Trivia question: What does the 588 stand for in Cleveland 588 golf equipment?
Answer: It stands for the 5th model created in 1988. Thus, Cleveland celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 588 line in 2013.
In the beginning, 588 consisted only of wedges – famous wedges, because many PGA Tour players and several major champions have used 588 wedges.
Later, Cleveland added irons. Today, the 588 line includes five iron models: 588 MT (Mid Trajectory), 588 TT (Tour Trajectory), 588 Altitude (a complete set of hollow-headed irons), 588 CB (Cavity Back) and 588 MB (Muscle Back).
Cleveland has expanded the 588 family into metalwoods as well, and a new 588 Custom driver will be available Feb. 7 at retail. It will sell for $349.99.
Let’s examine the differences between the 588 Custom driver and the 588 Altitude driver ($299.99) that was introduced in November in Sun Belt areas. These will be Cleveland’s two drivers for 2014.
The 588 Custom is the product of rigorous testing with PGA Tour players as well as a wide variety of amateur golfers. This definitely is a driver for avid golfers, because it offers 12 adjustable settings among other features.
Speaking of ...
Scott Stallings was able to make a birdie on the final hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines on Sunday evening to win the Farmers Insurance Open. Here is a complete list of the clubs Stallings had in his bag:
DRIVER: Titleist 913 D2 (8.5 degrees with an Aldila Rogue 70X shaft)
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 913F (15 degrees with Aldila Rogue 70X)
IRONS: Mizuno MP Fli-Hi (2) with an Aldila RIP Tour shaft; Titleist 714 AP2 (4-PW) with KBS Tour shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM5 (50 bent to 52 degrees, 54 bent to 56 degrees, 58 bent to 60 degrees with KBS Tour shafts)
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Newport 2.6
BALL: Titleist ProV1x
SHOES: FootJoy D.N.A. (size 11.5M)
GLOVE: FootJoy Pure Touch Limited glove
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ORLANDO, Fla. – Getting your clubs around the course wasn't a forgotten part of the game at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show. Here are some products from the floor of the Orange County Convention Center:
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Bag Boy C3 Push Cart
In three steps, the C3 folds down to dimensions of 21.5 x 13 x 18 inches. It has a handle-mounted parking brake and its support arms accommodate stand and cart bags. The C3 has a one-step handle adjustment and is outfitted with an umbrella holder, mesh storage bag and smartphone holder. It weighs 15 pounds and includes a one-year warranty; MSRP is $219.95.
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Alphard Duo LT
This is an all-in-one cart and golf bag that is easy to set up and break down. The hydraulic-assisted frame quickly locks the bag in place. The handle can be adjusted to the preferred length and height, and there is a brake on the handle. The bag has 14 full-length dividers to minimize club rattling; MSRP is $299.95.
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Sun Mountain Combo Cart
This is another integrated cart-bag combination for spring 2014. The bag has full-length club dividers and eight pockets, all tucked into a lightweight aluminum frame. The solid foam tires ...
ORLANDO, Fla. – Ping introduced its Ketsch putter at the PGA Merchandise Show, a club named after the town in Germany where Ping maintains its headquarters for that country.
This mallet-style putter has an aluminum body with a stainless steel plate in the sole. It features Ping's TR (True Roll) grooves in the face.
An adjustable length shaft (31 to 38 inches) is optional. Lie adjustability is plus or minus two degrees.
Shafts bends are available to fit Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc putting strokes that have been identified by Ping.
The putter has three white, contrasting alignment aids on top of a matte-black crown.
"Our research shows that the head shape promotes extremely consistent alignment for the majority of golfers," said Ping chairman and chief executive John Solheim.
The suggested retail price of the Ketsch putter is $220, and the adjustable-length shaft has a suggested retail price of $35.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Phil Mickelson, a certified distance hound, loves golf clubs that produce outrageously long shots. It's no secret that his irons are bent strong. He made headlines in 2013 by switching among several 3-woods, essentially auditioning them for length (along with accuracy, of course).
Mickelson, a Callaway staff player, ended up with that company’s X Hot Pro 3-wood in his bag. The club earned a reputation as a long-distance weapon. People were talking. Callaway fairway wood sales increased substantially.
For 2014, Callaway took the X Hot fairway wood technology and used it in its line of X2 Hot hybrids. Guess what? Mickelson showed up in Abu Dhabi in January with a new 18-degree X2 Hot Pro hybrid in his bag. He tied for second.
These hybrids have Callaway's Hyper Speed forged face cup. They have an expanded sweet spot (Callaway says it is 13 times larger than last year's model).
The X2 Hot model is available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees. The X2 Hot Pro has lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees. The retail cost for either hybrid, with graphite shaft, is $199.99.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The new XTD Cross Cavity iron from Adams Golf reminds me how much I hate the term game-improvement. Or worse, super game-improvement.
