The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

It's a club with a joyful name. But will this putter make you happy?

Don't let the name fool you. The Happy Putter is rooted in some serious thought about what a putter could be.

Available online and shipping this month ($250), the putter takes its cue from the adjustable-driver movement, as well as tour players’ tendencies to tweak their putter specs based on course or stroke changes. Vikash Sanyal, CEO of parent company Brainchild Golf, believes the technology is more meaningful in putters than in drivers because the effects are more easily seen.


loop-happy-putters-back-518.jpg

"People understand the differences right away when they're playing shaggier Bermuda greens one day and bent greens another day, or they'll see right away that they're pulling all their putts to the left," says Sanyal, who was part of the original team at Odyssey Golf and later CEO of Never Compromise. "We're giving consumers access to something tour players have had forever."

loop-happy-putters-top-518.jpg

Available in either mallet or blade, the putter can be set to three lofts, three lie angles, three hosel offset positions and includes three sets of heel and toe weights. And if none of those changes works, the putter can be flipped over to work left-handed, too.



Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Never lose your keys on the golf course again

Having worked seven summers at a golf club, I've spent plenty of time searching for lost keys and wallets on the course or in the clubhouse. If only the folks at Tile had been around earlier.

loop-tile-518.jpgThe company has developed its small square device, which can be hung on a key ring or taped to a wallet, to track down misplaced items. Download the Tile app, which uses the Bluetooth on your iPhone/iPad. If the Tile is within range (about 150 feet), an indicator will tell you when you're getting close. You can also hit the "find" button, and the Tile will play a song to help you hear where it is. For Tiles out of range, the app shows the last place it was able to detect the Tile (and when).

The first wave of Tiles sold out, but you can pre-order them for $20 this fall on thetileapp.com.

... Read
Gear & Equipment

FootJoy replicates its D.N.A. (golf shoe) for women



After the successful release of its D.N.A. (DryJoys Next Advancement) men's golf shoe earlier this year, FootJoy is debuting a women's version. The company targeted four areas in engineering the shoe for women: stability, fit, feel and performance.

loop-footjoy-dna-women-518.jpgTo achieve these, the D.N.A. ($200) features a foam collar that molds to your ankle/foot. A thin-but-firm outsole decreases weight and increases support. The footbed uses two materials, with a higher density foam around the perimeter for comfort.

The waterproof, full-grain leather shoe comes in four colors and is available Sept. 1.

Interested in more stories on apparel? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things fashion.

 

... Read
Gear & Equipment

The story behind the boron steel in Mizuno's JPX850 Forged irons

Luxury cars use high-strength boron-steel reinforcement beams to improve collision resistance. How tough are these boron steels? Here's a writeup from a journal that provides technical advice for fire departments and EMS rescue teams charged with extricating injured drivers from car crashes: 

"Without a practically brand new hydraulic power cutter, the rescuer might find that they will be unable to cut through any of the areas where the advanced steel is located. Unless your power cutter is new, or within one or two years old, you might not be able to cut the roof off for example or even lay a B-pillar down after a T-bone collision. Older generation power cutters most likely won’t be able to cut this stuff! Your air chisel bits will all break before the boron steel will even make a dent. The teeth on your best demolition quality reciprocating saw blade will quickly be worn off without so much as even scratching the advanced steel.”

Now Mizuno is using a version of these new high-strength steels to make its forged irons produce faster ball speeds.

loop-mizuno-jpx850-iron-518.jpgThe new JPX850 Forged irons ($1,000) feature a boron-infused 1025 carbon steel for a thinner face with a higher springlike effect than any other Mizuno one-piece forged iron. The metal's strength also allows designers to mill a pocket cavity that comes within 1.7 millimeters of the face and 1.5 millimeters of the sole to increase face flexibility.

The combination of the unique material and design saves 26 grams that is redistributed around the perimeter for enhanced stability.

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Particular about your wedges? Cleveland Golf's new 588 Rotex 2.0 line is worth a look

Ask tour pros what they want from a wedge, and versatility is sure to be one of their answers. It happened when Cleveland tested its new 588 Rotex 2.0 wedges with the likes of Keegan Bradley and Graeme McDowell.

