Another busy day in the world of golf! We have some club news and also some crazy news from the PGA Tour. Lets start with the big time equipment news.
Callaway expands their fairway wood line
We were introduced to a new fairway wood from Callaway. This one is bound to get some feelings of nostalgia going. They are going to bring back a modern version of one of the most popular fairway woods ever, the Steelhead. The company took the shape of the classic Steelhead and put a modern engine under the hood.
They kept the steel face of the original to keep the feel. The face does have all the cup face technology Callaway is known for to increase ball speed. Like a ton of Callaway products the crown will be carbon fiber. They made the crown this light so they could move the Center of Gravity low and forward. A low and forward Center of Gravity helps lower spin to help get every yard possible. In addition to being incredibly light the crown also features the Aerodynamic design that Callaway engineered with Boeing. The sole has the familiar hawkeye design that will look and feel familiar. That sole is very useful in all situations. I had a year where my swing left me and found one of these in a Goodwill bin. It was a perfect mini driver. It helped me play that summer with little frustration. I am actually really excited. The Steelhead will retail for $229.99 and will hit the pro shop 7/14. I know I love equipment but its usually hard to justify the price. This one is actually going to be on my to try and buy list.
The news from the PGA Tour is possibly the most sudden and surprising news from the tour in a long time. Phil Mickelson and his caddie Bones have gone their separate ways. Bones has been on the bag for all of Phils career. They seemed to have a relationship more unique than any other player caddie relationship. They were best friends. Over the past few weeks they seemed to be at odds with each other. It wasnt too severe but it was noticeable. This may have been a chance to save the friendship at the expense of the professional relationship
PING decided to make their presence known on the USGA conforming list this morning. We are seeing our first look at the brand new PING driver, the G400.
The G400 will also come in 3 different models just like the G series did. We have the LST, the SFT and the G400. The LAST is for a more penetrating ball flight. The SFT is the draw based higher flying driver and the G400 is the middle of the road driver.
The last model used a strategically placed weight to accomplish these ball flight goals. The new model has instead used tungsten to provide the needed weight. They have also added what looks to be a weight in the back to help pull the Center of Gravity back to increase forgiveness. If you don’t like the turbulators on the crown I am afraid I have some bad news, they appear to be staying.
Usually when things hit the USGA list they tend to be put into play pretty quickly so we very well could be seeing these on tour this week at the US Open
Well demo day at the merchandise show is over and some of the stuff out there is starting to flow out of Orlando. It doesnt seem there was anything too earth shattering. Dont get me wrong we have some new stuff and there were a couple of surprises but nothing overly crazy.
We start off with one of the most basic parts of the club. Golf Pride is coming out with a revised version of the MCC Plus4 grip. It is named the MCC Plus4 Align. They have added a rib to the backside of the grip. This allows the player to put their hands on the club better and more consistently. Basically they added a rib to a grip. This isnt anything crazy or earth shattering. Companies have been doing this for years. That being said things had moved to no rib in the grip so it is nice to see that option coming back.
Im a big fan of using technology out on the course. Thats why when I saw a tent for VPAR that said “Now you know when each shot counts” I looked it up and saw it was an app that allowed you to have live leader boards with your friends. You could have a tournament and it would track your scores and display them like a leader board at a professional tournament. This would let you know the score you would need to win the tournament. Its a good way to give you and your friends. It also has stat tracking and GPS rangefinder capabilities. Its pretty nifty. I downloaded it and will let you know what I think next time I’m out on the course.
Probably the coolest thing I saw in all the pictures today was the Skycaddie LINX GT again I am a huge fan of technology and love what it can do for your average golfer. Tour players have access to caddies who can give them precise numbers to bunkers,hazards,front of green, middle of green, and back of green. The pros also have very specific ways of tracking how far they hit each club. The Skycaddie Linx GT allows you to do both of these things in one. It is a GPS range finder that will give you all of the important distances you may need. Thats super useful. Knowing its 135 to clear the water is more useful than not knowing at all. This could save you a stroke or 2 out there. That would be cool enough but it wouldnt be ground breaking. Thats been around a while. Where this is different is they have incorporated shot tracking. It comes with sensors that you stick in the grip of the clubs. When you hit the club it registers the shot. When you drive to your next shot it calculates the distance you traveled and tells you how far you hit the ball. Its always useful to know how far you hit each club. The results may not be what you want to see but if you use that information correctly it can make a difference. Its $349.99. Id love to get it out on the course and do some reviews but it may be a little too rich for my blood.
I am a big fan of getting kids into the game. Its the only way we will keep the game alive in the future. If you have a child who is showing some interest in the game and needs some clubs youd be hard pressed to find something better than the US Kids Golf sets. They sell clubs by height not age. That to me is a big selling point. It is also affordable and high quality.
