you think).

The Bushnell is neat because there are no restrictions on what it can measure, though you’ll need a steady hand. I’m never 100 percent sure I’m locking on to what I think I am. Thankfully, you can “drag” the viewfinder across a target and see a few different readings.

On the range, the Bushnell is king. You can measure exactly how far your 8-iron is going and exactly how far it is to the red flag. You can do this, kind of, with the SkyCaddie, but you have to walk off the distance in “edit” mode - and watch out for flying balls while you walk out on the range.

Ultimately, though, the SkyCaddie is faster and easier to use while playing. It’s a personal preference, but being able to immediately see your distances and punch up best layup yardages and ideal tee shot yardages, with no guess-work, is a neat addition to your game.

Both are great devices, but for us, the SkyCaddie is a little better.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New irons, weather gear now available

Equipment releases from Cobra, Nike, Antigua:

Cobra Golf has released the new Cobra S2 iron series. There are two models. The S2 are game-improvement irons made with lightweight materials and more weight pushed low in the heel and toe of the club to increase forgiveness and help golfers get the ball in the air.

The S2 comes with a lightweight graphite or steel shaft for $744 (steel) or $872 (graphite).

The S2 Forged is for the better player and has a more narrow shape. Made from forged carbon steel to provide soft feel, the cavity back irons are designed, Cobra says, to allow golfers to work the ball while providing forgiveness on off-center hits. The irons come with a steel shaft and a suggested retail price of $985.

For more information, visit

- Nike Golf ( has released new products designed to help golfers handle rain and cold. The company says its Storm Fit Elite jacket ($300) and pants ($200) are seam-sealed, waterproof and windproof but remain breathable. They are also designed to allow ease of movement.

A new high top shoe, Zoom Bandon, features a completely sealed upper to keep feet warm and dry. The laces are covered and the shoe features the company’s Zoom Air technology for comfort.

Nike also has released new all-weather gloves and mittens ($24 and $26).

- The Antigua Group’s new Desert Dry technology is debuting in its spring line. The company says the fabrics moisture wicks more rapidly than previous iterations, is lighter weight and keeps heat off the golfer. It’s also designed to be less restrictive (

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Srixon's new Z-Star balls get an A for effort

True story. In the past 10 months, I've played golf seven times. But I got out three times in the past 10 days, so I'm on a roll. I also got a chance to play the new Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X golf balls, and I'm sold.

I always laugh when I see the PGA guys doing those commercials and holding up their golf ball right in the camera and talking about how they would never switch unless a ball made a difference and how "this ball" changed everything. Well, you know and I know that the real reason they're saying that is the same reason why NASCAR guys don't take off the shades when doing interviews: they're getting paid to do so.

Only there may be something to what all those Cleveland staffers like Vijay Singh and Boo Weekley are saying about how the new Srixon outperforms the ProV1 (Cleveland and Srixon are sister companies).

The new Z-Star retails for $39.99 for a dozen, so you'll be chasing them in the woods and trying to pluck them out of the lake, too.

They come in standard and spin versions (Z-Star X). Srixon says you need to swing it about 105 mph to get performance out of the X. In my launch monitor testings, I can hit 105, though not regularly, but I felt like I could launch the ball well and make it compress and perform -- and boy would it stop.

If you're the type that likes to play a lot of bump and run shots and wants to roll the ball up the green on full approach shots, well, this ain't your rock.

But the regular Z-Star might be. Both balls are incredibly soft and roll true off the putter. I hit so many iron shots with the regular Z-Star that felt like butter, I kept looking at my club to make sure something wasn't wrong.

The ball just plain feels good.

The Z-Star has an incredibly thin cover (0.02 inches thick) and a new 324-dimple design. All that mumbo jumbo means that it flies as far as a Top-Flite, but stops like you would want it.

There are lots of good balls out there, but this is one of the best, right up there with my current favorite the Taylor Made LDP Black.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Bag Boys' mini-push cart a must have, and other cart news

I'm a big push cart guy and recently when I got a smaller car to save gas, my trunk got smaller and my old big Bag Boy push cart wouldn't fit in as easily with my golf bag (I carry a staff size adidas).

I love to walk the course. It's a great way to get 4 or 5 miles of walking in and golf, too. I've tried a number of push carts and always seem to come back to Bag Boy. Given my smaller car, I was curious about a smaller push cart.

So I tried a Mini GT push cart from Bag Boy. The thing folds down in one motion and is as small as an average sized suitcase. It slides into my 12 cubic foot trunk (told you it was small) and allows me to stick in my bag with ease. I can even get my son's stand bag in there as well.

Pushing the Bag Boy around is easy. The rubber tires don't require air -- or run out of it -- and glide along the grass or pavement. You almost feel like you're doing no work. The cart adjusts to any height easily. About my only quibble is I'd like the storage compartment a bit bigger for my iPhone to slide in comfortably with the SkyCaddie.

Even if I had a bigger trunk, I still think this is the cart I'd want to push. It's stylish, it's smart and it works well. I would grade it 3.5 stars out of 4. If the storage area was a tad bigger, this would be a perfect product.

