Best New Products of the 2019 PGA Show - Part 1 (Equipment) PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

The 2019 PGA Show is now in the rear view mirror and there are so

many new products and innovations to discuss in this our 10th Annual

Best New Products feature. In Part 1, we present who impressed in

the driver, irons, wedges, putter and golf ball categories?


Coming soon, in Part 2 we'll present the finest in Tech Gear,

Apparel, Footwear, Eyewear and Accessories.



PGA Show week for most of the industry kicks off at Demo Day located

at Orange County National each year. Displays like this elaborate one

from Cleveland/Srixon are popular spots to catch a glimpse of the new

equipment and take them for a test spin.




Drivers

There were half dozen or so OEM's that impressed in the Big Stick category,

some of the usual industry heavyweights, and a few surprises from those

that you might not expect to find making waves in the driver marketplace.

With industry titan TaylorMade opting out of the 2019 PGA Show, those on

hand presented well. Lynx (yep Lynx), Tour Edge/Exotics, Mizuno, Ping,

Callaway, Cobra & Titleist led the way.



Tour Edge / Exotics EXS

David Glod and the Tour Edge/Exotics team keep introducing high-

performance quality metals and at the best value to consumers. Their

latest, the EXS line features a flight tuning system consisting of two

interchangeable weights - 9-gram weight in the heel and 3 gram in

the rear. The stock configuration is a draw bias ball flight, simply

switch the weights to achieve a more neutral shot shape. Available

in 9.5 & 10.5 lofts and adjustable via their advanced hosel system

(change loft + or - 2 degrees). Roll Face technology tightens up

dispersion, while their dual carbon technology enables weight to be

re-distributed lower and further back - increasing MOI. Mitsubishi

Tensei CK Blue is the stock powerplant for the EXS driver. MSRP $299


 

*Stay tuned for a full review on Exotics EXS coming soon - product has already

arrived for testing.






Callaway EPIC FLASH

Callaway's follow up to the super popular Epic and Rogue drivers of the

last two years is the new Epic Flash. The big story for Epic Flash is the

new face. According to Senior Director of Brand Management Dave Neville,

"Epic Flash is the first driver ever designed using AI (artificial intelligence)

and machine learning. This is a huge innovation that we've been working

on for a number of years. In a typical driver face, you'll have 5 to 7 proto-

types and pick the best one. With this new technology, we were able to

have 15,000 virtual prototypes," Neville said. "So we know we have the

fastest possible face to go along with the body of this driver."

Xander Schauffele reportedly picked up 3mph of ball speed and nearly

10 yards of carry in his first week using Epic Flash to win the Sentry

Tournament of Champions. A 16-gram movable rear weight offers the

ability to fine-tune shot shape. Available in standard version and Sub-

Zero model. MSRP $529


*Stay tuned for a full review on Epic Flash, as of this writing we have

already received product for review.





PING - G410

PING's new G410 driver looks to improve on the huge success of

last year's G400, and that won't be an easy task. So what has PING

brought to the marketplace to improve what many considered the

driver of the year in 2018? From the address position you'd say not

much, the matte black Dragonfly crown returns with a slight variation

- a new "Creased Crown" design. It's the back end where you notice

the changes . . .






Movable weight is not a new concept in driver technology, but is a

new addition to PING drivers. The ultra high density movable rear

weight has 3 settings fade - neutral - draw to influence shot shape.







Available in SFT and Plus versions, the G410 has a plethora of shafts

available at no upcharge, including Ping Tour 65 & 75 gram, Project X

Even Flow Black 75 and Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 60. MSRP $499



 

 




LYNX - Prowler VT

So if I told you that perhaps the biggest driver innovation at the show

was the Lynx Prowler VT driver, what would you say? It's true, and it's

all because of their SWITCHFACE technology. In the past 6-8 years or

so, adjustability in drivers has allowed you to change loft quite easily

with the quick turn of a wrench. However, this came with a catch,

when you moved the shaft sleeve into your desired loft it also changed

lie and face angle. The folks at Lynx have developed a new way to change

loft without the side effects. Let's say you live in a region where you need

max carry (because it rains so often that roll is non-existent), in that

case a 10 or 11 degree driver might be the right choice. Now you plan

a trip to Bandon or Scotland where the wind usually is a serious influence

on carry distance and the ground is firm - where you may need a lower

ball flight with max roll out. Do you go buy buy a new driver or adjust

your loft sleeve (knowing that it will also change the face angle and lie

angle? If you chose option 1, it's very expensive. Option 2, can and

will likely change your normal shot shape. The new Prowler VT allows

these changes independently, with the only change being the loft

(via a different lofted faceplate). Simply determine the course

conditions and install the desired lofted face.








