May 2010

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

Now Playing: Scratch 8620 Wedge

Scratch's 8620 wedge ($99) comes in three grinds: the sweeper/slider for those who pick the ball off the ground; the driver/slider for players who take mild divots with their wedges; and the digger/driver for aggressive and steep swing types. Comes in five models, from 50_¡ to 60_¡.

The conservative head shape of Adams' Tom Watson wedge ($99 per 3-pack) is designed for optimized performance, versatility and forgiveness, while its aggressive box-groove volume enhances spin and control. Available in both Classic and Players grinds, and in satin or chrome finish. Lofts range from 52_¡ to 64_¡. There's even an HL (high loft) model.

Grain-flow forged from 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel, Mizuno's MP T-10 wedge ($120) provides a soft, solid and consistent feel around the greens. Players looking to maximize spin control should dig its aggressive and consistent Quad Cut Grooves. Lofts range from 50_¡ to 64_¡. Comes in White Satin or Black Satin finish.

Bridgestone's J38 Black Oxide Precision wedge ($119) is shaped to replicate the finer hand-ground Tour-level wedges and incorporates Variable Bounce Technology for less bounce on the heel and toe, so you can more easily open and close the face. Its CNC-milled clubface yields consistent distance control and extra spin on shorter shots. Available in five lofts (52_¡, 54_¡, 56_¡, 58_¡, 60_¡) with DG steel shafts.

SeeMore's mSeries DB4 putter ($295-$325) is a classic blade that's all about alignment. The heel-shafted plumber's neck visually deflects the red dot and white lines of the alignment system away from the ball, which helps eliminate optical distraction. (And it works!) Perfect for golfers who struggle with aiming and aligning putts.

If you find it hard to bend over and pick your ball out of the cup, the folks who invented the Pic Putter ($129) can help. This cast, stainless-steel mini mallet has an underside cavity that not only creates heel/toe weighting, but also is shaped like a golf ball and works like a suction cup. What's best is that the Pic head is small enough to fit inside a golf hole–without damaging the lip. Features a CNC-milled face, offset head and user-friendly alignment markings. USGA approved.

The copper-infused face insert on Cleveland Golf's new Classic BRZ series putters ($89) produces a soft, responsive feel–just the thing to build confidence on the green. Perfect for golfers who want a classic-shaped value putter with lots of 21st-century technology "under the hood." Comes with an oil-treated cloth that prevents oxidation. Four models available, each finished in bronze PVD to minimize glare.

Weight placed deep in its rear corner gives Rife's Deep Blue putter ($169) great stability and a high MOI. Not to mention it feels super soft on contact due to a __-inch-thick fully milled aluminum face insert. Great for golfers who like light putters that are easy to align.

The center body cutout of PING's iN 1__ã2 Wack-E putter ($170) moves weight to its perimeter and increases stability during the stroke. Golfers who crave a soft impact will appreciate the first-of-its-kind, nano-nickel-plated, lightweight polymer face insert. Ten models available, many of which are company staples.

FootJoy's new Sport shoe ($135) features an EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole for a lightweight cushioning underfoot, and full-grain leather uppers that result in a breathable shoe. Comes with CHAMP Stinger cleats and a two-year waterproof warranty.

Claiming to be the lightest shoe in golf, the V-Lite Zero G ($99) from Hi-Tec weighs a mere 10 ounces. (Really, can a shoe be any lighter than that?) Add it all up after 18 holes and you've got a shoe that weighs two tons less than a normal shoe. Featuring a tech mesh upper and EVC (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole. One-year waterproof guarantee.

Nike's new Tour Premium shoes ($250) sport a rich, full-grain leather upper and a plush full-length Phylon midsole that creates what the company calls a "king-size footbed with exceptional cushioning." Plus they stabilize your feet for better balance. How? Via the Nike Power Platform TW (TPU). They come with a two-year limited warranty and Scorpion Stinger Spikes.


It's A Wrap

Cleatskins' Golfskins ($25) help take golfers from the course to the clubhouse without requiring a change of shoes. Constructed of SKINTEK rubber, a unique formulation of compression-molded rubber, Golfskins cups the bottom of your golf shoes to extend the life of cleats, help improve mobility and safety on asphalt and provide a sealed barrier to keep dirt and grass out of your home and car. Available in six colors.

The new SkyCaddie SGX ($399) from SkyGolf supports SkyCaddie's database of courses offering Interactive HoleVue, which enables the golfer to know the distance to any point on a hole. Another cool feature (debuting in June) is SkyCaddie's SGX SmartClub Technology. What's that? SmartClub Tags located at the butt-end cap of the grip inform golfers if a club is left behind, and track the geo-location and distances of each shot.

Sun Mountain's new power-assisted Micro E Cart ($799) is the perfect alternative for golfers who like to walk the course, but not push a cart or carry a bag. All you have to do is walk behind it and steer. Features cruise control and dynamic braking that keep the cart rolling at a consistent speed. Folds down easily and fits into a car trunk. Weighs 25 pounds (battery weighs 20 pounds). Available in black or silver.

Cleveland Golf's new CG1 Tour irons ($799) feature a level of forgiveness never seen in a blade. The split-cavity-back long irons and muscle-back mid/short irons look traditional and provide extra forgiveness and the workability and feel of a blade. Using the precision accuracy of a laser, each face features four perfectly calibrated texture lines milled between each groove.

The Callaway Tour Authentic umbrella ($49) features a 68-inch wide canopy and is made from 100 percent nylon fabric. Features a custom molded handle and can resist winds up to 60 mph. Perfect for those blustery spring days and, apparently, hurricanes.

Tour Edge's new HT Max fairway wood ($119) features advanced heel-toe weighting that helps deliver longer, more accurate shots from the short grass. Features four internal weight cavities in the heel and toe that lower and deepen the CG for a higher MOI. An added power boost comes from a face that's 15 percent larger and creates an oversized sweet spot for consistent shots. Comes in four lofts (15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡) and with a stock UST Mamiya shaft (L, A. R, S, X).

The Acer Insider ($19.95/clubhead) features an optical alignment system designed to help each club sit squarely behind the ball. It's easy to align and one of the best values of any club we've seen, plus the crown has variable thickness for better energy transfer and a higher MOI. Comes in three lofts (16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡) with custom shaft options.

Louisville's new, persimmon NIBLICK Vanguard__ðs ($209-$239) boasts that 70 percent of its CG is located below the ball's equator when it strikes the face, making for a quick, easy launch and a trajectory that lands soft. Incorporates a vertical stripe in the insert, making alignment easier at address. Comes with a V-shaped stainless-steel soleplate and either a steel or graphite shaft (L, A, R, S, X flexes). Right-handed only. Three lofts: 16_¡, 21_¡ and 24_¡.

The Black Widow Fusion grip ($3.99 to $9.39) from Softspikes features a dual-compound material that's firm where you need it and soft where you like it. But what we liked the most is that, like the variety of other new grips from Black Widow, the Fusion has an aggressive pattern that breathes new life into a lesser-exciting product category. Standard weight.

The PTS Evolution golf tee ($8) from PrideSports is an environmentally friendly golf tee engineered with a head design that creates less friction between the golf ball and tee, and delivers enhanced aerodynamics for longer drives. Features the popular Professional Tee System that identifies the golf tee lengths that work best for today's metal woods. Available in two lengths and made of recycled plastic.


Fatten Up

The 85-gram SuperStroke Lite Fatso ($40) from Tiger Shark features a slip-on design for easier installation and a multicompound material that's both tacky and durable. But its mammoth size is what makes it perfect for golfers who struggle with the yips.

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