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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  New on the Tee  »  Launch Pad: These New Innovations Keep the Golf Season Going Year-Round
Launch Pad: These New Innovations Keep the Golf Season Going Year-Round
By Tom Landers | Published  12/13/2012 | New on the Tee | Unrated
Launch Pad: These New Innovations Keep the Golf Season Going Year-Round
Father's Day Gift Guide 2011

Golf is the season that never ends. While it may be winter, equipment manufacturers keep the heat on year-round, and Golfing Magazine gives you a little sneak peak at some of the latest and greatest golf products on the market in our Launch Pad section.
High-tech rules today's golf scene and for good reason. Thanks to forward-thinking equipment manufacturers and their heady R & D departments, there is absolutely no reason not to have in your hands the ideal club to reach the flagstick, regardless of where you are on the course.
Many companies wait until the PGA Merchandise Show in late January to early February to kick out their hot toys for the new golf season, however for others it's all about jumping the competition and beating them to the punch in order to attract the attention of the playing and paying public.
So, sit back and take a gander at some of the newest items to hit the golf shops. Like a summer that never ends, there's always something dreamy to ponder when it comes to golf equipment.

Wilson Staff Duo Yellow Golf Ball
Wilson Staff has launched an optic yellow version of its popular two-piece Duo golf ball. The company claims the Duo is the "softest distance ball on the market." The 40-compression ball, the lowest of any ball available to golfers, says the company, has become one of the most popular golf balls put into use by "regular players." The ball provides extra length off the tee and improved control thanks to a lower spin rate that is generated off the clubface of a driver. The ball also offers a softer feel on and around the greens. The 40-compression makes the ball half the compression of the average leading competitor balls; a high coefficient of restitution results in high velocity and "exceptional" distance; and the seamless 302-dimple pattern of the Staff Duo Yellow produces consistent ball flight and better shot making.

Price: $24.99

Tour Edge Exotics XCG6 Irons
The XCG6 "game-improvement" irons boast four tungsten weights along the sole to increase launch and forgiveness. The weights are marginally heavier (7 to 12 grams each) and have been spread lower and more toward the heel and toe areas of the clubhead to allow the player to get the ball airborne on the proper trajectory. In addition, a thinner face on the Exotics XCG6 irons accounts for five percent more ball speed and three to four more yards of distance than the company's XCG5 line. A "split-level" sole provides the benefits of a thin sole, with its minimal contact area to the ground, and a wider sole for a deeper center of gravity to help get the ball into the air with greater ease. The XCG6 is also available in a combo set with two hybrids (3 and 4) and six irons (5 –PW.)

$799 steel / $899 graphite

Wilson D-100 Driver and Fairway Woods

he D-100 driver is the lightest, easiest-to-swing driver on the market, says Wilson. The company's "Right Light" technology delivers "extraordinary" cubhead speeds, resulting in greater distance: Wilson says its improved, next generation of SuperLight optimizes grip, shaft and head for a combined club weight of 269 grams, enhancing the ability to swing faster with the same effort. Enhanced Cup Face Design and Variable Face Thickness Technology creates a face that is nine percent "hotter" and fires the ball with greater speed and distance. Variable thickness in the large, deep face creates an immense sweet spot for more forgiveness on off-center drives. An optimized crown weight is realized by relocating non-essential weight to the sole for a lower, deeper center of gravity to heighten launch angle and increase MOI for forgiveness. The D-100 fairway woods "are among the lightest and easiest-to-swing on the market." A low profile design with sleek black finish allows the club to sit square and deliver ultimate confidence at address; a relocated center of gravity 11 percent more toward the heel makes it easier to square the club face at impact and eight percent backwards improves launch angle and spin rate; and a chemically-etched crown also moves the CG 10 percent lower to improve feel and launch angle. Tailored head and face sizes throughout the lofts deliver maximum forgiveness on all turf conditions.

