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5 Reasons why last week’s PGA Merchandise Show was the best in a decade

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For someone who’s attended about 30 of these extravaganzas, the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show stood out. And not for any earth shattering product launches. I’m sure avid users of GolfWRX knew about—indeed, had seen photos of–most of the hard-goods introductions well before the show.

See photo galleries from the 2014 PGA Show here.

When the show “Product of the Year” is a modified, motorized skateboard–the GolfBoard—it suggests a low bar for product breakthrough. There were no great parties—not like the old days when you needed secret sites and rationed ID badges to keep things under control—or split-level booths or dancing girls or even a show floor you couldn’t walk in a single day.

But beyond reasonably healthy traffic (1,000 exhibitors and 40,000 buyers), this show mattered because it embodied an industry finally facing reality.

Preamble. The game we play, the game of golf itself, is fine. And we’ll continue to love it and play it like we always have. But the industry that must attract and keep new players in the game is not fine. It’s like a range picker that’s leaving half the balls behind. It’s behind. Which is why this year’s show was a breath of fresh air. It owned up to that in a big way.

Five ways the 2014 Show really worked

1. It confronted real participation numbers. For all of the research done on golf participation and spending, and there is tons of it, little of the hard data makes its way to the public. Leaders express “concern” over “declining play,” but rarely present unpleasant statistics in the unvarnished way that Dr. Joe Beditz, the normally cautious president of the National Golf Foundation, did the night before the show at a TaylorMade-sponsored gathering on getting golf going. “Two or 3 years do not a trend make,” said Beditz. “But 10 years does make a trend. We’re leaking golfers—5 million in 10 years.” It got darker: “One in four core golfers has left the game,” he said. Adding, “Core golfers (eight rounds or more) account for 90 percent of golf spending.”  This “cancer” reported Beditz, is exacerbated by a nagging image problem. Only 25 percent of non-golfers see it as fun. I saw Beditz the next day. He said he hated playing the role of “the doom and gloom guy.” But it was critical that the room of several hundred pros and media heard it just that way. This is why we need new ideas, it said.

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2. It produced an intriguing vehicle for generating unconventional new ideas: Hack Golf.  At the same presentation TaylorMade President Mark King, the host, introduced Dr. Gary Hamel, a golfer and management expert who has used crowdsourcing to take companies forward. Crowdsourcing is, basically, a public suggestion box. Similar to the way that code is open-sourced, so are ideas for a business’s strategy.  This solicitation of outside ideas is known as “hacking” the business. Hack Golf is the program Hamel devised to help golf get out of its own way, to listen to ideas from non-golfers and former-golfers alike. Many of these ideas, it’s thought, might suggest alternative forms of golf—FootGolf, a kind of combination soccer-golf played in Las Vegas with 21-inch holes—for example. From thousands of suggestions, King, PGA President Ted Bishop and Hamel hope, will come a few hundred solid ones, a handful of brilliant ideas, and two or three to take to market now. Hack Golf is the boldest thing golf has done to reinvent itself. It’s brave. And controversial. Will operators embrace ideas that complicate their lives? We’ll see. Let’s hope it makes a dent. Check out HackGolf.org or find it on Twitter Make a suggestion.

3. It took on the Millennials issue. The show included seminars on marketing to Millennials, teaching Millennials, understanding Millennials. Golf Digest led the way here, presenting research on this group of “non-conforming conformists” ages 18 to 34 who are a key to golf’s future, and a lot of other industries’ as well. Right now significantly fewer Millennials (11 percent vs. 14 percent) are playing than their predecessors. (So are the 35-39-year olds). The Millennials who do play represent great additions. They respect golf’s traditions—they would love to join a country club and don’t think denim should be worn on the course, for example—but they don’t necessarily feel like they are welcome, or have earned the status of “real golfer.” They love numbers and overwhelm teachers with their desire for measurement and tracking. “Sometimes you have to turn off the video and say, ‘Let’s just go chip,’ said one teacher,” and they tend to be very visual. But they also love to inject a bit of added fun into the game and aren’t above, say, playing music on the course. I played with two young Millennials at the hot new Streamsong Resort the day after the Show. Matt was a former NCAA D-3 golfer and his friend Gretchen was a Speed Golf competitor. Good players. A serious runner, she took up golf only five years ago and now shoots in the 70s. Once they got to know me, they introduced me to their music game. Out came the iPhone and on came the Stones. The player who won a hole chose the next 3 songs. I played well, but not well enough to call up Van Morrison!

