The Local Knowlege


Tour Edge Exotics offers up next generation CB Pro fairway

Tour Edge’s Exotics line has long produced cult favorites among better players (as well as a few stars on the PGA Tour) for its fairway wood technology, which often mixes unique metals like titanium and high-strength steels with unique manufacturing techniques.

The company expanded its fairway wood technology in 2013 with the CB Pro, which featured a sole plate whose waved, ribbon-like structure was designed to improve turf interaction. 

Now comes the next generation, the CB Pro F2, which further refines the sole design while enhancing heel and toe relief.

The new sole plate is smaller and tapered toward the back of the clubhead for increased relief. Additionally, inset sole cavities in the heel and toe are designed to improve playability and enhance weight distribution. The CB Pro F2 comes on the heels of the similarly shaped and designed CB Pro U hybrid.  

There are also improvements in the face design of the . Made of beta titanium, the forged cup face is now five percent lighter, and the extra mass is redistributed within the heavier hypersteel body. The CB Pro F2 also employs the Exotics line’s trademarked brazing manufacturing technique. Brazing fuses the two metals through high heat and is designed to save weight from traditional welding methods. 

The CB Pro F2’s compact head (159 cubic centimeters in the 3-wood lofts) is about 7 percent smaller than the original version but still is available in five lofts (13.5, 14.5, 15.5, 16.5 and 17.5 degrees). The standard shaft is the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver TiNi. Expected to be in stores by June 1, it will retail for $400.
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Callaway's smaller driver not just for tour pros

On its surface, the category of clubs known as mini drivers seems to service an audience approximately equal in size to those looking for NASCAR engine parts. It would seem to be a distinctly skilled and highly selective group of individuals who generate a lot of speed. 

Essentially, the mini driver is a cross between a fairway wood and a driver. It’s extra size make it more forgiving than a typical 3-wood, while its shorter shaft make it more reliable on tighter driving holes than a typical driver. This year, both Padraig Harrington and J.B. Holmes had TaylorMade Mini Drivers (SLDR Mini and AeroBurner Mini) in their bags during their wins. But perhaps the most noteworthy driver alternative victory was Phil Mickelson’s 2013 Open Championship, where he played the entire event—and in fact much of the entire season— without a traditional driver of any kind in his bag, using Callaway's X Hot 3Deep. 

Among major manufacturers, TaylorMade has introduced a couple versions over the last two years, and Callaway’s line of fairway woods in recent years all have offered a deep-faced, slightly oversized, lower-lofted model, too. Today, Callaway announced its first standalone downsized driver, the Big Bertha Mini 1.5. It’s already made an appearance in the bag of Patrick Reed and Freddie Jacobson, both of whom had it in the bag earlier this year at the RBC Heritage.

But Callaway’s Evan Gibbs, senior manager of research and development for metalwoods, believes these specialty clubs aren’t just for tour players anymore. 

“It really can appeal to such a broad range of player types,” Gibbs says, suggesting it works equally for any player struggling to hit the fairway as well as for longer hitters looking to reach long par 5s in two. “That’s why we really just encourage golfers of all abilities to give it a try and perhaps rethink that part of their bag.”

The Big Bertha Mini 1.5 features a forged Carpenter 455 cup face design, the same metal used in the company’s current XR fairway woods. But the Big Bertha Mini’s head size is 235 cubic centimeters, more than a third larger than typical 3-woods. The large size is made more manageable thanks to the company's lightweight forged composite crown. To make the club more playable off the deck, the Warbird sole design aims to improve turf interaction. The shaft (44 inches, or two inches shorter than the shaft on the XR driver) is the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver TiNi.

The Big Bertha Mini 1.5 is available in two lofts (12, 14 degrees) and each head features Callaway’s 8-way adjustable loft sleeve that allows loft and lie angles to be changed independently. Loft can be increased by up to two degrees or reduced by one degree, while lie angle is either a neutral or draw setting.

