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Archive: October 2009

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October 28, 2009

ClubTest 2010: Be Careful What You Ask For

Posted at 11:34 AM by David Dusek

ClubTest Drivers PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – One my Twitter followers wrote me a message on Sunday: "Dude, I am so envious of you today it's sad. The ClubTest is my Shangri-La."

It's a common reaction. What golfer wouldn't love to spend four mornings on a manicured driving range, like the one at PGA National Resort & Spa, hitting the newest clubs before playing 18 holes with them in the afternoon? (At right are just a few of the clubs on hand for testing.)

But it's not as glamorous as it sounds. Spend a day in the spikes of one of GOLF Magazine's ClubTesters, and you might be whistling a different tune. It's blister-forming work that starts before sunrise.

After trying each driver, iron, hybrid, iron, wedge or putter, testers are asked about the club's best trait, which players would benefit most from the club, and who might want to avoid it.

Words like "nice" or "good" are almost valueless here. Golf Magazine editors Rob Sauerhaft and Michael Chwasky encourage ClubTesters to describe things as vividly as they can. 

A quick look at the math will give you a sense of the scale ClubTest 2010 2of ClubTest. In 2007, GOLF Magazine estimated that more than 68,000 shots were hit during the data-gathering portion of ClubTest. If you tried to hit one ball every 10 seconds until you reached that number, it would take you about 188 hours, or nearly eight days!

So go ahead and dream about being a ClubTest panelist. But in that dream, be sure to remember the BENGAY.

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October 25, 2009

Troy Matteson's Frys.com Open Winning Clubs

Posted at 9:10 PM by David Dusek

Troy-Matteson-Titleist_Frys_600


Here is a complete list of the clubs that Troy Matteson used to win the 2009 FRYS.com Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

DRIVER: Titleist 909D2 (8.5°) with an Aldila NV 65X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping TiSi (14°) with a Fujikura Vista TS 70X shaft
IRONS: Titleist ZB (2-7), ZM (8-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design (48°), Spin Milled (54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot Tour #2
BALL: Titleist Pro V1

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(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

October 23, 2009

Rickie Fowler's Customized Titleist Golf Clubs

Posted at 2:03 PM by David Dusek

After competing in his second Walker Cup this summer, Rickie Fowler, an All-American at Oklahoma State, turned pro and started doing what modern pros do. He's signed a clothing and footwear deal with Puma Golf, established himself on Twitter (RickieFowlerPGA) and earned his first top-10 finish by tying for seventh at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Fowler also signed an equipment deal this summer with Titleist. As you can see from the photos below, he hasn't wasted any time customizing his clubs and showing his Cowboy pride. Fowler said this week that "Steek" is a nickname from his amateur days.

Fowler wedges


Fowler woods

Here is a complete list of what Fowler is playing:

DRIVER: Titleist 909D2 (7.5°) with a Diamana White Board 73 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: King Cobra S9-1 Pro (15°) with a Fujikura ZCom Pro 95 shaft
HYBRIDS: Titleist 585H (17°) with UST Proforce V2 100X shaft, Adams Pro Black (20°) with a Matrix Ozik XCON
IRONS: Titleist Forged MB (4-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design (48°, 54°) Spin Milled (59°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport prototype
BALL: Titleist's Pro V1x

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Sergio Garcia, Paula Creamer Switch to TaylorMade's New R9 TP Irons

Posted at 12:31 PM by David Dusek

Sergio-Garcia-TaylorMade-R9Irons_600 Retief Goosen made a switch to TaylorMade's new R9 TP irons before the start of the Presidents Cup in San Francisco in September. Now two more high-profile TaylorMade players have made the switch to the company's newest better-player irons.

Sergio Garcia put a set of R9 TP irons in his bag before the start of the Madrid Masters in early October, and has them in the bag again this week at the Castello Masters in Castellon, Spain.

Garcia started the 2009 season using TaylorMade's Tour Preferred irons and switched during the summer to a set TaylorMade RAC MB blades that he'd played in previous seasons.

According to the company, Garcia's R9 TP irons are fitted with Project X 6.5 shafts and Golf Pride New Decade 60 grips with four to five layers of tape under the grips.

This week Garcia is also playing new TaylorMade RAC wedges that feature grooves that conform to the new 2010 regulations.