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4. It featured dazzling and increasingly affordable technology and tracking. By my estimate, digital devices that track balls, trace swings, depict great courses that you can play virtually and measure your progress, took up fully three and a half pages in the Show directory—a record, and about 60 percent of hard-goods pages—as well as a huge “share of voice” at the show. GoPro was there, but so was Ion Cameras, that in addition to taking video, links to PowerChalk, a swing-analysis software. Trackman was there, as well as FlightScope, which showed off how its X2 launch monitor can be paired with a BodiTrak, a mat that measures set-up, weight placement and weight shift.

There were software programs that allowed for real or almost real-time communication with your teacher and gave him or her the ability to chalkboard your swing on a video you’d sent. Golf Coach Direct was one. Then there was Game Golf, which during your round, “in the background,” records your shots and stats. This desire to measure and track, somewhat lost on those of us with “caddy” swings built entirely on feel, is nonetheless a huge part of the game for most of the next generation of golfers. They live in a corporate world where data reigns, and they want quantitative answers to everything from spin rate to launch angles. Half the fun for some of these golfers is the charting and tracking and measuring itself.  And young tour players and coaches are no exception. Sean Foley, according to someone who’s watched him, will teach one player while watching the TrackMan stats of another as that player hits balls. The Ping nFlight Motion attachment brings that kind of digital feedback to fitting. Which is why it was one of GolfWRX’s “Showstoppers.”

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For weekend amateurs, playing virtual golf may be part of the deal. I ran into my old friend Doug White in Orlando. The former head professional at Barton Hills in Ann Arbor, Mich., Doug is now teaching and managing OntheDunesSports, an indoor golf training facility where during the winter Avids play rounds on virtual versions of Pebble, Pinehurst, you name it, and during the summer watch (or play) beach volleyball outside. Doug runs pro-ams on virtual tour courses opposite tour events, and walks the line making suggestions on how players can improve their ball-striking. “The screen doesn’t lie,” says this transformed “old school” pro. “The feedback is immediate.” And so, mostly, is the fun. Go to the “Dunes” web site and the first thing you see is the bar. (Reminding one of the Top Golf site). Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 

5. It demonstrated, more convincingly than ever, how “hard” science is helping coaches keep golfers physically and mentally fit. In the tiny booths tucked along a lane leading to the hitting area, we found some very cool things. This is the part of the show I love. At a corner booth there I spent time with Dr. Debbie Crews, a mental-side consultant to Arizona athletes and tour players, whose new book, “The Science of Golf and Life,” makes the connection between our body’s chemistry and our emotions. She was promoting program called THINQ Golf, a kind of Lumosity for golfers. (Sign up and try a “brain game.”)

In a small booth near the hitting range David Leadbetter was promoting Juvent, a device that looks like a scale but transmits “micro impacts” to your leg and spine bones that increase blood flow and promotes bone health. That, too, evolved from hard science: NASA’s efforts to keep astronaut bones stimulated while mostly motionless in space. Fitness devices abounded. One I liked a lot was a collection of slick fitness and balance devices called SmartBodyGolf, promoted by Jeff Ritter, Nike Golf Schools director of instruction, and Randy Myers, of Sea Island, a fitness consultant to many tour players. SmartBody’s “Performance Pack” is about all you need to get and stay fit for golf. I was also curious about HHP2, by Hydro Family Fitness, a source of weight and fitness aids that use water in tubes to strengthen your motion as you swing and shake them. It’s called “Hydrokinetics.” Changing water into muscles? I guess.

