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Archive: April 2009

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April 30, 2009

Tiger Woods Testing New Driver Shafts

Posted at 11:49 AM by David Dusek

Tiger-Woods-Oban-Driver Tiger Woods had been using an 83-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft in his drivers for several seasons. But on Thursday morning his Nike SQ Dymo 380 driver was outfitted with an 85-gram Oban Mach 4 prototype shaft.

On Wednesday, during his practice round with Payton Manning at the Quail Hallow Championship in Charlotte, the world's No. 1 player had an 89-gram Aldila Voodoo XPP8 prototype shaft.

According to Rick Nichols, Nike's Tour Field Manager, Woods recently tested eight new shafts at his home in Windermere, Fla., as part of an annual equipment review process with Nike.

"Tiger had been off for nine months," Nichols said. "So there were several shafts out there that he had not had an opportunity to test. We said to him, 'Let's test them and confirm that what you're playing, or if there is something better for you, let's look and see.'"

Using Nike's STR8-Fit system and a TrackMan launch monitor to expedite the process and confirm what Tiger felt in his hands, Woods narrowed the field down to three potential successors — the Oban, the Aldila, and a 76-gram prototype True Temper Project X graphite shaft.

The Nike STR8-Fit system allows golfers to unscrew the head from the driver's shaft, then re-attach it in one of eight different positions to change the loft and lie angle of the club. According to Nichols, Tiger's specs were not changed during the testing. His driver has 8.5° of loft and with a face that is 1.5° open. He also tested all the drivers with the same ball, his Nike One Tour.

The 13-gram weight difference between Tiger's heaviest and lightest test shafts translates to distance. "Tiger probably has another 20 yards in him if we gave him a harder golf ball and a longer, lighter shaft," Nichols said. However, that added distance could sacrifice short-game and iron control, so Tiger, like every other golfer, has to weigh his options and priorities.

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(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

April 27, 2009

Jerry Kelly Switched Balls Before Zurich Classic Win

Posted at 9:44 AM by David Dusek

Jerry Kelly Dancin With a grin across his face and beads strewn around his neck, Jerry Kelly admitted Sunday night that he'd been fooled.

Early in the week on the driving range at the TPC Louisiana, Titleist reps approached him with a black golf ball and asked him to try it.

"I said to them, 'This is great! Can I put it in the bag?'" Kelly was told that he could, and that the ball was actually the 2009 version of the Pro V1x. Kelly had been using Titleist's Pro V1 for about a year and a half.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

April 26, 2009

Jerry Kelly's Zurich Classic Winning Clubs

Posted at 7:27 PM by David Dusek

Singh-Driver-Shaft Jerry Kelly put a new Miyazaki prototype shaft into his Cleveland Launcher driver this week before the start of the Zurich Classic. Michael Jolly, a tour rep for Cleveland Golf, told me in Augusta two weeks ago that Vijay Singh has also put the shaft in his driver.

Jolly told me that the Miyazaki shaft is very rigid and resists twisting to help fast-swinging players maintain control on slightly off-center hits. However, "unlike a lot of low torque shafts, it doesn't feel harsh," he said.

It's not available in retail now, but Jolly said SRI (Cleveland's parent company) may release it in the future.

Here is a complete list of the clubs in Jerry Kelly's bag:

DRIVER:                  Cleveland Launcher (7.5°) with Miyazaki prototype X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD:   Titleist 906 F4 (13°) with Graphite Design Pershing 85g X shaft
HYBRID:                  Cleveland HiBore XLS (16°) with Graphite Design YS Hybrid 85 X
IRONS:                    Cleveland CG7 Tour (3-9) with True Temper Black Gold X shafts
WEDGES:
               Cleveland 588 (47°, 53°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S-400 shafts
PUTTER:                 Cleveland Classic #3
BALL:                     Titleist Pro V1x (2009)

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

April 24, 2009

TaylorMade Opens New Performance Lab Outside Boston

Posted at 6:09 PM by David Dusek

TMPL_4-c_logo TaylorMade Golf plans to open its sixth Performance Lab in the United States on April 27 at The International, a 36-hole resort and golf facility about 45 minutes outside Boston. TaylorMade's Performance Labs are the company's most high-end custom-fitting facilities.

They're also very high tech. Fitting technicians place 34 reflective markers on specific areas of a customer's body, as well as on the shaft and head of the club, and then capture all the movements of the swing using six high-speed cameras. After inputting that data into a computer, a three-dimensional swing video is created.

