Best New Products - 2018 PGA Show (Part 1 Equipment) PDF Print E-mail


By: Jason Bruno

2018 marks our tenth edition of the Best New Products of The PGA

Merchandise Show. The industry's biggest get together in central

Florida continues to evolve. This year we visited with more companies

than ever before, and because of the expanded coverage, this year's

"Best New Products" feature will be presented in two parts. Part 1 that

you are now reading consists primarily of our choices for the best new

clubs and golf balls to hit the market in early 2018. Next week, in Part

2 we feature everything in soft goods - apparel, shoes, belts. Accessories -

grips, gloves, bags, etc. Technology products - gps/rangefinders/game

tracking and training aids.






The best invite of the week is the Tour Edge Media Day (which takes

place the Monday of show week at Lake Nona), David Glod, Leonard

Finkel and Jon Claffey host the most intimate and comprehensive

outing for golf writers and equipment companies to mingle and

experience the latest in equipment and accessories. Their Tour Edge

Hot Launch3 line of metalwoods was getting major attention for the

combination of value and performance for the recreational player. HL3

is a 460cc titanium driver equipped with UST Mamiya graphite shaft

for under $200! In the age of the $500+ driver, the golf media on

hand took notice of what David Glod is offering to consumers, and

you should too. Check it out below in the new driver section.







Demo Day on Tuesday at Orange County National was at full capacity.









TaylorMade M3/M4

New Twist Face technology is the big story at TaylorMade in '18. M3/

M4 takes the place of M1/M2. A hammerhead speed pocket and even

more forgiveness are M4's calling card. M3 features a "Y Track" for

it's moveable weight technology - increasing adjustability and is also

equipped with TM's new Hammerhead for increased structure stability.




Inside the TM booth at the Orange County Convention Center.







Straight Distance is TaylorMade's new marketing slogan with its

redesigned face plate called TWIST FACE. Altering the industry

standard of bulge and roll, TWIST FACE is designed to minimize

the typical dreadful results of the low heel (high right miss) and

the high toe (smothered left miss). We look forward to some

extensive testing this spring to see if TWIST FACE is a difference

maker. Stay tuned . . .






M3/M4 have very slight differences in the crown design from M1/M2,

silver replaces white from the first and second generation M Family.







Callaway Rogue

Epic set the tone in 2017 for the Chevron to become the industry leader

in the driver category - no small feat there. In 2018, they introduce Rogue

with updated Jail Break technology. Perhaps the big reason to be excited

about Rogue is the increased forgiveness, all while retaining its low spin

and fast ball speeds.






Rogue is available in standard, Sub Zero and Draw versions. The clean

look of the crown gets a big thumbs up.








Callaway Senior Director of Brand Management Dave Neville sat down

with LinksNation to discuss Rogue: "We've updated the jailbreak tech-

nology - it's 25% lighter yet it makes the body stiffer. You will get as

much ball speed as Epic, which most people think is hardly possible,

but with alot more forgiveness. The shape of the driver is more of a

stretch shape, with higher MOI. It just looks easy to hit. The draw

model really looks square at address. For those who used EPIC

standard model with the weight positioned in the heel, that position

gave away MOI - losing forgiveness, so we wanted to have a dedicated

draw model that would give us even more draw bias but higher MOI

(it has MOI over 8000), but produces 20 yards more draw than Rogue

standard, which is huge."









Tour Edge Hot Launch 3

If you read the beginning of this feature then you're aware now of the

Tour Edge Hot Launch 3 driver and it's metalwood line. David Glod the

owner and club creator for Tour Edge/Exotics believes in using his

resources to create sound high level golf equipment at a price that

consumers can afford, and thus a loyal following of golfers who put

value and performance at the top of their wish list. In the case of the

HL3, you get a lightweight titanium 460cc driver equipped with a 60

gram UST Mamiya shaft. Geared towards the masses, the HL3 is a

solid choice for moderate speed players that can use a boost in launch

and carry distance. Yep, that covers about 95% of the golfing population.

At $189, Glod could turn the industry on its ear with HL3.



The HL3 doesn't have a quick connect shaft or movable weights, but

it packs essential performance for those who want today's technology

for under $200.









Cobra F8 & F8+ features their signature SMARTPAD sole and forward/

rear weight adjustability that allows you to tune in your ball flight and

spin preference .






