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Archive: February 2010

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February 28, 2010

Winning Clubs: Hunter Mahan at 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Posted at 8:44 PM by David Dusek

Hunter Mahan Ping Clubs

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Hunter Mahan used to win the 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open:

DRIVER: Ping Rapture V2 (10.5°) with a Ping Prototype 824 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping i15 (15.5°) with an UST Mamiya ATTAS X8 shaft
HYBRID: Ping i15 (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
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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February 26, 2010

Video: Nike Athletes on SQ Machspeed STR8-Fit Driver

Posted at 9:21 AM by David Dusek

In this video, provided by Nike Golf, staff players including Justin Leonard, Trevor Immelman and Lucas Glover talk about the performance, look and feel of the new SQ Machspeed STR8-Fit driver:

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Nike clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTec

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February 25, 2010

Gear Notes: Padraig Harrington's New Putter, Retief Goosen's New Driver, Robert Karlsson Bending Irons

Posted at 12:38 PM by David Dusek

Padraig Harrington Odyssey Putter Odyssey
Ireland's Padraig Harrington won three major championships using an Odyssey 2-Ball Blade putter, but he has switched to Odyssey's yet-to-be-released Odyssey Backstryke 2-Ball (right).

What's unique about the Backstryke 2-Ball? The shaft goes from the golfer's hands straight to the center of the putter, then bends into the back of the head. This puts not only the face but nearly the entire putter in front of the point where the shaft enters the head. (Get it? Back-strike.)

According to Odyssey reps, Harrington said, "It goes right where I am aiming it." When the rep started describing the putter's design, Harrington stopped him and said, "I don't want to know anything about it. All I know is that the ball goes right where I am aiming, and that is good for you."

TaylorMade
Retief Goosen had been using a TaylorMade r7 SuperQuad driver for about four years before he recently made a switch. While he has tried different versions of the company's R9 driver, he told me, "Because I have long arms, I'm struggling to get one that can be made flat enough for me."

Retief Goosen TaylorMade Driver While visiting TaylorMade's truck two weeks ago at Pebble Beach, Goosen was shown the new Burner SuperFast driver. Intrigued, the South African took a few and started practicing. According to TaylorMade, Goosen doesn't want a driver that misses left, so after every left-side miss, a TaylorMade rep manually bent and adjusted the face, loft and lie angle of the driver. Unlike TaylorMade's R9 family of drivers, the Burner SuperFast does not have movable weights or a head that can be unscrewed and re-attached using a torque wrench.

By the time Goosen walked away with his new driver, it had been bent 4° flatter than standard. At the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he added a 15° TaylorMade SuperFast 3-wood and also and switched to a TaylorMade Rossa Spider belly putter as well.

Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia (who recently switched to a TaylorMade R9 SuperTri driver), spent about an hour grinding the bottom of his new TaylorMade TP wedges with xFT in the company's tour van. The 54° and 58° clubs feature TaylorMade's removable face plate design, so Garcia will not have to repeat the exercise when the grooves on the clubs start to dull.

Titleist
In Tucson, both Rory McIlroy and Geoff Ogilvy pulled 60° Titleist Vokey Spin Milled wedges out of their bags and replaced them with 58° wedges. Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who won the European Tour's Qatar Masters on Feb. 2, took things even further.

According to a Titleist rep, Karlsson had been using a 47° pitching wedge, a 50° gap wedge, a 55° sand wedge and a 60° lob wedge. He ditched the 50°, 55° and 60° clubs in favor of a 53° and 58° wedge and a 21° 3-iron. Karlsson then had Titleist reps weaken the lofts in his MB irons by 1° so he would not have any gaps in his set.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey, TaylorMade, and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photos: Harrington, Stuart Franklin/Getty Images; Goosen, David Dusek)

February 24, 2010

Adidas Golf to Reward Aces with Free Shoes

Posted at 11:17 AM by David Dusek

By Woody Hochswender

Groupmipowerband shot To mark the introduction of its next-generation Powerband 3.0 shoes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, Adidas Golf is providing fans with an actual reason to shout “in the hole” at the par-3 16th.

