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Introducing the “New Callaway”

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Callaway is not the same company as it was last year.

We’ve been covering the PGA Merchandise Show for more than eight years, and we have never seen Callaway have the buzz it had this year. Was it the new X Hot woods and irons? Was it the new Versa Putter line? Or was it the 40-foot tall “Social Wall” that showcased all the social media praise surrounding the new recent launches?

The answer is all of it.

That’s why we gave Callaway a “Best in Show” award this year. The company has always had one of the deepest engineering teams in golf, but their their recent product lines haven’t been up to par with the other brands. This year, the team came to play with the big boys, armed with drivers, fairway woods, irons and putters that have golfers talking again.

With CEO Chip Brewer at the helm, Callaway has become infected with the passion and creativity that they’ll need if the hope to take back the market share they lost to the other major Original Equipment Manufacturers.

The Social Wall

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Let’s try to put Callaway’s 2013 PGA Merchandise Show booth perspective  — Callaway went on the net and pulled comments and reviews from average Joes who have been talking about the company’s new products and image. Then its staff took all those comments and created a banner that spanned from ceiling to floor and was as wide as its huge booth. Who does that?

Can you imagine the team it took to gather all those quotes? The fact that Callaway has received so much early release buzz from everyone is a testament to the great strides the company is making to turn around its image. On another note, we’re so pleased that all the great communities the quotes were gathered from actually exist, and proud to say most of the comments were from GolfWRX.

Behind the social wall, there were sitting areas so golfers could take in the new Callaway, as well as hitting bays that allowed visitors to test the new product on launch monitors to validate performance. Really cool stuff. Click here to see all the photos in the gallery.

Versa Putter Line

In addition to the Social Wall, we felt the new Versa putter line alone had merit enough to Best in Show. The technology is simple — alternating black and white paint sections that are perpendicular to the line of the putt to help golfers to line up better. The buzz has been huge, especially on the PGA Tour, where non-Callaway staffer Charles Howell III has already used a Versa to claim a T3 finish at the Sony Open.

Click here to see all the photos in the gallery, and check out the video below with Odysset Principal Designer Austie Rollinson about the new Versa putter line:

[youtube id=”jNSa4AZrHSk” width=”600″ height=”338″]

Callaway X-Hot Woods and Irons

Callaway’s new woods and irons are long and hot, and they look modern and sexy. The feel of the clubs made us say, “Wow,” and the distances the clubs were flying let us know that there was some serious engineering involved.That’s why there’s so much buzz about Callaway’s new 2013 Razr Fit Xtreme driver, X Hot fairway woods, hybrids and irons.

The show marked the first time most golfers were able to hit the “new Callaway,” and very few left disappointed.

Click here to see many more photos in the Callaway Gallery

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and the irons…

dbbbebd3ad6539396927a6194742ba97Callaway X-Hot Iron

Dr. Alan Hocknell, vice president of R&D for Callaway, talks about Callaway’s drivers for 2013 — the RAZR Fit Xtreme, X Hot and X Hot Pro — with Zak Kozuchowski of GolfWRX in the video below.

[youtube id=”RVt02baGr0U” width=”600″ height=”338″]

Click here to see many more photos in the Callaway Gallery

Here you can watch a video about all the new irons — the X-Forged and the X Hot line. Luke Williams, senior director of woods and irons for Callaway, discusses the differences between Callaway’s three new iron offerings for 2013 with Zak Kozuchowski.

[youtube id=”OD5ltnU6GB4″ width=”600″ height=”338″]

Click here to see many more photos in the Callaway Gallery

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Harry’s Corner: Callaway #BringsIt At The PGA Show | Callaway Golf News and Media

  2. Andrew Cooper

    Jan 29, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Callaway’s 2013 product range is stunningly good. For a combination of looks, feel, forgiveness and performance I think Callaway are hard to beat right now.

  3. Aaron

    Jan 29, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Love my Razr Fits, but those Razr Hots are dead ugly.

  4. Brian

    Jan 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    whats difference between Razx Tourwith custom shaft DG Light and Hot irons??
    Thankyou

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Choi’s clubs. 

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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