The club will be available at retail May 29 ($300).
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Golf balls

TaylorMade adds irons, balls to AeroBurner line

TaylorMade's AeroBurner line of metal woods, introduced in November, is about to go full service, including not only new irons but golf balls, too. Just like the metal woods, which also will expand to include a Mini Driver now, the irons and golf ball are focused on the average golfer and his search for distance. 

If TaylorMade’s current lineup of irons with face-flex-producing slots in both the sole and face are about making conventional irons yield more consistent distances across the entire face, its latest entry seems less subtle, or shall we say, more focused: The new AeroBurner is clearly dedicated to souping up the ballspeed on wider-soled, oversized, distance irons, with an additional focus on affordability. 

AeroBurner irons feature a new sole slot designed to help shots launch not only faster but higher. It's the fourth iteration of TaylorMade's sole slot technology that began with the RocketBladez irons in the fall of 2012. Unlike the slot (what the company calls a "speed pocket") on the RSi irons, it is not cut all the way through the back of the iron.

"This gives us more distance, but it also acts like a hinge to help shots launch higher," said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade's director of product innovation. The lowered center of gravity on the set also frees up the design to include stronger lofts for more direct energy transfer while maintaining higher launch.

Missing from the set is the additional face slots found in the RSi irons. The main reason, Bystedt says, is that the face slots were designed to make the compact face size more forgiving, not an issue for an oversized face like on the AeroBurner.

"When you look at face slots, you're looking at a technology that's essentially designed to make a club face play bigger than it is," Bystedt says. "It expands the boundary where the face starts to get rigid farther away from the middle. Going to a bigger face in this iron, it isn't going to have as much of a benefit. And the secondary reason obviously is cost. We think with all the other technologies of a thinner face and a higher moment of inertia that there are other ways to get forgiveness in this iron and keep it at a better price point."

The face includes the company's variable thickness design called inverted cone, which is specifically modified for the larger face area in AeroBurner. The shaping is shifted toward the toe to prevent shots from flying too far to the right, one of the learnings the TaylorMade team developed in understanding ultra-thin face iron designs like SpeedBlade and RSi. The AeroBurner face thickness is at 1.7 millimeters. For additional flexibility, the long irons are made of a 450 stainless steel and the short irons (8-SW) are made of 17-4. AeroBurner irons are $700 in steel, $800 in graphite and will be in stores March 18.

The extra speed idea for the AeroBurner line continues with the next installment of TaylorMade's Mini Driver franchise. With lighter materials and designs that enhance face flex at impact, there’s been an emergence of specialty low-lofted, oversized fairway woods (TaylorMade, Ping, Callaway) that are ideal for elite players on tighter driving holes and long shots into par 5s. 

But these new designs, with their extra loft and shorter shafts, may actually work better on most tee shots for average golfers, too. Their larger size makes them more forgiving than a traditional 3-wood, and their extra loft helps shots launch on a better angle. TaylorMade is bringing out its second version, the new AeroBurner Mini Driver ($280, available March 22). In addition to having a wide slot in the sole to provide extra give, the club has a slightly smaller size than last year’s model (for increased playability), a shallower face and a crown ridge and hosel fin to enhance aerodynamics. 

The head will be made of the same construction as the AeroBurner fairway woods, including a high strength nickel-cobalt-molybdenum martensitic steel alloy. The wider slot features a cut-through opening that's covered with a thermoplastic urethane insert. The cover maintains the flexibility of the open slot while preventing debris from lodging inside the opening. It also adds an element of vibration damping for better sound and feel. 

The slot aims to increase face deflection, particularly on low-face impacts and is designed to create a larger area of the face that approaches the USGA limit for spring-like effect. The head also continues TaylorMade's low-forward center of gravity location aimed to produce shots with reduced spin and higher launch.

