The claims by equipment manufacturers are as enticing as those of a carnival barker. Their product will produce more distance, reduce spin rate, improve ball control and help shape shots.
In general, your game can only improve, so just step right up.
The claims are mixed with technical terms like launch angle, CG (center of gravity), MOI (moment of inertia) and variable features such as thickness face and depth grooves.
The temptation to try the best and brightest can become overwhelming, which is what makes the annual PGA Merchandise Show one big testing playground.
The club creating the most buzz was TaylorMade Golf’s new SLDR 430 driver.
There was a time when distance off the tee could be equated to the enormity of a driver’s club head. Technology, though, is shifting the pendulum back to small as evidenced by TaylorMade’s latest driver offering.
The 430 model packs the same punch as the popular SLDR 460, but its smaller club head promotes improved shot shaping. Like the 460, this version has a low and forward center of gravity placement to create a high launch angle, lower spin rate and faster ball speed – the main components needed for increased distance.
The key feature is a sliding weight mechanism. A 20-gram weight slides on a 21-point track system located on the front of the sole. In a matter of seconds, golfers can adjust for a draw or fade by simply loosening a screw and sliding the weight to the appropriate position.
The SLDR, though, was just one of many new offerings that will have golfers talking throughout this year.
Here is a summary of other hot items:
Callaway Golf appears to have found a niche in the fairway woods category, having doubled its market share in 2013. The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro will help keep them in the mix.
A year ago, Callaway engineers introduced a thinner face that helped the ball leap off the face at impact. This year, they have added what is called a Hyper Speed Face Cup, which adds 1.4 mph average ball speed over its predecessor. They have also improved the weighting system, which aids in distance from all impact locations.
The standard model is available as a 3-, 4-, 5-, 7-, 9- or 11-wood. The Pro model is also available in 13.5-, 15-, 17- and 19-degree lofts.
Can an iron produce the distance of a metal wood?
That is what Nike Golf is attempting to achieve with its VRS Covert Forged irons. The irons incorporate the brand’s NexCOR face, a variable face thickness technology that improves the trampoline effect off the face. As a result, Nike Golf claims faster ball speed and greater distance with the irons – up to 7 yards more compared to last year’s product.
Company research showed that more than 80 percent of player impact is between the center and the toe side of an iron, so Nike Golf shifted the center of gravity to the face’s center and improved off-center performance by up to 17 percent. …
Design engineer Matt Neeley says that Adams Golf has gone “all in on the second shot,” he said. “You will hear us say we want to own the second shot a lot.”
While Adams is probably best known for its Tight Lies fairway metals, the new XTD Forged and Idea irons will certainly help improve the second shot. Both sets – the XTD Forged for low handicappers and the Idea for mid- to high-handicappers – feature a unique cut-through slot in the sole. The slots allow the face to flex, which produces faster ball speeds and launch higher shots.
The XTD Forged set has a pair of driving irons (21- and 24-degree lofts), then 5-iron through PW. The Idea set consists of a trio of hybrids (3 to 5), transitional hybrids (6 and 7) and then cavity-back short irons (8 to PW).
With former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman as a co-inventor – and serving as a recognizable pitchman – Veritas Golf debuted its Cure RX1 and RX2 putters.
The RX1, according to the company, features the highest MOI face in the industry, and has adjustable lie angles, customizable weights, and is right- or left-hand adjustable.
The RX2 goes one step further by introducing a triangulation alignment system, which was developed by Beman. The ball combines with alignment discs on the heel and toe of the putter to form a triangle that aids in preventing misalignment. …
Ping introduced the Ketsch, a forgiving mallet-style putter with variable-depth grooves milled into the face. And it’s the grooves that are the difference maker.
Ping studies show an increase in ball-speed consistency of nearly 50 percent compared to a non-grooved face. The grooves are shallow on the perimeters and deepest in the center.
The putter also has three white, contrasting alignment aids that extend from the top of the matte-black crown. A middle line runs the depth of the putter head to promote easier and consistent alignment.
Titleist has been and will be the No. 1 ball in golf for some time. That is about as much of an absolute as saying the sun will rise in the morning.
So who is No. 2?
Right now that distinction goes to TaylorMade Golf, which has debuted its Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X. The company has spent nearly a decade prototyping and testing before launching this offering that is meant for the serious player. The Tour Preferred creates more spin in mid- to long-iron shots, while the X version promotes a high trajectory on approach shots and improved shot control around greens.
TaylorMade also has the everyday amateur golfer in mind with the Project (a) – (a) stands for amateur. “Having gathered data from many player types including tour pros, it’s no secret that amateurs need help generating spin and stopping the ball on the green,” said Dean Snell, vice president of golf ball R&D. “Our tests indicate that amateurs miss the pin by an average of 35 yards on a 150 yard approach shot.”