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What You Need to Know About PING’s i500 Irons

What You Need to Know About PING’s i500 Irons


PING had a lot of success with the G700 a game-improvement category iron model last year, so it was logical to rework that design into a players-iron. In fact, the i500 that could be properly put into the relatively new category of a players-distance iron.

Quoting John Solheim, PING President, “The i500 delivers unbelievable distance with amazingly high ball flights. In our testing, some golfers gained as much as 15 yards with the i500.”

The basics you should know about start with the clubhead comprised of a hollow 17-4 stainless steel body and a forged face of C300 maraging steel, a combination to produce better ball speed with higher launch. Even so the heads have a pleasing compact muscle blade-like look at address with lofts in the middle of what we are seeing today in players-distance category irons for the Retro Spec option (more about that below) and offsets are minimal.

Grooves are something PING has always paid a lot of attention to and as you would expect the i500 have precision milled faces. The hosels have a notch which some may think is to facilitate your local club fitter in adjusting lofts and lies. It’s actually there to reduce weight in the hosel for relocation into the clubhead itself to add to the solid feel at impact.

The HydroPearl Chrome 2.0 finish makes for great appearance with the added benefit of the finish actually repels water to at least partially mitigate the effects of moisture that produces “flyers.”

The i500s are available in what PING calls the Power Spec Loft option, i.e., stronger lofts for more distance with lower spin and lower trajectory. There is also the Retro Spec Loft option, the same construction with weaker lofts. Comparing the two: Power Spec 5-iron 22.5° loft, pitching wedge 44°; Retro Spec 5-iron 26°, pitching wedge 47°.

Brand & Model:

PING i500 irons

Key Features:

Hollow stainless-steel body with milled face and grooves

Retail Price & Availability:

$162.50 per club with UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES shaft in shops now

Need to Know:

Better players distance iron with compact head, minimal offset and the look of a traditional muscle back. HydroPearl finish that sheds moisture to help prevent fliers. Power Spec and Retro Spec loft options.

Southwest France’s new golf resort development…

Southwest France’s new golf resort development to be a European Tour Destination

Sparben Golf Resort – a new mixed-use development which will be located in Tosse, near Biarritz, France – has been announced as the next addition to the European Tour Properties network.

The 240 hectare estate is set to contain 45 holes of golf, a spa hotel, residential and tourism accommodation, as well as sports and fitness facilities.

Located in the heart of a dynamic tourism area in the region of New Aquitaine (35 km from Biarritz, 165 km from Bordeaux, 10 km from the beaches of the Atlantic), the resort is intended to be a world-class golf destination, with its two 18-hole courses designed by European golf legend Colin Montgomerie and former Ryder Cup player Jean Van de Velde.

Project planning authority, Syndicat Mixte Landes Océanes, is currently looking to select a Master Developer to bring the project to life, which is a first of its kind in Les Landes region of southwestern France. Once completed it will stand alongside other European Tour Properties venues in France, Le Golf National in Paris and Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort in Provence.

Eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner, Colin Montgomerie, said of the new development: “While my golf career has taken me to many places around the world, and my work as a golf course designer has presented many unique opportunities, there are very few sites that I’ve been involved with that have as much potential as Sparben Golf Resort.

“The combination of heather, sand and pine brings to mind some of the truly great courses I’ve ever played – those of Scotland, my homeland, as well as England, Australia and the north western coastline of the United States.”

Once complete, the resort will offer a broad range of facilities including:
An 18 hole Colin Montgomerie-designed course
Jean Van de Velde’s first 18 hole layout
A 9-hole short course
A state-of-the-art golf academy
A 4* hotel with 80-100 bedrooms, a spa and conference facilities
A holiday village with 100 residential units
Multiple sport and leisure facilities, comprising a wellness centre, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, aquatic games, a multisport field and a traditional “trinquet” court.
Jean Van de Velde, who calls the region home, said: “I sincerely believe that we can realise in Tosse a layout with a unique and authentic character that will find its place among the world’s most elite golf courses, with the design highlighting the splendour of Les Landes.”

The real estate offering will feature 190 frontline golf villa plots available for sale on the southern part of the resort, 100 holiday rental properties which will generate a yield for their owners, and the final residential development area will be designed to provide 500 housing units for the anticipated growth in local population (+ 22% by 2040 in Les Landes). In addition, there will be a commercial area with bars, restaurants and shops.