Now, a little more push cart news:

The Bag Boy Company donated 24 Automatic push carts to the 2009 PING Junior Solheim Cup to be held on August 17 - 19 at the Aurora Golf Club in Illinois. Making it easy to identify the teams on the golf course, the Americans will be rolling red Bag Boy Automatic push carts while the Europeans will be pushing yellow carts.

Push carts are being allowed for the first time this year in the history of the PING Junior Solheim Cup. During the 2008 season, the AJGA permitted the use of push carts in Junior All-Star events or at any event where a player obtained a doctor’s note indicating a medical need and named the Bag Boy Company the “Preferred Push Cart of the AJGA.” Last year, many juniors used push carts in Junior All-Star tournaments and five pushed their way to victories. The positive acceptance of this new policy among players along with the health concerns associated with carrying bags prompted the AJGA Board of Directors to allow the use of push carts during all AJGA tournaments in 2009.

In 2009, over 260 AJGA junior golfers from 24 states and 6 countries have used push carts in play. Among those 260 golfers using push carts, 33 finished in the top-3. In addition, eight champions using push carts averaged 2.6 strokes fewer than their opponents.

“The rise in push cart usage among junior golfers has been very positive,” says Craig Ramsbottom, President of the Bag Boy Company. “Push carts are widely used and viewed as ‘cool’ among the European players so we are pleased to see the Americans following this trend.”

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Krank Golf's new RAGE driver

Krank Golf drivers were used by the winners of the Remax World Long Drive Championships for the past 2 years in a row (Grand Champion Division).

The company has released a new model, the Krank Golf Rage Driver, which conforms to USGA and R&A standards and is now the premier driver in the Sport of Long Drive.

Krank Golf positions itself as just a driver company. It does not make irons.

“For us to reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 Golf Driver Company in the world, we have to continue to produce drivers that exceed the performance of all the major manufacturers," said Lance Reader, president of Krank Golf. "Because of our commitment to the Sport of Long Drive, we must manufacturer drivers that hold up the highest scrutiny of any drivers in the world. Ball Speed, Spin Rate and Durability is the holy grail of the perfect driver. The New Krank Golf Rage Driver has all three elements."

Reader said those are:

-- Ball Speed. "We have extensive testing results on numerous driver heads at different swing speeds," Reader said. "The Rage Driver is at the top of the list without question. Our new Rage Driver is the only driver ever to exceed the record balls speed records set by our El Diablo Driver. Sure you might say we are biased by doing our own testing. Not true, all our data is immediately exposed to all the World Class Long Drivers doing the testing. What we do is expose the truth of some very expensive drivers that fall very, very short of the Krank Standard."

-- Spin Rate. "Spin is a very difficult element to test, because the shaft and the person swinging the driver have so much to do with spin rate," Reader said. "Our main testing is with House of Forged, LT and Ultra shafts, the best shafts in Long Drive. As well as, our Fujikura Diesel and Diesel Tour shafts, the best shafts in Golf. Our results across the board are slightly lower spin rate than the El Diablo which has a very low spin profile to start with. We know the importance of spin. The Rage driver is developed to reduce spin and it does."

-- Durability. "For those who are concerned about durability, let me make it very clear," Reader said. "To create a driver that holds up to 140 plus mile-per-hour swing speeds is a very, very difficult thing to do. The average golfer swings around 90 to 95 MPH. The Rage driver holds up to swing speeds in excess of 150 MPH. I think we have covered everyone else.
The Krank Golf Rage Driver is everything we hoped it would be. We believe golf starts from the Tee Box. Why not play from more fairways and closer to the greens. It makes putting for dough a lot more likely.”

Get more info at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stomach crunches are bad for you?

Who knew that the good ol' stomach crunch wasn't good for you?

Top fitness experts in a recent Golf Digest poll said the good ol' Put-Your-Hands-Behind-Your-Neck-And-Pull-Up move actually puts tremendous pressure on the spine and promotes a hunched back posture -- not good for golfers or the rest of us.

And if you're spine is all curvy, you can't maintain a good spine angle in the swing.

But we all know we need a strong core - and strong abs -- to swing the club better. So how to get there without doing the crunch?

You can click here for some tips, with visual aids, from Golf Digest.

New technology lets you stay cool while wearing black

Another reason why golf fashion can be good fashion for all of us.

I've not seen these in person but Ralph Lauren's new RLX Golf polos are designed with a new technology , a special textile finish by Schoeller that repels sunlight instead of absorbing it.

Now any of us who have worn a black shirt on a hot day know that black can make you feel like you're wearing a blanket on top of your golf shirt.

I love the look of black and am very curious to see if this tech works. The new Ralph Lauren shirts, which are 92 percent polyester, also have the moisture-wicking technology prevalent in all golf apparel nowadays (and even if you don't play golf, this tech works well, keeps you dry, and is a great addition to any wardrobe).

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Friday, August 7, 2009

PGA Golf Fans, this iPhone App's 4 U

There's a new PGA Championship App on Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. It will provide live video, live scoring and instant updates from next week's PGA Championship.

