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Show Stoppers: Day 3 at the PGA Merchandise Show

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Team GolfWRX is in Orlando to be your eyes and ears at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show.

Enjoy our last edition of “Show Stoppers” — the newest, coolest products we found at Demo Day and inside the Orange County Convention Center.

Cleveland Wedge Analyzer Powered by Swingbyte

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In the realm of golf club fitting, wedges are far and away the most complicated. There’s so many variables to consider: loft, bounce, a golfer’s swing, the course conditions, etc.

Cleveland’s new Wedge Fitting App works in tandem with SwingByte to make the fitting process painfully simple.

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To get fit for a wedge, all golfers have to do is select their course conditions and make a swinging motion of their choice (chipping, pitching, a flop shot, etc.) with a club equipped with SwingByte.

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The free app uses an algorithm based on angle of attack and several other variables to recommend one of Cleveland’s three different wedge grinds, and can also recommend wedge lofts based on what set of irons a golfer plays.

Cool Clubs S3 Shaft Analyzer

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Scottsdale-based custom club fitter Cool Clubs hopes to make shaft fitting simpler with its new S3 Shaft Analyzer, which measures every important shaft parameter — straightness, consistency, deflection, stiffness profiles, frequency, torque and more — on a single machine in just 2.5 minutes.

The S3 was designed and built by Cool Clubs, and the company has published data of more than 1000 driver shafts on its mobile app.

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The app is free, but gearheads will want to pay $20 for a 1-year subscription that unlocks all of Cool Clubs’s shaft data.

The company plans to perform similar tests to each shaft category going forward.

Puma shoes, a block of ice and Blair O’Neal

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Puma’s new TitanTour shoes are designed to keep your feet cool, but we’re not sure the shoe – or even the ice sculpture shoe display – can cool down Cobra-Puma brand ambassador Blair O’Neal.

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The shoes are designed to regulate temperature by using Outlast Certified Space Technology — designed for NASA to manage temperature in spacesuits  — which explains the astronaut mannequin trying to photobomb our photo of Blair.

To learn more about the TitanTour shoes, click here.

Epson M-Tracer MT500GII

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Epson’s M-Tracer MT500GII is the latest in the fast-growing category of lightweight, affordable golf swing analyzers.

The M-Tracer weighs a featherlite 15 grams and a built-in inertial measurement unit, derived from Epson’s industrial sensors, providing golfers with detailed information about their club head speed, swing tempo, face angle, club path and more.

The device is part of Epson’s new Active product category, a line of sports and fitness devices that the Japanese electronics company has developed to give athletes accurate, easy-to-understand data on their performance.

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The M-Tracer measures the swing at 1,000 samples per second and uses bluetooth to wirelessly transmit swing data to iOS and Android devices. It works with Epson’s M-Tracer app to create a 3D “trace” of the club head, further in-depth analysis and allows golfers to store up to 3,000 swings of a golfer’s swings in the cloud, according to Epson representatives.

The device will be available March 15 at endorser David Leadbetter’s Academies and through Epson’s website for $299.

Mitsubishi Rayon KuroKage XT

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The prototype shaft Mitsubishi Rayon shaft used by Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy is coming to retail.

It’s called the Kuro Kage XT and is manufactured in the company’s Toyohashi facility in Japan with a higher grade carbon fiber material that gives the shaft less torque and a stiffer tip than Mitsubishi’s Kuro Kage Silver TiNi shaft.

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The KuroKage XT (bottom) has an ion-plated finish.

It will be available in April and will sell for $400.

Sam PuttLab 

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There’s a few scratch golfers on the GolfWRX team, but the putting analysis and training system made the SAM PuttLab exhibitor say “Yikes” to our strokes.

The new Sam PuttLab 5, which uses ultrasound technology and algorithms to track the movement of your putter head, now allows the golfer or fitter to watch a 3D replay (below) of the stroke. It’s like watching your stroke on TV – even though some of GolfWRX’s putting strokes were made for radio.

