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Archive: September 2009

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September 27, 2009

Phil Mickelson's Tour Championship Winning Clubs

Posted at 7:39 PM by David Dusek

Phil Mickelson Tour Championship

A lot of golfers on the PGA Tour use custom-made clubs, but Phil Mickelson's 18° and 22° Callaway hybrids are truly unique.

When I asked him about the 18° in June prior to the start of the U.S. Open at Bethpage, he told me, "This is a special club I actually made, taking the back part of the hybrid out so that I can open it way up and get through that thick rough."

No other player on Tour has one, although a few Callaway staff players have tried one at the company's headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

But don't hold your breath hoping that Callaway is going to make a version of the club available anytime soon. Justin Timberlake, who is a paid member of the Callaway Golf staff, also tried a Mickelson-spec hybrid at the company's test center and loved it. After asking Callaway representatives if he could have it, he was politely told no.

Hey, if a guy who has dated Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz can't score one ...

Here is a list of the clubs that Mickelson used to win at East Lake:

DRIVER: Callaway FT-9 (7.5°) Tour hosel with Mitsubishi Fubuki 73 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD:  Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°) with Mitsubishi Fubuki 73 X shaft
HYBRID: Callaway PM prototype (18°, 22°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Thump X shaft
IRONS: Callaway X Proto (5-PW) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
WEDGES: Callaway X Tour Forged (56°, 60°, 64°) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG #9 Blade
BALL: Callaway Tour ix

September 23, 2009

Titleist Releasing New Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C Wedges

Posted at 5:49 PM by David Dusek

Titleist-Vokey-Design-Spin-Milled_600 Looking down in the address position, the new Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C wedges appear virtually identical to the Spin Milled wedges that have been on the market for the past several seasons. The photo on the right shows a 56° Spin Milled C-C wedge on the right, and a 56° Spin Milled wedge on the left.

However, new C-C  models have been created to conform to the USGA's new grooves regulations. Hence the C-C, which stands for "Condition of Competition."

In 2010, Titleist plans to sell both the larger, sharper-grooved Spin Mill wedges that are currently available, as well as the new C-C version. Where the big-groove version features a red saw-blade design on the toe, the new C-C wedges have a gold saw blade and a "C-C" on the hosel.

Spin Milled C-C wedges will come with a sticker on the face that says, "This Vokey Design wedge conforms to the new 2010 USGA/R&A groove rule and can be used in events that adopt the new rule as a Condition of Competition."

The company says that, in general, the new Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C wedges will produce higher launch, less spin and more run-out than previous generations of Spin Milled grooves.

Titleist-Vokey-Spin-Milled-CC_600 The Spin Milled C-C wedges are made from soft 8620 carbon steel. With CNC-machined faces, each wedge has grooves that are precisely cut to the new USGA specifications. Then a series of milled micro edges are cut into the face—just like on the previously-released Spin Milled wedges—to create more friction.

"In reaction to the new groove rules we improved our Spin Milled process," Dan Stone, vice president of research and development for Titleist golf clubs, said in a statement. "We created a new cutting tool that allowed us to tighten our groove manufacturing tolerances by more than 40 percent.  With the new rules calling for a reduced edge radius and effectively less groove volume, we improved our process to get as close to the limits as possible."

The Spin Milled C-C wedges will be available in lofts between 48° and 64°, with several bounce options, for $125.

September 22, 2009

Lazy Golfers Rejoice at the Release of ScrambleScoop

Posted at 5:05 PM by David Dusek

I get a lot of media releases sent my way. Most tell me about a new club, a course opening, a special event. But I also get releases highlighting the occasional wacky gadget. Today I got one of those in an e-mail:

Scramble_Scoop

It is being called the first-ever "drive-by" golf 
ball retriever. The ScrambleScoop allows any golfer to easily scoop up 
grounded golf balls while in a moving cart — without bending, leaning or 
stretching. Originally designed for use in golf scrambles or "best ball" 
games, the ScrambleScoop is proving popular for any golf outing.

You have to be kidding me.

Okay, I realize this may be useful for some golfers who have aching backs or medical conditions that make bending over painful. But if you aren't one of those people and you buy one of these, you may as well walk around the clubhouse wearing a t-shirt that says, "I'm the laziest guy here."