The XTD, introduced here at the PGA Merchandise Show, has been called a game-improvement iron. Baloney, I say. This is a full-blown performance iron that just happens to be easy to hit.
When I asked Justin Honea, senior director of research and development for Adams, about the game-improvement label, he just laughed.
Honea is a gifted golfer. He regularly carries a plus handicap. He plays in tournaments. And you will find the XTD Cross Cavity in his bag.
"I can hit it as straight as any other iron," he said, "but I hit this one farther."
How much farther? A half-club to a club, he answered.
The XTD is a multi-material iron. In the middle of the back cavity is a flexible damper that helps shorten the duration of sound waves. This means less vibration.
Then there is the cross cavity itself. The crossing pattern is intended to move – or pull – the center of gravity off the face and back into the body of the iron. The result is increased gear effect. In other words, there ...
The Tour Velvet is the most popular grip on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods and dozens of other players use Tour Velvet or Tour Velvet Cord.
A new member of the Tour Velvet family was released at the PGA Merchandise Show. Called Tour Velvet Super Tack, the grip will be available March 1 in retail outlets.
The upper and lower sections of the Super Tack grip have slightly different textures, but here's the most important insight: A new material formulation is used in this grip. This material is tacky without being sticky. It provides a very secure grip. For some golfers consumed with a solid grip, there is the additional assurance that the grip will not slip.
Brandon Sowell, global sales and marketing manager, said Golf Pride’s vast presence on the PGA Tour provided testing and feedback in the development of this grip. He said the Super Tack was launched at the McGladrey Classic in November. The reaction was positive, and the grip moved from the Tour to consumer sales.
Tour Velvet Super Tack is available in standard and midsize models. The price is $5.99 for the standard model and $6.99 for the midsize.
ORLANDO – Titleist has announced that the Scotty Cameron Select line of putters has been updated, with five models arriving in pro shops starting on April 18.
While there are some subtle difference between this version of the Select line and the previous one, they’re not radical. Think refinement, not revolution.
Each of the three blade-style putters and two mid-size mallets are machine milled from a single block of 303-stainless steel. They feature adjustable weights positioned in the toe and heel areas of the sole. Golfers can’t adjust them, but fitters can swap out weights to ensure the putter’s swing weight is optimized.
All five putters will be available in 33-, 34- and 35-inch right-handed versions. The Newport 2 and Fastback also will be available in those three lengths in left-hand models.
The new Select line features a deeper face-milling pattern, like Cameron’s California putter line, which Titleist claims creates a richer sound and feel at impact.
Unlike the previous Select line, which had a black finish, the updated models have a chrome-like finish that Cameron calls Silver Mist. Even with the new finish, at address the blade-like Newport, Newport 2 and Newport 2.5 look very ...
ORLANDO – Scotty Cameron made the original GoLo putter, a mid-size mallet with a rounded shape, available to golfers about three years ago.
At the PGA Merchandise Show on Wednesday, Titleist announced GoLo has become its own family of putters. Four GoLo models are going to arrive in pro shops starting April 18, and golfers who like circular shapes and simple alignment systems should find these appealing.
All of the GoLo putters, which will cost $349, are milled from 303-stainless steel. They feature a single black alignment line and deep-milled faces, and they appear slightly asymmetrical at address. Cameron said that shaving material from the heel encourages a more inside-to-square stroke.
The sole plate is made from 6061-aluminum, which weighs much less than stainless steel. Cameron redistributed that saved weight to the back of the club for added stability, but made sure it would not be visually distracting.
The sole plate covers a chamber that Cameron said is filled with a rubber membrane. "I don't want it hollow," he said, "so there's rubber in here that we can change." The rubber membrane allows Cameron to adjust the sound, feel and vibrations created at impact.
Adjustable weight screws in the ...
Titleist released the new 714CB and 714MB irons a few months ago. They are designed with accomplished players in mind, and the company says that one of the mandates it received from PGA Tour pros during the prototype phase of development was, "Don't screw these up."
The same goes for the Titleist DT SoLo ball. It is not a ball you are going to find on the PGA Tour, but Titleist's Bill Morgan, senior vice president of golf ball research and development, said his company gets a similar message from users of this distance-oriented, two-piece, ionomer-covered ball.
- Read about the updated NXT Tour and NXT Tour S right here.
- Read about the updated Velocity right here.
"I like to put it this way, DT is my oldest friend," Morgan said, "and my oldest friend has got a lot of friends in the world. So it's important to me that I don't offend my old friend. All I want to do is, very delicately, make it a little better each time."
In 2014, Morgan and his team set out to do that by adding a spherically tiled, 376-dimple cover pattern to the ball. It is comprised of ...
