2017 PGA Show Report – The Most Popular and Desirous Products That Drew Golfers En Masse – PART 1
It’s really a great time to be a golfer! The technology, just over the past 5 years, has changed radically. The key point is that with all the new products, whether balls, irons, drivers, shoes, putters or wedges, you can and must be custom fitted. Take advantage of all the new technology and products heretofore non-existent and improve your enjoyment and lower your scores.
Drivers today still lead the demand in equipment sales. Now you can find the right shaft and decide what it is exactly that you want out of a driver in terms of dispersion, sound, feel, shot pattern, draw or fade tendency. Seek and ye shall find.
The proof is in the pudding! PGA Tour players are raving about Callaway’s Epic models, so much so that the world’s 4-th ranked player, Hendrik Stenson, has traded in his Diablo Octane Tour 3 wood for a GBB Epic 3 wood.
Then there are Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed who are thrilled as punch with the performance of their Epic drivers and fairway woods.
At the recent 2017 PGA Show, the Callaway booth and the Demo Day were the most packed on a daily basis.
The GBB Epic Driver represents an epic shift in how the head and face behave to enhance power, spearheaded by the innovative Jailbreak Technology and Exo-Cage/triaxial carbon construction.
Any golfer, from scratch players to high handicappers, should find more speed, distance and control with GBB Epic.
HZRDUS, Diamana, Fujikura, and Rogue in four weight classes: 40g, 50g, 60g, 70g. Each premium, Tour-proven shaft is engineered to promote speed, power, stability, feel and control.
Callaway’s proprietary OptiFit Adjustability is featured in both the Epic and the Sub Zero drivers and offers 8 way adjustability for loft and lie angle, either for draw or neutral, with options to adjust up to +2* or down -1* from the stated loft.
You really need to make an EPIC decision if you want to lower your scores and improve your driving statistics!
The GBB Epic Sub Zero Driver is a true paradigm shift: a powerful, low-spinning Tour-level driver that’s also incredibly forgiving — an unheard of combination.
Two interchangeable weights in the head (2g and 12g) to adjust spin-rate and launch angle. Put the 12g up front to lower spin; in back for higher launch and higher MOI.
Its high speed / low-spin characteristics make it particularly appealing to Tour pros, yet it’s so exceptionally forgiving and easy to launch that a wide range of players will want to play Epic Sub Zero.
As with the GBB Epic, the same shaft options are available and with no upcharge.
The Dual SoftFast Core ball, with its Tour Urethane cover, reduces spin off the tee and provides fast ball speeds for more distance.
Callaway is the only golf ball company that has the new Dual SoftFast Core. It’s engineered for fast ball speeds with low spin for players needing spin reduction to optimize their launch conditions off the tee.
The low compression core lets you compress the ball on iron shots for long, straight approach shots with incredibly soft feel.
The 4-piece Soft X models have slightly harder feel and produce lower flight. The proprietary Dual SoftFast Core™ is designed to increase ball speed and reduce spin, optimizing launch off the tee, and the HEX Aerodynamics pattern further enhances flight.
The 4-piece construction partners with the Tour Urethane Cover to provide superb feel and control from 100 yards and in, making the choice of longer or straighter obsolete.
Available in Yellow and White $39.99 (12 pack).
PING Glide 2.0 wedges
These superbly engineered wedges have redesigned grooves that vary by the loft of club and compared to the original Glide, increase spin by 300+ rpm on full shots and 200+ rpm on pitch shots, resulting in more control and precision. The additional 2 grooves on higher-lofted models afford greater finesse from close in.
Tour players are seeing spin-rate increases of 1,000-1,500 rpm on partial shots (40 to 70 yards) and gains of more than 500 rpm on full shots, compared to their current wedges!
In addition, the wedge has a hydrophobic finish that repels water to enhance spin and amplify control. They will, of course, blend in particularly well with the PING i200 and iBlade, thanks to the similar looks.
The feel of the wedges is buttery and getting out of a bunker is a dream.
The only change in the lofts is that the SS (standard sole) starts at 46° instead of 47°, so there is no 48° version, and that is probably because this is there as an alternative to the 45° or 46° set wedges that you get in the i200 and iBlade irons, respectively.
All the models come with Ping’s AWT 2.0 Wedge shaft which weighs slightly less than the previous CFS shaft and should give a little higher trajectory.
There is the same choice of 4 sole grinds to vary the bounce, from the lower bounce. The Thin Sole (TS) is ideal for shallow attack angles and divots, the Standard Sole (SS) is ideal for moderate attack angles and divots, the Wide Sole (WS) is ideal for steep attack angles and deep divots, and the Eye Sole (ES), which has the inverted cavity from the classic PING Eye 2 wedge, and is particularly good out of sand.
To help golfers hit touch shots around the greens more easily, PING gave the Glide 2.0 wedges the Dyla-wedge grip that is ¾-inches longer than standard, so players can choke down on the club and still maintain feel. The Dyla-wedge grip gives you reference points, if you like to grip down the shaft in order to vary the distance the ball goes with the same length of swing.
This is an extremely clever and useful device and it is good to see it continued as an option to the standard variable width PING grips.
|Lofts are available for both left handed golfers and right handed golfers in||46°, 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°|
PING i200 Irons
The outstanding attributes offered by these irons are what every golfer looks for; a perfect combination of forgiveness, distance, and great aesthetics. More so, if you are a classic weighted perimeter iron devotee, the i200 fits the bill perfectly.
Whilst the majority of PING’s Tour staff uses iblade irons, there are plenty of recreational golfers who love the look of that minimalist design, but who need more distance and forgiveness.