The ScrambleScoop is a simple device, a net on the end of an aluminum stick that sells for $16.95. It's designed to pick up the ball as you drive. To see it in action, click here.

The device's "inventor" said in the release: "I've played many golf scramble 
games and when I leaned from the cart and nearly fell out trying to pick up 
the ball, I knew there had to be a better way."

True. I've got one. Stop your cart, get out and pick up the ball.

The Web site for the device claims it will speed up play, but scrambles, and golf in general, are slow because people insist on lining up  two-foot putts, aren't ready in the fairways and refuse to pick up after making their 10th swing. Grabbing stray balls is not the issue.

If you have back or knee pain that makes bending over painful, you get a mulligan on this one. But still, it's this sort of gadget that makes people debate whether golf is a sport.

Looming Wedge Rules Create Key Dates for Golfers

Posted at 5:02 PM by David Dusek

Readers of The Shop know that the USGA has recently made some sweeping changes to the rules governing grooves in clubs with a loft of 25° or more. In a nutshell, the governing body of the game in the United States, Canada and Mexico has decided that the grooves on these clubs must be made smaller in volume and have edges that are less sharp.

(If you are interested in reading the USGA's announcement regarding the rule changes, click here.)

However, the rules kick in for different players at different times. Here are the keys dates:

JANUARY 1, 2010
All products submitted to the USGA for approval must contain the new, conforming grooves.

PGA Tour players, and golfers who try to qualify for PGA Tour events, will need to use equipment that has the new grooves starting on this date. Golfers who compete in the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open will need to use clubs with the new grooves as well. However, the USGA has ruled that golfers may use the older, non-conforming grooves at local qualifying tournaments for these events. At the sectional qualifying level, the new conforming grooves must be used.

JANUARY 1, 2011
This is a key date for weekend players because manufacturers will have to stop making and shipping clubs that contain the larger, sharper grooves.

This is why we've been reporting on so many new wedges recently; companies are scrambling to get high-spin clubs into the marketplace while they still can. Still, it's important to note that retailers will be able to sell any clubs they have in stock, even those with nonconforming grooves.

Amateur players who value spin may want to stock up before this date. Once supplies are gone, that's it.

JANUARY 1, 2014
All USGA and R&A championships will require competitors to use the newer, conforming grooves.

JANUARY 1, 2020
The USGA has said that it will evaluate the effects of the groove rules no sooner than this date.

JANUARY 1, 2024
As things stand now, this is the date when the vast majority of the world's golfers will have to start using the new grooves. Before this date, golfers will be free to play with the older, larger grooves, even in rounds used for handicap purposes.

September 21, 2009

Yankee Pitcher Joba Chamberlain's TaylorMade Driver Fitting

Posted at 2:54 PM by David Dusek

New York Yankee's pitcher Joba Chamberline brings the heat when he's on the mound, and when he plays golf. Check out this video of his recent TaylorMade driver fitting at New York Golf Center in Manhattan:


Video by Anne Szeker/GOLF.com

September 18, 2009

TaylorMade Releasing Interchangeable-Face TP Wedges

Posted at 11:49 AM by David Dusek

Tp-composite-320x720Most golfers buy new wedges when the grooves in their old wedges have worn out, producing inconsistent results and making it tough to stop the ball quickly.

TaylorMade will soon offer an easier, and less expensive, way to get new-groove performance. Known for its adjustable r7 and R9 woods, the company's new TP wedges with xFT, short for  Exchangeable Face Technology, offer a new innovation in the market: replaceable face plates.

By using a torque wrench that is identical to the one that comes with the R9 driver, players can remove the face plate and screw in a new one with fresh grooves. Presto! In effect, you have a new wedge. The whole procedure can be done in about 60 seconds.

For professionals and amateurs who have custom grinds on the heels or toes of their wedges, being able to replace just the grooves could mean less time tweaking new wedges.

The new TP wedge will also offer an elegant solution to new USGA groove regulations. They will come with a Z groove plate that offers maximum spin and can be used by most golfers until 2024. A ZTP groove plate, which conforms to the new USGA regulations that go into effect Jan. 1, 2010, will be sold separately. The faces will cost $39 each.

Available in even-numbered lofts between 50° and 60° (as well as 64°), the TP wedges have a classic teardrop shape, several bounce options and come standard with KBS High-Rev shafts.

The new TaylorMade TP wedges will be available in October for $129.

