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Show Stoppers from Day One: 2016 PGA Merchandise Show

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After Demo Day on Tuesday, The PGA Merchandise Show moves inside the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for its remaining three days. Enjoy the “Show Stoppers” we spotted on Day One, as well as our general galleries below.

RoboGolfPro

A golfer tries Sergio Garcia's swing.

A golfer tries Sergio Garcia’s swing.

This may hurt to hear, but you’ll probably never hit a golf ball like a major champion. But with RoboGolfPro, you can feel what it’s like to swing like one.

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At the PGA Show, RoboGolfPro teamed up with TaylorMade to bring you the ultimate experience. While waiting in line to try the experience, PGA Show attendees could feel what it’s like to hold grips that were molded by the hands of Jason Day (pictured above), Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Fabian Gomez. Then, they could swing like them, too.

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The patented system uses robot arms to guide the club (to height scale) on the exact swing path of golf pros, but can also be used in an instructional setting to help golfers feel a certain path, which is determined by the instructor.

RoboGolfPro is in golf academies and instruction centers across the country and the world, and has recently opened two new locations; one in London, and another at the Mike Schy Academy in Madera, Calif. They’re available for personal purchase also, but will run you approximately $150,000.

SeeMore expands Giant putter line

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Most golfers know a SeeMore putter when they see it, thanks to the company’s Rifle Scope Technology (RST). The gun-sight alignment system uses a red dot on the top rail of the putter, which golfers “hide” with the putter’s shaft at address to achieve a square clubface and consistent shaft lean.

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From left: Original FGP, Giant M1t, Mini Giant, Giant FGPt, Giant FGP

In recent years, the company has expanded its lineup to include more traditional Anser and mallet-style putters that also have RST Technology, but the original FGP, used by Zach Johnson to win the 2015 Open Championship, has remained the company’s crown jewel.

Last year, the SeeMore expanded its FGP line with a new Giant FGP putter, which took the original FGP shape and enlarged it to improve the effectiveness of the alignment aid. Its lighter, milled aluminum body (the original is made from steel) also allowed for the addition of two copper sole weights, which increase the putter’s moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a forgiveness.

This year, the company has expanded the Giant line with three new styles that will be available in February. See photos of each putter below.

The Giant FGPt ($295) is slightly smaller than the original Giant.

The Giant mt1 ($295) has a more classic heel-toe shape than the original.

The Mini Giant ($395) is the smallest of the Giant models. It offers the best size-to-MOI ratio, according to the company, through the use four copper weights.

Arccos Driver

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There’s no question that golf clubs will get “smarter” in the years to come. What isn’t so certain is how fast the golfing majority will adopt systems such as Arccos, which uses lightweight sensors that are secured to the grip of a golfer’s clubs to track shot distances and tendencies through Bluetooth and GPS.

The company’s first launch included 14 sensors that allowed golfers to track their performance from driver to putter. Its latest product, Arccos Driver, focuses exclusively on a golfer’s tee game through a new app, which also doubles as a golf GPS.

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Like the original system, Drive is installed on the top of a golfer’s grip.

Company CEO Sal Syed says the majority of golfers are interested in “capturing that one awesome shot,” which more often than not is the one awesome drive golfers hit. Arccos Driver not only measures every drive a golfer hits in real time, but like the original system, offers game-improvement analytics. It’s also more affordable, selling for $79.99 (the original system sold for $399.99).

Within 20 drives, golfers will know how far their hit their drives, as well as their “Driving Handicap,” Syed said. For the competitive crowd, Driver also creates challenges based on skill level and tendencies to help golfers improve their games. Points can be tracked for both head-to-head competitions, as well as for the company’s Global Leaderboard.

Arccos Driver is available for iOS and Android devices. The company is currently taking pre-orders.

Adidas Tour360 Boost Olympic shoes

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To commemorate the 2016 Olympics in Rio – the first games in the modern era to include golf – Adidas launched three new Olympic-inspired Tour360 Boost shoes. The three offerings, which are NOT limited releases, will sell for between $200 and $230 when they’re released, depending on the model.

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TaylorMade-Adidas golf athletes representing the United States – we’re looking at you Dustin – are expected to wear these patriotic Tour360 Boost shoes along with the USA’s team uniform.

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Also, the dual-material uppers on the black and tri-color striped models (above, $230) have a bottom-half made from thermoplastic urethane (TPU) that’s waterproof, and an upper half that’s made from prime knit; a stretchable fabric designed for more comfort around the top of the foot.

Odyssey’s new putters… and there’s a lot

At the PGA Show, Odyssey released a slew of new putters.

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White Hot RX: The White Hot RX putters have a new insert that combines two different kinds of elastomers to make them feel softer than the original White Hot inserts. Like Odyssey’s Metal-X milled putters, the new inserts have an oval-pattern – with a paint texture added to the edges – to grab the ball and make it roll faster.

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They will be available in models #1, #2, #7, #9, Rossie, 2-Ball V-Line, and a new V-Line Fang, and will sell at $159.99 ($179.99 with Superstroke grips).

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Works Versa extension line: The Works Versa extension line uses the familiar Fusion RX face – a White Hot insert covered with a metal mesh cover to improve ball roll — and Odyssey’s Versa color schemes.

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The extension line includes Odyssey Works Versa Marxman Fang, Odyssey Works Versa #7H, Odyssey Works Versa Sabertooth and Odyssey Works Versa Tank Sabertooth. The new offerings start at $179.99.

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Toe Up: Most putters are either face balanced or have a toe-down design. Odyssey’s new Toe Up putter, fittingly, has a toe-up design, which is said to reduce torque throughout the stroke, thus stabilizing the putter path and face angle.

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They putters are offered in Odyssey’s slightly tweaked #1 and #9 models. They come stock with SuperStroke Flatso grips and will sell for $199.99 starting April 15. Like Odyssey’s Metal-X Milled putters, the putter faces are chemically etched with tiny ovals that improve ball roll.

Gears Golf 

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Blair O’Neal hitting drives on the Gears Golf system.

Gears Golf is only a few years old, but is already considered one of the most comprehensive club and body analyzers on the current market. It uses 6-8 high-speed cameras, which capture 360 frames per second, and works by finding the center of spherical probes attached to a golfer’s club and body to identify location. Unlike other systems, it does not use algorithms to determine its data parameters. It sells for about $40,000 per unit.

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Gears gives golfers detailed information about their angle of attack, clubhead speed, club path and face angle during different parts of the swing, as well as face impact location, grip speed, shaft torque, deflection, shaft droop and much more.

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Jesper Parnevik learning more about his swing on the system.

Cobra-Puma has partnered with Gears Golf, and its R&D department used the system to develop its new line of King clubs.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. BriBri

    Jan 31, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Golf was last an Olympic sport in 1904. This is not the first time golf is being played in the Olympics.

  2. David

    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Check out RoboSwing at booth #800. 100% better product for 50% the cost.

  3. KJ

    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Where in the world is Under Armour ? You have the best player on the planet right now and you cant produce shoes for the masses? What horrible mismanagement of a brand.

  4. Ryan

    Jan 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Seems like Odyssey is coming into Edel’s torque balanced putter territory. I would definitely try it seeing the price point will be less than Edel’s.

  5. Chuck D

    Jan 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Yeah, a wee bit much holding the molded rubba donga of PGA pros! Where’s Steve Elkington for comment when you need him?

  6. steve

    Jan 28, 2016 at 11:50 am

    nice

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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