shop blog

Archive: December 2008

« November 2008 | Main | January 2009 »

December 31, 2008

My New Year's Resolution

Posted at 8:37 AM by David Dusek

Over the last three months, more than one golf company executive has told me the outlook for the 2009 season is not good. When people are worried about the economy, their jobs and the shrinking value of their homes, selling a new $500 driver is about as easy as playing the 17th at Sawgrass during a hurricane.

2008_us_50748So my New Year's resolution is going to be for you: Whenever I can, I'm going to let you know about quality products—from companies large and small—that will not only help you enjoy the game more, but will also deliver good value.

Some things will be inexpensive, but good values do not always come with a small price tag. For example, my friend David, who lives in Vail, Colo., loves wearing his FootJoy Classics Dry Premiere golf shoes, which sell for $345. That's expensive, but the shoes could be considered a good value because David has worn them for more than six years. They still look great, and he has no plans to buy new shoes any time soon. If David gets a seventh season out of those shoes, his cost for them will be $49.29 per year. In my book, that's a great value for a comfortable, stylish, waterproof shoe.

Hey, like everyone else, my 401(k) tanked in 2008. But after you have toasted in the new year, rest assured that someone will be helping you find great golf equipment that will leave a few bucks in your wallet.

December 29, 2008

12 Things I Can't Play Without

Posted at 9:22 AM by David Dusek

A lot of us unwrapped golf-related presents during the holidays. Books, clothes, DVDs, club cleaners — the kind of stuff we enjoy but would rarely buy for ourselves. It made me start to think about what I absolutely, positively never want to play golf without. Here are my essentials:

1. Properly Marked Balls. For me, this means six that are marked and ready for play before each round. I use a green Sharpie and make a single dot under the ball's number, then a line along the seam of the ball so I can align putts on my intended target line. If I'm playing on a course with lots of high rough or water, I'll bring three extra.

2. Free Tees. I think white look the best, but honestly, whatever is free at the starter's hut works for me. I hate the idea of buying tees.

3. Coins with good years. In pursuit of positive karma, lots of pros use coins minted in the 60s as ball markers. Pennies are fine, but nickels, dimes and quarters work too. Like tees, I can't bring myself to pay for a ball marker.

4. A divot repair tool. If everyone repaired his pitch mark, and another nearby, we'd all be putting on smoother greens. (I put one in my pocket, along with a coin, on the first tee.)

5. Pencils. I'm constantly losing the pencil I start my round with, so I stock several.

6. A towel. I keep one corner damp to help me keep the grooves of my irons and wedges clean.

7. A water resistant top. If the forecast calls for steady rain, I'll wear a water-proof top to the course. If the forecast calls for the possibility of rain, I rely on a compressible, water-resistant, breathable top that I keep in my bag at all times. My RLX Stratus V-Neck Wind Shirt is perfect for the job.

8. Sunscreen. Playing golf in the sun is great. Skin cancer is terrible. Coppertone makes a great spray bottle of SPF-30 sunscreen that is sweatproof and non-greasy.

9. Granola bars. When it's hot, energy bars melt and get sticky. Nuts make me thirsty. Granola bars are easy to store, provide lasting energy and taste good.

10. Two gloves. One to wear, another as a back up.

11. A water bottle. There is nothing worse than getting thirsty on the course, and I never depend on either a beverage cart or a cooler to be just around the corner. I fill a Nalgene bottle with ice at home and fill it with water before starting my round.

12. A laser range finder. Yes, this is a splurge, but instead of finding a sprinkler head and pacing off yardages, my laser range finder tells me exactly how far I am from the flag or a hazard in about two seconds. It only weighs a few ounces, and on the tee box on par 3s it's funny how everyone looks to me to see what the magic number is.

December 19, 2008

Callaway FT-9 and Diablo drivers coming in 2009

Posted at 2:45 PM by David Dusek

Callawayft9driver_600x600 Callaway Golf recently released the new FT-iQ driver, but the company has two more drivers heading to pro shops near you later this winter. The Callaway FT-9 should be available starting in mid-February, and the Callaway Big Bertha Diablo will start appearing in mid-March.

Designed to appeal to golfers who like to work the ball off the tee, the 460cc FT-9 ($399) is an upgrade from the FT-5, which is used by both Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. (According to Callaway, both Mickelson and Els are now experimenting with the FT-9.) It will be available with a neutral face or draw bias in lofts between 9° and 13°.

The FT-9 Tour edition ($429) has a face angle that is 1° open, which should appeal to fast-swinging players who prefer to fade their tee shots rather than hit a draw. The FT-9 Tour will be offered in lofts of 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°, and according to Callaway, it produces a lower, more penetrating ball flight for more accomplished players. The stock shaft for both drivers is a Fujikura ZCOM.

Golfers will immediately notice a stainless steel weight web system in the lower rear portion of the FT-9. According to Callaway, the weight they saved by using a carbon composite body and titanium face has been repositioned into this webbing to move the center of gravity down and back. The company says that by precisely positioning these web weights, they can manipulate the bias of the club to help golfers reduce their slice or increase workability.

For a video look at the FT-9, click here.

Callawaydiablodriver_600 The newest member of the Big Bertha family, the Diablo ($299), is designed for players who are looking to maximize distance.