CNC Milled face is new for 2018. According to Cobra's Mike Yagley,

"Although drivers in the market today are very good, we knew there

was a better way to make a driver. We took the precision that you

see in putters and in other fields of manufacturing like aerospace.

When you CNC mill something it is exact. This new face in our F8

is highly complex, after 2 years of development we realized we can

do this. By CNC milling the face we got it thinner and more accurate,

it's more precise - thus producing more ball speed on mishits."





The latest crown design from Cobra mixes technology with aesthetics,

creating their best looking big stick ever. Trips made from polymer aid

in downswing aerodynamics to squeeze out every last bit of clubhead

speed. An outstanding bonus - included in all new Cobra clubs is the

Arccos/Cobra Connect game tracking technology. To track your shots

is to truly know your game.








PING G400/G400Max

The latest from Ping is the G400 Max, the fourth model in the G400 line

(other models include standard G400, SMT (for those fighting the wayward

miss to the right), and the LST (low spin). According to Ping's Director of

Communications Pete Samuels, (the 460cc) G400 Max is the company's

most forgiving driver ever created (the other 3 models are 445cc). For a

company known for it's ability to minimize players mishits, that's saying a






Equipped with a forged face and matte black crown of turbulators,

the G400 line is making waves not only in performance but in its

signature look. Ping announced last week the signing of Tony Finau

to a multiyear equipment deal. Finau plays the G400Max.









XXIO X Driver

A little background on this premium Japanese golf brand for those who

aren't very familiar with XXIO (it's pronounced ZEX-IO), the XXI is the

roman numeral 21, and in Japan "O" is always the most significant letter

in the alphabet that stands for Top or King. The branding stands for

excellence in the 21st century. XXIO created in 2000, is the leader in the

Japanese high end premium golf equipment market specializing in clubs

for moderate swing speed players many of which are "Baby Boomers"

that have lost some distance, but demand a high end product.

Their latest offering, the X driver was designed specifically with those

players in mind. According to XXIO Vice President Chuck Thiry, "Every

leading driver out there weighs between 300-315 grams, our drivers

are 250 & 270 grams - that's dramatically lighter. Lighter grip, lighter

shaft and a slightly heavier head and a balance point that's moved

way up towards the grip. When you build a club that way, it creates

lag and it makes it fire on the downswing. We believe the guy that

swings at 75mph needs a lighter softer golf club."

So while sister company Srixon is the company's tour brand, and Cleveland

fits the broadest range of player abilities, XXIO focuses on seniors and women.

Announced at the show was the signing of Ernie Els to an equipment contract.

Els will play Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges and a newly designed XXIO driver.















Lynx Golf




Lynx golf returned to the industry with a new UK ownership group.

Everything in the new line looked worthy, including their parallax

driver which has a two-piece cast Bi-Titanium construction. The

460cc head features a powerchannel for fast ball speeds and is

fully adjustable from 8.5 - 12.5 loft.





Golf Balls







OnCore, the Buffalo, N.Y ball company that burst onto the scene with

a metal core distance ball a few years back has now put together a

mighty fine tour ball. The 3 piece ELIXR model, uses conventional

materials in the core and cover, but it's the mantle that's infused

with high density particles that enhances its perimeter weighting

for enhanced accuracy and control. We've already started testing

ELIXR, the ball is impressive in nearly every category, it gives all

of the performance of the industry leading urethane cover tour balls,

but where it really shines is in the wind. In the $32 price range per

dozen, you owe it to your game to give ELIXR a spin.






ELIXR ball construction breakdown










Snell Golf - MTB BLACK & RED

The Dean of golf ball design introduces the next generation of the popular

MTB, when we sat down Snell told us why he decided to launch a new 4

piece model: "Based on consumer feedback, we took all of the info from

everybody who played the MTB, and better players generally liked the

exact amount of spin with the ball - but mid & higher handicap players

said they wanted more spin to hold approach shots. We put a fourth

layer in and made the cover a little thicker, added a spin layer on the

inside to help that approach shot." Dean expects the RED to become

their biggest seller since it will fit a larger skill set of golfers. Faster

swing speeds and scratch level players will likely still prefer the BLACK.

