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Nike Covert 2.0 Matte Black Edition driver

David Dusek

Inspired by the black uniforms that some teams wear for big games, Nike Golf is releasing a black version of its VR_S Covert 2.0 driver. The new VR_S Covert 2.0 Matte Black Edition driver will cost $299 and be available only in right-handed versions when it arrives in stores May 15.

The black-crowned version of the Covert 2.0 driver should produce less glare than the original red-crowned model. It comes standard with a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black shaft and a black Tour Wrap 2G grip.

Technically speaking, the VR_S Covert 2.0 Matte Black Edition is identical to the VR_S Covert 2.0 that became available Jan. 31.

Both clubs feature a large cavity on the back of sole. This shifts weight to the back-heel and back-toe sections, creating perimeter weighting and increasing the club's moment of inertia (MOI). According to Nike, that should help the club resist twisting on off-center hits and produce straighter drives.

Each also features FlexLoft, Nike's 15-position adjustable hosel system, which allows golfers to open and close the driver's face angle. Players also can adjust the loft from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees.

According to Nike, the updated ...

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Winner's Bag: Matt Kuchar, RBC Heritage

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Matt Kuchar used to win the 2014 RBC Heritage:

DRIVER: Bridgestone J40 430 (9.5 degrees with an Accra M4 55 prototype shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping G25 (15 degrees with a Fujikura Motore Speeder 757 X)

HYBRIDS: Ping Anser (20 degrees with an Aldila Tour Blue 105 TX shaft; 23 degrees with an Aldila Tour Blue 85 TX shaft)

IRONS: Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back (5-PW with Aerotech SteelFiber i95 Constant Weight S shafts)

WEDGES: Bridgestone J40 Black Oxide (52 bent to 51 degrees with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S-400 shaft); Cleveland Golf 588 (58 bent to 57 degrees with a KBS Wedge 120S Black Nickel shaft); Titleist Vokey Design (62 degrees with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S-400 shaft)

PUTTER: Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1 Arm Lock

BALL: Bridgestone B330-S

• • •

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TaylorMade Limited Edition SLDR White driver

David Dusek

Beginning with the R11 in three years ago, TaylorMade started producing white-crowned drivers exclusively. According to the company, the contrast created by the white crown and the darker hitting surface of the face helped players improve their alignment at address.

Then, last summer, after the successful release of the white-crowned TaylorMade R1 driver, the company released the Limited Edition R1 Black. The dark crowned SLDR and JetSpeed drivers soon followed.

At last week’s Masters, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and a host of other TaylorMade staff players swung drivers that were black.

Today, TaylorMade announced that the Limited Edition SLDR White would begin shipping May 2.

Why white?

According to Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s director of product creation, “There’s interest there from consumers and golfers. We made the club internally and people got really excited about it.”

Bazzel wouldn’t rule out more white drivers coming from TaylorMade and said that the company is exploring all its options with regard to cosmetics.

Bazzel and TaylorMade also declined to say exactly how limited the Limited Edition SLDR White driver would be.

“I can tell you right now that when our sales reps saw it for the first time ...

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New TPA XVIII putter nearing production

Adam Schupak

At the PGA Merchandise Show in January, I bumped into former Web.com Tour pro Tee McCabe on the PGA Show floor, who is jumping back into the family business.

Tee is the son of Terry McCabe, designer of the TaylorMade Burner and Tour Preferred woods, the first commercially successful metal woods. Later, he and Gary Adams teamed up again to start Founders Club and McCabe had yet another hit designing the 975D driver during his stint as head of R&D for Titleist.

Terry died on April 12, 2013 at age 67, but not before finishing a few last designs.

“My father died last year on Masters Friday with the Masters playing in the background,” Tee said, “a beautiful parting for a guy so dedicated in the craft of golf.”

Tee, who had been working in investment banking, founded TPA Golf Clubs, a nod to his father’s best-known putter. McCabe pulled from his bag the original mold for the TPA XVIII putter that Nick Faldo stuck in his bag before Sunday’s final round of the 1989 Masters and used to win his first green jacket.

“The finish was unbelievable,” Faldo said, recalling his victory 25 years ago ...

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Leader's bag: Jordan Spieth at 2014 Masters

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Jordan Spieth is using at the Masters:

DRIVER: Titleist 910D2 (8.5 degrees with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 63X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour (14.5 degrees with a Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 72X shaft )

HYBRID: Titleist 913H.d (18 degrees with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-95X Hybrid shaft)

IRONS: Titleist 714 AP2 (4-9 with Project X 6.0 shafts)

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees with Project X 6.0 shafts)

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist 009

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

Related links

Article and Video: Titleist 714 AP2 irons

Article and Video: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 wedges

See the latest equipment and gear from Titleist


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Winner's bag: Bubba Watson at 2014 Masters

James Achenbach

Bubba Watson, who posted five birdies in a row in Friday's second round of his 2014 Masters win and showed steady play down the stretch Sunday to earn his second green jacket at Augusta National, is using a bag configuration unchanged from February, when he won the Northern Trust Open.

