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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.


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Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Tim Clark used to win the RBC Canadian Open

By E. Michael Johnson

loop-tim-clark-celebration-290.jpgThere was something apropos about the pictures of Tim Clark fist-pumping in celebration Sunday at Royal Montreal G.C. In his other hand was the club that the new winner of the RBC Canadian Open has become most associated with: an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long putter.

Clark has used a long putter since his days playing college golf at N.C. State in the 1990s. The South African was among the more vocal players arguing to keep the USGA and R&A from outlawing the anchored stroke when the governing bodies proposed the rule change in 2012. The 38-year-old uses the long putter out of what he says is necessity; a congenital problem with his arms prevents him from supinating his wrists and causes discomfort while using a short putter.

With the anchoring ban having been approved and set to be implemented in January 2016, several players who use belly or long putters have begun to experiment with other shorter models. Clark, however, is among a dozen or so players who remain anchoring holdouts.

Here are the rest of the clubs and ball Clark played in picking up his second PGA Tour title.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Accra M4 55), 9.5 degrees
4-wood: Titleist 913Fd, 18 degrees
5-wood: Callaway Steelhead Plus, 18 degrees
Hybrid:
TaylorMade Rescue FW Dual, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Titleist CB; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM4
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM5 (60 degrees0
Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long

Photo: Getty Images

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Gear & Equipment

Nike's Lunar Adapt shoes will have women wanting to wear them off the course

By Keely Levins

Nike has added the athletic, spikeless Lunar Adapt to its women’s golf shoe line. The two-tone, waffle-pattern bottom is designed to keep your feet close to the ground to help maintain traction. The emphasis is on comfort and the idea that golfers like the flexibility of wearing their shoes on and off the course.

loop-nike-lunar-adapt-518.jpgThe shoe, which features lightweight cushioning on the inside midsole to absorb shock during your swing, comes in three color combos: pure platinum/hyper pink-cool gray (left), light ash/hyper grape-ivory and fuchsia force/light ash-medium ash.

The Lunar Adapt is available now at retail for $100.

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Gear & Equipment

An app that can track your stats like you're on the PGA Tour

By Stephen Hennessey

The interest in stats and their application in golf is bigger than ever. Arccos -- a game-improvement app with technology developed by Callaway -- offers real-time, automatic stat-tracking on your smartphone.

loop-arccos-accessories518.jpgHere’s how it works: Tiny plugs with sensors are inserted into the butt end of each of your grips to track every stroke. That information is then sent to the app, which shows relevant stats on every club.

The app comes with 16,000 courses and uses Google Maps software. Industry veteran Tim Reed, Callaway’s senior VP of product strategy and management, has worked closely with Arccos the past two years to develop the app. It’s available for pre-order at a reduced price ($299), and at retail in August for $399.

For more: arccosgolf.com.

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Gear & Equipment

A way to make sure your cellphone doesn't die on the course

By Brendan Mohler

loop-plusblue-518.jpgCellphone battery life is a problem for almost everyone, and with the ever-increasing number of apps available to tech-minded golfers, it can be all the more frustrating. PlusBlue Solutions, a Cincinnati-based startup, is trying to combat the problem with a line of customized, portable chargers for use with any USB-powered mobile device, including phones, tablets and cameras.

According to company officials, the charger ($65) works faster than a wall outlet and can give three full charges at a time for an iPhone and at least two for any Samsung Galaxy, Android, Windows or Blackberry phone/tablet. The lightweight device takes only four hours to charge itself.

Also cool: PlusBlue will etch your name or logo on the matte black aluminum case.

loop-plusblue-logos-518.jpg

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Gear & Equipment

How do you shop for golf clubs? Study says it depends on your handicap

By Mike Stachura

There's more that separates a high-handicap player from a low-handicapper than just score. New research from Golf Datatech suggests the way they shop for equipment is different, too.

loop-buying-clubs-518.jpgThe study of "serious golfers" (respondents played an average of 62 rounds in the past year) found 70 percent of low-handicap players (10 and under) said they tried new clubs on the range or course before buying, compared with less than half of high-handicappers (16 and up). Also, two-thirds of better players said they consider different models, but less than half of 90-plus shooters did.

The report shows a difference as well in where they buy their clubs. Only 3 percent of low-handicappers said they would purchase their next driver at a sporting-goods store, compared with 17 percent of high-handicappers.

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Gear & Equipment

Ernie Els isn't just a major winner. He's also a club designer

By Mike Stachura

Some were surprised when Ernie Els signed an endorsement contract with Adams Golf in January, but the real surprise might be that Els helped design the iron he has played since the spring.

loop-adams-iron-518.jpgThe XTD Tour uses the same cross braces in the cavity found in the company’s more game-improvement-style XTD iron, plus a slightly smaller sole slot to increase the face’s ability to flex at impact. The cross braces deepen the center of gravity for extra stability on off-center hits.

Els helped refine the shape on his more compact version of the XTD, including a squarer toe on the short irons. The XTD Tour will be available in September ($700, seven irons).

