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Archive: May 2009

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May 29, 2009

Inside Danny Lee's Golf Bag

Posted at 12:42 PM by David Dusek

Danny-Lee-Callaway-Colonial_600 FT. WORTH, Texas – Among the interesting equipment endorsement deals made this season was Callaway Golf's with Danny Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champion. The 18-year-old won Australia the Johnnie Walker Classic in February and competed in the Masters before becoming a professional.

The only club not in the photo is Lee's putter, which is an Odyssey prototype. The bottom of the putter says, "Odyssey Prototype #1" and it looked very similar to Odyssey's Black Series i #1 putter.

A lot of expectations are being put on the teenager who man-handled Pinehurst No. 2. Here is a list of his current equipment.


DRIVER:                     Callaway FT-9 Tour (8.5°) with UST AXIVCore Tour Red X 69 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS:    Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°, 18° ) with UST AXIVCore Tour Red X 79 shaft
IRONS:                        Callaway Tour Authentic X Proto (3-PW)
WEDGES:                    Callaway Tour X (56°, 60°)
PUTTER:                     Odyssey Prototype #1
BALL:                          Callaway Tour ix

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Adam Scott goes back to a 2-Iron at Colonial

Posted at 10:40 AM by David Dusek

Colonial Country Club's golf course is not especially long by PGA Tour standards, and in the sunny and wind conditions, the fairways tend to play firm and fast. So Adam Scott has decided to put a Titleist AP2 2-iron into his bag this week. Interestingly, the 2-iron actually has a True Temper X100 3-iron shaft to make it feel more for added stiffness and control.

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May 28, 2009

Stewart Cink switches to traditional-length Nike Prototype putter

Posted at 4:59 PM by David Dusek

Stuart Cink Nike Putter FT. WORTH, Texas -- For several years, Stewart Cink has used on a belly putter and been one of the most consistent putters on the PGA Tour. But this week at Colonial, Cink has switched to a traditional-length Nike prototype putter, which appears to be almost identical to the putter that Paul Casey uses

The shape of Cink's putter is a heel-toe weighted Anser-style blade, and the milled face of Nike's prototype putter features a series of red ribs. A Nike employee said those ribs will help to reduce skidding on the greens and get the ball rolling faster.

Although Cink said Wednesday that he has always practiced with traditional length putters at home, this marks the first time in over four years that he's had one in the bag at a tournament.

"It feels really solid and it rolls the ball really nice," he said. "I've been practicing hard so it feels pretty comfortable now."

At Colonial, I saw Nike prototype putters with five different head shapes that featured the red ribs in the face. Each was heel-shafted; I did not see a high-MOI Nike prototype putter with the red ribs in the face.

It is important to note that prototype golf clubs are built for testing purposes and to allow manufacturers to get feedback from players. Companies want to know which features players like and what changes the pros feel should be made.

Not all prototypes become clubs you can eventually buy. However, the prototype putters at Colonial had a lot more cosmetic detail than the putter Casey put into his bag last August at the Barclays Championship. That might suggest Nike is close to completing the development work and may release some new putters fairly soon.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

May 27, 2009

Kenny Perry Switches to TaylorMade R9 460 Driver

Posted at 3:55 PM by David Dusek


Kenny-Perry-Driver Ft. Worth, Texas -- TaylorMade released the new R9 460 driver two weeks ago, but Tuesday at Colonial Country Club, Kenny Perry got his first chance to hit the club. A few minutes later, the seventh-ranked player in the world had a new driver in his bag and a smile on his face.

The R9 460 does not feature movable weights like the original R9, but it does allows golfers to adjust the face angle and lie angle by unscrewing the head and re-attaching it into one of eight positions. Perry's driver has 9.5° of loft and a Matrix Ozik F7M2 X shaft.

For Perry, the switch was made for more power.

"I jumped up five miles per hour in ball speed immediately," he said on the driving range Tuesday.

