Golf Technology 2012
Cleveland 588 Forged wedge Contemporary take on a classic
Cleveland Golf re launch their famous 588 wedge whose model number, incidentally, refers to the company’s now legendary fifth generation of wedges which debuted back in 1988. These proved exceptionally successful, both on and off tour, before being superceded by new technical ideas in the new millennium, such as the CG range. But the classic shape gets a comprehensive makeover, starting with a lavish forged head construction (amazingly, a first for a Cleveland wedge) fashioned in a state-of the- art precision process. This apparently ensures the highest manufacturing consistency of the 1025 carbon steel, a ‘soft-yet solid’ feel and less unwanted vibration. Grooves are Cleveland’s patented conforming Tour Zip variety, accompanied by the Laser Milled ‘blasted’ face that creates extra friction between the grooves (and as debuted on the CG15).
We particularly like the slightly narrower sole suited to the better player’s strategy of opening the face for greater effective loft while retaining a flush leading edge. With a unique stiffness profile that features a less active tip, the Tour Concept steel shaft is designed for a more penetrating ball flight, increased spin and optimal distance control. “The 588s have always been the best wedges ever made, and they continue to improve with great aesthetics and the classic Cleveland lines. They have an improved feel and spin control than their predecessors,” says Graeme McDowell, who switched into the 588 Forged at the Dunhill Links. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño gave the new wedges their first win at the Singapore Open. Guide: £119.99 (chrome or satin finish options). www.clevelandgolf.com
Callaway RAZR FIT driver Flagship model with full adjustability
While Callaway pioneered the elaborate i-Mix interchangeable shaft system a few years ago, they have been relative latecomers to the market for fully adjustable drivers in terms of weights, lofts and face angles. But featuring the latest evolution of the company’s OptiFit hosel technology the RAZR FIT driver introduces very effective ball flight ‘personalisation’ across a full range of parameters within a surprisingly traditional looking 440cc head.
The RAZR FIT features moveable 12g and 2g weights that shift the clubhead’s centre of gravity to promote either a draw, or neutral ball flight while a quick turn of the ‘smart’ metal sleeve within the high-tech hosel allows you to alter the loft (up or down a degree) and face angle (open or closed) to your preferences.
So far we’ve given this a brief test on a simulator/launch monitor and appreciate the way golfers will be able to combine these concepts easily in ways that work both aesthetically and performance wise. For example, many players like to see a neutral or even open face angle at address yet can still benefit from a draw bias through setting the weighting.
The driver also makes use of the Forged Composite material – lighter and stronger than titanium – famously developed in collaboration with Lamborghini and which debuted in last year’s flagship RAZR Hawk and Octane Black models. The RAZR FIT also incorporates brand new Speed Frame face technology that continues Callaway’s quest to deliver higher ball speeds over a wider face area.
Phil Mickelson is already using the club which we will revisit in more detail once we test it again at Orlando, along with the matching adjustable fairways. £329. www.callawaygolf.com
Cobra Trusty Rusty wedge Reviving the spin and feel debate
Among the great equipment debates is how different wedge finishes affect performance. In particular, the extent to which the cult ‘rusty’ look, which raw steel surfaces develop over time, really improves the spin rate on wedges.
While some leading experts concede that any gain is negligible, they admit that many better players swear that rust provides more friction as well as a unique feel that cannot be replicated with traditional chrome.
Reflecting the demand, Cobra launches a new version of their classic Trusty Rusty wedges, now in three subtle cosmetic variations: a fully pre rusted finish; a satin finish with a pre-rusted hitting area; and a fashionable black PVD option. Each features that raw, non-plated finish that is some 7% softer than chrome and will rust for what Cobra claims is “maximum allowable spin and enhanced feel”.