The assigned loft is printed onto the face in the upper toe section as

required by the USGA and R&A. Only testing will determine if the

Prowler VT stands up to the larger brands.


I do have one pet peeve with this new offering, the Prowler VT is a

glue-in shaft/head design, and in this age of instant shaft removal

convenience, a glue-in shaft should be converted at the very least

to a straight adapter installation . . .







Mizuno ST190

Mizuno's new ST 190 and ST 190G Drivers were created for more ball

speed, and using SP700 titanium (10% stronger than typical titanium

used in most driver faces) the ST190 driver faces are created to regain

their original shape faster after flexing at impact. Mizuno's "Amplified

Wave" sole was created to improve sound and allow the face to flex

better on strikes located low in the face. ST190 is available in 9 & 10.5

loft choices, while ST190G is only available in 9 degrees. MSRP $399



 


Crown view of the ST190, pretty sporty.







While the rear weighted ST190 is created for max forgiveness, the

ST190G model is the company's more adjustable model featuring

two 7 gram tungsten weights that can be moved to shift CG.

MSRP $499



 

 




Titleist TS Metals

The latest TS Line to come from Titleist is getting plenty of gametime

on tours around the globe including in house staffers Adam Scott, Justin

Thomas and Jordan Spieth.


While nearly every large OEM has moved to carbon fiber crown construction,

Titleist claims to have the lightest titanium crown in the game. TS models

come in two different designs built to bring you more speed. TS2 offers Max

forgiveness, while TS3 features a tuning port to dial in your desired ball flight.

Stock shaft offerings include Mitsubishi Kuro Kage (Dual Core 50) and Tensei

Blue (AV series 55) as well as HZRDUS Smoke (Black 60) and Project X Even

Flow (T1100 White 65). MSRP for both TS models - $499




 




Cobra SpeedBack

Cobra's new Speedback driver is a combination of aerodynamics, low CG

and their CNC milled face - creating optimal club and ball speed. 14 gram

and 2 gram sole weights allow you to dial in trajectory and backspin to

dial in your desired launch specs. Cobra Connect by Arccos returns to give

your game all of the flight data after each shot.






Cobra is the industry's first to create a carbon wrap crown, this new

design produces a 12% larger Carbon fiber area - saving an additional

10 grams from typical titanium driver crowns. According to Cobra's

Mike Yagley, "Polymer directional crown trips reduce drag and increase

clubhead speed."


Available in Yellow or White trim in 9, 10.5 & 12 degree lofts. Stock shaft

choices include UST Helium, Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Blue 6, Project X

HZRDUS Smoke Black 60 & Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Black 7. MSRP $449







Fairways




Titleist TS Fairways

Titleist TS Fairways share traits and the same technology of their

more voluminous & less lofted tee box launchers. TS Fairways also

pack some additional goodies like adjustable swingweight and speed

inducing features like an Active Recoil Channel to enhance max ball

speed and forgiveness. MSRP $299








Mizuno ST190 F

Mizuno's ST190 Fairways feature a high-energy H1770 maraging steel

face. According to Mizuno's Jeff Crawford, "The chassis helps produce

more face flex like a driver to maximize speed and distance. The carbon

crown allows weight to be relocated lower in the clubhead, while the

Amplified Wave Sole balances stability and provides more forgiveness

on off-center hits. MSRP $299








XXIO - X Fairways

XXIO's new X Fairway metals are the poster child for the company's

"Easy Distance" mantra (for players who want the finest quality

equipment but don't possess tour player swing speeds). The XXIO X

Fairways feature a lightweight crown, variable thickness sole and a

rolled cup face that produces big distance. MSRP $399








Hybrids




Exotics CBX119

On our must have list (and should be on yours) for 2019 is the Exotics

CBX 119. According to Tour Edge/Exotics Founder and Master Club

Designer David Glod, "the new CBX 119 hybrid design was based on

feedback from tour players and led to a more compact design and

deeper face that produces hotter ball speeds and less spin." The

shorter heel to toe clubhead is a favorite of shotmakers on the PGA

Tour Champions. Stock shafts: Project X Even Flow and HZRDUS.