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Bob Carney is a Contributing Editor at Golf Digest, writing for the magazine, its web site and sister publication Golf World. He’s an avid golfer and a single-digit handicap who has earned awards for his coverage of the industry and recreational golf. He is co-author, with Davis Love Jr. and Bob Toski, of How to Feel a Real Golf Swing. Prior to joining Golf Digest, Carney wrote for the Bergen (NJ) Record and contributed stories to People Magazine and Time, among others. He earned a B.A. From University of Michigan, attended Columbia University Journalism School, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, where he managed to get in one or two rounds of golf.

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. daveb

    Feb 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Affluent boomers and greed-heads (e.g., developers) have sucked the air out of golf, period. It is a demographic problem for sure. Kids can’t go play because of the old men elbowing each other out of the way on the courses where they’ve driven up the green fees to $90 a pop on what used to be affordable muni courses.

    Ask this: where are the kids going “play”? The sport is backpedaling to the days when kids with numbers after their names will be the only participants.

    Developers built a course by the old dump in our town — it opened up with $88 green fees, stamped with “Troon Golf” on the front door. Ha, Troon at the dump! And this fee to play on dead sod under twig-trees held up by stakes in the ground…

    Another private course opened out on the plains: a “links course” charging $50K to join and $10K annual fees. Guess what, they went bankrupt too. Everyone wants to cater to the rich, with delusions like they’re Pebble Beach — and not deal with the poor unwashed masses — i.e., the kids who have no money and are looking for somewhere to “play”.

    When I was a kid anybody who wanted could walk to the school and play the practice holes cut next to the corn field. Or you could play with your grandpa who was a member of the city course — for free or little of nothing.

    Munis are dead, affordability is dead. Golf since 1980 has been a march toward disaster. Heck, maybe it should die. If things don’t change all our kids will be playing frisbee golf or hackey-sack golf, because fun, cheap, fast, friendly games will oust DULL, EXPENSIVE, SLOW, UNFRIENDLY ones every. single. time.

    • Evan

      Feb 21, 2014 at 11:39 am

      a bit doomsday, yet making a lot of great points. I’ve said many times that much of what golf and it’s “professionals” care about is profit. Sure, operators and manufactures will claim they care about golf’s future, but only the short term future that benefits them. If golf truly cared about it’s future and the number of players, it wouldn’t sell out to equipment manufactures, golf cart manufactures and chemical companies (pesticides, etc). Most communities should have a muni or public facility (even if it’s 9 holes) that is available and responsible to the community as a whole. Golf carts, equipment sales, artificial turf management, have all contributed to a “elite” environment on most courses. Most operators cater to the customer who buy equipment every year and spends extra in the bar.

  2. Pingback: Juvent Sports

  3. Roger

    Feb 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Driving Accuracy and speeding up the game for ALL people

    Yesterday i picked up some 1990 Hogan BH Irons…
    Tee’d up the 3 iron on 6 holes of the 9 i played!
    Very accurate….could i start a new trend???
    ps BH grind and Apex 4 shafts…..my search is over!

  4. Andrew

    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    It is simply absurd to think that basis points 1 and 2 in this article have anything to do with the premise that the 2014 show was the best in a decade.

    Golf participation is down, get the word out (like the author was the only bloke in the room that found this to be an epiphany)…. what a great Show!!!!!

    Hack Golf is live (since when do “intriguing ideas” amount to a great show? Last I checked, innovative and salable products do) ….what a great show!!!! Really?

  5. Joe

    Jan 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    One of the main killers is the sheer and amazingly huge arrogance of golf courses and their refusal to change, improve, listen or take action.

    Insanity: doing things the same way and expecting different results!

    I see this daily at the courses in my area: So many fail at the fundamentals that is laughable, how are they going to get the bigger stuff right.

  6. mlamb

    Jan 31, 2014 at 9:39 am

    As a few have already noted, the problem is driving accuracy and its negative effect on pace of play.