The 100% titanium head is created by welding four different cast titanium pieces together. At address, the Diablo looks fairly traditional, but along the sole golfers will immediately notice a series of grooves. In the Draw version of the Diablo, the grooved area adds discretionary weight to the heel area, making it easier for golfers to shut the clubface and avoid slicing. In the Neutral version, the grooved area is more centered to give players a greater ability to shape shots.

The Diablo features Callaway's Hyperbolic Face Technology, which makes the face lighter—and stiff—in critical areas to expand the sweetspot and make the driver more forgiving.

The Diablo will be available in lofts ranging from 8° to 13°and come standard with a light, regular or stiff Aldila DVS  shaft.

December 15, 2008

Nike Golf Set to Release New Dymo Drivers

Posted at 5:00 AM by David Dusek

Nikedymo2str8fitdriver_600 Nike is preparing to release its new family of Dymo drivers in early 2009. The line will have four drivers; two models, the SQ Dymo STR8-Fit and SQ Dymo2 STR8-Fit, will feature Nike's first adjustable-head system.

Using a wrench that comes with every Dymo and Dymo2 STR8-Fit driver, you can unscrew the head from its shaft (right), and then re-attach it in one of eight different playing positions. If you tend to slice the ball, turning the shaft to the left and into one of three closed-face positions should help you hit a straighter shot. If you tend to hook the ball, you can choose one of three open-faced playing positions to find more fairways.

Depending on the adjustments made by the player, Nike says the effective playing loft of a 10.5° SQ Dymo STR8-Fit or SQ Dymo2 STR8-Fit driver can range from 8.5° to 12.5°. The chart below gives more details. (Click on it for a larger view.)


The grip that comes standard on both drivers has been specially designed to look and feel exactly the same regardless of the playing position. The UST AXIV Core Shaft that also comes standard is available in 59-, 69- and 79-gram versions with four flex options.


The SQ Dymo2 STR8-Fit (photo, left) has a square head and is meant to appeal to players who are seeking to maximize forgiveness and distance. The SQ Dymo STR8-Fit (photo, right) has a traditional look and should allow players to draw or fade the ball a little more easily. However, discretionary weight has been added to the back-left and back-right areas to increase the club's moment of inertia. Click on the photo for a better view.

Another unique aspect of the new Dymo drivers is a weight system called the PowerBow. Essentially, drivers of different lofts have a slightly different U-shaped weight in the back of the club. The higher the loft, the larger the weight. According to Nike, this optimizes the moment of inertia and the center of gravity for each loft.

The Dymo STR8-Fit will have a retail price of $540.

If that price is a little steep, Nike will also offer the SQ Dymo and SQ Dymo2 drivers without the STR8-Fit system for $360. These will still have the progressive PowerBow weight system and, according to Nike, many of the same playing qualities. The SQ Dymo2 and SQ Dymo will be available in lofts from 8.5°-11.5°, along with a High Loft version, and come standard with a UST Wide Body shaft that features an AXIV Core tip section.

The Nike Dymo drivers will be available starting February 1, 2009, while the Dymo STR8-Fit drivers will be available April 1, 2009.

December 04, 2008

What's in Michelle Wie's golf bag?

Posted at 9:37 AM by David Dusek

Michelle_wies_golf_clubs This week, both the PGA and LPGA tours are conducting qualifying schools. They are each five-day, While the men play 108 holes, the ladies' is a 90-hole pressure cookers that determine who will have a chance to compete on golf's biggest stages in 2009, and who will spend another season in the minor leagues.

The most-watched player at either Q-School is going to be Michelle Wie. Since she turned pro at age 15 in October 2005, she has failed to win a golf tournament, and the public's fascination with her has faded. If she finishes in the top 20 this week and gets her card, all that will change.

For a complete look at the career highs and lows of Michelle Wie, check out our new Michelle Wie special section.

From an equipment standpoint, Wie is playing with 14 Nike clubs this week. During the summer she had played with a Callaway FT fairway wood, but it has been replaced with a Nike SasQuatch II.

Also worth noting is Wie's prototype Nike putter, which appears to be the same putter Paul Casey switched to earlier this season. It is a traditional heel-toe weighted design with a plumber's neck and a series of red, elevated ridges running across the face. When I asked Nike about the putter in a meeting recently, company representatives would not comment about it.

The ridges may be designed to grip the ball and start it rolling more quickly along the ground, or they could be made from a material that enhances feel. Nike reps did say that they have no plans to release a putter to the public with this technology any time soon. For a better look at Wie's clubs, shot by SI's David Walberg this week, click on the image above

Here's a complete list of the clubs in it:
Driver:                    Nike SQ Sumo 5000 (7.5°)
Fairway woods:     Nike SasQuatch II (15°, 19°)
Irons:                      Nike Victory Red TW Forged Blades (4-PW)
Wedges:                 Nike Victory Red (52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter:                    Nike prototype
Ball:                        Nike One Platinum

(Photos: bag, David Walberg/SI; putter, Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

More on Wie: Special Section | Life in pictures

Subscribe To Blog Headlines

Related Links

Shop Blog Archives

To view posts from a particular day,
simply select the date below.

September 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30

<< Previous Months

Popular Tags