The PGA Championship App provides customized push notifications so fans can receive instant alerts about their favorite players’ progress. It will also offer live video of marquee groups for all four days of play and live video streaming of the Par 3 holes at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Push notifications will provide users with instant alerts for hole-by-hole scores, completion of rounds and other breaking news. The Breaking News feature will provide frequent updates to storylines and news, and five additional notifications correspond with individual players selected by fans to follow including: Round Beginning, Round Completion, Double Bogeys (and higher), Birdies & Eagles and Hole-by-Hole Updates.

The PGA Championship App will also offer a customizable leaderboard with live scoring in an easy to use front nine/back nine format, video highlights, player information, course information, news and updates. In another first for a major golf tournament, the app will also include a real-time Trends function to highlight notable leaderboard climbs, drops and streaks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PING releases new i15 and G15 club lines

PING is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the largest product launch in company history.

The G15 and i15 Series, which include drivers, irons, hybrids and fairway woods, are engineered with two distinct player profiles in mind. The G15 Series continues PING’s focus on developing forgiving, easy-to-hit clubs. The i15 Series is designed for golfers who prefer clubs that offer more workability and control.

The company also introduced its new iN Series putter line (10 models) and two new models to both its JAS and i-Series putter lines.

All the new products will be available at golf retailers in mid-August.

“Our engineering team continues to research and analyze the needs of all golfers,” said Solheim. “Our newest families of clubs address the specific performance goals of these players and they are designed accordingly. The G15 Series appeals to the majority of golfers who rely on the easier-to-hit attributes of a maximum forgiveness, higher launch type of club. With the i15s, a lot of players will be attracted to the added control and versatility they offer. The i15s will deliver the forgiveness we all need, but they’ve been engineered to provide the workability that a lot of more skilled golfers look for in their clubs.”

Each of the designs was engineered with an emphasis on custom fitting to ensure all golfers a combination of club specifications to match their games. In both the G15 and i15 irons, 12 color codes (lie angles), multiple shaft flexes in steel and graphite and a new PING grip in six sizes provide the most comprehensive fitting options in the industry. The metal woods all offer multiple lofts and two stock shaft offerings in a variety of flexes. The lofts of each metal wood complement the weighting properties of each head design to optimize the flight characteristics.

New product descriptions and technical specifications:

G15 Irons

The technology of the G15 Iron provides the high-launching, maximum forgiveness benefits that the majority of golfers rely on to bring consistency to their iron play. The stainless steel iron’s cavity design features a new Custom Tuning Port (CTP) which expands the perimeter weighting and increases the moment of inertia. Weight savings from a thinner face are re-positioned to the toe for added forgiveness on mishits and the wider sole produces a higher launch angle. Stronger lofts combine with a center of gravity located low and farther from the face to produce longer shots without sacrificing the higher launch angle required in a maximum-forgiveness iron.

-Available 3-9, PW, UW, SW & LW.
-Available in PING-designed AWT steel (Soft R, R, S and X flexes) and TFC 149i graphite shaft (L, Soft R, R and S flexes).
-U.S. MSRP: $107.50 per club w/ steel shaft; $135 per club w/graphite shaft.
i15 Irons

In the design of the i15 Iron, PING engineers focused on the better player who prefers an iron set that offers the control to play a variety of shots. Created as a progressive set, the longer irons are larger for more forgiveness and higher trajectories, while the mid and short irons transition slightly smaller to ensure more workability and control on approach shots. The stainless steel iron features a tungsten toe insert to add forgiveness to the mid-size design. A stabilizing bar and new Custom Tuning Port (CTP) provides the feel and sound attributes preferred by better players.

- Available 3-9, PW.
-Available in PING-designed AWT steel (Soft R, R, S and X flexes) and TFC 149i graphite shaft (L, Soft R, R and S flexes).
-U.S. MSRP: $115 per club w/ steel shaft; $142.50 per club w/graphite shaft.

G15 Driver

The G15 Driver is engineered for golfers seeking a maximum forgiveness driver that delivers distance and accuracy. Its 460cc titanium head is longer front to back and features PING’s patented ultra-thin crown technology. Weight savings from the thin crown are positioned as an external sole weight to optimize the center of gravity for higher trajectories and reduced spin. A larger face is designed to increase ball speed and provide consistency across the entire hitting surface. The new PING-designed TFC149D high balance point shaft allows for a five gram increase in head mass (without increasing swingweight or overall weight) which results in higher ball speeds and an increased moment of inertia.

-Four lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°,13.5°
-Draw version: 9°, 10.5° and 12°.
-Available in PING-designed TFC149D (L, Soft R, R, S and X flexes) and Aldila Serrano 60 (R, S and X flexes)
-U.S. MSRP: $350 (graphite shaft only)

i15 Driver

The fade-biased design of the i15 Driver meets the needs of golfers who place a high priority on working their tee shots. The traditional pear-shaped 460cc titanium head is engineered with a bulge crown design and deeper face to optimize energy transfer for greater ball speed and the solid feel preferred by better golfers. Internal weighting reduces spin and the hosel is positioned slightly back from the face to help promote tour-preferred trajectories and control. Its titanium carbon finish provides a sleek and optically pleasing appearance.