PING has released the i200 irons that blend the look and feel of better-player irons with enhanced perimeter weighting and a large, vibration-absorbing elastomer section positioned behind the face.
The clean look of the i200 is further enhanced by a beautiful Hydropearl chrome finish that PING claims will repel moisture, reduce friction and provide a smoother surface interaction. With Hydropearl’s benefits, the club can slide through the turf more easily and help players maintain speed through the hitting area.
The irons have a compact size, minimal offset, a thin topline and a classic look at address. However, the faces are 30 percent thinner than with the i iron, which means two things – more distance and more forgiveness. Because the extra weight is utilized on the perimeter, which results in a higher MOI. Despite their thin top lines and minimal offset, the i200’s are arguably the most forgiving players’ iron that PING has ever created.
Cast from soft 431 stainless steel, the i200 irons take the place of last season’s i irons as a versatile performer for accomplished players and like earlier i series models, feature an elastomer insert — but this one is backed by a longer, deeper tuning port and muscle stabilizing bar.
PING designers were able to reposition weight, saved by making the hitting area 30% thinner, into the heel and toe. This created more perimeter weighting and an increased moment of inertia compared to the original i series. This improves flexing, increases ball speed and distance. As a result, the i200 irons are more stable and resist twisting more on off-center hits. A larger piece of elastomer was designed to fill the cavity in the back of the club, behind the face which absorbs vibrations created at impact to enhance feel and dampen sound more effectively.
The i200 irons come standard with PING AWT 2.0 steel shafts for $135 per club, or if you are looking for the feel and lightness of graphite, the CFS graphite shafts sell for $150 per club.
You can also order other shafts; True Temper Dynamic Gold, N.S. Pro Modus3 or True Temper XP95. As I have preached for years, if you are going to invest in a new set of irons like the i200, make sure you get the right shaft — it’s crucial to your long term happiness.
Take advantage of PING’s custom fitters to ensure you get your perfect club.
The science behind this putter is spot on! Only after studying the facts presented by its inventor, William Presse, one can see that one of the biggest issues facing putting manufacturers, is torque. Players have been battling their putter’s natural head rotation for years — the majority of which never realize they’re doing it at all.
In the field testing, our group of 15 players were simply overwhelmed with the feel and performance of the putter. Many smiles permeated our group!
The actual design is different, but if it lowers your score, adaptability is the key word. Caveat – the aesthetics of the putter, the overall feel and forced-forward-press grip, will likely take getting used to, but well worth the extra effort. Directed Force putters can immediately add consistency to a golfer’s stroke, albeit with some practice.
Most golfers have learned to correct for it by adding uneven hand pressure to the club — introducing yet another variable into their putting stroke. Even today’s largest club manufacturers have acknowledged the issue, marketing putters with a variety of balance types — face balanced and counterbalanced, for example. Yet, none of these products solve the problem.
This putter has a very high moment of inertia (MOI) coming from the displacement of so much weight well behind the face. That means it hardly matters whether you hit it off the toe, heel or center of the face. The putter allows you — and I have confirmed this — to hit 30+ foot putts dead off the heel or toe without much, or any, noticeable effect on distance or direction.
Most putters on the market today are either face-balanced or what have what’s called “toe hang and “flop open” as soon as the backswing is initiated — creating accuracy issues and the need to apply uneven wrist and hand pressure to keep the face square. Directed Force putters are designed specifically to achieve a smooth, effortless, lie-angle balanced stroke. Every putter built by Directed Force has their proprietary lie-angle balancing formula built-in, ensuring you achieve the pure putting stroke you desire — and sink more putts!
Directed Force’s integrated forward press is a key ingredient to this putter.
Every putter ships fully assembled with one Directed Force’s revolutionary PressGrips — which features integrated forward press technology. The putter shaft travels through the grip’s elliptical shape off-axis by 3 degrees, not through the center of the grip, as found on most putters.
Directed Force’s putter technologies are not dependent on the PressGrip, however, so the putters can be made with the aftermarket grip of your choice. Presse says the grip size and weight affect weighting in the head, so make sure to factor that in during your purchase.
This unique shaft alignment creates the forward lean players are looking for, to hit up through impact without increasing the loft of the putter. With every stroke, the ball rolls top over more easily and the player is rewarded with a consistent feel.
According to William Presse, lie angle balance is the solution and to that end, he has developed an entirely new formula and approach to club balance that eliminates unwanted head rotation and torque, once and for all.
Lie-angle balance is best defined as the putter head’s ability to stay square through the ball during the putting stroke without any adjustments from your hands. The result — the body’s smaller and less reliable muscle groups relax, allowing a player’s stronger muscles to maintain control over swing speed and path. Lie-angle balancing creates a “pendulum-like” stroke with unmatched stability, ball direction and distance control.
Through Directed Force’s advanced engineering, their proprietary formula and head design ensures consistent center of gravity for every putter produced — regardless of a player’s unique specifications.
The putters are mechanically forged from 6061 aircraft aluminum and heat treated to eliminate any natural inconsistencies in the metal. Using precision HAAS CNC machines, the head is then CNC-milled to the proper shape and finished with a type-3 anodized coating. Directed Force’s engineers interpolate the shaft hole to create a snug fit and clean look where the shaft connects to the head.
If you decide to purchase a putter, it is preferable to be custom fitted, so Directed Force has set up a network of qualified fitters. Remember, it’s designed to work with your specific lie angle, and isn’t going to be as effective as it could be if it’s more than a few degrees off. Their locations can be found online.
Part Two will continue with some of the best equipment, both hard goods and soft goods that drew the attention of the attendees.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf” is now in its 9th printing. He currently works with 14 Tour Players on mental coaching, putting and scoring techniques.