Perry won the FBR Open in Scottsdale earlier this season using a TaylorMade Tour Burner driver, then switched to a TaylorMade R9 (9.5°) with Matrix Ozik HD6 before the Masters. At Augusta, Perry was successful with the R9, "because it is really straight. But now I've switched to this one because it's really long."

The next major championship is the U.S. Open at Bethpage in a few weeks, where both distance and accuracy off the tee will be critical.

"I'll go to Bethpage early and I'll take both my drivers," Perry said. "My regular R9 and this one [the R9 460]. If I feel like I need to hit it straight, I'll use the R9. If I feel like I need to bomb it, then I'll use that one [R9 460]."

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May 24, 2009

Rory Sabbatini's HP Byron Nelson winning clubs

Posted at 9:55 PM by David Dusek

Rory-Sabbatini Rory Sabbatini has played with golf equipment made by several manufacturers over the past few seasons, but on March 13 he signed a new endorsement deal with TaylorMade. His win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship was his first using the company's gear.

The win was also the first for the new UST ProForce AXIVCore green shaft. The shaft was released last week and is designed for players who want a lower launch angle and penetrating ball flight. Like other AXIVCore shafts, it has high-modulus graphite woven in different directions within the shaft for a more consistent feel and greater stability.

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

DRIVER:                   TaylorMade R9 (9.5°) with UST ProForce AXIVCore Green 66X shaft
FARIWAY WOOD:    TaylorMade Tour Burner (14.5°,19°)
HYBRID:                    Adams Idea Pro Gold (21°)
IRONS:                     TaylorMade Tour Preferred (4-PW)
WEDGES:                 TaylorMade RAC (56°, 60°)
PUTTER:                   Rossa Monza Daytona Kia Ma
BALL:                       Callaway Tour i

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

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(Photo by Marc Feldman/Getty Images)

May 22, 2009

Callaway says some Tour i golf balls exceeded weight limit

Posted at 12:21 PM by David Dusek

GolfBalls Callaway has asked the USGA to remove the Tour i ball with a Tour i sidestamp from its list of   conforming golf balls because some may exceed the USGA's weight limit.

In a release on the company's Web site, Callaway explains, "The deviation in ball weight was traced to a manufacturing anomaly that occurred on two days in mid-2008."  Callaway went on to say that less than 1% of Tour i balls were affected. Theoretically, the heavier balls could fly farther on well-struck shots.

Going forward, Tour i balls will be marked with a sidestamp that has two dots on either side, like this one: Tour i

The only golfers this will truly affect are professionals and elite amateurs. Starting in June, those golfers will need to use the ball with the two-dot sidestamp. All other golfers may continue to use the former version of the Tour i ball, even for rounds that are counted toward handicap calculations.

May 21, 2009

Colt Knost has success after switching to Titleist Pro V1

Posted at 5:28 PM by David Dusek

Colt Knost Colt Knost was playing the company's Pro V1x ball because he thought it gave him more distance off the tee. Then for the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship on Thursday, Knost used a Pro V1 instead, according to a source at Titleist.

Both balls have the same cover material, but the Pro V1x, a four-piece ball, is slightly firmer than the three-piece Pro V1. The Pro V1 produces more spin, and for Knost, that added spin translates into better distance control from the fairway.

Knost must have been pleased with the results; his average driving was still 312 yards and he hit 78% of the fairways en route to a three-under 67 at  the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. Through last week, Knost had been averaging 280 yards per drive and his scoring average was 71.53, ranking him 137th on the PGA Tour.

Click here to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two balls.

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(Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

May 20, 2009

Should golf broadcasts include more equipment coverage?

Posted at 10:41 AM by David Dusek

Last night I asked a question on Twitter to the people who follow GOLFcom_TheShop:

Does anyone think that equipment news/features could enhance TV coverage of golf events?

