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James Achenbach

Stories by James

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Toy Box: Mickelson experiments at Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson has no qualms switching clubs. Case in point: At the Presidents Cup he carried no driver on the first day, using a Callaway X Hot 3Deep off the tee, then on Day 2 played the TaylorMade SLDR.

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Flexibility, versatility fuel Sadlowski's power

In recent decades, two dominant figures have emerged in long driving, both from Alberta, Canada, and both bombers of the highest order.

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Snedeker, Kuchar test Bridgestone ball prototypes

Bridgestone staff players Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar used unnamed prototype golf balls at the Presidents Cup; the manufacturer didn’t try to hide their identity.

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Achenbach: The legend of Apex

Apex irons, soon to be revitalized by Callaway, have a rich history that dates back to Ben Hogan's clubmaking days. The brand's legacy is a long line of Apex models and memories for those who played them.

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KBS Tour-V iron shafts

The new KBS Tour-V shaft touts tight dispersion and already has won the support of Phil Mickelson and Callaway, which will make it the stock shaft for the Apex Pro irons.

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Long-drive legends: Gorton can win at any age

Having won the main, senior and super-senior titles in the World Long Driving Championship, Mike Gorton says big hitters by their nature must be more accurate than others.

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USGA presidential nominee popular, visible

Tom O’Toole Jr., nominated to become the next president of the U.S. Golf Association, has gone out of his way to increase the transparency and effectiveness of golf’s governing body in the U.S.

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Long-drive legends: Hooter blasts away into his 70s

Fred Hooter, 70, lives in Auburn, Ala., where he amazes golfers young and old with his tee shots. Just about everybody hits it shorter than this septuagenarian. PGA champion Jason Dufner, also an Auburn resident, is lucky to drive it within 50 yards of Hooter.

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Mizuno MP-54 irons

Mizuno's new MP-54 irons balance a classic forged look and modern design, including a milled pocket cavity for better trajectory control.

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Long-drive legends: Mobley walks the talk as champ for the ages

David Mobley, 48, also is one of a few long drivers able to make this claim: He supports himself entirely through long driving.

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Callaway Apex irons

Resurrecting the venerable Apex name, Callaway is unveiling irons designated as the company's premier entry in the 'distance forged' category.

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Long-drive legends: Bomber Fister goes distance with new goal

In the beginning, many long-drive fans cheered him wildly yet didn’t even know his name. He was “The Beast,” and that was enough. Sean “The Beast” Fister is now 51 and has undergone four back surgeries in the past three years. Incredibly, he still competes.

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Toy Box: FedEx Cup champ and Piretti distributor

Henrik Stenson is vested in his Piretti putter in more ways than one. Not only does he make clutch putts with it, he serves as the putter company’s Scandinavian distributor.

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Long-drive legends: James hits it big with spiritual awakening

Golf instructor and long-drive champion Gerry James, 53, has come a long way from his days of pro football, bodybuilding and wrestling.

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Long-drive legends: Brandon takes sport in new direction

Lee Brandon, a women’s world champion in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, can look back on an accident that nearly cost her an arm as having helped set the tone for her life.

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Long-drive legends: 'The Sheriff' blasts way into town

Bobby "The Sheriff" Wilson, 57, of Southlake, Texas, also is a prominent example of the many long drivers who are excellent golfers.

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Mizuno MP-4 irons

Give Luke Donald a forged iron and a grinding wheel, and he becomes a golf surgeon. His handiwork is evident in Mizuno's new MP-4 irons, which feature his signature sole.

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Maxfli U/6 golf ball

Dick's Sporting Goods, which now owns Maxfli, is unveiling a golf ball under the iconic brand, and it's certainly distinctive: The Maxfli U/6 is a six-piece golf ball.

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Long-drive legends: Dunaway excels as driving force

The phenomenon of long driving might not even exist without Mike Dunaway. His fingerprints are all over the sport and the growth that has occurred in the past 25 years.

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Mizuno JPX-EZ irons

Mizuno's directive to designers for the latest JPX irons: "Let's take this thing to another galaxy." The result? The JPX-EZ and JPX-EZ Forged models feature advanced technology – and orange cosmetics.

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Toy Box: Watson switches to Ping S55 irons

At the BMW Championship, Bubba Watson switched irons for the first time since 2004, embracing Ping’s newest model – the S55.

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Snedeker goes light on driver shaft

Brandt Snedeker is believed to be the first player to lead a PGA Tour event with a sub-50 gram graphite shaft in his driver.

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Toy Box: Svoboda uses SLDR to take Chiquita Classic

Andrew Svoboda said hello to TaylorMade’s new SLDR driver, putting it into play for the first time at the Web.com Tour’s Chiquita Classic. He won and earned a first-place check for $180,000.

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Callaway to resurrect Apex irons

The venerable Apex name, linked to the glory days of the Ben Hogan Co., apparently is about to resurface as a Callaway reincarnation.

