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James Achenbach

Stories by James

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Titleist R&D VP Dan Stone talks airplanes to clubs

Dan Stone, Titleist's VP of R&D, shares his transition from airplanes to golf clubs: One day he was designing flight controls for the C-17 military transport plane; the next he was figuring out where to place tungsten in an iron head.

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Schnider drives upgrade to Fujikura's Speeder shaft

Dave Schnider’s story is typical of many young golfers: “I woke up one morning and realized I had to get a job.” That was after four years playing at San Diego State.

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Brown brings metallurgy background to True Temper

Don Brown, with an undergraduate degree in metallurgical engineering and masters degree in materials engineering, was working on a doctorate when he decided to step into the working world with True Temper.

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TaylorMade's Bazzel talks SLDR, JetSpeed drivers

Brian Bazzel, 39, is director of product creation for TaylorMade -- focusing heavily on metalwoods, where TaylorMade's roots began in 1979 as a metalwood company.

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Admiration, applause for PGA Show's impact

The world of golf needs the energy and ideas and innovation that are part and parcel of the PGA Merchandise Show.

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Miura MB001 forged irons

Miura, the Japanese manufacturer known for forged irons and wedges, has introduced its first new blade iron in nearly seven years -- the forged MB001.

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Putter, ball help Bridgestone make splash

Bridgestone's booth at the 2014 PGA Show stayed consistently jam-packed, thanks to a revolutionary putter named True Balance and a new golf-ball formulation called Hydro Core technology.

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Cleveland 588 Custom, 588 Altitude drivers

Cleveland has expanded its 588 family into metalwoods, with a new 588 Custom driver available Feb. 7 alongside the 588 Altitude driver introduced in November.

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Ping Ketsch putter

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.

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Mickelson uses Callaway X2 Hot Pro hybrid

Phil Mickelson showed up in Abu Dhabi in January with a new 18-degree X2 Hot Pro hybrid in his bag. He tied for second.

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Adams XTD Cross Cavity iron

The Adams Golf XTD Cross Cavity 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.

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Golf Pride Tour Velvet Super Tack

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.

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King: Bigger cup, larger ball can grow golf

Mark King, chief executive of TaylorMade Golf, says about a dozen golf courses are poised to target growing the game by adding 15-inch cups – more than triple the diameter of the 4.25-inch cups players are used to.

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Hyler secured Pinehurst's place in U.S. Open

Raleigh’s Jim Hyler, who would become the USGA’s president in 2010, was among a visionary, influential group that delivered the first Open to tiny Pinehurst.

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TaylorMade pledges $5 million to grow game

TaylorMade Golf pledged $5 million Tuesday evening to foster the growth of the game of golf in a five-year effort will be conducted under an entity called Hackgolf.

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True Temper’s dynamic history

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.

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Fujikura's MCI shaft

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.

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UST Mamiya's Recoil shafts

UST vice president and shaft designer Mike Guerrette says the company has finally mastered the ovaling process – just ask five-time major winner Ernie Els.

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Q&A with Adams Golf's John Ward

John Ward, a veteran sales executive with TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, was named president of Adams Golf in June 2012. After 1 1/2 years at the helm, Ward offers candid observations about his company, the state of golf and the future of the game.

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Toy Box notes: Nike balls in Hawaii

At the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Nike’s Scott Brown played the new RZN Platinum golf ball, while Russell Henley used the new RZN Black ball.

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Toy Box notes: TaylorMade gear in Hawaii

TaylorMade’s new JetSpeed driver offers another choice to touring pros, as have Tour Preferred MB irons and the Tour Preferred X golf ball as the PGA Tour spent two weeks in Hawaii.

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My Year In Golf: James Achenbach

Golfweek Senior Writer James Achenbach has seen his fair share of innovation in his career, but says 2013 showed him superior new golf clubs and balls are all around us. They exist to service the dreams and fantasies of golfers young and old.

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Achenbach: Industry Cup reflects affection for game

The companies that partake in the annual Industry Cup are in business to make money, but they also make it their business to benefit the game by adding to the fun and enjoyment.

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Long-drive legends: Dempsey adds melodic voice to long drives

Pat Dempsey is a prominent example of someone who discovered golf later in life. Dempsey, 56, of Sunland, Calif., came into the game at age 39 and quickly became involved as a spokesman, advocate and businessman.

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Woods employs new Nike driver at World Challenge

Tiger Woods switched into a Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver -- and also went from a 73-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White Board to a 103-gram Blue Board.

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TaylorMade captures Industry Cup for second time

Behind the team of Frank Firman, Greg Cesario, Pete Roberts and Joe Ryon, TaylorMade became the first team to win the Industry Cup title since Golfweek took over the event four years ago.

