Connect with us

Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

Published

on

As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

Your Reaction?
  • 63
  • LEGIT11
  • WOW3
  • LOL3
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP3
  • OB3
  • SHANK20

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Cambo

    May 28, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Anyone else try to push play on the Lee Westwood image???

  2. Cody Reeder

    May 27, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I need those Rickie Fowler blades. It is a neck and neck race with me as to which brand has been in my bag more. Cobra, or Mizuno. They are wildly different but I have loved both.

    I was a huge Greg Norman fan back in the day, so I have always been drawn to Cobra.

  3. Radim

    May 27, 2020 at 1:13 am

    What about Mizuno?

    • Simon

      May 28, 2020 at 2:13 am

      Yeah I’m really excited about the new updates to the JPX919 Hot Metals. Thinking they should be due Q4 2020 unless any COVID related delays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (2/6/23): TaylorMade P790 Ti Iron Set

Published

on

At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a TaylorMade P790 Ti Iron Set

From the seller (@TaylorMadehunter1): “Flat out set of rocket launchers. Set is 5-A and shafted with Project X 6.0 shafts. Lengths shown in pics. They look stunning in the bag, behind the ball, and have the performance to match! $850.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: TaylorMade P790 Ti Iron Set 

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

TOUR REPORT: Jordan Spieth changes drivers, Josh Allen’s SICK putter, and Kisner’s new Wilson setup

Published

on

Welcome to Monterey Peninsula, one of the most beautiful golf properties in the world, for the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

In my opinion, this week is one of the most interesting weeks of the year for golf equipment entertainment. That’s because the field is stacked with celebrities who have varying levels of skill sets and industry access. Getting a peek at how the celebs setup their golf bags is intriguing and unpredictable; you just don’t know what kind of golf clubs you’ll find.

Also, Jordan Spieth, a celebrity in his own right in the golfing world, made a shocking driver change this week, and we got an awesome Arnold Palmer history lesson at Pebble Beach.

It was a packed week in the golf equipment world, so lets get right into this week’s Tour Report from the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Michael Pena is a gear head?

Actor Michael Pena, who’s a single digit handicap golfer, was testing out two different drivers – a Callaway Paradym and a Ping G430 – at the beginning of the week. By the time the event started, Pena opted for the Paradym. He was also testing out two different putters – a Bettinardi BB8 and BB8 Tri.

Testing out different clubs at the event to get as dialed as possible? Pena must be one of us.

Michael Pena 2023 WITB

Carlton’s saucy putter

Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for his role as Carlton in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has been a longtime participant in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he carries a low single digit handicap.

Ribeiro has fresh clubs almost through the bag, using Ping’s new G430 metalwoods and i230 iron models. He does, however, use an older Ping Sigma2 Tyne putter, which was released back in 2018. The putter is caked with lead tape on the sole, too, proving Ribeiro always does things with a touch of flair.

Alfonso Ribeiro 2023 WITB

Charles Kelley’s old flatstick

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

Charles Kelley, a country singer and lead vocalist for the band Lady A, uses a TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter, which was first released in 2012. The paint job has certainly seen brighter days, but golf balls don’t care about the aesthetics of a golf club. If it works, it works, and Kelley says it hasn’t left the bag in three years.

Charles Kelley 2023 WITB

Kira’s 7-wood

Kira K. Dixon, a reporter for the Golf Channel and Miss America 2015, has an eclectic golf bag setup, highlighted by a Callaway Epic Max, which she equips with a Project X Cypher Fifty 5.5 shaft.

Kira Dixon 2023 WITB

Macklemore embraces bogeys

“Thrift Shop” rapper Macklemore isn’t the best golfer in the Pro-Am field, but his outfits are certainly some of the most eye-catching. The Seattle native actually has an entire lifestyle golf brand, called the Bogey Boys, which has a uniquely fun fashion style that also embraces bogeys on the scorecard. His “Bogey Boys” brand name is laser etched onto his custom TaylorMade P-790 irons.

Macklemore 2023 WITB

Amanda puts the mic down

Amanda Balionis Renner, a CBS Sports reporter, is usually the one asking golfers the questions. This week ahead of the event, however, she competed in celebrity challenges at The Hay, and we were able to get a look inside her club setup. She was spotted with all-new Callaway Maradym metalwoods, new Paradym irons, and a custom Odyssey Toulon putter with a white-and-green LA Golf shaft.

Amanda Balionis Renner 2023 WITB

Darius unveils a new PXG driver?

