Category: new

Stroke Lab from Odyssey – Control Distance

Stroke Lab from Odyssey – Control Distance

By ED TRAVIS

Distance control, not aim, is the key to becoming a good if not great putter and consistent distance can only come from a consistent repeatable stroke. Rather than concentrate on a new way to do alignment lines or making a new face insert to improve the ball’s roll why not figure out a design that will improve distance control?

That’s what Odyssey, Callaway Golf’s putter division, did with their solution coming to market as the Stroke Lab putter line.

According to Sean Toulon, Callaway’s senior vice president and general manager of Odyssey, “These new putters epitomize what Stroke Lab is all about. Questioning the norm for the purpose of developing putters that perform substantially better to help golfers make more putts.”

With the speed of putting surfaces increasing due to advance in agronomy it’s not unusual for even recreational players to face with a Stimpmeter reading of 10 or 11 during a weekend round. On the PGA Tour 11 and 12 are the norm and 13 or 14 are not uncommon.

In response makers have made putter heads heavier and heavier, often more than 350 or 360 grams, the thinking being that when greens are fast the stroke doesn’t have to be as big. Part of this trend is the popularity of relatively lightweight larger grips which means putter swing weights have gotten extremely high sometimes as high as F3–a typical driver has a D2 swing weight.

Steel putter shafts usually weigh in the range of 115 to 120 grams but with heavier heads the typical shaft is relatively weaker allowing both more flex and torque.

The critical factor in the Stroke Lab design was to make the shaft from graphite with a steel tip section which Odyssey says reduced shaft weight by 40 grams. To keep the overall weight constant, 10 of the 40 grams were moved to the head distributed in two sole weights. The remaining 30 grams went to the grip end with a 40-gram end weight (shaft plug) and a stock grip weighing 10-grams less. The shaft at 75 grams is lighter but with a much higher MOI (resistance to twisting) and the weight distributed to encourage a free and consistent stroke. Odyssey says testing of Stroke Lab putters showed a 25% improvement in backswing length consistency which makes the stored energy more reliable. The design helps to raise the consistency of the face angle at the end of the backswing by almost 20% so the amount of face rotation needed to be back at square at impact is more predictable.

“You feel the difference immediately,” said Luke Williams, senior director of putter marketing. “The putter head moves freely, smoothly and on a sound path, helping you roll the ball accurately while giving you greater speed-control.”

All the Stroke Lab models have Odyssey’s White Hot Microhinge face insert, a hit since its initial introduction in 2016.

On the course there no doubt the shaft of a Stroke Lab putter is different looking and different feeling. The balance of the head, grip and graphite/steel shaft are great. The Tuttle model was tested extensively on and off the course and it was one of very few putters in my experience didn’t required a “break-in.” There was no time wasted “getting used to it.”

From the first it was simply a case of picking the line and making the stroke.

Instant confidence.

Did every putt go in? Of course not, but three putts are almost a thing of the past because if the first putt missed the second is close enough to be makeable…even a tap in. Phil Mickelson fans will recognize the #9 Stroke Lab as being the putter he used to win “The Match” against Tiger Woods and Francisco Molinari putted lights out in with a Toulon Madison model winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational making a 43 foot birdie on the 72nd hole.

Brand & Model:

Odyssey Stroke Lab Putter

Key Features:

Graphite/steel combination shaft

Lower torque and flex

White Hot Microhinge race insert

Retail Price & Availability:

$250 in shops now

Need to know:

Controlling distance by redoing weight distribution including a graphite shaft with a steel tip improves stroke consistency. Most popular Odyssey mallet and blade shapes: #7, #7S, Marxman, Marxman S, 2-Ball Fang, 2-Ball Fang S, Red Ball, Red Ball S, Tuttle, Tuttle Flow, VLine, V-Line ang S, V-Line CS, #2, #3; #9, Double Wide and Double Wide Flow.

MTB-X Challenging the Big Guys

MTB-X Challenging the Big Guys

By ED TRAVIS

There’s always a risk when a company tries to improve on a popular product. However, Dean Snell of Snell Golf is not against taking chances if it means a better product for the fiercely competitive golf ball market dominated by Titleist and their flagship Pro V1 and Pro V1x models.