-Three lofts: 8°, 9.5°, 11°
-Available in PING-designed TFC700D (R, S and X flexes) and UST AXIVcore Tour Red 69 (R, S and X flexes).

-U.S. MSRP: $405 (graphite shaft only)

G15 Hybrids

The G15 Hybrid is engineered as a high-launching, forgiving alternative to long and mid irons. A large internal toe pad expands the perimeter weighting to make it PING’s most forgiving and longest hybrid ever. The stainless steel hybrid’s unique shape features an iron-style face and hosel design which positions the center of gravity closer to the face to increase launch angle and reduce spin. The clean look at address inspires confidence for golfers of all abilities.

-Five lofts: 17°, 20°, 23°, 27°, 31°
-Available in PING-designed AWT steel (Soft R, R, S and X), TFC149H (L, Soft R, R, S and X) and Aldila Serrano 85 Hybrid (R, S and X)
-U.S. MSRP: $160 per club w/ steel shaft; $185 per club w/graphite shaft.

i15 Hybrids

For golfers who prefer a traditional hybrid shape and size, the stainless steel i15 offers a high moment of inertia with a tour-preferred trajectory. Internal weighting positions the center of gravity low and back to produce the penetrating ball flight that gives better players the control to hit a variety of shots from most any lie. Stronger lofts contribute to lower spin rates for additional control.

-Three lofts: 17°, 20°, 23 lofts
-Available in PING-designed AWT steel (Soft R, R, S and X), TFC700H (R, S and X) and UST Mamiya AXIVcore Tour Red 85 Hybrid (R, S and X).

-U.S. MSRP: $180 per club w/ steel shaft; $210 per club w/graphite shaft.

G15 Fairway Woods

The elongated, low profile design of the G15 Fairway Wood offers a long, forgiving option for golfers who rely on the confidence of a larger head. An external weight pad on the sole of the stainless steel head positions the center of gravity low and farther back to provide higher trajectories and increased distance.

-Four options: 3 (15.5°), 4 (17°), 5 (18.5°), 7 (21.5°) woods.
-Draw versions: 3 (15.5°), 4 (17°), 5 (18.5°) woods.
-Available in PING-designed TFC149F (L, Soft R, R, S and X) and Aldila Serrano 75 Fairway (R, S and X).

-U.S. MSRP: $230 per club (graphite only)

i15 Fairway Woods

Developed for better golfers who rely on the distance and versatility of a fairway wood, the i15 features a sleek, low profile shape that delivers high performance from all conditions. The stainless steel heads are slightly elongated from heel to toe for added forgiveness and internally weighted to produce low spinning shots with the penetrating trajectory preferred by more skilled golfers.

-Three options: 3 (14°), 3 (15.5°) and 5 (18.5°) woods.
-Available in PING-designed TFC700F (R, S and X) and UST Mamiya AXIVcore Tour Red 79 (R, S and X).

-U.S. MSRP: $265 per club (graphite only)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lee Trevino signs with Bridgestone

Bridgestone Golf has reached an agreement with 6-time major champion Lee Trevino to endorse the company’s Tour B330-RX golf ball. As part of the arrangement, Trevino will play the B330-RX in all professional and exhibition appearances this year, and will star in an upcoming ad with Fred Couples.

Trevino, widely recognized as one of the greatest golfers of all time, won 29 times on the PGA TOUR (including 2 U.S. Opens, 2 British Opens and 2 PGA Championships) and 29 times on the Champions Tour throughout a storied career that spanned four decades.

Introduced in fall of 2008, the Bridgestone Golf Tour B330-RX is the first ever tour performance golf ball designed for Amateur swing speeds. I've heard good things about the ball, but haven't had a chance to actually try it.

Trevino has -- and he likes it.

“This spring, I was playing a round with some friends and stumbled across the B330-RX on the course,” said Trevino. “It was like love at first strike. I couldn’t believe how far I hit the ball and neither could my playing partners. Not only did this baby go off the tee, but also the performance on and around the greens was pure tour. It was then that I realized that I had found the Holy Grail of golf balls.”

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Monday, June 22, 2009

NFL great Jim Brown: Tiger, Michael not doing enough to help black youth

HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" returns Tuesday at 9 p.m. and features a segment with NFL legend Jim Brown and NBA legend Bill Russell.

Brown, especially, is concerned that the two biggest black sports figures of the moment, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, aren't socially active enough.

In a segment called "Legends," Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel sits down with two icons of the 1960s. Brown and Russell were hall of fame athletes who were outspoken figures in a turbulent period of racism, social activism and profound change.

Brown was asked if he was surprised or disappointed by a similar lack of activism in today's top athletes.

“There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example," Brown said. "But they're basically under a system that says, ‘Hey, they're not gonna do a certain thing.’ Yes, that disappoints me because I know they both know better.”

Bryant Gumbel: “Tiger and Michael?”

Jim Brown: “ Yeah, I know they both know better, okay. And I know they both can do better without hurting themselves.”

