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Show Stoppers: Demo Day at the 2017 PGA Show

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show, golf’s annual showcase of the latest equipment, technology, apparel and accessories.

The PGA Show kicks off each year with Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center, a 36-hole facility with an enormous 360-degree driving range. Our team spent all day walking “the circle” in search of the coolest new stuff, and you can view all our photos from Demo Day in our forum in the threads below.

Now that you’ve looked through all the photos, tell us, what were your favorites? We’ve listed our 9 favorites, which we call Show Stoppers, below.

Epon AF-705 Irons

Epon irons are forged by Endo, its parent company.

Epon isn’t as well known as Miura and PXG, its main competitors in the ultra-premium golf equipment space, but many custom fitters will tell you that it makes some of the best-performing irons in the industry.

Epon_AF_705_Comparison

The company’s current best-selling irons are its AF-703, a game-improvement model that not only produces incredible ball speed and distance, but has razor-thin top lines for an iron its size. For 2017, the company is releasing a new model called the AF-705 that it says looks and performs better.

Epon_AF_705_Adddress

The AF-705 irons ($325 per club, available 5-SW) have less offset than their predecessors, along with a lower center of gravity (CG) to produce a higher-launching, lower-spinning ball flight. And of course, the thin top lines.

E Wheels

Alphard_Push_Cart_Motor_Feat

Imagine being able to turn your current push cart into a motorized push cart in just 5 minutes. That’s the idea behind a new product called E Wheels, which was on display at Clic Gear’s Demo Day booth.

Alphard_Push_Cart_Motor

E Wheels has a top speed of 8 mph and six other speed settings. There’s also a cruise control feature, which will stop the push cart if it gets more than 100 yards away from a golfer. Maybe the best part is that E Wheels will be sold in different sizes to fit different brands and styles of push carts. Pricing and a release date are yet to be announced.

Oban CT-155

Oban_CT_115_Feat

Chances are good you know a golfer who raves about the performance of his Japanese steel irons… but what about Japanese steel shafts? It’s a small market, but it’s growing.

Premium graphite shaft manufacturer Oban has partnered with Shimada, an established Japanese steel shaft manufacturer, to create its new line of premium CT-115 steel iron shafts that it says feel better and offer a tighter dispersion than other steel shafts.

Oban_CT_115_Steps

The new shafts, which promise a mid-high launch and a low-mid spin, have a design that both custom club fitters and gear heads will love. Changing weight and flex is as simple as trimming the shafts differently. The CT-115 shafts range in weights from 103-112 grams (installed) and are offered in seven different flexes (R, R+, S-, S, S+, X- and X). They sell for $75 each.

Professor DeChambeau Stops the Show

DeChambeau

By all accounts, Bryson DeChambeau was a Show Stopper in that he had hundreds of PGA Show Demo Day attendees watching, listening and learning. The 23-year-old has made a name in golf by not only winning, but also by doing so with “single-length” irons that all have the same length and lie angle.

When fellow PGA Tour pros and announcers refer to DeChambeau, they often call him “brilliant” or “a scientist.” His intelligence and shot consistency were both on  display at Demo Day.

BrysonBackswing

He explained his swing and equipment philosophy using phrases such as “neurological input” that had audience members collectively shaking their heads in confusion. But after thorough explanation and demonstration, his point was made; irons that have the same specs throughout the set and tennis racquet-like grips have a scientific purpose that DeChambeau recommends to all golfers — especially junior golfers who are just learning the swing.

“It’s amazing how quickly their (junior golfers) swings adapt (to the one-length sets),” DeChambeau said. “Why wouldn’t you want to use it?”

Seven Dreamers

SevenDreamers

You want a product that really stops you and your wallet in their respective tracks? Look no further than Seven Dreamers carbon fiber iron and wood shafts, which sell for $1,800 apiece (yes, that’s both iron and wood shafts at that price). The company, which primarily uses its machines for aerospace engineering, sells fully customized i-series iron shafts and T-series driver shafts that are said to be more consistent than other golf shafts.

Seven Dreamers shaft (above) and the process a normal shaft undergoes

Seven Dreamers shaft (above) and a normal golf shaft.

