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December 16, 2014 | 10:20 a.m.

Callaway introduces Chrome Soft golf ball

James Achenbach
Callaway introduced its Chrome Soft, a 65-compression ball with three-piece construction and a urethane cover, on Dec. 16.
Callaway introduced its Chrome Soft, a 65-compression ball with three-piece construction and a urethane cover, on Dec. 16.

Golf balls are getting softer. As a whole, compression ratings are going down.

Callaway is part of this trend. The company introduced its Chrome Soft, a 65-compression ball with three-piece construction and a urethane cover, on Dec. 16.

The ball, to be available at retail Jan. 16, has caught the attention of five-time major champion and Callaway staff player Phil Mickelson. Mickelson, who probably will not use the ball on Tour but who tested it, said his iron shots fly “7 or 8 yards longer” with Chrome Soft.

“Phil kind of jumpstarted all this attention for Chrome Soft, but it ...

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David Dusek
The TomTom Golfer watch comes pre-loaded with over 34,000 golf courses and recognizes the course about to be played using its GPS system.
The TomTom Golfer watch comes pre-loaded with over 34,000 golf courses and recognizes the course about to be played using its GPS system.

TomTom, which has made GPS-based software for navigation and mapping products for several years, has just released a golf watch with a graphic interface.

The TomTom Golfer ($249.99) comes pre-loaded with over 34,000 golf courses and recognizes the course about to be played using its GPS system. It’s water resistant, and TomTom says the battery will last for at least 10 hours.

Standing on the tee or in the fairway, players will see images of hazards like bunkers and water, along with yardages to reach them. The watch also provides distances to lay-up points, as well as ...

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December 11, 2014 | 12:01 p.m.

Trending: Standalone, affordable launch monitors

James Achenbach
The Swing Caddie device provides measurements for swing speed, ball speed, carry distance and smash factor.
The Swing Caddie device provides measurements for swing speed, ball speed, carry distance and smash factor.

With price, or at the least the perception of price, as a deterrent, few amateur golfers purchase launch monitors.

This might soon change.

Standalone, affordable launch monitors comprise one of the newest trends in golf. Some of these devices are available for less than $500, and a few of the basic models cost less than $300.

These devises are small, lightweight and portable. They typically run 15 to 20 hours without a battery change.

Joe Ernest has been instrumental in this trend. Ernest owned a telecommunications company before selling it and starting Ernest Sports. He offers two models, the ES12 ...

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December 9, 2014 | 1:40 p.m.

Bettinardi Golf debuts new wedge line

David Dusek
Bettinardi Golf, the boutique putter-maker, is back in the wedge world.
Bettinardi Golf, the boutique putter-maker, is back in the wedge world.

Bettinardi Golf, a company synonymous with high-end milled putters, is venturing off the shortest grass and back into the rough with a new line of wedges.

Bettinardi made wedges in the late ’90s, shortly after Robert Bettinardi founded the company. It returned to making wedges again briefly in 2011, but it focused exclusively on putters the past several seasons.

Available in 52-, 54-, 56-, 58- and 60-degree versions, the new Bettinardi H2 wedges are forged from 1020 carbon steel for a soft feel. The H2 stands for High Helix, which is a tool used to machine each wedge.

Sam Bettinardi ...

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David Dusek
The Scotty Cameron Futura X5 Dual Balance putter Keegan Bradley is putting to use this weekend at the Hero World Challenge.
The Scotty Cameron Futura X5 Dual Balance putter Keegan Bradley is putting to use this weekend at the Hero World Challenge.

The Hero World Challenge is a limited-field, no-cut event, so there’s no better time to try some new gear. Maybe that’s the reason why Keegan Bradley decided to forgo his old Odyssey Sabertooth belly putter, the club that helped him win the 2011 PGA Championship, in favor of a counterbalanced Scotty Cameron Futura X5 Dual Balance putter.

The Futura X5 putters are milled from 303 stainless steel and have a 6061 aluminum sole plate. The weight that is saved by removing the stainless steel and going with aluminum allowed Cameron to redistribute weight into a pair of wing-like ...

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James Achenbach
Nike Vapor Pro irons
Nike Vapor Pro irons

Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf at his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge, with an assortment of new Nike clubs in his bag.

The new clubs include a Vapor Speed Prototype driver, Vapor Speed fairway woods (3 and 5) and Vapor Pro blade irons. He also will use a Nike RZN Black ball for the first time in competition.

The World Challenge runs Thursday through Sunday at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Fla.

At a media event in New York in August, Woods had the following to say about his efforts to switch clubs in the past year ...

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November 30, 2014 | 2:45 p.m.

Winner's bag: Jordan Spieth, Australian Open

David Dusek
Jordan Spieth's winning bag at the Emirates Australian Open.
Jordan Spieth's winning bag at the Emirates Australian Open.

Here is a list of the clubs Jordan Spieth used to win the 2014 Emirates Australian Open:

DRIVER: Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees), with an Aldila Rogue X shaft

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 915F (15 degrees), with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 X shaft

HYBRID: Titleist 915Hd (20.5 degrees) with a Graphite Design Tour AD HYB 95 X shaft

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

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

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist 009 prototype

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x prototype

• • •

Related content ...