Advanced tools like these, once only available to the pros, allow instructors and club fitters to fully understand how the player's golf swing works. From there, the team can make instruction and equipment recommendations.

After going through this swing analysis, TaylorMade can build demo clubs on site. Finished, custom-made equipment can be shipped to your home in about 48 hours.

The other five locations in the United States are at the Four Seasons Resort in North San Diego, the Desert Springs Marriott in Palm Springs, the Hyatt Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago and Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. TaylorMade also has Performance Labs in South Africa, Spain and Dubai.

For more information, go to tmplabs.com.

Parker McLachlin adds yards and accuracy with new shafts

Posted at 2:27 PM by David Dusek

Parker McLachlin Heading into this week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans, Parker McLachlin was not happy with his driving. Statistically speaking, he had no reason to be, ranking 168th in average distance (272 yards) and 185th in accuracy (48%).

Although he had been making some swing changes—and both his caddie and his coach felt he was improving—McLachlin was still battling a right-side miss. For the year, 25% of McLachlin's drives have found the right rough.

This week he made an equipment adjustment. After visiting the Titleist van, McLachlin had the Aldila Voodoo VS7 shafts removed from his driver [Titleist 909D2 (10.5°)] and 3-wood [Titleist 909F2 (15.5°)] and replaced them with the X stiff Mitsubishi Diamona White Board. The driver shaft weighs 63 grams; the 3-wood shaft is 73 grams.

For at least one day, the fitting change worked. On Thursday, McLachlin's average drive was 289 yards, and he hit 57% of the fairways.

"My experience last week and the beginning of this week in finding a new driver leads me back to the importance of club fitting," McLachlin wrote in the Honolulu Advertiser. "Fortunately for me, Titleist has a great Tour trailer, so we've got club fitting at our fingertips. But even for the weekend warriors out there, getting fitted for clubs, and drivers especially, is extremely important."

Morgan Pressel Announces Driver Change on Twitter

Posted at 10:52 AM by David Dusek

Morgan Pressel Morgan Pressel has been an avid user of Twitter for a while. As I type this, she has more than 1,100 followers. She uses the site to share news about her love for the Detroit Red Wings, her rounds and practice sessions, and her shopping habits.

Yesterday she Tweeted about putting a new driver into her bag at the LPGA's Corona Championship in Morella, Mexico.

"Put a new Callaway FT-9 into play today for the 1st time and didn't miss a tee shot. It has a great trajectory. This one has staying power!"

Pressel had been previously been using a Callaway FT-5.

Moments later, the 20-year-old wrote, "MF [Meaghan Francella] said 'Wow you really like that driver huh?' when I outdrove her a few times today...I also tried to tell her to join Twitter!"

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

April 22, 2009

Evolve Vireo S3 Golf Tees

Posted at 3:32 PM by David Dusek

Today marks the 39th annual Earth Day. If you are going to be playing golf and want to do your part to make our world a little cleaner, think about using Evolve Golf's Vireo S3 tees.

Like other Evolve tees, the Vireo S3 tees are made from a combination of renewable and recycled materials. Evolve claims they are more durable than traditional wooden tees, but if they do break, the tees are completely biodegradable.

In addition, Vireo S3 tees are designed to help you hit the ball in the sweet spot more often. To do that, golfers are encouraged to go to the company's Web site and select the specific driver they play. A tool then shows Epoch Vireo S3 Teeshow many gray dots on the side of the tee should be above the ground to ensure the ideal teeing height.

For example, players swinging a Titleist 905R or a Cleveland HiBore XL Tour driver are encouraged to sink the tee into the ground up to the second dot from the bottom (photo).

You can buy a 35-pack of Vireo S3 tees for $5.95 at intheholegolf.com.

Andres Romero's Bag for the Zurich Classic

Posted at 3:26 PM by David Dusek

Andres-Romero-Golf-Clubs_550x600Sports Illustrated has started a new feature within SI Golf Plus called My Bag. You can now look forward to getting a detailed look inside the golf bags of the game's biggest stars.

In the days leading up to the Masters, SI Golf Plus published the equipment used by Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy, Trevor Immelman, Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott and Chad Campbell.