Driver $299 / fairways $179

Ping Scottsdale TR Putters

Ping's founder, Karsten Solheim, really created the first big breakthrough in putting by introducing heel-and-toe weighting. Since its introduction the majority of putters, from all manufacturers, have been variations of his original 'Anser' putter. So when a company like Ping introduces an insert putter it's worthy of attention.
Grooves certainly aren't new to putters. Rife, Yes and TaylorMade have all been promoting the technology. The idea is to produce less skid at impact, thus promoting a truer roll out. Ping's new Scottsdale TR putter is Ping's first foray into grooved insert putters and it is indeed innovative. The TR stands for True Roll. Ping designed their insert, made from aluminum, with grooves that are deeper in the center of the insert and become shallower as they move out toward the heel and toe. Ping engineers have found that this pattern help to counteract the typical ball speed loss on off-center hits. It's all about helping improve distance control.
There are 12 versions of the Scottsdale TR. Each comes in a dark, non-glare finish and has a shaft band that indicates which swing type they are optimized for.


Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme Driver

The CB6 super-hybrid combines a maraging steel cupped face with a hyper steel body. The stronger maraging steel allows for a thinner face that has greater malleability for superior feel and distance. Adding to the design, the heavier hyper-steel body offers a lower center of gravity than previous CB’s for remarkable forgiveness. Equipping the new CB6 to hit long shots, the hybrid features the Exotics’ Boomerang face design. The face’s v-shaped boomerangs allow for the thinning and thickening of the material to produce longer shots even on off-center hits. The form of the CB6 is also highlighted by a deep face that produces a penetrating ball flight. When combined with the smaller-than-traditional head and added face progression, the end result is exceptional workability.

Price: $199

Cleveland Golf 588 Altitude Irons
The new 588 Altitude irons are constructed with a full hollow body design, and the hybrid irons are ideal for any golfer seeking distance, height and forgiveness. Each iron in the set is engineered to provide optimum flight, forgiveness and feel, according to Cleveland. The Altitudes have advanced internal weighting that promotes a low and deep center of gravity for both high launch and maximum distance. The company says the center of gravity is 13 percent lower and 121 percent deeper compared to a typical game-improvement iron resulting in iron shots that are easier to hit with proper trajectory. This is possible because of the hollow body construction that offers hybrid-like playability through each iron in the set. Each club offers Face Forged Technology that enhances ball speed and delivers feel. Cleveland says the Altitudes are designed for customization through a notch in the hosel that allows change in lie angle by three degrees up or down and loft by two degrees weaker or stronger.

$699 steel / $799 graphite


Cobra AMP Cell Irons
The AMP Cell four through seven irons feature a metalwood construction with a thin, high strength steel face that is welded to a softer 431 stainless steel body. This optimizes the irons to create a coefficient of restitution zone, controlled weighting and provides a lighter face; all working together to generate faster ball speeds for improved distance and forgiveness. Cobra's proprietary E9 Face Technology gives the AMP Cell irons a progressive face and cavity design to optimize the performance of each individual iron to improve distance, feel and forgiveness based on golfers most common impact patterns. The internal cell weighting in AMP Cell irons enables precise center of gravity placement, moving weight from the face and body to create perimeter weighting which positions the CG behind the sweet zone. This provides high moment of inertia (MOI) for greater forgiveness. A V-Skid sole combines a higher bounce leading edge with heel toe relief, resulting in a sole that is versatile for better players, yet forgiving for mid and higher handicappers. This works in conjunction with a vibration management system to reduce unwanted vibration and sound for exceptional feel.

$699 steel / $899 graphite

Wilson D100 Irons
Wilson Staff's SuperLight technology infuses limited available mass to create a powerful, solid-feeling, balanced golf club, increasing clubhead speeds with the same swing effort for greater distance. The company claims that the key to engineering "The Right Light" is optimizing limited weight for proper distribution among the head, shaft and grip to achieve the best performance for each specific club. A large, thin, unsupported face, seven percent thinner, delivers faster ball speeds and "unsurpassed" distance. The exoskeleton technology of the D-100's, coupled with an undercut cavity, allows 35 percent more mass to be moved to the sole, heel and toe areas for extreme perimeter weighting and forgiveness. Optimized clubhead proportions throughout the iron set are designed to deliver ideal launch angles, ball speeds and spin rates for each loft and greater playability from all lies and turf conditions.