MSRP $249









Cobra F9 Hybrids

According to Cobra's Manager of Innovation Chad DeHart, "The new F9

hybrid has a large clubhead profile that increases MOI and forgiveness.

Baffler & Speedback Technologies optimize clubhead speed and lower

the center of gravity, resulting in the best combination of distance

and speed in a hybrid." Equipped with Fujikura's Atmos 7 shaft and

Cobra Connect by Arccos to track shot data. MSRP $219


 

 

 

 



Shafts:



Aldila Rogue 130 M.S.I

The Aldila ROGUE Silver 130 M.S.I is the latest edition of the popular

line of low launch/low spin driver and fairway shafts. Rogue 130 M.S.I

features a low torque tip-section, a higher balance point, and perhaps

the finest aesthetics of any premium shaft in the game - a brilliant ion

plating finish. MSRP $425






Fujikura Ventus

Fujikura's newest offering - Ventus was designed to significantly tighten

shot dispersion and optimize ball speeds. According to Fujikura Product

Marketing Manager Austin Tudor, "Ventus was inspired by tour players.

The VeloCore technology has an accelerated taper and ultra-stiff tip

profile that transfers maximium energy, thus boosting performance."

MSRP $350







Irons:



SRIXON Z-FORGED

Srixon's new Z-FORGED is a classic blade in muscle back form that

offers maximum shot shaping and versatility due to the new Tour V.T

sole. Forged from 1020 carbon steel, Z-FORGED is the company's pure

players iron. Available in 40 different custom shafts and grips at no

upcharge. 4-PW MSRP $999.99



 

 



SRIXON Z785

Srixon's Z785 might be the iron that captures the greatest interest for most

players who prefer forged but want a touch of forgiveness. Z785's Tour Cavity

provides additional mass behind the sweet spot offering the best of both worlds

for a variety of players. Srixon allows consumers to create their dream set by

mixing different models. Perhaps a ZU85 long iron or two, Z585 or Z785 mid

irons and Z-FORGED blades for your short irons. The choice is yours . . .

4-PW MSRP $999.99





ZU85

Srixon's Z U85 is our selection for the cleanest looking utility iron, but

is there technology to go with it's good looks? Ultra soft 1020 Carbon

steel gives buttery feel, while hollow body construction and SUP10 face

provide forgiveness and big distance. MSRP $199








Callaway - APEX Forged / APEX PRO

Callaway's newest Apex forgings are some serious head turners.


Apex Forged is a new tungsten infused multi-piece construction that's

engineeered to optimize ball speed and trajectory. Forged 1025 mild

carbon steel combines with the chevron's 360 Face Cup and proprietary

urethane microspheres (that absorb unwanted vibrations - without

affecting the dynamics of the clubface at impact). 4-PW $1225


Apex Pro 19 was designed for better players who desire the benefits of

a tour inspired forged design without giving up distance or performance.

The Apex Pro can be combined with Apex Forged to create your own

custom set up. 4-PW $1225 (Combo set starts at $1400)


 

 




MIZUNO - JPX TOUR 919 / JPX 919

JPX 919 Tour & JPX 919 Forged is the latest in Mizuno's highly sought

after line of forgings. According to Associate Brand Manager of Mizuno

Golf - Jeff Crawford, "The JPX 919 Tour is the benchmark for elite level

shotmakers. Grain Flow Forged High Density from a single billet of 1025E

Pure Select mild carbon steel for the softest feel of any forging." The

subdued satin silver finish is a different look for a Mizuno forging, and

it's a sharp look.  3-PW MSRP $1200


The JPX 919 Forged features a milled clubface boasting the brand's fastest

measured ball speed. Being positioned as their most versatile iron of the

lineup, the JPX 919 Forged sacrifices nothing in the way of feel with their

Grain Flow Forged HD makeup. Although it carries a deeper cavity then the

JPX 919 Tour, it still maintains a streamlined appearance with its brilliant

chrome finish. 4-GW MSRP $1300







Wedges:



CLEVELAND RTX4

Cleveland's RTX 4 grabbed our attention right away, with their multiple

grind offerings, tour inspired clubhead shape and stylish finishes.






