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Show Stoppers: Day 1 from the 2017 PGA Show

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The biggest news came at the start of Day 1 of the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show: Tiger Woods signed multi-year contract to play a TaylorMade driver, fairway woods, irons and wedges.

TigerWoodsTaylor

While there’s no topping that Show Stopper, there are plenty of other items of interest at the Orange County Convention Center. We spent all day Wednesday walking the PGA Show floor in search of the coolest new stuff.

We’ve listed our 10 favorites, which we call Show Stoppers, below.

Bubba Shows Off Indoor Skills at Oakley

BubaWatson

Two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson was on hand at the Orlando County Convention Center in the Oakley booth, and he was putting on a clinic with his new pink Volvik S4 golf balls.

Watson described his testing process with the golf balls to the crowd of about 100 PGA Show attendees. He asked “Teddy,” his caddie Ted Scott, to test the golf balls out for him after seeing they were a sponsor of the long drive contest. After positive feedback from the looper, Watson spent three months testing the balls before finally deciding he wanted to play them in 2017; he then asked Volvik for a pink version. Watson said there’s a big-picture vision for playing the pink balls, and that’s growing the game for potential junior golfers.

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Bubba also participated in a closest to the pin contest, where he hit it to 6 feet from 123 yards on the indoor simulator — he jokingly questioned the accuracy of the simulation — and was ripping drives that topped out at 329 yards despite choking up on his driver because the ceiling was too low for full extension.

Even indoors, Watson is a shot maker who adapts nicely to his environment.

Cobra PUR Wedges

CobraKingPUR

Cobra has added a flashy new wedge to its Cobra King line. They’re called PUR wedges, and are made of 304 stainless steel. Since stainless steel doesn’t rust, the wedges don’t require plating, which causes them to spin “a few hundred rpm more,” according to a Cobra-Puma Golf representative.

Like other King wedges, the new models have Cobra’s notchback design, which makes them especially versatile on open-face shots. They’re available in lofts of 50-60 degrees and with three different sole grinds (wide low, classic and versatile).

Duo Trac Smart Ball

Gen1BallsThere’s a new player in the data-collection space: Duo Trac. Its new golf ball — the Gen i1 — has sensors in its core that provide feedback on ball rotation and face angle on your putts. After lining up the ball to your target and stroking a putt, the sensors transmit information through an algorithm and into the company’s app.

TracBall

Assuming a golfer can get his or her speed right, the goal of putting is to zero out face angle at impact, ensuring a perfectly square strike that gets the ball rotating end-over-end as fast as possible toward the intended target. One WRX editor (not throwing anyone under the bus, but his name is Andrew Tursky) may need a bit of work on his stroke, as shown by the data above.

The company is set to release the putting-only golf ball in the summer for $140, and has plans to release a golf ball that provides feedback on chipping and full swings at a later date.

Ecco Golf Shoes

EccoGolfShoes

Ecco is releasing a variety of new golf shoes in 2017, everything from performance-first models to golf shoes that will play just as well on the course as they will for dinner afterward (pending a shower in between).

The Ecco Cage Pro ($210 standard, $230 with BOA) is a hybrid shoe that combines a leather upper with a polyurethane heel section, making it one that most golfers will gravitate toward because of its stability, comfort and water resistance. The shoes have “spider grip” cleats (non-removable) that are designed to reduce the amount of mud, grass and sand that can get caught in their claws, thus improving traction throughout the swing. The shoe is available in four colorways, and also offered in two colorways with the BOA closure system.

EccoCoolGolf

The Ecco Cool shoes ($280) are the first ever golf shoes to use Gortex in their construction, according to Ecco, which makes them ultra waterproof. A see-through midsole also helps to whisk away moisture and heat. They have an elastic sock lining, a leather upper and are available in four colorways.