$599 steel / $699 graphite

Callaway X forged Irons
Callaway's 2013 X Forged is a tour-inspired forged cavity back designed by Roger Cleveland. The new irons are made from 1025 Carbon Steel and use the company's Triple Net Forging process designed to produce enhanced feel and precision. They have a distinctive new face design, sole profile and optimized CG Height Progression, while maintaining the "X" design. This new CG Height progression is designed to make the long irons launch higher and carry further while producing a more piercing trajectory for short iron shots. The new irons have a shorter blade length and one degree stronger lofts than the RAZR X Forged.
The 2013 X Forged irons come stock with a Project X PXi shaft, a lighter weight model of the popular Project X shaft but with similar flight characteristics.
Callaway tour personnel believe that these new clubs will quickly become popular among their tour staff.

$999 / set of 8


Callaway X Utility Prototype Irons
X Utility Prototype Irons were first introduced in May at the Byron Nelson Championship, where they immediately went into the bags of Callaway staffers Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson. Callaway Chief Designer Roger Cleveland crafted these "prototype" irons for tour pros who wanted to hit shots with higher launch angles and take on windy conditions. He used a three-loft concept with a new design that was shallower, had a deeper CG, and that created a higher launch angle which is difficult to achieve in longer irons.
The new Callaway X Utility Prototype Irons are made with a hollow forged construction and a shallow high-strength steel face with a deep center of gravity that produces high ball speeds. Each iron features removable weights on the sole that range from two to eight grams in two-gram increments that allow players to make swing weight adjustments to fit different length, shaft and grip options.
They are available in three different lofts -18°, 21° and 24°.


Nike VR_S Covert Performance & VR_S Covert Tour drivers
Nike Golf is billing the VR_S Covert driver as "the most innovative club" the company has ever produced. It features three proprietary technologies; High Speed Cavity Back, FlexLoft adjustability and a NexCOR face that are said to combine for enhanced distance, control and forgiveness.
The High Speed Cavity Back describes the back-middle section of the sole that has been removed to produce a slightly higher MOI. It also helps move the center of gravity a little more forward, which produces a more boring ball flight. The Cavity Back is only visible from the sole hence the name "Covert." The FlexLoft system allows for adjustment of face angle and loft (between 8.5 and 12.5 degrees,) independently of each other. The NexCor face features an enlarged sweet spot so that slight miss-hits will maintain ball speed more effectively.
With a 460cc head and silver-toned face, the VR_S Covert Performance is designed to be slightly more forgiving and have a higher ball flight than the black faced 430cc VR_S Covert Tour edition. The Covert Tour's smaller head and deeper face are designed to help better players shape their tee shots more easily.
Both drivers will come standard with a low-torque Mitsubishi Diamana Kura Kage shaft.

$299 / Tour $399

Mizuno MP-64 Irons
Designed for better players, Mizuno bills these muscular, forged carbon steel irons as its best-feeling player's cavity. Using Harmonic Impact Technology (HIT) and Modal Analysis software, Mizuno engineers have been able to reinforce specific areas of the MP-64 clubhead to control impact vibration and promote a secure, responsive feel on all shots. The company's research and development team, in effect, has been able to "dial in" a precise sound and feel in each iron to create superb playability and control that the best players seek. A "Diamond Muscle" pad behind the hitting area on the MP-64 irons combines with progressive cavity depths, i.e., short irons have a minimal cavity and long irons a deeper cavity, to ensure a penetrating flight with short irons and a higher trajectory with long irons. The club's overall weighting is also designed to also help the player launch higher shots that check up quicker than the company's muscleback blade, the MP-69.

