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WRX to the Rescue! The 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

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This year’s Holiday Gift Guide was created for one simple reason: to make sure the golfers on your gift list get the coolest golf stuff possible.

Our equipment editors put their heads together and created a list of our favorite golf gear available this holiday season. To make things easier for you, we’ve provided online links for your purchases to help you avoid the chaos of shopping during the holiday season.

The best gifts don’t have to break the bank, but maybe they’ll help your friends and families break 100, 90, 80 or even par this coming golf season, and look good while doing it. Check out this list of 14 gift ideas in three categories: Stocking Stuffers ($60 or less), Game Changers ($200 under) and Big Ticket Items ($299 and up).

Stocking Stuffers: $60 or less

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Titleist golf balls with free personalization

Titleist is offering a rare holiday deal — free personalization on all Titleist golf balls, including NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT Solo. The free personalization covers three lines of block writing, with 17 characters allowed per line. Imprints can be made with black, blue, red, green or pink. Personalization ideas include full names, initials, nicknames, Twitter usernames (@GolfWRX), Twitter hashtags (#WRXgiftguide), inspirational messages (“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way”), or something more creative/funny (“Warning: Not a Flotation Device”).

Even more customization is allowed for Pro V1 and Pro V1X, where golfers are free to personalize a ball’s number with single or double-digit numbers (00 and 10-99). Individual numbers are also available on NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); and DT SoLo (1-4) models, however, an additional charge (usually as little as $1) may apply. Orders can be placed at any Titleist golf ball retailer.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.titleist.com/teamtitleist/b/tourblog/archive/2013/11/01/free-personalization-on-all-titleist-golf-balls-promotion-returns-for-the-holidays.aspx”]Learn More[/button]

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: $18

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This gift, although the cheapest on the list, might pack the biggest punch. It’s required reading for any golfer, and a cold winter is the perfect time for a golfer to catch up on instructional and inspirational reading. Harvey Penick was deemed as the “Socrates of the golf world” by Sports Illustrated. He grew up as a caddy at Austin Country Club, coached the University of Texas Golf Team and was the personal golf coach of countless half of fame golfers including Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, and Davis Love Jr. The book is packed with knowledge, stories, techniques, golf lessons and life lessons from Penick’s storied career in the world of golf.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451683219/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1451683219&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Ping iPing putter cradle: $30

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The iPing app is a free download available in the App Store for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, the iPod touch (4th gen.) and is also a free download on Google play for the Samsung Galaxy S III. The app works with the Ping putter cradle ($30) that holds the mobile device and clips onto the putter shaft. The combination of the app and cradle allow for the player to analyze consistency based on three criteria: stroke type (face rotation), impact angle (putter’s face angle compared to address) and tempo (duration of backswing vs. forward swing). It measures consistency over a period of five strokes, and develops a putting handicap (PHcp) that drops as consistency improves. It’s innovative in both putter fitting (with a recommended putter tab that suggests which Ping putter that fits you best) and stroke improvement. The cradle fits into a stocking and is a no-brainer for any golfer with a smart phone.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AMYMDU4/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AMYMDU4&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

110% Flat Out Sox compression socks: $60

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Flat Out compression socks target key zones for enhanced support, stabilization and performance. The graphic design on the socks works like kinesiology tape, which supports major muscles, enhances endurance, boosts circulation and provides comfort. The design is a little loud for the golf course when wearing shorts, but with pants it is easily concealed. They are perfect for golfers, who spend 4+ hours walking, twisting and turning on their feet. Get your family, friends and their feet the most innovative compression socks on the market.

[button color=”red” link=”http://110playharder.com/shop/flat-out-sox/”]Buy Now[/button]

Kingmade Jerky: $32 (assorted four pack)

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Kingmade was started by Luke List’s caddy, Jeff King, who made pounds of this mouth-watering jerky in his kitchen and shared it with other caddies and players on the PGA, LPGA and Web.com tours. The taste and tenderness was undeniable, and word spread quickly. Now, it’s in the diets of Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and a growing amount of other top golfers. Kingmade Jerky comes available in three flavors (Classic Recipe at 60 calories per serving, Buffalo Style at 50 calories, and Sweet Chili Pepper at 70 calories), each made from tender beef flank steak, rather than the tougher top round steak that most jerky is made from. Jerky is the perfect golf snack because it doesn’t melt, provides sustenance for energy, is easily transported and simply tastes great. Kingmade can be ordered as an Assorted Flavor Four pack ($32), a Single Flavor Six Pack ($48), or a Single Flavor Premium 1 lb bag ($54). See what the professionals are going crazy about by ordering some of this delicious jerky for your loved ones. Maybe they can’t play like Tiger, but they can snack like him!