David MacLaren, Head of European Tour Properties, said: “Sparben Golf Resort is one of the most exciting golf resorts in development at the moment, and we can’t wait to proudly welcome them to our network.”

Syndicat Mixte Landes Océanes launched a tender in September in order to select a Master Developer, which will be free to bring together its own team of investors and resort operators (golf management, hotel and tourist residence, real estate developers).

Interested parties can access the tender documents in full via Les Landes public awarding authority –

European Tour Properties is a global network of world class golf venues across 20 countries on three continents, all of which have a close relationship with The European Tour, one of the game’s foremost organisations.

Golfplan’s Ugandan 18 debuts along headw…

Golfplan’s Ugandan 18 debuts along headwaters of The Nile

Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, now a fully fledged, 18-hole design from the hand of Golfplan’s Kevin Ramsey, celebrated its official grand opening 6-8 October by hosting the inaugural Serena Johnnie Walker Open, an event claimed Ugandan professional Phillip Kasozi who carded a 54-hole total of 222 over the 7,262-yard, par-72 course.

Kasozi’s victory (and a 200-member pro-am staged the next day) capped a development process some 10 years in the making. This slow road has nevertheless produced the finest course in the diversifying tourist region of East Africa.

“The first nine at Lake Victoria took 7 years start-to-finish; the last nine took just 2,” said course architect Ramsey, a partner with Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Golfplan ( “In new golf markets like this one, flexible timelines are the way to go. It serves no one to artificially advance a project according to arbitrary schedules. It’s better to get things exactly right.”

Kasozi was certainly impressed. He called the design “brilliant”, adding that these 18 holes at Lake Victoria Serena will advance the game in Uganda: “On behalf of the professionals I thank all who have made this possible,” he said.

According to Ramsey, who was on site for the grand opening festivities, first among those is resort developer Katrick Halai, CEO of the Kenya-based contracting firm Cementers. The architect also singled out project manager Theodor van Rooyan and the artistry of Phase II shaper Joe Smith.

But surely some credit should be reserved for Ramsey himself, whose design Van Rooyan and Smith followed, and whose development savvy helped realize Uganda’s first international-standard course.

Formed in 1972, Golfplan has brought proper golf facilities to more new markets than any course architecture firm in the game, having created more than 217 original designs in 32 different countries (if renovation and master planning are considered, make that 85 countries). This fall, in addition to Lake Victoria Serena, Ramsey christened the first international-standard course in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia (Tabori Hills GC) and the back nine at Samsun GC, Turkey’s first course on the Black Sea coast.

Half a world away, the week of 18-21 October, Ramsey’s partner in Golfplan, David Dale, watched the world’s top players tackle his much feted design, The Club at Nine Bridges. Reigning world no. 1 Brooks Koepka topped that field, at the U.S. PGA tour’s CJ Cup, with a winning total of -21.

“New course development in South Korea and Uganda can’t get much further apart, geographically and logistically, but the commonality here is getting things right — no matter how long it might take,” Ramsey said. “In a mature market like Korea, where we’ve done two dozen original designs, no course takes 10 years to complete. In Uganda, it’s a different exercise: We essentially created the development standard from scratch. And that would not have happened, ever, were it not for the commitment and passion of our developer, Mr. Halai, who ensured that not a single corner was cut. His commitment to quality never flagged. We deployed all the best materials, Toro irrigation, and the perfect turfgrass for this climate and site, Sea Spray Paspalum, which, like most everything (including bentgrass, for the putting surfaces), required importation.

“As a result, we have a thoroughly compelling golf course in a singular setting — with course conditions the equal of any in Africa. And I include South Africa in that assessment.”

The environment at Serena is naturally dominated by mighty Lake Victoria, a presence on all 18 holes but particularly the start and finish. Ramsey’s design made elegant use of an enormous, man-made lagoon that divides holes 1 and 9 from 17 and 18 — and accommodates the property’s sparkling new marina.

“I’m not sure that’s ever been done,” the architect said. “Those are wonderful water holes, the 1st especially — once you reach the landing area, all of Lake Victoria spreads out before you. The 18th is another picturesque par-4, a sexy little finishing hole that plays to an island green. But it’s something quite special to have a gallery of pleasure boats shuttling in and out of this marina, as the round begins and ends.

