Welcome to the June 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.
YOU KNOW IT'S U.S. OPEN TIME WHEN...
Tour pros always seem to welcome new equipment into their bags mid-year – particularly around U.S. Open time. Anything to get an edge. This year's Open starts June 18 at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York. And like clockwork, the equipment switch is on: According to Tour reports, six pros have just switched to TaylorMade’s brand-new R9 460 over the past few weeks, since the club came out on Tour, including Jim Furyk. TaylorMade’s PGA Tour relations manager Paul Loegering tells Equipment Insider that he expects more pros to be playing the new driver at Bethpage, because “we’ve been able to create two-to-five miles per hour more ball speed than players’ previous drivers, which translates to extra tee-shot distance. The clubhead also has a high MOI and it squares up at impact.” Other equipment changes you can expect to see for Bethpage include players opting for higher-lofted wedges, to help negotiate the rough: Loegering says Justin Rose is adding a 64-degree model and Jason Day is trying to bump his lob option from a 59-degree wedge to a 62-degree model, just for the event. “Guys are anticipating what’s going to come into play around the greens,” says Loegering. “When they’re missing greens, they have to get the ball out of the rough and sand as softly as they can.” Pros are also gravitating toward slightly more lofted fairway woods and hybrids. “It happens with every Major, guys getting club-specific for the course,” says Loegering “A one-degree jump in loft means little to you and me, but it can make a huge difference to a Tour pro who wants higher shots with a little more spin that land softer.”
Never Compromise NCX-Ray Putters
If you want to putt with perhaps the liveliest-yet-softest new putter, get hold of Never Compromise’s NCX-RAY. It comes in four models – a full mallet, geometry mallet, small mallet, and a blade with a plumber’s neck – that are collectively wowing PGA Tour pros across the board, including Vijay Singh, Joe Durant, Kent Jones and Stephen Marino. “I’ve turned my putting around since switching to the NCX-RAY,” says Marino. “If you take the all latest putter technology from each of the various putters out on the PGA Tour, you’ll find it all wrapped into the NCX-RAY.” It’s no wonder that in a recent GOLF.com putter test conducted by Hot Stix Golf, the NCX-RAY outperformed 12 top competitors’ mallet putters in distance roll on heel, toe and center hits. Each model features “Suspended Face Technology,” which includes a dual-density insert that uses isolated ribs embedded in a softer composite. This provides dampening but responsive feedback. A fourth of the head weight lies in the putter’s extremities, producing maximum stability for consistent ball velocity across the face. The technology also limits the surface area in contact with the ball, to enhance directional dispersion. A gray and red alignment feature makes for a consistent set-up and alignment.
Bushnell Yardage Pro XGC
You use the latest technology in your clubs, so why not get every technological edge you can. Many golfers are, which is why handheld electronic distance finders are all the rage this year. The latest comes from Bushnell. Its compact Yardage Pro XGC features a 2.2-inch high resolution screen that displays shows your last shot, as well as distance to any point on the hole, at a glance, and in vivid, sunlight-readable color. You can download to it color maps, and the unique “hole up” tracking feature provides a down-the-fairway perspective, for easier and better course management. The rainproof unit stores up to 100 courses, and its scorekeeping and statistic capabilities make it an incredibly useful GPS tool. It runs via a rechargeable Lithium-lon battery and sustains battery life up to 16 hours. A belt clip and storage pouch are included. Because files are stored on your computer, you can easily swap course files on and off the unit as needed.
HOT GEAR NEWS
KZG’s five new GF Series putters each feature two screw portals and seven weight options, allowing you to play a model with the optimal weight distribution for your stroke. Adjustable are the lie, loft, length, swing weight and CG. The putters feature a non-glare finish… True Temper has established a Twitter page for its Project X shafts at twitter.com/ProjectXGolf…Renowned long drive champion Sean "The Beast" Fister has begun designing and marketing drivers through a new venture, Fister Golf Co., which released its first product, the Punisher 450 Pro LD driver… An eBay seller pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit golf equipment to unsuspecting consumers, after Titleist’s parent company Acushnet initiated an investigation with the North Carolina Secretary of State…A recent government report that questioned the viability of the U.S. global positioning system will not affect golf courses with GPS, according to officials at GPS Industries… Nike Golf expanded its Fort Worth research and design facility. A 129,000 square-foot short game area has been added…Speaking of Nike, the company has been mum regarding hot Tour pro Paul Casey’s prototype putter that he’s been using since late last summer. But Casey recently revealed more about the flatstick, saying in published reports that “it's got some grooves in the face, which I think with the combination of grooves and an insert, I am able to…roll the ball better than I have in the past with that technology." Before last weekend, Casey was averaging 1.73 putts on every green he’s hit in regulation (and he’s hit 69.44 percent of those!), and is taking 28.58 putts per round. By comparison, last year, Casey averaged 1.837 putts on the greens he hit in regulation, and took 30.44 putts per round. Sounds like he’s found the right putter…Tiger Woods won The Memorial tournament playing a 10° Nike Dymo 380 driver, which is a half-degree more lofted than his usual driver of the same model. Tiger also played a set of Nike Forged Blades instead of the Nike Victory Red Forged Blade irons he had been using. After his victory, Woods was asked about how well he was hitting his 3-wood. Says Woods: “I used it a lot more once the fairways got faster. The first day…it was leaving me too far back. As the fairways got faster and faster, a low 3-wood and even a low 5-wood at times would go almost 300 yards. The 5-wood down (hole number) 17 went 290 or something. Don't normally hit it that far.” If only we could all hit our 5-woods 290 yards…Bloomberg reports that LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens would like to encourage her Tour’s golfers to use their cell phones to tweet messages on Twitter while on the course. Bivens says she wants golfers to use social-media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, to engage fans during rounds. Apparently, her comments didn’t sit well with Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, who both claimed they would not participate in on-course Twitter activity. Some 30 LPGA Tour pros use Twitter off the course, according to the report.