April 2011

The latest in golf equipment, instruction, training aids, apparel & more

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How do you improve golf's most popular ball? Make one that's better. Titleist's new Pro V1 lineup ($58/dozen) is noticeably different from the last generation. The Pro V1 has 40 fewer dimples (down to 352) than its previous version and a tetrahedral design of five different dimple shapes. Look for increased spin control and a better trajectory. The Pro V1x only trims four dimples off the last version (down to 328), but with seven dimple designs there's lower driver spin and hence bigger distance off the tee. Early word is that they're more durable than ever. titleist.com

Although they debuted last year, Wilson's three-piece FG Tour balls ($38/dozen) remain the company's premium offering, but are significantly cheaper than those of its competitors. Wilson says that they're built for long distance, spin and durability. We gave the 75 compression balls a test-drive last year, and they were buttery soft. Golfers with faster swing speeds may find too much spin off the tee, but it makes up for it around the greens. wilson.com

Want to hit it big? We thought so. Bridgestone does too. Its three new e series balls ($27/dozen) were built specifically for players who crave more yards off the tee. How do they differ? The urethane-cover 2-piece e5 has great greenside spin, the multilayer e6 reduces sidespin for more accuracy and the high-speed, multilayer e7 generates faster ball speed for longer distance. What piqued our interest though is that all three balls feature "Dual Dimple Technology," or rather two dimples in one. The inner dimple increases thrust power at launch for greater distance, and the outer dimple promotes a shallow angle of descent for longer roll. bridgestonegolf.com

Used by Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa to card a 58 at last year's Crowns tournament in Japan, Srixon's new, four-piece Z-Star XV ($45/dozen) has finally reached the U.S. It features a thinner cover than the Z-Star X, which it replaces, and a new dual core, both of which yield a ball that delivers a similar ball speed but with less spin off the driver face. (And, of course, that means bigger drives.) Worried about spin around the greens? Don't be. Its new, thinner urethane cover means one thing: more short-iron spin. Look for it in yellow and white. srixon.com

Callaway's Tour i series balls ($43/dozen) have been optimized for better durability. Both retain their recognizable HEX Aerodynamic pattern, Dual Core Technology and urethane covers that make the i series Callaway's highest-performing ball. How to choose between the two? The (s) is the softest Callaway Tour ball ever with low driver spin and excellent greenside control, while the (z) delivers a penetrating ballflight throughout the bag. callawaygolf.com


One of the items to make the most, um, noise at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day was Momentus Golf's Speed Whoosh ($70), a training aid that promises to increase one's swing speed by 7-10 mph. While it weighs the same as a typical driver, its flexible shaft allows you to swing it more than 20 mph faster than your normal big stick. Swing it just six times and you'll notice that distance gain, says the company. What's most helpful though is the auditory "whoosh" sound it makes in the impact zone, (when swung correctly). That'll give you the right feedback so you can make solid contact again and again. momentusgolf.com
Oversized clubheads have been the rage for years and for good reason—they're incredibly forgiving. But maybe they're too forgiving. Hitting the ball off the heel or toe isn't nearly as punishing as it was 10 years ago. Still, those shots don't go nearly as far as ones hit on the sweet spot. If you struggle to make consistent, flush contact, consider PSP Golf's The Little One ($120). First introduced in 2000, the severely undersized 7-iron clubhead (it's the size of a standard club's sweet spot) is designed so you make solid contact every time. pspgolf.net
As seen on the feet of 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Rickie Fowler, PUMA's new, full-grain leather (and waterproof) Cell Fusion ($180) shoes feature replaceable Smart Quill spikes and PUMA iCell cushioning in the forefront and heel, so you too can swing for the fences like Fowler. Puma and Fowler are making big, bold statements. Good to see. The Tour needs it. shop.puma.com

Adidas' lightweight, affordable spikeless shoe, the Traxion Lite ($80) features Advanced Traxion Technology, which utilizes permanent gripping elements to promote superior grip, stability and comfort. Look for Adidas' THiNTech low-profile technology that brings golfers closer to the ground for improved stability, power transfer and balance throughout the golf swing. Available in three color combos (white/university red/black, shown). Is spikeless a fad? It remains to be seen, but these are a nice addition to the growing list of offerings. adidasgolf.com

Tour pro Paul Casey advised Nike on the creation of its new, lightweight Lunar Control shoes ($190), and with professional input, you know they're built for performance, stability and comfort. Features a waterproof leather upper, Lunarlon cushioning in heel and Nike Power Platform for more flexibility and greater natural motion. Oh, and they look cool, too. nikegolf.com

CHAMP's new Zarma spikes ($15/18) fall somewhere between Zen and karma, and give you all the traction you need. The three-material design includes a traction, cushion and base, and CHAMP's "C" wear indicator. When the letter in the center of the spike wears down, it's time to change. Clever. champspikes.com


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