    Go to any public course on a weekend and sit at the first tee. The amount of wayward drives is astounding. Almost every group ends up becoming a search party.

  7. paul

    Jan 30, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    As a 31 year old who discovered the game only two years ago, I didn’t mind the money or time it took to get confident at it… But my wife sure doesn’t like it. I bought everything in my bag used and on demo sales (thanks Golf Town). Also used coupons. Costs me about $1000 per year to play. Can’t imagine what you guys all pay. I can’t imagine spending $450 for a single club, My wife would shoot me to.

    • ?!?!?!?!

      Jan 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Grow a pair perhaps? You have every right to spend cash that YOU worked for on golf, Its not drugs or anything lol. She probably spends $100 bucks on a damn haircut, has 50 pairs of shoes at $40-$150 a pop. And spends close to 500 on make-up. Dont Feel bad at all, unless you dont work and pay nothing to contribute.

      • Baka

        Feb 12, 2014 at 8:50 am

        If you are not honest with her and set boundaries it will only get worse. Don’t feel bad about getting out of the house and having fun. Encourage her to do the same.

  8. Jonny Bravo

    Jan 30, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    hack golf is a joke. the sheer financial burden on players and potential players is the main reason of the decline. Think about it. We currently have a tour full of the most exciting players in the game, and we’re still losing members. Is it an interest issue? – i think not. Over the last “ten years,” a lot has happened to the financial industry, and thus, most of the golfing population. A world where you could once earn 15% on a savings account in the 70’s and pay next to nothing for a city membership is over. If they want to keep the game of golf growing, the hype is here – that’s not the issue.

    • Jonny Bravo

      Jan 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      why would this comment be awaiting approval?

  9. KCCO

    Jan 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I think it’s quite simple. I have lots of friends 18-34, most REALLY enjoy playing the game. Watching? Only when tiger is playing As for them diving in and completely taking up the game? For most I hear the same thing, it’s to expensive.

    I guess it all has a cause and affect. If the game were more affordable, more would play, in turn more would watch, thus making all aspects of the game more easily attainable. Majority of the group I speak of, borrow clubs to play 4 rounds at local muni, and watch when tiger plays. A very small percentage dives in completely, ie. country club, putting a reputable bag together (just meaning decent quality gear) a few outfits for the course, and could tell you who Luke Donald is. I wish it were more people, and easier to get into, but now that I think about it, it is expensive…I truly think that’s why this game lacks growth, and beside my once a week “group”, I’m playing with a new person on a decent amount of outings, and his make-up is 50 years+, 80k annual income, and 9 outta 10 times a great person. Just wish more could be done to get that younger crowd more involved.

  10. Evan

    Jan 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    So much confusing and conflicting information in today’s game. You want to fix it? Try telling Taylormade/ Callaway/ Ping to start promoting accuracy and selling drivers with 13 degrees of loft and 43 inches long for 90 % of golfers. Move courses back to 6000-6500 yards and place a premium on accuracy (which will also decrease maintenance $ and shorten rounds).

    That would just be a start!

    • Evan

      Jan 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Here’s a crazy idea… instead of placing a limit on groove size (which is impossible to tell on a round to round basis or at an amateur tournament). Place a limit on Length of Driver (or longest club)… 43″. It would be very easy to regulate, even for amateurs and between that and 460cc/ COR manufacturing limitations, courses could be shortened and the average player would be more accurate and play faster.

      I see people every day pull out there new 46″ driver which the manufacturer says is the best driver ever made and yank it into the bushes 180 yards away. How hard is it to tell the person that they spent $400 on a driver that doesn’t address the hardest part of golf? Accuracy and Consistency…

    • Ty Webb

      Jan 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Tee it forward dude……

      • Evan

        Jan 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        Tee it forward requires guys to check their egos at the door… which most won’t. You can call it what you want, but most will still refer to forward tees as “ladies” or “seniors”. I have only met a couple people who will tee it forward because it makes the game more fun for them. Limiting driver length would help high handicaps hit the club face more consistently, shortening a course would tee it forward without having to have an individual admit that he needs to tee it forward. Average driver length on tour is 44.5″? They don’t advertise that, though… would ruin the distance marketing.

