Sitting here.. I’m reflecting on several things from the last week in golf. Some of my thoughts are about the upcoming 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, some of it is about the recent equipment releases while some of it is about what we witnessed this past week in professional golf. Much like when you go out to the grocery store with no list you’re merely picking up odds ‘n’ ends. So that’s what this article is going to be titled. It might even turn into a regular piece. Who knows?!

The Sentry Tournament of Champions was a fun event to watch. Yes, it left me dreaming of going to the Hawaiian Islands as it’s always been on my “Bucket List”. Since I was 10 years old. I’ve always dreamed of seeing sea turtles, volcanoes, visiting Pearl Harbor and since I started my foray into golf.. playing Hawaiian courses and experiencing the “Tradewinds”. In a script perfect for a product launch Xander Schauffele won with the new Epic Flash and Apex Pro 19 irons in the bag. His closing round (62) was remarkable but I want to look at a couple of other things. Bryson DeChambeau proclaimed the new knee height drop to be “a bit absurd”. No arguments here. I’ve mocked it enough recently. But it’s as stupid an amendment to the rules of golf as an amendment can be. While it isn’t hard to bend over at the waist to execute the drop (Bryson was a bit over the top) what are the benefits? In one video I made demonstrating my need for “muscle memory” the ball rolled forward from knee height and rolled back into a divot. Does it really make a difference? If anything, nothing has changed. Am I missing something? Heck, why don’t we just place the ball. Screw integrity.

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Photo Credit: Golf Channel

Sticking with the Sentry Tournament of Champions we saw a first. Under the new rules of golf we had our first penalty assessed. Dustin Johnson has the “dubious” distinction. DJ was assessed a two-stroke penalty when a pulled tee shot went into the long grass… where the wild things are. A marshal on the course had marked the area that they had believed DJ’s golf ball had come to rest. Locating a golf ball with a (TaylorMade Golf logo on it) Johnson promptly chopped it out. After hitting his shot he continued his walk and found HIS ball. There’s a lesson here folks. Stay loose for that knee height drop. Bend over and move the grass and identify your golf ball. Besides, there’s no penalty for the moved ball. Or at least that’s the way that I translate it.

This past week we saw plenty of product launches. In particular, those from the “marketing mammoths” of the industry. During these launches there was no shortage of marketing buzzwords. TBRAR, Speed Bridge, Triple Track, “our longest golf ball”, AI, Flash Face Technology and so on. They do marketing and they do it well.

TaylorMade Golf announced their 2019 range of products. From the newly designed TP5 and TP5x golf balls to their new M5 and M6 range of products. The irons have incorporated “Speed Bridge Technology”. There is something there that sort of reminds me of the Nike SlingShot irons. I know… it was horizontal as opposed to vertical. Upon posting pics on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) my “Tweeps” were definitely not sold on the looks. Nor was I. After all… how can you kiss a girl (or guy) if you can’t look at them? Maybe their performance outweighs the aesthetics.

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I beat the tar out of the pricing in articles so we will not beat that “dead horse” again. Or at least for now.

Callaway Golf also announced their product range. Featuring the Epic Flash metal woods, Big Bertha 19, Apex 19 and Apex Pro 19 irons and lastly the ERC Soft golf ball featuring “Triple Track Technology”. I’ve seen this sort of thing before and I commented on it back around 2015. Kick X Golf has/had their Tour-Z golf ball (who consequently got sued by Acushnet and I’ve held a secret for a long time about that) and while technically different the alignment aid on those golf balls were the same as the newly introduced Triple Track Technology. I said then that it was the best alignment aid on the market for putting and now that distinction clearly goes to Callaway Golf. The three lines do significantly improve alignment on putts as Callaway Golf demonstrated during the launch. With that said, I am very intrigued by many things about the ERC Soft golf ball. In particular, their hybrid cover which takes the feel of urethane and combines it with the durability of surlyn. Consider the cover a “love child” of the two materials. For $39.99 USD this sounds like a decent offering. Color me intrigued.

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The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is coming up quick and my booked appointment schedules are full. Demo Day is crammed full of interviews with the likes of Wilson Golf at 9 am and a company called Eagle Rebirth at 3. In between are appointments with Callaway Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO, Cobra Puma Golf, Jack Grace USA and many others. The mix is absolutely eclectic. I’m also going to be visiting with others that are unplanned. Epon, Miura, Knuth Golf, Fourteen and Lynx Golf are high on that list. I have no doubt that there will be some surprises and hidden gems. There always is.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

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Can you believe it? It’s nearly 2019 and in a few short weeks UTNT will be heading down to Orlando, Florida for the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. Honestly, it’s this event that gets me excited in a way that Christmas does for children around the world. For this event… truly makes me feel like a child.