The company will give away 10,000 free pairs of Powerbands if either Kenny Perry or Pat Perez—its sponsored professionals—makes an ace on the stadium par 3. Fans must register at the Adidas website in order to be eligible.

The Powerband 3.0, which retails for $140,  incorporates Adidas’s new “thin tech” design, which the company says brings golfers closer to the ground for greater stability and balance.

What are the odds of one of these pros making an ace? Various studies have tried to ascertain the chances of  making a hole in one, from 45,000-to-1 for the typical golfer to about 3,000-to-1 for a PGA Tour professional. Either way, those are long odds, but better than the lottery.

February 21, 2010

Video: Stewart Cink on His Nike Clubs

Posted at 9:03 PM by David Dusek

In this video produced by Nike Golf, PGA Tour star Stewart Cink talks about the clubs in his bag and his new driver, Nike's Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Nike clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTec

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Winning Clubs: Ian Poulter at WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

Posted at 7:47 PM by David Dusek

Ian Poulter Cobra Clubs

Here is a complete list of the clubs Ian Poulter used to win the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship:

DRIVER: King Cobra ZL (9.5°) with a Fujikura 6.0 Motore Speeder X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with a Fujikura Rombax 7X07 shaft, Titleist 906F2 (18°) with a Grafalloy ProLite 35 shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (21°) with an Aldila NV Hybrid 85 X shaft
IRONS: King Cobra Pro CB (4-7), Pro MB (8-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C (54°, 60°)
PUTTER: Rife Antigua
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cobra and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photo by David Dusek)

February 17, 2010

New Grooves Mean Less Loft for Geoff Ogilvy

Posted at 4:23 PM by David Dusek

Geoff Ogilvy Lob Wedge When the USGA's new groove rule changes were first announced, some people assumed that every PGA Tour player would immediately start carrying a 64° wedge. The thinking was that if players were not going to be able to spin the ball as much with the new grooves, they'd need more loft in order to stop the ball with trajectory. Right?

Wrong—at least in the mind of defending WGC-Accenture Match Play champion Geoff Ogilvy.

"I think the way that things were going, with grooves getting so sharp and company's getting so good at making them, a lot of guys were grabbing a 64° wedge," he told me Tuesday evening. "But when I was younger, the idea of a 64° wedge was laughable. I mean, you just wouldn't use it. But it became usable."

But the smaller, duller grooves that players must compete with today have made using a super-high lofted wedge tricky again. In fact, Ogilvy feels that he can't get enough spin out of his 60° any more, so he pulled the club out of his bag this week and is going with a 58° Vokey Spin Milled C-C wedge instead.

"If I think back to when I was a kid, I never liked hitting pitch shots with a lob wedge off short grass because the ball seemed to roll up the face and create a loopy flight," he said. "But hitting with my 56 sand wedge, or a stronger wedge, it would grab onto the face and spin."

This year, at the season's first event in Hawaii, the ball started rolling up the face of Ogilvy's lob wedge, just as it did when he was a junior player.

"I had probably not done enough practicing with it," he admitted. "But you can practice on the range but there is no substitute for being in a tournament. Then, in Abu Dhabi, I was just like, 'This is not right.' I was shying away from playing this club, and you don't want to have a club in the bag that you don't want to hit. And arguably, for a lot of guys out here, it's the most important club in the bag."

A loft difference of two is almost impossible to see, but the difference allows the top grooves on the club to grab more of the ball and impart more of the spin that he needs around the greens. And for Ogilvy, who defeated Alexander Noren 7 and 5 on Wednesday, it makes all the difference.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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Oliver Wilson's Balancing Act

Posted at 11:36 AM by David Dusek

I don't write a lot about training aids and devices in The Shop blog. Honestly, there are so many gadgets and gizmos out there—some are clever and helpful, others are junk—I can't keep up. But this morning, as he was preparing for his Wednesday morning match against Miguel Angel Jimenez, England's Oliver Wilson broke out a unique training aid that caught my attention.