Whatever the performance nuances, the 8620 carbon steel head has stylishly evolved in collaboration with short-game guru, Phil Rodgers. There’s a new, highly versatile Tri-Bounce sole, laser-precise conforming groove technology while the Dynamic Gold S200 shaft is painted black for its own anti-glare cosmetic. Lofts are 51°, 55° and 59°
There’s also more forgiving version, Big Trusty Rusty, with a super-wide, rounded version of the Tri-Bounce sole that’s more forgiving than the smaller model with its elaborate scalloped grind. It’s fitted with a black Cobra-FST Steel shaft and a longer, less tapered Lamkin grip for a more consistent feel when choking down. 55° and 60° lofts. While these £99 wedges will rust on their own, wedge freaks who want to speed up the process should tune in to the Twitter handle, @cobragolf using the hashtag: #InRustWeTrust.
John Letters Tour Cart Bag 14-way, graphite-friendly model
After the latest full range of John Letters hardware (see Issue 105) comes a smart new 9.5-inch Tour Cart bag in the same water resistant, synthetic leather finish as the 10-inch model used by Sam Torrance, Philip Archer and Chris Hanson, but now in a lighter, more compact size to fit perfectly onto a typical trolley.
The 14-way divider system is lined with a graphite-friendly aeromesh material that protects shafts while ten pockets include two full-length for clothing, two velour-lined for valuable pockets, as well for balls, various accessories and an insulated drinks pocket.
A memory foam strap ensures comfort when carrying. Available in black/white or white/black.
Srixon AD333 Golf Ball New version of best seller
Srixon’s AD333 has been the UK’s best selling two-piece golf ball for several years and the flagship model is now available in its fifth generation featuring some notable construction and performance improvements.
The highly resilient Energetic Gradient Growth Core has been made even larger, courtesy of a thinner cover, providing the high initial velocity, low-spin/high launch combination needed to maximise distance in terms of carry and roll. 333 is actually the number of advanced aerodynamic dimples that are configured in a pattern that reduces drag and creates a penetrating ball flight. Targeted to golfers with clubhead speed of more than 80mph, the ball also has great feel for a two-piece, along with impressive spin and control with short irons. Srixon have also upgraded their Soft Feel Lady ball, engineered with a highly resilient 58 compression core and 324 aerodynamic dimples. Available in white and a new Passion Pink for extra visibility. Both models are priced at £26.99 per dozen. www.srixon.co.uk
Mizuno MP-69, MP-59 and JPX800HD Latest evolution of premium iron designs
The Japanese specialists continue to evolve their two premium MP and JPX iron ranges with three sumptuous new models. At the game improvement end, the JPX800 HD harnesses the power of the original JPX800 in a higher launching, super-forgiving cast clubhead.
The pocket cavity in the 4-7 irons allows a thinner sole section which, in turn, encourages the clubface to flex more for a higher COR, greater ball speed and distance. The 8-iron to PW have a more solid design with the emphasis more on control, while the whole set is progressive in terms of blade length, tapering down in size as we move up for what Mizuno calls a Balanced Performance concept.
The clubs also sport high-toe/low-heel weighting so popular these days for defining the sweet spot according to where most golfers actually strike the ball on the face. £80 per club (steel shaft)/ £115 (Fujikura's new Orochi 'Dragon' graphite shaft). For the better player, the forged MP-59 builds on the multi-material concept of the acclaimed MP-58, with a integral titanium section behind the hitting area that allows extra weight to the edges, delivering the looks, feel and workability of a blade with some of the performance advantages of cavity back.
With a slightly thinner topline and a heavier sole, the MP-59 also has a new grind developed in conjunction with Mizuno’s tour players during last season. £120 per club.
Finally, the super sleek MP-69 enjoys a similar evolution from the MP-68, and is Mizuno’s upgraded, top-of-the-range blade targeted at elite golfers. A beautifully minimalist forging that showcases the company’s grain flow process for superb feel, the MP-69 nevertheless has subtle performance contributions from the rear 4D Muscle which subtly locates weight lower in the long irons and higher in the short irons to encourage ‘tour preferred’ trajectories throughout the set. £120 per club.
Nike VR Pro Limited Edition Forged driver
After the company’s futuristic geometry of recent years, Nike is now focusing on more aesthetic driver shapes – though still sporting plenty of new technology.