  11. mick

    Jan 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    The proper course of action is likely the opposite of whatever Mark King thinks is a good idea.

    • jason

      Jan 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      if they keep pushing hack golf you lose the core and then it will die …. why does a past time have to grow its a game….. sorry if your international business is only making 1 billion a year tm/adidas is ruining the game. by pushing there bottom line as growing the game… golf it not losing golfers it losing people buying new clubs or a least in the areas I have seen with my own two eyes

    • Rob

      Jan 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      HAHA!
      So true; SO true…

    • Mikey

      Feb 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

      + 1

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Equipment

A Deep Dive: The equipment timeline of David Duval, 1993-2001

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Like Tiger, David Toms, and Fred Couples there are certain players that I have been obsessed with for years. If you go to my Instagram, you can see it in plain sight. When it comes to DD it was more than the what, it was the why, the how that sparked my curiosity. Let’s face it, in 2000 with the Mossimo gear, Oakley shades, jacked-up physique, and on Titleist staff, was there ever a cooler looking player?

No. There wasn’t or isn’t.

That’s where my interest in Larry Bobka came about. I saw David and Larry walking the fairways of Sahalee at the ’98 PGA Championship.

At the time, I was already knee-deep in David Duval fandom but that experience took me over the top. Bobka had a handful of clubs in his hands and would pass DD a 970 3-wood, Duval would give it a rip and the two would discuss while walking down the fairway. Of all my time watching live golf, I have never been so awestruck.

This is an homage to David’s equipment during his prime/healthy years on the PGA Tour. From his early days with Mizuno, into the Titleist days, and finally Nike.

1993-1995 Mizuno

*This was an interesting time for Duval from an equipment standpoint. The pattern of mixing sets to put together his bag began and it was the time he transitioned from persimmon (Wood Bros driver) into metal woods. It was also the beginning of his long relationship with Scotty Cameron, a relationship that still stands today.

What was in the bag

Driver: TaylorMade Tour Burner 8.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (*he also played with the Bubble XHKP Prototype)

3-wood

King Cobra @14 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

TaylorMade Tour Issue Spoon @13  w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Irons

1993: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1994: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1995: (2,3) Mizuno TC-29, (4-PW) Mizuno TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Mizuno Pro (53, 58) with Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport (35 inches, 71 lie, 4 degrees of loft)

Ball: Titleist Tour Balata 100

Glove: Mizuno Pro

1996-2000 Titleist

The beginning of the Titleist years started off quietly. There wasn’t any new product launched and David wasn’t quite the star he would become 12-18 months later. However, it gave Titleist the opportunity to get to know DD and his overall preferences, which aren’t dramatic but certainly unique. He didn’t win in 1996 but did qualify for the Presidents Cup Team and finished that event off at 4-0. So the buzz was going in the right direction and his peers certainly took notice.

It was 1997 that things took off on all fronts and it was the year that Titleist made David Duval the face of the DCI brand and with that decision spawned the greatest cast players cavity ever: the 962B—and also equipped David Duval to go on a 3-year run that was surpassed by only Tiger Woods.

Hence the deep dive article I wrote up earlier this month

What was in the bag

Driver

1996

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

1997

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

King Cobra Deep Face 9 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100, True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ Fujikura Prototype X

1998

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

1999: Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) @ 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

2000: Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

3-wood

1996

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1997 

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1998

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X


Callaway Steelhead 3+ @13 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Titleist 970 (Dark Grey Head) @13 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (only tested this one)

1999

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

Cobra Gravity Back 14.5T w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Irons

1996

(2-PW) Titleist DD Blank Prototype w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

(2-PW) Titleist DCI Black “B” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

*This prototype set was a blank set of the DCI Black “B” but with sole modifications. 