Going into the 2014 season, though, Watson made the most extensive changes of his career.

He switched into Ping S55 irons, leaving behind the S59 model he used for almost 10 years.

He also put into play a Ping G25 driver intended to be his backup.

"The backup went 7 or 8 yards farther," said Matt Rollins, Ping senior PGA Tour manager.

So Watson's gamer became his backup, and his backup became his gamer.

In another big change, Watson abandoned a 37-inch counter-balanced putter and returned to a conventional length. Both putters feature Ping's Anser Milled 1 putter head.

Rollins admitted a mistake in the construction of the conventional putter. He thought Bubba's preferred length was 34.5 inches, although it was 34. When Watson tried the 34.5-inch version, he liked it so much that he kept it in his bag.

"Call it a genius ...

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Leader's Bag at Masters: Bill Haas, first round

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Bill Haas used to shoot 68 and take the first-round lead at the 2014 Masters:

DRIVER: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees with an Aldila Rogue 70X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 913F.d (15 degrees with an Aldila Tour Blue 85 TX shaft)

HYBRID: Titleist 913H (17 degrees with an Aldila Tour Blue 105 TX shaft)

IRONS: Titleist 714 AP2 (3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (54, 60 degrees with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Select Newport 2

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

• • •


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TaylorMade SLDR MiniDriver spotted at Augusta

James Achenbach

TaylorMade’s SLDR MiniDriver already has gotten a workout on Tour, and it might find its way into several bags this week at Augusta National. On Monday, TaylorMade announced the small-headed wood becomes available to consumers May 2.

The size of the MiniDriver head is 260 cubic centimeters. It is made of stainless steel. Lofts of 12, 14 and 16 degrees will be available. The normal SLDR head is 460 cc, and TaylorMade also offers a 430 cc model.

Golfweek reported on the MiniDriver at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, but at that time TaylorMade would not answer key questions about the size, loft and other specifications. So it remained something of a mystery. Until now.

Here at the Masters, where Justin Rose is carrying the MiniDriver in practice rounds, TaylorMade said the cost will be $279 for the regular model (with a proprietary Fujikura 57 shaft) and $379 for a Tour Preferred model (Fujikura Motore Speeder 7.3 shaft). The only difference between the two is the shaft.

TaylorMade constructed two Mini drivers for Rose. Both were marked 12 degrees, although the actual lofts were 11.75 and 13.0 degrees.

Rose elected to carry the higher lofted one ...

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Winner's Bag: Matt Jones, Shell Houston Open

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the club Matt Jones used to win the 2014 Shell Houston Open:

DRIVER: Titleist 913D2 (9.5 degrees with a UST Mamiya ATTAS Elements MK 7X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 910F (15 degrees with a UST Mamiya ATTAS Elements MK 8X shaft)

IRONS: Mizuno Fli-Hi (2) Titleist 712 MB (3-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts)

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design (54) and SM4 (58 bent to 60 degrees), both with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Tour Rat 2 prototype

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

SHOES: Custom FootJoy ICON MyJoys golf shoes (Size: 8.5 Medium)

GLOVE: FootJoy SciFlex glove (Size: Regular Small)

• • •

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Points brings ancient Ping irons to Houston

David Dusek

The divots that D.A. Points creates on the driving range are each about the size of a playing card and about a half-inch deep. After he has finished hitting a bag of balls, the grid of dirt that remains is testament to his consistency.

The clubs that make those divots, his Ping i5 irons, helped the former University of Illinois star win last season's Shell Houston Open. What makes them unique is their age. Many players hesitate to change equipment, but by PGA Tour standards Points' irons are antiques.

"Ping clubs, their grooves don't wear out so you don't need to change them every year," Points said recently. "This is the set I've had since the groove rule change."

The groove rule change that Points was referring to went into effect in 2010, and no, he doesn't mean he has been playing the same kind of clubs since that time. Points has used the same set of Ping i5 irons since the start of the 2010 season.

Aside from their appearance at address, what Points likes most about his i5 irons is their soles.

"They go through the ground really easy," he said, pointing ...