The Nike VR Pro Limited Edition Forged driver is the latest addition to the premium VR franchise, featuring a surprisingly traditional pear-shaped crown in a 430cc head volume (slightly below the maximum allowed).
The titanium head is constructed in a four piece forging process construction that incorporates Nike’s latest NexCOR face technology: a ‘multi-thickness’ design where the thinnest sections generate the fastest ball speeds in an attempt to maximise distance for the widest range of players.
The sole reprises the company’s distinctive Compression Channel – which now extends the entire length of the sole – again with thickness variations to increase speed at more positions on the clubface. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana ‘Ahina’ shaft is noted for its Multi-Dimensional Interlay technology (MDI) with a stiffer mid and tip section than its predecessor.
Nike stars, Paul Casey and Anthony Kim, already have the driver in the bag. Lofts are 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°. £299.95.
FootJoy Boa closure system Laceless shoes across more styles
Arguably the most genuinely radical innovation in the golf shoe market of the last decade is the innovative Boa Closure system that does away with conventional shoelaces in favour of hidden strands of aircraft- grade stainless steel that tightens the shoe through a rotary dial at the back of the shoe which you tighten with one hand.
Debuting in FootJoy’s 2006 Reel-Fit range, the Boa concept has been considerably refined and from 2012 is now available in two of the company’s most high-profile shoes: the FJ Icon and FJ Sport both worn widely on tour, while remaining an option in the Contour Series and Women’s DryJoys. The three cherry-red dots are a trademark of Scotty Cameron whose restyled California series showcase the putter designer’s exceptional craftsmanship
With a simple turn of the rear wheel the Boa system let’s you can dial-in the perfect fit in a fraction of the time it takes to tie traditional laces. It also avoids wet and muddy laces, while the instant release mechanism is particularly satisfying after a long 18-holes. www.footjoy.co.uk
Scotty Cameron California putters Titleist design legend revamps classic series
Titleist’s legendary putter designer, Scotty Cameron, has completely revamped his famous California series that now embraces five lavish flatstick designs.
The classic shapes, some deliberately retro, have all been restyled with exceptional workmanship, starting with the distinctive ‘high toe’ set-up that reduces the tendency for players to raise the toe (taking the sole away from parallel with the ground and often causing the player to aim left of target).
Fashioned from 303 stainless steel, the faces are now all deep milled from a single block. Refreshingly, Titleist does not claim any extra performance benefits from the milling process beyond the true flatness of the face and a noticeably different sound to the originals. This is widely described as softer – probably due to the lower contact area between ball and clubface.
We’ve come to expect stylish lines on a Cameron putter but there is a beautiful flow to each design, from the leading edge to the trailing edge, in stark contrast to say to some of today’s more geometric designs. The series now covers the Del Mar (a heelshafted mid-mallet); Fastback (a modified Newport-style mid-mallet with a compact head and a rounded back flange); Monterey (bladed body with smooth, doublestep flange and plumbing neck hosel); Monterey 1.5 (similar but with a medium flare-neck hosel); and the all-new Sonoma (a compact mid-mallet with a D-shaped back flange and sight line).
All are fitted with circular weights in the heel and toe that allow each model to be offered at 33”, 34” and 35” lengths, as well as 34”H and 35”H heavier weight configurations.
We have been playing the Monterey over the last few weeks and have enjoyed the performance, sound and feel and the level of craftsmanship that is stunning even by Scotty’s own high standards (checkout the video on his website). Every surface, edge and angle in the face, sole and neck has been re-milled such that there are over thirty subtle improvements over the originals.
In a market often dominated by outlandish shapes and garish alignment schemes, these putters are beautifully understated – right down to the smart Sea Mist finish, the smooth, step less shaft and the velvety-feeling rubber Pistolero grip developed in conjunction with Cameron’s many by tour pro clients. Putter perfection priced at £278.
Motocaddy Wet Weather wheels Anti-skid grip for S-Series trolleys
Developed in conjunction with turf care experts, Motocaddy’s wet weather trolley wheels incorporate an innovative tread pattern that disperses weight in an anti-skid design that both protects the golf course and improves trolley performance.
