The Local Knowlege

Equipment

Cobra shows it's got better players in mind, too

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Cobra may have had notable success in making clubs for average golfers who need help getting the ball in the air as easily as possible, but it isn’t taking a pass on players with a more sophisticated array of demands. 

It’s certainly made the case in drivers and fairway woods with the Cobra Fly-Z+, and now the company is bringing the same better player focus to the iron game. Two new forged irons, the Fly-Z Pro and the Fly-Z+, will be in stores this week and the emphasis is on precision and shot-making in a compact, better-player-friendly shape and sole width.

A key element in both irons is the five-press forging process. That methodology is designed to limit the post-forging hand grinding and improve the consistency of the internal structure of the carbon steel from head to head, as well as better control of the head weights. Furthering the precision are a CNC-milled face and grooves.

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The Fly-Z Pro is a traditionally-shaped blade that progresses into a slight cavity back through the set into the longer irons. The short irons (9-PW) feature a traditional muscleback look, while the middle irons (7-8) have a slight cavity low in the back and the long irons utilize a dual cavity shape in back. Developed with input from Cobra staff player Rickie Fowler, the irons include a tungsten plug in the toe that helps reposition the center of gravity more in line with the center of the clubface. Fowler’s AMP Cell Pro irons were specially retrofitted with this feature last year. The Fly-Z+ is a multi-piece design that includes a milled undercut in the back cavity on the 3- through 8-iron for improved off-center hit forgiveness. The longer irons (3-7) also feature tungsten in the sole to help position the center of gravity in line with the center of the face. A thermoplastic urethane insert rests in the undercut and an aluminum badge encased in to create a softer feel. 

Both sets will be in stores March 1 ($900, for an eight-piece set, True Temper Dynamic Gold for Fly-Z Pro, KBS Tour for Fly-Z+).
... Read
Equipment

Winner's bag: What James Hahn used to win the Northern Trust Open

A couple of long-range putts helped James Hahn secure the Northern Trust Open title. Wielding an Odyssey White Hot Pro 2-Ball putter, Hahn dropped a 57-footer from the fringe on the par-3 fourth hole and then made a 25-footer for birdie on the third extra hole for the win.

Related: Golf Digest's 2015 Hot List

That putter came out in 2013, but it was far from the oldest club in Hahn's bag. Hahn also had a Titleist 910H hybrid (from 2011) and a 2007 TaylorMade Burner 3-wood -- a model that has a current trade-in value of $6.41.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: TaylorMade SLDR 460 (Fujikura Motore 6.2), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade Burner, 14.5 degrees
Hybrid: Titleist 910H, 18 degrees
Irons (3-PW): TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB 14
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (54 degrees); Titleist Vokey TVD-K Grind (58 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro 2-Ball

... Read
Equipment

Winner's bag: Brandt Snedeker just won at Pebble Beach using a driver worth $20

Brandt Snedeker's winning bag of clubs has a couple of interesting sticks, namely his driver and putter. Sneds' driver is a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast -- a driver introduced in 2010 and one with a current trade-in value of $20.34. The putter is an Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie, a club that the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champ has used primarily for nearly a decade. At 34 inches in length it is approximately an inch shorter than standard.

Snedeker's wedges also have a bit of a personal touch as his 52-degree Bridgestone J15 is bent to 51 degrees and his 56-degree is bent to 55 degrees.

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Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330
Driver: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast (Fujikura 661 Tour Spec X), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: Ping G25, 15 degrees
Hybrid: Ping Anser, 17 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Bridgestone J40
Wedges: Bridgestone J15 (52, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey TVD K-Grind (60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie

... Read
Balls

Former TaylorMade R&D leader going into ball business

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The golf ball market is starting to get a lot more interesting. 

While most golfers have been paying attention to the recent introductions of tour-level balls from major companies (Titleist's latest Pro V1/Pro V1x, Callaway's Chrome Soft and the Srixon Z-Star family), there’s been a recent influx of smaller manufacturers that have developed some success in marketing golf balls directly to consumers (3UP.com, INeedtheBall.com, Hopkins Golf and Vice Golf). In many cases, these are balls with not insignificant technologies at prices significantly below the national average. Now comes news that for the first time one of the more notable figures in golf ball technology over the last few decades is getting into the business on his own. 

