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Category: Prototype Equipment

June 20, 2009

Lucas Glover's U.S. Open Clubs

Posted at 7:14 PM by David Dusek

Lucas-Glover-Bethpage-Putter Lucas Glover used a Nike prototype putter that is similar to the one used by Paul Casey, Trevor Immelman, Michelle Wie, Justin Leonard and Stewart Cink.

As I wrote previously in this blog, it's a heel-toe weighted Anser-style blade, that features a series of red ribs on the face. The ribs are designed to help to reduce skidding on the greens and get the ball rolling faster.

I've seen five different versions of the Nike prototype putters and each was heel-shafted; I did not see a high-MOI Nike prototype putter with the red ribs in the face.

Here are the clubs that Lucas Glover used to win the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black:

DRIVER: Nike SQ Sumo2 Tour (9.5°) with Matrix Apache Ozik shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike SQ II (13°, 19°)
IRONS: Nike CCI Forged (3-PW)
WEDGES: Nike SV Tour (52°, 60°)
PUTTER: Nike prototype
BALL: Nike ONE Tour D

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(Photo by Al Tielemans/SI)

June 18, 2009

TaylorMade Raylor Prototype Hybrid Seen at Bethpage

Posted at 4:10 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade Raylor FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Kenny Perry and Fred Funk each tried a new, unreleased prototype hybrid club as they prepared for the U.S. Open at Bethpage.

The TaylorMade Raylor has a weight screw in the low, rear area and a V-shaped leading edge. According to representatives from TaylorMade, the unique sole of the club helps it work through the rough especially well.

Perry practiced using two Raylor hybrid clubs, a 19° and a 22°, each fitted with Fujikura hybrid shafts. Funk was given a 22° Raylor and took it to an unused fairway on Bethpage's Red Course. TaylorMade Raylor Face

TaylorMade reps didn't know if either player would be putting the club into play during the U.S. Open, and like all other prototype pieces of equipment, there's no guarantee that the Raylor will ever be made available to the general public.

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June 10, 2009

New TaylorMade prototype putter spotted

Posted at 3:20 PM by David Dusek

TM-Proto-Putter There are always a few prototype golf clubs being shown to the game's best players at PGA Tour events. Companies want feedback from the pros to learn how they can refine and improve new designs.

Recently I spotted a prototype TaylorMade putter, which looks similar to the recently released Spider Balero putter.

Like the Balero, it has a large white alignment line running from the face to a ball-sized hole in the rear. The putter also features TaylorMade's grooved AGSI face, which is designed to help get the ball rolling more quickly on the green.

TM-Proto-Putter3However, the prototype, shown at right, lacks the white ring that simulates the hole and the small wings that protrude from the back section, which are found on the Balero.

(Click on the image for a better look at the putter.)

I watched Justin Rose try this putter and heard him ask the TaylorMade rep to send him one, so it's possible this putter could be made available to the public. But like all other prototypes, there is no guarantee that it will wind up on pro shop shelves.

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.

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