The AeroBurner line also now includes two golf balls that will focus on average golfers in terms of playing requirements and price. The AeroBurner Soft ($20 a dozen, available March 6) is a two-piece model with a softer core and an ionomer cover. It’s designed for higher flight that should help the initial launch angle on tee shots as well as steepen the landing angle on short approach shots. There’s also the AeroBurner Pro ($27), a three-piece ball that features an intermediate mantle layer and a thin, resilient cover designed for softer feel than traditional ionomer-covered balls. 
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Callaway's "X" line gets its broadest launch with XR's nine new products

xr-driver-sole-b.jpgCallaway’s “X” family of products goes back to the late 1990s and the introduction of the X-12 irons 17 years ago. Back then, the story was the revolutionary thinned out cavity construction and extreme low center of gravity on the cavity back oversized iron. Big news that almost immediately set sales records for the company.

But there may never have been a broader range of new technologies in the history of the X family than there is this year.

Callaway today announced nine new products under the new XR moniker, including two drivers, three fairway woods, two hybrids and two irons. The theme consistently across each category seems to be speed. Whether it’s the lighter face in the XR drivers or the metalwood-like face cup on the traditionally-shaped, cavity XR irons, Callaway’s engineers are chasing new ways for golfers to produce both more ballspeed and, in some cases, more clubhead speed. 

But the breadth of offerings (at least two styles in the driver, fairway wood, hybrid and iron offerings) also seems focused on helping individual golfers better dial in the size and shape of head that’s going to produce the best results for them.

Evan Gibbs, Callaway's senior manager of product performance in metalwoods, was referring to the new XR fairway woods, but his summary could easily apply to the whole XR family: “We tried to understand where golfers use these clubs, how they use them and how to most effectively design a club for that situation.”

All clubs in the XR line are expected to begin to be available in shops by Feb. 20.

XR/XR Pro drivers
The natural question with Callaway introducing its fourth and fifth drivers since August is how could it be any better. But Callaway is not shy about making its case with the new XR and XR Pro drivers ($350/$400). First, there’s a move toward improved aerodynamics. The XR features a pair of distinct speed steps at the front part of the crown designed to reduce drag. It also helps boost swing speed potential through a lighter overall weight (just TK grams on the XR model). According to Gibbs, the lighter weight features draw bias to help average golfers square the face and fight a slice. 

Second, the face on the XR is 10 percent lighter, and the center of gravity (CG) is 17 percent lower than last year’s X2 Hot. Similar to this fall’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 drivers, it utilizes a ribbed structure toward the front of the crown and sole to help increase the area of the face that yields the fastest ball speeds. Third, the XR Pro uses a forged composite crown to produce the lowest CG of any Callaway driver ever. 

“The advantage of having forged composite is you can create very aerodynamic shapes, which typically means the crown apex is higher and further aft, without paying a cg penalty,” Gibbs says. “You have such a lightweight material that you can pull the crown up and shape it to be aerodynamically efficient without the cg going too high.”

Each of the four lofts in the standard model (9, 10.5, 12 and 13HT) and two in the Pro (9, 10.5) include Callaway’s eight-way adjustable loft hosel. The hosel allows the user to reduce loft by one degree or increase it by one or two degrees and then also independently alter lie angle. One further benefit of the XR driver is its lighter weight. 

XR/XR Pro fairway woods, hybrids
The distinct shape differences in both the XR fairway wood and hybrid lines grew from how players of different ability levels use the clubs. The fairway wood line includes three varieties (standard, Pro and 3Deep) and the range accommodates 10 lofts, including the only stock 11-wood from a major manufacturer ($230 for the XR, $240 for the XR Pro and XR 3Deep). 

“The standard XR was designed with an emphasis put on performance and utility from the fairway,” Gibbs said. “The Pro version was designed with more of an equal usage from the tee and fairway in mind. And the Deep version was designed with an emphasis of performance off the tee.” 