Titleist debuted new versions of its NXT Tour and NXT Tour S balls Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show, with a focus on feel.
"Our goal with the NXT Tour was to make a softer golf ball," said Bill Morgan, Titleist's senior vice president of golf ball research and development.
To help make that possible, Morgan said Titleist re-proportioned the polymers used in the Fusablend cover material applied to the new three-piece NXT Tour, making it softer than its predecessor.
Typically that would make a ball spin a little more. However, Morgan said the outer portion of the new NXT Tour's dual core was made softer.
"That tends to lower compression a little bit," he said. "That lowering of compression lowers spin. Overall, with the longer clubs, this ball really spins very close [to the last generation NXT Tour] because those two changes are working against each other."
According to Morgan, golfers can expect the updated NXT Tour to fly slightly lower, but feel much softer.
"For most golfers on most shots, the flight, the distance and even the spin are very similar ...
The original version of the Titleist Velocity ball debuted two years ago at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show. It was the first all-new ball the company released in 10 years. Today the second generation Velocity was unveiled at the show.
As the name suggests, the two-piece Velocity is designed to deliver maximum distance on all full-swing shots. And after listening to the feedback of golfers, Titleist decided the goal for this updated version would be to maintain the length off the tee but give the updated model a softer feel and a slightly lower ball flight.
- Read about the updated NXT Tour and NXT Tour S right here.
- Read about the updated DT SoLo right here.
The trouble with making a golf ball feel softer is that it tends to make the ball slower, decrease spin and create a lower ball flight, said Bill Morgan, Titleist's senior vice president of golf ball research and development. To get around that challenge, Titleist modified the core of the Velocity and the cover pattern.
"We softened the compression of the core and put one of our new, modern-generation dimple patterns on it," Morgan said. "We went away from the old pattern that ...
ORLANDO – The seeding process for the newest Titleist Vokey Design wedges, the Spin Milled 5 (SM5), began last October on the range at the Shiners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas. Today, at Demo Day at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, Titleist announced those wedges would be in stores starting March 14.
All of the SM5 wedges, which cost $129, are cast from 8620 carbon steel for soft feel at impact and feature a unique, face-roughening treatment to enhance spin. A series of circular micro-edges are milled into the empty face of each wedge to increase friction, which Titleist says increase spin consistency on partial shots. Seventeen grooves are then individually machine-milled into the face. Finally, the wedges are given a heat treatment that helps the grooves maintain their sharpness longer.
To ensure every groove on every SM5 wedge is as sharp as the rules allow, Titleist employs a computer-guided plotting system to check every groove.
Titleist has done those things to previous Spin Milled wedges, but what makes the new SM5 wedges different is the groove Titleist calls TX3. The company says the TX3 grooves in the 46- through 54-degree models are deeper and narrower, and they are ...
ORLANDO – As long as the game of golf has been played, golfers have tried to avoid the water, but now Bridgestone has announced that water is at the heart of the updated Tour B330 ball line.
Bridgestone's Japanese research and development teams create prototype balls that are sent to the United States for testing. According to Cory Consuegra, Bridgestone's manager for ball fittings and golf clubs, one batch of prototypes had water mixed in with the other liquids that are added to a dry mixture that activates the rubber in the ball's core.
Consuegra said that of all the prototypes his team tested, the balls with water in the core mixture performed best. The addition of water made the inner portion of the core softer and the outer portion firmer.
Previous versions of Bridgestone's Tour B330 balls were designed with cores that gradually got firmer toward the edges also, but Consuegra said the graduation is now much greater, meaning the inner core is much softer than before and the outer section is much firmer.
"The 30 percent increase in gradation means two things," he said. "It's going to reduce more spin than prior generations, and ...
The Dynamic steel golf shaft was introduced in 1942. Today, 72 years later, it is still manufactured by the same company, True Temper, and remains the most popular iron shaft on the PGA Tour.
In the early days of the Dynamic shaft, the company was known as American Fork & Hoe. Because the golf swing is intended to be slightly more graceful than a slash-and-gash stroke with a yard implement, the name was changed to True Temper in 1949.
Another new name: In 1980 the Dynamic name was expanded to Dynamic Gold.
Dynamic was a heavy, solid, stable shaft from the beginning. Dynamic Gold and Dynamic Gold Tour Issue maintain this heritage, weighing more than 130 grams in their heaviest flexes.
Although Tiger Woods is not paid to endorse True Temper, he replied to a question about iron shafts by saying, “I’ve never used anything else (his iron shafts are Dynamic Gold X100). They work just fine, and I’m comfortable with them.”
American Fork & Hoe began making steel golf shafts in 1923. Five years later it patented the step-down process for manufacturing shafts.
As a matter of history, Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930 with hickory shafts ...
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