Specs of each:



  • 3-piece construction with 360 dimple pattern
  • Urethane cover for short game control, excellent feel & durability
  • NEW 7% lower Compression core lowers spin w/driver for max distance




New Model - 4 piece MTB RED

  • 4-piece construction with 338 dimple pattern
  • Urethane cover for excellent short game control, feel and durability
  • NEW inner mantle layer increases spin on short irons & approach shots
  • Dual-Feel Technology, provides a bit firmer feel on longer shots
  • soft feel on short shots.



Despite the bigger cost of a four piece ball, Snell has kept the MTB

priced at $32 per dozen - still one of the best values in the game.

The new RED is sure to grow this cult following (count us among








Callaway Chrome Soft/Chrome Soft X

Callaway introduced new versions of their Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft

X in Orlando. We went right to the source to get the latest info on the new

models. Lead golf ball creator Jason Finley, "The key technology in the new

version of the Chrome Soft line is the addition of Graphene (to the outer

core). Graphene, the lightest and strongest material in the world, it allows

us to do a lot of different things with the performance of the golf ball.

Primarily it allows us to make the core of the ball larger, that gives us

better speed and better spin separation - low off the driver and higher

spin around the green, all with incredible feel." Already a big success on

tour this year, Sergio won in Singapore playing the Chrome Soft X."

(44.99 per dozen)








Titleist Tour Soft

• The industry leader introduces Tour Soft, and aggressively takes aim

at all competitiors using the term "SOFT" in their marketing spots. The

Titleist Tour Soft produces its soft feel and high ball speeds for command-

ing distance. In developing Tour Soft’s core, the Titleist Golf Ball R&D

teams was challenged to surpass previously accepted core size limitations

in order to produce a ball that feels better and is as long or longer than

other leading brands. Featuring an ultra thin 4CE grafted cover for

shortgame control, and a new 342 dimple design for penetrating trajectory.

Tour Soft is also available in High-optic yellow.











Titleist Vokey SM7

Vokey wedges have become the tour standard over the last two decades, and

the new SM7 keeps the franchise moving in the right direction. Progressive

CG for precise distance gaps and trajectory control. Spin milled grooves and

six different Vokey sole grinds (F, M, K, S, D and L Grinds available) allow you

to adapt your shortgame to meet any condition or challenge presented.








TaylorMade Hi-Toe


When Rory McIlroy first saw this wedge he told the TM staff that he loved

the high toe design, and suddenly the new club had a name - "Hi-Toe".

The club has become popular on tour because of its versatility from all kinds

of lies. Slots were created in the back portion of the bounce in order to

move weight higher on the head to accommodate the larger face. This also

created a more centered CG and thus lower trajectory approaches. The aged

copper like finish is so timeless. Available in 58, 60 & 64 degree versions.







Cleveland CBX Wedges

84% of golfers play cavity back irons, but most use blade style wedges.

Cleveland's CBX wedges change that concept, giving you the same easy

to hit forgiving technology in a wedge. So you can have the forgiveness,

feel and look of your cavity back irons, but with the performance, spin

of a tour wedge. $139






Ping's Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges, constructed of buttery soft 8620 carbon

steel (instead of 431 Stainless in the original Glide wedges), are finished

brilliantly through a process called QPQ (Quench-Polish-Quench). The dark

finish reduces glare at address and as Ping's Pete Samuels also noted,

many better players prefer the smaller appearance of a black iron head.

Glide 2.O comes in 46/50/52/54/56/58/60 degree models. Available in

four different grind options - WS = Wide Sole, SS =Standard grind, TS

= Thin sole and ES = EyeSole (inspired by the old PIN Eye2 wedges.

$150 available 2/8.













SRIXON Z965/Z765/Z565

Although Srixon's Z965 iron isn't new to the marketplace, it has some new

upgrades - and we'll use any reason to feature this fantastic looking blade.

A traditional forged blade in its truest form (and there aren't many of it's

kind in existence anymore), the Z965 is made from ultra soft 1020 carbon

steel for the games' most demanding players. The new V.T sole has been

modified for improved turf interaction, as well as club face Double Laser

Milling that increases groove size by 5% improving spin control and contact

in wet conditions.


For those who aren't quite at the ability level to game the Z965, the Z765

is a great option for Srixon brand loyalists and other golfers looking

to capture performance in a muscle back shape but with enhanced

performance and the same great feel of 1020 carbon steel. The latest

version of the Z765 also features the new tour V.T sole.