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SAM’s new PuttLab App also allows users use their smartphone as a remote control for the PC software and share their data results on social media.

Always wanted a PuttLab? The company has a PGA Show discount running through Feb. 15, which gives consumers a $500 discount and free shipping. Sam PuttLabs start at $6,495.

Full 2015 PGAM Coverage

Show Stoppers: Demo Day
Show Stoppers: Day 2
Show Stoppers: Day 3

Visit our 2015 PGAM forum to see all the photos and discussion.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lee H.

    Jan 28, 2015 at 12:59 am

    That Cleveland wedge analyzer was right on point when I tried it at the show. It validated what I knew all along about my swing, which is that I sweep the ball. Therefore, it recommended their 1-dot wedges (something with less bounce), which also helps with the playing conditions I play in.

    Also, I would like to mention that the new version of the Srixon Z-Star that was given to me at the show has noticeably more spin on it than the 2013-2014 version. Those with swing speeds under 105, I’m 92, will appreciate the better feel of the ball and increased spin.

  2. Glen Coombe

    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    We’re happy to have made the news! SAM PuttLab & BalanceLab are constantly being improved. Our new 3D replay is very exciting. I combined both technologies with my Putting Perfection Platform to great reviews… By those who experienced it.

    Check the Putters forum for more info.

  3. Lane

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    The name for this article came from someone that stumbled on the new show at the Wynn casino in Las Vegas. At least that’s the first thing that came to mind. Show Stoppers. It’s being advertised all over in Vegas

  4. Lane

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    The name for this article came from someone that stumbled on the new show at Wynn

  5. Dolpglundgrenade

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Seriously? So nothing. There was nothing new or interesting to the average wrx reader? I guess you should skip putting this up and focus on other fun and interesting facts about the show because this is s###. C’ mon man.

  6. JEFF

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    This is what’s boring golfers into doing something different. I’m a golfer and ready to take up bowling after reading about this crap!

  7. Jacko

    Jan 24, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Boring… Any chane of something useful, the “hype” of this golf show is such a disappointment, when will people realise the only way to improve at this sport is to actually have some ability, work hard on your game and understand what you are capable of mentally on the golf course! Shaft and wedge analysers ?? … ZZZZ

    • Rich

      Jan 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Please see my comment below. You need to look more closely at the pictures my friend.

  8. Philip Kim

    Jan 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Kuro Kage XT? Sweeet

  9. Jay

    Jan 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Wow. Four swing analyzers and a pair of shoes. That’s all you got? Snooze…..

  10. austin

    Jan 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Big fan of what blair is doing

  11. bob

    Jan 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    well, that was boring.

    • Rich

      Jan 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Are you kidding. Did you see Blair O’neil?

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Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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Tour Edge EXS Pro Forged irons launched

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Tour Edge is expanding its better player targeted EXS Pro line with the addition of the all-new EXS Pro Forged irons—a tour-inspired design developed with multi-material technology, and looks to match.

Just like the limited edition EXP Pro driver, the EXS Pro Forged irons utilize the highest quality materials and processes to deliver a golf club built for the most discerning players. The goal of designer David Glod was to produce the most forgiving distance iron possible in a player-preferred package and the EXS Pro Forged live up to the lofty challenge.

 “As a club designer, I love player iron designs that are as beautiful as they are playable. These three designs were made to be irons that are drooled over by the core golfer, not only in looks and feel, but in how they perform.” David Glod – Tour Edge Lead Designer

“I believe that the milled forged iron connoisseurs out there are going to be very impressed with the playability we were able to combine with a traditional forged feel.”

Inside the Exotics EXS Pro forged irons

The EXS Pro Forged cavity iron is constructed of Japanese S25C mild carbon steel to offer an extremely soft feel to the golfer. After the forging process, the faces are CNC milled to precise tolerances and the grooves are designed to maximize performance throughout the set. The CNC milling of the EXS Pro doesn’t stop at the face either—the cavity is designed to boost MOI as much as possible in the compact clubhead, so the back of the club is also CNC milled to offer the thinnest face possible without sacrificing feel.