Ken wrote: no!!

puttistry wrote: ABSOLUTELY. List equipment/balls next to the golfer...like what NASCAR does with car model.

Scott wrote: yes, i study equipment in telecast.  what are players using is it old/new.  and the launch conditions.

What is your opinion. Would broadcasts on The Golf Channel, CBS, ABC and ESPN be enhanced by more coverage and features on the equipment used by the pros?

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May 19, 2009

Video: TaylorMade's New Burner Irons

Posted at 4:22 PM by David Dusek

This video is a part of the new TV series, Inside GOLF Magazine, which is now airing on Fox Sports. Check your local listings for channels and times.



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May 18, 2009

UST Launches Proforce AXIVCore Series golf shafts

Posted at 2:22 PM by David Dusek

United Sports Technologies, better known in the golf world as UST, is set to release a new family of wood shafts, the Proforce AXIVCore Series

The shafts feature four different types of high-modulus graphite fibers in the butt section which are woven together in different directions to create a strong, stable feel. There will be three different shafts in the AXIVCore family: Blue, Tour Black and Tour Red. From a distance, it will be tough to tell the shafts apart—you need to look at the fine type inside the silver area on the shaft. Click on the photos if your eye sight isn't 20/20.

AxivCoreBlu
Blue – Designed for players who want more feel and added spin to maximize carry distance. Available in 59-, 69-, 79-gram versions for about $90.

AxivCoreBlk
Tour Black – For faster-swinging players who need a high launch, low spin shaft to maximize distance off the tee. Available in 59-, 69-, 79-, 89-gram versions for about $140.

AxivCoreRed
Tour Red – For players who already generate a lot of ball speed, but want a lower, more-penetrating launch angle with less spin off the tee. The Tour Red has a stiffer tip to a lower ball flight, less spin and a firmer feel. Available in 69-, 79-, 89-grams versions (Stiff and X Stiff only) for about $140.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

May 17, 2009

Zach Johnson's Texas Open winning clubs

Posted at 10:29 PM by David Dusek

Zach-Johnson-Winning-Clubs_450x600 Zach Johnson doesn't overpower golf courses. His strength is getting the ball into the fairway and setting up his short irons and wedges. It's that strategy that won him the 2007 Masters, so above everything else, Johnson knows that he needs to maintain control.

So when I saw him testing and comparing his old Titleist Pro V1x ball with Titleist's new Pro V1x at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, I stopped and observed. Although he had tested the new Pro V1x in the off-season, Johnson won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January using the 2007 version of the Pro V1x.

"Someone said they spun it more," he told the Titleist tour reps on the range in Tucson. "Not with the driver, but with the irons."

Taking dead aim at a flag that was about 127 yards away, Johnson hit one pitching wedge after another as the technicians gathered launch monitor data. Each shot was tracked and averages were compiled, but shots that Zach mis-hit were taken out of consideration.

What Johnson found was that with the pitching wedge, his launch angle and ball speed were identical using the old and new Pro V1x. For a control player considering a change, that news must have been comforting.

Johnson is still playing the 2007 version of the Pro V1x, but without testing his decision would have been based on feel and guesswork. Unfortunately, that's exactly how many amateur golfers make equipment decisions. Be smart, like the pros, and take the time to get professionally fitted for your equipment.

Here is a complete list of the clubs used by Zach Johnson to win the Valero Texas Open.

Driver                         Titleist 909D2 (8.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73 shaft
Fairway woods         Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73 and (18.5°) with Fujikura ZCOM Pro95 shaft
Hybrid                        Titleist 909H (21°) with Fujikura Speeder 904HB shaft
Irons                          Titleist AP2 (4-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Wedges                     Titleist Vokey Design (48°), Vokey prototype (54°), Vokey 60 V (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Putter                         SeeMore FGP
Ball                             Titleist Pro V1x

If you are looking for a tip or two on how to improve your wedge shots, check out this video Johnson shot for GOLF.com.

