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Dustin Johnson switches to TaylorMade P-730 “DJ Proto” irons in China



Since 2014, Dustin Johnson used TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MB forged irons that were released that same year. DJ used those irons to win the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont — the first major of his career — and he used them during his ascension to his current world No. 1 ranking.

This week at the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions event in China, however, he finally has new irons in the bag — a version of TaylorMade’s new P-730 forged blade irons.

Justin Rose, with his “Rose proto” irons, and Rory McIlroy with his “Rors proto” irons, were the first to put versions of the irons into play. Now, it appears that DJ has “DJ proto” irons in the bag this week, based on a Tweet from @jonathanrwall (photos via @brerwolfe).

We’ll update this post when we know more about his new specs.

See the clubs Dustin Johnson used throughout the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season here.

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LA Golf Partners buys Matrix Shafts’ assets, launches “LA Golf Shafts”



Reed Dickens, Founder and Chairman of the newly formed LA Golf Partners, is bringing a concept he once used in a baseball bat company into the world of golf shafts.

Marucci Sports, of which Dickens was the co-founder and former CEO, was once the No. 1 bat in Major League Baseball, and it was different because the company partnered with professional players who not only helped with product development, but who actually invested in the company.

Now, Dickens is bringing the same strategy into golf after winning a bid and purchasing assets (inventory, equipment and patents/IP) from Matrix Shafts on March 9th. LA Golf Shafts will partner with professional golfers; the company will build shafts for these pros “from a blank sheet of paper,” meaning they will be fully custom, according to Dickens. Also, those players will become partners with the company. As of now, LA Golf Shafts has not announced exactly which players will become partners.

LA Golf Shafts will also sell aftermarket shafts, with emphasis on the word aftermarket. According to Chief Operating Officer Chris Nolan — who’s the former General Manager of North America for Matrix Golf Shafts — LA Golf Shafts will be made with extreme attention to detail and with a different scaling approach. Therefore, the new shafts will be aftermarket-only, meaning they will not be the “stock” shafts in the golf clubs of OEMs. LA Golf Shafts will also offer the signature shafts of pros to the public, according to Nolan.

So, what’s the connection between baseball bats and golf shafts?

“There’s not just a few parallels, there’s dozens,” says Dickens.

Dickens, who aspired to be a pro baseball player but is a lifelong golfer and has a handicap in the “low teens,” says when the opportunity arose to buy the assets from Matrix he drew a number of connections between the baseball bat industry and the golf shaft industry. The similarities he noted included materials used, industry size, trade secrets and attention to detail of the products. He also recalls that player-after-player in the majors had issues with baseball bat specs that were off: “Some players kept a scale in their locker to make sure their bat actually weighed [the proper amount].” Now, Dickens says making golf shafts that are fully custom and “absolutely perfect” makes perfect sense given his background. He says that “custom” shafts doesn’t mean engravings or colors, however; he says they’re making prototypes for specific player needs.

Just four days after winning the bid, Dickens and Nolan said they already began making prototypes. While no player-partner for LA Golf Shafts has been announced, they say they’re shooting for Quarter 2 — “as early in Quarter 2 as possible” — to have a product at market.

In terms of pricing, Dickens says LA Golf Shafts will “position as a premium brand.” They will be “aggressive with margins,” and expect to sell “on the high end and above the high end” of what’s currently on the market, possibly “at a few different price points.” Dickens says philosophically that he places a premium on value, meaning he “won’t ask for more money than [the shaft is] worth” and that the company will “spend more money on making these shafts in order to give more to the consumer.”

As for LA Golf Partners, Dickens says the brand new company will continue “looking for good opportunities and looking for the right partners.” Dickens says the company will focus on not just traditional strategies in the golfing space, but will be looking for strategies that are different, possibly partnering with companies not in the golf space.

“I’m on a mission to grow and expand the game of golf,” Dickens says. “[LA Golf Partners will] invest in diverse golf businesses and grow the audience of who plays golf.”

The takeaway here? Dickens and LA Golf Partners have big plans for growing the game of golf, and they’re starting with a shaft company.

Certainly, GolfWRX will be the first to bring you in-hand photos of the new LA Golf Shafts when they release, along with all of the information on materials, tech and specs when we know them.

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Ben Hogan launches Equalizer wedges



The Ben Hogan Equalizer is back.

Forged from a soft, 1025 carbon steel, Equalizer wedges feature a Progressive Center of Mass Weighting System, which means more mass higher and around the edge of the club head in the lower-lofted wedges, and incrementally lowering in the higher-lofted wedges.

Equalizer wedges feature a milled face and 0.20″ U-Shaped grooves precisely cut into the face at increments of 0.40″. The CNC-milled wedge faces create a texturized surface between the grooves for increased spin.

The company carries over its V-Sole Technology from the TK wedge series, improving upon the sole geometry with a softened leading edge and addition of more bounce. The leading edge of the Equalizer wedges is straighter than the TK series, which aids alignment and tightens dispersion.

Equalizer wedges are available now in even-numbered lofts from 48-62 degrees via exclusively. Length, lie, shafts, and grip modifications are available at no extra charge. $100 per wedge.

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Dick’s relaunches Tommy Armour golf



Dick’s Sporting Goods is relaunching the Tommy Armour golf brand. That’s right, the proprietors of the 845s irons are returning to the marketplace. According to the company, new Tommy Armour products featured a “renewed focus on innovative golf club technology that promotes both forgiveness and distance.”

The in-house brand features men’s, women’s, and senior drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters.

Dick’s enlisted the help of Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW Group, to develop a premium set of game improvement woods and irons for mid-to-high-handicap at a lower price point than competitors.

“We set out to honor the history of the Tommy Armour brand and build a product that golfers at any level would want to use,” said Scott Hudler, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, DICK’S Sporting Goods. “From the early feedback we’ve received, these clubs are ones that you’re just going to have to try to really experience the difference they deliver in both distance and feel. We think this brand will be a game-changer for any player looking to improve their game.”

The company points to the new TA1 Driver, which features a DAT 55G titanium face, is a highlight of the new product line/collaboration.

Further product details, on the TA1 driver, irons, and GXT wedges, per Tommy Armour, below.

The full Tommy Armour line is available in-store and online at Dick’s.





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19th Hole