My Take – Tour Edge Golf Exotics 721

I know that there are plenty of golf consumers out there that get a little antsy whenever a golf manufacturer releases a new product. Products often come with the trappings of being their “longest, most-forgiving, ever”. Admittedly, we see this all too-often on television spots or the PGA Show floor, when we’re in attendance. C’mon ’22, don’t let me down.

But what about when you have a company, like Tour Edge Golf, and in particular their Exotics range? A brand of equipment where we have seen a true evolution over the last three years. Change that is more than simply “paint and wallpaper” but actual physical difference?

When it comes to Original Equipment Manufacturers (or OEM’s) Tour Edge Golf may not be at the forefront of golfers’ collective minds. But, if there’s one equipment brand that has done a lot of moving and shaking over the last three years, it’s Tour Edge Golf.

Tour Edge Golf has been around a long time. I remember when I first started to notice golf equipment and attend golf & travel shows. Their CB metalwood from around 2007 (but I can’t seem to get 2004 out of my head) had a cult following. Or, what seemed to have been at least a rabid following. I remember swinging it back then and even though I truly had no clue what to look for, it felt hot.

While David Glod’s company has been forging along quietly, to me, it was a big year in them for 2019. They released the Exotics EXS range of products. A range of products that proved that you could have the best in technology, R&D, and components but without the premium price tag (the driver was $299.99 USD). They followed that up with the EXS 220 range in 2020 and that was another range that did the same and simply produced (driver was $349.99 USD). The additional $50 over 2019 was worth it. Improved acoustics, feel, forgiveness, and material. That range fared very well in my Teezy Awards winning multiple awards including several gold medals. But what about 2021?

Exotics 721

This year, Exotics has introduced us to a family of products called the Exotics C721. This family of golf clubs looks to be a serious player in the golf industry for 2021. Yes, there is a ton of exposure of the brand on PGA TOUR Champions with golfers like Tom Lehman, Scott McCarron, Duffy Waldorf, and Tim Petrovic already inked. But then, earlier this year they announced that the legendary Bernhard Langer had signed an equipment deal. So, for Langer to go into Tour Edge Exotics you know something was brewing and that it was going to be good. Really good! Langer had quietly been playing the EXS Pro hybrid and had it in play at the 2020 Master’s Tournament.

When looking at the metalwoods (driver, fairway metals, hybrids) I would suggest that from aesthetics alone, this family of golf clubs has more “rack appeal” than its predecessors. The graphics on the bottom end are clean and no longer evident is one of their technologies from the past several years. “SlipStream Sole Technology” clearing the way for a cleaner sole. They’re clean and don’t appear gaudy.

Forgiveness is a key to this range. In saying that, look at the weight at the trailing edge of the head, an updated “Diamond Face” called “Diamond Face 2.0” that offers more speed and forgiveness through design, and a huge difference is their “Ridgeback Technology”. The latter being a “titanium spine running from the center of the face through the crown and wrapping around the head to connect with the titanium sole plate”. In layperson terms, this technology is designed with producing more power on strikes off of the sweet spot or off-centre strikes for that matter. But it also aids in the feel of this driver, which I might add I just received for testing and review, so stay tuned.

We do see some returning technology as well like their “Sound Diffusion Bar(s)” to aid in acoustics, “SpeedTested Shafts” which are shafts that have been extensively robot tested to fit the best baseline shaft/head combination based on swing speeds. Although the options are different from last year. Also featured is an adjustable hosel that allows the 10.5* model to go down to 8.5* or up to 12.5*. Not including upright settings, there are a multitude of combinations to optimize your launch conditions and performance.

The smaller siblings (fairway metals and hybrids) offer much of the same technologies as the driver. With one exception. There is no hosel adjustment. What you buy is what you get, so tinkerers be aware. Should the driver and metalwoods perform better than last year, then… “Gadzooks!” Because last year was impressive.

Switching over to the irons, we have two models of Exotics 721 irons to look at. First there are the Exotics C721 and secondly, the Exotics E721. Both irons do feature hollow-body designs.

In looking at the technology first, Tour Edge has introduced “Dual Vibrcor Technology”. By placing two pieces of TPU the feel offered at impact is enhanced. In saying that, the sound is muted (the prior generations sounded mean and hot impact) while also reducing vibration. Have you ever struck a shot in the cold that wasn’t optimal. The “bees” in your hands and “vibrations” can rattle your teeth. It gets into your head.