The club’s primary technology is a redesigned cupface that’s thinner and lighter to help boost ballspeeds and lower the CG. The internal weighting updates the wave-like feature toward the front of the sole, pushing more weight forward while still freeing up the area low on the face. This helps to reduce spin and improve ballspeeds for shots hit low on the face. 

The XR and XR Pro hybrids offer similar differences to the fairway woods in size and shape (the Pro is decidedly more compact to appeal to better players), and the cupface and low CG design have been updated. Gibbs says the CG on the XR is 46 percent lower than the X2 Hot, while the CG on the XR Pro is the lowest ever for a Callaway hybrid. 

XR/XR Pro irons
The problem with creating irons with face structures that attempt to flex like drivers is that they end up looking and feeling more like drivers than irons. That means hollow construction irons that often are oversized and excessively wide-soled. 

Callaway’s effort with the XR iron line is to incorporate the flexibility in the face produced by its cup face design but wrap the technology in a more traditional, cavity-back iron shape. Both the XR and XR Pro feature a two-piece construction where the face cup wraps over the entire perimeter of the face and is fused to the sole and back of the iron. This allows for more control of how thin the face can be made to improve rebound across a greater area.

“The benefits of the 360 face cup that we see in an iron are very similar to what we see in a fairway wood or a hybrid,” said Luke Williams, senior director of  product strategy in fitting and irons. 

Within the cavity is an internal wave-like structure that improves performance on low-face impacts and lowers the center of gravity. The XR ($800) features more offset, while the XR Pro ($900) uses a thinner top line and narrower sole.
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Callaway continues better-player theme with new metal woods

alpha-815-fwy-sole.jpgCallaway’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 drivers featured the company’s most advanced adjustability in history and today comes news of the followup metalwoods in the family, each continuing some of the themes set up by the driver, including an appeal to better players’ trajectory and aesthetic preferences.

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway woods and hybrids feature the driver’s same eight-way hosel adjustability that allows users to tweak lofts up to two degrees higher and one degree lower. Each come in a compact shape that is geared to appeal to the better player’s eye, and each utilize the company’s high-strength steel cupface design. 

The fairway woods ($300; 14, 16, 18 degrees) include  3-gram and 30-gram weights in front and rear portions of the sole. With the heavy weight forward, the goal is to reduce spin; while shifting the heavy weight to the back aims to boost dynamic loft to increase launch angle. The sole weight on the hybrid ($250; 18, 20, 23 degrees) is not adjustable but helps positon weight low and forward for a more penetrating trajectory. 

Both products are expected to be in stores Jan. 16.
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Gear & Equipment

TaylorMade makes twin driver debuts with R15 and AeroBurner lines

TaylorMade's Nov. 13 launch of two new drivers -- the movable weight, multi-level adjustable R15 and the lightweight, swingspeed-focused AeroBurner -- makes the same case about what kind of driver you should buy that the company first made nearly a decade. The idea, which hearkens back to previous twin-driver introductions like the R9 and the Burner SuperFast, is that there are two kinds of golfers looking for two types of clubs: the technician and the bomber.

The technician is about dialing in precise launch conditions and navigating his way around the golf course strategically, with planned routes and trajectories. The bomber prefers high, far and straight, a less subtle approach that might be phrased as "swing first, ask questions later."

But both new drivers will build on the company's primary metalwood technologies of a center of gravity positioned more low and forward for less spin and improved energy transfer. Both also will feature a channel in the sole designed to enhance the way the face flexes for improved ballspeed all over the face. 

loop-taylormade-R15-Driver-350.jpgThe R15, which will be made available in both white and black versions, is the technician's driver. It features a sole channel with two independently movable 12.5-gram weights. The sole channel, or "speed pocket," is similar to the predominant feature on the successful SLDR drivers. It allows players to position weight in draw or fade settings, as well as positioning the weights in either a middle position or extreme heel and toe locations for improved stability. Compared to the SLDR, the R15's sole channel has been shifted slightly closer to the face (12 millimeters) to contribute to the way the face flexes at impact. That movement forward also helps further push the center of gravity forward. According to the company, more than 75 percent of the clubhead's total mass is in the front of the driver.

