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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

You can (finally!) buy Rickie Fowler’s Rev33 irons: Cobra releasing limited RF Proto irons

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After much anticipation, Cobra Golf is set to release the limited edition RF Proto irons—an exact replica of the Rev33 irons developed and used by Rickie Fowler on the PGA Tour.

Rickie worked closely with long-time Director of Tour Operations, Ben Schomin from start to finish to create an iron that offered him everything he ever wanted from looks, to feel, and, ultimately, performance.

The Rev33 stamp is a nod to 33 iterations the iron went through before the final design was selected.

 “We worked closely with Rickie to determine his favorite features of several of his previous sets that we were able to combine into one very sleek package. These are a must-own for better players who appreciate the finest of iron craftmanship or Rickie fans who would jump at the opportunity to own the same sticks their favourite player uses.”
– Ben Schomin

If you are looking for a full in-depth discussion with Ben on the irons be sure to check out our piece from when Rickie originally put them into play: GolfWRX Insider: Inside the development of Rickie Fowler’s Cobra irons

RF Proto technology and design

The set was designed around Rickie’s preferred 7-iron look with a square/straight topline from the longest iron to the pitching wedge, which is unique since most irons progress to a more rounded shape in the shorter irons.

The RF Protos feature a distinct sharp toe profile reminiscent of many classic blades and a zero offset look thanks to a “no-taper” hosel design.

The irons are produced through a two-stage forging process and then 100 percent CNC milled to the final shaping. The milling process alone takes over two and a half hours per iron head to produce the most precise geometry possible.

The final piece of the design is the tungsten weight positioned on the toe of the iron—just like Rickie’s gamers—to locate the center of gravity and deliver a superior feel.

Price, specs, and availability

The RF Proto irons are available in right hand only 4-pitching wedge and will retail for $2,499.

Sets can be pre-0rdered starting today January 25th, at Cobragolf.com with sets shipping out starting January 29th.

The limited-edition irons are shipped in a custom box, which celebrates the partnership between Fowler and Cobra, complete with a card of authenticity autographed by Rickie Fowler.

The standard set components are KBS C-Taper shafts with Golf Pride Align grips fitted with Cobra Connect powered by Arccos, but a full selection of custom shafts and grips and also available.

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New Bridgestone E12 Contact golf ball features tire technology, major performance gains

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It’s not very often that a golf company touts huge technology gains with its mid-level priced products. Large scale changes are generally reserved for the premium price point and performance category, and then those technologies funnel down to the mid-price point in the next generation.

Bridgestone is flipping that model on its head, however, with the release of the all-new e12 Contact, which looks to offer one of the biggest performance jumps in the mid-price golf ball category ever developed.

Bridgestone e12: The science

The focus for Bridgestone with the e12, just like it was for the re-engineered Tour B series and its ReActive cover in 2020, is contact science—it’s where the e12 Contact derived its name from.

“Bridgestone has long been a pioneer in bringing to market unique dimple shapes, sizes and constructions in the golf industry, but up until this point that has primarily been a means of achieving optimal aerodynamic performance,”
-Elliot Mellow, Golf Ball Marketing Manager for Bridgestone Golf.
“In the new e12 CONTACT, dimples actually serve as a source of increased power and distance as well. They also contribute to minimizing hooks and slices, making the newest e12 a golf ball that provides performance you can actually see in terms of straight distance.”

The breakthrough comes in the form of a new dimple design to increase the ball contacting the face for both soft feel and additional distance. The new dimple design places a raised area in the middle of the traditional dimple, which when hit with a direct force, creates a whopping 38 percent for more face contact at impact.

  • This face contact and compression promotes a longer amount of time for the ball to stay on the face resulting in more efficient energy transfer to engage the core layer of the ball which from Bridgestone’s testing has resulted in a gain of over 1.5 mph ball speed.
  •  On the other end of the spectrum, in the short game, the additional contact helps increase spin in the scoring clubs and compared to the previous generation results in over 600 rpm more spin.
  • Although less scientific, Bridgestone also says that many players will experience a benefit when putting thanks to improved putter face contact.

Why not put this into a premium ball?

This is the million-dollar (or millions and millions of dollars) question, and it actually has a fairly simple answer—the new dimple design increases the peak trajectory of the e12 Contact and also makes it fly straighter. This makes it the perfect fit for a golf ball designed to enhance distance and reduce total golf ball curvature but less ideal for a tour-level ball designed for maximum trajectory control.

I realize that makes it sound like a negative, but in reality, it’s the exact opposite—the engineers at Bridgestone have closely analyzed the target golfers and designed a ball to fit their needs. The new e12 Contact is so efficient at creating the desired results from both distance and scoring clubs, they have eliminated the previous “Speed” and “Soft” balls and made one better with the e12 Contact.

Price and availability

The new Bridgestone e12 Contact will be available at retail and online starting February 26 at the price of $29.99 a dozen.

Beyond the traditional white version, the e12 Contact will also be available in Matte Green, Matte Red and Matte Yellow color options.

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2021 Mizuno ST-X and ST-Z drivers, fairway woods: Moving Mizuno woods forward

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Since 2019 and the launch of the ST190 series, Mizuno has quickly changed the perception around its metal woods. With the new ST-X and ST-Z drivers, along with the new ST-Z fairway woods for 2021, it is once again proving Mizuno isn’t just an iron company anymore.

The ST-X and ST-Z drivers represent the next evolution for Mizuno and are a culmination of a focused team effort to prove that, when side by side with the industry leaders, Mizuno drivers can both compete and win the battle of ball speed, spin, and dispersion.

A global effort to produce better (The “how’d we get here?”)

As a global brand, Mizuno used to have a small issue with market segmentation when it came to its club releases, meaning that depending on where you were in the world, there were different metal wood sub-brands to cater to various consumers.