“It’s a pretty flat piece of ground there at water’s edge, but those are some of the most beautiful lake-side holes we’ve created as a firm — I’m really pleased with the way our wispy, native-grass areas aesthetically complement the papyrus reeds we preserved at lakeside. At the same time, several holes at Serena play up into natural grasslands dotted with acacia trees that remind me of mesquite trees from the American west. It’s a distinct environment up there, and the long views — over the course, to Lake Victoria beyond — are even more stunning.”

The extended development timeline at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa worked out quite strategically. Located south of the capital, Kampala, the Serena property is today highly convenient to several million urbanites thanks to the newly completed Kampala-Entebbe highway. Kampala is also the point of entry for much of the country’s safari tourism industry.

“Uganda needs diversified tourist attractions and this resort definitely fits that bill,” said Ramsey, who added that his18 holes at Serena are an exotic wildlife tour in their own right. “There are dozens of exotic bird species on course, the Ugandan Crane being the most spectacular. That’s the national bird but the most a massive bird is the strikingly ugly Marabou Stork, which looks like a pterodactyl! There are some lovely monitor lizards out there, too. There used to be a python living in the papyrus reeds along no. 9 — but I don’t go out there looking for him.”

TecTecTec Launches ULT-X Golf Laser Rangefinde…

TecTecTec Launches ULT-X Golf Laser Rangefinder

Most Technologically Advanced Model from Amazon’s Category Leader

TecTecTec – maker of technologically-advanced yet affordable laser rangefinders for golf, which are Amazon’s No. 1 category seller – introduces ULT-X, the brand’s most advanced model and first to feature Target Lock Technology (TLT), which vibrates when a target is identified, as well as optional slope toggle.

Advanced optics and state-of-the-art components provide exceptional clarity and the most precise distance readings of any rangefinder on the market – accurate plus or minus 0.3 yards up to 300 yards. TLT helps golfers quickly determine yardages and can capture distances to a flag at 400 yards and hazards at 1,000 yards. The visible slope toggle function can be activated to calculate elevation-adjusted distances or easily disengaged for USGA-conforming play.

“We seek to provide the absolute highest-quality products at a price that is affordable for all players,” says Renan Lore, Director of TecTecTec. “Unlike other brands, we use the most advanced components and manufacturing techniques to create first-class, extremely dependable laser rangefinders.”

TecTecTec was established to provide products of exceptional quality directly to consumers, thus eliminating middlemen in the distribution chain. By doing so, Lore and his highly talented team of industrial engineers help customers save money while providing access to some of the most tech-forward rangefinders in golf. In addition, TecTecTec guarantees lifelong fast and friendly service by providing valuable assistance and support 24/7.

The ULT-X joins TecTecTec’s popular line-up of leading-edge models, including the best-selling VPRO500 and VPRO DLX. All feature three unique modes: Scan Mode takes measurements continuously to help make decisions on the fly, Target Priority Mode with Target Lock Technology displays distance to the closest subject to pick up the flagstick even when it is in front of wooded areas, and Normal Mode helps read distances to hazards.

The company’s renowned products have an ultra-clear, multi-layered optical lens for excellent visual clarity and 6x magnification with diopter adjustment. Additionally, all TecTecTec laser rangefinders are equipped with a CR2 battery, wrist strap, microfiber cleaning cloth and quick start guide.

Every purchase includes customary free shipping, a two-year warranty and a ‘love it or your money back’ 30-day full refund guarantee when ordering online at

Big Bertha Irons & Hybrids

Big Bertha Irons & Hybrids


Since Callaway Golf came out with the first Big Bertha irons back in the mid-90s the name has been resurrected several times including in 2014 with irons having the very well thought of 360 Face Cup construction. These Big Berthas helped push Callaway into the top spot in iron sales and made Big Bertha the bestselling iron model.

The 360 Face Cup provides flex to the face at impact and helps energy transfer to the ball so there is more ball speed and distance.

For next season the Big Bertha name is back on their newest super game-improvement irons and hybrids. Big Bertha irons have the 360 Face Cup and several new features whose goal was to make an easy to hit iron with lots of distance potential and the sound and feel golfers like. The Big Bertha face is thinner, so the rebound effect or COR is higher particularly in the center and low on the face since golfers benefiting the most from super game-improvement irons tend to hit the ball thin much of the time.