Jim Brown on Tiger Woods: “You know what’s so interesting about Tiger to me? If it was just a matter of me looking at an individual that's a monster competitor, this cat is a mamajama, he is a killer. He'll run over you, he'll kick your ass, but as an individual for social change, or any of that kind of (stuff). Terrible. Terrible. Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution. And in the real world, man, I can't teach no kids to play golf and that's my contribution, if I got that kind of power.”

Bill Russell: “We’re losing a whole generation of kids. And, I for one, would not give up on them. And Jim will not give up on them because we know that when we were kids, there were certain influences that made our lives livable.”

Bryant Gumbel: “Why did you choose to get so intimately involved with helping young black men who were engaged in gang warfare?”

Jim Brown: “Because simply, it’s the most devastating culture to come along that affect black people in a long time. How can we act like we don’t see young black men killing each other? Rome is burning and so there can be no education, there can be no economic development, there can be no family structure. There can be nothing as long as we allow this particular culture to exist.”

Exotics fairway helps David Duval rally at US Open

David Duval was using a Tour Edge Exotics 3 wood in his otherwise all-Nike setup during his return to prominence at this week's U.S. Open.

Duval finished at minus-2 for the tournament, just two shots behind champion Lucas Glover from Greenville, S.C.

It was his first top-10 since the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas in 2002.

For Tour Edge, it was another strong showing.

This year’s top-10 finishes include:

US Open T2

PGA St. Jude Classic 1st

PGA The Memorial Tournament T5

PGA Northern Trust Open T6

PGA Buick Invitational T7

PGA FBR with T6 (two players)

PGA Sony Open T5

PGA Mayakoba Classic T3

PGA Verizon Heritage – 1st and T2

SPGA Senior PGA Championship 3

LPGA Honda in Thailand T4

LPGA State Farm Classic T3

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nike expands research center

Seven years ago, Nike got serious about the golf business by opening a huge research and design facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company continues to be bullish about golf.

It recently expanded the facility, which it calls "The Oven" for the second time in three years. The Oven is now 49,100 square feet, nearly 18,000 square feet bigger than when it opened.

The Nike Oven is dedicated to research and design for the development of performance golf clubs, testing of both clubs and golf balls, as well as working with Nike Tour athletes like Stewart Cink and Tiger Woods.

The most significant component of the expansion is the addition of a 129,000 square-foot short game area that includes three synthetic greens, one natural grass green, bunkers and practice holes. The practice holes and hitting areas are designed for the purpose of providing various distances for short irons so that iron and ball testing is both extensive and constructive for Nike engineers and Nike athletes. The short game area also is enhanced by a water feature that runs through the middle of the short game course.

The other standout enhancement to “The Oven” is Nike Golf’s research building which has almost doubled in size and houses offices and a new large auditorium for meetings and presentations.

“The Oven” is the idea tank where Tom Stites, Nike Golf's Director of Product Creation for Clubs, and his staff of engineers and technicians develop, research and test the innovative technology that has helped Nike Golf to become one of the fastest growing companies in the history of the golf industry. Rock Ishii, Nike Golf's Product Director for golf balls and his staff of engineers and technicians also utilize the facility as the primary location for ball testing. In conjunction with club testing, the ball team obtains launch parameters, track trajectory and measures actual carry, roll and dispersion.

The Nike Oven features technologically advanced equipment that takes Nike Golf’s research to the next level. This equipment includes a computer controlled mechanic golfer, state-of-the-art putting lab, track man, launch monitors, assembly room, club milling and grinding laboratory as well as other test areas for conducting:

- Numerous proprietary instruments for golf club analysis.

- Shaft testing for flex, frequency, torque and durability.
- Cannon testing for durability and COR compliance.
- COR Pendulum for metal wood COR compliance and performance.
- Mass moment of inertia testing process and center of gravity measurement process.


New women's sportswear line launches

Activewear designer Linda Hipp and her company, LIJA, announce the Garden of Eden collection is now available at country clubs, resorts and golf-specialty retailers throughout North America, as well as online.

With the confident colors of Jungle and Black supported by the soft tones of Opal and Putty, Garden of Eden features a blend of runway styling and distinctive silhouettes. Unique fabrics are found in an array of tops and bottoms, including polos, vests, jackets, pullovers, cardigans, skorts, capris, shorts and pants.

"Our aim is to design functional, fashionable pieces that can be worn from one activity to the next," says Hipp. "Garden of Eden is designed to help women, exude their own individuality and style on the golf course this summer."

Hipp's personal favorites are highlighted by special hang tags. Among these is the Weekender Bag, which showcases a bold "Matisse" graphic print and is perfect for a weekend golf trip or day on the town. Other key items are the Windchill Empire Vest -- boasting a longer silhouette, vintage feel and wind-blocking stretch lining -- and the Tweed Harpo Skort.

Retailing from $32 for some tops to $72 for select outerwear, Garden of Eden is the first of LIJA's Fall 2009 golf and sportswear collections. Twilight in Italy and The Sun Also Rises will ship July 15 and November 1, respectively.

True Temper Project X Shaft winning raves

After winning the BMW Italian Open even before its public debut, the all-new graphite Project X Tour Issue shaft prototype delivered multiple Top 10 finishes, including second-place at the recent St. Jude Classic on the PGA Tour. More than 50 of the shafts were in play on the PGA and Nationwide Tours last week.