September 16, 2009

Rickie Fowler Signs Endorsement Contract with Titleist

Posted at 10:09 AM by David Dusek

Rickie Fowler In a media release on Wednesday, Titleist announced that it has signed Rickie Fowler to a multi-year equipment deal. Before turning pro this week, Fowler was the world’s top-ranked amateur and went 4-0 in the United States' Walker Cup victory at Merion Golf Club.

According to the release, Fowler is currently using a Titleist 909D2 driver (7.5°), King Cobra S9-1 fairway wood (15°), Titleist 585H hybrid (17°), Titleist AP2 (2) and 680 irons (4-9), Vokey Design wedges (47°, 53°, 59°), a Scotty Cameron Newport putter and Titleist's Pro V1x ball.


Fowler, 20, attended Oklahoma State for two years,  where he was a two-time All-American. In 2008 he became the first freshman to win the Ben Hogan Award, given each year to the nation's top college and amateur golfer.

Fowler will compete for the first time as a professional this week at the Nationwide Tour's Albertsons Boise Open in Idaho.

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

September 15, 2009

Paul Casey Tweets About Nike's Victory Red Driver

Posted at 4:54 PM by David Dusek

At this time of year, many of the major golf equipment manufacturers hold their annual sales meetings. Numbers are crunched, plans are discussed and new products are often shown for the first time to people outside the R&D department.

Many companies also bring in their tour pros to speak to the troops, hit a few shots, sign autographs and mingle. Paul Casey, a Nike staff player, has been taking it a step further, Tweeting from The Oven, Nike's facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. Here are two from earlier today:

11:29AM At the Oven today. Checking out 2010 product with the sales team.

1:05PM  Pics coming after lunch. Food always comes first.

Casey sent several images of Nike Method putters. At 3:25pm, he Tweeted some shots of the yet-to-be released Nike Victory Red driver.

Casey's Victory Red Driver

The orange area behind the face, according to Casey's Tweets, is the Compression Channel. He wrote that it expands the sweet spot of the driver. The driver appears to have STR8-Fit, Nike's adjustable clubhead system that is currently available in the SQ Dymo STR8-Fit driver.

Casey's Victory Red Driver 2

As GOLF.com learns more about this and other yet-to-be released equipment, we'll write about it here.

(Photos by Paul Casey)


Callaway Releasing New X Series JAWS Wedges

Posted at 11:04 AM by David Dusek

Callaway X Forged JAWS Roger Cleveland, Callaway Golf's wedge designer, wants to put as much spin into your short game as possible.

To do that, Callaway is set to release the new X Series JAWS wedge in early November.

Like previous X Forged wedges, the JAWS models will feature Phil Mickelson-inspired Mac Daddy grooves, which Cleveland says are as large and sharp as USGA rules allow.

"The capacity of the grooves, the width, is the max," Cleveland said. That helps to wick away moisture and debris, which should help the groove edges bite into the ball more effectively for increased spin.

Callaway X Forged JAWS GroovesProfessional golfers and elite amateurs who attempt to qualify for events like the U.S. Open will not be allowed to use wedges with Mac Daddy or other high-spin groove patterns starting on Jan. 1, 2010. Weekend players, however, can use wedges like the Callaway X Series JAWS until 2024, even during rounds played for handicap purposes.

The new JAWS wedges, like their predecessor X Forged wedges, come standard with a C grind along the sole. This means that some of the bounce (the flange that dips below the level of the leading edge) in the heel and toe areas has been removed to create a C-shape along the bottom of the club. This process makes it easier to open the face and use the clubs effectively from tight lies.

The new JAWS wedges will be available in both a chrome finish and a darker "vintage" tone that will naturally wear in spots where shots are often struck. The wedges will be available with steel shafts and 85- or 95-gram graphite wedge shafts made by Fujikura.

Below is a video of Cleveland talking about the new X Series JAWS wedges, which will retail for $119.

September 14, 2009

Mizuno Releasing New MP-68 and MP-58 Irons for Better Players

Posted at 11:36 AM by David Dusek

Among players who demand workability and feel, Mizuno's forged irons have always been well regarded. This fall, the company is set to release irons that not only cater to purists, but to golfers looking for more forgiveness and game-enhancement features too.