Speaking of feel, the term forged can be overused in the world of golf club construction with some lesser companies only stamping precast pieces once and calling them forged, but the EXS are not those clubs. The S25C club heads are triple-forged (struck 3 times at very high-pressure) to offer a thinner, stronger clubhead that allows the designer to push more mass to the toe and heel weight pads for more forgiveness and more consistent ball speeds across the face. To further improve feedback, the iron has an acoustic engineered cavity insert consisting of a polymer and a dampening gel to provide the best possible sound and feel.

Now about ball speeds and technology: The 3- 6-irons in the EXS Pro Forged cavity have a concealed 10g tungsten toe weight to push more mass away from the hosel and make the clubs more forgiving on heel and toe misses in the longer irons. This is similar technology to irons that are priced much higher in the market.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons will be available for purchase on June 1, 2020 through select Tour Edge retailers and custom club fitting locations.

The stock shafts are: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro—available in regular and stiff flex—as well as True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 in R300, S300.

The stock grip will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

$149.99 per iron.

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New limited-edition Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges unveiled

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Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Tour Edge has unveiled its new limited-edition “Straight From the Tour Van” Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges featuring forged designs with CNC milling.

Per Tour Edge, the Exotics EXS Blade irons combine “tour-level inspired looks and feel with advanced materials and innovation to produce the most forgiveness and distance possible in a player’s iron.”

Each iron and wedge are individually milled from carbon steel and “engineered for players who look for the ultimate in control and shot shaping.”

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The new Tour Edge EXS Blade irons feature a narrow sole, a thin top line, and a beveled leading edge and square toe design. The irons also contain a shorter blade length and a cambered top line in a bid to provide golfers with a more compact scoring iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Designed with advanced CAD technology and pure milled forging, the new additions from Tour Edge feature micro-cavity face and scoring lines that are all individually CNC milled and designed to offer maximum responsiveness and control.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Fully USGA conforming, the blades are CNC milled on both sides, which aims to offer golfers a club that has extremely tight tolerance and consistency from iron to iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The clubs feature Japanese S25C carbon steel, which is chrome plated with a dual finish. The irons contain a high polish and a satin finish in all the milled areas of the clubhead.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The sole of the EXS Pro Blade iron head features a rounded radius on the leading edge of the clubhead – a design which seeks to significantly reduce drag and turf interaction through impact to provide ultimate consistency on every shot.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Specs, Availability and Pricing

  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro: R-flex, S-flex, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105: R300, S300
  • Grip: GolfPride Tour 360
  • Price: $149.99 per iron
  • Availability: June 1, 2020

Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade wedges

Designed from Japanese S25C Carbon Steel, the new blade wedges from Tour Edge are individually CNC milled on the face and grooves in design to create maximum spin from advanced groove engineering.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Milled Forged wedges utilize dual-groove construction, with the lower loft (50° – 52°) wedges designed with deeper, narrower grooves while the higher lofts (54° – 60°) have wider grooves.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The Exotics EXS Blade wedges feature a Center of Gravity (CG) that has been moved up in the clubhead with a milled-out center design. The milled-out center on the wedges leads to more weight being positioned both up and down in design for greater distance control on shots higher and lower on the face.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Pro’s sole grind on the new blade wedges seeks to reduce bounce from the heel and toe for greater versatility when hitting a variety of shots, especially from difficult lies. 

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The blade wedges contain a Flare Toe design which places the center of gravity higher in order to provide for lower launch and more spin. A chamfer was also added to the trailing top line of the wedge for a slightly thicker top line that moves weight up without affecting the aesthetics of the top line at address.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

As with the blade irons, the wedges are 100 percent conforming to the USGA rules.

Specs, Availability and Pricing

Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Flex

Grip: GolfPride Tour 360

Price: $149.99 per wedge

Availability: June 1, 2020

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