The 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and runner-up at the St. Jude Classic, David Toms, played the new graphite Project X shaft in his driver and hybrid clubs. Also, the Project X graphite made up 20 percent of the driver shafts in the Top 10 in its first official week of launch. The new precision-engineered Project X Tour Issue shaft will be available for purchase by golfers worldwide later this summer through True Temper’s dealer network.

“After more than two years in development, True Temper introduced the new Project X graphite prototypes to the Tours in 2008, and we have been working closely with the players to dial in the final shaft specifications to meet their needs,” says Bob Montgomery, manager of tour operations for True Temper. “The new Project X shafts have delivered outstanding performance on Tours worldwide and we continue to see the popularity of the shafts increase each week among professional players.”

Incorporating eight different premium composite materials and five of the most advanced fiber types in the world, the all-new graphite Project X shafts deliver superior cross-sectional stability and maintain the designed performance characteristics throughout the swing for consistent shot patterns. The Project X driver and hybrid shafts features Zonal Design Theory (ZDT) with three distinct zones utilizing unique and separate technologies to optimize performance in the butt, mid and tip sections. In addition, the new graphite Project X shafts provide optimized launch profiles by matching frequency to specific weight, torque and ball flight for maximum player performance.

Buy a set of Clevelands and get a free set later

That's right. Free.

As part of a neat Father's Day special, Cleveland Golf is doing what a lot of other cash-strapped golf companies are doing: making it hard to say no.

If you buy any set of Cleveland irons from now to New Year's Eve, you can trade them in for any of the company's next line of irons at no charge.

It's almost like leasing -- but without the fees.

You have to buy a 7-piece set but you can trade them in, for free, for any Cleveland irons introduced between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011.

For a complete list of rules, click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

College player of the year from Duke signs with the swoosh

Three-time women's national college player of the year Amanda Blumenherst of Duke has joined Nike's tour staff.

Blumenherst, winner of the 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, signed a multi-year agreement and will sport Nike clubs, balls, apparel, footwear, glove, bag, headwear and accessories.

Blumenherst will be making her professional debut at the Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship this week.

“Amanda is a tremendous addition to the Nike Golf staff,” said Kel Devlin, Global Sports Marketing Director for Nike Golf. “Every facet of her game is impressive. She’s an inspirational athlete who already has proven her talent through an illustrious amateur career.”

Blumenherst, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona, was named the National Player of the Year in her first three years at Duke University while leading the women’s team to two NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. Recently, Blumenherst received the Dinah Shore Trophy by the LPGA foundation for the second consecutive year.

The Dinah Shore award is presented to the female collegiate golfer who excels in both academics and athletics. Blumenherst graduated magna cum laude from Duke with a degree in History and a minor in English and Theatre Studies.

Although this week marks her debut as a professional, Blumenherst has competed in professional tournaments as an amateur in five LPGA events in the last three years, including the U.S. Women’s Open in 2006 and 2007 where she finished tied for 10h and 50th.

Tour Edge launches Exotics SCG-V Tour Spec fairway

Tour Edge Exotics has released a mouthful of a new fairway wood, the SCG-V Tour Spec Fairway. We've not tested it but in the past, the Exotics line was the longest fairway we'd tried. For some testers, it flew farther than a driver on some swings.

The new fairway is designed for better players and the company hopes it will keep it in the headlines. Recently, Tour Edge Exotics was used by a top five player the Memorial Tournament and a third place finisher at the LPGA State Farm classic.

So far this year, the brand was used by 10 golfers on the PGA, Senior or LPGA tours who finished in the top 10.

To keep those kinds of stats, Tour Edge engineers built the new fairway by focusing on reducing weight and optimizing weight distribution to create what the company says is the longest-hitting, best-feeling fairway wood in golf.

The Tour Spec features a purpose-built titanium cup face, an ultra-light magnesium crown, and a heavy, high-density steel sole plate – a unique combination in club design. The magnesium crown and titanium cup face allow more of the club head’s weight to rest in the heavy steel sole. In fact, the Tour Spec’s smaller pear-shaped head design, taller face, and perfectly executed weight distribution move the CG location closer to the face for a more penetrating ball flight and tour-preferred trajectory.

The result? Lower spin rates and a more penetrating ball flight.

The heavy, high-density steel sole plate and its unique v-shape shift more weight to the heel and toe. This creates a deeper CG angle and CG point that help the club face square at impact with more force for a quick launch and longer, hotter, more accurate shots.

Retailing for $369.99, the XCG-V Tour Specs is in stores now.

Keri Golf extends partnership with Se Ri Pak

Golf designer Keri Murschell and her company, keri golf, have extended its relationship with LPGA Tour star Se Ri Pak, who will continue to use the line's golf bags in competition and debut a new design in upcoming tournaments.

Crafted to Pak's specifications by keri golf, the 32-year-old's latest custom tour bag combines a body of high-grade red leather with black trim and distinctive script in white and silver. It is adorned by the logos for keri golf and Big Horn Golf Club, as well as the icon of her sister Yoo Ri's apparel line, which the five-time major winner wears on-course.

