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PowerBilt moving the way of… Mixed Martial Arts?

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As the age-old question goes: Are golfers considered athletes? Ok, maybe not age-old. John Daly, Craig Stadler and even Jack Nicklaus put kinks in any argument that the stereotypical definition of athleticism is required to be a successful golfer. However, with athletes like Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods choosing golf instead of another “more athletic” sport, the argument now has some substantiality. The youth of today is seeing younger, more fit players taking the reigns of professional golf.

PowerBilt is taking the argument a step, a few powerful kicks and a choke-hold farther by signing professional MMA fighter Cub Swanson to their team to promote the company’s new Air Force One DFX driver and other new releases. Swanson is an avid golf who grew up in Palm Springs, Calif., and will help PowerBilt in their marketing campaign with an edgier personality.

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“We’re in the process of signing other extreme sport athletes,” said Ross Kvinge, president of PowerBilt. “Cub is the first because of his passion for golf and his connection to the local community. Cub gives us the opportunity to enhance the future of golf and the idea of golfers as athletes. In signing Cub, other MMA athletes, and additional extreme sports figures, we are reaching younger demographics to entice them to consider PowerBilt for their golf equipment. We are breaking the mold of who golf companies should endorse.”

Not only does the new campaign influence young athletes to take up the game, but it will help develop their bodies to become more powerful, specifically for the needs of a golf swing.

“PowerBilt will announce a power golf fitness program in 2014 that will showcase Cub and other extreme athletes,” Kvinge said. “The program will feature custom fitting instructions and extreme fitness techniques with the theme of ‘get your game power-built’ from the ground up with PowerBilt Golf.”

Golfers like Rickie Fowler, who engages himself in the motocross and extreme sports world, help to expand the horizons of golf and perception of the sport. PowerBilt is moving in a similar direction.

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“We need to get them off the electronic games and out on the course,” Kvinge said. “The youth are following the extreme sports athletes and we feel we can have an impact by reaching out through our athletes and introduce them to golf. PowerBilt will reach out to baseball players, MMA fighters, BMX, Motocross, surfers and snowboarders.”

The newest technology from PowerBilt represents the edgy quality of the company’s marketing direction and philosophy. The Air Force One DFX driver features Nitrogen N7 “Nitrogen Charged” technology, which is a newly patented method that reinforces the club face without adding weight.

The driver also comes equipped with a forged titanium body, titanium cup face technology and what the company calls an “aerodynamic clubhead shape.” It’s available in either a high MOI or Tour Series, with lofts of 8.5 degrees, 9.5 degrees, 10.5 degrees and 12.5 degrees. Both drivers are sold at retail starting at $299.99, with an upcharge for certain shaft models.

Maybe the PGA Tour won’t be stealing its tour pros from the UFC or NBA anytime soon, but the sport of golf is definitely moving in a more athletic direction with the help of PowerBilt, and a generation of younger, in-shape and body-conscious players.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Anthony

    Apr 29, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Does anybody remember that Calloway tried something like this? Commercial with tattooed guy hitting a ball out of a trailer. Remember the Diablo?….?…..neither do I. Powerbilt is still Powerbuilt….the club that big box stores sell to people that are new to golf or don’t want to/can’t spend the money on name brand clubs. Good marketing try but I am going to stay with name brands a model year or two old or demo’ed and save some money.

  2. TheLegend

    Apr 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    This is why power built is being forgotten. What are they thinking? I could bring powerbuilt to new levels. This direction will only hurt the however.

  3. Dave S

    Apr 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I don’t get it… seems like they’re trying too hard. There’s not even a crossover at any point in the commmerical b/w the two sports. It’s just a guy doing MMA with a Powerbilt tee on and then pics of a driver interwoven. This could have been more effetive IMO had at the end the MMA guy changed into athletic golf apparel, pulled the driver, gave a mean look down the fair way and then crushed a drive.

  4. 3 putts

    Apr 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Pay atention to most low handicap golfers. They often are the more than not a pretty good athlete. Comparing NFL players to pro golfers is apples vs oranges. It’s not even fair to compare a defensive back vs an offensive lineman. I think of Olympic athletes that throw javelin or dicus. It requires good form to optimize efficiency and maintain consistency. Are they athletes? Hard to deny if you see there physiques. Golf is like this. Can you do it and not be athletic? Sure, but don’t forget about that unathletic kid that played right field in little league. He played but prob wasn’t very good.

  5. Justin

    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I can’t see any of my buddies that are fans of MMA dropping 300+ bones on a driver with a bunch of tribal graphics.

  6. Elmo

    Apr 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Golf is a sport because physical training is will make you better. Those who are physically fit have an advantage over those who are not. You could play soccer while holding a beer and being 340 lb. You just will be out advantaged by those who are in shape. Therefore the difference between a sport and a game is wether physicality makes any difference.

  7. christian

    Apr 22, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Sport it is, just not an athletic one. Hand eye coordination and balance does not make you an athlete. That would be like calling throwing darts an athletic sport, or archery, fly fishing.

  8. Scooter McGavin

    Apr 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Are kids still into extreme sports? I thought the extreme sport fad ended a decade ago…

  9. Christian

    Apr 22, 2014 at 12:27 am

    That driver looks like it wants to take me into an alley n kick the s**t out of me..I’m scart.

  10. Miles

    Apr 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Ok I’m sorry but did you proof this before posting? Additionally Rickie Fowler is into Motocross not BMX…

  11. RG

    Apr 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    If you can drink beer and smoke cigarettes while your doing it it’s not a sport it’s a game.
    If your waist is 46 and your length is 34, your not an athlete, but you could be a golfer.

    • MHendon

      Apr 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      That’s just a stupid statement. You can drink beer and smoke while playing any sport and I’m pretty sure there are some guys in the NFL and maybe even the major leagues with a waistline pretty close to that. If your only definition to what makes a sport running then I guess golfs not. But to me great balance, body coordination and hand eye coordination are very athletic traits. Elite golfers display if nothing else great hand eye coordination so its definitely a sport. Just look how unathletic golf makes some of the so called greatest athletes of other sports look. Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky almost look spastic and don’t even let me get started on Charles Barkley!

      • christian

        Apr 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

        How do you smoke and drink beer WHILE playing soccer, do a high jump, wrestle etc etc?

        • MHendon

          Apr 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

          How do you do it while swinging a golf club, you don’t! its in the breaks between shots. Not different then a guy sitting on the bench in any other sport between action. Its just the moments of action in golf are shorter followed by longer moments in between.

      • TheLegend

        Apr 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

        well said.

    • Jlam1127

      Apr 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Well, look up Roy Nelson… he has just about a 46 inch waist and he’s a pretty solid athlete….and also the linemen in the NFL…

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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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