Srixon's ultra forgiving cavity back - Z565







Cleveland CBX

According to Product Supervisor for Srixon/Cleveland/XXIO - Zach Oakley,

"The new Cleveland Launcher CBX irons feature cup face technology. The

new Launcher CBX irons are big on distance and the faces are laser milled

with tour Zip Grooves. Progressive Dual V sole grinds provide better turf

interaction, forgiveness and versatility."









Titleist AP3

Titleist recently introduced a new member to the AP family, the AP3.

With AP1 being their most giving distance iron, and AP2 being the

flagship tour iron, AP3 sits comfortably right in between the two. Austin

Tudor (Senior Associate Product Marketing Manager for Titleist ) aptly

referred to the AP3 as chocolate & peanut butter the "Reese's Cup" of

irons- The best of both worlds. A spot that Titleist feels it was missing

in the marketplace. In fact, 40% of their iron sales as of right now.









TaylorMade M3/M4

TaylorMade's new game improvement models move to the M3/M4

nameplate. We spoke with TM's Tomo Bystedt about the new models:

"What we've done with these new irons is introduce Ribcor technology,

and what this does is act like a reinforcement or a beam in a building

that really stiffens the whole structure. Face slots allow us to do this

without slowing the face down. So by stiffening the body and keeping

the face super fast it helps us retain ball speed even when you miss it

anywhere on the face." M3 is basically a smaller version for those

players who want all of the innovation, but want a club that gives them

some options to work approach shots using shot shape and trajectory.


M4 offers TaylorMade's longest iron. A no holds barred zero compromise

version with everything to generate the highest ball speeds and most











TaylorMade P-790

TaylorMade's P-790 irons are the best of today's technology wrapped in

a clean and sleek blade style club head. The hollow body creates fantastic

ball speeds and big distance, but According to the brilliant Tomo Bystedt,

it's a new element called Speedfoam that makes the P-790 worthy of your


Tomo: "We were working on RSi2, and started working on PSi, and during

the process we were thinking how do we get to the next level? We thought

what if we went back and built a hollow iron with a better foam? The old

foam that we used was very heavy and dense - and slowed down the face. . .

defeating the purpose. We needed a foam that could support the face but

would allow it to flex at impact. Eventually that led us to Speedfoam. The

body of P-790 is made from soft 8620 carbon steel, the face that withstands

repetitive impact is constructed of 4140 steel. This combination produces

a really nice sound with the Speedfoam."

LinksNation: The look of this stick is so unique considering all of the

performance features built in, can you give some insight into this sleek blade


Tomo: We felt that as long as you give people the performance they would

love to play a club like this. A lot of players out there have never played blades,

because they realize they may not be a good enough player. We said why not,

let's make it really cool looking. We could have made it real traditional with a

badge and all that, but ultimately we felt the performance of this is so unique

and so different - let's make it look different from what we've had."







Callaway's new Rogue irons come in 3 models - standard, X and Pro.

The standard will fit the highest demographic of players, the X is what

Callaway's Dave Neville calls their radical distance tech package. The Pro

model (shown above) features the chevron's 360 cup face, VFT technology,

tungsten weighting and their newest technology urethane microspheres.




Rogue standard model (pictured above).











irons have been fully

updated for 2018.

According Cobra's

Mike Yagley, "Our

2018 model is finished

with the new ultra

durable DBM process

(Diamonized Black

Metal), and we now

have a  4120 forged

carbon steel face

insert that is softer.

We also have tunsten

in the mid and longer

irons to get the weight

out towards the toe

and the CG low.

Also available in a

One Length version.











Cobra F8 irons come in two different models, progressive length & One

Length. There are 3 distinct types of construction for the long, mid and

short irons. A hollow body construction for the long irons, using their new

versatile Carbon Feel technology, Cobra has found a way to create exactly

what improves feel across the board in each type of iron. Wide soles

in the One Length irons helps get the weight down making long irons big

on distance and easy to hit. The mid irons are cavity back style geared

towards scoring. In the short irons and wedges, F8 features a sleeker style

blade like for finesse. The R&D team just felt that extra technology isn't

needed in a wedge. One Length is catching on, no longer is it just a niche

item. In 2018, Cobra expects it to gain even more popularity.