This led to designing what is being called a “Suspended Energy Core,” club-speak for a structure inside the clubhead that performs a couple of functions including moving weight lower in the head to produce a higher launch.

The Suspended Energy Core consists of a tungsten weight that is different for each iron loft iron. The type of tungsten Callaway uses is very dense, about 2 ½ times that of steel, and cannot be welded to steel versus the tungsten used by most manufacturers which is only 50% denser. Because of the type of tungsten, the weight is wrapped in a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) sleeve before inserting it in the iron’s cavity. Then a liquid containing lightweight urethane microspheres is injected into the hollow part of the head and it holds everything in place after it hardens. The microspheres allow for compression when the clubface deflects meeting the ball as well as acting as a vibration dampener to improve feel.

All this gives a precise placement for the weighting so launch is at the proper angle still allowing face deflection for distance and control.

The heads of the Big Bertha 19 are more traditional looking than the previous Big Bertha OS irons, but the sole is still fairly wide, and the shafts have a strong offset. Lofts are slightly stronger as well with the Big Bertha 19 having a 43° pitching wedge, a degree stronger compared to the OS. The finish is smoked PVD and they offer a choice of stock shafts: Recoil ESX, Recoil ZT9, and KBS Max 90.

A set of Big Bertha irons 4-iron through attack wedge with steel shafts are $1,200 or with graphite shafts $1,300 and both with be in shops Jan. 18.

Callaway is also the number one hybrid on the market and for next season the Big Bertha hybrids give higher handicap players both a steel Hyper Speed Face Cup, an adjustable hosel and for the first time Jailbreak Technology.

Jailbreak is Callaway’s unique system of rods behind the face running from crown to sole used originally in the Epic 2017 driver and now the top selling Rogue 2018 driver. The rods have the effect of stiffening the crown meaning it doesn’t deform as much at impact. Energy otherwise lost in this change of crown shape can go into the ball to produce more yardage.

As with all golf clubs weight distribution is a key when dialing in the potential distance and control so the Big Bertha hybrids adjustable hosel is shorter and weighs 12 grams less. The saved grams were moved lower into the clubhead to help give an easy launch with lots of carry.

Along with the clubheads having a high resistance to twisting or MOI two higher lofts have been added, a 7-h 30° and 8-h 33° expanding the possibilities for mixed set make ups to match the needs of most any players.

The new Big Bertha hybrids carry a list price of $269.99 each with either Recoil ESX or ZT9 shafts and go on sale the same date as the Big Bertha irons Jan. 18.

Mizuno Announces Attendance at the 2019 PGA Me…

Mizuno Announces Attendance at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show

Full Portfolio of Mizuno Golf Equipment, Bags and Accessories On Display; New Product Releases Slated for Show

Mizuno announced the company’s plans to participate in the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 22-25, in Orlando.  Mizuno will offer hands-on product testing at the PGA Show Demo Day and showcase a comprehensive lineup of its newest golf equipment, bags and accessories on the PGA Show Floor to more than 40,000 attending PGA Professionals, golf retailers and industry leaders from around the world.

“The golf industry is changing at high speed. A critical piece to Mizuno’s success has been our relationship with golf professionals – the club fitters and PGA Professionals who are engaged in the industry every day. The PGA Merchandise Show is a valuable opportunity to connect and foster important relationships that impact our business,” said Jeremy Galbreth, Director of Golf, Mizuno USA. “Mizuno has had great momentum and this was the right time for us to present ourselves again to the largest gathering of PGA Professionals in the world.”

The return to the PGA Show will layout a new vision for Mizuno in golf with focused attention around the JPX irons which have had a stand-out season on tour with two major wins. In addition, Mizuno has plans to headline highly anticipated new product releases leading up to and at the show.

“We are excited to welcome back Mizuno to the PGA Merchandise Show,” said PGA Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President, Marc Simon.  “Attending PGA Professionals and retailers value the opportunity to experience their newest products in person while interacting with their company leadership.  Their presence on the PGA Show Floor and at the PGA Demo Day helps to build a dynamic marketplace and a valuable forum for our industry to collaborate and drive forward the business of the game.”

