April 2010

The Latest in golf equipment, instruction, training aid, apparel and more

NOW PLAYING: COBRA ZL DRIVER Standing for "Zero Limits," the new Cobra ZL ($349) driver features multimaterial construction, a milled-rhombus face insert and an Aldila VooDoo shaft. But the feature that will pique most golfers' interest is its pared-down version of Adjustable Flight Technology, allowing you to change its face angle from open to neutral to closed. When it's all put together, you've got a big stick that delivers accurate, consistent distance. Comes in four loft options, two for southpaws. cobragolf.com

The four-piece Callaway Diablo Edge driver ($299) has the largest sweet spot, highest MOI and deepest CG of any Callaway titanium driver, and was built specifically for high-handicappers to generate more speed. (Its refined head shape reduces drag in the downswing–eight percent less than the original Big Bertha Diablo–for higher impact speeds.) Perfect for golfers who also want to stop hitting the banana ball. callawaygolf.com

The extended crown profile and shallow face of Bridgestone's new J38 460 driver ($399) promotes a low and deep CG for high-launch and low-spin shots, resulting in longer drives. Features a 6-4 titanium construction with a thin crown wall section that allows discretionary weight to be moved to the perimeter for added forgiveness. Stock shaft is a Fujikura Motore F1 65 shaft (R/S/X available). Comes in three lofts: 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡. No lefty versions. bridgestonegolf.com

Hit it longer than your current driver, or you get your money back? Our ears perked up when we heard this challenge from Tour Edge Golf, makers of the new Exotics XCG-3 driver ($349). So we tested it. Result: It went farther than our current drivers. Why? Tour Edge claims it's how the tungsten sole weights, titanium face and body and an amorphous carbon crown are put together. These components feature interlocking channels that are chemically brazed and vacuum-heat-cured for permanent bonding without welding. The result, says Tour Edge, is a more "pure energy transfer for longer, more powerful drives." exoticsgolf.com

Bling ($29) head covers from AB Golf Designs are targeted toward women golfers. Among the numerous offerings is the Swing Bling (shown), which features the embroidered silhouette of a female golfer outlined in crystals. (A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every Swing Bling will be donated to the The Maurer Foundation to assist with its breast health education programs.) Look for Bling head covers in the bags of LPGA players Christina Kim and Yani Tseng. abgolfdesigns.com

The second-generation nitrogen-powered clubs (yes, nitrogen) from PowerBilt have arrived. The drivers, fairway metals and hybrids are called Air Force One Air Foil ($299-349) and include forged head construction, a square face angle and a lower CG than last year's model. Features the company's innovative Nitrogen-Charged Technology, wherein the club head is filled with nitrogen gas to provide weightless support of the face. What does that do? It allows the company to build an incredibly thin face without internal bracing, resulting in improved accuracy due to an enlarged sweet spot. Comes in a Tour version, too. powerbilt.com

The latest iteration of Izzo Golf's affordable (and easy-to-use) SWAMI 1500 Golf GPS ($99 plus a $9.99 membership fee for access to all U.S. and Canadian courses) has arrived. What's new? A number of firmware updates designed to improve performance and make it easier to use, including an auto shut-off feature to preserve battery life. izzo.com

The Heavy Wedge ($109) may look like a traditionally designed blade, but pick it up, and it feels anything but ordinary. That's because it incorporates the same counterweight technology that's found in its Heavy Putter cousin. A significant 65 grams has been added to the butt end of its shaft, raising the club's balance point and promoting distance control, tighter shot dispersion, acceleration through impact, smoother tempo and incredible feel on both full-swing and greenside shots. Features a satin, nonglare finish and CNC-milled groves for maximum spin. heavyputter.com

Designed to provide more power and stability, Graphite Design's new Tour AD DI shaft features a nanotechnology material in the shaft's tip section to help create optimal launch and spin conditions. The Tour AD DI's midbend profile allows the player to load the shaft properly, yet it maintains a firm- enough tip section through impact, producing optimal spin and launch conditions. Comes in four weight models, each with numerous flexes. gdintl.com

Fourteen Golf's latest cavity-back irons, the TC-910 Forged Irons ($1,199/set) were constructed with a lower CG and high MOI. The traditionally shaped, offset iron head is manufactured with soft Forged S20C steel, and its compact head with precisely positioned CG and MOI provides exceptional workability for shaping any shot. In addition, the lowered CG height creates ideal spin rates for golfers with faster clubhead speeds. Comes in a nickel chrome finish and features the company's new, conforming, trapezoid grooves. fourteengolf.com

Constructed from a durable ballistic nylon, Cleveland's Travel Bag ($159) is big enough to hold a full-sized staff bag and features an extended base with durable wheels, lockable heavy-duty zippers and lots of pockets (two outer ones for accessories, an inner ventilated shoe pocket and another inside velour pocket). We think the top and bottom grab handles for easy handling are a nice touch. clevelandgolf.com STX introduces three new putters to its lineup, the ProFIT 6 ($199) and the 9740 and 9750 models ($149). Aside from the price, what's the diff? Well, for one, the 6 is a mallet shape, while the 9700 series are blades. Both are machined from 17-4 stainless steel. What makes the STX lineup really stand out, however, is its three face insert options: black, red and green. The black face insert is the softest, the red has a medium resiliency rate, and for golfers who prefer a firmer feel, the green insert provides a harder feel with less resilience. stxputters.com

