Pings new iBlade could be a game changer!

The Ping iBlade could be a game changer for the better player.  One of my favorite players, Louis Oosthuizen has put these irons in his bag and they seem to be suiting him as he is playing great golf right now.  Look out for him in the upcoming US Open at Oakmont!  I like the nice clean lines and the muscle back will help the medium handicap golfers get a higher trajectory with their long and mid irons.  I think Ping has a winner here.  Thanks to David Dusek of Golf Week for this insightful article!
Ping iBlade irons
Ping iBlade irons (Ping Golf)

It has been nearly three years since Ping brought the first S55 irons to the PGA Tour at the 2013 Barclays Championship at Liberty National Golf Club. Several staff players, including Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Louis Oosthuizen put the better-player irons into their bag in short order.

The irons that will replace the S55 in Ping’s line-up, the iBlade irons, arrived Monday at TPC Sawgrass, site of this week’s Players Championship.

While Ping representatives are not sharing details about the clubs, based on the photo above, history and who Ping had in mind for the clubs, there are a few educated guesses about the iBlade irons.

The stabilizing bar in the back of the S55 is gone, replaced by a cavity-back design. Theoretically, this could move more overall weight down and to the edges of the head for increased stability and a lower center of gravity.

To read the rest of David Dusek’s report on the new Ping iBlades, go here!

Source : David Dusek   GolfWeek

Pictures : Ping iBlade irons (Ping Golf)

Get ready for the new season. Here are 14 ways to prepare!

The new season has started and golf schools, private lessons, and driving ranges are starting to get the buzz!  The anticipation of a new year can sometimes be disappointing if you do not prepare correctly.   of Golf Digest has put together a 14 step strategy to make this your best season ever!  So first read the list and then head to the store followed by the range.  Great golfing this season!
Regain Your Touch

Using bounce on your wedges is both an art and a science!

One of the most commonly-used short game buzzwords is “bounce.” But what is the bounce exactly, and how does it work?  The bounce is like a small hydroplane on the bottom of your wedges and allows the club to skid through the shot instead of digging into the ground.  Using the bounce on your wedges is both an art and a science, says Roger Cleveland, as he is interviewed here by Mark Crossfield
Wedge Golf Tips With Roger Cleveland. Mark Crossfield talks to Roger about chipping styles and how to make the most of your short game with better use of your wedges. Learn from one of Callaway’s chief club designers about why they put bounce on the golf club and how you use it to help you get up and down more often. Play your best golf with simple and easy to follow golf tips.
Source : Step by Step    Mark Crossfield

The Latest and Best in Golf Balls for 2016!

“Which is the correct golf ball for me? ” is a question I get asked fairly often by my students.  The best answer is to take a “golf ball fitting” at your local golf store or with a golf professional if they have a launch monitor like Trackman or Flightscope.  These monitors can measure your clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin, carry and total distance.  By hitting several of the top brands, you will get a good idea pretty quickly of which ball is perfect for you.  If you do not have access to a launch monitor, buy a sleeve of 5 or 6 top brands and hit the course to do a simple “playoff” analysis.  Hit two balls from brand A off the tee and Two balls from brand B.  See which ball goes further.  That ball advances to the semi-final.  Do the same with brands B, C and D.  Then take the final two balls and hit two shots with those to pick a winner!  A little less scientific, but you get the idea.
Check out some of the best golf balls of 2016. From new dimple patterns to more layers, learn which ball may be best for your game, or go see your local PGA Professional for advice on which of these balls you should be teeing up!
Source : PGA.com Picture : purolipan

How Serious is the Counterfeiting Problem in the US? HUGE!