The PGA Merchandise Show is the global golf industry’s annual summit for the business of golf hosting some 1,000 top golf companies and brands and more than 40,000 golf industry professionals. PGA Show Week begins with PGA Show Demo Day, the world’s largest professional golf testing event, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Orange County National Golf Center. During PGA Show days, Jan. 23-25, the latest equipment, technology and trends are uncovered within nearly 1 million square feet of exhibit, demonstration and meeting space of the Orange County Convention Center.

Cobra’s Speedback

Cobra’s Speedback


Designing golf clubs always involves compromises but the two attributes every manufacturer is looking to build into their clubs are distance and forgiveness. The reasons are pretty obvious—distance sells clubs especially drivers and forgiveness means average players find it easier to hit.

According to Cobra Golf’s research the four primary factors golfers look for are distance first, followed by accuracy and then forgiveness followed closely by price. Their R&D team lead by vice president Tom Olsavsky felt they needed to apply next-level thinking to the problem and the result was the KING F9 Speedback driver and an entirely new club family. Each family member and especially the driver, stress aerodynamic efficiency paired with a low center of gravity, something that is very hard to do.

The primary reason is a truly “slippery” shape with a minimum of aerodynamic drag usually requires the driver crown to be rounded making a relatively high profile. This raises the CG (center of gravity) and hurts distance by decreasing the effective loft at impact plus makes for increased ball spin. Also, to complete this physics lesson, two other facts need to be taken into account. A driver’s face is thicker and heavier than the other parts of the clubhead plus the hosel, which also has substantial weight, is forward and even with the face. Both tend to move the CG forward and higher exactly opposite of back and lower.

The quest for more clubhead speed and distance is not simple.

Cobra’s solution came from what they call next-level thinking or as Olsavsky put it, “We believe we’ve found the ultimate formula for speed as true aerodynamic innovation and low CG has never been combined this successfully. Our Speedback Technology blends a more efficient aerodynamic shape with a lower, deeper CG and our thinnest, hottest CNC Milled Face design to deliver unparalleled speed, distance and precision in our F9 Metalwoods.”

Before we tackle how this was done I can report actual results on Trackman comparing two of the best-selling drivers and the KNIG F9 Speedback, each of which was fitted for my swing. The F9 Speedback had a six mph increase in ball speed compared to the average of the other two drivers with the same 15° launch angle and 400 rpm less spin which gave 11.4 yards additional carry. These of course are excellent results, ones that anyone would be happy with making this newest from Cobra one that every golfer should put on his or her list to test.

The Speedback’s design uses a combination of some key elements beginning with the carbon fiber crown that actually wraps around the body—a first in golf. The design raised the skirt (heel and toe edges of the head), the tail or aft clubhead edge along with the crown center. Cobra then made the front leading edge more rounded to lower the drag to give them a more “slippery” shape.

The company calls this package 360 Aero Technology which also makes use of polymer trips or mini-fins on the crown, titanium trips on the sole and PWR Ridges on the crown. These all channel air flow and the Ridges act as crown stiffeners to retain more energy rather than allowing the crown to flex as much which partially eats up the force of impact of club on ball.

The crown construction has 12% more carbon fiber that the KING F8 driver and saves 10 grams of weight compared to an all titanium crown.

Moving down the path to low drag-low CG required a redesign of the 8-1-1 titanium body and they came up with something they tagged as Speedback Weighting. While the heel and toe portions of the sole are tapered from front to rear the center part of the sole is not and houses two weights (14g and 2g) that are reversible front to back to adjust launch and spin.

Cobra also retained the CNC milled face of the previous driver models as it offers precise response hand finishing cannot. In addition to help on those rare, rare occasions when we miss the center of the face (right!) the top half of the Speedback’s face has more curvature or bulge and the bottom half of the face less. All this to is meant to preserve ball speed for our less than perfect angles of attack and mishits. Loft adjustments are accomplished with Cobra’s well-regarded MyFly technology with Smart Pad that provides eight settings.

Three men’s models of the F9 Speedback driver, one women’s model and one junior model will be available at retail Jan.18, 2019. For men a 9° (low launch/low spin), 10.5° (mid launch/mid spin) and 12° (high launch/high spin). For women 12.5° (high launch/mid spin) and juniors 12.5° (high launch/mid spin).

Pricing is $449 with a choice of shafts and COBRA Connect Powered by Arccos, which automatically collected data on every swing, is included at no extra cost.