Sneak Peak 2011

Next Year's Hottest Equipment Trends

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PRICEY OUTERWEAR THAT WILL LAST FOREVER. Nike calls its upcoming N-Destrukt product utilitarian. adidas Golf armed Bandon Dunes caddies with a customized model because it’ll conquer anything. But you can get the consumer versions of both. However, they don’t come cheap. Nike’s will run $650 and adidas’ about $500. Both models include jacket and pants.

RETURN TO FLUORESCENT GOLF BALLS. Last year’s Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X fluorescent-colored “Tour Yellow” balls were so successful that the company will expand its yellow offerings in 2011 to also include the TriSpeed Tour. Bridgestone will also offer yellow and orange versions of its popular e6 ball. Interestingly, Bridgestone reports that nearly 40 percent of golf balls sold in Japan are colored.

TURF-FRIENDLY CLUB SOLES. You’re going to hear lots about fairway woods, hybrids and irons with soles that improve interaction with the turf. The soles are more rounded so that they won’t dig in and stifle your shots, but rather will glide easier through the turf and make the most of your lie. Look for new hybrids and irons from Cobra to do the trick nicely, as will Mizuno’s upcoming JPX-800, MP-53 and MP-63 irons.

NEW, RICH-LOOKING WEDGE FINISHES. Manufacturers have always offered you a choice of wedge finishes: Chrome, bronze, satin and raw finishes have been among the most popular. Now some market leaders have debuted new and different luxe finishes on their latest wedges. Buyers of PING’s new Tour-S wedges have the option of getting the product in a golden Rustique finish that tarnishes naturally. And Titleist’s new Bob Vokey TVD model is offered in two distinctive new finishes: Bright Brushed Chrome, which isn’t a mirror finish but is brighter than regular chrome, and Oil Can Zero, which rusts gracefully while bearing a champagne look.

HYBRIDS REPLACING 5- AND 6-IRONS IN IRON SETS. PING has long been considered a trendsetter—the company fathered cavity-back irons, after all. So golf circles recently took notice upon seeing PING’s new K15 Iron/Hybrid set that offers stainless-steel hybrids in 3H, 4H, 5H and 6H hybrid clubs. In fact, the irons in the K15 set start at the 5-iron. Mind you, there have been several all-hybrid sets out in the past. But this blended set may truly raise the bar.

GLOVES WITH EXTRA BUILT IN. A golf glove is no longer there just to protect your hand from blisters. Some of the latest models have a little extra built into the chassis. For instance, Callaway’s Ion X has a metallic wristband. And TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred has a black ion cuff that wicks moisture away from your skin.


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