The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

It might not look like much, but this training aid could help you hole more putts

Training yourself to make more putts by practicing with a target smaller than a regulation-sized cup is a time-honored technique among golf instructors. It's also the key to the Dead Zero putting aid. The 2 1/8-inch wide disk can be used on a practice green, a carpet or any surface to sharpen your skills from inside 10 feet.


The disk's size is not arbitrary, says Eric Schmitt, Dead Zero's creator. Schmitt performed tests to identify an optimum diameter given the idea that just because you hit a regulation cup with a putt, doesn't mean the ball always goes in hole. Schmitt claims even if struck with just a glancing blow, the Dead Zero simulates a putt that would have been holed in a standard cup.

The Dead Zero Pro ($30) includes a bubble-level on top of the device to help show the slope of the green.

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Gear & Equipment

Mizuno has 'lofty' ambitions with its new MP-T5 wedges

Despite the USGA's rollback on groove performance, we've seen there's more to wedge technology than how deep and sharp the scorelines are cut. One company that has continually made advancements is Mizuno, which first introduced the idea of varying groove geometry to match performance requirements of specific lofts.


Its latest offering, the MP-T5 ($130), takes this thinking to its extreme. Through its custom program there are 25 options, including at least one bounce for every loft from 49 to 62 degrees. Mizuno also offers five sole grinds matched specifically to subsets of those lofts and two finishes (white satin and black ion).loop-mizuno-mpt5-wedges-Black-518.jpg

The MP-T5 features the company's carbon-steel forging, and the groove design is again loft-specific: narrower and deeper on the lower lofts to improve full-shot spin and wider and shallower on the higher lofts for better partial-shot spin.

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Golf equipment

David Feherty: "I guess the idiots at the USGA don't consider [Jack Nicklaus] enough of an expert"

David Feherty was as candid as ever in a recent interview in Men's Journal. When the subject of how golf can stay relevant with young people, the CBS on-course reporter and Emmy award-winning talk show host on Golf Channel didn't hold back his opinion of golf's governing body.

Related: Golf World's profile on David Feherty

"The people running the game should think more about the average amateur. Unlike football and baseball, golf is watched by people who still play the sport. So change the rules and make the ball bigger to slow it down, which will help the amateurs on the greens and attract more players. Twenty-five years ago, Jack Nicklaus said they should do this. I guess the idiots at the USGA don't consider him enough of an expert."


To be fair, Feherty spent most of the interview being just as tough on himself for, among other things, being "stupid" in school, losing control with alcohol and drugs, and failing his family. He says it's being open about that stuff that makes him talk so freely on the air.

"I'm at an advantage -- all of my skeletons are out of the closet," he said. "I'm as f----- up as they come. I have to take 13 pills a day to be this normal."

Feherty also recently addressed taking his pills on Twitter following comedian Robin Williams' suicide.

In the grand scheme of things, debating the dimensions of a golf ball seems trivial, but it's part of Feherty's job -- and we're glad it is. Whether you agree with him or not, such discussions could have a huge impact on a game that has been in the news a lot recently for not growing enough.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Feherty's "idiots" line probably won't make him any friends at the USGA, but it raises important questions about the future of the game. The more experts we hear from, the better.

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Gear & Equipment

What you need to know about Nike's new line of Vapor irons

With all the glitz one would expect from Nike, along with the Manhattan skyline serving as a stunning backdrop, the company introduced its latest iron line -- Vapor -- Monday night. Nike's one-two punch of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods helped do the honors, with "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon serving up questions -- and a few one-liners. (When a cell phone went off as Fallon was about to hit a shot he quipped in tour-player fashion, "No cellphones, please.").

Yet while the trio brought star power and media exposure, somewhat lost in the evening's festivities was the fact Nike is bringing a trio of intriguing iron offerings to market: Vapor Pro ($1,099), Vapor Pro Combo ($999) and Vapor Speed ($799). All three use what Nike calls "modern muscle" technology, with weight moved more towards the toe to relocate the center of gravity closer to the center of the face. It's an innovation brought about primarily due to feedback from Woods.

"My wear spot has always been slightly toward the heel," Woods said. "This center of gravity location provides a better feel and more consistency."


While Vapor Pro (above) is a modern take on the muscleback blade, Pro Combo (below) is, as the name suggests, a progressive set with more forgiving clubs in the long irons and more traditional clubs in the short irons.


Vapor Speed (below) is the most forgiving -- and longest -- of the irons.


The clubs will be available Oct. 31.

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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.


"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."


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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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. 

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

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