With golf gloves tucked under each arm, he hit a series of pitch shots and wedge shots while standing on a Pro Stance, an inflatable tube designed to help golfers improve their balance. Here's a video that explains how it works.

Oliver-Wilson-Training-Aid

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(Photo by David Dusek)

February 16, 2010

New Titleist Irons for Sharp-Shooting Rory McIlroy

Posted at 5:52 PM by David Dusek

Rory-McIlroy_450x600 MARANA, Ariz. -- Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy is not a serious gearhead. He knows things that any professional golfer needs to know, like his ideal launch angle and spin rate off the tee, and he has a modest collection of about 15 Scotty Cameron putters and headcovers at home, but he does not tinker or dabble with equipment too often.

However, before starting his 2010 season, McIIroy pulled his Titleist ZM irons out of the bag and started using Titleist's new MB irons.

He'd first seen and hit the clubs in Akron, Ohio, before the start of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but decided to stick with his old sticks rather than make a mid-season change.

"I had six weeks off at the end of my season," he told me. "During that time I went out and tested [the MB irons] again. I knew that I like them, but they were a little bit softer than my ZMs and I found that they don't go quite as far. But the feel is quite a lot better, which is good for me because I'm a feel player."

McIlroy also noticed that the MB irons didn't send his shots quite as high as his old irons, which as a high-spin player he felt was a positive.

For competitors here at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the idea of a more-accurate Rory McIlroy is a scary thought. He had the lowest scoring average on the European Tour last season (69.51) and ranked third in greens in regulation (78.1%).

But if McIlroy is going to win here this week, he's going to need to hole more putts. He averaged more than 30 per round last season, so this week he's going back to a Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport Fastback that has been customized for him with a shaft that goes straight into the head near the center of the topline.

Here is a complete list of the clubs that McIlroy has in his bag this week:
DRIVER: Titleist 909 D2 (8.5) with a Fujikura Rombax 7V05 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist 909 F2 (13.5) with a Project X 7A3 shaft, 906 F3 (18.5) with a Fujikura FitOn 11 Pro 95 shaft
IRONS: Titleist MB (3-9) with Project X 6.5 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C (48, 54, 58) with Project X 6.5 shafts
PUTTER: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport Fastback Select prototype
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Ping Eye2 Controversy a Headache for Hunter Mahan

Posted at 12:13 PM by David Dusek

Hunter-Mahan-Ping-Eye2_600 MARANA, Ariz. — The controversy sparked by Phil Mickelson, John Daly and other golfers who recently started using Ping Eye2 wedges made before 1990 has created a problem for Hunter Mahan.

Mahan has been using a pre-1990 58° Ping Eye2 lob wedge for years. He likes the look and feel of the club, but this week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship he would be the only player in the field using an "old groove" Eye2.

That doesn't sit well with Mahan, because he knows that if he does well using the old wedge some people might question whether his success was due to his skill or the grooves.

So this week Mahan has been practicing with an Eye2 lob wedge that is identical to his old club except that it contains grooves that conform to the new USGA standards. Tuesday morning on the range he had three Eye2 wedges in his bag. The two copper-colored clubs in the photo have the old grooves. The silver-colored wedge that you can partially see has the new grooves. 

"I don't want the focus to be on the grooves," he told me. "It's really kind of unfortunate, but right now the players are taking the blame for all of this."

Mahan said he has not made up his mind which club he is going to use in his match Wednesday against South Africa's Charl Schwartzel. But from his tone and body language, I sensed that he really wants to avoid any controversy.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photo by David Dusek)

TaylorMade Prototype Hybrid at WGC-Accenture Match Play

Posted at 9:46 AM by David Dusek

MARANA, Ariz. — Last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, TaylorMade tour reps showed a new prototype rescue club to a few PGA Tour players in hopes of getting some feedback. Jim Furyk, Charles Howell, Rory Sabbatini and Dustin Johnson all tried it.

The new club has not officially been named, but will likely be called the Rescue TP '10. Cosmetically it is very similar to the current Rescue TP and features TaylorMade's adjustable face angle technology, but it has a smaller head and deeper face in the toe area. The club also features an area in the rear of the sole that houses a weight plug.