The sharpest Zip Grooves face milling is Cleveland's most precise laser

milling ever for more spin and shortgame control.







RTX4 is avialable in lofts of 46 - 64 degrees in three different finishes

Tour Satin, Black Satin and Tour Raw finish. Dynamic Gold Tour Issue

shafts come stock with all RTX4 wedges. MSRP $139







Callaway - PM GRIND 19

Above - Roger Cleveland shows off his latest creation, the PM Grind 19

(Phil Mickelson) Wedge line and explains the collaboration process

with "Lefty" on these new shortgame sticks and the feature they call

the "Bounce behind the Bounce".






Although this image may not show it in detail, Roger Cleveland was

explaining to me how the new laser milling on the face has been angled

20 degrees so open face shortgame shots will have the benefit of less

side spin that will lead to shots finishing closer to the targe (instead of

the typical cut spin you often get from an open faced shot, Brilliant.





Notice where Phil is pointing, this is that narrow portion in the center

rear portion of the grind that he refers to as "the bounce behind the

bounce" that he says stabilizes the club as it enters the turf for just the

right amount of skid vs dig. Available in 54 - 64 degree models.

MSRP $159.99



 

 

 

 

 

 

PING GLIDE FORGED

Ping introduces GLIDE FORGED wedges, designed in collaboration with

their tour staff. 8620 carbon steel provides soft feel in a compact head

shape that's well suited for shortgame versatility. Ping's custom program

allows golfers to personalize their wedges with various graphics and

stamping options. Available in lofts of 50-60 degree increments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precision-milled wheel cut grooves provide improved higher spin, the

tapered hosel allows for better turf/sand interaction. Several shaft

options are available. GLIDE FORGED MSRP - $199

 

 

 

 

 


Cobra - MIM Wedges

Cobra's new MIM wedges feature a process known as Metal-injection

molding which is different then traditional methods. This process ensures

a precise shape that is softer than either cast or forged metals. The face

milling pattern is concentric - circling out from the center. 50-60 degree

lofts available. MSRP $150.



 




BRIDGESTONE - TOURB XW-1

Featuring a "Biting Rail Milled Groove" design, Bridgestone's new TourB

XW-1 wedges were designed for better players - forged from 1020

carbon steel for superb feel. Compact in size with sole grind relief in

both the heel and toe for complete versatility on all types of shortgame

shots. Available in 50-60 degree lofts - MSRP $139





Tour B XW-1 features







Putters:



SCOTTY CAMERON - PHANTOM X

Scotty Cameron's new Phantom X line consists of nine new modern

mallets, offering a variety of set ups to each player. Five different

head shapes and styles made from 303 stainless and precision milled

aluminum faces. Phantom X is more compact from the Futura line.

With a plethora of alignment options built-in, Phantom X offers a

choice for any set up preference.






Phantom X is available in Low bend, mid bend and straight, offering

options for your preferred amount of toe-flow. Phantom X features

stepless steel shafts and customizable stability sole weights positioned

on the heel/toe. Available April 5th - MSRP $429








Odyssey - STROKE LAB

Odyssey's latest putter line - Stroke Lab is technology that's born

from the idea that most golfers have very inconsistent strokes.

Putter innovations have been concentrated on improving alignment

and quality of roll, with Stroke Lab Odyssey seeks to improve your

stroke through a radical change in weight distribution.





Stroke Lab's shaft is 40 grams lighter by using a multi-material graphite

body and steel tip section. The saved weight is moved - head weight is

increased by 10 grams and with a grip that itself is 10 grams lighter than

standard, they added a 30 gram weight to grip-end - thus increasing the

counter-balance grip cap weight by 40 grams. According Odyssey Chief

Putter Designer Austie Rollinson, "Everyone would love to have a smoother

putting stroke, studies indicate that Stroke Lab improves backswing time,

impact position, ball speed and direction. It's created a more repeatable

stroke for most players."