Dean Snell, most recently the vice president of golf ball research and development at TaylorMade, is the force behind Snell Golf. The company announced two new products today, one of which includes a multilayer, urethane-covered construction the highest-priced technology currently on the market. Like these other companies, Snell Golf will market its golf balls exclusively online, direct to consumers.

Unlike these companies, however, there’s an individual with some serious golf ball technology cred on the payroll. Snell has been at the forefront of golf ball development with both Titleist and TaylorMade over the last 25 years. His name is on 38 golf ball patents, and he has worked on the groundbreaking technology behind the original Titleist Pro V1 and the five-layer TaylorMade Penta golf balls. 

Snell Golf’s My Tour Ball features a low-compression core and a multilayer construction with a cast urethane cover. The company also is offering a two-piece ball (Get Sum), also with low compression, aimed at improving distance, reducing spin on tee shots and providing softer feel. 

Beyond the technologies, what may be most appealing about these products are the prices. My Tour Ball will cost $31.99, similarly priced to one of Snell’s last projects before leaving TaylorMade, the Project (a) ball. That price is in line with some of the other direct-to-consumer offerings, but $10-15 less than some name brand multilayer urethane cover balls. Get Sum is $20.99. 

“I love this game and I hate seeing it decline,” Snell says on a video on his company’s website. “The motivation I have to start this company is to try to help grow the game. If I can help in any way, I can help with the cost of the golf ball. I can give you the performance and the technology that you’re looking for at an affordable price to help you go out and play more.”
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Business

Japan manufacturers endorse non-conforming clubs

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The Japan Golf Goods Association, the trade organization for golf equipment manufacturers in Japan, today announced that it would support the distribution of non-conforming golf equipment. 

“JGGA believes that it is desirable for the stimulation of the golf market to have a wide variety of golf equipment available in the market from which all types of golfers may choose in order to find one that really fits their respective purposes and needs, hoping that more and more golfers will enjoy playing golf as a result of such improvement in the golf equipment market,” an English translation of the JGGA statement reads.

“From this point of view, JGGA has left it to the judgment of each member company whether to manufacture and/or sell golf equipment that doesn’t fully conform to the specifications set forth in the Rules of Golf promulgated by R&A.”

A recent study by Golf Datatech and Yano Research Institute of Japan, the world’s two leading organizations studying the global golf retail market space, Japan is the No. 2 country in golf sales in the world with 24 percent of the global golf market. The JGGA sponsors the Japan Golf Fair, Japan’s version of the PGA Merchandise Show, which will be held Feb. 13-15 in Tokyo.

In its statement the JGGA acknowledges that an influx of non-conforming equipment “could create confusion among golfers and tournament organizers. JGGA considers it very important for the healthy development of the industry that all relevant parties make efforts to prevent consumers from buying nonconforming equipment without knowing that it is nonconforming, and to avoid any confusion or trouble due to the inability of tournament organizers to determine the conformity of each equipment at the tournament site.”

The JGGA is advocating that products be clearly marked as nonconforming, although it has not indicated what specific efforts or product labeling will be made. Its main motivation seems to be to cater to golfers seeking more enjoyment without performance limits imposed by the rules.

Several U.S. manufacturers contacted for this story have either declined comment or not returned inquiries. The R&A also has not returned an e-mail request for comment.

U.S. manufacturers have not embraced non-conforming equipment, and while the JGGA's Japan Golf Fair routinely has nonconforming equipment on display, no major U.S. company has introduced non-conforming equipment to date. Smaller companies have introduced non-conforming clubs and balls, like Hireko, which last year introduced a 515 cubic centimeter driver called the Juggernaut (above). After much talk about non-conforming equipment at the last two years' PGA Shows, fueled largely by former TaylorMade CEO Mark King who launched a grow-the-game, alternative rules golf initiative Hack Golf last year with great fanfare, there was very little discussion on the topic this year. 

This news from the JGGA clearly reopens the discussion.

“For the most of amateur golfers, nothing give[s] more pleasure than long driving distances and control of a golf ball on the green with a back spin as professional golfers do,” the JGGA statement reads. “That is why quite a few of golfers are still using and wanting nonconforming golf equipment and why nonconforming golf equipment is still available on the market in response to such demand. Some golfers may be using or buying nonconforming equipment without knowing that they don’t conform to the Rules.”