Meanwhile, Paula Creamer, who is playing a Japanese LPGA Tour event this week, has been Twittering about her new irons:

Thurs. 5:55PM Eastern: I am using new TaylorMade irons this week. They are the new R9 TP irons and are awesome. I haven't changed my irons in almost 3 years!

Thurs. 6:05PM Eastern:
These R9 TP irons are the new groves. I loved my r7 irons but it was time for a change. Plus in January I have to change to the new groves.

Fri. 5:26AM Eastern: The new irons worked well today. I missed 4 greens. Still trying to figure out how far I hit them. That is the hard part for me right now.

Here is what GOLF Magazine had to say about the game-improving R9 irons in its November issue.

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(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

October 22, 2009

True Temper Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Posted at 4:22 PM by David Dusek

True Temper Logo One of the most popular golf shaft companies in the world, True Temper, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 8. The company's court filing in Delaware listed assets of $180 million and debt of $319 million.

According to Bloomberg, True Temper's sales of $39.7 million in the first half of 2009 were 46 percent below the same period in 2008.

In a statement released by the company, Scott Hennessy, president and CEO of True Temper, said, “We have successfully reached an agreement to restructure our balance sheet and significantly lower our debt profile. This new financial template clearly allows for the acceleration of our global expansion plans, and for the continued growth of the True Temper business as the overall economy improves."

According to the company's statement, the "pre-packaged" plan, which was agreed to by its lenders, bondholders and shareholders, will reduce True Temper's debt to less than $40 million. The release described the filing as "a mechanism to implement the agreed upon balance sheet restructuring."

Jason Jenne, True Temper's vice president and CFO, said, "One of our goals during this process was to ensure that day-to-day operations at True Temper remained unaffected by this back-office financial planning. I believe we were successful in that objective."

True Temper, based in Memphis, Tenn., sells golf shafts under its own name as well as Grafalloy and Project X in more than 30 countries around the world.

October 19, 2009

Stewart Cink Using Postseason Events to Test New Gear

Posted at 6:22 PM by David Dusek

Stewart Cink Nike VR Driver One of the perks of winning the 2009 British Open for Stewart Cink has been a first-ever trip to Bermuda and a chance to compete in the Grand Slam of Golf. While he's assured of leaving the island with a better appreciation for the Dark and Stormy, he'll need to play well to beat Lucas Glover, Angel Cabrera and Y.E. Yang and win the $600,000 first prize.

On the windswept Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Cink is planning to put Nike's new Victory Red driver into play for the very first time. But that's only the beginning of the changes he's facing. Just like the skies that he Twittered about on Monday afternoon, there are ominous clouds on the horizon for Cink and other PGA Tour players: pending rule changes that limit the volume and sharpness of grooves.

"I want to be ready to go and not have any big surprises with the grooves," he said Monday afternoon from Bermuda. "So I'm going to play a little extra this year just to be familiar with that."

Winning at Turnberry qualified Cink for the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, and he's also going to play the Wendy's Three Tour Challenge in Las Vegas and the Chevron World Challenge (Tiger Woods's event) in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

While the former Georgia Tech All-American isn't crazy about the idea of changing both his irons and his golf ball at the same time, there is no way around it. The grooves in his Nike Forged CCi irons, as well as his wedges, will become non-conforming starting on Jan. 1, 2010.

"The one thing that I learned last week at The Oven [Nike's test facility] is that the golf ball I'm using now [Nike's ONE Tour D] is probably a little too hard to be a realistic option for next year with the new grooves," he said.


A softer ball could cut into driving distance for Cink and other Tour pros, but it should also produce more control around the greens, which will be critical when playing the lower-spin grooves. Within Nike's current ball line, the One Tour ball might be Cink's best choice in 2010.

"I'm okay with the changes," Cink said, "but I don’t know that going this aggressively was necessary because it’s a radical change with the wedges. If you are on the edge of the rough, or if conditions are damp like they are here in Bermuda right now, there are going to be some shots hit that are quite ugly and not too attractive to fans. And that scares me a little."

Grooves that are less sharp can't dig into the ball's cover as easily, so the ball comes off the face with less spin. Grooves with less volume than the current square grooves will channel less water and debris off the face at impact, possibly leading to fliers out of light rough and maybe even the middle of the fairway on dewy mornings.