The wheels, manufactured from a durable and hard-wearing material and featuring a quick-release mechanism are compatible with all Motocaddy’s popular S-Series trolleys. £69.99 per set. The company also has various other new accessories, including a Clearview Umbrella with distinctive transparent panels (£29.99), Deluxe Trolley Mittens (£19.99 per pair) and a Height Extender for raising the trolley handle by 65mm for the taller golfer (£9.99). www.motocaddy.com
Adams Idea a12 Hybrids Velocity Slot evolves
Among the leading name in hybrids, Adams has developed some radical new ideas, like the visually striking Velocity Slot technology that debuted last season and has now been refined for the new Idea a12 range. The concept involves a thin sectioned drilled out of the crown and sole, leaving a much smaller, more flexible connection between the face and crown.
This boldly invasive strategy aims to produce a hotter face normally associated only with the larger clubhead volume of a driver. “The spring-like effect produced across the entire face does just that, giving golfers increased distance, optimized launch and improved forgiveness,” says Michael Vrska, Adams R&D director, confirming the Idea a12 Hybrid’s superior performance over the a7. The Velocity Slot ‘2’ concept is available in both the Idea a12 and the Idea a12OS: the latter with a 14% larger and even thinner face, greater perimeter weighting and a low CG that combine to deliver what appears to be the company’s most forgiving hybrid to date. Meanwhile, the a12OS hybrids will also form part of an integrated combination set that includes Transitional Hybrids in the 7 and 8 irons.
Featuring a radical Truss Back design, these ‘Trans’ clubs allow more weight to the perimeter and sole making them ideally suited to bridging the gap between the hybrids (in the 4-5-6) and the deep, undercut cavity-back irons in the 9- iron and wedges. The precise set composition can be varied in a custom order.
Adams Idea a12 Hybrids: £199.99 (available in 17°, 19°, 22° and 25° lofts with Pro- Force VTS Silver hybrid shafts). Adams Idea a12 OS set: £599 (steel shafts)/£699 (graphite). www.adamsgolf.com
Grip-Par training glove Novel grip support system
“I may not know much about golf – but I do know how to hold the bat,” says Rowan Atkinson in the new Johnny English film when dabbling briefly in the Royal & Ancient game.
Well, many golfers who do know how to hold the “bat” correctly at address could do with a little help in maintaining their grip when swinging the club dynamically.
The Grip-Par golf glove is designed to provide that extra support with the help of a special flap of Velcro-backed material attached to an otherwise normal golf glove design, which you secure around your left-hand grip, ‘locking’ it onto the golf club before taking your right-hand grip as normal.
It’s certainly a novel idea and will particularly help anyone with arthritis or with weaker wrists, fingers and joints. Ladies and juniors are also an obvious target market from the Gripeeze company that has already proved itself with various specialist support gloves – from gardening to ping pong – for those with gripping difficulties, and has now helped several golfers previously resigned to giving up the game due to hand injuries. Grip-Par should also be considered by players with a tendency to ‘lose’ their left-hand grip at the top of the swing (when the heel of the hand briefly comes off the shaft, forcing a ‘regrab’ on the way down).
Do note, however, that the Grip-Par is still being considered for approval by the R&A but, in the meantime, is nevertheless recommended for both casual play and as a practice aid by PGA coach Jason O’Brian, among others.
We like the concept – albeit for the very specific market outlined – and note the improvements since the prototypes we first tested: a cabretta leather option, a higher grade of denier in the lycra finger gussets and a more efficient angle of attachment in the defining extra strap section.
£16.99 / £19.99 (leather). www.gripeeze.com
Bridgestone J40 range High quality forgings
Certainly since the J33 series, Bridgestone irons have seriously upped their game, with the super soft, dusky-finished Limited Edition J36 a particular favourite of ours. The J40 irons maintain the high standard with two different models, both precision-forged from 1020 mild carbon steel. The J40 Forged Dual Pocket Cavity irons are designed for the serious player that demands a buttery feel and more traditional topline, but also needs some help squaring the clubface at impact.
