Welcome to the October 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.
NEW GROOVE RULES EXPLAINED
Surely you’ve heard a lot of talk lately about the upcoming USGA rule changes on grooves. Most of you have nothing to worry about until 2024. A quick primer: Clubs with 25° or more loft (essentially a 6-iron through lob wedge) submitted for USGA approval after Jan. 1, 2010 must have grooves with softer edges (that is, restricted edge radius sharpness on the groove corners; limited groove space on a clubface; and limited spin performance). These changes simply aim to toughen the ability for PGA Tour pros to hit the green with backspin from deep rough. In general, new grooves will cause balls to launch higher, spin less and run more once they hit the green. So beginning New Year’s Day, PGA Tour events – plus the U.S. Open – enforce use of the new grooves. Then starting in 2011, manufacturers can no longer make or sell products with the old grooves. But retailers, such as Edwin Watts, can continue selling all old-groove clubs they already have in stock. Amateurs not playing in USGA-sanctioned events bearing this condition-of-competition can “legally” use old-groove clubs until 2024.
Nearly two years old, Titleist’s AP1 and AP2 irons have just received terrific facelifts. The new AP1 is more forgiving than its predecessor, thanks to rear weight pads that replace the metal bar across the back of the originals, and this time spread the perimeter weighting around and increase the ball trajectory. Feel is more lively, too, due to vibration-management technology. The topline and clubface are thinner, as well. And the 8-iron through pitching wedge sport a reduced blade length, to help workability. Meanwhile, the AP2 – the PGA Tour’s top iron model in 2008 and 2009 – has been refined for better feel and more control. Its 1025 forged carbon steel body, high-density tungsten nickel sole and aluminum/soft elastomer Tuned Feel System in the upper cavity make for an amazing feel at impact. Titleist has also released new versions of its beautiful MB and CB forged irons. The backs were redesigned, for a more solid feel, the edges are rounder, and the toplines are softer. You can visually distinguish all of these new irons from the originals by the “710” on the hosel.
Callaway JAWS Wedge
Callaway’s X Series JAWS wedges feature aggressive Mac Daddy grooves – coined after company poster boy Phil Mickelson, who likes the ball to spin as much as possible -- that do not conform to the upcoming 2010 USGA groove rules, but rather to current rules. Thus, they’re great for amateurs to play through 2024, but you won’t see them on the PGA Tour in 2010. The maximum-sized grooves help stop the ball quickly on greens, so that you achieve plenty of backspin when needed, particularly when it’s hit from the rough. The wedges are made of soft 1020 carbon steel using a Triple Net Forging process that creates a tour-level feel. The versatile C-Grind sole eases shots from a wide variety of lies – just open the face as wide as you need, then swing away. Finish options include Soft Milky Chrome or a rich Dark Vintage. The wedge – which is available in several lofts -- was designed by famous club designer Roger Cleveland, who is Callaway’s chief of golf club design.
HOT GEAR NEWS
When Ryan Moore tied for seventh place at the recent Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, he scored a victory for small, blossoming clubmaker Scratch Golf, which had been best known for its nice wedges. Moore – who doesn’t have any club endorsement contracts – played a set of Scratch's new SB-1 irons and two of its wedges…Bridgestone’s three new e-Series distance balls include the two-piece e5 has a urethane cover and shallower, larger dimples that increase shot trajectory. The soft e6 has an enhanced inner layer that generates straighter and longer flight. The e7 yields a lower trajectory and longer distance, through an updated inner layer that makes the ball firmer… Adams Golf came out with three new bags - a lightweight carry model (Hornet), traditional carry model (Falcon) and a cart model (Hercules)…Coming soon from Nike Golf is the SQ MACHSPEED driver with a low/deep CG, STR8-FIT adjustable technology with eight face angles, and square technology for impact stability. Its tapered heel geometry and toe-side PowerBow design translate to more distance. Also, the company just announced a new distance ball, coined the CRUSH, with a large/soft compression core and a coating that reduces unwanted side-spin and maximizes ball velocity.…Wilson Staff just took the wraps off its 2010 products, which include all-new FYbrid HS hybrids bearing a heavy sole that lowers the CG and moves it deeper in the clubhead, for a higher launch and stronger flight; the mid-size Ci9 iron that feels soft and is forgiving; D-FY iron and hybrid combo set with a shaft that’s half graphite, half steel; five 888 series putters with classic designs, dual-milled faces and new alignment technology; and three balls, including the soft FG Tour for better players, three-piece C:25 with low compression, and two-piece D:25 distance model… Bag Boy’s coming out with a new Revolver Plus Cart Bag in which the top swivels 360 degrees for easy club access…FootJoy announced the FJ SPORT shoe with full grain leather uppers, athletic mesh linings around the interior, lightweight and cushiony EVA midsole, and stable, molded TPU outsole.