"That's where I think you cross over into a little bit of absurdity," he said.

In Bermuda, Cink is going to closely watch Glover in the fairways; the U.S. Open champion won at Bethpage using a set of Nike Forged CCi irons that are nearly identical to Cink's. Glover will be playing this week with a new set of Nike's Victory Red Forged Half Cavity irons made with grooves that conform to next year's rules.

The 2010 season starts in 10 weeks. That's not a lot of time to practice not looking absurd.

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Cleveland Goes Light and Long with Launcher DST Driver

Posted at 5:34 PM by David Dusek

The lighter your driver, the more clubhead speed you can generate and the farther you can hit the ball.

Cleveland Launcher DST This simple truth lies behind the design of the new Cleveland Launcher DST driver, which uses a system the company calls Sub 300G Technology.

The Launcher DST comes with a 45.75" Mitsubishi Diamana Red series shaft (3/4-inch longer than standard length) that weighs just 47 grams. Cleveland says the total weight of the club, 292 grams, is about 25 grams lighter than standard drivers. However, it maintains a traditional D4 swing weight, so it shouldn't feel especially whippy. Cleveland also says the Launcher DST will deliver between 3 and 10 extra yards off the tee.

The 460cc head has a traditional pear shape, and because the face has variable degrees of thickness, Cleveland designers were able to move 6 grams of discretionary weight to the lower, rear section of the head. This should increase the moment of inertia and promote higher, straighter shots.

The Draw version of the Launcher DST features a face that is 3° closed and internal weighting that promotes a right-to-left ball flight for right-handed players. The Tour version's head is slightly smaller (430cc) and has internal weighting that promotes a left-to-right ball flight and a face that is 2° open. In addition, the Tour version comes standard with a 64-gram Mitsubishi White series shaft.

In the video clip below, Rob Waters, Cleveland Golf's director of tour operations, explains what happened in Las Vegas when PGA Tour player Kent Jones tried the Launcher DST for the first time.

Look for the Cleveland Launcher DST to hit pro shop shelves in November for about $300.

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Martin Laird's Winning Clubs

Posted at 10:11 AM by David Dusek

Martin-Laird-LasVegas_600

Here is a complete list of the clubs used by Martin Laird to win the 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas:

DRIVER: TaylorMadeTour Burner (10.5°) with Mitsubishi SHAQ shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade Tour Burner (17.5°, 19°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 83X shafts
IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (3-PW)
WEDGES: TaylorMade RAC (56°, 60°)
PUTTER: TaylorMade Rossa Corza long
BALL: Titleist ProV1x

(Photo by Stan Badz/Getty Images)

October 14, 2009

TaylorMade Releasing R9 and R9 TP Irons

Posted at 10:40 AM by David Dusek

IMG_4547 TaylorMade successfully launched the new Burner irons in early 2009, touting them as the longest, most-powerful irons the company had ever produced.

Those clubs will continue to be available in 2010, but for players who are looking for more workability and control, TaylorMade is releasing the new R9 and R9 TP irons in November.

One of the most unique features of the R9 irons is something you can't see—a chamber behind the face of the club that is filled with an almost-weightless foam and a silicone shock absorber positioned directly behind the center of the face in the 3- through 6-irons (above). While the foam and shock absorber help to soak up unwanted vibration, TaylorMade claims the design also leaves the face more free to flex at impact and rebound—like a thin-faced driver—for added distance.

The heads of the long- and mid-irons are large, with a low center of gravity to help players get more distance and height on shots. The heads of the short irons are slightly smaller to increase playability, but they still have an undercut channel in back to add height and spin.

TaylorMade-R9TP-6Iron_600x450 TaylorMade says the soles of the R9 irons are specially beveled to reduce turf resistance and help the bottom of the club glide through impact.

The R9 TP irons (right) feature the same foam-filled chamber and silicone shock absorber in the 2- through 5-irons, but the heads themselves are smaller through the set. Although the heads are about the same size as TaylorMade's Tour Preferred irons—a popular choice for accomplished players—the company says the R9 TP has a larger hittable face, so they should be more forgiving.

