Odds ‘n’ Ends

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

 

Wilson Golf Signs Woodland

I’ve said it for the last several years. Wilson Golf is one of two golf manufacturers that have been the biggest “movers and shakers” in the golf industry. Irons and wedges second to nobody and a new driver that just might see them on a more level field as “the others”.

More indications of this is evident as Wilson Golf signed the 3x PGA Tour winner to their Advisory Staff. Woodland who is in the field this week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Being put into play this week on the Plantation Course at Kapalua are a V4 Utility Iron and prototype Staff Model blades. Woodland is also in the process of testing the Driver vs Driver 2 winner the Cortex.

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For more details please see the press release below. Thanks go to Lindsey Lasater (Marketing/PR Manager Wilson Golf) and Zac Herndon  (The Brand Amp) for sharing the release.

 

CHICAGO, January 3, 2019 –Wilson Golf announced today that Gary Woodland has signed a multi-year deal to join its Advisory Staff. The addition of Woodland, who is currently ranked in the top 40 worldwide, brings his considerable experience and genuine passion for the game to the Wilson Advisory Staff.

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Woodland pictured here at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. Now with Wilson Golf.

Woodland scored his third PGA Tour title last February during the Waste Management Phoenix Open and continued to lead the field throughout the season with three top 10 finishes to close out 2018. Woodland will debut the new prototype Staff Model blades in addition to the V4 utility iron at The Sentry Tournament of Champions. In addition to the clubs, he is also in the process of testing the new Wilson Staff Cortex, winner of Driver vs. Driver 2.

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Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke elaborated, “As the Wilson brand continues to gain momentum in the golf space, we are thrilled to have a player of Gary’s stature join the team. We want players that are athletes at heart and who want to be involved in the brand both on and off the course. We think Gary is a perfect fit for the culture of innovation and excellence we’re building at Wilson.”

“I’m extremely excited to be joining @WilsonGolf after working with them extensively the last few months.” — Gary Woodland 

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Woodland to #TeamWilson!

And the feeling appears to be mutual, with Woodland himself adding, “I’m extremely excited to be joining Wilson after working with them extensively the last few months.  Their premium line of clubs and high-quality equipment will be integral as I continue to elevate my game.”

 

About Wilson Golf

For 100 years, Wilson Golf has designed, manufactured and distributed premium and recreational golf equipment throughout the world.  Since 1914, Wilson Staff irons have won 61 major championships, more than any other iron manufacturer in history.  The winning tradition continues today by delivering the highest quality equipment to all golfers to enhance performance on the course and overall enjoyment of the game.

 

About Wilson

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports, is the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories.  Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

DJ Dominates

As we set our eyes to this week the 2018 PGA Tour has its first full field event of the 2018 season. The Tour says “aloha” to Waialae Country Club and the Sony Open (for the record I am picking Justin Thomas to repeat as champion). Before we get  to that tournament we need to look at this past weekend.

In Maui, the Sentry Tournament of Champions was played and the winner absolutely dominated the event. Dustin Johnson entered the final round leading by two strokes. Sunday was his for the taking and he’d never be contested by the field as he ended up winning by an amazing 8 strokes. While DJ finished at -24 the runner-up (Jon Rahm) finished with a total score of -18. Amazing! I think you have to look at DJ as a favorite to win The Masters as long as he rents a single-storey bungalow with no stairs and non-slip floors.

The OWGR #1 ranked golfer was quick to sing the praises of his new TaylorMade Golf M4 driver and the “Twist Face” technology incorporated into it. DJ stated that the ‘Twist Face” technology really made a difference especially on his misses. He was quoted as saying “My misses… they aren’t off-line… by you know… barely”. Now… I really can’t wait to swing these drivers at the  upcoming PGA Show. For a closer look at the new M4 driver and details of what’s in DJ’s bag please see the press release below from TaylorMade Golf Canada.

http://www.golfchannel.com/media?guid=zc0EnC_dluq79HkXHJVx9eGeFJOWrTmm

Johnson’s 17th PGA TOUR victory is first for TaylorMade’s New M4 Driver; Comes the Same Week as Global Introduction

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Launching on Tour just this week at Kapalua, World #1 Dustin Johnson used his prodigious length off the tee combined with TaylorMade’s new Twist Face™ technology to find more than 73% of fairways, highlighted by a near hole-in-one on the 433-yard par-4 12th. First announced on January 2nd and now being introduced to TaylorMade’s Tour staffers, take a look at the video to learn more about TaylorMade’s newest innovation.

What You Need to Know:

  • Johnson put TaylorMade’s new M4 driver into the bag at Kapalua after extensive testing with both that and the M3. He opted for the M4 at 9.5° in standard position. DJ preferred the M4 due to the flatter flight and felt it would be better suited for his trajectory in Kapalua’s winds. It is likely he will continue working with both models moving forward.
  • Johnson also added a new M4 fairway (16.5° HL) to his setup this week after testing with TaylorMade’s Tour staff at the Kingdom earlier this month; it’s equipped with Project X’s HZRDUS Black 6.5 95X shaft; the same shaft he carried in his fairway(s) last season.
  • DJ raves about the P790 irons, and continues to use the #3 (21°) in place of a high lofted fairway wood. He carries it 260 (old MB was 250), plus give him higher trajectory.
  • In addition to his P790, he’s added a full set of P730 irons to his arsenal, having done extensive work with them over the off-season. Similar to his previous irons, he has them equipped with True Temper’s Dynamic Golf X100 shafts.
  • Johnson has now won at least one PGA TOUR event in 11 consecutive seasons, dating back to his rookie season in 2008, the longest active streak on the PGA TOUR.
  • DJ found much success with the Spider Tour putter last season, using it to escalate to #1 in the World, where he’s remained for 46 weeks. This week, he used it to card 26 birdies (or better) en route to an 8-shot margin of victory.
  • Johnson’s TaylorMade stablemate and World #4 Jon Rahm finished 2nd, and is expected to move up to #3 in the OWGR.
  • Dustin’s preferred golf ball is the TP5x, stamped #1. He used this ball throughout the 2017 campaign as well.

A closer look at DJ’s Winning Setup from Kapalua:

M4 Driver | 9.5° (standard) | Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 X Tour Spec 2.0

M4 Fairway | 3HL 16.5° | Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5 95 X

P790 Iron | 3 | Dynamic Gold X100

P730 Irons | 4-PW | Dynamic Gold X100

Milled Grind Wedges | 52° & 60° | KBS Tour Black 130 X

Milled Grind Hi-Toe Wedge | 64° | KBS Tour Black 130 X

Tour Preferred Glove

Until The Next Tee!!