Offering options in lofts, sole grinds, bounce, head shapes and finishes is key, and Cleveland's line appears to have checked all of those boxes. Boasting blade and cavity-back models, the 588 Rotex 2.0 ($130) comes in lofts from 46 to 64 degrees in 2-degree increments and three bounce options for a total of 120 possible choices.

The blade is available in two finishes: tour satin and black satin.

loop-cleveland-588-rtx-wedges-518.jpg

The main improvement over its predecessor comes from its face technology; the club's grooves are 8 percent deeper, and a new micro-milled face pattern enhances surface roughness for greater spin.



Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

  ... Read
Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Rory McIlroy used to win the PGA Championship

By E. Michael Johnson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It doesn't take long to determine the turning point of the PGA Championship at Valhalla. One only need to look at the 10th hole, when Rory McIlroy's second shot, a 280-yard 3-wood to seven feet, led to an eagle that provided the impetus for the Ulsterman's second consecutive major title. 

rory-mcilroy-golf-clubs-pga-championship.jpg
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The club McIlroy used to strike that blow was Nike VRS Covert 2.0 3-wood, a 15-degree club that he put in the bag at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but didn't hit a shot with at Firestone CC. Still, the club stayed in play at Valhalla.

Interestingly, McIlroy is not quick to change his fairway woods, telling me in June that, "Fairway woods are very individual clubs. You find a fairway wood you like and you sort of stick with it for a while."

Related: Sunday's Winners & Losers from the PGA Championship

Still, McIlroy said he preferred the stronger ball flight the Covert 2.0 gave him, which fits with his ideals for a fairway wood. "My 3-wood acts as two separate things," he said. "It's another driver but needs the playability to get it off the deck and up in the air enough so it lands relatively softly coming into greens on a par 5. I've always played a low-degree 3-wood, around 13 degrees or 13 1/2. But with the Covert and the ball coming off the clubface a little hotter I've been able to go up a degree in the 3-wood, so I can get the ball up in the air but still get a good distance."

The shot he hit at the 10th didn't get up in the air much (by design), but it had just the right amount of distance -- enough to send him on his way to his fourth major championship.

Here are the clubs Rory used to win the PGA Championship:

Driver: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70x), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Nike VRS Covert 2.0, 15 degrees
5-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Nike VR Pro Blade; (PW): Nike VR Forged
Wedges: Nike VR Forged (52, 56, 59 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 006
Ball: Nike RZN Black

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Callaway pursues lighter weight for a faster driver

By Mike Stachura

In the latest version of golf equipment's worst-kept secret, Callaway today officially unveiled the Big Bertha V Series driver. As expected, the club, which has been on the USGA's list of conforming drivers for more than two weeks and was put in play by several players at the recent WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, reflects an approach to helping the golfer create more distance through increased swing speed.

BB-v1.jpgTaking a cue from the formula for kinetic energy, which is engraved on the sole of the clubhead, the Big Bertha V Series ($400, available in stores Aug. 22) is a lighter total weight driver. The key idea behind enhancing the club's kinetic energy, whose formula is one-half times the mass times the velocity squared, is that by increasing swing speed you can have a greater effect on the energy delivered to the ball at impact than if you choose instead to increase the weight of the head. One way to increase swingspeed is to slightly reduce total weight.

At its lightest configuration, the Big Bertha V Series is around 290 grams, or about 20 grams lighter than the current standard Big Bertha driver and 30 or more grams lighter than several other drivers being played by many players on the PGA Tour. According to Evan Gibbs, Callaway's senior manager of product performance in metalwoods, the V Series is one possible solution among many kinds of driver and many kinds of players.

"One of the philosophies behind this driver is there are a lot of different recipes for distance," Gibb said. "Some players benefit from having a very low spinning driver, a lot of players need a little bit more MOI [moment of inertia, or improved stability on off-center hits for more consistent ballspeed and spin across the face], and another segment of players can really benefit from a lightweight driver. It helps them generate more head speed and in turn get more distance.

"The focus on this driver is really about optimizing the properties of this head, but constraining it to a very lightweight configuration."

The Big Bertha V Series achieves this goal by fashioning the crown out of the company's lightweight "forged composite" material. In addition to a lightweight grip, the standard shaft on the higher lofted versions (10.5 and 13.5HT models) is just 42 grams (Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara).

Furthering this idea that there are different drivers for different players, the V Series' 9-degree model features a slightly lower center of gravity position (for decreased spin) and a heavier shaft. The total weight of the 9-degree model is just above 300 grams and features the heavier Fujikura Speeder 565 shaft.