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Gear & Equipment

The next Callaway driver hints at swing speed

By Mike Stachura

When a company starts putting physics formulas on its products, it's probably not a stretch to assume the nod to science has something to do with the product's performance intent. 

Vseries.jpg
So when the USGA updated its conforming list of clubheads this week to include a driver emblazoned with the equation for kinetic energy, it's safe to assume the driver is going to be pushing the idea of creating swing speed. In golf, kinetic energy is best described as the energy created in the clubhead coming into the ball as a result of its speed. In scientific terms, it is the product of the mass of an object (like a clubead) and the velocity (or swing speed) squared, times one-half. Because velocity is squared in the equation, this means that for an object like a clubhead, whose mass might change only a relatively small amount, if you can develop a way to increase speed, you can deliver more energy into the ball at impact. More energy at impact can lead to more distance. In simpler terms, the theory might be that it may be much more important to figure out how to produce a driver that can be swung faster than to figure out how to swing a heavier driver clubhead as fast as you can swing a standard- weight driver clubhead. The idea of pursuing ways to increase clubhead speed has been seen in several companies' drivers in the past, including Cleveland's Launcher DST, TaylorMade's Burner SuperFast, Adams' Speedline and most recently Ping's new G30.

Enter the Callaway Big Bertha V-Series. Although the company is mum on specifics, the USGA's listing describes the club as having a sole that includes the company's trademark caricature of Sir Isaac Newton and its catchphrase, "You can't argue with physics." The sole also includes the words "Speed Optimized Technology," as well as the aforementioned equation for kinetic energy. The listing references 9, 10.5 and 13HT lofts, and from the image the club appears to be adjustable. It would not be a stretch to suggest the "V" might stand for "velocity." 

Given that it's been a year since Callaway launched the FT Optiforce, which promoted the idea of increasing swing speed through a more aerodynamic head shape and lighter overall weight, it seems natural the Big Bertha V-series with its reference to kinetic energy could be the next evolution of those ideas. Last year, the FT Optiforce actually drew some interest and success from tour players; both Chris Kirk and Patrick Reed won with one in the bag in late-season events last year, and Jim Furyk used one to shoot a 59 during the BMW Championship. 

It is not clear whether the Big Bertha V-Series will be played or even tested at any tour events this week, but being on the conforming list means the club is available to be used in competition immediately. More details are sure to be available fairly, er, quickly.

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Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Rory McIlroy used to win the British Open

By E. Michael Johnson

HOYLAKE, England -- There was something about Rory McIlroy that was lost in the glare of the glitzy unveiling of his mega deal with Nike last year in Abu Dhabi.

When it comes to equipment, he's a bit of a gear head.

The fact was evident during a sitdown with him last month to discuss his Nike clubs.

"I was really into different shafts and everything," McIlroy said. "I guess now I've got a little more to think about and worry about than just being focused on new equipment. So I let the guys that know more about it than I do help me on that. I let them put the stuff in my hands that they think is going to work, and then we go forward from there."

Not that McIlroy doesn't provide valuable input into the process. "This is really the first time I've worked with a manufacturer where I've been so involved," he said. "We might discuss something, and the guys will come back a couple of weeks later and right away we're working on how does this look, how does it feel, is it what you imagined it to be like. I've worked really hard with the guys on developing stuff that's going to work for me."

Those clubs worked quite well for the newly crowned British Open champion at Royal Liverpool, specifically his Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver.

loop-rory-equipment-driver-518.jpg"I remember having a conversation at the Barclays last year at dinner," McIlroy said. "We talked a lot about Covert 2.0 and what it was going to be like and what I'd like to see in the driver and what sort of things I'd like to change from the current model."

And what did McIlroy want to alter? "Everything is related to the details," he said. "I want it to look a certain way. I want the face to sort of look a little longer so I can square it up at impact. Then there's the technical: Why they do certain things like a cavity back in the driver. It all makes sense to me now."

Enough sense to get the third major win of his career. Here's the clubs and ball McIlroy had in his bag at Royal Liverpool.

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
Irons (2): Nike MM Proto (3-9): Nike VR Pro Blade; (PW): Nike VR Forged
Wedges: Nike VR Forged (54, 59 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 006

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Gear & Equipment

All the Callaway staffers have a Latin phrase stitched on their bag at the British Open. Here's why

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

HOYLAKE, England -- If you've been paying especially close attention to the British Open, you might have noticed that the 17 Callaway staff players in the field this week all had a Latin phrase stitched into the bottom part of their Liverpool-themed bag.

Phil Mickelson:

452320790.jpg
Henrik Stenson:

452338930.jpg
Here's a better look:

british-open-bag-518.jpg
It turns out the expression is part of a special British Open-themed collection of accessories the company put together in honor of the 2014 British Open. Players were given Union Jack-colored headcovers, bags and ball makers, which have an artful image of a coastal bird (the symbol of Liverpool) and the roman numeral XII (a nod to Royal Liverpool hosting its 12th Open).

The saying on the bags -- "Respice et Prospice" -- translates to "Remember the past, look to the future." It's the same phrase featured on Hoylake's coat of arms.

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July 28, 2014

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