I dont have anything to say about the Epon AF Tour. I just needed an excuse to put this club up. Its gorgeous.
Tomorrow could be a huge day. Taylormade and Tiger Woods have an announcement. Some people are saying Tiger will be announcing that he is playing Taylormade clubs. Others are saying Tiger is buying a majority stake in Taylormade. Stay tuned for info!
HUGE SITE NEWS- THE PODCAST IS APPROVED ON iTUNES!
This is a huge step for the podcast. Now here is where I can really use your help. I get that 99% of my friends who may read this have 0 interest in golf equipment. I can still use your help. Please go Download and subscribe to the podcast and rate it 5 stars. I want to get on one of the lists to get the podcast exposure.
Around 8 AM news started to flow out of Ft Worth, TX that Ben Hogan had fired all their employees and were going to be closing up shop. This was very sad news to me. I have a set of PTx irons in the bag. I will admit they are very expensive but they are a very good club. The people seemed to truly care about what they were trying to do. I can go through some of the problems that the company faced but that could take a little bit of time (Possibly part of a podcast episode)
Later in the day Hogan seemed to try and do a little damage control. They issued a statement that basically said that they were not closing but they were restructuring. Getting rid of everyone seems to be a pretty dang serious restructuring.
Over the course of about 5 hours a club company went out of business,didnt go out of business, and was restructuring. It was an interesting ride for sure. Its not everyday a club company lets go of ALL of its workforce and decides to “restructure”. Ill keep you updated on everything I hear. It will be interesting to see what they bust out with at the PGA Merchandise Show.
As I have said in the past, I have worked in golf retail. Like any other retail job it isnt easy. It can be down right infuriating. When I go into the store I try my hardest to remember exactly what I hated about certain customers.
One of my least favorite customers was the guy who came in and blatantly lied about his talents.He would come in and tell me he shot in the 70’s. He would also tell me he could swing his driver 110 MPH,hit it 310, and he hit a power fade. That always sounded good to me. We would need a players driver. We needed a heavier and stiffer shaft to ge tthis going. I would set him up a driver with a nice stout shaft. First swing looks like Bernie from Weekend at Bernies took a swing. He would hit a low shot about 7 feet off the ground. The ball would roll out on the simulator and thats when the stats would pop up. Swing speed of 92. 125 yards carry. Of course his next line was always “I didnt get a hold of that one”. His next shot yielded the same results. At this point my machine was wrong. After 5 more shots he reluctantly would give over the driver. I would change it to a lighter weight regular flex shaft. Results would get better but then I would try to put him in a 10.5 degree head. At this point I was a complete idiot who didnt know what I was talking about. Then he would grab it. Hit it and it would be his best shot ever. If he would have just been honest from the start I could have saved him an hour.
While that guy was bad there was always one guy who was worse. The guy who brought in his kid and let him go wild at the putting green. It is an ability for a destructive 6 year old to find the most expensive putter in the place. Nothing makes me cringe harder than watching a 6 year old grab the new Scotty Cameron off the rack and just go to town on it. Meanwhile the dad is standing in the corner trying out a preowned Ping from 6 years ago. All it takes is one little ding on that $350 to make it useless to a potential buyer. Its not cute and its not funny. Its stupid. I hope he breaks it and you get charged for it. Give him the cheapest putter in the place. Give him some knock off preowned. Dont be an idiot. I know its awesome to get to hit golf clubs while you kid is quiet. I get it. Just next time dont let him grab the super expensive stuff.
Like I told everyone before, I love golf equipment probably more than playing. Well since I couldnt play for 4-6 weeks the urge to get new clubs crept into my mind.I also decided that I had a bunch of useless stuff laying around. Since I consider myself an expert at getting things on a budget lets go over some of the things I got and how I got them.
Cobra Fly Z+ Driver- I had gotten some items that I was able to take back to a Golf Galaxy and get some store credit. I ended up paying about $15 out of pocket for it. I have wanted one since they came out and 2 years later I was able to get one! It doesnt make much difference though because I suck at hitting driver right now.
Odyssey Toe Up Putter- When I got the Cobra that freed me up the chance to sell my Taylormade SLDR. I posted it online and got an offer for 100 dollars. With this money I wanted to get a nice putter. I had my eye on an Odyssey Toe Up Putter since they came out. 10 minutes after I sold my driver I had put an offer in of 95 dollars for the putter. 2 days later it was sitting at my door.
Vokey SM6 58 K Grind Wedge- With the purchase of the Cobra driver and the Odyssey putter I decided I was tired of the clutter and the extra clubs so I took the left overs to the PGA Superstore and got a trade in value of 95 dollars.I thought I maybe wanted a new 3 wood. I didnt see one that interested me. I thought maybe I could use some new clothes but through my job I already get amazing deals on clothes so it pains me to pay full retail. With that being said I did find a pair of clearance khakis for $10. I grabbed those and made a once more through the used clubs when I saw the SM6. I picked it up and saw the price. It was $75. I picked it up and grabbed a new grip for my new wedge to reach my total.