We all know the saying “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”  If you see a set of New top brand clubs on-line at a ridiculously low price, it’s probably fake.  The counterfeiting is a huge problem, not only in the USA, but throughout the world.  China is the biggest culprit, where people produce clubs that look like the real thing but are made up of inferior materials. It is a very lucrative business because they pay very litle for the materials, produce the ‘copy’ in small shops and sell them to an unsuspecting public. The problem for the consumers is that, after purchase, when the clubs break, shafts shatter or heads tear, there is no recourse.  You are out of pocket and out of luck!  Above is a screen shot of a website that is tracking down and closing counterfeit websites.  The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group is an organization dedicated to stopping the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit or “fake” golf equipment across the globe. Formed in 2004, the group is made of five of the most well-known golf manufacturers in the world –Callaway-Odyssey; TaylorMade-adidas Golf whose brands include TaylorMade, adidas Golf, Adams and Ashworth; PING; Srixon, Cleveland Golf and XXIO; and Acushnet Company whose brands are Titleist, FootJoy and Scotty Cameron. These manufacturers came together to protect the integrity of the game and to protect the consumers they’ve served for so many years. Source : http://www.keepgolfreal.com/ The bottom line here is – buy your golf equipment from legitimate sources, either on-line or at a golf store.  Stay informed! Thanks to Mike Stachura of Golf Digest Stix for printing such an important story!  Read on!
counterfeit.clubs There’s good news about the problem of counterfeit golf clubs: Progress is being made. Steve Gingrich, vice president of global legal enforcement for Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO, noted recently that fewer instances of counterfeit clubs are being found in stores and golf shops in the past couple of years. “However,” he said, “investigations have revealed that many shops have access to counterfeit product and will try to accommodate a sale if the customer presses for a copy product.” Of course, the market still thrives below the surface, especially through direct-to-consumer websites. The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group has worked with international law enforcement to seize more than a million fake clubs since 2004 and shut down dozens of websites dealing in counterfeit products. According to Jason Rocker, the group’s spokesman, 90 percent of the more than two million fake products sold each year are produced in China and sold online and in small shops there. To read the rest of this important story, plus a link to The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group, go here! Source: Golf Digest Stix  Mike Stachura  The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group Pictures: Golf Digest Stix  The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group  

Do Non-Conforming Clubs have a Place in Golf?

Is it OK to play non-conforming clubs?  Of course it is.  As long as you don’t use them in competition you can use anything you like.  Non-conforming clubs are any clubs that do not conform to the R&A and USGA club specifications.  They are currently gaining in popularity as golfers seek out equipment to make the game more fun while still staying close to the original game.  Illegal wedges that give you more spin or illegal balls that go 20 yards farther make golf fun for the amateur golfer, and if this trend is going to help grow the game, I’m all for it!  Thanks to  of Golf Digest for giving us this interesting perspective!

Callaways' ERC Driver caused a stir by having an illegal spring-like effect on it's driver face. This club is coming back in popularity!

Callaways’ ERC Driver caused a stir by having an illegal spring-like effect with it’s driver face. This club is coming back in popularity!

Last month’s PGA Merchandise Show might be a lot of things, but tucked around every corner and emanating from every aisle and booth is the sense that this is golf’s annual convention of the unconventional.

Devices from drivers to carts all seem to offer game-changing—or even life-changing—improvement. But in an era where generating excitement seems to be at the core of every company’s mission statement, Dono Kim simply, quietly thinks the game needs more fun, and he doesn’t really care if that means his latest club is “illegal.”

“My business is to do something radically different from conventional,” said Kim, a trained mechanical engineer with past experience working in marketing for the Korean Olympic Committee. Somewhere mixed within all of that is his passion for inventing golf clubs. Kim said he developed the patent for the square driver a decade or so ago. “It doesn’t matter if people accept the idea, I love developing things that will change the game.”

Kim’s latest effort, however, is a far bolder step than a four-sided driver. His company, Amazing Cre LLC, is debuting the RVS9, an otherwise conventional-looking driver—save for the gaping hole that swirls down from the crown all the way through to the grass below. Kim is standing next to his spartan tent during the PGA Merchandise Show’s annual Demo Day, where about a dozen golfers are flailing away at ball after ball using his latest invention. The sound is decidedly more softball bat than shotgun blast.