The R15 also utilizes an updated version of the company's adjustable hosel, which now accommodates 12 settings and a loft range of plus/minus two degrees. It's available Jan. 9 ($430, 9.5, 10.5, 12, 14 degrees) and will be offered in both a 460cc and 430cc head size. Golfers can pre-order the R15 starting Dec. 12.

The R15 line includes fairway woods ($280, 15, 16.5, 19, 20.5 degrees) and hybrids ($220). The adjustable fairway woods feature the same sole opening but with one sliding 25-gram weight to effect a draw or fade bias. Like the driver, the adjustable hosel can be set to one of 12 positions at plus/minus two degrees of loft. The hybrid or Rescue features a more compact 99cc head size and the neutral bias preferred by better players. 

loop-taylormade-AB-Driver-350.jpgAlthough the R15 offers plenty of adjustability, some players simply want distance -- and at a more palatable price. That's where TaylorMade's debut of its AeroBurner line fits in. 

According to Brian Bazzell, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation for metalwoods, AeroBurner "drastically improved the performance of the sole's speed pocket and significantly improved the aerodynamics to deliver maximum speed" compared to the successful RocketBallz line from a couple of years ago.

To assist with the aerodynamics, the club features a small fin -- present on drivers, fairway woods and hybrids—in the heel area of the club to reduce drag. A raised center on the crown, as well as a more rounded toe, also are designed to help get the club through the air more efficiently. 

In the driver ($299), the speed pocket is twice as large as on the JetSpeed model. By not adding adjustability, the pocket could extend across the entire sole. Also helping speed is an overall lightweight design -- the total weight is less than 300 grams -- with a 50-gram Matrix Speed Rul-Z shaft.

The fairway woods ($229) and hybrids ($199) continue the company's pursuit of woods with low, forward centers of gravity, as well as a sole slot, something the company has been focusing on since its RocketBallz line. 

The hybrids, called AeroBurner Rescue, also have the speed pocket as well as a shaft length that has been shortened a half-inch from the JetSpeed rescues to provide more consistent contact. 

As with the R15 line, the AeroBurner, also available Jan. 9, comes with a new matte finish, "pearlized" white paint clubhead. TP options are available for all the metalwoods. 

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Cleveland's latest take on the might of light

CG_BLACK_DRIVER3.jpgAt the elite level, it seems golf is increasingly becoming a power game. That’s all well and good when you have plenty of power to burn. For average golfers, though, power often isn’t so easy to come by. In fact, Cleveland Golf estimates that average golfers, particularly seniors and recreational players, may have swing speeds 15 or more miles per hour slower than the average on the PGA Tour (113 miles per hour).

One solution that’s been offered successfully in Japan for years is clubs with lighter than traditional overall weights. Most notable has been the XXIO brand of drivers launched by Dunlop Sports, which repeatedly have been that country’s top seller, pushing well below 290 grams in total weight. That’s a good 10 percent below the weight of many typical drivers played in the U.S. 

Cleveland, whose parent company is Dunlop Sports, has been developing lighter overall weight golf clubs since the beginning of this decade with clubs like the original CG Black, a driver introduced in 2011 that weighed just 265 grams or about 60 grams lighter than some of the leading drivers in the game at the time. Now comes the new family of CG Black metalwoods and irons, all aimed at average golfers and all featuring an ultralight platform. It’s what Cleveland’s engineers call an emphasis on “increasing the average golfer’s ease of swing.”

Says Jeff Brunski, director of research and development at Cleveland Golf/Srixon, “We looked at the typical average golfer’s swing and ball-flight inefficiencies, and targeted our technologies specifically geared toward them.” 