Diamond Face 2.0 is comprised of 92 diamond shapes which reduces the face thickness. A thinner face translates to more trampoline effect and potential distance gains. Not to mention an expanded sweet spot. So, a poorly struck shot may not be as severely penalized. If you’re going to miss, miss straight. This is the first time that Diamond Face has been introduced into one of their iron sets. Also, a “Maraging Steel L-Cup” face has been employed in the manufacturing of the Exotics 721 irons. Typically, we’ve seen maraging steel used in metalwoods, by using this material they can engineer the clubface to be thinner. This produces more accuracy and helps in the case of off-centre strikes.

SpeedTested shafts much like the metalwoods makes a return in 2021 as well.

Aesthetically speaking, again Tour Edge has improved the aesthetics of these irons. I often likened the cavity in their recent irons like the EXd, EXi, EXS, and EXS 220 to a ’57 Chevy Belair. It looked cool, it was like a grill on one of those amazing pieces of art. The look stood out, it was different. However, the Exotics 721 irons have been cleaned up. Maybe with feedback from TOUR players and influencers alike, the look wasn’t well-received so they changed it. Or maybe it was just time for a change. The cavities are clean. Golfers will look at these in-store for a different reason. Instead of idle curiosity, their curiosity will nag at them wondering what this nice-looking iron set is. They will then pick them up and take a longer look.

While I’m talking about the looks, the Exotics C721 irons do feature a more compact profile and a thinner topline compared to its thicker toplined, longer profile counterpart. The Exotics E721 is all about forgiveness and this club will offer that in spades in part thanks to extreme toe-weighting and offset (Exotics E721 is pictured above on the right).

My final take on these irons is short and sweet. I anticipate Tour Edge Golf having a terrific 2021. This Exotics 721 family of products looks serious. Aesthetics alone, these sticks look like their all business with still, an attractive price point. Don’t be surprised if these products end up filling spots in bags on all of the tours. It’s just that you may not know who it is.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Protect Yourself With Bloq UV – Introduction to Testing

One of the most interesting chats that I had in January during the PGA Show Virtual Experience was one that I has with Corina Biton. Ms. Biton is the Founder and President of the North Miami Beach based lifestyle brand, Bloq UV. An apparel brand that’s dedicated to helping people avoid the nasty effects of excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. In that conversation, I learned some alarming statistics One of those statistics was that1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer.

In saying that, this brand doesn’t cater strictly to golfers. Whether you love hiking, paddling a kayak, boating, fishing, or just spending lots of time out of doors, Bloq UV has you covered. In both the literal and figurative sense. Their apparel is thought out real well and is quite different from other apparel brands sun protection in the industry. It’s not just about attention to detail, but it’s the manner (or tech) that they use for making their apparel. Their material called “BloqTek” blocks 98% of the sun’s rays thanks in part to the UPF 50 rating attached to the technology. Moreover, the protectant doesn’t wash out.

The fashions include both a men’s and ladies line as well as clothing for children and accessories like face masks and sun sleeves. Bloq UV features “core” colours (Indigo, Navy, White, and Black) and “fashion” colours (Tickle Me Pink, Tangerine, Passion Pink, and so many more). These colours are bold and truly offer a real “South Beach” vibe. Yes, I can envision myself fly fishing for countless hours down in Florida or the likes of somewhere in the Caribbean or Cabo. Or spending days fishing on Lake Ontario in the boat.

I’d like to extend many thanks to Ms. Biton for sending me a sample piece of Bloq UV for the purposes of testing and review. For testing, I received a long sleeve golf polo in their “Ocean Blue” colour way. I opted to go with Large and I can tell you that the large is for a 40″ chest and a 34″ waist (mine’s a 33″). By the way, the fit is perfect.

Please stay tuned to Until The Next Tee and my social media channels for more information and testing updates of Bloq UV now that the testing has commenced. In the meantime, please have a look at the accompanying unboxing video. In this video I talk about the “hand” (feel) and talk a little bit more about some of the features.

Please visit Bloq UV to learn more about the brand and what they have to offer. While you’re at it, get in the know about Melanoma and Skin Cancer by hitting this link. Also of note, Bloq UV runs an initiative in May called “Melanoma May”. Stay tuned for more details.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Callaway Golf Company Completes Merger with Topgolf, Creating an Unrivaled Global Leader in the Game of Golf

CARLSBAD, CA and DALLAS, TX / March 8, 2021 / PRNewswire / — Callaway Golf Company (“Callaway”)(NYSE:ELY) and Topgolf International, Inc. (Topgolf) announced today that the companies have completed their previously announced merger, following approval by shareholders of both companies. The combined enterprise creates an unrivaled tech-enabled golf company delivering leading golf equipment, apparel and entertainment.