Holding a support pole tightly as the wind nearly blows over his rickety tent, Kim says that nonconforming drivers in the Asian market fetch big money today. “They don’t care about that sort of thing,” he said of clubs that aren’t in compliance with The Rules of Golf. “It’s a totally different mind.”

To be sure, in a convention where “odd” often is the preferred currency, Kim’s product is the only one on the entire 42-acre driving range that is overtly nonconforming. And while he doesn’t trumpet that feature on the simple card he hands out touting the RSV9’s “aerodynamic” and “perimeter-weighting” benefits, he doesn’t hide from it, either. In fact, Kim says he isn’t planning to submit the club to the USGA for conformance testing, even though its design is almost exactly duplicated in Appendix II, Rule 4a, Figure 19, as an example of a nonconforming wood head.

“I’ve ahad products where I’ve had to wait so long to hear [from the USGA] that I was already in the market before I found out it was nonconforming,” Kim said. “If the general public likes the club, then I don’t care if it’s nonconforming. It’s OK. I think a lot of people are waiting for something new, something really strange.”

But are golfers really interested in breaking the rules? Kim’s attitude may come across as subversive at worst or cockamamie at best, but viewed in a larger context his philosophy is one that cycles through the golf business about as often as reports of flattening club sales or free-spirited, serial entrepreneurs buying their way into the equipment game.

At the 2016 PGA Show, just like at nearly every PGA Show for the last two decades, there is always grumbling about decisions from the ruling bodies that limit performance or restrict innovation, or utilize arcane testing methodologies. This ends up being about as focused and useful as complaining about the weather or rush-hour traffic.

A 2014 Golf World study showed that nearly 1 in 4 golfers would be interested in a nonconforming driver that promised an additional 15-20 yards. Of course, the research isn’t clear from physics that such a club or result could be produced. Even so, what is clear from a Golf Digest study in 2015 that the average golfer already is leaving 23 yards on the table simply because he hasn’t had his swing and specs dialed in on a conforming driver.

Still, there is recent historical evidence that nonconforming products aren’t entirely the scandal that traditionalists make them out to be. It is not unusual for everyday rounds to be used with a laser rangefinder that features a slope function, which is specifically against the rules. Also, when several major manufacturers produced certain lofts of drivers that were found to be nonconforming after they had been manufactured back in 2007, the outcry was fairly self-contained, barely a ripple. In fact, in the case of Nike’s Sumo2 SQ, golf shops routinely continued to sell the club because customers had come in asking for the “hot” Nike driver. Nike officials admitted that a return program for the nonconforming driver generated little response from those who had originally, unintentionally purchased the nonconforming version.

The market in Asia has been somewhat schizophrenic over the last decade. Most manufacturers decided to move away from nonconforming or high-COR drivers in the early 2000s, after the USGA and the R&A agreed to adopt the same standard. But within the last five years, the interest from manufacturers in the East in hotter drivers has increased. A section of the tourspecgolf.com website, which deals in clubs issued originally only for the Asian market, is devoted exclusively to high-COR drivers from Japan. And they don’t come cheap. Several are in the $1,000 range. Those are the kind of numbers that have caught Kim’s attention.

Kim believes golf should change because society is changing. “Everything is changing so fast, and in my opinion golf should be changing, too. Maybe two sets of rules. Insisting on keeping the traditions of the game doesn’t make sense to me. If you watch how average golfers actually play, I don’t even know what those traditions mean anymore.”

Although he seems that way, Kim isn’t necessarily a voice crying in the wilderness. We aren’t even a year removed from the leading trade group in the second-largest golf market in the world endorsing at least the existence if not manufacture of nonconforming equipment. The Japan Golf Goods Association’s statement from a year ago at the Japan Golf Fair read in part, “JGGA believes that it is desirable for the stimulation of the golf market to have a wide variety of golf equipment available in the market from which all types of golfers may choose in order to find one that really fits their respective purposes and needs, hoping that more and more golfers will enjoy playing golf as a result of such improvement in the golf equipment market.”