$899 steel / $999 graphite


Odyssey ProType Black Putter
The ProType Black putter's black PVD finish reduces glare and creates a distinctive design that inspires confidence. A 1025 carbon steel head produces similar performance characteristics to stainless steel with a softer feel. A deeper, sharper milling pattern on the clubface increases interaction between the face and the ball for a better, truer roll and more consistency. And subtle tweaks in the design of the ProType Black allowed the Odyssey R and D staff to optimize the putter head with the shaft length by using slightly heavier heads for short models. This helps feel, control and accuracy. The ProType Black #9 putter has a toe-weighted, heel-shafted, flanged blade with a long hosel and half-shaft offset. The ProType Black #2 putter has a squared off heel-toe weighted blade with a crank neck hosel and a full-shaft offset. The ProType Black 2-Ball putter has an extended mallet head with a double-bend shaft and full-shaft offsety.



Bettinardi BB54
The BB54 is crafted from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum providing the soft yet solid feel Bettinardi putters are famous for. It is designed and built around one of Bettinardi's most popular and successful model and 2003 US Open winner, the Baby Bee Accelerator. Bettinardi has used modern technology to alter the Baby Bee design concept and create an extremely forgiving and elegant pewter anodize finish MOI mallet.
The crucial design element that separates the Baby Bee from the BB54 is the addition of a large 303 DASS weighted port. Located at the rear extremity of the putter this port is 40 percent of the total weight. The significance of the weighted port is moving the center of gravity dramatically towards the rear of the putter and away from the face. The results are an extremely high MOI ratio, 358 gram, face-balanced putter that is very forgiving on off center hits. The BB54 is available right handed heel or center shafted and left handed heel shafted only. Right and left hand, heel shafted, versions are also offered in a belly putter.


TaylorMade RocketBladez Irons
The RocketBladez irons have a large cavity behind their stainless steel faces that lowers the center of gravity and pulls it farther away from the face, making them forgiving and high-flying. That's not new. What is new is a 2-milimeter-wide slot in the sole of the 3- through 7-irons that's covered with polyurethane to help quiet vibration while keeping debris out. The company is calling it a 'Speed Pocket' and says the slot allows the unsupported, 1.6mm thick face to move and flex more easily at impact, especially on shots hit low in the face.
The by-product of these design innovations is COR numbers that are on par with a driver, faster ball speeds and more consistent flight on off-center hits. According to TaylorMade designers, the slot and the added face flex will cause the ball to launch higher, fly 2-5 yards farther and land on a steeper angle of descent so it stops more easily. This performance might equate to the distance of a 6-iron with the launch angle of a 7-iron, and so on through the set. The RBladez have a notch on the rear side of the hosel to make it easier to change the lofts and lie angles for custom fitting.

$799 steel / $899 "RocketFuel" graphite

Adams Idea Tech V4 Hybrids and Irons
Adams Golf, an industry leader in hybrid and hybrid iron technology, has taken another leap forward in producing high-performance, easy to hit playability for a wide range of golfers with the introduction of the Idea Tech V4 hybrids and irons.
The Tech V4 hybrid's new design has Velocity Slots in the crown and sole of the club, and also features a channel that is literally cut through the head of the club from the top slot to the bottom allowing for even more face deflection. Under USGA regulations the slot must be sealed, so the Idea Tech V4 hybrids have a TPU insert which also improves the feel and give the hybrids a very crisp sound similar to that of an iron. The Tech V4s use a multi-material construction featuring tungsten heel/toe perimeter weighting in the long irons providing an optimal CG location for increased forgiveness and higher launch.
The Tech V4s are offered in two distinct sets featuring a forged iron set and an all-hybrid set. The forged set includes a 3H, 4H, 5H and 6-iron through PW using forged 8620 carbon steel with nickel plating. The all hybrid set is 4H through GW. Both sets have a premium non-glare PVD finish.

$899 steel / $1099 graphite
$249 / hybrid only