In its fifth year, Snell Golf’s latest challenge to the Titleist number one position is a redo of the MTB Red and named the MTB-X. (As an aside, MTB stands for “My Tour Ball.” Clunky to say the least and which thankfully appears to have disappeared from the company lexicon.)

There are several important differences between the two starting with the Red was a 4-layer construction and the X is 3-layers. Both have cast urethane covers but the X sports 360 dimples, the same as the other current Snell tour-category ball the MTB Black, compared with Red’s 338.

MTB Red was designed for increased spin on approach shots, but feedback from players said some felt it “ballooned” in the wind with an attendant loss of distance off the driver. The X is constructed to maintain the short iron spin for scoring shots and fix the distance issue.

By dropping the Red, Snell still has two tour-category balls in their lineup the MTB-X and MTB Black. The Black has lower iron spin than the X and targeted for play by better players who can effectively control the spin on their irons. In the X driver distance has been increased to be the same as the Black and iron spin was added to increase control. In summary the X has firmer feel (85 to 90 compression) and higher approach shot spin while the Black exhibits softer feel (75 to 80 compression) and lower approach shot spin.

The MTB-X compared with the Red has a smaller core which gives lower driver spin and better ball speed but since the launch angle of the X and the Red is similar the carry distance of the X is better. With a smaller core, as one would expect, the mantle is thicker producing the firmer feel and helping with more spin in mid and short irons.

Perhaps the less obvious difference though is the effect of increasing the number of dimples which made each smaller. Smaller dimples mean the X is less effected by the wind and can be thought of an “anti-ballooning” precaution. They also mean a more stable flight because of less aerodynamic lift and drag.

Snell has impeccable ball-design credentials including being part of teams that came up with some of the best golf balls ever. He was at Titleist working on among other models the original Pro V1 and then at TaylorMade for the first 5-layer ball, the Penta. He is passionate about golf and the contribution he and his company can make producing golf balls that do not take a backseat to any other ball and sell for a significantly lower cost.

Snell Golf uses an online direct-to-consumer business model that eliminates several layers of from the typical green grass/big box way of selling golf balls plus Snell doesn’t have the added expense of paying for endorsements by touring professionals nor multimillion advertising campaigns.

The result from a golfer’s standpoint is a high-quality tour-category golf ball at a price that’s one-third less.

Brand and Model:

Snell Golf MTB-X golf balls

Key Features:

3-piece construction

Cast urethane 360-dimple cover

High spin on scoring shots

White or optic yellow

Retail Price & Availability:

$32.99 per dz. or $27.99 for 5 dz. On preorder

Need to Know:

Tour-category performance at much lower price for better recreational players.

Images courtesy of Snell Golf

Saintnine Golf Balls Introduced in U.S.

Saintnine Golf Balls Introduced in U.S.

Saintnine, a rising leader in the international golf ball industry, has introduced its premium, high-performance product lines into the U.S. market. With its successful launch at the PGA Merchandise Show in January, Saintnine, which offers multiple product options to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of golfers, is gaining recognition with players and retailers coast to coast.

“Saintnine is known around the world for the performance characteristics and appealing, inspirational designs of its golf balls,”  said Timothy Chae, CEO of Saintnine. “Now we are pleased to present the opportunity for American golfers to discover how Saintnine can enhance their games, too, bringing more pleasure and satisfaction to the playing experience.”

Select Saintnine golf balls are marked with a graphic “mental mate,” a colorful character invoking a characteristic that can improve one’s game, in keeping with the company motto: “Strong Mind, Strong Game.” The mental mates, part of the Saintnine story, include: Confidence, Calm, Focus, Endurance, Competitiveness, Joy, Focus, Positivity and Trust.

Inside Striker – @insidestriker – A portable g…

Inside Striker – @insidestriker – A portable golf training aid designed to reinforce proper swing plane and provide instant feedback as you practice. Ideal for driving range, putting green or at home allowing you to practice with a purpose. Practice with every club in your golf bag www.insidestriker.com

TaylorMade’s New Spider

TaylorMade’s New Spider

By ED TRAVIS

You can pardon a clubmaker boasting a little when for 10 years they have made one of the game’s most popular putters and in recent times, consistently week to week the most played single model on the PGA Tour. TaylorMade Golf may have been pushed from the top metal wood sales spot by Callaway and have unfulfilled plans to carve out a bigger chunk of the Pro V1 market share from Titleist with the TP5, but by any standard the Spider putter and its descendants most notably the Spider Tour has been a smashing success.