This week, SI Golf Plus grabbed Andres Romero, the defending champion of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, to see what he is expecting to use in defense of his title:

Driver: TaylorMade R9 (9.5°) with Aldila One NV prototype 80 shaft
Fairway woods: TaylorMade R9 (15°) and Burner TP (17.5°) with Aldila One NV prototype 80 shafts
Irons:  TaylorMade R7 TP (3,4) with True Temper X100 shafts; Tour Preferred (5-PW) with Rifle Project X shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade RAC (54°, 56°)
Putter: Guerin Rife Antigua
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

April 21, 2009

Danny Lee signs endorsement deal with Callaway

Posted at 1:03 PM by David Dusek

Danny Lee Danny Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champion, has signed with Callaway Golf. The company announced this morning that Lee will play Callaway clubs and balls and will have the company's logo on his bag and hat.

Lee won his U.S. Amateur title on Pinehurst No. 2 last August, breaking Tiger Woods's record as the event's youngest winner. Playing in his first PGA Tour at the Wyndham Championship, Lee posted four rounds in the 60s and finished tied for 20th. In February, still playing as an amateur, he won a professional event, the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.

Lee competed in this month's Masters but missed the cut after shooting rounds of  74-81.

Nick Raffaele, Callaway's vice president of sports marketing, said in a release:

“When a rising star such as Danny is lighting up the amateur ranks and winning professional events while playing with your clubs and golf ball, it’s hard not to get excited. We’re proud to be with Danny as he embarks on his professional career.  This young man’s talent and work ethic are as impressive as his character.”

Lee will be making his professional debut this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. GOLF.com will tell you exactly what's in Lee's bag as soon as Callaway releases the information.

(Photo by Robert Beck/SI)

April 20, 2009

Ernie Els switches to new UST driver shaft

Posted at 4:42 PM by David Dusek

Erni Els Ernie Els, who switched from Callaway's FT-5 driver to the FT-9 earlier this season, also recently made a shaft change.

The South African has been using a Fujikura Speeder 757 for several years, but changed to a UST Mamiya ATTAS 76 shaft in his driver.

According to UST's Randy Stuart, the ATTAS shaft has a special woven carbon fiber material in the butt section that increases the shaft's hoop strength, making it extremely firm and solid feeling. The ATTAS also features a rigid mid-section that is made from high-modulus graphite.

The ATTAS is different from the popular yellow and black AVIXCore Tour Red (used by players like Davis Love and Stewart Cink) in the tip section. That shaft is extremely stiff in the tip, but the ATTAS is relatively flexible.

Stuart says that because so many clubhead makers are now focusing on increasing the moment of inertia (MOI) and making products that are inherently more stable, shaft companies can use a more-flexible, feel-enhancing tip for fast-swinging players.

In the heavier shaft weights, it will take a lot of swing speed to maximize what the UST ATTAS shaft can do. However, Stuart says that when the shaft is released to the public there should be lighter options more tailored to weekend players.

Look for the UST ATTAS shaft to arrive in specialty club fitter stores late in 2009 for about $350.

(Photo by Darren Carroll/SI)

Brian Gay's Winning Clubs

Posted at 8:31 AM by David Dusek

Brian Gay Driver Brian Gay used clubs from four different companies last week to win the Verizon Heritage on Hilton Head Island.

Gay switched from a TaylorMade r7 425 TP driver early this season to a TaylorMade R9. The move has not transformed Gay into the second coming of Bubba Watson (the Tour's perennial leader in driving distance), but it has made Gay, always a straight shooter, even straighter. In 2008 he hit 71.74% of the fairways; this year he's up to 74.26%, the fourth best percentage on the PGA Tour.

Gay uses three different types of Mizuno irons, all of which have been on the market for a few years. His MX 900 3- and 4-irons are classic perimeter-weighted, game-improvement clubs. His MP 60 middle irons were a Testers' Top Pick in GOLF Magazine's 2005 ClubTest. The "Cut Muscle" design and moderate perimeter weighting move the center of gravity slightly lower, creating blade-like feel and a mid-trajectory ball flight. Finally, Gay's MP 32 short irons are blades designed for maximum control and feel.