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James Achenbach
The new Bobby Jones putters, which will be unveiled in January.
The new Bobby Jones putters, which will be unveiled in January.

Bobby Jones Golf is about to add limited-edition adjustable putters to its lineup of golf clubs. At least six new putters will be unveiled at the PGA Merchandise Show in January.

The putter project is a partnership between Bobby Jones, headquartered in Atlanta, and putter manufacturer Dogleg Right, located in Plano, Texas.

“If Mr. (Bobby) Jones were alive today, what would he putt with? That’s the question we constantly ask ourselves,” said Dave Billings, co-founder, president and chief executive of Dogleg Right.

One answer: Jones would take advantage of the latest technology and choose a putter featuring independently adjustable ...

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James Achenbach
TaylorMade's AeroBurner Rescue
TaylorMade's AeroBurner Rescue

Like the AeroBurner fairway woods, the AeroBurner Rescue clubs have a matte white head and an expanded Speed Pocket. The Rescue hybrids also have been shortened by one-half inch from JetSpeed Rescue clubs.

The AeroBurner Rescues share other traits with the AeroBurner fairway woods: shallow face, low-and-forward center of gravity and a refined sole camber (roundness).

The retail price is $199 for the standard model and $269 for the TP club. They will be available Jan. 9.

James Achenbach
TaylorMade's AeroBurner fairway wood
TaylorMade's AeroBurner fairway wood

The AeroBurner fairway woods have, in the words of senior director of product creation for metalwoods Brian Bazzel, "our largest Speed Pocket ever. We are now achieving driver-like launch conditions with a fairway wood."

The AeroBurner fairway woods combine the size of the company’s Rocketballz fairway channel with the technology of the through-slot found on JetSpeed fairway woods. The AeroBurner also has a low and forward center of gravity, and the company says the sweet spot is twice as large as found on the JetSpeed.

The AeroBurner 3-wood has a matte white head and is 43.25 inches in ...

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James Achenbach
TaylorMade's R15 fairway wood
TaylorMade's R15 fairway wood

TaylorMade’s R15 fairway woods are the most adjustable fairway woods ever introduced by the company. They are available in four lofts: 15, 16.5, 19 and 20.5 degrees.

These white fairway woods feature the same Front Track system as the R15 driver, although the R15 fairway woods utilize a single 25-gram tungsten weight that can slide easily to promote a draw or fade. TaylorMade said the Front Track also performs like a Speed Pocket found on other models, increasing the size of the sweet spot and decreasing spin.

Like the R15 driver, the fairway woods come with an ...

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James Achenbach
TaylorMade's R15 Rescue
TaylorMade's R15 Rescue

Harkening back to the shape of the original Rescue club, the new R15 Rescue has a smaller “peanut” head shape (99cc), commonly preferred by tour staff professionals and amateurs who want to shape shots.

Offered in lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees, these white-headed clubs have a 3-degree loft range that offer plus or minus 1.5 degrees from standard.

The hybrids also incorporate an open-channel Speed Pocket for more ball speed and less spin. They have a neutral bias that the company says reduces pulls or hooks.

The retail price is $219 for the stock model and ...

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November 21, 2014 | 12:59 p.m.

Mizuno debuts JPX-850 drivers, woods, hybrids

James Achenbach
Mizuno's JPX-850 line of metalwoods
Mizuno's JPX-850 line of metalwoods

No astute golf observer would argue with the proposition that Mizuno is famous for its irons.

Mizuno became the first Japanese golf manufacturer in 1933. Over the decades, Mizuno’s forged MP irons developed a worldwide following. In recent years, the reputation of multi-material JPX irons soared as well.

But where were Mizuno metalwoods? For lack of a better description, they were lost in the tidal wave of popularity surrounding the irons.

For 2015, Mizuno is focusing more intently than ever on the metalwood market, and the company is adopting straightforward language to describe its initiative.

"We're known mainly ...

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David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Charley Hoffman used to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba:

DRIVER: Titleist 915D2 (8.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Silver 70 TX shaft

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees), with UST Mamiya Elements Chrome 8 shaft

HYBRID: Adams Idea Pro (18 degrees), with UST Mamiya Proforce V2 Hybrid 89X shaft

IRONS: Titleist 714 CB (3), 714 MB (5-9), with Nippon N.S. Pro ST prototype X shafts

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (46, 50, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist GoLo ...

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David Dusek
Ben Sharpe, 41, is the new CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf.
Ben Sharpe, 41, is the new CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf.

NEW YORK CITY – With his right leg folded under his left on a cushioned sofa inside Golf & Body NYC, a posh indoor golf and health club in midtown Manhattan, Ben Sharpe looks relaxed and at ease. No tie, no sport coat. He makes eye contact and maintains it, laughs easily, and says he’d love to visit the Big Apple more often.

In fact, he’s coming back for Thanksgiving before heading to Vermont with his wife and their two children, Ollie and Poppy, for a quick family holiday.

That’s good, because as the new CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf ...

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