March-April 2009

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

Now Playing: Cleveland Niblick Who said you can't have it all? The new Niblick ($110) from Cleveland Golf combines the playability of a wedge, putter, iron and hybrid—all in one. Dubbed "the original short-iron hybrid," the Niblick is a useful tool for executing tough shots from around the green, including the rough, hardpan or sand. We tried it, and although it took some getting used to at first, we loved the versatility, particularly in greenside situations. You can't hit a high lob, but bump-and-runs just got a whole lot easier. A great choice for players who struggle with shots that require unusual distances or for those who play on courses that offer a variety of lies and turf conditions. Visit

Find Your Path Using a series of magnetic pins, a mirror and alignment aids, the Path Finder ($99) is a customizable, intuitive tool that helps you practice your putting. Golfers can adjust the pins to accommodate virtually any type of stroke, and the mirror helps you ensure that the head is directly above the ball at impact. The Path Finder can be used both indoors and outdoors. A DVD, training booklet and practice cup are also included. Visit

Glove Love The high-performance football glove company, Cutters, has expanded into golf with a striking lineup that employs the company's C-Tack material in the palm, thumb and fingers. The Cabretta purists in us scoffed at first, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well these gloves performed. Available in a wide variety of sizes and color patterns, Cutter gloves not only provide top-notch performance, but also give you the opportunity to make a fashion statement on the tee box. Visit

Go Green Dixon Golf has taken "going for the green" to a whole new level with the first earth-friendly golf ball. The "Earth" golf ball ($39/dozen) is a two-piece model made entirely of reusable materials (so it can be recycled). The company even has a trade-in program where old balls can be exchanged for new ones at a highly discounted price. Visit

Radar Detector Who said you need a clubfitting studio to reap the benefits of Doppler technology? The Radar ($299), powered by Zelocity, is a hand-sized Doppler radar that measures ball velocity, carry and total distance. It also stores up to 100 swings at a time. Setup is a breeze, and it operates on an ordinary 9-volt battery. Simply take it with you to the range, and you'll have accurate readings on every shot from wedge to driver. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? We think so. Visit

I Am Tiger Woods If you've always wanted to hit the ball like Tiger, now is your chance. The new Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09 All-Play from EA Sports gives you the full Tiger experience, including training sessions with his coach, Hank Haney, who helps you not only hone your swing but also tune your clubs. Plus, for the video game-challenged, there's an all-new control system that makes it easy to use your Wii remote. Other features include party game mode, Club Tuner, performance coach and online simultaneous play. Visit

Return to Sender With The Net Return ($495), golfers can practice full shots with practically any club, just about anywhere. Made of commercial-grade polyester netting and aluminum (hitting mat included), The Net Return also can work with any instructional software program for a more enhanced practice session. Comes with a 90-day warranty. Visit

Get Personal Now you can get an assortment of Tour-proven Golf Pride grips (DD2, New Decade Multi-Compound, Tour Velvet and Tour Wrap) laser-engraved to your personal specifications. The personalized grip kit ($60) comes with everything you need to regrip your clubs at home or to drop off at your local club repair shop, including grip tape, grip solvent, vise grip and instructional video. Visit

_Ê Must-Haves: Want to add a new weapon to your arsenal? Here are some surefire options.

Callaway Diablo Hybrid Diablo may be Spanish for devil, but Callaway's new Diablo hybrid, with its red clubhead and shaft, is anything but evil.

The Diablo has three major features to help golfers add distance and forgiveness, something most golfers can't muster from hard-to-hit long irons.

Why should you pick one up? For one thing, it features a Dual Runner Sole, which reduces the amount of surface area the Diablo comes into contact with, thus making it easy to hit from any lie.

For another, it moves the CG deep and low, making it easy to get the ball airborne.

Its S2H2 (Short, Straight, Hollow, Hosel) helps move weight from the hosel and repositions it to more advantageous areas._Ê Our take? Callaway's Diablo is heavenly. callawaygolf.com_Ê $139/$159 (steel/graphite)_Ê_Ê

Cleveland CG14 CAMO Wedge Perfect to pull out of the bag on approach shots or on your next hunting trip, Cleveland's CG14 CAMO wedge incorporates the same technology found in the CG14 wedges, but with a cool camouflage finish. That's right, camouflage.

Capitalizing on the growing popularity of camo on the golf course (Cleveland also has released a CAMO bag and CAMO golf cap), the CG14 CAMO is guaranteed to be the talk of your foursome.

But it doesn't just excel in its style. The CG14 CAMO features all the great technology of the original CG14 wedge.

Features include ZIP Grooves that are milled to optimize spin and improve consistency. With a gelback insert in the trailing edge that provides a soft, yet responsive feel, the CG14 also has slight offset for enhanced trajectory control. clevelandgolf.com_Ê $129_Ê_Ê _Ê

_Ê Must-Haves: Want to add a new weapon to your arsenal? Here are some surefire options.:

PING Rapture V2 Iron Released in September 2008, PING's Rapture V2s are constructed with different metals and materials to produce what average golfers desire: longer shots and a higher ballflight.

How'd PING do it? By building a clubface out of lightweight titanium and placing a tungsten weight in the club's sole to position the CG (center of gravity) low and away from the hitting area. That move produced a higher ballflight, which then allowed PING to strengthen the clubs' lofts (in the Rapture V2 lineup, for example, the 5-iron is more like a "4.7-iron"). Stronger lofts equal longer shots._Ê

What we like the most about the Rapture V2s, however, are how high-tech they are "under the hood" and how classy they look above it._Ê Available in 3-LW, with a variety of shafts and custom fitting options. pinggolf.com_Ê $1,200

TaylorMade Burner Driver Combining the best features of the past Burner and the Tour Burner (read below for more specifics), the new model was "developed for players who love to swing big and bomb the ball long," according to the Carlsbad, Calif., company. If that sums up your approach to the game, then the Burner's for you (even if you're not a big swinger, a Burner might be for you, as it comes in a variety of lofts, a women's model and a spiffed-up TP version).

What makes the new Burner different from the others? It blends SuperFast technology (which allows golfers to swing the club faster) and a Dual Crown technology found in the Tour Burner. This combo creates a very light big stick (it tips the scales at less than 300 grams) that produces a higher launch angle and lower spin rate. Translation? Big drives. 9-, 10.5- and HT lofts available. taylormadegolf.com_Ê $399 ._Ê

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