Clubs for 2014

Posted in Golf Equipment by on November 25th, 2013

In recent years it has become a common practice for club manufacturers to announce their models for the coming golf season at the end of the previous season. In other words even now well before the  traditional timing and venue for club announcements, January’s PGA Merchandise Show in  Orlando, we know quite a bit about clubs for 2014.  However though they weren’t yet available to the public some models such as TaylorMade Golf’s SLDR driver, covered in a previous issue, have been in use on the professional tours for months and even have wins to their credit. (ᴀe SLDR was used by Brandy Snedecker to win the RBC Canadian Open and Henrik Stenson for his victory in the  Tour Championship). ᴀis month we have compiled a list of those clubs announced so far that we found interesting and are passing along information about them to our readers.

Adams Golf

Adams GolfModels with designs done after Adams was acquired by TaylorMade Golf almost two years ago are now being brought to market and the New Idea Hybrid Irons are a good example of the direction Adams is taking. These super game improvement irons are made for the large segment of golfers who usually hit the ball off center with impact towards the toe. Adams research showed that players with handicaps of 15 and higher consistently missed the sweet spot by as much as one-half inch and New Ideas are meant in part at least to compensate.

The effect is to make the sweet spot larger and Adam’s testing showed compared to their Idea a12 OS Hybrid Irons, the New Idea Hybrid Irons give 44% additional ball speed on off-center hits and 24% more ball speed on center impacts because of increased flex from the unsupported faces. Adams also has a new family of ‘better player’ clubs named XTD. The driver is tested four times during the manufacturing process to make sure the face’s flex is as close to the USGA limits as possible. Along with their well known Cut-Thru Slot, which Adams first introduced, and the aerodynamic head shape they are reporting much higher ball speeds for the XTD.

“We’re touting that it’s the hottest face in golf by using the strictest manufacturing tolerances,” said Honea. “Every feature we’ve built into the XTD family is distinctive, and we’ve merged them all together into the ultimate driver.”

Mizuno Golf

Mizuno GolfMizuno, known for making irons used by low handicap amateurs and professionals, has the new MP-54 irons which certainly fall in that category but the company is also looking at the iron market for higher handicaps with another new model, the JPZ EZ Forged Irons. MP-54s are for those with handicaps up to 12 and have a stepped muscle design that puts extra thickness behind the face to improve the feel at impact. Forged from a single billet of steel, the 3- through 7-iron have with a milled pocket and 8-iron through pitching wedge are a muscle design. In addition the perimeter of the MP-54s is ground to create a thinner top line and reduce the width of the sole.

They were characterized by David Llewellyn, Golf Club R&D Manager when he said, “The MP-54 is for players who have grown up on forgiving golf equipment – but want a little bit more from their shot making. It still has all the forgiveness most modern players are used to – but with so much more feel and workability.” Mizuno’s JPX EZ Forged Irons are game improvement type irons for players if 10 handicap and higher. Forged irons are usually thought of as being used by scratch amateurs and professionals because of the inherent feel and control but Mizuno felt these benefits should be available to less skilled players as well.

“During ideation, development and creation of the JPX EZ Forged iron we knew it would be in a class all by itself, which, in the golf industry, is difficult to claim and something we are extremely proud of,” said Dick Lyons, Vice President and  General Manager, Mizuno USA, Inc. “The distance and forgiveness screams game-improvement, but we’ve been able to channel those characteristics in a grain flow forged iron that’ll change the way golfers look, think and feel over the golf ball.”

TaylorMade Golf

TaylorMade GolfAs mentioned previously the SLDR Driver (there are now also SLDR fairways and hybrids) from TMaG is already receiving attention and though not especially thought of as a putter company the new Ghost Tour Putter line is also getting lots of favorable mentions. According to Brian Bazzel, TMaG’s director of iron, wedge and putter development, “We spent a full year perfecting every detail on our Ghost Tour putters, making each one a thing of beauty, elegance and excellence. Golfers will be blown away when they set each of these putters down for the first time, and again when they experience the performance.”

There is a choice of seven shapes: three blade-style putters (Daytona 12, Daytona 62 and Sebring 62) and four mallets (Maranello 81, Fontana 72, Monte Carlo 12 and Corza 72). Each model has black ion plating on the sole and a white crown meant for contrast with green grass. Alignment lines consist of heavy black parallels perpendicular to the face on the trailing edge. Combined they create a very strong confidence-building visual effect that the putter is on the desired line.

TaylorMade is also promoting an interesting line of irons called SpeedBlade which replace last year’s RocketBladez. The two share several design features most notably the slot cut in the sole behind the clubface to allow the clubface additional flex at impact. In TMaG’s testing the SpeedBlades produced distance gains because of the slot behind the clubface which combined with the center gravity being low in the clubhead help give a high launch and more ball speed.

Tour Edge Golf

Tour Edge GolfTour Edge has a new driver out, the seventh in the XCG series, called the XCG7 (460 cc) and a second Beta model with slightly smaller clubhead. Each has an adjustable hosel (8.5 to 12 degrees loft) plus a variable thickness sole the company says produces more trampoline effect at impact. There are four sole weights in the XCG7 placed low towards the rear of the clubhead for higher launch while the ones in the XCG7 Beta are higher and closer to the face for a lower launch angle. Tour Edge Golf also has a new limited addition fairway that has our attention named the Exotics CB Pro.

The head size is smaller than that of the popular CB2 fairways but what is really different is the sole with what the company has named a “Slip Stream” design that minimizes turf contact. This of course is meant to retain as much clubhead speed through the hit as possible to give distance and control.” David Glod, president said, “When we decided to create the Exotics line, this is the type of club I had envisioned. It’s very exciting to be introducing a product of this caliber to the market; there isn’t anything else like it. Is it expensive? Yes, probably the most expensive fairway wood available to the public. But, it’s just that good combined with the Speeder shafts and it’s also packaged with a highend, leather headcover from Stitch Golf.” Suggested retail is $499.99 which to our knowledge does make it the most expensive fairway available.

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Ed Travis

Ed Travis

Ed Travis is a well-known national award winning golf journalist and writes the monthly Player's Perspective column appearing in New England Golf Monthly. He carries a 2-handicap and with his wife lives on a water hazard in suburban Orlando.

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