Lynx Prowler VT Irons. These are not your Dad's blades. Hollow head

construction is far more forgiving than a typical blade style, but offers

benefits in performance. Lynx VT technology enables weight to be redistributed

for increased MOI. Stronger lofts and faster faces than traditional blades

produce the distance of game improvement irons. These blades like irons

from the new Lynx - look brilliant.











Titleist's new 818 H1 & H2 hybrids are the latest from the Fairhaven/Oceanside

industry giant. Equipped with weight cartridge and an Active Recoil Channel, the

new hybrids are available in lofts from 17 to 27 degrees. According Titleist's Austin

Tudor, "In 2018, with H1/H2 we're saying take dead aim, they're no longer the

rescue clubs that we talked about for years - they're scoring clubs. We want

golfers to be able to fire at a pin from 200 yards and feel confident about the

shot they're going to pull off. We want to see the ball land on a 45 degree angle

and hold the green. H1 is more like a fairway club with a bigger footprint, while

H2 is more iron like for aggressive swingers. No up-charge on shaft upgrade on

either hybrid."








Ping's new G400 hybrid is equipped with a thin maraging steel face,  17-4

stainless steel crown and machined back weight CG optimization for max

forgiveness. Recently in a feature we did with TrueSpec, the G400 hybrid

was the subject of our review, and it shined above and beyond expectation.

The matte black crown with turbulators looks sharp at address, Ping has

a winner with the entire G400 lineup.








TaylorMade's M3 hybrid is an update on their M1, this is their serious

player model equipped with an easily adjustable sliding weight and loft

sleeve. M3's new Speed Pocket provides more flexibility and ball speed.



Adding the two-tone crown is a nice update that aids in alignment.







Exotics new CBX fairway metals are the brain child of David Glod, long known

for his outstanding creation of the hardest club to find as a gamer - the 3 wood.

A multi material construction, a Beta Titanium cup face is combo-brazed (a

weldless process) to a hypersteel body, the result is a super low spin mega

distance monster. Glod says "independent testing showed CBX averages 16

yards longer than the industry's popular competitors."












Cobra F8 fairways feature all of the great innovation of past models

but take the innovation of F7 another step further. Baffler Tech rails

are the only of their kind in the industry, and have been re-shaped

and streamlined resulting in faster ball speeds and more forgiveness

from any lie. As usual, Cobra fairways come in 3-4 /5-6 and 7-8

configurations. Mitsubishi TENSEI CK Blue 50 and Aldila NV 2KXV Blue

are the stock powerplants.



Cobra F8/F8+ crown








TaylorMade Putters come in so many shapes, sizes and configurations in 2018.

The Spider line has exploded in popularity, and TaylorMade has created pretty

much every option in color, hosel shape and alignment style imaginable. Lower

left is TM's new Ardmore mallet from the TP Red collection.






ARGOLF Putters

Made from 304L stainless Steel the mid mallet Perceval has 3 degrees loft/70

degree like angle and weighs 350 grams.

ARGOLF, a new premium putter company where the milled head designs are

produced in Brittany, France and are assembled in the U.S. To honor its

origins, all ARGOLF putters are named after Arthurian legends. Their motto

is one of precision, balance and performance based on expertise in the

aeronautics industry for nearly 5 decades. Based in Jupiter, Florida - ARGOLF

has a state of the art putting lab to analyze and create the perfect putter

setup customized to each players needs and aesthetic desires.











Guerin Rife's infant company EVNROLL continues to gain momentum in the

marketplace for three reasons. Craftmanship - high quality 303 CNC Mills,

Styles - brilliant putter designs many of which are templates of classics, but

with his own twist that makes them his own, and thirdly, Innovation. Rife has

created what he calls the "Sweetest Face in Golf" that's geared towards forgive-

ness and minimal dispersion on strikes anywhere on the face. Also Rife mills

each putter to a specific head weight based based on the length of each putter,

providing the desired swingweight regardless of what length putter you choose

- no other company in the marketplace dares to do such a thing. Details folks, 

Guerin Rife pays attention to everything.








Ping's latest in the world famous Anser line is their DALE model, named

after Karsten Solheim's son Alan Dale Solheim, these fresh looking Anser

models feature sole weights that must be ordered and installed by PING .

