Call it the Wedge Wars.
Several equipment manufacturers are intensifying their efforts in the category. No surprise, longtime wedge leaders such as Titleist, Ping and Cleveland are battling for greater market share, but others, including Cobra, are joining the fray.
Cobra first developed its Trusty Rusty wedge series in 1997, but the company never expanded the Trusty Rusty family to compete consistently with category heavyweights.
But now, Cobra officials say, they mean business.
The 55-degree Tour Trusty wedge is about to be introduced in a limited-edition version. That wedge will be followed by additional Tour Trusty wedges, starting at 47 degrees and going all the way to 63 degrees in odd-numbered loft increments. This means nine different Tour Trusty lofts will be available. Furthermore, the 55- and 59-degree wedges will feature a choice of different bounce configurations.
Consumers also will have a choice of two finishes, black or satin chrome. Neither finish will rust, which is a departure from the Trusty Rusty wedges.
“In recent years, there have been a lot of changes in what people believe in and look for in wedges,” said Jose Miraflor, Cobra's director of product marketing. “We wanted to come out with a modern ...
If you have a question about the latest golf clubs and equipment or are wondering what gear the PGA Tour stars are using, send a Tweet to Golfweek senior writer David Dusek at @DavidDusek.
Some recent inquiries:
Do you mean this black TaylorMade R1?
That black-and-white photo, which appeared recently on the USGA Conforming Driver Head list, is creating some buzz.
"Factually, the driver that is on the USGA Conforming List is left-handed, 400-cc prototype driver," says Dave Cordero, a public relations manager for TaylorMade. "I can tell you that as a company of golfers, we've been really excited to see what the outcry has been and to see the reaction to it."
Cordero would not say when, if ever, this smaller-headed version of the R1 would find it's way to retail.
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There has been no official word from Titleist, and the world of golf equipment is full of changes. But here's some historical perspective:
Two weeks after Graeme McDowell won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Titleist brought the 910D2 and 910D3 drivers to the PGA Tour for the first time at the AT&T National at the Aronimink Golf Club outside ...
At The Players Championship, Tiger Woods didn’t need his driver much with firm course conditions permitting him to boom his 3-wood and 5-wood prodigious lengths. But to better tackle a tight TPC Sawgrass course, he switched to a heavier driver shaft, from 63 grams (Graphite Design Tour AD Di6-X) to 73 grams (Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73-X).
His previous three victories in 2013 came with the lighter Graphite Design shaft in his Nike VR Tour driver (8.5 degree). In general, heavier driver shafts translate into improved accuracy.
The rest of Woods’ all-Nike bag: VR_S Covert fairway woods (15 and 19 degree, with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board 103-X shafts); VR Pro Blades (3-PW, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts); VR Pro wedges (56 and 60 degree, with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts); Method 001 putter. He played a Nike One Tour D golf ball.
• • •
Mitsubishi wins driver-shaft count: It was a strong week at TPC Sawgrass for Mitsubishi Rayon, which won the driver-manufacturer shaft count. In addition to Woods, other top-10 finishers using Mitsubishi driver shafts were Sergio Garcia, Ben Crane, Rory McIlroy and Casey Wittenberg.
Roberto Castro, playing a Mitsubishi Diamana ’ilima 70-X in his ...
Although 2012 Players champion Matt Kuchar already used a Bettinardi putter to win this season's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the five-time PGA Tour winner and the club designer made their partnership official with the release of a signature putter line.
The Matt Kucher Signature putters – the Model 1 and the Model 2 – will be available starting May 15 for $375.
The Model 1 is a heel-toe weighted, face-balanced blade with an extended back flange and single alignment line. It's milled from carbon steel, and like other Bettinardi putters, features a honeycomb pattern on the face. However, the hitting area has a series of grooves designed to help enhance feel and get the ball rolling faster.
The Model 1 will be available in a 35-inch version (which can be trimmed to shorter lengths) with a 350-gram head as well as a "Kuchar Style" – a 42-inch version that has a 400-gram head.
The longer putter is designed to allow golfers to lock the upper portion of the grip against their lead forearm, as Kuchar does when he putts. This putting method is not considered anchoring by the USGA and R&A and would remain legal if the proposed anchored putting ...
