Best of the PGA Show 2013

Posted in 2013 PGA Show, Golf Equipment by on February 28th, 2013

At the PGA Merchandise Show in January club manufacturers as usual displayed an array of new products. This month we are covering a few of these new clubs, ones that caught our eye because of the results they produce based on their design or materials or both. Our goal is to provide information that cuts through the advertising claims should new sticks be on your to-do list for the new season. In addition (and as we will do throughout the year) this is a preview of clubs that may be in the running for our 2013 Equipment Awards at the end of the year.

Fourteen Golf

Though known for their wedges Fourteen Golf has some new irons and a new driver for this season. The TC-330 irons offer a low and deep center of gravity that compliments the extra wide sole but the real story is the longer shafts and strong lofts. Stock lofts are approximately 8 degrees stronger than normal making the 5-iron 22 degrees versus the more standard 30 degrees. The combination shafts and lofts produces lots of added distance. A six piece set of 5-iron through pitching wedge comes in at the upper end of the price scale, retailing for $1,259.

Fourteen’s new CT112 Driver is specifically for long hitters and those who want to be. The stock shaft is an extra long 47-inch CS-001d graphite while the four piece titanium head has a multi-layer cup face construction and only is available in 9 or 10.5 degree lofts.

Rife Golf

Rife Golf has a new series of putters named the Vault 001. There are 14 new models as part of the series and each has the Rife patented horizontal groove pattern which the company says does a better job of gripping the ball at contact and producing a truer roll. Vault 001 models are available in blades, mallets and everything in between including mid-length and long putters. They also changed the name of the award winning Innovex Golf ball into the Rife Golf V-Motion and E-Motion featuring slick new packaging with the same quality and performance at unmatched price points.

Callaway Golf

The Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver ($399) is also new and received a big boost when Phil Mickelson was effusive of how well he drove with it during his runaway win in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. Drivers are all about distance and rather than staying with the face technology used in the RAZR Fit, the RAZR Fit Xtreme is all new. The center of gravity has been lowered even further and Callaway says the face construction produces more ball speed. The crown is made of lightweight carbon fiber which gave engineers the opportunity to redistribute weight and accomplish the center of gravity repositioning.

The RAZR Fit Xtreme’s adjustability combines hosel settings for open, closed and neutral while the 13- and 1-gram weights shift the clubhead’s center of gravity to promote draw or neutral ball flights. There are several lofts available with the 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree clubheads being 440 cc and but becoming 460 cc in the higher lofts.

Cleveland Golf

Cleveland Golf for 2013 adds an adjustable version to the Classic XL driver line, the Classic XL Custom ($249). The XL Custom hosel has 12 settings and there’s also a port with interchangeable weights to adjust swingweight. The clubface is somewhat larger than the older model which means the hitting area is also bigger. Additionally Cleveland made some modifications to the design of the variable thickness face and report this gives more forgiveness.

Cleveland’s new 588 RTX Wedges are an update the original 588 model with a modified sole grind and are slightly wider in the heel and narrower towards the toe. The U-shaped grooves are larger (16 percent) and the face has laser milling with a directional pattern Cleveland calls ROTEX. The 588 RTX wedges are available in satin chrome or black pearl at $120.

Scor4161 ($135) wedges are a rethinking of short yardage clubs by Terry Koehler after the USGA significantly reduced the size of allowable grooves. The result was a new weighting of the Scor4161 heads which combined with the multiple bounce angles of his patented V-Sole design and proprietary short game shafts produce outstanding performance from any lie. Available in lofts between 41 and 61 degrees, each Scor4161 wedge is made to order.

Cobra – Puma Golf

COBRA has received a lot of attention over their AMP CELL Driver ($299) which comes in four colors (Silver, Directoire Blue, Barbados Red and Vibrant Orange) and makes use their MyFly technology. The AMP CELL has loft adjustments between 8.5 and 11.5 degrees including a draw setting for 9.5 and 10.5 degrees. The AMP CELL Pro ($399) has fade settings at 9.5 degrees.