Topgolf is a leading tech-enabled golf entertainment business, with an innovative platform comprised of its ground-breaking open-air venues, revolutionary Toptracer technology, and innovative media platform. Callaway is a leader in the global golf equipment market with a scale position in active-lifestyle soft goods and a proven ability to deliver strong results.

The Callaway Golf and Topgolf merger is complete.

Callaway and Topgolf are just better together͕” said Chip Brewer͕ President and Chief Executive Officer of Callaway. Callaway’s leadership in the global golf equipment market and geographic diversity, combined with Topgolf’s revolutionary technology platform and access to golfers of all abilities͕, will allow both companies to accelerate growth and create competitive advantages. This transformational merger has already created and will continue to create meaningful shareholder value. We are very excited to begin this next chapter and I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together͘”.

Erik Anderson, Executive Chairman of Topgolf, added “I am tremendously proud of everything we’ve achieved at Topgolf since our founding in 2000. Our dedicated team of associates, ground-breaking Toptracer technology, and proprietary venues and media platforms have transformed the intersection of sports and entertainment. Together with Callaway, Topgolf has the opportunity to build upon its rapid growth story, bring the Topgolf experience to new communities and advance our mission of making golf
a more inclusive and accessible game͘”.

Transaction Details

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was previously announced on October 27, 2020, Callaway issued approximately 90 million shares of its common stock to the shareholders of Topgolf, excluding Callaway, which previously held approximately 14% of Topgolf’s outstanding shares. Immediately following the merger, Callaway shareholders owned approximately 51.3% and former Topgolf shareholders (excluding Callaway) owned approximately 48.7% of the outstanding shares of the combined company.

Board of Directors for the Combined Company

The combined company’s Board of Directors now consists of 13 directors, including three new directors appointed by Topgolf shareholders. Chip Brewer will continue to lead the combined company as President and Chief Executive Officer. Dolf Berle will continue to lead the Topgolf business through a transition period, at which time he intends to step down to pursue other leadership opportunities. John Lundgren will continue as Chairman of the Board of the combined company, while Erik Anderson will serve as Vice Chairman.

The combined company will be headquartered in Carlsbad, California with Topgolf continuing to operate from its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Goldman Sachs served as the financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel to Callaway. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan served as financial advisors and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel to Topgolf.

Notice of Inducement Equity Awards

In connection with the merger, and effective as of the closing date, Callaway granted to 189 employees of Topgolf an aggregate of 385,389 inducement performance stock unit (“PSU”) units (at the target level) and an aggregate of 456,274 inducement restricted stock unit (“RSU”) awards͘. The awards were granted under Callaway’s 2021 Employment Inducement Plan͕ which provides for the granting of equity awards to new employees of Callaway. The RSU and PSU awards were approved by Callaway’s Board of Directors and/or Compensation and Management Succession Committee and were granted as an inducement material to the new employees entering into employment with Callaway, in accordance with New York Stock Exchange Rule 303A.08.

The RSU awards will vest and the restrictions will lapse in three equal annual installments commencing on the one-year anniversary of the grant date, subject to continued employment through each applicable vesting date.

The PSUs will vest after three years based on performance against certain corporate financial objectives over a three-year performance period beginning January 1, 2021 and ending December 31, 2023. The number of shares earned under the PSUs may be 617,689 in the aggregate if maximum performance is achieved during this three-year period. However, final vesting of the PSUs will not occur until the third anniversary of the grant date, following the end of the three-year performance period, and will be subject to continued employment through that date.

“Callaway and Topgolf. are just better together” – President and CEO of Callaway Chip Brewer

About Callaway Golf Company

Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) is a premium golf equipment and active lifestyle company with a portfolio of global brands, including Callaway Golf, Odyssey, OGIO, Travis Mathew and Jack Wolfskin. Through an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway manufactures and sells premium golf clubs, golf balls, golf and lifestyle bags, golf and lifestyle apparel and other accessories. For more information please visit http://www.callawaygolf.com, http://www.odysseygolf.com, http://www.OGIO.com,
http://www.travismathew.com, and http://www.jack-wolfskin.com.