The new CG Black driver weighs five grams less than its predecessor, is the lightest driver on the market from a major company and features the concept of lower “swing MOI.” This refers to the moment of inertia of the entire club from head to the butt of the shaft. Instead of a measurement of how stable the club head is on an off-center hit, swing MOI is a theory having to do with how little resistance a particular club might have to being moved. For example, a sledgehammer might have a high swing MOI in that it requires more force to move it faster, but a 260-gram driver like the new CG Black might have a lower swing MOI, making it easier for those less skilled or strong to manipulate it. The concept of swing MOI was also front and center with the recent introduction by Wilson of its adjustable D200 SuperLight driver, which weighs just 268 grams. 

The new CG Black ($350; 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees), which is not adjustable, features the lowest swing MOI of any 460cc driver in company history, and includes a Golf Pride Tour 25 grip that is less than half the weight (25 grams) of a typical rubber grip. 

The CG Black line also includes a sub-300-gram family of fairway woods ($200; 15, 16.5, 18, 20, 23 degrees), which features a 24 percent lighter face that allows the weight to be distributed for higher clubhead stability at a lower total weight. The CG Black hybrids also are about 25 grams lighter than typical hybrids and come in a range of five lofts ($170; 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 degrees). 

Rounding out the new CG Black line is a mixed set of irons ($700) that includes hollow hybrid-like long irons with 1770 high-strength steel faces, two-piece middle irons with a high-strength steel face insert and traditional one-piece cavity back short irons. It features a center of gravity slightly farther back and lower than last year’s super game-improvement 588 Altitude irons.  

The full line of CG Black clubs is scheduled to arrive in stores next week.
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Gear & Equipment

Nike tour staff with early debut of Vapor fairway woods

Nike recently made a splash when Rory McIlroy switched to Nike’s Vapor Pro driver at the Ryder Cup. Less visible, but key to the company's continued quest to become known for its equipment was some players putting its Vapor Speed fairway woods in their bags at the Open. Scott Brown, Kevin Chappell and Jhonattan Vegas all had at least one Vapor Speed fairway wood in play at Silverado Resort and Spa. 

Nike announced Monday not only the Jan. 30, 2015 availability of the Vapor Speed at retail, but its Vapor Flex fairway woods as well. The Vapor Speed has a 25-percent larger footprint with a lower and deeper center of gravity than previous Nike models. It also features a compression channel to boost ball speed and a cavity-back design on the sole. The non-adjustable clubs (lofts of 15 and 19 degrees) will be priced at $199 each.

“Athlete insights drove significant chassis refinement in the Vapor fairway woods.” said Nate Radcliffe, director of engineering for Nike Golf. 

“Our athletes wanted tighter but forgiving leading edges, fuller profiles and added ball speed. … Athletes including Tiger Woods requested larger face profiles in fairway woods, but it was vital that we do that without compromising ball speed or optimal launch conditions. We successfully modified the chassis by sloping the crown to lower the CG which optimized launch characteristics across the family.”

As for the Vapor Flex ($249), the club incorporates most of the same technologies found in the Speed model, but on a more compact chassis and with the addition of adjustability through Nike’s FlexLoft 2 system that provides 15 different settings covering five lofts (13 to 17 degrees in the 3-wood and 17 to 21 degrees in the 5-wood) and three face angle settings. For those who have Nike’s previous Covert fairway woods, those shafts with the original adaptor can be used in the new fairway woods as well.

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Wilson Staff pushing lightweight limits

The theory about making clubs lighter is less weight should make the club easier to swing faster. But it’s not that simple. “Lightweight is fairly easy to do,” says Michael Vrska, director of innovation for golf clubs at Wilson Staff. “The key is to how you use the limited available mass.” 

Still, the company is pushing the limits of lighter weight. Fueled by ultralight shafts and grips and an adjustable driver head that is the lightest in the industry, Wilson unveiled its D200 line of woods and irons this week by talking about how to make lightweight clubs work for more golfers. The D200 line includes a driver with a total weight less than 270 grams, fairway woods and hybrids that use 49- and 54-gram shafts and a superlight super game-improvement iron that redistributes 48 grams to the heel and toe to improve stability on off-center hits.