Along with more discretionary weight to the perimeter which creates a higher MOI, the mid-size head promotes a mid-to-high launch while the leading edge relief has been improved over earlier models to help prevent digging in softer conditions.
Meanwhile, with its more compact head, thinner topline and greater face progression, the J40 Forged Cavity Back irons are targeted at better players who prefer a classy no-frills look at address. More mass higher up the clubface produces a more penetrating ball flight while the tapered sole-design is also for better players looking to work the ball.
The J40 range also includes a new line of hybrids with a longer heel-to-toe face for more forgiveness on off-centre hits, helped by the Variable Face Thickness Design, while tungsten weighting adds stability and a touch of draw bias. Machine-milled Wedges with Variable Bounce technology, Dynamic Gold Spinner shafts and a choice of Black Oxide or Satin Chrome finishes are also a highlight of the J40 range. We’ll bring you more news of the flagship driver, which comes in two head sizes, when we try it at Orlando.
Guide: J40 irons £89 each (with Project X shafts); J40 hybrids £135 (18°, 21° and 24° lofts with Project X Graphite shafts); J40 wedges £79 (52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60°); J40 driver £299. www.bridgestonegolf.com
Callaway Forged Wedges New grooves, soles and finishes
Roger Cleveland, Callaway Golf's chief wedge designer, is behind the new batch of forged scoring clubs that also incorporate a brand new groove configuration as well a sumptuous new finish.
The result of ongoing research in the aftermath of the 2010 regulations, the wedges sport a mighty 21 grooves, tightly spaced to improve coverage, and each with sharper edges thanks to a special Triple Net forging process claimed to give maximum spin control as well a more consistent trajectory.
Cleveland himself comments that the configuration should inspire golfers to attack the pin more aggressively and confidently. Meanwhile, the traditional shape of the soft carbon steel heads has been inspired by feedback from Callaway’s tour pros, along with a versatile C-grind sole whose bounce angle and shape is very conducive to laying open on tight lies. On first inspection, we also particularly like the higher toe and straighter leading edge offering a square look at address.
Along with dark PVD chrome, there’s a new classy copper finish designed to oxidize over time for a distinctive look. The six new wedges come in lofts of 52° to 60° (in 2° increments) and a 64°, each with a variety of bounce angles. Guide: £99 (with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shafts).
Big Max Nano Trolley Hidden power system
Golfers who appreciate ingenious design nuances will be impressed by the Big Max Nano trolley. At a stroke, the Nano does away with that cumbersome external battery in favour of a lightweight lithium-polymer power supply that is secreted very subtly within the tubular frame of the trolley itself.
Big Max are already known in the UK for their stylish, beautifully constructed push trolleys (we particularly like the iQ), and having deservedly won an innovation award at Munich Golf Show last year, the powered Nano makes its first appearance in the UK market. At £1,495, such progress doesn’t come cheap. www.bigmaxgolf.co.uk
Rife Tropical putters Unique rainbow finish
Rife Putters unveils its Tropical range that gives Tour range a unique finish that will appeal to anyone with an eye for beauty. Using a system of vacuum Ti plating, Rife’s Rainbow Finish will appear on three of its most technologically advanced and successful putters, delivering a product that is unique in the market. Along with the aesthetic cosmetic, this process also increases the putters’ resistance to wear and prevents oxidization over time.
Jim Barfield, Rife chairman, comments, “Rife has created many innovative and new designs. With the addition of this new and exciting finish it enhances the designs already established as putters the public truly enjoys using on the golf course. We made these tropical putters look like exclusive collectors items but they are now available to all the public.” The Tropical Series will consist of: The Bimini is a Guerin Rife version of the classic 8802 made famous by Arnold Palmer. This is a classic blade with subtle variations. A purists’ putter, the Bimini showcases many of Rife’s design credentials. There is a slight raised toe along with the company’s patented RollGroove Face Technology which claims a truer roll.
But unlike every other Rife putter, the Bimini does not have the vertical notch on the back edge of the top line. Rife wanted to ensure this was a putter design for the true traditionalist to go with the beautiful Rainbow finish.