Here are three photos of the club:

TaylorMade-Proto-Rescue10-1

TaylorMade-Proto-Rescue10-2

TaylorMade-Proto-Rescue10-3

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photos by David Dusek)

February 14, 2010

Winning Clubs: Dustin Johnson at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Posted at 9:55 PM by David Dusek

Dustin-Johnson-TaylorMade-Equipment_600

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Dustin Johnson used to win his second consecutive AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:

DRIVER: TaylorMade R9 (10.5°) with Fujikura Motore F1 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade R9 (15°) with Aldila RIP 90 shaft
HYBRID: TaylorMade Rescue TP (22°) with a Matrix Ozik Altus shaft
IRONS: TaylorMade R9 (3-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
WEDGES: TaylorMade RAC (48°, 54°), Cleveland 588 Chrome (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 2 prototype
BALL: TaylorMade Penta

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

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(Photo by Todd Bigelow/Aurora/SI)

February 11, 2010

USGA Meets with Ping About Eye2 Irons

Posted at 3:57 PM by David Dusek

Phil-Mickelsons-PingEye2-Wedge Officials from Ping and the USGA met Wednesday in hopes of working out a reasonable solution to the controversy surrounding the use of Ping Eye2s with square grooves. At 3:16 pm Thursday I got the following e-mail statement from the USGA:

Officials from the USGA and PING met yesterday in Dallas to discuss the use of PING EYE2 clubs on the PGA Tour.

USGA President Jim Hyler issued the following statement today:

"We met with representatives from PING yesterday. Our conversation with PING regarding the status of the PING EYE2 irons on the major professional American tours was productive, and we are hopeful that a solution can be found that respects and reflects the best interests of golfers and the game." 

Eight minutes later I got an e-mail statement from Ping saying:

"We had a productive meeting with the USGA yesterday regarding the PING EYE2 groove debate on the PGA Tour,” said PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim. “I’m encouraged by their willingness to openly discuss some of the challenges the golf industry faces relating to equipment issues. We left the meeting with an understanding we would continue to seek a solution that benefits golfers and acknowledges the importance innovation plays in the game."

As Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." And this baby is far from over.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

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(Photo: Phil Mickelson's Ping Eye2 lob wedge, which he's no longer carrying. By Robert Beck/SI)

TaylorMade Releasing Burner SuperLaunch Irons

Posted at 11:30 AM by David Dusek

TaylorMade-Burner-SuperLaunch-Irons_600x450 The Burner irons released in 2009 have proven to be extremely popular, but TaylorMade admits that slower-swinging players and golfers who naturally produce a lower ball flight don't get the full benefit of the clubs.

With the release of the new Burner SuperLaunch irons on April 1, TaylorMade hopes to address that shortcoming.

According to a release, the Burner SuperLaunch offers the highest moment of inertia (MOI) of any iron the company has ever produced, which means it will resist twisting on off-center hits and be more forgiving than just about any irons in TaylorMade's lineup.

Like last season's Burner irons, three sub-groups make up a single set of Burner SuperLaunch irons.

The long irons have an extremely wide sole that helps them work through the turf effectively and lowers the center of gravity; thin faces to create more ball speed; and a lower profile to make them easier to hit. In contrast, the short irons have a thinner sole, slightly thicker faces and higher, more-traditional profiles. The mid-irons bridge the other two designs.

Unlike better-player irons, the Burner SuperLaunch has a thick topline, which is reassuring and helps high-handicappers and slow swingers hit straight shots more easily.

The standard set of Burner SuperLaunch irons (4-Attack Wedge) will retail for $599 with steel shafts and $799 with graphite shafts. A 3-iron and sand wedge will be available separately.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

ClubTest 2010: Max-Game Improvement Irons

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February 09, 2010

Video: Robert Garrigus on TaylorMade's R9 SuperTri Driver

Posted at 1:09 PM by David Dusek

In this video provided by TaylorMade Golf, big-hitting Robert Garrius, who led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 2009, gives his first reaction to the new R9 SuperTri driver.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

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