Both use a SmartPad which, according to the company, means the sole plate does not have to be changed even though the loft is adjusted. Additionally there’s the COBRA’s E9 Face Technology – a dual roll design for better distance on mis-hits from heel to toe and above and below the centerline.

Nike Golf

The VR_S Covert driver ($300, Tour $400) from Nike is quite innovative compared to competing clubs. It’s the first driver with a cavity back construction similar to that found in game improvement irons and it produces the same benefits, namely more forgiveness on off center hits and enhanced stability from clubhead weight redistribution. There are loft and face angle adjustments and Nike’s NexCOR face with variable thickness.

Taylormade Golf 

TaylorMade is king on the mountain when it comes to metalwoods and they are following up with the success of the past two years (R11/R11s and RocketBallz) with new white headed models, the R1 and RocketBallz Stage 2 Drivers. The R1 ($400) can be adjusted to fit virtually any golfer with 168 combinations of 12 loft-sleeve settings, 7 different face angles and two movable sole weights. There’s also a TP model with additional choices in stock shafts for better amateurs and professionals.

The RocketBallz Stage 2 Driver ($300) has the Loft-Sleeve Technology of the R1 and a slightly longer stock shaft (the 50-gram Fujikura RocketFuel) than last year. Paired with a lightweight grip, the total club weight comes in at less than 300 grams. There was also an eye-pleasing redesign of the head shape and the clubface was enlarged to 4,100 square millimeters to help better players get more distance – up to nine yards additional according to TMaG by producing a flatter trajectory.

However TaylorMade’s big hit of 2013 may not be in metalwoods but in irons with the introduction of the RocketBladez line. TMaG says this new design, which could be even called a breakthrough, hits the ball further with more control and feel, claims backed by extensive testing. To accomplish all of this TaylorMade figured out how to put a 2mm polyurethane-filled slot behind the clubface, a first in irons, and similar to the slot found in the RocketBallz fairways everyone raves about. This slot or ‘Speed Pocket’ is used in the 3- through 7-irons and works in conjunction with their proprietary inverted cone shape behind the clubface and high MOI from redistributed weight. At impact the Speed Pocket allows the clubface to flex providing a trampoline effect to the ball which launches higher than other iron designs and goes further too. The heads of both the Tour ($900 steel shafts) and regular RocketBladez ($800 steel and $900 graphite) models are cast rather than forged to allow for inclusion of the slot.

Adams Golf 

Adams has two new families of clubs, the SUPER S and SUPER LS. The SUPER S is the first club family from Adams brought to market all at the same time and aimed at the average player.

Starting with hybrids, clubs for which Adams is best known, the Idea SUPER S Hybrids ($149) have a Cut-Thru sole slot for more ball speed which should produce more distance. Easy to hit, they also fill in nicely as replacements for long irons. SUPER S Fairways ($199) have stainless steel construction and the standard Adams crown slot with a slightly modified design plus a Cut-Thru sole slot; a combination that gives the SUPER S Fairways a very “hot” face.

Idea SUPER S Irons (steel-$599 & graphite-$699) are a blended hybrid-iron design with thinner faces and balance has been reworked compared to previous models. Finally the Speedline SUPER S Driver ($299) has loft adjustments between 9.5 degrees and 11.5 degrees, a sole slot plus tweaked clubhead aerodynamics.

Taking a page from parent company TaylorMade Golf, the SUPER LS Driver ($399) has a white crown and is adjustable (Fast Fit technology) but it is specifically designed for low spin (that’s what the LS represents) to produce distance with a penetrating ball flight. The sole slot has been made deeper towards the heel and toe to give a little more flex to the face while enlarging the sweet spot at the same time. Another very handy feature is the length of the SUPER LS driver may be adjusted plus or minus •••-inch with a sleeve at the end of the shaft.

The SUPER LS Hybrid ($149) has a new crown slot that improves deflection across the clubface for higher launch angles without creating additional spin and that generally creates more carry distance and better accuracy. SUPER LS Fairways ($299) employ the new Cut-Thru sole slot with a similar slot in the titanium crown. These in combination with a titanium face make for a great feel. Adams also puts their Fast Fit technology in the SUPER LS Fairways for adjustment to loft/face angle, length and swing weight.

Reader Comments