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Cobra Puma Tour Trusty wedges

Cobra Puma Golf, which had announced its intent to compete more aggressively in the wedge market, released details of its new Tour Trusty line.

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Toy Box: Garcia uses new Ghost Tour putter

At the Deutsche Bank Championship, Sergio Garcia used for the first time the Ghost Tour Maranello 81, a heel-shafted mallet.

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Bill Campbell, 90, lifelong amateur champion

William C. Campbell, one of the most accomplished amateur golfers of all time, died Aug. 30 at his home in Lewisburg, W.Va. He was 90.

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Titleist Performance Institute launches apparel line

The acclaimed resource for golf fitness, Titleist Performance Institute now is offering performance apparel conducive for just about any workout regimen.

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Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 drivers

Tour Edge is unveiling a pair of new drivers – the Exotics XCG7 and XCG7 Beta – to help golfers find optimum spin for maximum distance.

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Perry on damaged driver: 'No, not my baby'

Kenny Perry is a long hitter on the Champions Tour, but he continually places a premium on accuracy as well. So when his driver shaft was damaged in travel, it had the veteran pro exclaiming.

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Wyndham champ Reed takes cue from Lefty

Taking a cue from Phil Mickelson's creative set makeups, Patrick Reed won the Wyndham Championship with an unusual bag configuration: He carried neither a fairway wood nor a hybrid.

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With array of clubs, Hedwall sets Solheim mark

At the Solheim Cup, Europe’s Caroline Hedwall accomplished what no other woman had done before at the biennial event: post a 5-0 record. Plus more in our Toy Box notes.

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Toy Box: Furyk fine with new putter, driver

Jim Furyk's recent equipment changes – an Odyssey Versa No. 1 Wide putter and a Callaway FT Optiforce driver – served him well at the PGA Championship.

Matrix Ozik Altus hybrid graphite golf shafts

Matrix has four Altus hybrid shafts – the classic Altus plus three new models, Black Tie, Red Tie and White Tie.

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Lewis, Mizuno triumph on the Old Course

Mizuno staff player Stacy Lewis won the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, earning her second career major.

Aldila Tour Green, Tour Blue golf shafts

The Aldila Tour Green and Tour Blue golf shafts are modern versions of Aldila’s highly successful NV shaft, containing the same taper profile as the original NV with a balance point that is slightly higher.

Fujikura Speeder 757 golf shaft

Since its launch in Japan in 1997, the Fujikura Speeder 757 has become one of the most recognizable names among shafts.

UST Mamiya Recoil iron shaft

The UST Recoil iron shaft recently became available to consumers, and wood shafts are expected to follow.

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Short shots: Club switches, gear for 59s, more

A Canadian changed putters for his homeland's open; a driver has won over two converts; some recent 59 shooters have some common equipment; and more in our Toy Box short shots.

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Snedeker wields two TaylorMade drivers

At the RBC Canadian Open, Brandt Snedeker used the new TaylorMade SLDR driver for three rounds and finished off the victory with his old standby, a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast.

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TaylorMade SLDR driver

Nearly a decade ago, TaylorMade revolutionized its drivers with movable weight technology. Its newest model, the SLDR, advances the concept with a sliding weight that makes adjustability easier than ever.

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Nike's chief club designer retires; remains as consultant

Tom Stites, Nike's director of product innovation, has retired. But he'll remain with Nike as a consultant and work on the company's biggest projects.

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Matrix to expand hybrid shaft offerings

Graphite shaft maker Matrix has made a name on the PGA Tour, especially for its hybrid shafts. Now, the company is expanding its hybrid line and helping golfers get custom-fit.

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Toy Box: Pettersson drops anchored putter

Carl Pettersson, who used a long putter for 16 years, played all four rounds of the Open Championship with a 38-inch counterbalanced Rife Aruba putter.

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Toy Box: Woods’ new driver makes cameo

Tiger Woods, although he hit his driver only twice, carried a new Nike VR_S Covert Tour driver at the Open Championship. So did Rory McIlroy.

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Toy Box: Mickelson’s unconventional Open triumph

Phil Mickelson appears to be the first golfer in the modern era to win a major championship without a driver in his bag. He may claim another distinction as well: winning a major with five wedges.

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Jacobsen: Staying hydrated no laughing matter

"Every one of us needs to be conscious of drinking lots of water," Peter Jacobsen says of his dehydration battle at the U.S. Senior Open. "There are no special exemptions.”

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Fujikura to release new Speeder shafts

Fujikura's Speeder shafts have accounted for more than 50 worldwide victories. The company hopes to add to that total with an updated 757 model. Three other versions are on their way, too.

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Toy Box: Spieth’s all-around game pays off

Using mostly Titleist equipment, Jordan Spieth earned his first PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic, displaying an all-around game that’s quickly becoming his trademark.

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Toy Box: Kenny Perry wins with a variety of wedges

Kenny Perry, winner of the U.S. Senior Open, has an unusual three-wedge setup, using 8-degree increments among his 48-degree pitching wedge, 56-degree sand wedge and 64-degree lob wedge.

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