What’s not clear is just how much advantage non-conforming equipment might provide for amateur or recreational golfers, or whether there's expressed interest in playing clubs that don't adhere to the rules. A 2014 survey by Golf World suggested less than a quarter of golfers surveyed would be interested in "a nonconforming driver that promised an extra 15-20 yards." John Spitzer managing director for equipment standards of the USGA told Golf World last year, “To think nonconforming clubs would somehow increase participation, I don't see that. It's not 1,000cc drivers or a ball that goes 30 yards farther that's going to grow the game."

But it is clear that there are certain elements within golf equipment manufacturing willing to go down the road of selling clubs outside the rules. In that stame Golf World story, Bob Philion, president of Cobra-Puma Golf, told Golf World, "There is a sense of urgency in the industry, whether from our competitors or the PGA of America, to be less intimidating and more fun. Do I think nonconforming drivers will be out there in 10 years? I do. Three years? I do. I think the street signs for the game aren't positive enough for someone not to try it." 

The JGGA’s statement clearly is endorsing manufacturers be free to take a more relaxed approach to the rules.  It concludes, “Through a variety of actions and initiatives, JGGA is committed to providing a market environment where all golfers are able to choose and use the most appropriate golf equipment for every situation.” 

... Read
Equipment

Callaway Golf makes profit in 2014, best year since 2008

xr-driver-sole-b.jpgIn the nearly three years since Chip Brewer took over the reins as president and CEO of Callaway Golf, much has been made about the company’s comeback. Belts were tightened, product innovation grew and sales numbers were up. Indeed, general consumer perception was changing along with the company’s re-emerging presence in the professional ranks, too. Thursday, the company put those changes in the clearest perspective.

For the first full year since 2008, Callaway Golf made money. In a year that had been in many circles troubling for the golf industry, Callaway announced that full-year income for 2014 increased by five percent to $887 million, up from $843 million in 2013. Its gross profit of $358 million was the highest since 2010, and fully diluted earnings per share were $0.20 versus a $0.31 loss in 2013. 

“When looking just at the currency neutral basis you can see that we’ve made nice progress,” Brewer told investors on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday. “What we’ll continue to need to do is basically the things that we’ve been doing in operational improvements and revenue growth. On a currency-neutral basis I believe this was and is trending on a very positive basis.”

Among the highlights for 2014 were increased sales in woods (8 percent), irons (12 percent) and golf balls (4 percent). The company saw also sales increases in all regions of the world, including an 11 percent gain in Europe. 

Still, the company is cautious about its 2015 forecast, suggesting that operating costs will increase due to spending on tour support and marketing. But the big drag will be weakening foreign currency. Callaway is forecasting a decrease in net sales based solely on unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates. Still, on a constant currency basis, Callaway is forecasting an increase in net sales to a high end of $920 million, or as much as 5 percent, including an estimated growth of 5-6 percent in core channel business. 

Brewer also said Callaway increased its investment in the driving range/entertainment franchise TopGolf to $50.4 million. “We continue to be excited about the prospects of that business, and we think that’s going to be a positive for the shareholders of Callaway Golf,” he said. 

Brewer also touted the company’s newly launched XR line of clubs and Chrome Soft ball and noted golfers’ acceptance of higher-priced products.

“Given the strength of our product line for 2015, and anticipated additional improvements in our operations, we expect for 2015 on a constant currency basis not only sales growth and market share gains, but also further improvements in gross margins and profitability. Golf is a momentum business and fortunately momentum is now on our side." 

Callaway’s stock price was up 3 percent in trading this morning.
... Read
Equipment

Live from Day One at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show

Bobby Jones is making adjustable putters

The Bobby Jones putter line has been in the hands of PGA Tour players for a while, but they've now made it available to all of us amateur players. The line is completely made in the USA, which is something that is becoming less and less common. They're bringing adjustability to putters by making the hosel and shaft interchangeable. There are over 20 different hosels. The best way to make sure you're using the right one is to go to a fitter. The hosel, shaft and grip are one piece that detach from the head via a screw. You can also change the lie and face angles. The putters start at $699, and if you want to replace your hosel and shaft, each costs $150. 

-K.L.

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A golf simulator good enough for an Olympic team 

Simulators are a growing part of the game, we're seeing them everywhere from people's basements to bars. But they're not just for recreational use. The Korean Olympic team is using this model, Golfzon's GDR (Golfzon Driving Range), in their practice sessions. It shows you all the stats you need like distance, ball speed and spin, and gives you the option of either hitting on the range, practicing short game, or playing a few holes. My favorite feature was in the putting section - You can change the position of the ball to putt uphill, downhill, or side-hill. And you can change the speed of the green anywhere form 9 to 12 on the stimp meter. 