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

May 16, 2009

Video: Callaway's Big Berth Diablo driver

Posted at 10:17 PM by David Dusek

This video is a part of the new TV series, Inside GOLF Magazine, which is now airing on Fox Sports. Check your local listings for channels and times.

May 15, 2009

Stewart Cink puts his spin on groove changes

Posted at 2:55 PM by David Dusek

Stewart Cink Twittering Stewart Cink was recently in Ft. Worth, Texas, experimenting with new equipment at "The Oven," Nike Golf's research and development center.

After taking an overnight flight back to his home in Atlanta Thursday night, Cink partook of his favorite new hobby, Twittering (photo).

He wrote, "New grooves next year mean 10% less spin from fairway and 60-70% less from rough with short irons. Players will use softer balls I believe." Moments later he wrote,  "IMHO [In My Humble Opinion] the new grooves are really an indirect way to attack driving distance since softer balls go shorter in general."

Players have openly wondered how the new groove rules, which will go into effect in January, will affect performance. Several I have talked with—including Geoff Ogilvy and Tremor Immelman—have echoed Cink's thoughts.

Cink's comments are important for a few reasons. First, they show that some players are taking steps now to learn what they will have to do in order to get the most benefit from their equipment after the new rules go into effect. Second, if Cink's estimations are correct, the days of bomb-and-gouge golf may be coming to an end. If players can't control the ball as well coming out of the rough, driving accuracy once again will become a meaningful stat for players at the highest levels of the game.

When I spoke recently with Cink about his equipment, he said, "I'm already on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to optimal spin, so if I fall below the spectrum, I'm going to have to do something in order to get the spin back up. The easiest thing to do is change your ball."

Cink had been playing the Nike One Black ball, but switched this season to the Nike One Tour D ball. He said that he got the spin he was looking for from the new ball, and launch conditions with his driver were good too, but his irons shots flew higher and didn't go as far as they had previously.

He said that this season he wanted to use a ball with more spin, and thus "hit the ground running when the new grooves come out."

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

May 13, 2009

Justin Leonard adds yards with new shaft

Posted at 5:39 PM by David Dusek

Justin Leonard Last week at the Players Championship, Justin Leonard switched to a 66-gram UST Mamiya ATTAS shaft in his Nike Str8-Fit SQ Dymo driver. For the week, he hit 67.9% of the fairways and averaged 289.9 yards per drive. That's 10 yards longer than Leonard's season's average.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

(Photo by Robert Beck/SI)

TaylorMade Releases R9 460 Drivers

Posted at 5:25 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade R9 460 The second driver in the TaylorMade R9 family, the R9 460, will be available on May 16 for $299.

Like the original R9, the new R9 460 features Flight Control Technology (FCT), a system that allows golfers to change the face angle and lie angle of the driver by unscrewing the head from the shaft and re-attaching it in one of eight different positions.

While the all-titanium head of the newest R9 is a full 460cc, it does not have a movable weight system like its smaller sibling. But the R9 460 does have a deeper face and lower center of gravity than the original R9, which should help it resist twisting on off-center hits and promote a higher ball flight. It should also create more spin than the original R9, which should help slower-swinging players add distance.

According to TaylorMade, the adjustable head of the R9 460 can change the side-to-side trajectory of your shots by as much as 40 yards. The chart below shows how the adjustable ball flights of the R9 460 compare with those of the original R9.

TaylorMade R9 460 Flight Chart

The stock R9 460 will be longer than most drivers, 45.75 inches, and will come with an Aldila RE*AX 60-gram shaft in five different flexes.

The R9 460 will also be available in a TP version. The standard R9 460 and R9 460 TP will have identical clubheads, but the TP version will be available with the Fujikura Motore F1, Aldila Voodoo, Mitsubishi Fubuki and Matrix shafts. The R9 460 TP will cost $399.

For more information, go to taylormadegolf.com.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.




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