"I get comments all the time on my keri golf bag and am looking forward to turning heads with this new design," Pak said. "When I look my best, I feel and play my best. Keri thinks about both fashion and function when she designs. Her ability to combine the two makes the line one-of-a-kind -- and ensures I'm always setting trends on the course."

Since joining the LPGA Tour in 1998 and becoming the youngest winner in U.S. Women's Open history, Pak has 23 Tour victories. In 2008, she became the first South Korean to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In honor of the ceremony, keri golf partnered with Pak to create a special-edition bag, which now resides in St. Augustine, FL, as part of the Hall of Fame's permanent collection.

keri bags retail $85 to $375 and are exclusively made with premium fabrics that bring personality to the course.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The best bag money can buy

If you play golf regularly, you tend to see the same golf bags alot. A lot of my buddies carry the same type bags that you see on TV. These are called "staff" bags. Sometimes you'll see folks carry bags that are lighter and have those "legs" on them.

These are stand bags.

I'm more into the staff bags, like my buddies, mainly because you can get more stuff in them and they're easy to get clubs in and out of. I wouldn't recommend walking with one of these loaded puppies on your back...unless you want to be a little sore tomorrow.

But as I was saying, you see the same bags a lot. I like being a little different. That's the thing I liked about the new adidas staff bag you see pictured above. You don't see it often (and I may be ruining that for the few of you who do carry it) and it is the best looking bag on the market right now.

The black adidas is carried by Sergio Garcia on the PGA Tour. Most TaylorMade/adidas staffers carry the white, black and red company issue below. That TaylorMade is the one that and several of my buddies carry. It's a solid bag, too.

The adidas bag has brushed synthetic leather construction and reminds me a little of a golf bag version of the old Air Jordan patent leather sneakers. The bag is shiny, black and beautiful. It's got a 9.5 inch top (I would only change to make this a full 10.5 top) and a six-way divider to get clubs into.

It's got all the pockets, including an insulated water bottle sleeve that works a whole lot better than just sticking your Diet Coke into the cart cup holder. An integrated umbrella holder is nice and the rubber feet get a good grip, so your staff bag doesn't go blowing onto its side on the range because of the slightest gust of wind.

Happened to you, too?

Bottom line, for me, there are two great looking staff bags out there right now.

This great adidas product is one and the new Callaway (pictured below) is the other. For me, the adidas gets the edge, because like choosing another sedan instead of an Accord or Camry, you won't see one like it on every other hole.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big demo day at Birkdale Saturday

Edwin Watts Golf will have a demo day at Birkdale Golf Club Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Golfers will be able to try the latest products from TaylorMade, PING, Adams, Mizuno and Nickent golf. Staff professionals from each company will be on hand for fittings and advice.

Kids prefer the swoosh

At last week’s NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, Nike led the field in shoe count with 66 players wearing Nike golf shoes. The closes competitor was 53. The next closest was 37. There were 156 players in the field and a total of 30 teams.

Titelist was the ball of choice, but the kids seem to like the Swoosh.

Keri golf offering free gifts with purchase

keri golf will offer a set of matching head covers valued at $85 as a free gift with any cart or stand bag purchase through July 31.

Designed to both protect clubs and accent the line's uniquely feminine bags, keri golf's head covers feature a zippered system that easily fits oversized club heads to create a tailored look. Each set of six includes head covers denoted in a distinctive script for a driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, X, Y and Z (hybrids).

Influenced by modern American style, keri golf's 2009 matty golf bag collection combines a chic color palette of red, black and white with exaggerated prints in nine designs. Retailing from $85 to $375, keri golf's high-end, fashionable women's bags and accessories are exclusively made with premium fabrics that bring personality to the course. The line's sleek, modern looks are created through unmatched craftsmanship using durable water-, stain- and piling-resistant materials.

"Train Reaction'' makes traveling with clubs easier

Club Glove's new Train Reaction is a three-piece luggage system that the manufacturer claims "drastically reduces the amount of effort needed to pull or push gear by creating a perfect center of gravity which makes bags feel weightless."

To work, Train Reaction eliminates 100 percent of downward and upward force on luggage handles, even when bags are not perfectly packed. This ensures travelers of all ages and sizes can bring as much as they want without stressing about how to get it all from one place to the next.

"We call it 'outsmarting the Smarte Carte,' because even petite people can move heavy gear such as golf clubs in any direction with hardly any effort," says company President Jeff Herold. "Best of all, there's absolutely no assembly or external hardware needed to connect everything, so you can grab and go on the fly. Add in the fact that each bag can function as a separate piece of luggage and you’ve truly got the ideal system."

Made in the USA, Train Reaction retails from $667-$757 at the Club Glove website. It is available in six different, three-piece luggage set combinations -- four of which incorporate the company's industry-leading Last Bag and Burst Proof golf travel bags -- with 17 different color options and unlimited embroidery possibilities.