Unlike most golf shafts that are manufactured using pre-preg and grinding, Seven Dreamers simplifies the process by making shafts purely out of carbon fiber. Due to the design, carbon fiber materials and machining capabilities, the shafts can be made to exacting standards for each and every golf swing.

In Japan, the company takes readings of golfers’ swings using a 3D-design system to tailor the shafts for a player’s swing. Seven Dreamers also has pre-designed shafts that have three different kick points for each weight and flex, which should be easier to get ahold of for Americans (with deep pockets).

SuperSpeed Golf

SpeedGolf

Billy Horschel, Charles Howell III and Webb Simpson and many other PGA Tour pros are currently using a training aid that helps them swing a golf club faster. It’s called SuperSpeed Golf, and it helps retrain a golfer’s brain and muscles to gain swing speed after just 8-10 minutes, approximately three days a week.

SuperSpeed uses a technique that started with major league baseball pitchers throwing baseballs of different weights. Adapted for the golf swing, golfers swing golf club-like training aids, all of varying weights. The clubs, which have rubber grips, graphite shafts and stainless steel head weights come in sets of three (one that’s 20 percent lighter than a driver, 10 percent lighter and 5 percent heavier).

SuperSpeed

A typical training session starts with full driver swings (hitting an actual golf ball), and then has a golfer work through the training set from lightest to heaviest. It ends with more full driver swings. It takes 4-8 weeks to see lasting results, according to the company, which claims that golfers will gain 5 mph of clubhead speed with their drivers using the system.

Sets of three SuperSpeed training clubs sell for $199 at retail. To avoid injuries or detrimental effects on your golf game, make sure to consult your golf instructor and/or fitness trainer before you use the product.

SuperStroke grips

SuperStrokeTech

SuperStroke is expanding its line of S-tech club grips by releasing three new colorways to the public. It also launched new “Cross Comfort X” grips that are made from materials that are similar to the ones used on its ever-popular putter grips.

The S-Tech club grips Jordan Spieth uses (black and white) are coming to retail, along with the gray-and-black colorway used by Jason Dufner. The blue-and-yellow colorway used by Sergio Garcia is staying in the line, and will be joined with a new red-white-and-black colorway.

The entire S-Tech line has also been re-engineered with a slightly different blend of materials to make them more tacky, but still offer their familiar firm feel.

SuperStrokeGrips

The Cross Comfort grips, designed for performance and comfort, are made with a polyurethane outer (similar to that of a typical SuperStroke putter grip), and a rubber inner that offers torsional control. They will be available in the first week of March for $5.99 (standard), $6.49 (midsize) and $6.99 (oversize) in three different colorways.

TaylorMade’s New Wedge Finish (and irons) 

TaylorMadeFinishFeat

TaylorMade recently launched its Milled Grind wedges, which are made from 8620 carbon steel and have soles and leading edges that are CNC-milled for more consistency. At the time of their launch, the only available finish was Chrome… as of Demo Day that as changed.

At the 2017 PGA Show, the company revealed an “Antique Bronze finish” that has subtle hues of other colors and low glare. The finish is available in only the company’s standard grind at the moment in lofts ranging from 50 to 60 degrees.

TaylorMadeP770

Also available for testing at the PGA Demo Day were TaylorMade’s newly launched P-770 and P-750 irons, which are a Show Stopper in their own right. The precisely forged irons have been swung by very few golfers who aren’t on the PGA Tour, let alone tested on Trackman. Like many TaylorMade staffers, PGA Show testers were impressed.

TPT Shafts

TPT_Shafts_Feat

A new shaft company called TPT (Thin Ply Technology) says it knows a better way to make a golf shaft, and the company’s background has golf insiders taking notice.

TPT’s parent company, NTPT, is based in Switzerland and has produced sails for the Americas Cup yachts, bodywork for F1 race cars, skis, snowboards, satellites and watches for Richard Mille. Now it has its sights set on the golf shaft industry, and has developed a patented shaft-manufacturing process (a “Thin Ply Winding Method”) that it says removes inconsistencies from shaft designs. The automated process is so precise, the company says, it can create shafts that are “perfectly concentric and near homogeneous.”