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black (4-PW) Titleist DCI 962B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

*David liked the original prototype version of DG Sensicore X100 that had weight removed from the center of shaft to create better feel and a slightly higher trajectory

24 Feb 2000: David Duval watches the ball after hitting it during the World Match-Play Championships at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

Wedges

1996: (52 @53, 58) Mizuno Pro, (56 @57) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1997: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG, (58) Titleist Bobka Grind, (57 @58) Cobra Trusty Rusty w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1998: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTGw/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1999: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

2000: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER

1996: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport 1 35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft, Scotty Cameron Long Slant Neck Laguna Custom (double welded neck)

1997: Odyssey Dual Force Rossie 2, Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

1998, 1999, 2000: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

2001: Nike Golf and The Open Championship

The relationship with Titleist Golf ended quickly and when David showed up to Kapalua with a non-Titleist stand bag the rumor mill went nuts. The story (although super speculative) was that David opted out in the middle of a $4.5 million per year deal with Acushnet, a lawsuit followed, but Davids’s stance was that he had a marquee player clause that allowed him to walk if he wasn’t “marquee” aka highest-paid.

Apparently he had a point, Acushnet had recently inked big deals with Davis Love and Phil Mickelson leading someone on the outside to do the math. However, I’m not an attorney, wasn’t there, and have no clue what the legality of any of it was. Point is, he walked and landed at Nike with a new head-to-toe contract. 

 

DRIVER:

Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975Z Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Nike Titanium w/ True Temper EI-70 II Tour X (pictured below)

Nike Titanium Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (featured image)

3 WOOD:

Callaway Steelhead Plus 4+ @15 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Nike Prototype @14 degrees w/ True Temper EI-70 Tour X

Sonartec/Excedo (SS-03 head) Driving Cavity @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

IRONS:

(2-PW) Titleist 990B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

(2-PW) Nike Prototype “DD” Grind MB w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

(2) Titleist DCI Black w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

 

WEDGES: 

(53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

(53,58) Nike DD Grind w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

SPEC TALK

Over the years the one constant was David’s iron and wedge specs. As a shut-faced player he has always favored traditional lofts in his irons. However, a cool thing to note is his lie angles remained constant 59.5 (2-4), 60 (5-9). The running theory here was being a shallow (low hands) and shut faced player, keeping the lie angles at a constant (flatter) lie angle allowed him to feel like his angle of attack could remain the same for each iron. It’s just a feeling but that’s what he did. If the “why of it” is true, it looks like he was doing Bryson things before Bryson did.

David Duval Iron/Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 2-17/59.5/40.25/D5
  • 3-20.5/59.5/39 1/6/D4
  • 4-24/59.5/38 9/16/D4
  • 5-27/60/38 1/16/D4
  • 6-30.5/60/ 37 9/16/D4
  • 7-35/60/37 1/16/D4
  • 8-39/60/36 9/16/D4
  • 9-43/60/36 5/16/D4
  • P-47/61/36/ 1/16/D5
  • GW-53/62/35 5/8/D4
  • LW-58/62/35 9/16/D6

Whew…since this prolific run, David transitioned into some interesting projects with smaller companies like Scratch, B.I.G Golf (AKA Bio-engineered in Germany), back to the mainstream with Nike, and most currently Cobra Golf.

I hope you all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me, Duval is not only fascinating from a career standpoint but digging into the equipment of DD has been quite the experience.

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Equipment

“Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?” – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and how to hit your numbers consistently. WRXer ‘Hubb1e’, who is a 15 handicap, is having issues and says:

“I recently upgraded from 20 year old Taylor Made 360 irons to a set of custom-built Callaway Apex 19 Forged irons. Old irons were traditional cavity back. New irons are categorized as players distance irons. Both have the same fit.

My new 3 iron will go 230 yards or 130 yards and not even make it far enough to reach the fairway. My new 7 iron will typically go 160 yards but will often will fly 175 yards or drop out of the air at 120 yards. I can’t control the distances of my new irons, and I spent a fortune custom fitting them to my swing. Why is this happening? This was never an issue with my old irons. A bad hit would go 10-20% shorter, but I never had balls fly over the green or completely fall out of the air. What is going on with my new equipment?”