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Winner's Bag: Steven Bowditch, Valero Texas Open

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Steven Bowditch used to win the 2014 Valero Texas Open:

DRIVER: Cleveland Classic XL (7.5 degrees with a Miyazaki Kusala Tour Issue 56X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway X Hot 3Deep (14.5 degrees with a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X Tour Spec shaft)

HYBRID: Callaway X2 Hot Pro (18 degrees with a Fujikura Motore Speeder HB 9.8X Tour Spec shaft)

IRONS: Cleveland 588 Forged MB (4-PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)

WEDGES: Cleveland 588 Forged (50, 54, 60 degrees with Project X 7.0 shafts)

PUTTER: Rife Antigua

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

SHOES: FootJoy XPS-1

GLOVE: FootJoy StaSof

• • •

Related links

Article: Cleveland Classic XL driver

Article: Cleveland Forged 588 MB irons

Article: Cleveland Forged 588 wedges


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Odyssey Tank Cruiser putters

David Dusek

Last year during the Florida Swing, Odyssey released a counterbalanced putter called the Tank. With a 400-gram head, 30 to 40 grams of additional weight beneath the top of the grip and a heavy shaft, the name must've been easy to develop.

Now Odyssey has a putter that can be thought of as the Tank Lite: the Odyssey Tank Cruiser.

Heavy, counterbalanced putters are designed to slow a player’s hands during the stroke and provide belly putter-like stability. However, making a transition from a traditional putter that tips the scales at around 340 grams to something like the Tank can be jarring. At least that is what Tour players told Odyssey. The Tank Cruiser putters, which will cost $249 each, were developed in response to that feedback.

Thanks to adjustable 10-, 15- and 20-gram weight screws that go into the heel and toe of the sole, the four Cruiser models can have a head weight of either 365, 375 or 385 grams. Golfers also can change the weight at the top of the 15-inch SuperStroke grip by affixing a 5-, 15- or 30-gram plug.

A player can dial up or down the counterbalancing effect to make transitioning into ...

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TaylorMade 14-degree SLDR driver

James Achenbach

TaylorMade loves to bring new drivers to the marketplace. At times it is difficult to keep up with all the introductions.

The introduction of the 14-degree SLDR driver has presented one of TaylorMade's biggest challenges, because most golfers identify 14 degrees with a strong 3-wood, not a driver.

Before discussing the 14-degree SLDR, though, here is a rundown of the entire SLDR family:

First there was the adjustable SLDR 460 driver, accompanied by fairway woods and hybrids. Then there was the adjustable SLDR 430 driver with a slightly smaller head (460 and 430 are a measurement of size in cubic centimeters).

Then there was a non-adjustable SLDR MiniDriver that showed up at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The company officially has declined to talk about the MiniDriver or confirm if it will be sold at retail.

Now comes the 14-degree SLDR driver.

“This is all about lofting up,” said Tom Kroll, TaylorMade's global product manager. “We know the path for golfers to find distance is to help them achieve a higher launch with lower spin.”

Kroll was referring to TaylorMade's low and forward center of gravity. "The technology is simple," he said. "it reduces spin. So golfers need to ...

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Golf Pride CP2 Pro, CP2 Wrap Grip

James Achenbach

The golf grip is the one point of contact between the golfer and the club, yet grips rarely get recognition. Many players take grips for granted, never changing grips until they get slick. This can be a mistake.

The most interesting feature of the CP2 Pro and CP2 Wrap grips is Golf Pride’s new Control Core, a 2.5-inch stabilizer cap underneath the top of the grip at the butt end of the golf club. According to Golf Pride, torque is reduced 41 percent compared to a similar grip without the Control Core. The company said these grips are the softest high-performance grips it has ever made. The Pro model features a textured pattern, while the Wrap is made for golfers who want a traditional comfort-style wrap grip.

Cost: $6.99 standard (51.5 grams), $7.49 midsize (64 grams), $7.99 jumbo (81 grams)

Availability: March

Some touring professionals change their grips every month or so. Their reasoning: They want to maintain the consistent feel of new grips, and they definitely don’t want grip pressure to be altered because the texture or firmness of the grips seems different.

Installation of grips at the beginning of the golf ...

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Winn DuraTech Midsize

James Achenbach

The golf grip is the one point of contact between the golfer and the club, yet grips rarely get recognition.

Larger midsize grips often are preferred by golfers with big hands or those who want to emphasize a fade. The upper part of Winn’s multimaterial DuraTech Midsize grip (for the top hand) is composed of Winn’s proprietary rubber compound, Elastom ETX, while the lower part of the grip (bottom hand) is made of Winn’s latest performance polymer, WinnDry XT. DuraTech is a durable all-weather grip designed to appeal to skilled players.

Cost: $9.59 Midsize (54 grams), $8.99 standard (45 grams)

Many players take grips for granted, never changing grips until they get slick. This can be a mistake.

Some touring professionals change their grips every month or so. Their reasoning: They want to maintain the consistent feel of new grips, and they definitely don’t want grip pressure to be altered because the texture or firmness of the grips seems different.

Installation of grips at the beginning of the golf season generally is considered minimal maintenance. Several grip manufacturers recommend changing grips twice per year.

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