-K.L. 

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A golf tournament prize straight out of the WWE

Conventional trophies are an obvious prize for club championship and member-guest tournaments, but we spotted a pretty cool alternative from a company called Winner's Awards Group. The Coconut Creek, Fla.-based group makes "championship belts" -- a la professional boxing and wrestling. The belts are pretty substantial as they're made with gold-plated brass plates that can be customized club/course logos.

loop-belts-450.jpgNick Chiera, the company CEO, said he started making them about four years ago but has seen an increase in demand within the last 12 months. He has expanded the line to include silver "mini belts" as runner-up prizes for this year and is also making belts for non-golf events, such as prizes for fantasy football leagues.

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Chiera says that the championship belts, which cost between $250 and $300, are popular for lower-profile events at many golf clubs, the award become a unique offering that helps distinguish the tournament from others on a club calendar. Some clubs also use it to create a year-long tournament, with the belt being passed to different players based on weekly challenge matches.

"It's big with team events too, with the victorious team winning or retaining the belt," Chiera said. "It's just meant to be fun."

There's history to it too: the before the claret jug, the R&A used to give a belt to the winner of the British Open.

-- R.H.


Watching Scotty Cameron's cult listen to its leader

Scotty Cameron was in the Titleist booth, talking to customers about what goes into building his popular custom-made putters, headcovers and other unique trinkets. The way you could tell? Well the horde of people eavesdropping on the conversation was an obvious give away. But what showed the unusual passion of Cameron fans was the number of people with their cell phones out, either taking pictures or even video of the man himself.

loop-scotty-cameron-cult-560.jpg"I'm part of the cult, I'll admit it," said Steve Bocci, a PGA of America professional who despite his willingness to "admit it" then asked to keep the name of the club he works at under wraps. "When I heard he was going to be in the booth, I had to see him in person."

Also watching and waiting for Cameron was Lucy Anderson, a 17-year-old junior golfer from the Tampa area who had a putter cover she was hoping to get signed. "All my friends want these headcovers," Anderson said, standing near a display of them. "If they knew I was here, they'd be way jealous."

The cult has spoken.

-- R.H.


Ben Hogan's prototype clubs

On display at the Ben Hogan booth (who is reemerging force in the golf club/equipment space) are a handful of prototype clubs that he used to tinker around with. Pretty cool.

- LKD

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Bridgestone officially unveils J815 driver

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It used to be that the PGA Merchandise Show was the place for clubs and balls to be introduced. Now, it’s the rare major equipment company that unveils a club that the public—or at least the media—hasn’t heard much about. Such is the case with Bridgestone’s J815 driver. The club, which builds off the flexible crown and power mill face technology of the recently introduced J715, features a new “Power Rib” sole, which Josh Kinchen, Bridgestone’s marketing manager for golf clubs, says allows the crown to flex more.


“Firming up the sole with the Power Rib structure gives the crown something to grip onto and flex,” says Kinchen. “We used simulator technology from Bridgestone’s tire division to prove the theory.” The additional crown flex, according to Kinchen, provides a driver that launches higher, with the additional benefit of more draw bias as weight has been shifted more toward the heel.

Another change from the J715 is that the ribs on the crown that provide an “accordion effect” are visible on the J815 whereas they were hidden on the J715.

The driver ($399) will be available at retail on April 1 in right-hand only with lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees. 

-- E.M.J.


Partaayyy at Golf Digest

After Golf Digest's presentation about all the good things happening in the golf industry, of which there are many, a few high-profile guests stopped by. From left to right: Trick shot artists and pro golfers George and Wesley Bryan; Golf Digest Audience Engagement Editor Ashley Mayo; Instructor Butch Harmon; pro golfer and Golf Digest Playing Editor Jordan Spieth; Golf Digest President Pete Hunsinger; Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde.

- LKD

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Golf Pride alters its magic formula 

A grip might not seem like the sexiest of golf equipment - - especially at a gathering such as the PGA Merchandise Show. Fact is, however, that it is the only piece of equipment your hands touch on every shot. For a market leader such as Golf Pride, that means any change to one of its flagship grips is carefully considered.

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“We don’t change one spec of powder or anything in the formulation without it being thoroughly thought through,” says Bruce Miller, Sales & Marketing Analyst for Golf Pride. “There is a secret sauce for grips."

