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Golf Pride Tour Velvet Super Tack

James Achenbach

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.


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Titleist Scotty Cameron Select putters

David Dusek

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 ...

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Titleist Scotty Cameron GoLo putters

David Dusek

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 ...

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Titleist DT SoLo golf ball

David Dusek

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.

"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 ...

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Titleist NXT Tour, NXT Tour S golf balls

David Dusek

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 ...

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Titleist Velocity golf ball

David Dusek

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.

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 ...

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Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 5 wedges

David Dusek

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 ...

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Bridgestone 2014 Tour B330 golf balls

David Dusek

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 ...

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True Temper’s dynamic history

James Achenbach

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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Fujikura's MCI shaft

James Achenbach

A Fujikura golf shaft played a large part in one of the longest – if not, the longest – drives hit last year.

Tim Burke, 26, used Fujikura’s FlyWire shaft to blast a 427-yard drive to win the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship in Las Vegas.

There was no wind, so the winning drive was totally legitimate. Burke, a former pitcher at the University of Miami, was swinging a Krank Formula 5 driver with 3 degrees of loft. Krank, headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., specializes in long-drive driver heads. Burke’s FlyWire shaft, which weighed 54 grams, is made specifically for Krank and designed for golfers with high swing speeds.

Most golfers are not strong enough or fast enough to swing the FlyWire, but another Fujikura development has the potential to catch golfers’ attention.

Fujikura’s MCI (Metal Composite Iron) shaft recently became widely available through the certified network of Fujikura dealers. This iron shaft is a blend of graphite and steel. The objective is better balance, feel and stability.

Fujikura will bring a new MCH shaft for hybrids to the PGA Merchandise Show this week in Orlando, Fla. This shaft also mixes graphite and steel.

Steel and aluminum have been ...

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UST Mamiya's Recoil shafts

James Achenbach

Ernie Els wasn’t paid to stick Recoil Prototype graphite shafts in his irons. He did it as an experiment and tied for third at the Macau Open in China in October.

UST Mamiya makes the Recoil Prototype. To complete the Recoil project, it almost seemed that UST Mamiya engineers locked themselves in a laboratory and emerged months later with a solution.

The result, said UST vice president and shaft designer Mike Guerrette, is the company finally mastered the ovaling process. During the golf swing, a shaft changes shape.

“We know a steel shaft does that (he makes an oval with his fingers) and a graphite shaft doesn’t,” he said. “OK, finally we got the graphite shaft to oval like the steel shaft. Players could feel the difference.

“Composite (graphite) shafts in the past haven’t performed (as judged by touring pros). And they tended to feel harsh or hard. Feel is all about torque (the twisting of the shaft during the swing). It’s 90 percent torque (the more the torque, the better the feel).

“We’ve been able to kind of loosen up the torque and put feel back in the shaft and still keep the flex ...

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Winner's Bag: Patrick Reed, Humana Challenge

David Dusek

After shooting three 63s, Patrick Reed held on to win the 2014 Humana Challenge. The low-scoring week gave Reed his second career PGA Tour victory. Here is a complete list of the clubs he played this week in La Quinta, Calif.

DRIVER: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha (9 degrees with a Fujikura Fuel 85 X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Big Bertha (16 degrees with a Mitsubishi ahina 80X shaft)

IRONS: Callaway X Forged (3, 4), Razr X Muscleback (5-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (50, 56, 60 degrees with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)

PUTTER: Odyssey Metal-X Milled #6

BALL: Callaway Speed Regime 3


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Cobra BiO Cell, BiO Cell+ irons

David Dusek

Like the woods and hybrids that Cobra Golf recently introduced in the BiO Cell family, the BiO Cell and BiO Cell+ irons were designed to create more ball speed for a wide range of players and deliver plenty of forgiveness.

Cobra engineers gave the BiO Cell irons a deep undercut behind the hitting area that shifts weight back, away from the face. This creates a hitting area that is unsupported and free to flex more effectively at impact, which Cobra says should provide players with more ball speed and more distance. The company says that the BiO Cell irons have the largest unsupported face of any irons it has produced.

The face has been designed to be thicker in the center and thinner around the perimeter, but not symmetrically. For the past four seasons Cobra has made driver faces that are optimized to help golfers compensate for their most common mis-hits, low in the heel and high in the toe, and now that philosophy has been brought to irons too. Cobra says that it not only will help golfers maintain ball speed on off-center hits, but the use of "e9 Face Technology" also creates discretionary weight that can be moved ...

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Mickelson puts Ping Eye2 XG lob wedge in play

David Dusek

Phil Mickelson has used a Ping Eye2 XG lob wedge at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The wedge is a 60-degree model bent to 61 degrees, and it has a KBS Tour V2 shaft. The wedge’s grooves conform to all of the USGA's groove rules.

Mickelson, who is sponsored by Callaway, also switched to a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver, Callaway X2 Hot fairway wood and hybrid, and Callaway Apex Pro irons. He also is playing the new Callaway Speed Regime 3 ball.

Mickelson has played some non-Callaway gear in the recent past, including a 17-degree Titleist 980F fairway wood, a 15-degree TaylorMade RocketBallz fairway wood and, most recently, a TaylorMade SLDR driver at the Presidents Cup in October.

To voice his displeasure with the USGA's handling of the 2010 groove rule changes, Mickelson used a vintage Ping Eye2 lob wedge in January of 2010. That wedge was made before 1990, so its square grooves, which would have been non-conforming for professional play in 2010, were grandfathered in and remained legal after a settlement was reached between Ping and the USGA.

Ping declined to comment about Mickelson's decision to play the Eye2 XG ...

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TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver

David Dusek

The original TaylorMade SLDR 460 driver appeared on the PGA Tour in mid-summer of 2013, before the start of the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic and European Tour's Scottish Open. It featured a unique sliding weight system and an adjustable hosel, and the center of gravity was pushed more forward than the CG location of previous TaylorMade drivers.

For golfers who prefer the look of a smaller head or who like to work the ball more off the tee, TaylorMade now offers a 430-cc version of the club, the SLDR 430.

On the sole of the SLDR 430, TaylorMade designed a channel that houses a blue, 20-gram movable weight. It's the same weight as on the larger-headed SLDR, and it can be set into any of 21 positions. TaylorMade says selecting a position near the toe should make it easier to hit a fade; setting the weight near the heel encourages a draw.

Read about the TaylorMade SLDR driver right here.

The feature TaylorMade espouses most is the forward CG. According to the company, this helps golfers generate more ball speed and reduce spin. Without changing anything else, that would likely produce lower flying shots that could ...

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