About Topgolf Entertainment Group

Topgolf Entertainment Group is a technology-enabled global sports and entertainment leader built on a foundation of community, inclusivity and fun. What started as a simple idea to enhance the game of golf has grown into a movement where people from all walks of life connect at the intersection of technology and sports entertainment. Topgolf Entertainment Group’s platforms include Topgolf venues,

Topgolf Media, Topgolf International, Toptracer and Topgolf Swing Suite. To learn more about Topgolf, visit http://www.topgolfentertainmentgroup.com or follow Topgolf on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Lexi Thompson Joins Club Champion as Brand Ambassador

Top LPGA Golfer Partners With Premium Club Fitter

Willowbrook, IL — Club Champion, the nation’s leading custom club fitting and building company, is proud to announce a multi-year brand ambassador agreement with LPGA superstar and Major Champion, Lexi Thompson.

Through the partnership, Thompson will help strengthen Club Champion’s message that club fitting should be a core part of golf improvement for every golfer. Thompson has been a force on the LPGA for more than half of her life, and has the knowledge and experience to support club fitting as a practice.

“Properly fitted equipment is undeniably a huge factor for any golfer’s game,” said Thompson. “I’m thrilled to work with Club Champion because they offer a truly Tour-level fitting that can benefit everyone from professionals to beginners.”

Thompson joins Louise Ridderström as the second LPGA professional on the Club Champion ambassador team. Jordan Spieth, Cameron McCormick, David Leadbetter, Paige Spiranac, and Michael Breed are also part of the Club Champion crew.

For over a decade, Club Champion has been the nation’s top club fitter, builder, and retailer of the best brands in golf, offering over 50 brands and more than 50,000 hittable club combinations in every store. The company will eclipse 80 locations by spring 2021 with plenty of more growth to follow.

“Adding Lexi to our team is a perfect fit—her talent is undeniable and her future is only getting brighter,” said Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion. “She’s a role model and she’s an inspiration to every golfer, especially women. This is an exciting time for us as a company and we expect Lexi’s influence on the brand will only accelerate the excitement for us.”

About Club Champion

Established in 2010, Club Champion is a national club fitting and building company headquartered in Chicago, IL. There are currently more than 80 Club Champion fitting studios in major markets across the country, with plans to expand further in 2021. The studios carry all the top golf club, shaft and grip manufacturers in the industry, which are used to build test clubs in real-time. Studios are equipped with advanced analysis technology, along with highly trained certified fitters and builders who must complete an extensive training program. Services include club fitting and building, repair services, personalization, and highly engaging corporate and personal entertainment events. For more information about Club Champion, visit http://www.clubchampiongolf.com.

About Lexi Thompson

LPGA Tour Player Lexi Thompson has amassed 14 worldwide wins in her 11-year career thus far. A one-time Major Champion in 2014 at the age of 19, Thompson has consistently collected accolades for feats achieved in her young age. She retains the record for youngest golfer ever to qualify for the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open after qualifying at 12-years-old. At 16, she was the then-youngest winner of an LPGA Tournament after winning the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. Her Major Championship victory at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship made her the second youngest LPGA golfer to win a major.

Tour Edge Golf Releases the Exotics C721 Driver

This ultra-premium driver is designed to have an optimized CG (Center of Gravity) location and extreme M.O.I. (Moment of Inertia) properties with the intent on making this Tour Edge’s most advanced driver ever produced.

Ridgeback Technology – Ridgeback technology is a power producer. The new design innovation acts as a brace for the face that runs from the leading edge to the trailing edge of the clubhead.
 
The Ridgeback titanium spine runs through the middle of the crown to produce more support at center-face. This extra support increases ball speed produced from both center and off-center hits and increases face-flex and forgiveness on every contact point of the face.
 
Ridgeback also creates superior feel at impact.  The extra rigidity created by the brace through the crown produces a much stronger feel at impact when compared to a full carbon crown and results in a crisper and brighter feel at strike.

Dual Carbon Wings – Tour Edge engineers designed Ridgeback to replace extra titanium from the crown and sole with wrap-around Dual Carbon Wings that create extreme weight savings that allowed for a precise and strategically placed CG location.
 
This substantial weight savings by the large area of Carbon Wings on the crown and sole moves weight to a more low-rearward position, helping to produce extreme M.O.I. in the clubhead for increased stability at impact.
 