Four new Lite-Weight models from Boccieri Golf, the makers of Heavy Putter, debuted at this year's PGA Merchandise show. Featuring a total weight of 600 grams, each weighs slightly more than standard offerings (which weigh approximately 500 grams), but a lot less than the hefty Heavy originals, which tipped the scales at 900 grams. heavyputter.com

Data Design Interactive's new My Personal Golf Trainer ($99) for the Nintendo Wii features swing analysis and personalized lessons from David Leadbetter. Offers instructional videos and suggests drills for swing improvement, like grip analysis and posture check. Also monitors your alignment, ball position, coil, swing shape and tempo, among other cool features. ddi-games.com

Developed after 20 years of research by swing teachers Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, the Stack and Tilt golf swing found a number of devotees on the PGA Tour. If you've wanted to try it out yourself without paying a chunk of change for one-on-one professional help, now you can with the men's GetStacked DVD Series (Five payments of $19.95). Promises to improve your swing plane, grip, posture, alignment, ball position and tempo. Bonus features include three additional DVDs and an eBook. stackandtilt.com

The SwingRite ($149) is one of the game's easiest training aids. Simply swing it and listen for a click when the club is released properly (in the highly desired "impact zone"). Need to work on your swing speed? All you have to do is adjust the head to make it easier or harder to get the "click" sound to happen. Works on swing speeds that range from 55 to 125 mph. swingrite.com

Built to perform with the new groove rules instituted by the USGA, Callaway's new four-piece, urethane-covered i(s) ($42/dozen) utilizes second-generation Dual Core technology, making it easier for all golfers to generate maximum short-game spin. (The rule change was designed to reduce spin off wedges and short irons.) Callaway also claims that the i(s) is its softest ball. Features refined HEX Aerodynamics for reduced drag and stable, efficient ball flight in all wind conditions. callawaygolf.com

The two-piece Distance 312 ($19/dozen) from Zero Friction features a 312-dimple pattern, which allows for maximum distance, roll and soft feel. Claiming to travel up to five yards longer than the competition, the Distance 312 is made from 100 percent renewable resources with no toxic synthetic materials used in the process. Each sleeve contains a 3__-inch, 2__-inch and 1__-inch (hybrid) Zero Friction tee. excelgolfproducts.com

The new Soft Feel Lady ($19/dozen) from Srixon brings all of the distance technology of Srixon's success to a golf ball specifically designed for women. The newly developed super-soft Energetic Gradient Growth core allows moderate- to low-swing-speed golfers the ability to gen-erate impressive ball velocity and excellent feel. The "Hit Straight" alignment aid provides a clear path toward the intended target. srixon.com

From Scheyden Precision Eyewear comes the Fixed Hybrid ($259-$309) collection featuring the only full-coverage wrap design for a unique custom fit. Combines a cedar-rolled composite frame with flexible, hypoallergenic NiAg temples and cloisonn_© tips for complete comfort, even when wearing a hat. Comes in three styles: Jet-A, Panorama and Revelstoke, in either gloss black or Havana tortoise-shell. scheyden.com

The ergonomically correct Chev Extreme ($95) sunglasses from Callaway have a TR90 frame material for superior strength, memory and lightweight comfort. Offers full ocular coverage and supplies the ultimate protection from the elements. Its next-generation Neox NX9 lenses provide superior visual acuity and protection, allowing only nine percent light transmission. callawaygolf.com

Adidas Eyewear collaborated with Justin Rose on its newest offering, the Retego ($140). The glasses come in four different colors, and offer the custom-fit features that Adidas Eyewear is known for. Also shown is the Mactelo ($90), which is similar to the Retego but costs $50 less. adidas.com

The classically designed (and unisex) Kaenon Arlo ($199) sunglasses can accommodate a wide range of face shapes. The Italian-crafted TR-90 injection-molded frame keeps Arlo strong yet flexible and is further enhanced by the ultragrippy, recessed Variflex nose pads buried in the bridge, which securely anchor the frame to your face. Available in black, matte black or tortoise frame colors. Rx-adaptable with Kaenon's SR-91 prescription lenses and available with custom-ordered lens tints. kaenon.com

Callaway's Hyperbolic SL ($131) women's golf shoe features a Callaway comfort-technology gel tongue, seamless upper and seven new Chevron comfort spikes. Comes in three colors, white/silver, white/black and white/pink (shown). Includes a 30-day comfort and two-year waterproof limited warranty. Sizes 5-11. callawaygolf.com

PING's Cart Gloves ($24) are made from a durable nylon and are oversized so it's easy to slip them on and off. Fleece-lined individual finger gloves inside the mittens help keep your hands warm, while their reinforced palms help keep them durable. Also features a rubberized micropatch tab Velcro closure and drawstring and cord lock on wrist. Perfect for early-morning golf in the unpredictable springtime. pinggolf.com

The full-grain, genuine-leather, High Shine golf belt ($60) from PUMA features a stylish cutout PUMA cat logo that graces its belt buckle. Comes in four sizes: small (30 inches), medium (35 inches), large (40 inches) and XL (45 inches). shop.puma.com

Bionic's Performance Series glove ($29) claims to be the most feature-rich glove ever made. Three years in the making, the high-tech glove has 44 unique anatomical features, including a triple-row finger grip system. What's that? Each finger on the glove has three multilayered zones on the palm side made of terry cloth and leather. That, the makers say, helps absorb moisture and is like having 15 mini towels constantly soaking up sweat. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks. These gloves are techno-amazing. bionicgloves.com

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