Tiger Woods (PGA Tour – The Players Championship)
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft)
Fairway woods: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood (15 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103X shaft) and Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood (19 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103X shaft)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56 and 60 degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike One Tour D
Footwear: Nike TW '14
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degrees) with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft
Fairway woods: Nike VR_S Covert (15, 19 degrees) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103X shafts
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56, 60 degrees) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike One Tour D
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For decades, television cameras, reporters and photographers have taken fans inside the ropes at golf tournaments and special events. With the growth of blogs and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, equipment manufacturers now can do the same – and they're sharing behind-the-scenes information that gearheads love.
For example, Nike Golf has approximately 1.9 million "Likes" on Facebook, the most among golf equipment makers. The company posts photographs and video clips routinely, and they typically get a thumbs-up by thousands of readers.
On Twitter, TaylorMade's social media manager, Charles Kautz (@CharlieTour), routinely sends messages and photographs from PGA Tour stops, including this one from the Players Championship:
"My job really started as a pilot role at the beginning of last year," Kautz said on the range at TPC Sawgrass. "Internally, we felt like there was a lot going on out on Tour that we were capturing, but not necessarily capturing in a way that would be exciting for golfers. The reps out here on tour are so busy that it's hard for them to capture information and distribute it. I don't think they really realized the value of the ...
Derek Ernst, the rookie winner of the Wells Fargo Championship, had 14 Ping clubs in his bag. He followed fellow Ping staff player Billy Horschel, who won a week earlier in New Orleans.
Ernst’s bag: i20 driver (9.5 degree, with Ping TFC 707-X shaft); i15 3-wood (14 degree, with Grafalloy ProLite Red X shaft); Anser hybrid (17 degree, with Oban Kiyoshi X shaft); S56 irons (3-PW, with Project X 6.5 shafts); Ping Tour wedges with Gorge Grooves (54 and 58 degree, with Project X 6.5 shafts); and Ping Scottsdale TR Greyhawk putter (35 inch). He used a Titleist Pro V1x ball.
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Nike gains Covert converts: The company’s staff players continue to switch to the VR_S Covert driver. The latest, at the Wells Fargo Championship, were Stephen Ames and Scott Brown. Ames played a 9.5-degree model (Accra prototype X shaft), while Brown went with a 10.5-degree driver (Mitsubishi Diamana ’ilima 60-X shaft).
World No. 2 Rory McIlroy also is using the VR_S Covert driver. McIlroy’s 10.5-degree model has a Mitsubishi Diamana prototype 70-X shaft.
• • •
Spheres of influence: The Titleist Pro V1x and Pro V1 franchises combined for eight victories on various pro ...
The Loomis graphite iron shaft is back.
That’s the word from Jeff Meyer, president of Meyer Performance Composites, and his brother, Robert Meyer, MPC vice president of marketing and tour relations. They anticipate the storied shaft will make a return appearance on the PGA Tour, and they plan to sell the shaft to consumers beginning in September.
Back in the 1990s, Jeff Meyer was vice president of engineering for G. Loomis, designer of the Loomis shaft, and he has “always had really good feelings about this shaft and its performance.”
Robert Meyer has been traveling the PGA Tour with samples of the new shaft, and he said, “We’ve had many, many requests for the shaft…. The Loomis name has a great reputation.”
In 1994, 1995 and 1996, the G. Loomis graphite iron shaft sparked interest on the PGA Tour. Greg Norman and Davis Love III won with the shaft, and more than three dozen players used it at one time or another.
In 1996, ownership of the Loomis golf shaft was acquired by Aldila. Eventually, though, the iron shaft disappeared as Aldila concentrated on shafts for drivers, fairway woods and hybrids rather than irons.
As the Loomis iron ...