Golf Pride’s New Decade Multicompound grip has been a favorite of amateurs and tour players for a number of years but now the grip has undergone a significant change. The new MCC Plus 4 now features a reduced taper where the lower portion of the grip is larger. 

“All our grips on tour were standard,” says Miller. “But tour players were routinely building up the lower portion of the grip. Some 70 percent of players were doing some form of building up using tape. We found the reason was that it helped them not grip the club so tight. So we set out to increase the size of the grip in that area, with the area 4.5 inches to 7 inches down from the butt being the key area.”

Miller also noted the grip has a slightly softer feel, the result of making a modest tweak to the formula. 

-- E. Michael Johnson


Champ predicted the Super Bowl 

Champ has a new camo pattern for their putter grips, and they only relased them in two colors: red white and blue, and navy green and white. Yep - the colors of the Patriots and the Seahawks, respectively. Champ also has a new line of spikes, the Slim-Lok, that fit every type of shoe except Q-lock and metal spikes. They're working towards standardizing spikes by making it so their spikes fit over 70% of golf shoes. That's probably the more newsworthy story here, but come on. They predicted the Super Bowl!  

-K.L.

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Your own personal protracer

Everybody loves protracer, and now Ernest Sports is trying to bring it to the masses. Ernest Sports makes a number of portable launch monitors, and its newest edition -- the ES14 retails for $595.99 -- is trying to become the 'trackman for the everyman.' It's pretty easy to use: you just charge it up, place it about a food from your ball and turn it on. When you sync it with your phone, it'll give you all the stats a regular launch monitor will give plus a real-time graphic of your projected ball flight.

- LKD

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A grip that mimics the effects of putting tape between your shaft and grip 

You're probably heard stories about the multiple layers of tape tour players put under their grips - Bubba is especially famous for this, rumored to be in the 9-10 layer range. Golf Pride looked at the benefits that this layering could have for the rest of us non-tour players. What they found was that most amateurs grip the club too tightly. So, they decided to built up the lower portion of their new grip, the MCC-4, to replicate the effect of having four layers of tape underneath it. The result: you don't hold on to your club as firmly with your right hand, which reduces tension.   The grip will be available March 15 in three colors, and retails at $9.59. 

-K.L.
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If you want to look like a Lamborghini on the course, you're in luck

Lamborghini is treating its new line of apparel, equipment and accessories as if it were its first, redesigned in the image of its cars after feeling its previous products were too low-end. It's all leather bag -- designed to tote your shoes and clothes to and from the golf course locker room, runs for $205, while its headcovers run anywhere between $38 to $49. Its clothes don't come much cheaper -- a Lamborghini hat is $37.50 while its polo shirts each hover around $200. They may not come at a bargain price, but with a brand like Lamborghini, that's kind of the point.

- LKD

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Prototype Callaway wedge has Mickelson's blessing

Only at the PGA Show can you see products unveiled that won't be available until May. One such "soft launch" came this morning from Callaway, which introduced its Mack Daddy PM Grind wedge.
 
The wedge, which features a very high toe, was used in its prototype stage by Phil Mickelson at last year's PGA Championship. The club has evolved since then as Lefty offered input on improvements.
 
loop-mack-daddy-callaway-lefty-560.jpgThe somewhat unique shape allows for aggressiveness on short game as it provides more surface area on the face, grooves that go all the way across the face, and a high toe that moves weight higher. The additional versatility provided by the extra surface area allows golfers to accelerate through the ball on shots around the green.

-- E. Michael Johnson


Brooke Pancake serves up an order of ... waffles?

A little breakfast to kick off the PGA Merchandise Show seems only appropriate, and who better to serve show attendees than Brooke Pancake. The LPGA Tour pro and former University of Alabama All-American was in the booth of her apparel partner, Chase 54, offering up grub to passersby.

loop-brooke-pancake-show-560.jpgThe choice of food, however, was different than you might expect. Pancake recently signed a endorsement deal with Waffle House -- a surprise given International House of Pancakes seemed to be favorite for her services in the breakfast-food category -- and she had samples of their waffles to give out.

"This will be the first time that the Waffle Nation will be cheering for a Pancake," president and CEO Walt Ehmer said in a release.