Both the R9 and R9 TP irons will come standard with KBS steel shafts in stiff and regular flexes; the TP version will also be available in an extra-stiff flex. Custom shaft options will be available, but look for the R9 irons (3-PW) to cost around $999 in steel and $1,249 in graphite (Fujikura Motore) when they hit pro shop shelves on Nov. 1. The R9 TP will cost about $1,125.

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October 11, 2009

Limited Edition Nike Method Putters Coming Soon

Posted at 4:22 PM by David Dusek

Nike-Method-001-Putter SAN FRANCISCO – Nike Golf is going to sell a limited number of Method putters starting at noon EST on Monday, Nov. 2, on nikestore.com.



After giving Nike your ideal length and lie angle, your putter will be built in Fort Worth, Texas, at Nike's R&D facility where pros like Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Paul Casey and Lucas Glover's equipment is made.

While only the blade-style 001 model (photo) will be available, according to Nike, each putter will be customized with your initials and shipped within three weeks.

The cost of the limited edition putter will be $499.The official release date of the Method putter is Feb. 1, 2010.

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Also see:
- Video: Nike's Tom Stites explains the technology
- Equipment Finder: Research and buy Nike putters
- Special Section: Putters

Tim Clark's Presidents Cup Clubs

Posted at 2:16 PM by David Dusek

Tim-Clark-PresidentsCup_600


Here is a complete list of the clubs that Tim Clark used at Harding Park:

DRIVER: TaylorMade r7 Limited (9.5°) with a Fujikura Rombax TP 55 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade Burner TP (14.5°) with Grafalloy Prolite shaft and Callaway Steelhead + (17°) with an Aldila RCH 36 X shaft
HYBRIDS: TaylorMade Rescue Dual (19°, 25°) with UST Irod X shafts
IRONS: Srixon I-404 (5-9) with Project X 6.5 shafts
WEDGES: Cleveland CG 14 (48°, 56°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S-400 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey 2-Ball long (45")
BALL: Srixon Z-Star

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

October 10, 2009

Sean O'Hair's Presidents Cup Clubs

Posted at 1:14 PM by David Dusek

Sean-OHair-TaylorMade-Clubs_600


Here is a complete list of the club that Sean O'Hair is using this week at Harding Park:

DRIVER: TaylorMade R9 (10.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 74 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade TP Burner (15°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 83 shaft; r7 TP (17.5°) with Mitsubishi Fubuki Tour shaft
IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (4-9)
WEDGES: TaylorMade Z TP (48°, 50°, 54°), Cleveland CG 12 (60°)
PUTTER: Rossa Daytona
BALL: Penta TP

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(Photos by David Dusek)

Phil Mickelson's Presidents Cup Clubs

Posted at 1:12 PM by David Dusek

Phil-Mickelson-PresidentsCup-Clubs_450

Here is a list of the clubs that Phil Mickelson is using at Harding Park Golf Club:

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 PM Blade
BALL: Callaway Tour ix

October 09, 2009

Hunter Mahan's Presidents Cup Clubs

Posted at 5:25 PM by David Dusek

Hunter Mahan Presidents Cup Clubs


Here is a complete list of the clubs that Hunter Mahan is using this week at Harking Park Golf Course:

DRIVER: Ping Rapture V2 (10.5°) with a PING Prototype 824 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G10 (15.5°) with a UST Mamiya ATTAS 8X shaft
HYBRID: Ping Rapture V2 (17°) with a UST V2 89 X hybrid shaft
IRONS: Ping S-57 (3-PW) with True Temper  X-100 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (54°), Ping  EYE2 (59°) with True Temper S-300 shafts
PUTTER: Ping IWI D66

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(Photo by David Dusek)

October 08, 2009

Adam Scott's Presidents Cup Clubs

Posted at 7:22 PM by David Dusek

Adam-Scott-Thur-Presid_600

Here is a complete list of the clubs Adam Scott is using this week at Harding Park Golf Course:

DRIVER: Titleist 909D2 (9.5°) with UST ProForce V2 85 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with UST ProForce V2 95 shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (21°) with UST ProForce V2 100 shaft
IRONS: Titleist MB (3-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design (48°), Spin Milled (54°), TVD (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport
BALL: Titleist Pro V1

(Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP Photos)




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