Unveiling unreleased golf club prototypes isn’t usually the norm for celebrity golfers, but who better to show off a new PXG Gen6 0311 XF driver than musician and PXG staffer Darius Rucker? Judging by the looks of Rucker’s Gen6, PXG has spread out the three weight ports to the outer perimeter of the soles, which is likely to add forgiveness to the design.

Darius Rucker 2023 WITB

Arnold Palmer’s $250k irons

Behind the first tee at Pebble Beach is a putting green, and surrounding that putting green is a line of golf shops with green awnings. One of those shops, called “Golf Links to the Past,” is filled with antique memorabilia and awesome stories to tell.

Along the back wall, a set of Arnold Palmer’s game-used irons is on display. In fact, they’re Palmer’s personal Wilson Staff Model Dyna-Powered custom irons that he used to win 14 times in 1960-61, including the ’60 Masters, the ’60 U.S. Open, and the ’61 Open Championship.

They’re selling for a cool $275,000 at Golf Links to the Past.

How did the store acquire the golf clubs, and why are they worth so much money? Click here for the entire story.

Another Arnie story you may not have known

Across the street from Pebble Beach’s clubhouse is the Pebble Beach Visitors Center, and it’s well worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of the golf course and the surrounding area. There’s gold nuggets all over the place inside. One that particularly caught my interest was the “Palmer on the Rocks” story told in the photo above.

Check out more photos and stories from Pebble Beach here

ScHoolboy Q – Wedge of the Year, ft. Callaway

ScHoolboy Q, a rapper who sings hits such as “Man of the Year” and “THat Part,” is an avid golfer with keen eye for fashion – check out his ski mask look on Wednesday for proof. He also covers up his golf clubs with stylish “Malbon Golf” headcovers, and he has an awesome blue-and-orange Callaway Jaws Raw wedge with a laser-etched Q on the back.

ScHoolboy Q 2023 WITB

Josh Allen’s insane Tour-Only Scotty Cameron

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

NFL quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills has a smooth-yet-powerful golf swing, and he also has one of the coolest gear setups of any player in the Pro-Am field. In the video interview with GolfWRX.com above, Allen shows off his Jordan sneaker putter cover, ultra-custom Scotty Cameron putter, and a new TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver.

Click here for more Josh Allen WITB photos, and check out our full story on Allen’s clubs over on PGATOUR.com

Jordan Spieth’s shocking driver change

Photo Credit: PGA TOUR

For the last several years, Spieth has mostly opted for Titleist’s TSi3 driver. He had a brief stint with Titleist’s new TSR3 driver model at the 2022 Travelers Championship, but he’s struggled to upgrade from his trusty TSi3.

This week, however, ahead of the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Spieth began experimenting with the Titleist TSR2 model, instead of the TSR3. Working with Titleist tour rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck, Spieth found the TSR2, set in the D-1 hosel setting, was able to keep his spin numbers more consistent and provide greater forgiveness when hitting shots of varying trajectories and shot shapes.

On this week’s PGA Tour Equipment Report, we went in-depth on Spieth’s surprising driver change: Take a read here

A look at Camilo Villegas’ golf club lofts

Villegas has Srixon’s new ZX7 MKII irons in the bag, but his lofts are far from stock. Since Villegas writes his club lofts inside the back cavities, we can see his 7-iron is lofted at 36 degrees, which is 4 degrees weaker than the stock 32-degree iron spec. Interestingly, Villegas also plays one of the weakest driver lofts on the PGA Tour: a Titleist TSi3 11-degree head, although it’s in a C1 setting, which decreases it by 0.75 degrees.

Kevin Kisner’s new Wilson set

Kisner made one of the biggest off-season equipment switches on the PGA Tour, signing a new deal with Wilson for the first time in his career. This week at Pebble Beach, we got our first look at his equipment setup as a full-time Wilson staffer.

Check out his full setup: Kevin Kisner’s 2023 WITB

And, with that, we say goodbye to the beautiful cliffs of Pebble Beach. We’ll see you next week for “The Greatest Show on Grass” at the 2023 WM Phoenix Open in Arizona.

Click here to see all of our photos from Pebble Beach

Your Reaction?
  • 37
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW1
  • LOL3
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Whats in the Bag

Justin Rose WITB 2023 (February)

Published

on

  • Justin Rose what’s in the bag accurate as of the AT&T Pro-Am.

Driver: Callaway Paradym (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M6 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: Cobra King Tour (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X

Wedges: Titliest Vokey Design SM9 (52-12F), TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (52-09, 56-10, 60-07)
Shafts: KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 135 X

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Lamkin PistolClaw

Ball: TaylorMade TP5
Grips: Lamkin UTX

More Justin Rose WITBs

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending