Equipment & Product Reviews


Best New Products - 2020 PGA Show PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

The 67th edition of the PGA Merchandise Show annually takes place at

the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.






Our week kicked off at Lake Nona for the Tour Edge Media Day where

several OEMs showed off their new product lines.






The foot traffic was heavy at the Convention Center for the show but

for the second year in a row industry titan Taylormade decided to punt

on attending. Will this be a trend in the future and if so, what does the

future hold for this annual gathering of industry professionals?



 

While many media outlets will pick a few items to showcase from the

show, we scour the entire convention center looking for those new

innovations that inspire us to play and work on the game - no matter

how big or small the company. Normally we start with clubs, but honestly

it was the new footwear that stole the show in 2020, so we kickoff our

most comprehensive "Best New Products" feature to date with some love

for the shoe game . . .



 


Footwear



Adidas - CodeChaos

Of the new kicks presented in Orlando, Adidas introduced the boldest

new line with the launch of CodeChaos. Both men's & women's collection

comes in standard lace up, Boa and Sport edition.






CodeChaos will be the flagship golf shoe in 2020 for Adi, featuring BOOST

cushioning and an upper made up of a multi-layer waterproof mesh for

extreme weather protection and flexibility.






CodeChaos features a new TwistGrip outsole that provides 20% more

traction than any other spikeless ever offered from the 3 stripes.

Visit: https://www.adidas.com/us/golf







Footjoy

Footjoy updated their super popular ProSL in 2020 with a fresh look and

a wider Infinity Outsole that provides 30% more traction and greater

stability.





 


They also introduced the ProSL Carbon, featuring integrated carbon

fiber for those fast swingers who require an even greater amount of

stability.






Footjoys FLEX XP captures the affections of the casual linkster, a true

lifestyle shoe with a lightweight performance mesh upper that features

a 1 year waterproof warranty. Visit: https://www.footjoy.com/








Under Armour - Spieth 4

UA's Spieth 4 golf shoe was a collaborative effort with Jordan and the

Under Armour research team - focusing on traction and generating power

from the ground up.

 




The Spieth 4 made its tour debut at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance

Open, the same week they launched at the PGA Show in Orlando. Available

in March. Visit: https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/sports/golf









Puma - Ignite PWRADAPT CAGED

Puma Golf introduced their IGNITE PWRADAPT CAGED shoes featuring

a PWRCAGE saddle that wraps the medial and lateral side of the shoe,

for added support during even the most aggressive swings. Worn on

tour in 2020 by Bryson, Gary Woodland and Lexi Thompson.





Standard lace up is available in three different colorways, DISC

model (shown above) is available in four different colorways.

Visit: https://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/#








TRUE LINKSWEAR - ECO KNIT

The collaborative booth between TRUE Linkswear & Linksoul brought

its cool west coast vibe to the PGA Show.






TRUE Linkswear introduced their new ECO KNIT shoes at the PGA Show,

made from recycled plastic bottles - the tribe at TRUE are big advocates

and enthusiasts of sustainability and walking the links. Bravo to that, who

can argue those focus points? Combine those endeavors with a great

looking ultra lightweight shoe and you end up with another pure TRUE

"instant classic". As much a lifestyle shoe as a golf entry, these may just

become your favorite everyday kicks. They inspire us to go on a late

afternoon walk around the links.





The aggressive outer sole treads on the super-lightweight 7.4 oz

ECO KNITS - available now. visit: https://truelinkswear.com/







ECCO - S THREE

ECCO's latest, the S-three will be worn by Henrik Stenson on worldwide

tours in 2020. A hybrid spikeless model that provides ultra-comfort and

Zonal Fluid form Technology (which creates a moulded midsole), delivering

just the right amount cushioning and stability.

visit: https://us.ecco.com/golf/








ASICS GOLF

ASICS enters the golf shoe industry via partnership with Srixon, their two

models Gel Course Duo Boa (above) and Gel Course Glide feature ASICS

long standing of comfort and flexibility found in their running shoes while

also providing superb traction and stability. Worn on tour by G-Mac and

Hideki Matsuyama in '20. Visit: https://www.srixon.com/us/asics-golf.html









SQAIRZ

The newest brand in the golf shoe market is SQAIRZ. The idea of a square

toe box design was born on a New England driving range while practicing

in a pair of square toed dress shoes. That day spurred further research

into ground force reaction, biomechanics and foot movement. Arrow model

comes in white/red (shown above) and black/white, 20/20 models available

in gray/blue and black/red colorways.

For more info on SQAIRZ: https://sqairz.com/mens-golf-footwear/






GOLF BALLS




Bridgestone Tour B Series (w/Reactiv Cover)

In the ball category, Bridgestone launched the product with the biggest

innovation in quite sometime. It's been a couple of decades since anyone

has introduced an advancement to the cover material in premium tour

golf balls (since the balata became extinct for cast urethane). Although

Bridgestone's new REACTIV cover material is a urethane, it has properties

that separate it's behavior and performance in accordance with the club

you are hitting. Developed to fly maximum distance off the tee and stop

significantly faster with the irons, the new Tour B series with REACTIV has

been extensively tested and is now in play by Masters Champion Tiger

Woods - who we know doesn't change his golf ball very often. The new

Tour B golf balls is now available at retail.

Visit: https://www.bridgestonegolf.com/en-us/balls







Titleist AVX

Titleist, the industry leader had great success in 2019 with their launch

of the 3 piece AVX cast urethane golf ball. In 2020, AVX gets a larger

core and thinner cover for even better performance. Available in White

and Yellow. Titleist also launched their new Tour Soft ball at the show,

for more info: https://www.titleist.com/golf-balls





 

 

Srixon - Q Star Tour

The ever popular Srixon QStar Tour gets a makeover in 2020 - a

larger softer core that makes it the largest core in the category.

Available in White and Tour Yellow. Visit: https://www.srixon.com/








Drivers/Metalwoods




COBRA - SPEEDZONE

Perhaps regarded as the hottest driver of 2019, Cobra's F9 Speedback

was going to be a tough act to follow for the design team at Cobra, but

Tommy O, Mike Yagley and the R&D team stepped up big. Enter 2020

and the launch of SPEEDZONE. Drawing inspiration from Formula 1 race

cars, Cobra sought out to create a faster clubhead both aerodynamically

and in a redesigned face. Available in two models - standard (shown

above) and EXTREME which is a rear weight high MOI driver designed

with a slightly larger footprint at address. Drawing inspiration from the

finest Formula 1 race cars, Cobra sought out to create a faster clubhead

both aerodynamically and in a redesigned face.





Speedzone features golf's first CNC Milled Infinty face which expands

the zone of maximum ball speed, your miss hits will retain higher

speeds than before. All of this innovation, and Cobra has kept their

price steady at $449, still 10% - 20% lower than several of the new

industry leading drivers.






This thing just looks fast . . .

Visit: https://www.cobragolf.com/speedzone-driver










Tour Edge/Exotics - EXS 220




EXS 220 features an 8-1-1 Diamond titanium face featuring 42 strategically

placed thick and thin diamond patterns or "mini trampolines" for increased

ball speeds and reduced spin. To fine-tune sound/feel, David Glod designed

a sound diffusion bar inside the head. Packed with technology, Tour Edge/

Exotics once again leads the industry in value with an MSRP of $349 for

the EXS 220 driver.







Carbon crown, clean look at address, adjustable shaft sleeve.






Diamond Face.





EXS 220 fairway metals - hypersteel cup face, sole rails and Max M.O.I.

Most played model on the Champions Tour: https://shop.touredge.com/








Mizuno - ST200 (Standard, G & X models)

Last year, Keith Mitchell put Mizuno drivers in the spotlight when he out

dueled Brooks Koepka to win the Honda Classic. The win was the first such

on tour for any Mizuno big stick. In 2020, Mizuno anounced their drivers

as Tour Ready, World Ready as they launched the ST200 line - which comes

in 3 models: standard ST200, ST200X and ST200G. The standard model

offers high MOI and mid/low spin that will fit the largest demographic of

golfers.





ST200G (pictured above) is equipped with maximum adjustability,

and is what will be found in most staffers bags on tour.






Mizuno's ST200X is the company's lightest driver (272 grams) meant to

compete in the Japanese market with Callaway's Epic Star and XXIO

Eleven, but at a lower pricepoint.

Visit: https://www.mizunousa.com/category/sports/golf.do






Callaway - Mavrik (Standard, Max and Sub Zero)

The Chevron introduces MAVRIK, taking their highly successful EPIC Flash

of 2019 to the next level with their next generation of AI Flash Face.

Available in 3 models - Standard, Max and Sub Zero.







Callaway's new A.I designed Flash Face SS20 promotes faster ball speeds

across a larger area of the face. Xander Schauffele was the first tour player

to put the Mavrik Sub Zero in play at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

at Kapalua.

Visit: https://www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/drivers/drivers-2020-mavrik.html








Cleveland - Launcher HB Turbo

Cleveland's Launcher HB Turbo is a no-nonsense distance machine.

No moveable weights, sole rails or adjustability. Just a solid titanium

driver for those who prefer to punt on all of the options that creates

the high cost of today's big ticket drivers. At $349, you get speed

powered by Cleveland's turbocharged cup face, redesigned crown

and a counterbalance shaft.







HB Launcher Turbo's crown features an aerodynamic matte black crown.

Visit: https://www.clevelandgolf.com/








IRONS/WEDGES





PING - G710

One of the leading head turners at this year's show was Ping's G710

irons. Featuring maraging steel face, 5% higher MOI than G700 and

a sexy new stealth hydropearl finish.




G710 also improves on G700 in the feel category, via a thin layer of

hot melt epoxy behind the face to get rid of unwanted frequencies.

Another upgrade is including Arccos Caddie grip/sensors and a free

trial of the Arccos Caddie app. Visit: https://ping.com/en-us/







Titleist - T Series

The four different models of Titleist T Series irons provide an iron makeup

that's sure to compliment every type of player and their game. T200 irons

are powered by Max Impact Technology, a unique polymer core developed

with the Titleist golf ball R&D team provides precise sound and dampening

at impact. T200 features more tungsten than any other T-Series iron, with

an average of 90 grams in the mid/long irons providing superb MOI.

Visit: https://www.titleist.com/golf-clubs/golf-irons







Mizuno - MP20

Mizuno irons, they just know how to do it right. Chris Voshall - Golf Club

Engineer and humble creator of some of the finest forgings on earth

showed us these limited edition MP-20 copper irons and moments later

announced to us that they were already officially sold out. Ok, so maybe

these copper MP20's are all gone, but the standard MP20 is available

in 3 different iterations - Pure Muscle back, Elite Players Cavity and Hot

Metal blade (hollow body construction with the look and feel of a classic

forged blade). Visit: https://www.mizunousa.com/category/sports/golf.do








Vokey SM8

Titleist SM8 Vokey wedges feature a redistributed center of gravity

that's been pushed forward for higher MOI. According to Titleist,

this improves feel and makes the club face easier to square at

impact. Visit: https://www.vokey.com/






Cleveland CBX2

Cleveland's CBX2 line is an update to the original CBX featuring a new

hollow cavity. CBX2 is worthy alternative to the typical blade style

wedge, especially for mid to high handicap players who play game

improvement cavity back irons. Comes in 2 degree intervals 46-60

degrees. Visit: https://www.clevelandgolf.com/







PUTTERS





Odyssey - Triple Track

Odyssey's Triple Track offers a visual alignment component like no other,

in the industry. Combined with Callaway's triple track ball, instant validation

of proper alignment is the result. The design seems so logical and obvious,

it makes you wonder why it's taken this long for something so simple to be

introduced. Stroke Lab Triple Track putters feature the popular White Hot

Microhinge insert. Visit: https://www.odysseygolf.com/







PING - Heppler

PING's Heppler putters are an ode to longtime employee Rick Heppler, who

began his career with the company in 1966 and stayed with the comapny

until he tragically passed away in 2013 (from a motorcycle accident).



Nine different model designs offer a machined solid face for those who

prefer a firmer feel at impact. Packed with extreme forgiveness and

optimal CG. Contrasting copper/black finish enhances alignment, while an

adjustable length black chrome shaft allows golfers to be fit for any type

of stroke path.






For more info: https://ping.com/en-us/clubs/putters/heppler








Scotty Cameron - Special Select

Anything new from Scotty Cameron gains interest and for good reason.

The new Special Select line isn't anything drastically different, but it's

created in the same sleek classic shapes played on tours around the

world. Milled from a solid block of 303 stainless for consistent sound

and feel. Visit: https://www.scottycameron.com/special-select/







Bloodline

Bloodline putters feature a stand alone design that enables the golfer

to check alignment from behind the ball - ensuring a far greater probability

of aiming on your intended line. Unorthodox indeed, but once you start

draining putts, it'll be tough for your buddies to resist getting one of their

own. Four different models are available. Visit: https://bloodline.golf/







Tour Edge - Wingman

Tour Edge wasn't the only company to introduce a product called Wingman

in Orlando, but this mallet is stacked with tech. KBS CT Tour putter shaft

comes standard on all Wingman putters.






Carbon fiber sole plate, interchangeable weights, micro-groove face and

three hosel options are just a few of the goodies engineered into Wingman

by the R&D team at Tour Edge. Lamkin Sink Fit Straight putter grip comes

standard. For more info:  https://www.touredge.com/wingman







Apparel



PUMA - Cloud Spun

According to Puma their CLOUDSPUN apparel is the softest and most

comfortable garments they've ever created and after having sampled

the line at their booth - we agree.





PUMA's CLOUDSPUN Taylor Polo is a cool modern spin on the traditional

rugby shirt. https://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/men/clothing







Dunning Golf

Dunning has become an absolute must visit for us each year at the show,

their COLL golf shirt, a pique construction with soft feel will be a sharp

addition to any wardrobe this year. Take notice of the Dunning heat seal

logo on the back yoke. Details . . .





Dunning's Jura 1/4 Zip is designed to be worn as a mid layer, featuring

a super smooth feel and four-way stretch in a breathable fabric. Available

in three colorways - Sauve (pictured above), Black and Halo. For more

info: https://www.dunninggolf.com/








GREG Norman Collection

Greg Norman's 2020 collection blew us away with a very eclectic

variety of innovative fabrics and classic looks. Polos, Weatherknits,

Layering and Modern Heritage are the theme with GN style.




Pieces like this micro-bee polo are what makes Greg Norman style

a brand that's always relevant. Visit: https://gregnormancollection.com/






 


Oakley Apparel

Oakley is far lesser known for their apparel than their shades, but they

have a cult following that has a tour presence in Bubba Watson - scripting

for this year's major events was on display in Orlando. The Take Pro pant

and Divisional polo are worthy of your attention.

Visit: https://www.oakley.com/en-us/collections/mens-golf






Accessories




Zero Friction - Gloves

The Chicago based company that made it's start with a pointy little 3

prong golf tee several years ago is now a giant in the Golf glove category,

so much so that they hold the number 3 position in market share and

are still ascending. Their new Stryker compression fit and our personal

favorite, the Ultra-Feel Cabretta leather padded glove combines the highest

quality leather, a snug compression fit, great feel and the best value in the

industry. Check them out here: https://www.zerofriction.com/








DiviTee

Just when you thought you've seen every kind of golf tee imaginable,

you walk around the PGA show and realize you haven't. Taylor Gilkey

and Zach Ubelhor from Newburgh, Indiana created DiviTee in 2019, a

simple innovation that serves as a multi-purpose golf accessory. . .





Free up your pocket space, DiviTee isn't just for the tee box, it's also

a very handy divot/ball repair tool on the greens and serves as an

adequate groove cleaner for your irons. DiviTee come in four colors

- Orange, Blue, Red, Yellow and White. $5.97 for a 3 pack. Look for

our DiviTee GIVEAWAY coming soon via Twitter - @LinksNation and

Visit: https://www.divitee.com/







BigMax - DRI-LITE HYBRID

Big Max DRI LITE Hybrid bag is a water resistant stand bag featuring

all of the capacity of a cart bag with the attributes to function well as a

carry bag. The DRI LITE is cart compatible and features a 14 way divider and

9 inch top opening: https://bigmaxgolf.com/en/product/dri-lite-hybrid/







Stitch - SL2 Bags

The STITCH booth must have been the busiest spot at the show and

as I was checking out all of the cool accessories, it was hard to ignore

their SL2 bag - what they call the "Perfect Walking Bag". Created

using their proprietary Touring Fabric that has the strength of leather,

but is more durable, lightweight and water resistant. SL2 weighs 64 oz

and features water and stain resistant sealed zippers, 4 way dividers,

detachable rain hood, hip pad, insulated water bottle pocket, pencil

pocket and gunmetal finished hardware. The only downside is its

$368.00 price.  Visit: https://stitchgolf.com/







No Sweat - Hat & Visor liners

Ever have that favorite hat that you purchased while at a bucket list

location only to see it get destroyed by sweat stains and sun block a

months later? This ingenious disposable liner called No Sweat sticks

right inside your hat and protects that new look and smell. It takes

less than a minute to apply and 3 seconds to remove (just replace

when needed). Available for hats and visors, each pack of three

retails for $6.95. Six pack $9.95. Visit: https://nosweatco.com/






 

ZBones

ZBones allows you to be active an hear clear sound while still being

aware of the environment and the sounds around you. These open-ear

bonephones actually keep your ears open and allow hands-free calling

and music listening for any active endeavor.





Ideal for virtually any activity, especially golf, where ZBones allows you

to hear your music and sound without taking the away the sound/feel

of impact or conversation with friends. 6 hr listening capacity, supports

Bluetooth 5.0 and uses micro USB charging. Visit: https://zbones.io/







Ai Golf - Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper by AI Golf is a worthy little device that will help you

hone your putter stroke. A simple bracket clips onto your puttershaft

and a small swinging ball acts as judge and jury on how sound your

back and thru move actually is.







The look from address (above), as you improve the path and smoothness

of your stroke, you can increase the challenge by switching out for a

larger swinging ball (which makes the margin of error far more difficult)

to the swinging magnet at the end of the string.




The Gatekeeper kit includes the device, 3 chrome balls, ball marker

and a rubber grommet to fit any diameter putter shaft. Look for a

full review of the Gatekeeper this spring. https://aigolfco.com/








EYEWEAR

 

 

 

Under Armour - TUNED Beyond

Under Armour continues their TUNED line in 2020 with their "Golf

Assist" line featuring various frame styles and their TUNED lens

provides contrast enhancement during play. The ArmourSight lens

blends a lifestyle look without an un-obstructed edge to edge view

during play. For more information on Under Armour Eyewear:

https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/mens/sunglasses/golf/g/397agm




 


Oakley - Prizm Golf

Prizm and Prizm Dark continue to lead the way for Oakley golf in 2020

with numerous frame and lens shapes available. A few years back the

rage was more of the M-Frame shield style and now the lifestyle trend

like Mercenary (above) are taking over the category.

Visit: https://www.oakley.com/en-us/collections/mens-golf


 




GRIPS


Lamkin - Calibrate

Lamkin introduced their new Calibrate grip line in Orlando featuring

a reminder component that allows players to grip the club the same

way every time, a much overlooked factor of consistency. Calibrate

will be offered in ST+ Hybrid, Sonar+ and Sonar+ Wrap models.

For more on Lamkin grips: https://www.lamkingrips.com/






GOLF PRIDE - MCC TEAM COLORS

Golf Pride introduces a colorful new spin to their super popular MCC line.

Team colors to dress up your sticks to match your favorite sports team.

Visit: https://store.golfpride.com/store/gp/index.jsp









TECH GEAR




Flightscope - Mevo+

Flightscope takes portable personal launch monitors to the next level

with Mevo+, the original Mevo offered 8 data points (Carry Distance,

Clubhead Speed, Smash Factor, Apex Height, Flight Time, Ball Speed,

Spin rate, and Vertical Launch Angle). Mevo+ offers 16 including:

Horizontal Launch Angle, Vertical Landing, Angle of Attack, Spin Loft,

Roll Distance, Total Distance, Spin Axis, Spin loft and Shot Shape.

Mevo+ includes 5 simulated courses, 17 practice ranges, internal

camera and Wifi hotspot provides a reliable connection. $1999

Visit: https://www.flightscopemevo.com/






Rapsodo Golf


Rapsodo has created a mobile launch monitor that when combined with

the power of your mobile device, gives you pivotal data including shot

distance, ball speed, swing speed, launch angle, launch direction and shot

shape. Review the shots with video playback including shot tracer to see

shot shape and direction. $500  - https://rapsodo.com/golf/






 


SkyGolf - Skycaddie LX5

SkyGolf launches the SkyCaddie LX5 GPS smartwatch that features

the largest touch screen in the industry at 1.39 inches. LX5 provides

full hole imagery and allows you to zoom in for greater detail. LX5

includes a digital scorecard with the ability to track performance stats

in the SkyGolf Cloud. 35K ground-verified courses providing distances

you can trust. https://web.skygolf.com/content/welcome-skygolf






BUSHNELL - WINGMAN GPS Speaker

The GPS product that made the biggest impression on us in Orlando

was the Bushnell Wingman. A GPS device and powerful music speaker

all in one. Pair the Wingman with your music source and Bushnell Golf

App, press the remote button to get audible GPS distances. The powerful

Magnetic component of BITE technology allows the speaker to be secured

to any golf cart without the need for an aftermarket accessory. 10+ hour

battery life will get you through a 36 hole day and you can charge your

other devices from the speaker. Available April: https://www.bushnellgolf.com/







GolfBuddy aimL10V

GolfBuddy's Aim L10 was by far our pick as the best all-around lase

rangfinder of 2019 (when you factored in performance, and value),

the latest edition to the line is their Aim L10V. Aim L10V is the world's

first talking laser rangefinder with vibration mode. Equipped with 3

target modes, 6X magnification and slope on/off switch combined

with a unique audio option which provides confirmation of distances.

For more info on GolfBuddy: https://golfbuddyamerica.com/







TecTecTec - ULT-G

VALUE is the theme here, TecTecTec's ULT-G gives you what you need

and spares you the options that you don't. Just solid accurate distances

to the front, middle and back of every green, along with distances to

hazards and automatic hole progression at 38,000 courses worldwide.

No health and fitness features, just golf (and a clock to tell time).

MSRP $119. Visit: https://us.tectectec.com/






SHOTSCOPE V3 GPS

A new slimmer edition of Shotscope's popular GPS watch - V3 is sure to

be on the wish list of those who prefer their distances and shot tracking

data displayed instantly to a wearable GPS. V3 is similar in size/style to

what Apple and Samsung wrist devices have created to mass global appeal.

Shotscope's PLAY, TRACK & IMPROVE theme continues with their Automatic

Performance Tracking - included with V3. Visit: https://shotscope.com/us/




HEALTH/CBD

 

 

MUSCLE MX - RECOVERY/ACTIVATE

Although not a golf product, the largest growth in terms of category at

this year's PGA Show was wellness/recovery CBD products. Dozens of

companies blitzed the show floor this year with formulas to help ease

the pain of an active lifestyle. Muscle MX was our favorite because of

the convenience and ease of use with their roll-on balm and its quick

effectiveness of relief.


RECOVERY is an ultra-cooling balm that is made completely from

natural ingredients (essential oils and broad spectrum CBD oil) -

No THC. Although RECOVERY will likely be product you depend on to

feel better after a long day on the links, ACTIVATE is a very useful

pre-round kick start for your muscles and joints, with an element of

heat to get the body ready for action. Visit: https://musclemx.com/


 

 

 


Stay tuned for reviews on several of these products throughout 2020.











 
BREAKTHROUGH GOLF TECHNOLOGY - STABILITY TOUR Putter Shafts: PDF Print E-mail

 

 

 

In 2018, Breakthrough Golf Technology or "BGT" as it's becoming

known in the industry, launched the Stability Putter Shaft. BGT

is the innovation of Barney Adams. Yep, that Barney Adams - the

man who founded the club equipment company that once took

the industry by storm. Adams has always had the unique ability

to see what the golf equipment OEM's couldn't and in this case,

it became apparent to him that there's been no significant evolution

in putter shaft technology for what seems like forever (technically

it's been over 50 years). In 2019, BGT and its engineers designed

a 2nd generation putter shaft with the introduction of their new

Stability TOUR model - made to balance out and allow for proper

swing weighting comparable to steel, but with the technology and

performance of a BGT shaft, the TOUR model is the subject of our

review. Stability TOUR weighs 110 grams (Stability standard

weighs 125 grams).

 


What's wrong with the stock steel shaft in my putter and why

do I need an expensive advanced technology shaft? Well, it's

fair to say that no one needs any piece of golf equipment, it's

a discretionary purchase. So if your reading this, you care enough

about improving your golf game to see what this new technology

is all about. So, let's put this bit of common sense out there - It's

probably not a stretch to say that the stock shaft in your putter

is likely one that the OEM was buying in bulk for mere pennies,

not because it was going to yield the best results. The technology

and craftsmanship that has evolved in today's putter heads with

new materials used for inserts and advanced CNC milling, it has

been a huge leap forward from what was on the market even say

15-20 years ago. Perhaps more importantly, overall putter head

weights have increased significantly. The dynamics of those same

old steel shafts that were used in the classic Wilson 8802 blade

and Bullseye putters of yesteryear has been altered by the trend

of heavier head weights. Putters typically were in 280 - 300 gram

range, as where now a standard milled putter Anser or Newport

style weighs in the 330-350 range, with many mallets topping

400 grams. This extra mass has caused deflection, face twisting

and droop issues, and yet these symptoms have been overlooked

until now.

 

 

BGT's high modulus carbon fiber shafts are engineered to have

increased stiffness for tighter dispersion over your stock steel

shaft. Two Models: Stability & Stability Tour

According to the folks at BGT, the Stability shaft is designed with

BGT’s patented Advanced Materials Technology, a scientifically

proven platform which delivers the face square at impact. This

results in a lower launch for predictable roll and better distance

control. Blair Philip, VP R&D says “Testing confirms that both

the Original Stability and Stability Tour deliver the groundbreaking

performance that BGT has pioneered in our tour-proven putter

shaft designs”.

 

 

 

 

The Shaft is a two-piece unit, with tip diameters available in .355 /

.370 / .390 sizes to fit virtually any putter hosel or neck design.

Our gamer, a rare custom Cameron Newport 2.6 required a .355

diameter tip.

 

 

 

 

 

AESTHETICS:

 

The matte black appearance of the Stability Tour is a major upgrade

to virtually any putter (especially those with black putter heads). The

BGT graphics are all positioned on the underside, which makes for an

ultra clean appearance at address. If I'm paying a premium price for

a putter shaft it better make the blade look top shelf, and it does.

The tapered shaft and blacked out style inspires one to putt, have

you seen a cleaner looking set up for a blade?

 

 

 

 

PERFORMANCE FEATURES:

 

According to BGT, the Stability Tour shaft is 97% stiffer than your

typical OEM steel putter shaft, which = an 82% improvement in

returning the face square at impact. An example of the metrics that

illustrate the point: lab tests have shown, if you hit a 10 foot putt

(with your stock steel shaft) just 1/2" out on the toe side of center

with the face angle .5 degree open, it will cause a deflection (twisting

motion) from the off-center impact that has been shown to cause an

additional .5 -.7 degrees of dispersion (that results in a putt that travels

1 to 1.2 degrees open of the starting line). That will most likely cause

you to miss the putt, but with the Stability TOUR shaft the face angle

and dispersion keeps it's original orientation of .5 degree open. Yes,

that's only a degree or a fraction there of, but this is often the

difference in converting that putt. If that's one or two putts a round,

cumulatively that can add up to a lot of strokes gained over the course

of a year.

 

Essentially anything that is more stable at impact becomes a higher MOI

piece of equipment, which means more overall forgiveness. We've all hit

putts that come off with a strange roll or speed and seem very random,

Stability offers consistency.

 

 

 

Black Beauty the putter in a matte finish. . .

 

 

FEEL / TESTING


Technical features aside, what did my putter feel like with this new sexy

looking tech installed. In a word - Different. I must admit, I was so used

to the putter head straying all over the place, especially on mid-range and

long lag putts that the stiffer feel threw me off. It was clear immediately,

I didn't need a CPM meter to know that the Stability TOUR didn't allow

the putter head to stray from its intended path. However, that doesn't

mean it's a set it and forget install, there are some internal adjustments

that you may need to endure for this new technology to benefit you.

 

I played my first round with the Stability TOUR without much more than

a few practice rolls, and it showed. It was was easily my worst putting

day in quite sometime, I struggled with the tight feel of the Stability

TOUR shaft, and it affected touch and speed control. Since putting is

all finesse, the need for repetition is paramount. So I decided to spend

some time getting to know the new "feel", taking the flatstick just about

everywhere I went during a 10 day span. I rolled putts in the office and

at various practice greens during my free time - fast, slow and every

speed in-between. After several sessions, I went back out to the course

feeling comfortable. A solid showing was the result with zero 3 putts

and several clutch par saves were converted. Even knowing the tech

is beneficial, it can be difficult knowing there may be a learning curve

involved after making such an equipment switch. Remember, because

putting is a make or miss results based action, it often can be met

with the need of immediate success. Take the time to understand the

difference in the new equipment, and the consistency and results will

follow.

 

*Other shafts that resemble BGT, should not be mistaken as a replace-

ment or comparable equipment - like Odyssey's Stroke Lab putter shafts,

which are a completely different type of technology that focus on the

placement of weight distribution, not stability.

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

The best way to describe putting with the Stability Tour, is that it's a

departure from what you've known. My sample size is still small up to

this point, but I did something to validate the BGT technology. I re-

installed the stock steel shaft back in the putter and rolled some just

to see what my sensations/feels were, and then subsequently where

my thoughts were on Stability TOUR.

Do I miss the springy kick and the somewhat random impact points

of the old shaft? Quite the contrary, after the 10 days of practicing with

BGT, the old shaft felt like an over cooked spaghetti noodle, the putter

head seemed to be drifting all over the place during the stroke on longer

putts. The stock shaft felt like a junior flex would if installed in my driver.

I knew after that, I didn't want to go back to an inferior product in my

gamer. Just like all things that become antiquated, I wondered how I

ever could've made putts with such inadequate equipment. Now that

we are committed to Barney's new wand, we're looking forward to

getting locked in and seeing more consistent rolls on the greens in

2020, we'll keep you posted.

 

Finally, is the Stability TOUR worth its hefty $249 price tag? That's up

to you to decide, but for anyone looking for a more logical remedy to

their putting performance than just buying another $300 flatstick with

the same old steel shaft, go check out Breakthrough Golf Technology

and their line of Stability putter shafts.

 

For more info: https://breakthroughgolftech.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Cobra Launches SPEEDZONE Line PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

2019 was a banner year for Cobra Golf. The main reason for that was the

titanic wild card success story of their Speedback F9 driver. It impressed

so many in the industry, that it was affectionately dubbed by many fitters

product testers and gear enthusiasts as the "Beast". The big four OEM's

had nothing on Tommy O, Yags and the R&D team at Cobra, and the golf

world took notice.

So what's the encore? In 2020, Cobra upped the ante on innovation with

their SPEEDZONE line which comes in two different models - standard and

Xtreme.

 

 

 


SPEEDZONE features Cobra's latest milled face innovation - Infinity.

 

 

Tom Olsavsky, Cobra's VP of Research and Development explained the

thought process behind the new SPEEDZONE driver: "We approached

the design of SPEEDZONE the same way you would in designing the

world's fastest cars. We incorporated six zones of performance in the

new SPEEDZONE driver - it's the fastest driver we've ever produced."

 

The standard SZ model has a slightly smaller footprint and movable

weighting, while the Xtreme boasts more forgivness and a slightly larger

profile - inspiring confidence at address for many recreational players.

 

 

 

Six distinct tech innovations are unique to SPEEDZONE:

1. POWER ZONE – CNC Infinity Milled Face - the face is the engine of

the driver and is crucial for generating speed.  Using the only CNC Milled

Face in a driver, COBRA has expanded the milled area of the face by 95%

enabling them to control face & leading-edge thickness. Face and perimeter

curvature can be up to 5 times more precise than traditional face polishing.

In addition, every face is 100% inspected to ensure a larger SPEEDZONE

across the face for maximum ball speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. STRENGTH ZONE - COBRA’s SPEEDZONE drivers feature a new Titanium

T-Bar Speed Chassis.  COBRA engineers removed unnecessary titanium to

create more discretionary weight while maintaining a strong structure designed

to withstand high speed collisions. The discretionary weight is utilized to create

low CG and high inertia resulting in fast, forgiving performance.

 

 

 

 

3. LIGHT ZONEThe new SPEEDZONE chassis allows for more carbon fiber

than ever before.  A 360 Carbon Wrap Crown design makes up 50% of the

driver body, providing ample stiffness and support to the chassis while saving

25 grams of discretionary weight. That weight has been repositioned low and

back and around the perimeter where it is needed most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. LOW CG ZONE Low CG is essential for driver performance, delivering

maximum ball speed, higher launch & low spin. In the KING SPEEDZONE

driver, COBRA continues to deliver a low CG for optimal performance, similar

to the 2019 SPEEDBACK driver. In the SPEEDZONE driver, 69 grams of mass

(vs. 40 in SPEEDBACK) has been strategically positioned low in the driver for

optimal launch conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. AERO ZONEcombining aerodynamics with a low center of gravity

continues to be a strength that COBRA delivers with its drivers. The new

SPEEDZONE shaping harnesses airflow for maximum drag reduction and

increased clubhead speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. STABILITY ZONE High speed stability is both important in racing

and in driver performance. SPEEDZONE’s High MOI Design positions

weight away from the center of the head to maximize stability on off-center

hits for longer, straighter drives.

 

 

 

 

COBRA SPEEDZONE standard is available in 9 & 10.5 degree lofts, while Xtreme

comes in 9, 10.5 & 12 degree options. Stock shafts include the models above,

with over 20 different shafts available - msrp $449.

 

 

 


Look for our full review of the entire COBRA SPEEDZONE LINE coming

soon. AVAILABLE Jan.17, 2020  - https://www.cobragolf.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
The Best Drivers of 2019 PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

The latest generation of big sticks have faster faces, higher MOI and

greater options in adjustability than ever before. So if it's been awhile

since you've been in the market for a driver upgrade - lets say 5 years

or so, then it's time go get fitted and max out your tee ball performance.

 


Truth be told, ball speed, distance, launch were so similar with each of these

drivers we reviewed (truly minimal degrees of separation between the brands)

it becomes truly about getting properly fit and within the framework of

testing new drivers a few key decisions need to be made by YOU: What is

the feel/sound at impact that you prefer, the look at address and how much

forgiveness do you consistently need (how often do you hit the center of the

face?). Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome for so many consumers in

today's driver marketplace is pricepoint, What are you willing to spend?

Several drivers from the leading brands have jumped into the $500+ price

range, ugh. Happily, there is one with all of the bells and whistles priced

under $300 that ticks all of the performance and technology boxes, read on...

 

 

Although distance and dispersion data is vital, so is feel/sound, aesthetics,

workability and forgiveness. After all, sometimes it's the small things that lead

to your most confident swings. So with that, we present our picks of the 4 finest

drivers of 2019 (by category).

 


 

Best Adjustability, Most Innovative Face design


CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH

 

Callaway's EPIC Flash takes the technology of their last two industry leading drivers

(EPIC and ROGUE) and offers the next phase of evolution. EPIC FLASH is available in

standard and Sub Zero models.

 

 

 


 

 

This year the Chevron brought us its 3rd generation of Jail Break

technology and introduced perhaps the most unique innovation in

several years with their new Flash Face technology created with Artificial

Intelligence. A new lighter T2C carbon crown saves weight, allowing for

higher MOI and forgiveness.

 

Testing proved the technology to be true, with ball speeds consistent

regardless of where the strike on the face occurred. Moveable weight

technology via sliding 16 gram rear weight promotes the ball flight to

whatever shot shape you desire. Tuning hosel technology allows you

to dial in the preferred lie angle and loft.

 

Aesthetics: B+

Feel/Sound: B+

Distance: A

Adjustability: A+

Forgivness: A

Value: C ($529)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higest MOI - Most Forgiving

 

PING G410 (Plus)

Ping's G410 is available in PLUS (Max Forgiveness), SFT (Square Face

Technology) and LST (Low Spin Technology). We tested the PLUS model.

The mighty distance and low spin that made the G400 such a huge success

has been genetically passed on to G410. LST and the PLUS model offer shot

shaping moveable weight technology while the SFT offers a draw bias heel

weighting set-up for those who fight a slice. The 2.0 trajectory tuning eight

position hosel sleeve allows for tuning loft and lie angles up to 3 degrees.

Dragonfly technology returns with a new "Creased Crown" design to shave

weight and increase forgiveness.

 

 

Testing: The G410 holds up nicely in the recent lineage of PING drivers.

Solid distance with the tightest dispersion results of all of the drivers we

tested in 2019 (with an average of only 9 yds off center). Picture the

G400 with greater tuning ability. The G410 will appeal to the player who

not only needs max forgiveness, but also to those who prefer the matte

black crown and don't mind a slightly higher pitch sound at impact.

 

Aesthetics: A

Feel/Sound: B-

Distance: A

Adjustability: A

Forgivness: A+

Value: C+ ($499)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best Feel, Longest Distance Winner

 

COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK

Cobra's F9 Speedback is easily the wildcard sensation in the driver

market of 2019. Perhaps in the spot where TaylorMade may have

resided in years past, Cobra is now positioned confidently. Just as

several other prominent club fitters refer to it, the Cobra F9 Speedback

is "The Beast" of this year's drivers. With the proper fit and tuning, the

F9 is as hot as any driver we've ever tested, maybe more so. The acoustics

provide a euphoric "subdued thwack" at impact that is second to none -

leading all contenders in the sound/feel category. The F9 Speedback is a rare

combination of good looks, insane distance and two tiered adjustability. Eight

adjustable lofts and a front to back adjustable CG system allows you to tune in

loft and spin configuration.