As the show closes in my appointment book is starting to fill up. It’s a good thing because it will give me content for the year. This year though, is going to be different as far as distributing stories for the year. Look for a ton of video and “First Look” reviews while I’m still in Orlando. It’s a perk of writing for yourself I suppose.

Crystal and I are covering it all this year. Apparel, accessories, gift ideas, training aids and of course golf balls and golf equipment. I’m going to be trying to swing as many products as I can from as many manufacturers as possible instead of having tunnel vision and being very selective. However, there are certain companies that I definitely want to visit on Demo Day.

Here is my proposed list thus far for the Driver/Metalwood Category.

Bridgestone Golf – They’re back for the first time in a few years. Not only are they unveiling a new Ball Fitting 2.0 system but perhaps they will have the Tour B JGR there to swing among their new offering…the Tour B J819. The original JGR was a sleeper in 2016.

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Callaway Golf – The scuttlebutt surrounding the Epic Flash is pretty crazy. If this driver somehow marries the Epic and the Rogue the hype will be worth it. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re doing for irons this year.

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Cobra Golf  – You’ve seen my press release regarding the KING F9 SPEEDBACK range. With professional victories already this year by Lexi Thompson and Bryson DeChambeau it’s a must swing. Besides… the KING F8/F8+ was the best driver that I made swings with last year. Will the KING F9 live up to it?

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Fourteen Golf – This JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) is the first brand that’s a little obscure on the list. At the moment, they have two driver offerings the CT 518 and the DT 112. I made swings with their drivers in maybe 2014 and I remember the crisp feel at impact. Their irons are typically very good.

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Lynx Golf – Last year their #BB driver was the biggest surprise for me at the Demo Day. It was a nice looking driver and it performed very well. Maybe my expectations were set very low prior to hitting it and maybe that’s why I thought it “over-achieved”. Their new Black Cat woods and irons sound and look intriguing. Lynx Golf you’re no longer under my radar. The image was too small for me to share.

Mizuno Golf – The last time that I made a swing with a Mizuno Golf driver/metalwood was the JPX EZ. Before that, it was the Blue Rage. Yes… I kid you not. So I’m anticipating swinging whatever they bring to Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge. Is it the ST190? Or is it a Prototype that I’ve seen on the internet. After all… if it’s on the internet it has to be true.

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PING Golf – I have never made a swing with a PING product at the PGA Show Demo Day. A few years ago I snuck onto the ETC and made swings there where I was fit into a 8* G 30 LST and an X-Stiff shaft to get my spin down. It felt hot but I would have loved to see it on the Demo Day range. This year that changes one way or another.

Srixon Golf – Srixon Golf has two drivers in their stable for the 2019 product cycle. The Z 585 and the Z 785. I’ve heard conflicting reports about these drivers. Everything from they’re amazing and long to a few sales people at a large golf box store saying that they can’t hit them for the life of them. I’ll put them through their paces in Orlando.

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Titleist – I haven’t made a swing with a Titleist driver since the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show. Funny story, the 917 D2 and D3 review that I did based on those swings at that Demo Day was one of my most read posts of 2018. I’m going to try to get a hold of the TS2 and TS3 at Demo Day. Titleist uses a two-year product cycle which is something that I’ve always admired about them. When Titleist releases new clubs… they’re fantastic.

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Tour Edge Golf – I made a claim today. Tour Edge isn’t a game-changer in 2019… they’re an industry changer. The EXS line is promising and based on my findings while testing the EXS Hybrid was that they have a real winner. The driver and metalwood will be the same. Loaded with technology and an attractive price point at $299 USD. Tour Edge shows us that you can have premium products without having to sell off one of your organs to purchase them. I cannot wait to swing the EXS driver.

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Wilson GolfThe winner of Driver vs Driver 2 was introduced to the golfing public. It was fun watching the Cortex through all of the phases. I’ve been a little critical of the Cortex because I thought it looked “too safe” and “too familiar”. But, they know what they’re talking about (Tim Clarke and the rest of the team at Wilson Golf). I saw it in hand and it really is their best looking driver yet. What I heard from reps about Srixon (above) was not how they felt about Cortex. Apparently, it’s the real deal.

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Stay tuned for another piece leading up to the PGA Show. I have a list of “must try” irons and I’m surprised where that focus actually is.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

Alright, I did it!

I said that I wanted to expand the brand so by adding Crystal to the team I’m did that. Finally, UTNT will be covering women’s golf apparel, footwear, accessories etc. Wanting to make the site more interactive I’ve also since added UTNT TV which is a video channel.

But, I wasn’t finished there. Adding to having an increased engagement with my readers and direction that I want the site to head in I’ve now added a podcast to the arsenal. More interaction. Introducing, The Next Tee Podcast.

https://thenexttee.podbean.com/e/the-next-tee-episode-1/

Until The Next Tee!!