Winner’s Circle: April 29 - May 5, 2013
Derek Ernst (PGA Tour – Wells Fargo Championship)
Driver: Ping i20 (9.5 degree; Ping TFC 707 X shaft)
Fairway wood: Ping i15 3-wood (14 degree; Grafalloy ProLite Red X shaft)
Hybrid: Ping Anser (17 degree; Oban Kiyoshi X shaft)
Irons: Ping S56 (3-PW; Project X 6.5 steel shafts)
Wedges: Ping Tour with Gorge Grooves (54 and 58 degree; Project X 6.5 steel shafts)
Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Greyhawk
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet (VTM)
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Brett Rumford (European Tour – Volvo China Open)
Driver: Titleist 913D2 (8.5 degree; UST Mamiya Proforce VTS shaft)
Fairway wood: Titleist 913Fd 3-wood (15 degree; UST Mamiya Proforce VTS shaft)
Irons: Titleist 712U (2-4) and Titleist CB (5-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (48, 54 and 60 degree)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro CSM long
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Footwear: FootJoy FJ Icon
Glove: FootJoy SciFlex
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (VTC)
• • •
Brendon Todd (Web.com Tour – Stadion Classic at UGA)
Driver: TaylorMade R1
Fairway woods: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 3-wood (13 degree) and TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Tour 5-wood (18.5 degree)
Irons: TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour (4-PW)
Wedges: Fourteen RM-12 ...
Derek Ernst went from Q-School to the winner's circle in five months, capturing the Well Fargo Championship for his first PGA Tour title. Ernst, who defeated David Lynn in a playoff, used the following:
DRIVER: Ping i20 (9.5 degree) with a Ping TFC 707 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping i15 (14 degree) with a Grafalloy ProLite Red X shaft
HYBRID: Ping Anser (17 degree) with an Oban Kiyoshi X shaft
IRONS: Ping S56 (3-PW) with Royal Precision Project X 6.5 shafts
WEDGES: Ping Tour with Gorge Grooves (54, 58 degree) with Royal Precision Project X 6.5 shafts
PUTTER: Ping Scottsdale TR Greyhawk
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
First it was the limited-edition Cobra AMP Cell driver to commemorate the Masters. The clubhead was, appropriately, green.
Now it’s the white, blue and red Cobra AMP Cell Pro driver to honor the U.S. Open. This, too, is a limited-edition driver; 600 will be sold. The driver will be available June 1 at select retailers.
For the U.S. Open driver, even the grip, headcover and wrench follow the white, blue and red theme. The retail price will be $499.
The AMP Cell Pro head is adjustable from 7.5 to 10.5 degrees of loft. The head also has fade settings at 8.5 and 9.5 degrees. The driver includes an Aldila RIP Phenom shaft in either regular or stiff flex.
Buy Adam Scott’s 60-degree Titleist wedge, bury a myth.
The Titleist Vokey TVD-K lob wedge used by Scott to win the Masters has been added to the custom offerings at Vokey WedgeWorks (www.vokey.com). Just as important as the availability, though, is the realization that Scott negotiated the firm turf of Augusta National Golf Club with a wide-soled wedge that featured a generous 10 degrees of bounce.
Sound preposterous? It’s true. Scott’s TVD-K wedge was a 10/60.
Those who believe virtually all touring pros use lob wedges with little or no bounce are simply dead wrong. In fact, the high-bounce TVD-K is Titleist’s second-most popular grind on the PGA Tour, behind the TVD-M, which incorporates moderate bounce.
Jason Dufner was the first Titleist staff member to use the TVD-K in competition, and others have followed.
Generally speaking, high-bounce wedges are preferred by golfers with steeper swing planes and mid-bounce wedges are better suited for players with shallower swing planes.
The fundamental Titleist wedge philosophy, however, reflects individuality.
“We don’t believe that one wedge can work for everybody,” explained Vokey marketing manager David Neville. “Golfers play shots differently.”
Scott first used the wedge to ...
Conversation about irons often focuses on touring pros and their irons.
But on the other side of the spectrum, Adams and Tour Edge have introduced irons –the Adams Super S and the Tour Edge Exotics XCG6 – that likely will never be used by touring pros. They are designed, however, to be high-performance irons for many amateurs.
If the truth be told about trajectory, most amateurs don’t hit the ball high enough. Most touring pros, on the other hand, struggle with hitting the ball too high.
The Tour Edge XCG6 iron features extreme heel and toe weighting (thanks to four tungsten weights in the sole) along with the deepest undercut cavity ever produced by Tour Edge. The result: higher shots with a maximum amount of forgiveness.
These irons are designed to be easy to hit. The ultra-thin face adds extra ball speed and enhances carry distance, according to the company.
There’s more: The KBS Tour shaft, the same one used by Adam Scott at the Masters, is a stock offering with the XCG6. It’s a heavier shaft – 120 to 130 grams, depending on the flex – and will appeal to players who want to feel the weight of the ...
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