This worked OK for the individual markets, but overall, it wasn’t working worldwide for one simple reason—more designs meant Mizuno engineers had to stretch their biggest resource, time, thinner. It also didn’t create a lot of continuity in the products, which from a consumer-level, always made it feel like Mizuno’s approach was just “let’s give this a try!”and it really wasn’t working.

This brings us to the “New Mizuno.” Since the original ST190 series was released in 2019 (don’t forget development started long before the release date), Mizuno has had a fully dedicated team in place working on metal wood development and technology. This has allowed engineers to work tirelessly on creating drivers that win on both a technology front as well and where it matters most: in fittings and on the course where golfers care about performance.

The technology inside the 2021 Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers

  • SAT2041 beta-titanium faces: This titanium material is not new to the world of aerospace engineering, but as golf clubs are concerned, it had mostly been found previously in high-end JDM (Japanese domestic Market) drivers because of cost but was first used last year in the ST200 series drivers. SAT2041 has higher strength and rebound properties allowing Mizuno engineers to improve the multi-thickness areas behind the face for higher ball speed, and save mass to reposition around the head.

  • New CorTech face design: Now, speaking to the faces, thanks in part to the material and Mizuno engineers’ ability to tweak and adjust based on continuous R&D, the faces of the ST-Z and ST-X drivers have been made thinner in certain areas to further optimize CT and COR, which contributes to more consistent ball speeds and additional discretionary mass.

  • Using discretionary mass differently: A few grams here or there mean a lot in the golf club design world, especially when it comes to drivers. Mizuno shaved mass around the head to boost MOI in both of the new drivers and create performance separation in how they will work best for the intended players. Both of the new drivers have a carbon crown and also feature carbon panels around the sole skirt to help precisely locate the center of gravity.

Meet the 2021 Mizuno drivers

Mizuno ST-Z driver

The ST-Z replaces the ST200 and has been designed to offer the highest MOI possible without sacrificing lower spin—this driver is all about stability. Mass saved around the head, thanks to the carbon panels, along with the better-optimized face has allowed the designers to position the CG as close as possible to the neutral axis, to raise MOI, and create a neutrally biased driver. 

Compared to the ST-X, the Z is longer heel to toe and slightly shallower to once again use any and all available options to maximize performance and playability.

Mizuno ST-X driver

Although the new STX driver shares a similar name to the previous ST200X designed to be an exclusively lighter weight draw-biased driver, the new STx is for any golfer seeking slightly more spin compared to the STz and also greater workability, thanks to a center of gravity positioned slightly more forward and closer to the shaft.

From the bottom, the easy way to separate the ST-X from the Z is the reduced amount of carbon on the sole and slightly more heel-biased back weight to aid the engineers in repositioning the CG.

The ST-X’s slightly deeper face and shorter heel-to-toe length help to make the driver ever so slightly more draw-biased than the ST-Z but also happens to make the driver more workable.

For those still in need of a premium lightweight option, the new ST-X has the ability to be built to a lighter and longer spec similar to the ST200X thanks to the adjustable weight in the sole, which goes from a stock 11-gram weight to just four grams when built to J-Spec. This brings the head weight to 194 grams vs. 201 grams in the standard ST-X configuration and 204 in the ST-Z. When matched with the M-Fusion shaft, you get a driver that competes against any other in the ultra-lightweight category.

2021 Mizuno STX and STZ drivers prices, specs, and availability

The ST-X and ST-Z stock shaft options are directly driven from popular profiles on tour and feature a familiar story of high, mid, and low launch. The drivers will also carry a fourth shaft option, which is a carryover from the previous ST200X.

High Launch – Project X Riptide CB 50g and 60g

Mid Launch – Fujikura MotoreX F3 60g

Low Launch – ProjectX HZRDUS RDX Smoke Black 60g

High Launch and ultra-lightweight – M-Fusion

Mizuno will also continue to offer upcharge shafts options including:

  • Tensei CK Pro Orange and White 60 and 70g
  • Fujikura Ventus Blue and Black 60 and 70g
  • Graphite Design Tour AD Di6 & 7 along with XC6 & 7

STX and STZ drivers will be priced at – $399.99

The Mizuno STX and Z driver’s pre-sale starts today January 25th, with products on retail shelves starting February 18.

Mizuno ST-Z fairway woods

Technology and design

  • 3rd gen MAS1C high strength steel face: Last year, with the ST200, Mizuno completely overhauled the internal structure of its fairway woods, and the ST-Z is the next evolution. Similar to the driver, engineers have improved the CorTech multi-thickness pads behind the hitting area to raise ball speeds while also improving sound and feel

  • Carbon crown: When it works, it works, and the carbon steel crown of the ST-Z fairway woods reduces mass from higher in the head and gives the engineers the ability to better position it to deliver the performance variables they are searching for.

  • New shaping: After all the material and sciencey stuff were figured out, the last part of the new fairway woods to consider was the shape. It seems simple, but the shape not only has a huge impact on the club’s physical performance, but it plays a major factor in how golfers perceive it in the address position. The leading edge and the hosel transition have been adjusted to appeal to the target players and make it more efficient from the turf, which is where most players will use their fairway woods the most.

Specs, prices, and availability

The ST-Z fairway woods will be available in the lofts of 15 and 18 degrees, and with Mizuno’s Quick Switch adjustability, the fairway woods can go up and down two additional degrees.

The stock shaft configurations for the ST-Z will be the Fujikura MotoreX 7 in stiff flex and the ProjectX RipTide CB in regular.

The ST-Z fairway woods are priced at $299.99 with pre-sale and fitting tools available starting today January 25th with the product on retail shelves on February 18.

 

 

 

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