Ogio Ozone Bag- I actually found this at a goodwill for about 2 dollars. I needed something to do one Saturday so I drove over to Ft Worth and visited the outlet. I was on my way out and saw it. All the zippers worked and it was in decent shape. I had always wanted an Ogio. While this one was an older Ogio it was a chance for me to check it out.
Vokey SM6 54 Degree M Grind- With my purchase of the Ogio I had an asset in my Titleist Stand Bag. I liked the bag but I knew it was worth more than the Ogio so I decided to take it to a local store along with my Nike wedges. He shorted me on the wedges but gave me a good offer on the bag. I found the wedge I wanted and off I went for about $10 out of pocket.
Top Flite Gamer Stand Bag- It was Cyber Monday…. Sue me. It was $50. By the way, do you know anyone who may want to buy an Ogio Ozone bag with a slightly broken leg mechanism?
I have been absent for a while. A couple of people asked me why. The answer is simple. I couldnt think of good content. I can only write about shooting an 85 so many times before it becomes boring. With that being said I needed something exciting to bring me back. The news of Nike golf shutting down is beyond exciting but sad at the same time. This was the spark I needed to get back to this.
Coming down about 4:30 central time, Nike Golf announced they would be shutting down club operations. They will no longer be selling golf clubs,golf balls, and golf bags. I want you to imagine if Nike would go out of business in any other sport. It would be huge. This leaves so many questions to be answered. Depending on what you care about your questions can go either way.
What happens to the guys who are under contract with Nike? Does Rory go back to Titleist? What happens to his contract? That 3 years and 20 million he is owed, does he still stay on to wear Nike gear and play others equipment? Is he free to go? The same questions apply to the entire staff.
As far as the club side goes a few questions come up too. The clubs they released this year were very good. The Flex driver was spectacular. Every single club they released was great. The drivers all the way down to the wedges. I feel bad for the engineers .They were really starting to do good work. They had a few guys from Taylormade who really progressed the Nike line. I really want to know where those guys head so I can track them and see what they release next.
Where did Nike go wrong? I think the first few clubs they released (Slingshot,CPR, Ignite) were duds. That really turned off some people to all Nike clubs. A ton of people wouldnt give anything else they released a chance. Those people were wrong. The VR Pro Ltd driver was one of the best drivers ever created. It was long,it had a great sound, and it felt great. It took an act of God to take it out of Tigers bag. The Covert was a great club. The Vapor was also a great line. Dont even get me started on their irons. The VR Forged irons are some of my favorite irons. Had a great forged feel and sound. They looked great as well. Nice top line and just enough forgiveness. The Vapor line was a great continuation of that line. Hell, I have 2 Nike wedges in my bag and you will have to pry them out of my cold dead hands. The second biggest problem is how the clubs look. I know it sounds dumb but it does play a big role in what people think of a club. If it looks like a clown club people will assume its a clown club. Nike has always been great at marketing.I think this actually cost them in the long run. They made great golf clubs but had to take some huge chances in the looks of the clubs. This made them recognizable on TV but many traditional golfers didnt like the way they looked. The Covert had a giant cavity in it and a red crown. The first vapor had Nike’s Volt coloring all over it . The biggest one of all was the newest Fly line. It was electric blue . I will admit it wasnt pretty. They even put the swoosh on the crown of the driver! People lost their minds over the look of the clubs.
Its a sad day for the golf equipment world. With Nike shutting down and Taylormade being sold off its a wonder where the golf equipment world will go. Less people competing means less motivation to find the newest technology. I will give Nike credit they were willing to push the envelope and in the end it may have been what killed it. RIP Nike Golf youll be missed.
It’s product review time!!!!! Today I will be reviewing the Martini Tee. This product has been around since 2008.Its an American company that is based in Michigan. They have created a special resin that is “virtually unbreakable”.They say virtually unbreakable because anything can happen. I have used these tees for 6 months and I think that’s plenty of time to give you a great review.