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juggernautsole1.jpg

After that statement, the JGGA responded to questions from GolfDigest.com in part this way: “JGGA recognizes that there is a clear desire or preference among amateur golfers in general for more distance from a driver shot or more back spin from an iron shot that makes a ball stopping or coming back on a green as professional players do. JGGA believes that it will contribute in the healthy growth and revitalization of the Japanese golf market to create an environment in which each golfer may choose and use golf equipment that matches his or her unique goals and needs.”

The JGGA stressed subsequently that it did not wish to recommend amateurs use nonconforming equipment. Rather, “recognizing the recent trend in the Japanese market where an increasing number of nonconforming golf clubs are being marketed and distributed year by year as a reality, JGGA felt strongly that we needed to demonstrate the leadership in guiding manufacturers of such nonconforming clubs to provide consumers with a clear indication and appropriate explanation when they sell those products to avoid any confusion by consumers.”

To read the rest of this interesting article on non-conforming clubs in the marketplace, go here!

Source :   Golf Digest

Pictures : Blend Images – Picturenet/Brand X Images/Getty Images

Scotty Cameron Talks About his Passion – Putter Design!

Scotty Cameron is regarded by most golfers as the worlds leading expert in putter design.  His putters have been used to win many PGA, LPGA and European Tour events and several Major Championships!  Bernhard Langer was using a Scotty Cameron putter when he won the 1993 Masters, and that was the springboard to Scotty’s career!  Today, top players throughout the world seek him out for help with a new putter. Thanks to E. Michael Johnson of GOLF DIGEST for this interesting interview! 24481781590_c08dcc5448_k
At last month’s PGA Merchandise Show one of the most sought-after people was Scotty Cameron. The noted puttermaker for Titleist drew crowds as he spoke about his passion for creating putters for the best players in the game as well as for everyday golfers. Cameron also found time to answer five questions from E. Michael Johnson.
  1. Golf junkies want to hear your thoughts on the anchor ban. What have you—and what are you—working on to help those folks who can no longer anchor?
I’m a firm believer in true counterbalancing. I see so many people just adding weight in the grip end, and I don’t feel that is correct. You need that heft in the head, where I add 50 grams, and 50 grams to the grip. It’s also actually easier than anchoring. It’s the way to go. In many ways, this ban on anchoring has been a blessing for those golfers. I believe a counterbalanced putter produces a more repetitive stroke. 2. You’re known primarily for your blade-style designs but in recent years there seems to be more of an emphasis on mallets. What led you to pursue the mallet-style in a more aggressive way? I actually made a lot of them early on for Ray Cook. The M1 and other models. I was making mallets back in 1985 so it was an easy transition back to that. What I’ve done is take some of what I learned 30 years ago—namely how to use aluminum and steel together—and apply it today using the modern technology and manufacturing at my disposal.
To read all 5 questions to Scotty Cameron, go here! Source : E. Michael Johnson  GOLF DIGEST Pictures : Robert   DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES  

Cobra Golf’s new wedge designs claim more feel!

Cobra Golf has approached their new wedge design with what most golfers are looking for in a wedge, feel!  So many companies talk about loft, bounce and groove depth, but in the end feel is what we are all looking for.  What is feel?  It certainly is a perplexing question. Feel comes from the sound and also the solidness of the hit.  Those two things combined equal feel for us.  It looks like Cobra Golf has done a good job here.  Thanks to   of Golf Digest for bringing us this great equipment review! King_Wedge_56_classic_hero

Cobra unveiled its latest family of King wedges today, and while there is much to talk about with regard to groove design and loft/bounce options, sometimes lost in all that minutiae is the simple but elusive idea of feel. That’s why the team at Cobra refocused its efforts by studying the best way to make its new wedges properly resonate in the golfer’s hands and ears.