ClassicEcco

Ecco’s LUX shoes ($300) have TPU (thermoplastic urethane) uppers and a leather lining for a classic look. They’re the most “normal” looking spikes in Ecco’s 2017 lineup, if that’s what you’re into.

EccoShoesGolfWhisky

Lastly, the Ecco Casual Hybrid shoes ($180) have an antique, hand-finished design in “moonless” and “whiskey” colorways for a laid back, yet classy look.

Foresight GCQuad… and Zombie Golf

Foresight_Zombie_Golf_Feat

Foresight unveiled its new GCQuad launch monitor at the PGA Show, and it has been a clear favorite among attendees.

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The new unit improves on the company’s GC2 (ball data) and HMT (club data) launch monitors by merging them into a dedicated device and improving just about every aspect of their performance (accuracy, ease of use, etc). The GCQuad sells for roughly $18,000, not bad for what a lot of people consider to be golf’s best indoor launch monitor.

Foresight_Zombie_Golf_1

What caught our attention inside inside the Orange County Convention Center, strangely, was a bit of Foresight software in development. We were lured into a game of “Zombie Golf,” a Foresight-exclusive game that’s still in development. It involves hitting punch shots at zombies the same way you might hit shots at the range-ball-cart-picker-upper guy. The more zombies you hit (kill), the more points you get… and you’ll have to work fast to keep them away from the tee.

Foresight_Zombie_Golf_2

This, truly, is the future of recreational golf.

GolfWRX on Golf Channel

ZakGolfChannel

Set to air on Friday on the station’s Morning Drive show, GolfWRX Editor in Chief Zak Kozuchowski joined a panel of equipment experts “on the main stage.” The foursome discussed a variety of topics including Tiger Woods’ decision to sign with TaylorMade and current golf equipment trends. Also on the panel were Jonathan Wall from PGATour.com and Rick Young of Score Golf. Matt Adams of PGA Tour Radio’s Fairways of Life hosted the segment.

Make sure to tune in to Golf Channel on Friday to see what Kozuchowski had to say.

Michelle Wie signs with Callaway

Michelle_Wie_Callaway

Callaway announced a multi-year equipment deal with Michelle Wie at the opening of Day 1 of the PGA Show. The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open winner will use a full bag of Callaway clubs, including a Callaway golf ball and Odyssey putter.

In the past, Wie has been one of the few LPGA Tour players to use muscleback irons. We’ll keep an eye on her bag this weekend at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

P2 Putter Grips

P2Grips

P2 putter grips – short for “palms squared” – positions the shaft in the back of a putter grip to improve biomechanics throughout the stroke. With a larger topside portion, the grips keep the wrists in a more locked position during the putting stroke that’s more stable and prevents wrist breakdown.

P2TopsideGrip

The original P2 Core Range putter grips were released in 2016 and weighed between 80 and 90 grams. The new P2 Tour grips were made lighter because of tour player feedback, and are now between 50 and 75 grams.

There are four different models available. Each has a unique shape and is available in four different colorways. The grips sell for $29.95 each.

Ping Sigma G Putters

SigmaGPingPutters2017

Ping’s new Sigma G putters are offered in 15 different models, and there’s something for everyone in the new line. They use a multi-material construction that combines stainless steel, aerospace-grade aluminum and a high-grade elastomer to improves forgiveness and feel. Full story.

Titleist 2017 Pro V1, Pro V1x Golf Balls2017_ProV1_ProV1x_Feat

Regardless of what Titleist golf ball you’ve been playing, the company wants you to test both of its new premium golf balls in 2017… and for good reason. Titleist changed the core design of its new Pro V1 golf ball, making it the lowest-spinning and softest-feeling ball in the line. The new Pro V1x received aerodynamics improvement. Full story.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jeffrey

    Jan 26, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I think you have an error in GCQuad pricing. It’s 18K not 12K

  2. Ron

    Jan 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    The only real innovation in this list is a launch monitor that costs $15k? Let’s assume I don’t want to get divorced this year. The $15k launch monitor is off my list.