Vrska says the most important aspect of the company’s new D200 driver is not just its lighter overall weight-just 268 grams-but something called club moment of inertia. While the MOI most golfers think of has to do with how stable the club is on an off-center hit (higher is generally better), the thinking on club MOI is just the opposite. Club MOI has to do with how resistant an object is to some force causing it to move (like say a golfer trying to swing it). A lower club MOI, theoretically, might mean a club is easier to swing faster. Vrska says the club MOI on the D200 is the lowest on the market. The D200, which also features a thinner, webbed, variable thickness crown through the use of a chemical etching process, also is the lightest adjustable driver in the game with a head weight of just 189 grams or about 15 grams lighter than most adjustable driver heads today. Each of the three lofts (9, 10.5, 13; $300) can be adjusted up or down one degree, and put in a draw setting.

The face size on the D200 also has been increased by 9 percent and redesigned compared to the D100. The thickness of the lower perimeter of the face has been decreased by 12 percent to further improve face deflection on off-center hits. 

Also fueling the lightweight design is a special 25-gram Golf Pride grip and a 44-gram UST Mamiya Elements Chrome shaft. 

The line includes fairway woods and hybrids with Carpenter 455 steel face inserts. Vrska says the high-strength Carpenter 455 is able to made 20 percent thinner than traditional 17-4 steel and 13 percent thinner than some Chines steels labeled “455.” The thinner face helps create the highest spring-like effect readings for Wilson’s fairway woods and hybrids in its history. Both the fairway woods and hybrids have extended low heel and toe regions for a 5 percent larger face area. The fairway woods (15, 18, 21 degrees; $250) use a 49-gram UST Mamiya Elements Chrome shaft, while the hybrids (17, 19, 212, 25, 28, 31 degrees; $180) feature a 54-gram version. Both use the 25-gram Golf Pride grip found on the driver.

The D200 irons continue the lightweight theme, but while the saved weight is repositioned in the heel and toe, it’s how the weight is saved in the head that is especially interesting. The design features extending the same thickness of the already thin face around the leading edge and into the front part of the sole. The sole is thinnest on the longer irons and the weight is moved farther back in the cavity. As the lofts progress higher, the face-to-sole transition area isn’t as thin and the weight moves forward to control trajectory and feel. The saved weight, almost 50 percent of the club’s total mass in the 4-iron, is repositioned to the heel and toe to lower the center of gravity and to raise the head’s MOI by 9 percent, compared to the D100.

The D200 irons ($600 steel, $700 graphite) come with an 85-gram steel option and a 59-gram UST Mamiya Elements Chrome graphite option. 

All of Wilson’s D200 clubs will be in stores Jan. 16.
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Gear & Equipment

Mizuno takes new approach to adding distance to fairway woods

The equipment world has been talking for some time about using sole geometry on metalwoods to add a springlike effect at impact, but Mizuno is taking the idea a little farther.

loop-mizuno-JPX850_3Wood-518.jpgIts new JPX-850 fairway woods utilize an accordion shape in the front of the sole to help improve face flexibility, particularly on low-face impacts. That extra mass used to create the series of waves in the sole upfront is paired with a weight pad in the rear to expand the head's stability on high and low mis-hits, as well as heel and toe misses.

The club also attempts to enhance ball speed by using a 1770 high-strength maraging steel face. And for good measure, Mizuno adds an adjustable hosel that allows the three heads to fit eight settings each and a loft range of 10 degrees (13 to 23 degrees).

loop-mizuno-JPX850_WoodsGroup-518.jpgAvailable in November, the JPX-850 fairway woods ($250) come in 15-, 18- and 21-degree lofts with each being adjustable by plus or minus 2 degrees.

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