Bill Price, TMaG’s Senior Director for Product Creation, Putters & Wedges expressed it well, “When we first introduced the original Spider putter in 2008, we never could have anticipated the global phenomenon it has become. With widespread adoption on tours around the world, not only has it become one of the company’s top-selling putters of all time, it has truly shifted the paradigm of putter design toward high-MOI mallets. I’m proud to have played a role in the evolution of Spider and what it has become today.”

The new Spider X follows the basic ideas that made all the Spider models so effective. Extremely high resistance to twisting coupled with a Pure Roll insert face TaylorMade pioneered that gives excellent distance control–the key to making more putts. The weights in the rear have been more integrated to the body with a more streamlined shape. The original weights used in the Spider models were from the R7 driver back in 2006 and now have been replaced with three choices: 2-gram aluminum, 6-gram steel or 12-gram tungsten.

Design of the new Spider X was done in conjunction with the Vision Sports division at Indiana University and augments the single alignment line of the old Spider Tour with a rather bold strip half the width of the ball. According to the research this is the best for an improved path, clearer vision and better perception due to the contrasting white color.

Brand & Model:

TaylorMade Golf Spider X putter

Key Features:

Re-engineered alignment aid

More compact head with changeable rear weights

Thicker Surlyn face insert with deeper grooves

Higher MOI – more stable

Two color combinations – copper/white and navy/white

Price & Availability:

$349.99 in shops Feb.15

Need to Know:

Extensive testing, more than 12,000 12-foot putts, showed 66% of the time golfers hit the ball so the weight distribution of the Spider X which with the new visual alignment ques got more putts in the center of the face. The Surlyn face insert itself, called Pure Roll, is 2 mm thicker at 5 mm and with the grooves cut deeper to give more “grip” to the ball. Since the face slightly deforms at contact top spin is more readily imparted. The more stable head shape provides more weight on the outside of the frame (36% on both perimeters v. 30%). The CG is deeper center (37 mm) or three times deeper than a traditional blade putter. Head is 5% smaller but with heavier steel frame and a very lightweight composite core of only 15-grams compared with 70-grams in the Spider Tour.

A New Way To Play on Apple Watch App From Golf…

A New Way To Play on Apple Watch App From GolfLogix Offers Convenient Access to Yardages, Green Images and More

New update for Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches improves your game at a glance;

Download from the Apple Store for a FREE GolfLogix Plus trial

Golfers can now get exact yardages, green images, score tracking and hole selection, all on Apple Watch. GolfLogix, the complete game improvement app and global leader in GPS and stats tracking technology, has released its latest update on Apple Watch, offering a more convenient alternative to the iPhone. The app is compatible with Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches.

“As we head into the 2019 season, we are excited to introduce our industry-leading golf GPS application to Apple Watch,” says Pete Charleston, President at GolfLogix. “Now with one glance, golfers will have convenient access to all the information they need to improve their game on the golf course.”

With the game-changing GolfLogix app now available on Apple Watch, golfers can focus on the game and the things that really matter—hitting their target.

Download GolfLogix for Apple Watch through the Apple Store and get a FREE GolfLogix Plus trial!

New Single-Rider Cart Adds Fun and Speed

New Single-Rider Cart Adds Fun and Speed

Sun Mountain Motor Sports, an affiliate of industry-leading golf bag, golf push cart and golf outerwear company, Sun Mountain Sports, will unveil a new, single-rider, electric golf cart at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. This new golf cycle, called FinnCycle, promises to add exhilaration and speed up pace of play while being stable and easy to ride. FinnCycle will be sold to golf courses with an innovative revenue-sharing model that reduces the upfront cost to the course. Pre-orders will be taken at the show with product availability in Spring 2019. FinnCycle will be at the PGA Show Demo Day and in Sun Mountain Motor Sports booth #1787.