[button color=”red” link=”https://kingmadejerky.com/cart/assorted-flavor-four-pack”]Buy Now[/button]

Official GolfWRX Gear

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GolfWRX gear makes the perfect stocking stuffer for any golf fanatic. A wide selection of Imperial Headwear hats are available in our online store, highlighted by the Flat Brim Snapback ($22) pictured above.  The selection also includes Knit Beanies ($18) to keep you warm in the winter months, Oxford Bucket Hats ($25) that block the sun when the weather starts to heat up and the more standard look of the Back 9 Flow Cap ($21) and the Back 9 Tour Visor ($21). The store is full of goodies from your favorite golf site including 2013 special edition poker chipsWRX head coverspolo golf shirtsiPhone casesumbrellasgolf grips and towels, among much more. If you want quality gear with a great look at a cheap price, check out our golf shop for the perfect stocking stuffers.

[button color=”red” link=”http://outfitted.golfwrx.com/”]Click here to shop in our store[/button]

Game Changers: $200 and under

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Seamus pitch mark repair tool: $75

This hand-hammered repair tool is something most golfers will never know they needed, especially when the price increases to $95 when 2014 hits. At 2.1 ounces, the tool weighs just more than a golf ball, providing enough heft to fix any ball mark. It’s made from 1018 Carbon Steel that patinas through continued use and looks more like something an ancient warrior would use as a weapon than something a golfer needs to maintain a putting surface. But we think that makes it cool (click here to see more photos, as well as videos of its construction). Each repair tool also comes with a pouch made from select remnant tartan and twill waxed canvas.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.seamusgolf.com/products/pitch-mark-repair-tool”]Buy Now[/button]

Cleveland Golf Smart Sole Wedges: $99.99

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The Cleveland Golf Smart sole wedges feature a wider sole design that reduces digging into turf and sand, and promotes clean contact around the greens from a multitude of different lies and situations. This is a game-improvement line of wedges designed to help golfers increase their ability to get up-and-down from anywhere. The C-Sole wedges are designed for more consistent chipping around the greens from grassy surfaces. The S-Sole wedges perform best from the bunker, providing ease through the ball in sandy surfaces. The combination of a C-Sole and S-Sole wedge will equip struggling short gamers with the tools necessary to build a better game.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FR2SMO2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FR2SMO2&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Bushnell Neo-X GPS Rangefinder Watch: $149.99

bushnellgift

Bushnell’s Neo-X GPS Watch provides all the distance-measuring information that a golfer needs, and will do everything that a caddy would– except carry your bags and clean your clubs. The Neo+ Watch was simple and accurate with a long-lasting battery life, and this mode has made wonderful improvements. The added features include:

  • Automatic Hole Advance: The GPS automatically changes holes as you move throughout the course without having to press a button.
  • Auto Course Recognition: Press “Golf” when near the course and choose from the list provided of nearby courses.
  • Preloaded Hazards: Gives distances to hazards and lay-up areas.
  • Lighter, thinner, and more comfortable: It won’t get in the way of your swing, and is only slightly bigger than the normal wristwatch. It’s the lightest and thinnest golf watch on the market.
  • Tee-time Start: A cool feature that allows you to program the day and time of a tee-time, and the GPS will start seven minutes prior to the programmed time without any additional set up.
  • Longer Battery Life: Battery lasts for 3+ rounds of golf without having to recharge.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C6NCDUO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00C6NCDUO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Big Ticket Items: $299 and up

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Miura MB-001 Tournament Blades: $235 per iron

“We don’t automatically come out with a new blade every year, so this is a big event,” said Adam Barr, President of Miura, about the release of their new MB001 forged blade irons. His public address is either humble or quite the understatement, since this is the company’s first blade release in six years. The MB-001 have a refined sole shape and Miura’s signature satin finish that makes them almost a shame to hit. But they’re even more pleasing at impact thanks to their handcrafted construction and the company’s painstaking attention to detail.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.miuragolf.com/shop_mb001.asp”]Learn More[/button]