TPT_Shafts_Feat_2

TPT currently offers 10 shafts (50-69 grams, CPM: 215-260) that are available for five different swing speed ranges (60-120 mph) and in two kick points (low and medium). The shafts sell for $700 each. The company also offers a custom shaft-fitting process known as “Unique to Me,” which allows TPT to create fully customized shafts for golfers.

TPT shafts are "raw" or unfinished.

TPT shafts are “raw” or unfinished.

Golf instructor David Leadbetter and biomechanical specialist J.J. Rivet were both involved in the design of the shafts.

Make sure to check back for more Show Stoppers on Wednesday and Thursday when the 2017 PGA Show moves inside the Orange County Convention Center. 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    Jan 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    The PGA Show is quickly approaching the ramp set at 16 degrees for a successful shark jump, most of this stuff looks cheap,,,,

  2. birdy

    Jan 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

    because if it looked like a liberal march tents would be on fire and those in attendance would be making a mess of the place

    • Mad-Mex

      Jan 26, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      In actuality all their scorecards are pre-filled at -18 in order to avoid hurt feelings

      • birdy

        Jan 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

        and if you can’t afford the new Callaway Epic with exotic shaft upgrade Callaway will just make the next 10 buyers cover your costs because everyone is entitled to the best because equality!

  3. Feel the Bern

    Jan 25, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Are any of these Showstoppers Certified?

  4. MuskieCy

    Jan 25, 2017 at 12:48 am

    OK, now I get it.

    I will work for $5/hour, not enough hours for any normal be benefits, so I can spend $700 and up per shaft.

    Make Murica, not Muira, great again. I will spend 3 months income to perfect a 28 handicap with Murica First Golf by the Prez.

  5. BM

    Jan 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Will I be able to perfect the “A-Swing” with these TPT shafts?

  6. TexasSnowman

    Jan 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I don’t understand why many of these are considered ‘showstoppers’… e.g. new superstroke grips….

  7. S Hitter

    Jan 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Love it

  8. tlmck

    Jan 24, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    As soon as he brings my job back from China, I am going to buy one of everything above.

    • Mike Honcho

      Jan 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      GOOD! The less liberals at the golf course, the less 5 hour rounds we’ll have to endure.

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Honma T World 747 Rose Proto MB irons are coming to retail

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When Justin Rose signed with Honma in at the beginning of January, speculation ensued as to which irons the Englishman would play. Quickly, we learned Rose would game T World 747 Rose Proto MB irons — and he took to the clubs quickly, winning the Famers Insurance Open later that month.

So, clearly, the S20C mild steel irons work for Rose, as they’ve been in his bag since that point, but will they work for the general consumer? Up until this point, we’ve been unable to answer that question, as the irons were tour only. With today’s news, however, we now know Rose Proto irons are coming to retail.

According to the company, the irons, which are forged at Honma HQ in Sakata, Japan, are the result of several months of testing and modification in conjunction with Rose.

The world No. 2 had this say: “The idea of having a hand in the collaborative design process for my set of clubs was extremely exciting. Working with the Honma master craftsmen to create an iron that felt and looked great for me was one of the biggest thrills of my career.”

The irons feature varying CG throughout the set to achieve Rose’s preferred trajectories and a combination satin front and mirror back finish, as well as blended muscleback design.

Full specs below.

Rose Proto MB irons will sell for $175 USD per club and will come in a 4-10 iron set configuration. The company will also offer a 3-iron separately.

 

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Spotted: Dustin Johnson with new Fujikura Ventus prototype at the Masters, RBC Heritage

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Beyond the obvious big news of some guy named Mr. Woods winning his fifth green jacket this past weekend, there were some pretty interesting developments with another player that runs on a first name basis or at least initials: DJ switched drivers MID tournament and had a new Fujikura Ventus prototype shaft to go along with his new TaylorMade M6 as he took on Augusta National Saturday and Sunday.

We don’t have all the details yet, but from what we have heard so far this new Prototype Black Ventus is an even lower launching version of the blue Ventus currently available. If history is correct, and we are looking at a line extension, then the colors tell a lot of the story. The Atmos line features both a blue and black version with a final higher-launching red version to round out the series in what Fuji calls their color-coded launch system to make fitting and product recognition just that much easier.