FinnCycle offers the opportunity to substantially speed up the pace of play by naturally encouraging ready golf with each player driving directly to his/her ball. A sub-two-hour round is within reach.

“Because it’s so unique, people have objections based upon their experience. Instead of debating these concerns, I just ask them to ride it. This new experience speaks for itself, and objections are forgotten”, said Rick Reimers, founder of Sun Mountain Sports and Sun Mountain Motor Sports.

FinnCycle is a two-wheeled cycle with an electric motor and lithium battery offering 36 holes of play on a single charge. The cycle has front and rear suspension for a comfortable ride. The golf bag sits along the center-line of the cycle offering easy club access and stability. Braking is with a hydraulic disc brake.

FinnCycle operates via a proprietary app that unlocks the cycle for use and collects the usage fee in a hassle-free transaction.

FinnCycle will begin arriving at courses in Spring 2019.

Sun Mountain Motor Sports is a new company dedicated to solving golf’s biggest problem: slow play. The company’s new products are designed to make golf fast and fun. The company is actively developing partnerships with golf professionals to change the game. 18 holes in 2 hours or less is the goal. The company’s first offering is a single-rider, two-wheeled cart called FinnCycle. For more information visit www.FinnScooters.com.

PING signs Stewart Cink to equipment contract

PING signs Stewart Cink to equipment contract

Stewart Cink, the 2009 Open Championship winner with more than $37 million in career earnings, signed an agreement to play PING equipment, PING President John K. Solheim announced today. Cink will make his debut as a PING Pro at the Sony Open in Hawaii, which begins Thursday.

In addition to his major, Cink has five more PGA Tour titles and 13 wins on various tours since turning pro in 1995, the year he graduated with a degree in management from Georgia Tech University, where he played on the golf team. Born in Huntsville, Ala., the 45-year-old and his family live in Duluth, Ga.

“Stewart has a long track record of success and overall consistency, evidenced by his wins, top 10s in majors, and the fact that he has competed on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and in four Presidents Cups,” Solheim said. “He has instant credibility, and we know him well because he has played PING irons for many years. Our tour staff has been impressed by his professionalism and his knowledge of equipment. We’re delighted to be associated with Stewart.”
Cink took up the game when his parents, single-digit handicappers, left him at a driving range before he was old enough to go on the course. He is an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, camping, biking and skiing. He called the move to PING a “natural progression.”

“Coming over to PING and formalizing our relationship is a great fit for me,” Cink said. “I have relied on PING irons for years and the tour guys always go out of their way to take care of my equipment needs and make me feel at home. The clubs and all the new technology keep performing better and better. I’m proud to be playing PING clubs and working with people who are passionate about what they do.”

As part of a multi-year agreement, Cink will play a minimum of 11 PING clubs, including a driver and putter. His headwear will display PING on both sides and he’ll carry a PING Tour staff bag. This week he’ll rely on a G400 LST driver, G400 fairway woods, i25 irons (4-UW), and a Sigma 2 Arna putter.

Financial terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed.

Another Unique Design—M5 & M6 Irons from T…

Another Unique Design—M5 & M6 Irons from TaylorMade

By ED TRAVIS

After TaylorMade Golf made the announcement of a pair of drivers with a feature not seen since the days of persimmon woods and balata-cover balls, namely face screws in the M5 and M6 models, its not too surprising they would come up with another example of uniqueness and innovation in the new M5 and M6 irons.

The fourth generation of TaylorMade Golf’s M series irons includes the players-distance category iron M5 for low to mid handicaps and the M6 for mid to high handicaps. With the M6 firmly in the game-improvement category the M5 is aimed at those wanting more of a players-iron look but not ready to go all the way the recently introduced and well-received P760s.

The uniqueness of the M design starts with a Speed Bridge, a robust metal piece tying the topline to the lower part of the iron below the cavity back. TMaG says it is the result of “extensive use of computational modeling and optimization” and in effect stabilizes the head at impact without adding a lot of weight where it shouldn’t be. The Speed Bridge also has helps with the sound and vibration dampening but importantly works together with the sole slot (Speed Pocket) to produce more ball speed.