Here is a complete list of the clubs Brian Gay had in his bag at Harbour Town Golf Links:

Driver:                 TaylorMade R9 (9.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamona Blue Board shaft
Fairway wood:   Tour Edge Exotics CB2 (13°) with Mitsubishi Diamona Blue Board 83 shaft
Hybrid:                Mizuno CLK Fli-Hi (20°) with Aldila NV Hybrid 85 shaft
Irons:                  Mizuno MX 900 (3,4); MP 60 (5-8); MP 32 (9, PW)
Wedges:             Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (56°, 59°)
Putter:                 Mizuno Bettinardi prototype
Ball:                     Titleist Pro V1 (2009)

If you want to learn more about the hottest new golf equipment, be sure to check out the 2009 GOLF Magazine Buyer's Guide.

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

April 12, 2009

Cabrera becomes first Ping player to win Masters

Posted at 11:07 PM by David Dusek

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Ping Golf received a huge 50th anniversary present on Sunday evening. At 7:32 Eastern time, Trevor Immelman slipped a green jacket on Angel Cabrera in Butler Cabin at Augusta National.

Cabrera becomes the first Ping staff player to ever win a Masters title.

As is tradition, Ping will now make a solid gold replica of the putter Cabrera used to win the tournament, and place it in a vault in the company's Scottsdale headquarters. This video gives you an inside look into the vault.

PING_Tour_Wedge60TS Cabrera's i-Series 1/2 Craz-E putter tips the scales at 385 grams. With the current price of gold at $879 an ounce, that's $27,249 worth of bling!

Cabrera also had a new lob wedge in the bag at Augusta. Ping's new Tour W TS wedge (Thin Sole) is just arriving in pro shops. It is designed to provide players with the ability to hit better shots off thin, tight lies. Like other Tour W wedges, the TS has a tungsten toe weight and a small thermoplastic urethane insert to increase the moment of inertia and enhance feel.

Once again, here is a complete list of all the clubs in Cabrera's bag at the Masters:

Driver:                Rapture (7.5°)
Fairway wood:  Rapture V2 (15.5°)
Irons:                 G10 (2), S57 (3-PW)
Wedges:             Ping Tour-W (54°),  Tour W TS (60°)
Putter:                i Series 1/2 Craz-E B

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

April 11, 2009

Angel Cabrera's Masters Clubs

Posted at 8:22 PM by David Dusek

Angel Cabrera AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Two years ago at Oakmont, Angel Cabrera won his first major championship, the U.S. Open, holding off charges by Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

On Sunday, Cabrera will be going for his second major at the Masters.

We reported earlier this week that many players elected to go with hybrid clubs instead of long irons at Augusta National, but Cabrera took a Ping Rapture V2 hybrid club out of his bag in favor of a Ping G10 2-iron.

Cabrera elected to stick with a unique putter he put in the bag at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. It is a Ping i Series 1/2 Craz-E B, but Cabrera's is 39-inches long and features a grip designed for a belly putter that extends almost halfway down the shaft. Cabrera told me in Arizona that the large grip helps him properly balance the putter and enhances his feel on the greens.

Here is a complete list of the clubs he has in his bag this week:

Driver:                Rapture (7.5°)
Fairway wood:  Rapture V2 (15.5°)
Irons:                 G10 (2), S57 (3-PW)
Wedges:             Ping Tour-W (54°, 60°)
Putter:                i Series 1/2 craze B

(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

Ping's 50th Anniversary Bag Debuts at Augusta

Posted at 7:42 PM by David Dusek

Angel Cabrera Ping 50 Bag AUGUSTA, Ga. — Eight golfers at this year's Masters were given new golf bags that commemorate Ping's 50th anniversary. Angel Cabrera, Hunter Mahan,  Bubba Watson and other members of Ping's staff will carry the bags for the rest of the season.

(Photo by Rubin Yorio/Getty Images)

Steve Stricker's Masters Clubs

Posted at 7:39 PM by David Dusek

Steve Stricker AUGUSTA, Ga. — Here are the clubs Steve Stricker has been using this week at the Masters:

Driver:                Titleist 909D3 (8.5°) with UST ProForce V2 85 shaft
Fairway wood:    Titleist 906F2 (13°) with UST ProForce V2 95 shaft
Hybrid:               Titleist 585H (17°) with Fujikura Speeder 904HB shaft
Irons:                 Titleist 755 (3-PW) with Royal Precision Project X shafts
Wedges:             Titleist Vokey Design 200 Series (54°), prototype (59°)
Putter:                Odyssey White Hot #2
Ball:                   Titleist Pro V1

(Photo by Bob Martin/SI)




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