As I stated above, I have been using these tees for 6 months now. The big point i want to make is the fact I have been using the same 3 tees for 6 months. That’s right I have been using 3 tees for 6 months. I have been to the range twice a week and try to get out once a month. These things are indestructible. I saw these when I was working at Dick’s Sporting Goods and wanted to give them a try. One of the things I never had before this was tees.l I hate buying them and always forgot about them. This led me to buying a bunch of 50 cent and 1 dollar bags of tees at the course. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones by the register for slackers like me.Another big thing for me is the size. I like that they are extra long and built for a larger driver.This is a great selling point. Also in regards to the size they are also very thick. It is very difficult to not see it after a drive. I tend to go out to the range when it is dark out. Anyone who has been to a lighted range will tell you it can be difficult to see things outside of the bright area. I have never lost a tee out on the range. They are thick and big enough for me to see it even when the lighting isn’t great. Another thing that helps is the colors you can get them in. I have red grips,red head covers, red ball markers, and now red tees. They offer them in almost any color you can think of too. From bright yellow to white and anything in between.Since they are a little thicker I have also found it much easier to push the tee into the hard Texas ground. I also enjoy the fact the special resin doesn’t mark up the bottom of my golf club. I recently teed up a ball with a white wood tee and the bottom of my club had a giant mark across the bottom of it. As far as performance goes I have enjoyed a more consistent tee height. The Martini Tee website promises performance gains in terms of distance. I haven’t really seen any performance gains but if I am being honest I also was not looking for it. I do not believe a tee can give me an extra 10 yards. I have never ever really bought the hype most plastic tees provide.
This tee has two major cons. The first being the cost of these tees. For a 5 pack of these tees you are looking at $6.50 plus shipping. I bought these when I needed some extra money to get me to free shipping on Amazon. (yes, I have a Prime account. The item I needed didn’t qualify) I had wanted to try these and decided to give it a go. Like I said they are steep. Another problem I have found is they go into the ground easy but then stop pretty quickly as well. I cant really use these on a Par 3. This is a little annoying. One thing I will give Martini credit for is the fact they have come out with a 2 inch tee for this very problem.
I know these tees can be expensive. 8 bucks for 5 tees is crazy. I also want you to think about the amount of tees you have broken the past 6 months. Also think about how much you have spent on tees in the last 6 months. In that time I have lost 0 tees and have broken 0 tees. This product is worth it. It may sound crazy but this has actually helped me enjoy the game more. I no longer have to stop at the store to grab tees or burn a dollar at the register. I also only have to carry 3 tees. This saves me a ton of space in the golf bag. This may very well be one of the few times where marketing materials speak the truth. Go buy these tees. They provide great consistency and they are truly unbreakable.
Final Score: 95
I obviously cant go through everything that I saw pictures of today but I can give you some of the very interesting clubs and news that has come out of day 1
- New Ping Anser Putters– They are celebrating the Ansers 50th birthday with a classic remake. It looks amazing. It has the TR Grooves. I cant really putt with plumbers neck putters but I may have to snag one of these just because of how good it looks
- Scotty Cameron Putters– I havent been too keen on his newest releases the past few years. I LOVE his old stuff. Carbon Scotty is best Scotty. That being said I dont hate these. Goes back to some classic looks. He has added in a new “insert”. He calls it an inlay not an insert….. Its a damn insert. Hard to justify the price of $379 when you are entering into a CUSTOM Edel and mannkrafted putter
- Odyssey Works RX– This has been a good year for putters. The Works line was one of my favorites last year..I loved how they looked and boy did they get that ball rolling. This year they have focused on the feel of the putter by reoving the silver insert with the metal X grooves and have decided to incorporate that into the actual white hot insert. To regain some of the characteristics of the metal x they have decided to add a special paint that has quite a bit of surface texture.
- Toulon Putters– These are interesting. Nice classic shape to them. Adjusted weight plate on the bottom as well. This company was started by a former Taylormade VP. Hopefully they can stay around.
- King Cobra Utility– This one is a game changer for me. Its a driving iron (which is my favorite type of hybrid) but it can be adjusted. This should be a bigger story than it is. I love this. A hollow driving iron…. I love how they hit a low piercing flight more so than a hybrid. Imagine tuning one up perfectly. Man I love it!
- Hogan Hybrid– Looks like my Adams Hybrid. Sign me up please!
- Taylormade M2 Driver– Remove the adjustabilty of the weights and lower the price by 100 bucks. Not a bad game plan.
- The Golf Board– Its a new kind of golf cart. I believe Spieth was riding one in Abu Dhabi. Just really cool. Would love to get one out on a course
- Oban Steel Shaft– Ill be honest with you. I dont know much about it. If it plays like anything like their wood shafts…count me in
- Biion Footwear- Im not sure the story on these or anything else. All I know is they look kind of cool
- Epson M Tracer– Epson (yes the company that makes printers) has a golf swing analyzer. Sounds fun to jack around with. Hopefully it works as well as a swingbyte.
- Swing Click– It is a tempo trainer that looks like a pen. It looks like it has a sliding weight inside that goes click to click. Interesting concept.
Hopefully this stuff will start hitting stores soon enough and I can get my hands on it. If you want me to try and find something let me know. Ill try to get my hands on it and give you a slight review.