The Speed Pocket itself has been redesigned for more spin especially for hits low on the face and their testing shows it the M5 and M6 have higher ball speed than the 2017 M3 and M4. The design includes multi-material badges called Hybrar that are part of the iron’s back since the top of the head is stiffer due to the Speed Bridge the point where the face flexes the most is lower. Hybrar provides more efficient dampening.

Matt Bovee, Senior Manager, Product Creation talking about the M6 model was quoted saying, “At TaylorMade, we have always strived to push the performance envelope to give players maximum distance and forgiveness in our game improvement irons. Our new Speed Bridge technology allows us to do exactly that while improving sound and feel at the same time. “

The interior of the M5 and M6 haven’t been overlooked either. To help maintain ball speed across the face and making a larger sweet spot there is TaylorMade’s proven Inverted Cone Technology a configuration sometimes compared to an upside-down volcano.

Brand & Model:

TaylorMade Golf M5 and M6 irons

Key Features:

Speed Bridge from topline to below cavity

Hybrar Compression Damper

New Speed Pocket design

Inverted Cone Technology

Retail Price & Availability:

M5 $999 steel shafts and $1,199 graphite shafts

M6 $899 steel shafts and $999 graphite shafts

At retail Feb.1

Need to Know:

M5 and M6 have a structural metal bar stiffening the top line and a sole slot to give more ball speed with a thin face using TMaG’s Inverted Cone design. Additional vibration dampening and improved feel come from multi-material badges in the back cavity. Hosel is fluted to reduce weight and cavity is undercut to lower center of gravity. M5 is a players-distance iron (45° pitching wedge) with a more traditional looking head and tungsten toe weighting in the long and mid irons 4-7. M6 (43.5° pitching wedge) is a game-improvement iron with a wider sole and more offset.

MIZUNO UNVEILS NEW ST190 SERIES ‘SPEED-ENGINEE…

MIZUNO UNVEILS NEW ST190 SERIES ‘SPEED-ENGINEERED’ METAL WOODS    #MizunoST190 #ReachBeyond

Highly Anticipated Metal Woods Available Nationwide February 2019

Mizuno, the global leader in golf equipment renowned for its expertise in irons, reveals the highly anticipated ST190 woods. After clearing the USGA conforming list, the ST190s made an immediate first appearance at the British Masters with many players putting in to play on tour since, including PGA TOUR players Luke Donald and Keith Mitchell to date. PGA professionals will have the opportunity to see and hit with the new ST190 line at the 2019 PGA SHOW in Orlando later this month.

Mizuno has quietly been a pioneer of metal woods for the entire golf industry.  From the Ti100 (golf’s first mass-production titanium driver), the Masters winning T-ZOID, MP-001 with composite crown, and the MP-600 with sliding weights – Mizuno has introduced many metal wood technologies widely adopted by the industry.

Now with its early success on tour, the Mizuno ST190 appears set to propel Mizuno into the metal wood spotlight.  In addition to being seen in play on tour so soon after its introduction, the ST190 driver was played to win November’s PGA Play-Offs at Antalya in Turkey and worked its way into the bag of Luke Donald.  Donald’s driver choices have long been a barometer for the legitimacy of Mizuno’s launches – the JPX850 being Mizuno’s last to enjoy Donald’s prolonged use.

ST190 and ST190G drivers

The ST190 drivers offer Mizuno’s lowest spin rates and incorporate every known factor in the quest to enhance ball speed and driving distance. Mizuno’s ultra-fast Forged SP700 Ti face now boasts a lighter CORTECH structure to deliver consistently higher ball speeds, with a large carbon composite crown plus the Amplified Wave soleplate, introduced in last year’s ST180 drivers, helping to convert each additional mph into extra yards.

The Forged SP700 Ti face is over 10% stronger than 6-4 Titanium with a fine grain structure that allows a more complex geometry in the CORTECH face, where re-engineered ribs and a Quick Switch internal structure promise even higher performance. The ultralight 12g carbon composite crown means 7g of weight can be optimally redistributed to further boost ball speeds and reduce spin rates. The Amplified Wave Sole features a heavily amplified first wave configuration which expands the ST190’s COR area for improved balls speeds across the clubface, with reduced off-center performance drop-off. Harmonic Impact Technology is the result of a careful study of vibration and soundwaves, which identified the need for internal ribs to create a more solid, powerful impact sound. The whole package combines to squeeze every last ounce of ball speed from the entire clubface in both the ST190 and ST190G drivers.

