The Loop

When is the season to introduce new clubs? Now

April 27, 2011

Long ago, back when titanium was a novel idea in golf clubs, golf equipment was consistently introduced in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show in late January. While that no longer is the case, it is generally true that the spring is when new stuff starts hitting the shelves. But with more companies exploring more rapid innovation cycles, led of course by TaylorMade which back in 2004 launched its groundbreaking r7 Quad driver to the market in May, it's increasingly common to see new entries pop up months after the PGA Merchandise Show.  Just in the last couple of weeks, there's been a cavalcade of late additions to the roster of new-for-2011 products. Perhaps it's only a natural result of the accelerated enthusiasm the industry is feeling after early 2011 sales figures, as released by Golf Datatech, showed double-digit gains after consecutive years of negative numbers. In other words, the atmosphere seems, at least initially, ripe for new products, and here they come.

While unlike most of the new products showing up in stores early this spring, these products were not available for review in the February 2011 Golf Digest Hot List. Our team of panelists and judges will be looking at some of these late entries and considering some of them as possible additions to the 2011 Hot List. (We'll be cutting off those evaluations for products launched after July 1. Products launched after that date will be part of our consideration set for the 2012 Hot List.)

Here's a list of some products we've seen show up in the office the last few weeks (details and pics to come on this blog over the next several days, although in many cases these products are already up on company's websites):

Adams Golf: The A12 prototype hybrid has been on tour in various forms over the last six months. The corresponding irons are what the company calls "traditionally forged" from 8620 carbon steel.     Idea Pro A12 irons    Idea Pro A12 hybrids    Redline hybrid-iron set

Bobby Grace: The new F-18 putter utilizes a convex face curve designed to enhance forward roll.    AMG F-18 putter

Boccieri Golf: The heavier-headed, back-weighted, raised-balanced point approach found in the Heavy Putter is brought to the longest clubs in the bag, too.     Heavy Driver      Heavy Fairway wood

Cobra: The S3 driver line expands to include a limited edition all-white version.     White S3 driver

Henry-Griffitts: The four-piece titanium 450 cc offering includes something unique in our memory of the driver marketplace, a model that comes in a loft of 18.5 degrees.     Praxis PI Driver

Hireko: The component manufacturer launches an all-white driver, all-white putters and a low-profile hybrid with just about the most offset we've seen in a hybrid.     Acer XF Driver     Acer XF Leggera driver     Bionik 101 putter     System Q PowerPlay Adrenaline hybrid

Miura: The latest forging from the master craftsman's and his sons' revered shop is designed to be a "friendly" forging.   PP-9003 irons   Nickent: Dick's Sporting Goods' purchase of Nickent results in a handful of products to soon be available in its stores and Golf Galaxy shops that will include the next generation of hybrids from the company that once had a presence in that category on both the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour.   6DX Hybrids    6DT Hybrids    6DX Combo set irons    Omen putter

TaylorMade: Already being played on tour and winning in some instances, the new products will come only in white, including fairwa woods and hybrids designed to increase a player's swing speed and an R11 Ti fairway wood that is designed to produce a higher, more draw-biased ballflight.     Burner SuperFast 2.0 Rescue     Burner Superfast 2.0 (& TP) fairway wood     R11 Ti fairway wood     Ghost Spider, 110, 770, 880 putters

Tour Edge: The mix of introductions bounces between deeper-faced CB4 woods and hybrids and the lighter, more draw-biased, distance-focused JMAX Gold line.    Exotics CB4 Tour driver     Exotics CB4 Tour hybrid     Exotics Trilogy hybrid     Exotics CB4 Tour fairway wood       JMAX Gold driver     JMAX Gold fairway wood     T-Balance putter

Wishon: Among the launches from the component clubmakers friend and fitting wizard are fairway woods and hybrids with unique thinner steels in the face and fitter-friendly hosels.    929HS fairway wood    929HS hybrid

Yes! Golf: When Adams purchased the company, there was much speculation on what new manifestations of the company's C-Groove technology might be coming. For now, the effort is to keep the familiar face design in some equally familiar head styles.    Ann, Laura and Christina C-Groove putters