Welcome to the May 2009 issue of Equipment Reviews, sent out monthly exclusively to the loyal customers of Edwin Watts Golf. If you haven't already signed up for your free Equipment Reviews subscription, then please click here - there's no obligation and you can cancel at any time.
TIGER TEES OFF – SOMEWHAT ERRATICALLY
What’s wrong with Tiger Woods at the tee box this year? Perhaps nothing, but knowing how competitive he is, Tiger surely can’t be content with the way he’s been hitting his drives. Averaging 292.5 yards per tee shot, he currently ranks 38th on the PGA Tour’s driving distance list. His driving accuracy has been particularly poor, as he’s hitting only 56.79 percent of his fairways, which ranks him 148th on Tour. That’s roughly the same as two years ago, when he finished 152nd in driving accuracy, hitting 59.83 percent of fairways. But also in 2007, Tiger hit his tee shots an average of 302.4 yards and ranked 12th on the Tour. Tiger’s been testing various shafts in his Nike Dymo driver recently, including Mitsubishi’s Diamana White Board, Aldila’s VooDoo and an Oban Mach 4. When asked recently about that experimentation, Woods said that he’s “going to stick with my same old shaft. The other shaft did not quite work out for me…wasn't what I was looking for. Felt good in the practice round but in the tournament, I didn't quite have the same feel for it, so went back to my old driver on the weekend. Hit the ball nice; I wouldn't say great, but I hit it a little bit better. But still, this driver has done pretty well, and that's the one I'll continue working with and hopefully get my swing organized.”
Srixon Z-Star Golf Ball
When Henrik Stenson captured The Players Championship two weeks ago, it marked the third event he won while playing Srixon’s new Z-STAR ball that made waves earlier this year when Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk switched to it. Stenson’s previous wins with the ball were the Omega Mission Hills World Cup of Golf in November and the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa in December. The Z-STAR’s a three-layer ball with a urethane cover, large Energetic Gradient Growth core, soft cover, and 324-dimple design that reduces wind resistance. It generates a lot of spin off lofted irons and reduced spin off the driver face, with a relatively high trajectory – for more tee-shot distance. The Z-STAR is designed for low-to-mid handicappers, seeking a combination of long distance, spin control and soft feel. The ball has helped nearly double Srixon’s golf ball usage by amateur golfers this year, according to independent market reports. Its sister ball – the Z-STAR X -- is a distance-oriented, tour-performance ball for players seeking high-spin performance around the greens.
TaylorMade R9 460 Driver
Just three months after TaylorMade Golf introduced its very popular R9 driver, the company’s come out with a second version -- the R9 460 -- that with a 460cc clubhead volume is roughly 40cc larger than the original. Like its predecessor, the R9 460 features Flight Control Technology that allows golfers to use the included wrench and quickly change the clubface angle, loft and lie angle by loosening a bolt in the sole, rotating the shaft into the designated position, then tightening the bolt. The new version also has a deeper clubface, and lower and deeper-back center of gravity -- delivering more forgiveness, as well as longer carry and distance. However, it does not have the movable weights that exist in the original R9. Sean O'Hair, Kenny Perry, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Darren Clark are among the Tour pros playing the R9 – which is the Tour’s top-played driver model this year – and the company has already been approached by Tour pros asking for a larger-headed version. This model should well satisfy their needs.
HOT GEAR NEWS
Never Compromise debuted its NCX-RAY line of putters, which already has a PGA Tour following. The NCX-RAYs are in the bags of 11 pros, including Vijay Singh, Joe Durant, Kent Jones and Stephen Marino. The putters feature “Suspended Face Technology” that includes a dual-density insert using isolated ribs embedded in a softer composite. This provides soft-yet-responsive feedback. The face material is ultra-lightweight, allowing weight to be moved to the putter’s extremities, for stability and consistent ball velocity across the face. There’s also limited surface area in contact with the ball at impact, which improves directional dispersion. The putters, which also incorporate a gray and red alignment feature, are offered in four models (full mallet, blade with plumber’s neck, geometry mallet and small mallet)…Nickent’s come out with a new version of its 4DX Evolver driver with interchangeable shaft and an adjustable aluminum hosel. The hosel allows golfers to change the clubface angle up to 3 degrees in all directions and achieve 26 different lie, loft and clubface angle combinations…The “TS” in Ping’s new teardrop-shaped Tour-W TS stands for “thin sole.” The wedge eases shots from tight lies – which may explain why Angel Cabrera used a 60-degree model to win the Masters at Augusta National. It’s also available in lofts of 58 and 64 degrees, and has a 17-4 stainless steel body with tungsten toe weight, machined face and grooves for added spin and control, and custom tuning port…If you’ve ever used a Zero Friction tee, you may be excited to know that the manufacturer, Excel Golf Products, has debuted the two-piece Zero Friction 'Distance 312' ball, with a shallow 312 dimple pattern…YES! Golf is offering its Tour Lock Opti-Vibe Weighting System on all of its putters. It allows golfers to optimize the putter’s weight, to gain stability, feel and control of their stroke path. Internal weights (available in 12, 40, 60 and 80 grams) are inserted and locked in the putter shaft. The weight can be simply moved up or down inside the shaft, making the putter feel head-heavy or head-light. The system conforms to USGA and R&A Rules of Golf, as long as the weight isn’t moved during the round of golf… Wilson Golf has become the Official National Football League logo golf bag for 2009. Available in all official NFL team logos and colors, the bags come in both cart and carry options. The cart bag features a 9" x 8'' top with a 14-way divider and solid tube construction, the carry bag weighs 5.7 pounds and is made of a mixed fabric construction, mesh-covered five-way divider and dual shoulder strap… John Daly started playing a toe-droop Heavy Putter Mid-Weight Series K4 putter that features a thin top line. It’s 34.5 inches long…Since late last year, Cristie Kerr has been using two customized Scratch Golf wedges (54 and 60 degrees) and reportedly is also testing Scratch irons right now, as a possible replacement for her Callaway X-16 Pro Series irons… Ian Poulter recently began using a Rife Antigua putter and with it had his best-ever PGA Tour finish of his career at The Players Championship… TaylorMade Golf unveiled the Monza Spider Balero, a large uniquely shaped mallet that eases aiming the clubface correctly, through its prominent "ball-in-cup" feature in the back of the head. The putter has a high MOI for plenty of stability and forgiveness on mis-hits. It’s made from a single piece of stainless steel, and has a soft polymer insert for soft feel.