Guide: £149.99. www.rifeputters.com
Wilson Ci11 irons Now in high fashion finish
Now in its fourth generation, Wilson’s game improvement Ci irons are back in black with arguably the most striking PVD finish of the many on the market for 2012.
Wilson’s first such finish across an entire set, the visual effect is to minimise the visual appearance of the Ci11 head size and reduce glare at address – both factors the better player tends to look for in an iron. The distinctive ‘exoskeleton’ of the original has also been re-engineered, pulling slightly more weight away from the clubface and towards the heel and toe for even higher MOI and more stability at impact.
Meanwhile, the thin topline and moderately progressive offset has been retained while a ‘soft-response’ insert concealed in the stainless steel head helps dampen vibration especially on off-centre shots. There’s also a thinner, harder face that Wilson claims generates greater ball speed.
Fitted with True Temper TX Flighted steel, Aldila VS Proto II graphite or Wilson’s exclusive Half & Half shafts. The latter famously attempts to combine the feel and consistency of steel with the lightweight and vibration- dampening benefits of graphite in a single shaft design. Guide: £429 (4-PW). www.wilson.com
Pinnacle Gold balls Long distance model
In the cluttered golf ball market we are all for efforts to streamline ranges and simplify the story for the consumer. Pinnacle have done just that, rationalising their previous four model family into one flagship, the new Pinnacle Gold.
The ball still delivers the powerful distance to rival many of the longest models on the market but now with just the single softer feel option widely favoured by so many golfers, along with exceptional quality and consistency.
The only decision now is between the bright white and high optix yellow colour options and, in the Pinnacle Gold Lady, bright white and clear pearlescent pink. One thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible value: £15 per 15-ball pack. www.pinnaclegolf.com
GoKart Automatic trolley Not hard to handle
While most powered trolleys work with some form of rotary dial that you work with your fingers, the GoKart Automatic adopts a neat variation with a motor that automatically adjusts to your walking speed as you hold the handle. Tiny switches in the handle detect small changes in hand pressure and cleverly work out your intended speed.
Indeed, the on/off switch is the only piece of on-board electronics – ideal for golfers who don’t require today’s various elaborate distance-measuring features. Similarly, the no-frills, heavy-duty plastic construction may not aspire to the sleek, space-age lines of some its metallic rivals, but it is suitably lightweight (just 8.2kg), neat and functional and folds simply into a small space (26x58x61cm).
As with the original manual GoKart powered model (which you can now upgrade with the automatic handle), the trolley receives its support from a battery section which, uniquely, is inserted at an angle in the central spine of the main supporting stanchions. This rather neatly gives the impression of a push trolley, while you don’t need to bend down to the ground to fiddle around with the connections (though you will need to familiarize yourself, first time out, to ensure the correct ‘snug fit’). We gave the GoKart a test drive over 36 holes last month and admit the ‘smart’ handle is a smart idea, though it may take a couple of holes to get used to the system which, in effect, is working to ‘second guess’ your speed. Guide: £284 www.gokart.co.uk
Cobra Long Tom driver 48-inch shaft shock!
Just when you thought it was only putters whose shafts were getting ever longer, Cobra Golf’s two new models of Long Tom driver are set to stand out from the pack (literally) with their 48-inch shafts – a full 2 or 3 inches longer than typical rivals.
Normally such shafts are the preserve of long-driving specialists keen to harness every last yard of distance potential from the extra swingspeed on offer from the additional length. Until now, however, they have generally not caught on commercially for two reasons: starting with the extra weight of a longer shaft which, for many, makes the club too unwieldy thereby defeating the object of the exercise.
But Cobra have addressed this: building the club with exceptionally lightweight materials throughout. In fact, the Long Tom weighs in at just 279g (and the limited edition Long Tom RAW at 285g) making them, paradoxically, at the lower range of the market dominated by drivers over 300g.