"One of the unique things is how we've optimized the design progression through the lofts," Gibbs said. "We understand that all these players are looking for more head speed and a lighter weight. It's a question of how do we translate that head speed into more distance. That's a little bit different in the 9-degree head than in a HT head because it's really a different golfer type."

The Big Bertha V Series also features a similar face technology as found in the company's Big Bertha and X2 Hot drivers. The "Hyperspeed" design aims to save weight in the face insert (traditionally the heaviest section of a driver) yet still improve deflection on off-center hits through more precise thickness variation. 

bb-vfwy.jpg
All three lofts (9, 10.5 and 13HT) feature the company's eight-way adjustable hosel, which allows the user to change independently between four lofts (minus-one degree, standard, plus-one degree and plus-two degrees) and two lie angles (neutral and upright).

The Big Bertha V Series also will be available in fairway woods ($250), including the return of the Heavenwood. The Heavenwood is a fairway wood featuring a 7-wood loft (20.5 degrees) with a 4-wood shaft length. The stainless steel fairway woods continue the lightweight design of the drivers and utilize Callaway's "Warbird" sole, whose slight V-shape and recessed heel and toe regions are designed to improve versatility in various lies and turf conditions. The fairways feature a variable thickness face similar in concept to the "Hyperspeed" design in the drivers. In addition to the Heavenwood, the V Series is available in 3-wood, 7-wood and 9-wood lofts. 

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Rory McIlroy used to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

By E. Michael Johnson

loop-rory-winnersbag-bridgestone-518.jpgAs was the case during his British Open triumph last month, Rory McIlroy won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational thanks in large part to his Nike VRS Covert 2.0 driver. The new World No. 1 led the field in driving distance at Firestone CC (334.8 yards) and finished 12th in accuracy (60.71 percent fairways hit).

There were only minor differences in McIlroy's club lineup in his encore victory in Akron, Ohio. Instead of the Nike MM proto 2-iron he carried at Hoylake, McIlroy had a VRS Covert 5-wood (19 degrees). He also took out his VR Pro Blade 3-iron in favor of a third VR Forged wedge, adding the 52 degree to the 54 and 59 degree models he previously carried.

Here is McIlroy's bag in its entirety at Firestone.

Ball: Nike RZN Black

Driver: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70X), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 15 degrees
5-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9):
Nike VR Pro Blade; (PW): Nike VR Forged
Wedges: Nike VR Forged (52, 54, 59 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 006

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Mizuno's MP-15 iron is crammed with modern design but still appeals to better players

By E. MIchael Johnson

Mizuno has combined carbon steel and titanium before, in its MP-59 irons. With the launch of its new MP-15 irons, the company builds off that foundation.

loop-mizuno-mp15-pair-518.jpg

Whereas the MP-59 removed 20 grams of weight and replaced them with 11 grams of titanium, the MP-15 removes 38 grams and replaces them with 10 grams of titanium. The result provided designers with 19 grams of discretionary weight.

loop-mizuno-mp15-range-518.jpg

The club also took elements from the MP-64 iron to produce a compact look to appeal to better players. In fact, Luke Donald gave feedback on the MP-15 during the design stage. The clubs ($1,000 for a set of eight, steel shafts) were shown to tour staff at the British Open and will be available at retail in September.


Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Callaway offers physics lesson on the clubhead of its new V Series driver

By Mike Stachura

loop-callaway-vseries-driver-518.jpgCallaway isn't saying much about the Big Bertha V Series club that showed up on last week's USGA list of conforming drivers. But given the timing and some of the clues on the clubhead itself, you can make a good guess as to what this driver is all about.

Making the rounds on tour this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Thomas Bjorn is said to be one interested candidate), the club definitely emphasizes less weight. You can see slight indentations in the sole that are reminiscent of the old Big Bertha Warbird sole.

Most telling, however, are the words and formulas emblazoned on the clubhead. Included is the phrase Speed Optimized Technology and the formula for kinetic energy. The latter is a clear reference to the importance of increasing velocity (swing speed) to generate more energy at impact.

The adjustable driver is available in three lofts, according to its listing on the USGA website (9.5, 10.5 and 13.5HT). The company plans to introduce the driver formally next week.


Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today