The key came from understanding through modal analysis the way the head vibrates, and the way its tour players like Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt want the club to feel. Engineers isolated the ideal feel by subtly thickening the face and raising the height of the muscle in back. The King wedge face thickness is 11 percent thicker than its Tour Trusty predecessor, and the rear muscle is 5 percent taller. Those two changes result in higher vibration frequency for better feel.

To read the rest of this wedge review, go here!

Source :   Golf Digest

Pictures : Cobra Golf Co.

Your old golf clubs might be worth something. Check this out!

Way back in my early career in Johannesburg, South Africa, there was a golf store called “Golf Club Exchange.” It was owned by a real character by the name of Chick Isakov, and he knew golf clubs!  In fact my very first set of golf clubs was bought from his store.  A set of John Letters irons and Sam Snead Blue Ridge woods.  He had a booming business which capitalized on golfers wanting to upgrade their clubs with new ones while trading in the old ones, plus he attracted new golfers, looking to purchase an inexpensive set to get started.  He was way ahead of his time!   It really surprised me that most golfers don’t know that they can trade-in or sell their old golf equipment.  Ed Byman has made a great living buying, selling and trading in old clubs.  I wish there were more outlets like this. I think it would give golf a shot in the arm that it sorely needs! Thanks to Ed Byman for operating one of these outlets and thanks to golfdigeststix.com for telling this important story!
Ed Byman

Ed Byman, CEO of GlobalGolf.com

Ed Byman, a former pro golfer who once defeated Lee Trevino to win the 1974 Mexican Open, is the CEO and founder of GlobalGolf.com. GlobalGolf recently merged with 3balls.com to form the largest e-commerce website devoted to the pre-owned golf-club business. He answers five questions with Mike Stachura. How many golfers are aware that trading in their old clubs is an option? We’ve done some research that shows that 50 percent of the people who play golf still don’t even know that you can trade in clubs. It’s just amazing that people who play golf all the time aren’t aware of it, let alone the newcomers to the business that might want to buy something of value to get started in the game. We think there’s a lot of runway out in front of us. What role does the pre-owned club market play in the overall golf business? The interesting thing is that the pre-owned market was out there. It already existed, whether it was peer-to-peer in trades or just golfers handing it down from one to the next. We just brought some structure to it. I think some of the benefits are from the originial-manufacturer perspective. It gets that product out of the traditional retail-distribution channels, so those guys are selling new product, which they should be selling because that is what drives the future of the game. So we take it out of that environment, and we feature it as e-commerce only. And in a sense make it go away. The other big benefit we believe is; it offers price points that might entice people that can’t afford the game to get into the game. So we think there’s a growth-of-the-game component to pre-owned equipment.
To see the other 3 questions regarding trading in your old clubs, go here! Source : golfdigeststix.com Pictures : Golf Digest Stix

Your Hot Putter List for 2016!

Ah, Putters!  The club we absolutely love or absolutely hate.  Sometimes in the same round!  Early in my golf career I changed putters almost every week, looking for magic in a bottle.  I came to realize over a span of 35 years that it was not the putter. (I am obviously a slow learner!)  I have had a Rife 2 Bar for the past 15 years and love the way it sits, the way it feels and the way it looks.  So I have no plans to change in the near future.  However, another thing I have learned over the years is never say never.  If something comes along that strikes my fancy, and I start holing more putts, obviously I will change.
If you are in that situation  where you are not quite happy with your current magic wand and might be looking for a change, Golf Digest has put together their Hot Putter List for 2016.  Check them out, one might have your name on it!
Historically, using a mallet putter was waving the white flag to fellow players that your game was not to be taken seriously, needing an oversized stick to find the sweet spot. As the 2016 Hot List mallets prove, that shame is a thing of the past.
Nike Method Converge
Nike Method Converge
Odyssey White Hot RXOdyssey White Hot RX
Odyssey Works Versa/Tank CruiserOdyssey Works Versa/Tank Cruiser
Source : Golf Digest