The Dale is crafted out of 303 stainless and comes in 3 different finishes -

Copper, Platinum and Stealth (Black)





The Stealth Black finish on PING's scoring sticks is just brilliant.









While we met with Titleist at their booth, Scotty Cameron was holding

court with his loyal followers.








Cameron SELECT, a refined evolution of his Newport and Laguna models

arrives in Titleist pro shops on March 30th, 2018. These new creations

might just be Scotty's best to date. To see the video of Cameron SELECT

click here:







SeeMore Putters

New from SeeMore is the M7x Platinum proto, available soon . . .


While meeting with CEO Jim Grundberg, we learned about SeeMore's latest

innovation of an internal hosel design. "Because we're known for our shafts

that go straight into the head, in a fitting world people want to be able to


Now if a golf shop brings our putters into their shop, those putters can be

adjusted in the shop to get the lie just right or buy the putter with a standard

lie - go play with it for a month or so and bring it back in for a tune up to

find out it need to be adjusted a degree or two. This is the experience we

had for tour players and custom builds in the past, but never before on a

wide spread basis, it will be every putter this year."

SeeMore is offering a wide selection of styles, shafts and grips to suit any

golfer. In particular the Nashville Studio Series and new m7x were easily

two of the cleanest looking blades at the PGA Show.









The Odyssey booth is always a happening spot at the show.






Odyssey's Special Edition EXO TWO-BALL was a mallet show stopper. When

we caught up with Chief Putter Designer Austie Rollinson he gave us the

scoop on the new flatstick: "We decided to create an homage to the original

Two-Ball - that was cast in stainless. With the new one we decicded to

machine it completely. The original had a high CG because of the crown

piece that was a disc of steel, the new two-ball has a composite top that

helps lower the CG. Some of those top and bottom pieces on the new one

took 8 hours of machining."




"A very complicated putter to make, they cost $500 each," Rollinson said.

"We don't plan on making a ton of them. It's been 17 years since the

original Two-Ball was introduced." Time Flies . . .







The Odyssey Red & Black line is gonna pop in 2018, shown above is

the new multi-material construction EXO #7. The face features the

O-Works innovation first seen last year, these microhinges are designed

to create a truer more consistent roll. In 2018, they have updated the

polymer insert that has been a very popular feel for tour players.








The PRO 2.0 is Fujikura’s latest offering, its easy-to-fit line of performance

shafts will fit a broad range of player profiles. New for 2018, using proprietary

enso technology, the PRO 2.0 features a lower loading section to increase

launch, lower torque to reduce spin and a stylish new look. Also available

in Tour Spec for more aggressive swing tempos to deliver lower ball flight

and spin.




TPT Golf Shafts



TPT Golf is a company that found their way into the golf market nearly by

accident. As a developer of composite materials that has application in

the field of Yachting, Skiing, Snowboards, Motorsports etc, the company

was introduced to golf through a colleague who was a member of the

European PGA. With ambitions to create a new method of creating composite

tubes, they began to make golf shafts and garnered some very positive

feedback. It just grew from there. TPT (THIN PLY TECHNOLOGY) now

makes a range of 12 different golf shafts and is gaining traction on the

PGA Tour.

Offering a 15 series for faster swing speeds 105-120 mph, 16 series for 90-

105, 17 series for 80-90 mph, 18 series for 70-80 mph, and 19 series for

60-70 mph. There are two shafts in each series depending on your swing DNA,

TPT offers lower torque and higher kick point versions for those who load the

shaft more in transition.

Normally golf shafts are made by a roll wrapping process, this process is

known to produce spines and irregularities. The TPT process is completely

different and doesn't produce any spining, thus a more consistent product

is the result. According to TPT , every shaft of a particular model will feel

and play identical to the rest of the batch.










ALDILA's new X-TORSION Copper series features a stiff tipped, Counter

Balanced design along with a new and unique woven graphite material

on the outer layer of the shaft at the tip-section. According to Mitsubishi's

Joe Hamada, "This new MAMBA (which stands for Multi-Axial Material Bias

Angle Technology) places a high-tech material on the shaft in a 45 degree

fiber orientation. This flat weave material on the exterior of the shaft

provides greater torsional stability - where the greatest percentage of

twisting occurs during the swing and at impact."