    I guess not much is left to change in golf. Maybe they can do these things every third or fourth year. You know. Like the Olympics.

    Oh, wait. I forgot. The equipment companies have to keep selling us stuff that works as well as the stuff they sold us last year. My bad.

  3. Egor

    Jan 26, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    FIXED :
    Regardless of what Titleist golf ball you’ve been playing, the company wants you to test both of its new premium golf balls in 2017… for their bottom line.

    If they want you to test their premium balls, can they give out free samples?

    I like playing the ProV1/V1x and B330* balls, but at my handicap, I can finish 9 with the same ball, but about every 3rd round, I come up short 4-5 balls. Adding ~$20 to my round isn’t fun so I’ll stick with pre-loved balls for now.

    I have no doubt the new ProV1/V1x is a great ball and I probably will test a sleeve or two of each, but I’ve seen that marketing slogan “the company wants you to test both of their balls” and it comes across as disingenuous.

  4. Hmm

    Jan 26, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Cast stainless steel wedges? WRX’ers are going to pan this HARD. If they’re forged I’m intrigued…

  5. S Hitter

    Jan 26, 2017 at 2:34 am

    That’s it?

  6. golfraven

    Jan 26, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Zombie Golf – what a joke. And who is keen of playing this, psychos?

    • michael

      Jan 26, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Yes, psychos. The psycho market remains largely untapped in golf. Attracting psychos to the game will help grow the game for all psycho and non-psycho golfers.

    • Ron

      Jan 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      As a psycho, and a golfer, I give this game 4 straight jackets.

  7. Dill Pickleson

    Jan 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    The average pro putts with face at impact 2 degrees open and misses 7fters at a rate of 50%. Andrew Tursky’s putt of .27 degrees off square was an exceptionally good putt. I bet you couldn’t do that.

  8. Ccshop

    Jan 25, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Tried on the new Ecco Cage and Casual Hybrid. Awful shoes

  9. Dr Troy

    Jan 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Between the Ecco LUX and that P2 grip, Id say day 1 was not bad!

  10. StillBoard

    Jan 25, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Lol @ ProV1’s being a show stopper.

    • COGolfer

      Jan 26, 2017 at 12:08 am

      Because Kirkland aren’t around anymore…

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One-length wedges are holding Bryson DeChambeau back

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Bryson Dechambeau is a golf anomaly and has been for his entire competitive golf career.

The most recent example has been his single-minded focus to get bigger, stronger, and hit it farther. And if his early results are any indication, he has succeeded in his goal to seemingly reduce most golf courses on the PGA Tour to pitch and putts.

The other well-known example of Bryson’s unique approach is the single length irons and wedges that he has used since college.

This one-length approach allows Bryson to set up the same way for every shot, but when going deeper into his stats, there seems to be one part of his game that is glaringly below-average: his wedge play. Specifically, his proximity to hole: 124th on tour.

I believe his one-length wedges are to blame.

If we go one step further, his approach proximity from 50 – 70 yards of 17’10” ranks him 152nd on tour, an abysmal ranking for one of the top players in the game.

Breaking down the dynamics of a wedge shot

Hitting short irons, particularly wedges, close is about creating consistent dynamics at impact and controlling dynamic loft, launch, spin, and friction. The higher the loft on a club, the more potential friction and spin can be created, depending on player dynamics, to the point of diminishing return where the trajectory becomes more of an influencing factor for low-speed shots where less spin can be generated.

With single-length wedges compared to standard length wedges, it is more difficult to create consistent impact dynamics because the longer wedges don’t offer as much flexibility at setup, especially when you consider how much more ground undulation is generally found closer to green areas. But don’t just take my word for it…

I reached out to one of the top fitters in the industry, Ian Fraser from Tour Experience Golf, aka TXG, to get his take on how single length wedges could be effecting Bryson’s game.