The Train Reaction system is built with a lifetime of use in mind, using single-piece burst proof construction, and they are made from Invista CORDURA -- the world's highest-quality nylon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Project X Shafts get another PGA Tour win

PGA Colonial at Crowne Plaza champion Steve Stricker played Project X shafts in his irons and the top 7 money winners all trusted Project X or Rifle shafts. The playoff featured laser accurate shots from Project X and Rifle iron shafts and 300+ yard drives from a driver shafted with the new graphite Project X wood.

“Project X continues to set a high standard for shaft performance and we plan to raise the bar even higher with the new Project X driver and hybrid shafts,” says Don Brown, product development manager and designer of the new shafts. “These new shafts will make their official Tour debut at next week’s St. Jude Classic, though more than 30 top pros are playing the prototypes on tours worldwide.”

In 2009, Project X and Rifle shafts have claimed ten tournament victories, including world-class events such as the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Northern Trust Open, World Golf Championships (WGC) Accenture Match Play, The Honda Classic, Doral Invitational, the Masters Tournament, and now the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Project X steel shafts feature a unique variable taper design with a dedicated taper rate for each shaft in the set. Longer taper rate results in more energy transfer to the ball for a faster and flatter penetrating trajectory. The introduction of Project X driver and hybrid shafts will allow golfers to benefit from Project X technologies from driver through wedge.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stricker wins on PGA Tour with bag of TItleist

Titelist ambassador Steve Stricker won a sudden-death playoff victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational using a Pro V1 golf ball and Titleist equipment Sunday.

Stricker's victory marks the 13th for Titleist players on the 2009 PGA Tour, more than three times the nearest competitor with 4.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with 82 players, compared to 18 for the nearest competitor. Titleist was also first in iron sets (32), wedges (109) and putters (42), and second in drivers (31).

WHAT’S IN STEVE STRICKER’S BAG?: Titleist Pro V1 golf ball, 909D3 driver (8.5), 906F2 fairway metal (13.0), 585.H utility metal (17.0) , 755 irons (3-P) , Vokey Design sand (54) and lob (60) wedges.

WORLDWIDE WINS: With Stricker’s win this week, Titleist advances its 2009 worldwide win count to 57, more than three times the nearest competitor with 15, and more than all other golf balls combined.

Titleist ball of choice at 2009 NCAAs

At the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships, the majority of players used Titleist golf balls. At the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship contested at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, 124 players in the field of 156 relied upon Titleist golf balls, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 16.

Titleist also was the overwhelming favorite of more players in drivers (60 vs. 28), iron sets (65 vs. 26), fairway metals (103 vs. 39), utility metals (39 vs. 17), sand, lob and approach wedges (186 vs. 45) and putters (72 vs. 27).

At the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship in Owings Mills, Maryland. An overwhelming 118 of the 126 players relied upon Titleist golf balls. That was over 93% of the field and more than 29 times the nearest competitor with 4. Titleist Vokey Design sand, lob and approach wedges (106) and Scotty Cameron putters (46) were also the top choice among contestants at the event. In addition, the individual Women’s champion relied upon the Titleist Pro V1x golf ball for her success, as did all five members of the championship team.

TaylorMade adidas staffers grab wins

TaylorMade-adidas Golf Tour Staff Professionals Christian Cévaër and Kevin Johnson grabbed wins on the European and the Nationwide Tours Sunday.

Cévaër, No. 449 in the Official World Golf Rankings, had a one-shot win in The European Open, one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour Schedule.

While several of his challengers fell victim to the 471-yard par-four 18th hole on the final day, which played to an average of almost 4.7 for the week, Cévaër negotiated it in par, par, birdie, par. His four on 18 on Sunday was particularly critical: Tied for the lead with two others, Cévaër, playing a TP Black LDP golf ball, drove safely with his R9 driver then used a Rescue TP hybrid to hit the green safely in regulation. His pursuers, meanwhile, drove off-line and failed to make four.

Cévaër's two-putt par gave him the title, which carries a five year exemption on the European Tour. With the win, Cévaër moved up more than 300 spots in the world rankings to No. 129.

In Raleigh, at the Rex Hospital Open, Johnson bested fellow TMaG Tour Staffer Jeff Gallagher on the first playoff hole to earn his fifth career win. Like Cévaër, Johnson too played a TaylorMade TP golf ball.

TaylorMade's LDP technology promotes improved distance on the most common driver off-center hits and helps make TaylorMade TP balls (including TP Black™ and TP Red™) exceptionally resistant to the effects of headwinds and crosswinds. Learn more.

The wins were the 12th worldwide for the TaylorMade TP golf ball and the 16th for the Tour Preferred irons in 2009.

In Cévaër's winning bag*:

Driver: R9™ 9.5°

Fairway wood: Tour Burner® 13° 3-wood
Hybrid: Rescue® TP 17° and 21°
Irons: Tour Preferred® 3-9
Ball: TaylorMade TP Black golf ball with LDP Technology
Footwear: adidas Golf

In Johnson’s winning bag**:

Driver: r7® SuperQuad™ 8.5°
Fairway wood: Tour Burner® 14.5° 3-wood
Hybrid: Rescue TP 16° and 21°
Irons: Tour Preferred® 4-9
Wedge: rac™ 48°
Ball: TaylorMade TP Red golf ball with LDP Technology
Footwear: adidas Golf