 

 

Testing: We've already mentioned the outstanding distance and feel of the F9,

all of my numbers were personal bests using GC Quad (all drivers were tested

using Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue shafts) :

 

SS-106 / Launch-13.5/ Spin-2117/ Ball Speed-152/ Carry-254/ Total-278/ OC-16L

 

Perhaps the only criticism we have as it relates to the F9 is the need for a fade/draw

bias movable weight component. Perhaps that will come with their 2020 model, which

we are slated to get a sneak preview of at the Cobra launch event in a couple of weeks

here with Rickie Fowler and the Cobra/Puma staff in West Palm Beach. Stay Tuned...

 

Aesthetics: A

Feel/Sound: A+

Distance: A+

Adjustability: B+

Forgivness: A

Value: B ($449)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best "Bang For Your Buck" (Value and performance combined)


Tour Edge/Exotics EXS

The Tour Edge / Exotics EXS driver is another David Glod creation featuring

innovation and a plethora of performance loaded features including cup face,

moveable weight, adjustable hosel and Mitsubishi's Tensei Blue shaft all for

$249. Yep, that's not a typo - $249!

 

If you like cutting edge technology, and virtually every adjustable component

that's available in the marketplace. Than the Exotics EXS should be high on

your list. Afterall, Phillis Meti continues to dominate the Long Drive ranks with

her Exotics driver.

 

Testing: We found distance to be right there with the other 3 drivers included

here. We also found the EXS to be a bit draw bias, even when we moved the

weight into the back port the ball had tendency to turnover (Perhaps a 10.5

loft instead of our 9.5 tester would have provided a bit more relief, even when

adjusting the loft up, we found the left side of the range). EXS is a sharp and

clean looking big stick that'll keep more than a few "Benjamins" in your pocket.

 

 


Aesthetics: A

Feel/Sound: B

Distance: B+

Adjustability: B+

Forgivness: A

Value: A++ ($249)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Lamkin SONAR Wrap / Tour & SINKFIT Putter Grips PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

Earlier this summer the folks at Lamkin shipped over a healthy dose of

their latest additions to the SONAR line - SONAR WRAP (top) and SONAR

TOUR (Grey-bottom).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamkin's original SONAR was so popular with consumers, the company

decided to introduce two new models that offer distinctive options

featuring Lamkin's micro-texture Fingerprint Technology. Traditional

golfers who prefer "Wrap style" grips will appreciate the intricate patterns

designed to offer unmatched traction and all-weather performance. To

enhance the wrap feel, Lamkin included an ergonomic "Progressive

Skive" with fluctuating spiral dimensions based on grip size. SONAR WRAP

is available in both Standard+ and Mid Size+ variations.

 

 

Sonar Tour designed in collaboration with Lamkin Tour Ambassador Justin

Rose, features what the company calls their omni-directional grip traction

pattern. A firmer compound provides superior torsion control for high swing

speed players. SONAR TOUR features a traditional taper and logo down design

(preferred by better players and those competing on professional tours around

the world). SONAR TOUR available in Standard size only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SONAR lineup : TOUR, WRAP and ORIGINAL are made from Lamkin's

patent-pending GENESIS material - a slightly softer feel than rubber with

unmatched durability. Lamkin CEO Bob Lamkin knows his company is onto

something with SONAR, "The combination of GENESIS material and Fingerprint

Technology in the SONAR grip delivers an ideal feel for such a wide audience of

players. The two additions to the line add variations for golfers who have specific

preferences in their grip style. I'm very excited about the success of the SONAR

line and look forward to sharing the incredible feel of the new grips with golfers

worldwide."

 

 


 

Testing:

Right off the bat, SONAR's fingerprint texture had me sold. First I installed the

original SONAR last summer on my wedges and was hooked. This summer, SONAR

Wrap on the irons for comfort, control and a bit of cushion on downward strikes off

the turf.

 

SONAR Tour on the driver and woods has been the perfect combo. As an

aggressive swinger with the driver, the omni-directional pattern and firmer feel was

spot on. It's an eclectic set-up, but it's just right. If you play in humid weather like

I often do, SONAR is superb. Pick a style, or all 3 and swing away . . .


 

 

 

 

SINK FIT PUTTER GRIPS

 

Lamkin also launched a new line of putter grips called SINK FIT. Designed to

help you make more putts by delivering exceptional feel. SINK FIT is offered

in three shapes and two distinctively different materials. Featuring a unique

profile contour to promote proper wrist and hand positioning, SINK FIT comes

in Traditional Pistol, Skinny Pistol or Straight in their new GENESIS material.

Pistol and Straight shapes are also available in an ultra-lightweight polyurethane

(pictured top - oversize blue, red).

 

 

 

Specs:

SINK FIT: Skinny Pistol (70g) - Black/Gray, Blue/Green

SINK FIT: Pistol (120g) – Black/Blue

SINK FIT: Straight (114g) – Black/Red


SINK FIT Polyurethane: Pistol (63g) – Black/Blue

SINK FIT Polyurethane: Straight (60g) – Black/Red

 

 

 

 

Testing:

With 3 different styles and sizes, deciding on your preference might be the

toughest part. I tried all of them and usually lean towards a traditional

rubber pistol in a standard color, size and weight, but the 114 gram SINK

FIT (straight model) surprised me and won me over with a superb combo

of shape and feel. If you prefer bright colors, oversized, lightweight, straight

or pistol, the choices are available. Just like putter models, putter grips are

very personal to each individual, chose wisely.

 

For more info visit Lamkin: www.Lamkingrips.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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