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Titleist's Martens wins Long Drive at Industry Cup

Titleist engineer Grant Martens is 150 pounds soaking wet, but managed to win the Long Drive competition at the Industry Cup at Oak Creek GC in Irvine, Calif.

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With McIlroy in tow, Nike introduces new line

Rory McIlroy spoke frankly at Nike's recent Innovation Unleashed event in Las Vegas -- as did Nike Golf president Cindy Davis.

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Wilson Staff C 100 irons

Wilson designs its irons in three categories: Feel, Control and Distance. The Wilson Staff C 100 is the centerpiece of the Control category.

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Callaway Big Bertha, Big Bertha Alpha

Big Bertha is back. Callaway Golf will use the famous name for two new drivers and a line of fairway woods for 2014.

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Wilson Staff D 100 ES hybrid-iron set

The Wilson Staff D 100 ES, a long-distance combination set of irons and hybrids is being introduced because a distance-producing 6-iron doesn’t mean much if a golfer isn't hitting the center of the face.

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Nike VRS Covert Forged irons

The Nike VRS Covert Forged irons are the company's first forged iron with its high-speed NexCOR face, which Nike says uses variable face thickness to amplify trampoline effect.

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Nike VR X3X wedges: Toe Sweep, Dual Wide Sole

Nike Golf’s Mike Taylor listened to countless touring pros as they explained what they liked and wanted in wedges while he developed the VR X3X Toe Sweep and VR X3X Dual Wide Sole.

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Nike VRS Covert 2.0 fairway woods, hybrids

Nike, with its new VRS Covert 2.0 fairway woods and hybrids, has adapted the same Fly-Brace design principle that is used in the new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers.

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Achenbach: McIlroy heeds some major putting advice

In shadowing Rory McIlroy and putting guru Dave Stockton at a Nike promotional event, our James Achenbach heard one major topic of conversation: putting.

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Nike VRS Covert 2.0 driver

Nike's 2014 VRS Covert 2.0 driver might not look much different on the outside, but its new Fly-Brace technology in the hollow internal cavity gives the clubhead a new stiffness that the company feels is a good thing.

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Nike's new RZN golf ball line

The new Nike RZN golf balls come in four models: Black and Platinum are four-piece balls, while Red and White are three-piece balls.

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Borrowed driver helps English to Mayakoba win

OHL Classic winner Harris English's Ping G15 driver was broken en route to Malaysia in October – so he won at Mayakoba with Billy Horschel’s backup G25.

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TaylorMade wins with woods

Henrik Stenson’s victory on the European Tour was the eighth worldwide for a player with a SLDR driver.

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Four worldwide wins for Titleist golf balls

Harris English, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Wen-Chong Liang won this week using Titleist golf balls.

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Short shots: Odyssey putters, Aldila shafts in play

A couple of quick notes on equipment from the pro tours this week, including Odyssey putters and Aldila shafts.

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Ping CEO joins parents in Ariz. golf hall

John Solheim, Ping’s president and chief executive, joins his parents, Karsten and Louise Solheim, as members of the the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.

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Toy Box short shots: Senden's putter, more

John Senden used a new TaylorMade putter while contending on Tour; players are quickly turning to new Nike drivers and balls; plus more in this week's Toy Box short shots.

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Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro fairway wood gains win

Chris Kirk’s victory gave the new Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro fairway wood its first victory.

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Two international wins with Titleist gear

It was a huge weekend for Titleist, as staff members Adam Scott and Victor Dubuisson won on different continents with all-Titleist bag configurations.

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Kirk relies on mostly Callaway in win

Chris Kirk carried a mixed bag of mostly Callaway clubs during his win at the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic.

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Callaway X2 Hot & X2 Hot Pro lineup

Any discussion of Callaway Golf’s new family of clubs revolves around the word hot -- it's even in the name of the new Callaway X2 Hot lineup of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons.

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Callaway X2 Hot & X2 Hot Pro driver

Callaway's new X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro drivers are all about ball speed, with a face 4 percent larger than the previous model without adding weight.

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Callaway Apex Pro irons

Callaway Golf’s new Apex Pro iron, available Jan. 17, is a thought-provoking iron that surely will generate plenty of discussion among skilled golfers.

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Toy Box: Johnson, Couples increase driver lofts

One of TaylorMade’s goals is to convert golfers – touring pros and amateurs – to higher lofts with the SLDR driver. The most recent example: Dustin Johnson won the WGC-HSBC Champions with a 10.5-degree SLDR driver.