Our members offer up their solutions 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.

  • ThreeBoxers: “Strike quality is your answer. Tech or no tech, irons will not have 50-yard distance discrepancies. Not super familiar with the Apex irons, but they’re pretty forgiving no? You might lose 10 yards on toe or heel strikes but 40, 50? You’re probably hitting it heavy. If they have a beveled edge, it may mask the feeling of hitting it fat a bit, but not the result. My Mizunos have a pretty aggressive front edge grind which helps a ton on heavy shots. It’s the difference between landing 15 yards short and 50 yards short. +1 on using foot spray to check impact.”
  • extrastiff: “It also would not hurt to check your swing speed. Even strike being terrible that’s a large discrepancy. Maybe your last build had a weight that helped you get consistent swing speed.”
  • WristySwing: “I would say inconsistent strike is the biggest issue. Now that can mean a couple of things. It could mean you, as in the person swinging, are not hitting the ball properly because of inconsistent delivery. The other option is the fit is bad, and it is causing you to be extremely inconsistent because you cannot feel the head. It might be a little bit of column A and column B. However, I would lean more towards column A in this scenario because even a horrifically misfit set someone could get used to it eventually and not have 100 yards of discrepancy in carry shot to shot. I’ve seen people who are playing 50g ladies flex irons with fat wide soles who are very shallow and swing a 6i 92mph still not have 100 yards of carry flux with their sets. If your miss is toe-side 9/10x that is because you are coming too far from the inside. When you get too stuck on the inside you typically stall and throw your arms at it. When you break your wrists (flip)/throw your arms at it you get a very inconsistent low point average that often manifests in extremely fat or thin strikes….typically fat since your squat and rotate is out of sync with your release. As others have said, get some impact tape/foot powder spray and see where you are actually making contact. Then if you can get on a video lesson and see what the issue is. As of right now, we can all only assume what is going on. If your low point control is good, you don’t get stuck, and you are hitting it in the middle of the head — then fit comes into question.”
  • larryd3: “I”d be on the phone to my fitter and setting up a time to go back in and see what’s going on with the irons. You shouldn’t be getting those types of results with a properly fit set of irons. When I got my fitting earlier this year at TrueSpec, the fitter, after watching me hit a bunch with my current irons, focused on increasing the spin on my irons, not on distance but on consistency. So far, they seem to be working well when I put a decent swing on them.”
  • fastnhappy: “One possibility that wouldn’t necessarily show up indoors is sole design and turf interaction. You may have a real problem with the newer clubs because of a sole design that doesn’t work for your swing. That’s hard to tell when hitting inside off a mat. If so, you’d see major distance inconsistency because of strike. The feedback I’ve seen on the players distance irons is exactly what you’re describing… difficult to control distance.”

Entire Thread: “Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?”

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about their favorite watch for golf

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In our forums, our members have been discussing their favorite watches for golf. WRXer ‘Sourpuss’ asks fellow members: “Dealer’s choice, cost is of no concern. What would you wear if you could afford it? Top 5 of your choice?” and WRXers have been weighing in with their choices 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.

  • sheppy335: “Garmin S40. Love the feel and look.”
  • golfkrzy10: “Apple iWatch with the hole 19 app. Yardage, score, fway, and putts. Perfect for my minimalist walking views on the golf course.”
  • jcboiler: “Second the Apple Watch. Need to look into the apps though.”
  • Deadsquiggles: “If it didn’t bother me to play with a heavy watch, I’d wear my Deep Blue NATO Diver Automatic. But instead, I wear my cheap GShock.”
  • Golfjack: “I thought I was going to come in with a witty comment about my expensive watch, but looks like I’m late! Anyway, I wear my Galaxy Active 2 normally now. Used the Golf Caddie app for a few times. It worked well enough, but I don’t see it helping too much. Still prefer using apps on the phone if I need GPS info. Otherwise, I just use my rangefinder.”

Entire Thread: “Favorite watch for golf?”

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