Mizuno-MP68-iron MP-68
Chuck Couch, Mizuno's director of marketing, says of the MP-68 forged blades: "This is a club that golfers expect from Mizuno."

By studying the vibrations and sound created at impact, Mizuno has tried to make a muscleback blade with even better sound and feel. Made from milled carbon steel, weight has been removed from non-critical areas of the MP-68 near the heel, toe, and top of the hosel, then repositioned in the back-toe area. The result, according to the company, is a sweetspot that's lower in the face along with a neutral ball flight preferred by many accomplished players. And yes, the grooves in the MP-68 irons conform with the new USGA regulations.

The MP-68 irons will be available with several different custom shafts, but come standard (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts ($899) or Project X shafts ($999).

MP-58
TMP58 ironhe new MP-58 irons were designed to combine the forgiveness of a full cavity back with the workability, feel and compact size of a classic muscleback.

To achieve that goal, Mizuno engineers got crafty. They positioned a lightweight piece of titanium in a pocket behind the hitting area of the forged carbon steel heads. During the forging process, as the steel cools, it contracts around the titanium to create the feel of one solid piece of metal. Because only 11 grams of titanium are required to fill the area that would have needed 20 grams of steel, Mizuno could then reposition nine grams of discretionary weight to make the MP-58 irons more forgiving and slightly more stable on off-center hits.

A standard set of MP-58 irons (3-PW) will retail for about $1,000 and come with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts.

September 13, 2009

Tiger Woods 2009 BMW Championship Winning Clubs

Posted at 7:05 PM by David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Woods used to win the 2009 BMW Championship at Cog Hill:

Tiger Woods Sat Cog Hill

Driver:  Nike SQ Dymo (10°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 83x shaft
Fairway woods:
  Nike SasQuatch Sumo (15°, 19°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103g shafts
Irons:
  Nike Forged Blades (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges:
  Nike Victory Red (56°), SV (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Putter:
  Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2
Ball:
  Nike One Tour

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

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(Photo by David Walberg/SI)

September 07, 2009

Steve Stricker's Deutsche Bank Winning Clubs

Posted at 7:50 PM by David Dusek

Below is a complete list of the clubs that Steve Stricker used to win the 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship.

Steve Stricker DB

DRIVER:  Titleist 909 D3 (8.5°)  with UST Proforce V2 86 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD:  Titleist 906 F2 (13°)  with UST Proforce V2 95 shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (19°) with UST Proforce V2 104 shaft
IRONS: Titleist 755 (3-PW) with Royal Precision Project X shafts
WEDGES:  Titleist Vokey Design (54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Sensicore shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot #2
BALL: Titleist Pro V1

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

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September 02, 2009

TaylorMade Officially Releases the Raylor Rescue Club

Posted at 12:45 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade Raylor As GOLF.com reported in the days leading up to the U.S. Open, both Kenny Perry and Fred Funk added then-prototype TaylorMade Raylor rescue clubs to their bags to battle Bethpage's deep, wet rough.

TaylorMade is set to make the Raylor, available in lofts of 19° and 21°, available to the public this week.

"The new Raylor hits the ball higher, longer and straighter from tall grass," said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of metalwood creation, in a release. "It's the ultimate weapon for getting out of the rough."

The Raylor is designed with a slightly sharp, slightly pointed leading edge that TaylorMade says allows golfers to slide the face through the grass and onto the back of the ball more effectively

In addition, the sole of the clubs is shaped like a ship's hull, sloping upward at the sides. Again, this should help the club glide more easily through rough.

According to TaylorMade, these two features reduce the area that would normally hinder the club in the rough by 23%.

The Raylor, which will retail for about $230, will come standard with a Fujikura RE*AX 65-gram shaft that's one inch longer than standard to create added clubhead speed.

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Nike Golfers Celebrate Kickoff of College Football Season

Posted at 12:39 PM by David Dusek

College football fans are eagerly anticipating the start of the season this weekend, and golfers are no exception, especially those who went to schools with rich football traditions.

On Saturday, during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, several of Nike's top staff players will wear outfits that show their true school colors. They include Tiger Woods (Stanford), Anthony Kim (Oklahoma), Stewart Cink (Georgia Tech), Lucas Glover (Clemson), Carl Pettersson (North Carolina State), Justin Leonard (Texas) and Paul Casey (Arizona State).

Nike-College-Golf-Apparel




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