Photos of the “black” prototype via Fujikura.

It’s not unusual for shaft companies like Fujikura to bring out prototype profiles utilizing technologies from their newest lines to try and get them into the bags of more players. Fuji’s newest technology is VeloCore, and we have already seen it adopted at a high rate. Here is some more info from Fujikura to explain the technology

“VeloCore is a multi-material core comprised of ultra-high modulus Pitch 70 Ton Carbon Fiber (about 150% stronger and more stable than T1100g) and 40 Ton bias layers that are the full length of the shaft for incredible stability. VeloCore Technology promotes consistent center-face impact and provides ultimate stability, tightening dispersion and increasing control. The result is a shaft that maximizes the MOI (moment of inertia) and ball speed of your clubhead through the reduction of twist during the swing and at impact, especially on off-center hits.”

This makes sense, considering any contact made beyond an absolutely perfect (almost impossible from a physics standpoint) strike in line with the COG of a driver head traveling at 120 mph will result in twisting at impact — MOI is maximized in driver heads to increase stability along with spin with Ventus and VelocCore, Fujikura thanks to their Enzo system, is better understanding how that relationship works with the shaft to produce new and better products.

Anyway, since we know DJ deviated from his traditional Fujikura Speeder Evolution II Tour Spec driver shaft for his weekend rounds this past weekend, we can expect to see it again this week at the RBC Heritage this week at Hilton Head, and we’ll have our eyes peeled to see where else this shaft pops up on tour.

Johnson teeing off during Wednesday’s RBC Heritage Pro-Am.

 

 

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WRX Spotlight: Bridgestone e12 Speed and e12 Soft golf balls

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Product: Bridgestone e12 Speed and e12 Soft golf balls

The Pitch

Per Bridgestone: “Speed: 3-piece surlyn golf ball that delivers sidespin reducing performance, with explosive distance off the tee with a solid feel. 105 MPH and up swing speeds. Soft: 3-piece surlyn golf ball that delivers sidespin reducing performance, with added distance off the tee with a softer feel. 105MPH and lower swing speeds.”

Who is it for?

The pitch seems simple enough…. Bridgestone, who has emerged as a competitor year in and year out in the golf ball market, gives us the “e class” product that will suit the golfers from 10-handicap and up.

What’s in it?

The key words here are Active Acceleration Mantle…both the Soft and the Speed have it, but AAM will deliver in different ways on each. In the Speed ball, the AAM allows Bridgestone to firm up the core giving your higher speed player optimal launch conditions, tight dispersions, and enough feel around the greens to satisfy.

For the Soft ball, the AAM allows Bridgestone to soften the core up a bit giving your lower speed players a helping hand off the driver and ultimate touch around the greens where that player profile needs it the most.

Director of Content Johnny Wunder on the Bridgestone e12 Speed and Soft

As a player who has been in the same ball for almost 20 years (Pro V1X), my open-mindedness to trying something outside of that category has been nil. But after having a great convo with Elliot Mellow (Bridgestone Golf Ball Sales Manger), I became curious about their take on a ball for players like my buddy Dave (high speed/high handicap) or even my father (low spin/low speed/mid handicap).

Bridgestone e12 Soft

My big take away is…this is a FUN golfball. Fun in the fact that both models do and feel as they are advertised. The Soft is spinny off the driver and forgiving around the greens. How that translates to your higher handicapper is around the greens when you don’t clip it just right off of a wedge, the ball doesn’t take off on you. The first hop is straight up not straight forward. You can see where I’m going there. Off the big stick, it translates into being able to carry a hazard, bunker, etc without sacrificing control due to lack of spin. Your distance gains come from elevation and height, not necessarily raw yardage distance.

The Speed is well…fast. It’s hot, holds its line in the wind and rolls out when it hits the ground. Around the greens, it’s serviceable for a higher handicap. It’s not a players ball around the greens, in my opinion. The feel off the face doesn’t match up. However, I’m guessing if you took blind feel out of it and put all these on a Trackman, the Speed ball would still hold water around the greens.

Bridgestone e12 Speed

At $29.99/dozen, if you like experimenting with a new nugget here and there, try this one. It’s fun and the company fulfills the promises made on the box. Can you really ask for much more?

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