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.
Same 3 models as before
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.
Tungsten instead of weights
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.