Key to this is not merely the super light construction of both the short, thin grip and the Grafalloy Blackbird graphite shaft but also the smaller clubhead volume of 445cc and the use of 8-1-1 titanium with its superior strength-to-weight ratio (over the more common 6-4) allowing for a thinner face. The second concern over long shafts is that control is often compromised by the greater difficulty of consistently ‘middling it’. Cobra have also looked at this with their E9 face technology which claims a 30% larger sweet spot and set in an elliptical pattern which research suggests reflects the pattern most golfers make with off-centre hits. There’s also a new bulge and ‘dual’ roll face design that basically improves stability in the vertical plane resulting in more distance for shots hit above and below the centre-line.
Tapping into today’s fashion for cool prototypes, the Long Tom RAW is a limited edition of 500 with an unfinished cosmetic whose cryptic number stampings, we’re told, refer to the wall thickness at various points across the 9-degree head, reinforcing that industrial, ‘straight-out-of-the-lab’ look.
The other Long Tom model comes in a slick black finish, with a slightly lighter head weight and more loft options (8°, 9° and 10°) making it more accessible to bolder higher handicappers that can handle the extra length.
We gave the RAW a good workout – and there was undoubted satisfaction from the sound, feel and power of a well-timed connection which we found delivered a more penetrating trajectory but with plenty of carry as well as roll.
We found it far easier to hit than expected, though you may need a slightly flatter swing plane and a smooth tempo – which may, anyway, help to improve your timing with all clubs. Of course, there are a few practical issues in accommodating Long Tom (named incidentally, after a cannon used in World War II and Korea). There’s the challenge of fitting it into your car boot and your travel cover – while I had to dismantle the shelf in my locker in order to keep it at my golf club.
As I told the valet, I did it for science….. Cobra Long Tom RAW Driver £319 Long Tom Driver £289; www.cobragolf.com
Nike VR Pro Dual-Sole For shot-shaping control
Nike Golf is capitalising on the success of its VR Pro forged wedges with the introduction of the highly crafted Nike VR Pro Forged Dual-Sole (DS) wedge. Available now, the Nike VR Pro Forged DS wedge is developed with a precise forging process, resulting in a wedge that offers accurate shot-shaping performance and a greater propensity for low scoring. Built for Nike Golf Tour athletes, the VR Pro Forged DS wedge features a Dual-Sole grind, ensuring ideal set-up from sand, fringe, fairway or deep rough.
The Dual-Sole provides two distinct benefits. In a regular square set up, the sole has added leading edge bounce, but the trailing edge is relieved. This allows for the full utilisation of the bounce, which not only helps to eliminate digging but reduces the contact area so the club glides through the turf. When it comes to opening up the face for higher shots, a unique relieved heel design comes into play, allowing the leading edge to sit low to the ball, especially on short flop shots.
The VR Pro Forged DS wedge also features Nike’s high-frequency X3X grooves, with a precision laser crosshatch pattern that is applied to the land area between the grooves. This pattern adds three times the surface texture versus conventionally finished faces, creating more spin in all conditions (while conforming to the USGA and R&A rules). Available in a Platinum finish, with loft’bounce options of 56 dual; 58 dual; 60 dual (available in RH). Guide: £89.95, €129
Regeneration of a classic New PING Hoofer stand-bag for 2012
With a reputation for combining function with style, Ping’s iconic Hoofer stand bag has a huge fan base, and the latest version will do nothing to disappoint those who are hooked on its looks and all-round practicality in a lightweight package.
The 2012 model features a five-way top with two full-length dividers, making for the easy withdrawal of clubs, saving wear and There are no fewer than 8 separate zip locked pockets, including a velour-lined valuables pouch, a water bottle sleeve and a large, all-encompassing apparel and accessories pocket. Given the array of features it’s remarkable to discover the bag weighs in at just `, underlining Ping’s commitment to making this the most user-friendly bag in its class. Dual sliding adjustable straps with a strap slider for a ‘backpack fit’ add to carrying comfort, while a reinforced bracket with sturdy leg stoop ensures a firm footing when you stand it up.
The Hoofer is available in a wide range of colours, including: White/Inferno Red (as pictured), Black/Inferno Red, Black/Charcoal/Inferno Red, Navy/White and Black. Guide: £135 www.ping.com