Nike Method Mod Putters: $299

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Nike Method “Mod,” which is short for modern classics, add a splash of modern technology to popular putter designs from the past. Each of the four putters comes equipped with Nike’s Polymetal groove technology to increase MOI and provide a better roll. The Mod-30, pictured above, is modeled after an Anser-style putter and is more square than the Method 001 that Tiger Woods has in the bag. Also in the line of classics is the Mod-60, a half-mallet style putter, the Mod 90, modeled after the classic Bullseye design, and the Mod-00, modeled after RAM’s Zebra putter that was popularized in the 1970’s.  This is a phenomenal gift to show your loved ones a sense of history without sacrificing improvements in modern technology.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLZW6CS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00GLZW6CS&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Signature Model 1 ($375)

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Bettinardi teamed up with Matt Kuchar to design the ultimate Arm Lock putter. The result is the Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Signature Model 1, which Kuchar used to capture this year’s WGC-Accenture Match Play and The Memorial tournaments. The Kuchar 1 is face-balanced with a wide body, which adds to the putter’s heel/toe weighting and increases stability. It also has Bettinardi’s F.I.T Face (Feel Impact Technology), grooves that are milled over the company’s Honeycomb face finish and removes 55 percent of the face material for a softer feel (click here to read our full review). The Model 1 is sold at a standard length of 42 inches and 7 degrees of loft, which encourages the Kuchar’s Arm Lock style of putting. A more traditional 35-inch length is also available.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FWVZN22/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FWVZN22&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Callaway Apex and Apex Pro Irons: $1099

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The Callaway Apex Pro irons combines the classic look of a blade with innovative technology to increase distance and forgiveness. Multi-material construction and Callaway’s new 37WV grooves add modernity to the previously released 2013 Callaway X Forged line. High-density tungsten was also added to the sole to lower the center of gravity (CG), which allows long-iron shots to fly higher. And the iron’s faces are made from 455 Carpenter steel faces, giving them even more pop.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FYJVO0M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FYJVO0M&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons: $799

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TaylorMade’s SpeedBlade irons are long: seriously long. They look, feel, and sound better than the company’s RocketBladez, which were the hottest selling iron in golf in 2013. The SpeedBlade has a more muted sound at impact, and removed a chunky toe section to give the long irons a lower CG than RocketBladez. A SpeedPocket, a slot in the sole of the 3-through-7 irons, allow for more flex on impact, which expands the sweetspot and adds more spring-like effect. Click here to read a full review of the TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons. 

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FM2P4U2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FM2P4U2&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Fred

    Dec 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    As much as I’d love to own a set of Muira’s, I’ll have to stick with my less expensive Mizunos. That said, though, considering all the hype about Mr. Miura’s clubs – especially how well built they are – I’ve often wondered why few, if any, pros use them. I can’t be the cost.

  2. Raymond Rapcavage

    Dec 3, 2013 at 8:27 am

    …And if none of those gifts float your boat try THE GOLF SWING SHIRT ! Stop buying new clubs..buy a new golf swing !!!

  3. Mitch Oakes

    Dec 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Well this list will go straight to the girlfriend

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Equipment

Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing both boutique brands and major OEMs and why the former “trail the OEMs in drivers and woods”. WRXer ‘gr8 flopshot’, who plays a bag full of boutique clubs bar woods, poses the question and it’s got our members talking in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • DaRiz: “Irons, wedges, and putters don’t change much, and for all the technology OEMs try to pack in there, it’s more about how they look and feel. So boutique can fit in nicely here. Drivers/FW, on the other hand, definitely benefit from the millions of dollars in R&D, and it is probably really hard to compete. You can argue that COR is maxed out, but the tiny changes in launch conditions, spin rates, and forgiveness add up.”
  • MattM97: “One reason why I and most other lefties don’t go boutique is options. At least with OEM’s for drivers and most woods we get the most of what is released, some versions and loft we don’t get but better than nothing. I’m not against boutique; I love my putters, I love the look of a lot of wedges, I would absolutely love a set of Japanese forged CB irons one day. Just woods I’ll stick to OEM options.”
  • sniper: “The Wishon 560’s I had built years ago were as good (or better) as anything I’ve had. My current set of MP-18SC’s and Wishon’s are the best feeling irons I’ve played. Both came from a club builder and not built by the OEM. Obviously on the Wishon’s.”
  • RogerInNewZealand: “Genuinely good point. It’s like why we buy JDM, Yonex Ezone 420…and the famed J33 Bridgestone driver from long ago! T.E.E is another one..always a surprise there. With your wood/driver if your sorted that’s fine! You don’t have to bag an exotic club to hit fairways.”

Entire Thread: “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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