“Playing his sand wedge at 2.25” over standard would lead to a shallower angle of attack which is detrimental to increasing spin loft—also being shallower with a low point closer to the ball increases the likelihood of picking up debris (moisture, grass etc) prior to impact which also reduces friction and spin control.

“We look for around 45-47 degrees of spin loft to achieve maximum friction, so unless Bryson can get steeper, the ball will launch higher due to the loft portion of that ideal spin loft.”

A further explanation

  • Single-length (longer) wedges: Longer wedges lead to less control as lofts get higher because of the naturally shallower angle the club wants to approach the ball. This extra length also leads to the inability to fluctuate ball position as lies differ greatly as you get closer to the green resulting in less control of launch and spin, leading to poor distance control.
  • Standard variable-length wedges: Standard wedges allow for greater control because it is easier for golfers to change ball position, which leads to greater control of impact dynamics which in turn offers better control of launch and spin, resulting in improved distance control. Not only that, but when you combine the shorter lengths with flatter lie angles into the sand and lob wedge (a setup recommended by most fitters) you get even more versatility.

Conclusion

Bryson is currently ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and if he continues his fantastic form, that ranking is bound to improve as he puts himself closer to the green with every tee shot and in better scoring positions—he just needs to take better advantage of these shorter approach shots.

As someone who boasts about his willingness to experiment, Bryson has certainly tinkered with a number of wedges from his club sponsor Cobra as well as others in search of improvement, including PXG and Artisan Golf, within the last year.

I believe the next step for Bryson should be to experiment with a combination set that is single length until his 9-iron and progresses down to more standard lengths in his wedges to rein in speed and gain greater control of his wedge dynamics at impact. With his current ranking of 152nd on tour from 50 to 70 yards, he really only has one direction to go: up.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best irons for a sweeper

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and which models are the best for sweepers. WRXer ‘bigD77’ reaches out to fellow members and has a preference for players irons. Our members discuss.

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.

  • Frisco Kid: “I’m a sweeper/picker, really enjoying the PXG 0211 irons. I believe they fit in the hollow players distance category. The feel is outstanding and consistent distances. Since distance is not a requirement, I found Maltby DBM (or TE) forged irons superb for feel and accuracy. A sweeper’s dream with slim sole and thin top line. My only gripe with them was I was much shorter with them. My miss is usually thin, and the DBM irons are very good at covering up that miss.”
  • Hougz79: “Ping i210 here. Came from mostly AP2 (712, 716, 718). I don’t have an issue with the slightly thicker sole. I play in MN so pretty “average” conditions, I guess.”
  • scooterhd2: “Srixon Z785. Sweep away my friend, sweep away.”
  • NTCgolfnut: “There are a few that I have used / currently play in rotation that works well if you are a sweeper like me: MP-20 HMB (and most hollow-headed players irons like PXG 0311 range), J15 CB and Miura CB1008 top the list. If you like Blades, then MP5 works well.”
  • cjblake09: “Hogan PTX Pro and ICON combo set. Came from the AP2 718 and the turf interaction with my Hogans is much better.”

Entire Thread: “Best irons for a sweeper?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about Odyssey/Toulon putters at the Rocket Mortgage Classic

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In our forums, our members have been commenting on the array of Odusser/Toulon putters on show at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.

For more photos, check out the entire thread here.

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.

  • MaineMariner: “Backstryke is BACK! Is the lighting playing tricks on me, or does that Madison have a Versa paint scheme? If that’s offered by the Toulon Garage… welp, my wallet is going to take a beating.”
  • pga43: “It does” (In response to MaineMariner)
  • Bigjim1022; “Is that a bronze finish on the first one? Can’t tell if it’s the lighting or not. If it is that looks sweet!”
  • double or triple?: “Looks like the chocolate finish to me.” (In response to BigJim1022)

Entire Thread: “Odyssey/Toulon putters at the Rocket Mortgage Classic”

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