-- Ryan Herrington


Golf Digest's home for the week

Hello again! Day one from the PGA Merchandise Show floor starts today, so I'm about to go roam the property. But before I do that I wanted to send along a few snaps of Golf Digest's home for the week. At noon our own Ashley Mayo and Max Adler will be giving a presentation on all the good things that are happening in golf. We'll be live-tweeting it from our @GolfDigest handle, so you can follow along there if you're interested.

- Luke Kerr-Dineen

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Hello and welcome to GolfDigest.com's stream of live updates from the 2015 PGA Merchandise show. We'll have our team of editors roaming the property hunting for things to catch their eye. Think of it as your own kind of private Twitter stream, except with less animals. Stay tuned for regular updates, and if you want to check out our stream from Tuesday, head over here. ... Read
Balls

Srixon's tour balls get a new skin

If there is a developing theme in golf ball technology over the last few years, it can be summarized in just one word: softer. The latest example is the release by Srixon of the next generation of its tour-level balls, the Z-Star and Z-Star XV.

The multilayer, urethane-covered entries feature efforts to make both the inside and outside softer to produce both better launch conditions with the driver and more spin control with the wedges. The new core formulation on the Z-Star continues the company’s long-established idea of “energetic gradient growth” core, which refers to the varying levels of softness within the core. The new Z-Star further increases the difference between the softness of the the inner part of the core with the relative firmness of the outer regions of the core to better promote higher launch and low spin. The new Z-Star features a softer center and a firmer outer region compared to its predecessor. This idea also is incorporated in the new Z-Star XV, which maintains the center’s softness from its predecessor but adds greater firmness to the ball’s thin ionomer mid-layer, for further reduced spin. 

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The soft theme continues with an update of Srixon’s urethane cover and coating, called “Spin Skin.” According to the company, the coating is 25 percent softer than its predecessor to increase contact with the grooves on a wedge shot through greater deformation of the ball within the groove at impact. The softer coating leads to a cover that increases frictional force by 18 percent over the preceding versions.

The new balls an updated 324-dimple pattern for a slightly flatter flight than the previous models. The dimples are more uniform in size for lower aerodynamic resistance.

The new balls are currently being tested and played by Srixon staff players, including Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and Hideki Matsuyama. They will be available at retail next month ($45).
... Read
Equipment

Winner's bag: What Jimmy Walker used to win the Sony Open

Scotty Cameron has a loyal -- some might say almost cult-like -- following, which has led many that use Cameron putters to hold onto them well after they have been banished from the bag. Jimmy Walker is one of those folks. In October Walker sent his 11-year-old Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter to the Scotty Cameron Custom Shop to be refurbished.

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Walker had good memories with the club as he won twice with and topped the Nationwide Tour money list in 2004. In addition to a little sprucing up, Walker also had tungsten added to the sole to get the feel Walker desired. The putter was in in Walker's bag at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and stayed in for the Sony Open in Hawaii, which he won. "I got it back last month and put it back in the bag as soon as I saw it," said Walker.

 

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 915D2 (Aldila Rogue Tour X), 9.5 degrees
3-Wood: Titleist 915F, 15 degrees
5-Wood: Titleist 915F, 18 degrees
Irons (3): Titleist 712U; (4-9): Titleist MB 714; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM4
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport2 GSS

... Read
Equipment

New Puma shoe wants you to be as cool as an astronaut

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If you think docking with the International Space Station is tough, how’s your stress level hitting a 40-yard bunker shot out of a plugged lie on a desert golf course at high noon? That’s enough to raise your personal heat index a degree or two.

Cooling things down, specifically in your feet, is part of the focus of the latest shoe from Puma. The new TitanTour employs Outlast, a technology originally developed by NASA to regulate the temperature of space suits. Outlast, part of the sockliner’s top cloth, uses phase-changing materials that essentially absorb heat from the immediately surrounding environment, or in this case, the inside of your shoe.

“TitanTour provides even greater comfort for the golfer by proactively regulating heat and reacting to changes in conditions and foot temperature,” said Puma Golf Head of Footwear Grant Knudson.

Beyond the ability to keep your feet cool, the TitanTour also wants to keep your feet stable. Toward that end, there’s a thin, thermoplastic urethane outsole frame atop a cushioned EVA midsole. In addition, the TitanTour uses TPU surrounding the heel to support the back of the foot and the inside of the shoe features memory foam to enhance fit. 

TitanTour ($220) comes in seven color options and is due in golf retailers starting Feb. 1. 
... Read
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