The C721 Driver employs a 19% increase in the amount of Carbon Fiber used on the clubhead over previous Exotics drivers, the most carbon fiber Tour Edge has ever employed in an Exotics driver design. Compared to the EXS 220 Driver, the CG of the Exotics 721 was lowered by 13%, increasing launch characteristics, while lowering spin in the process.
 
Diamond Face 2.0 Technology – Different diamond shapes of variable face thickness behind the face act as mini-trampolines to create faster ball speeds and expand the sweet spot to outer areas of the face. There are a total of 43 Diamond shapes featured on Diamond Face 2.0 on the Exotics C721 Driver.
 
Diamond Face 2.0 features seven different thicknesses in an interweaving pattern, compared to the three different thicknesses used previously, and features a face thickness reduction of over 20% at the extreme perimeters of the face.
 
The increase in Diamond Face coverage to the extreme heel and toe and of the driver dramatically increases ball speed on off-center hits. This works in conjunction with the Ridgeback support system to take stress away from the face at impact to create additional deflection.
 
The decrease in overall thickness of the face also saved five grams of weight that were relocated to the lowest part of the clubhead.
 
Adjustable Rear Backweight – A 10-gram adjustable back weight is at the extreme rear of the clubhead to help position the perfected CG and to optimize the M.O.I. properties of the C721 clubhead.
 
The more balanced M.O.I. of the Exotics C721 Driver offers extreme stability and resistance to twisting at impact for players seeking enhanced distance with tighter dispersion on off- center hits. This optimized M.O.I. offers more swing types the ability to create a ball flight with high launch and significantly reduced spin rates with more ball speed from off-center hits in every direction on the face.
 
This full-face increase in forgiveness and speed was made possible by the backweight and the advances made with Diamond Face 2.0 increasing face forgiveness to the heel and toe of the clubhead and by the new aerodynamic shape of the driver.
 
Custom individual weights (5, 15 and 18-gram weights) and a complete weight kit for the Exotics C721 Driver will both be made available for purchase.
 
Beta-Titanium Face/8-1-1 Titanium Body – The high-grade Beta-Titanium face is a higher strength Japanese metal that produces greater power. The lower-density and lighter 8-1-1 Titanium used in the body of the driver again lends to faster ball speeds, making this Tour Edge’s fastest driver ever produced.
 
Sound Diffusion Panels
– Five different Sound Diffusion Panels placed strategically inside the club head vastly improve the acoustics of the clubhead and enhance the richness of sound produced. This new level of sound and feel achieved with the Exotics C721 Driver is unlike anything else due to Ridgeback, Carbon Wings and the Sound Diffusion Panels working in concert together.

Adjustable Hosel – An adjustable hosel allows golfers to adjust the loft Plus/Minus 2 degrees. With three lofts being offered in 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, this driver comes with a range of 7.5 degrees to 14 degrees in loft.
 
SpeedTested Shafts – Every shaft in the Exotics 721 Series has been SpeedTested to find the optimal custom shaft pairing for every flex, determined by robotic testing and validated by player testing. 
 
· 85 MPH or Below – Fujikura Air Speeder: [40-gram R], [40-gram A], [35-gram L]
· 85-95 MPH – Fujikura Ventus Red 4T Core: [50-gram R]
· 95-105 MPH – Project X HZRDUS Smoke Blue RDX: [60-gram S/6.0]
· 105 MPH or Above – Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX: [60-gram X-Stiff/6.5]


 All In-Line Custom Shaft Options
 
· Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX [70-gram X/6.5], [60-gram X/6.5], [70-gram
S/6.0], [60-gram S/6.0], [60-gram R/5.5]
· Project X HZRDUS Smoke Blue RDX [70-gram X/6.5], [60-gram X/6.5], [70-gram
S/6.0], [60-gram S/6.0], [60-gram R/5.5]
· Fujikura Ventus Red 4T Core [60-gram S], [50-gram R]
· Fujikura Air Speeder [40-gram R], [40-gram A], [35-gram L]
 
Available Lofts in Right-Handed: 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°
Available Lofts in Left-Handed – 10.5°

Grip – Lamkin Crossline 360 Gray available in Undersize, Standard and Midsize

Pound for Pound, Nothing Comes Close – The hand-built in the USA Exotics C721 Driver will retail for $399.99 and is covered by Tour Edge’s industry leading lifetime warranty.