Gear Report – Notes From the Golf Industry

The 2013 Augusta Tortoise family from FootJoy

It’s an active time in the golf business – with snow on the verge of melting in a lot of North America and less than a month to The Masters it is prime time for golf manufacturers to roll out new products, endorsements, and also focus attention on anything else they might be doing.  Here is a compilation of notable items from recent days:

Callaway Golf has announced their new Callaway HEX Chrome + golf ball.  The Tour Performance ball was put into play last week by PGA Tour staffer Gary Woodland.  The 4-piece ball features a double mantle and a soft TPU Cover for combination os distance off the tee while retaining feel around the greens.

“HEX Chrome+ is hands down the fastest Tour Ball we’ve ever designed at Callaway,” said Dave Bartels, Senior Director, Golf Ball R&D, Callaway Golf Company. “This new 4-piece construction has a single-piece core and dual-mantle system that were designed in unison to create more ball speed with the longer clubs without generating excessive spin, leading to longer distance.

The 2013 Augusta Tortoise family from FootJoy
The 2013 Augusta Tortoise family from FootJoy

As of April 8th golfers can celebrate the first major of the year, The Masters, with some Augusta National inspired footwear.  FootJoy will offer a limited number of pairs of shoes using green tortoise printed leather through their custom MyJoys program.  Ten cleated styles and six spikeless options can be ordered starting April 8th at www.myjoys.ca for our Canadian readers.

The leather is available only as long as supplies last.

The Antigua clothing brand had a pretty nice last Sunday.  Staffers Stacey Lewis and Kevin Streelman each grabbed wins on their respective tours, the LPGA and the PGA Tour.  Lewis also ascended to the #1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

In other clothing news Oxford Golf says that Ted Potter, Jr. will be wearing their apparel for the remainder of the 2013 PGA Tour season. Mr. Potter joins Oxford Golf’s field of distinguished golfers including 13 time PGA Tour winner David Toms, and fellow PGA Tour player Nicholas Thompson.

“Oxford Golf is thrilled to add a rising star such as Ted Potter, Jr., to our already outstanding list of golf professionals,” says Dave Leveille, President of Oxford Golf.

Potter won the 2012 Greenbrier Classic in a playoff with Troy Kelly. Already in 2013, he has finished in the top 10 at the Northern Trust Open, and has finished in the top 25 at two other PGA Tour events. Ted Potter’s win in 2012 guarantees him an invitation to the Masters Tournament in April, and he will also be playing at the PLAYERS Tournament and US Open this year.

Vancouver-based Miura Golf has added a few more clubs to their premium product line.  Two more lofts have been added to their popular K-Grind wedge which was initially offered in just 56 degrees.  Golfers can now add in a 52 of 60 degree model. The K-Grind features a distinctive fluted sole.

“We weren’t surprised to find that people wanted more lofts in the K,” said Adam Barr, president of Miura. “The club has been so versatile in so many kinds of turf, especially with the face laid open. And it just works so well in the sand. Making more lofts in these was something we were happy to do.”

Miura has also beefed up the iron line with a straight neck, low-offset version of their Passing Point 9003 irons.  The originals set had a 6-iron with 2.8mm of offset while the few variation has just 1.3mm.

Nike Golf has released full details on their Spring 2013 Tiger Woods Collection of apparel.

Kim Kenney, Design Director for Nike Golf, says they ave improved the line by focusing on minimizing the things that have been a distraction to Woods throughout his career.

“For Tiger, we found that the key areas of distraction were his collar and sleeves,” Kenney said. “Tiger was typically adjusting his sleeves before he addressed the ball, moving the garment’s shoulder seam back as a way to mark his golf stance. Then, after he followed through he had to adjust and pull his sleeves back to the original position.”

To solve this problem, a continuous shoulder seam was ergonomically engineered on the back side of his polo which highlights a proprioceptive point that informs Woods he is in the desired position. In efforts to reduce distraction, the shoulder seam is constructed by ultrasonic line bonding which gives the wearer a “seamless” feel against the skin.

Additionally, an articulated Kimono style back with a posture informing chassis was designed to maximize range of motion.  The back of the sleeves are not traditionally sewn onto the body of the shirt, but instead, are engineered as one continuous piece along with the back body of the polo.  The design reduces limitations in the area that endures the most tension in a swing–across the back.

“I consider my apparel to be as significant as the rest of my golf equipment,” said Tiger Woods. “My test sessions with the Nike apparel team led us to construct a polo that frees my swing starting at address and continuing through impact and my follow through. The new shoulder seam construction makes for no restrictions. This allows me to swing with power, and with complete confidence.”

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