The ST190 is designed for mid to low spin with maximum stability, and features a single, factory-fixed 6g backweight that adds 300gcm2 MOI for added stability on off-center strikes. The ST190G is engineered for low spin and offers intuitive FAST TRACK adjustability thanks to twin 7g weights on external tracks that can reduce spin by an additional 200rpm, allowing players to achieve heavy fade or draw biases by placing the weights in one track.

In early tour testing, two PGA Tour players with different angles of attack achieved significantly lower spin and marked gains in ball speed and distance, with a more level angle of attack favoring the ST190G model and a more downward angle of attack reaping most benefit from the ST190 model. “The ST190 marks a total change in how Mizuno approaches wood design,” says lead Mizuno golf designer Kei Tsjui. “We now start the development process with our tour players. The tour-tested molds then become our production molds. In the case of the ST190, this produced a high-speed driver with extreme low spin for the tour, but with the capability of increasing spin for lower swing speed players.”

First PGA Tour player to put the ST190 into play Keith Mitchell was as surprised as anyone that he made the switch. “Driving was my best category last year – I walked into testing to do ‘Cookie’ (Mizuno, PGA Tour Manager Jeff Cook) a favor, give him some numbers and leave.  It turned out to be the easiest change I’ve ever made – on the one club I never thought I would switch.  The ST190 was faster, straighter and more forgiving than what I was playing.  I’ve used it ever since and haven’t considered taking it out.”

·         The ST190 driver will be available in men’s 9.5˚ and 10.5˚ models, both adjustable by 2˚ either way, in right hand and left hand (9.5˚ only)

·         The ST190G driver will be available in men’s 9˚, adjustable by 2˚ either way, in right hand only.

·         A range of shafts without upcharge will be available, with new options for 2019 including Atmos Blue 5S, Atmos Red 5R, Atmos Red 5R2, Atmos Red 6R and Atmos Black TS 6S.

ST190 Fairway Woods

The powerful ST190 fairway woods are also speed-engineered and feature a carbon composite crown and amplified Wave soleplate, this time allied to a deeper, high-energy HT1770 Maraging steel face. This deeper clubface flexes more like a driver, helping to maximize ball speed, while the ultra-lightweight carbon composite crown allows 4g of weight to be moved low within the clubhead, combining with the deeper clubface to deliver an efficient, low-spin ball flight.

The Amplified Wave Soleplate’s larger first wave creates a balance between stability and sweet spot height to provide effective off-center forgiveness without excess backspin. Similar Harmonic Impact Technology to that found in the drivers generates a powerful, solid impact sound, fine-tuned through the study of vibration and soundwaves.

The ST190 fairway woods will be available in fixed-hosel 3- and 5-woods along with an adjustable Tour Spoon (TS) 3-wood model that offers a stronger ball flight and in which lofts can be adjusted from 13˚ to 17˚. Again, early tour testing with a PGA Tour player has highlighted an effective relationship between ball speed and spin rates, with gains in the former accompanying reductions in the latter.

“The ST190’s deeper face is not just useful from the tee – it also gives the clubface a larger frame that functions more like a driver for higher ball speed,” says Kei Tsjui. “Normally that is compromised by a higher sweet spot and additional backspin, but by using our carbon composite crown and Wave Soleplate, we were able to combine high ball speeds with an efficient ball flight.”

·         The ST190 fairway woods will be available in a men’s 15˚ 3-wood (right and left hand), a men’s 18˚ 5-wood (right hand only) and a men’s adjustable 3-wood TS (13˚ to 17˚, right hand only)

·         A range of shafts without upcharge will be available, with new options for 2019 including Atmos Blue 6R, Atmos Red 6S, Atmos Red 6R and Atmos Black TS 7S.

ST190 woods will be available nationwide and in Canada in February 2019. For further information or to find out more about Mizuno’s full range of golf equipment, apparel and accessories visit: www.mizunousa.com.