The Stroke Lab line incorporates the White-Hot insert combined with

micro-hinge technology to provide superior forward roll and the softest

feel in the game. MSRP $249

 

 

 

 

 



PING SIGMA 2

Ping's new Sigma 2 line is a stable of 10 models for the player who

prefers a flatstick on the softer side, but with the response of a firm

face. Ping's Pebax insert is comprised of a firmer front layer and firmer

rear layer, that according to PING, has a softer feel on shorter putts

improving touch. While the rear layer comes into play more on longer

length putts, aiding in distance control and consistency.


Perhaps the biggest innovation is the perfected adjustable length shaft

technology that is now standard with all Sigma 2 putters. Ping's studies

found that 8 out 10 golfers are playing the wrong length putter, and

when the correct length gets dialed, consistency in the stroke improves

greatly. Adjustable in lengths of 32" - 36".  MSRP $200






Tour Golf Balls

 


Titleist Pro V1 / Pro V1x

The industry standard has it's latest iteration of it's Pro V1 and Pro V1x.

The word from Titleist is more ball speed and a new high optic-yellow

option.

According to Titleist, they developed a new cast urethane cover that's

17% thinner then the previous version - allowing for a higher percentage

of speed-enhancing materials in the construction of the new models. The

cores on the Pro V1 and dual cores on the Pro V1x have both increased in

stiffness, while the inner core remains soft which produces higher ball

speeds and less long game spin.


Pro V1 flies a bit lower and more penetrating with a slighty softer feel than

Pro V1x. MSRP per dozen $52






SRIXON ZSTAR / ZSTAR XV

Srixon's sixth generation of it's ZSTAR and ZSTAR XV features a

FASTLayer Core and the fourth generation of Spin Skin with SeRM

providing unmatched control around the greens. The 338 Speed dimple

pattern boosts distance and provides straight ball flight and outstanding

performance in windy conditions.


Srixon Z-Star is a three piece construction, 90 compression urethane

tour ball with max greenside spin, while boasting more distance than

other mid-compression tour golf balls. Z-Star XV is a four piece, 102

compression urethane tour ball provides max distance and tour caliber

performance tee to green. Available in Pure White and Tour Yellow.

MSRP $39.99






Mizuno RB Tour

At this year's PGA Show, Mizuno launched their first ever Tour Urethane

golf ball in North America - RB TOUR and RB Tour X. Both models feature

four piece urethane cover technology, but it's their "cone" dimples that

are the result of 12 years of wind tunnel testing. Mizuno has had a

premium ball offering in the Asian market for quite some time, but as

Jeff Crawford of Mizuno told me, "We wanted to wait to come out with

THIS ball."


The RB Tour is a slightly softer compression offering low driver spin,

while the firmer X model offers mid driver spin and a firmer feel.

MSRP $43 per dozen





Distance Golf Balls:



Bridgestone e12  SOFT / SPEED

Bridgestone returned to the PGA Show and to 2019 with a ton of

momentum. Bryson DeChambeau has taken professional golf by

storm of late and Tiger Woods came back from oblivion and driving

his Tour B XS golf ball to victory at the Tour Championship at East

Lake to finish off 2018.


e12 is the new kid on the block for Bridgestone in 2019, and it comes

in two versions e12 SOFT and e12 Speed. According to Bridgestone's

Elliot Mellow, "Both models are 3 piece surlyn that we categorize as

distance performance balls. The Active Acceleration Mantle layer is

our key component that is a high-performance polymer that provides

higher velocity and increased thrust at impact. This allowed us to soften

the core for more forgiveness and enhanced feel. Both balls feature our

Delta Wing dimple pattern for less drag and optimized aerodynamics."


e12 SOFT was specifically designed for players with swings under 105

mph. Available in White, Matte Green, Matte Red, and Matte Yellow -

MSRP $29.99


e12 SPEED was created for those faster swing players at 105 mph+

Available in White. MSRP $29.99






OnCore - AVANT

OnCore's new Avant ball is a two piece 55 compression golf ball that

offers big distance and low spin off the driver and high spin on wedge

shots. Super soft feel on and around the green. MSRP $24 per dz.




Stay Tuned for Our Best New Products Part 2 - Tech, Apparel,

Footwear and accessories coming soon . . .