In Their Own Words Tour Edge

By Casey BiererMay 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
Headquartered in the suburbs of Chicago, Tour Edge was founded in 1985 by David Glod, a former golf pro at Village Links Golf Club in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. David, as a young entrepreneur, truly believed there was an opportunity in the golfing industry to provide a high quality product at an affordable price. In his mind there was no reason for the trend in inflating prices that were overcoming the market. David's goal was to change the consumer's perception of value and quality in golf clubs. He designed his first club in 1987. Recently, Tour Edge introduced their new line of Exotics products. At a higher price point and packed with technology, Exotics is moving Tour Edge in to new territory.
 
A conversation with David Glod, Founder, Tour Edge
 
Casey/Q:
David, how did you get started in this business?
 
David/A:
Out of college I turned pro for two years and played a little bit in local tournaments and taught golf. The teaching thing didnt do it for me. I got bored with it quickly. But, I had always loved golf clubs and the tradition behind golf and those types of things. And I said, well, if Im ever going to design my own golf clubs and start my own business it should be right now because I have no other commitments. So I started in 1986.
 
Tour Edge
The new Tour Edge Exotics Driver
Casey/Q:
Did you have an equipment background?
 
David/A:
My background was in repair. I had a repair business even in high school and through college. I repaired golf clubs, refinished the woodsback then it was persimmon woodsre-shafted and re-gripped clubs for all the local pros. That was my basis and foundation. I began to understand how golf clubs were made and I spring boarded that in to my company.
 
Casey/Q:
When you started Tour Edge, did you have a particular approach in mind?
 
David/A:
Tour Edge started as a price point company with the idea that a top-end set of irons was $800 or so. That was pretty expensive in my book. So we would buy parts and put sets together in the beginningoffer the custom club type approachand offer the set custom built for considerably less than that $800.
 
Casey/Q:
What about your first personal design?
 
David/A:
I think my first design hit the market in 1989. That was the Fiber Sonic irons and at the time it was the widest sole in a traditional looking iron offered in the market. That was kind of what I always believed inthat the wide sole was necessary.
 
Casey/Q:
And do you act as your own designer still, now that Tour Edge has grown upso to speak?
 
David/A:
I have a team of five engineers but I still have my hands in every design that comes through Tour Edge. Its pretty much what I do as the president and founder. I try and stay on top of the technology and make my design ideas come to life with the help of the team Ive put together.
 
Casey/Q:
Now youve upped the ante and added Exotics to the mix. What precipitated that move after so many years as a value innovator?
 
David/A:
Its the stage of development I found myself in as a company and as a designer. After a while, you want to reach out and grow and it just so happened that the design path we were starting to go down would fit a price point that took us to that next level. The parts were much more expensive than our previous offerings, as well as the tooling and the overall engineering package. I believed that the product coming down the road from us was really, really good. But, we cant market it and sell it on an as-normal basis because it costs too much for us to make it. So, we had to come up with a high-end line side to the company and that side is Exotics.
 
Casey/Q:
Did you think of launching Exotics as its own company, or, did you always envision launching it under the Tour Edge umbrella?
 
David/A:
I liked the idea of having Tour Edge attached to it from the start. Weve always had a quality image, even with lower price point product, and I believed the new Exotics offerings would continue to help that image with Tour Edge products across the board.
 
Casey/Q:
Do you think your customers, known in the industry to be word-of-mouth type customers, are surprised by your addition of a high-end line?
 
David/A:
I realize where weve come from and what the great majority of our customers are interested in; our Bazooka line product that gives our customers the biggest bang for the buck. That will never go away. I enjoy that side of it. Its our main entity to be sure. Exotics are more of a new frontier for us. Its an opportunity to use some of the resources from our overall success to stretch our design and marketing efforts. To broaden our appeal in the marketto achieve new things for the company and create a new customer base. I want to see how technical we can get, how advanced we can get, and I want to see how well we can compete in the higher-end technology sector of the golf market. Without going too quick, of course. Im a realist in terms of growing this part of the company.
 
Casey/Q:
Lets start with the Exotics driver. Best of the best?
 
David/A:
At the end of the day, it is the most expensive way that I know of, currently, to make a driver. Were using the best materials and the latest, most advanced methods we can find to make this driver. The main goal is to get as much weight out of the crown as we can and thats what weve achieved with the brazing technology and the beta titanium crown. And thats pretty much the life blood of it.
 
Casey/Q:
What is combo-brazing and how does it work?
 
David/A:
First of all, the process of combo-brazing is patented. Its patented by the vendor who we deal with, not by Tour Edge. I want to make that clear. But we are allowed to use the patented process and not many other companies right now are allowed to use it. Instead of using traditional welding and creating a weld bead thats heavy and inconsistent, this is a paste thats made of several liquid metals that include silver as one of the main compounds. Silver, as Im sure you know, is pretty expensive stuff. We take the, I call it magic material, and with it are able to bond metals together with plenty of strength without adding weight to the traditional weld areas. This is done through a method of kiln heat ' extremely high temperatures in the range of 800 degrees centigrade - for approximately eight hours. It ostensibly melts the metals together. Its a very unique process.
 
Casey/Q:
Can you talk more about the advantages you see in combo-brazing?
 
David/A:
The weight reduction and reducing inconsistencies which go along with the traditional welding process of putting two parts together. These parts, to be brazed, have to be made to extremely tight tolerances in the first place so they can fit together snugly enough so that the brazing can actually take place. Right from the start the quality of parts is higher to accommodate the advanced manufacturing process. It gets expensive to create the parts that youre putting together because theyre cant be the types of gaps in fit like traditionally welded metal wood heads.
 
Casey/Q:
Do I understand correctly, you are using three different titanium offerings in the head ' crown, face and chassis?
 
David/A:
Yes. The body is just like most titanium in the industry. It is investment cast of the 6A4V type. Its good for casting the chassis. The face is extremely important and we tried a lot of different types of face materials and in the end decided on a new SP700 material from Japan. This relates closely to feel and sound to some extent. Some faces will feel, even in this exact same driver, if we try 15-5 titanium, or, 15-3-3-3it will feel and sound different than what we chose with the SP700. This SP700, for my money, feels and sounds the best when the driver head is fully formed and is in play. Aside from the re-bound properties which are generally better in beta-titanium, which, SP700 is.
 
Casey/Q:
And how about the crown?
 
David/A:
The same goes for the crown. In this Exotics model driver, its ultra-thin. Its only 0.04 millimeters thick so it is actually a paper thin crown. The only thing we could use that is a super strong material and so lightweight. And again, it made sense to use beta-titanium. We tried a whole bunch of different titanium for the crown and we decided on what we thought worked the best ' what flexed correctly on impact ' and that happened to be 15-3-3-3. So, we combine all these materials together and we test, and test and test. I believe we came up with the best responding, best sounding, best feeling driver we could under this design matrix.
 
Casey/Q:
There are also welds, though, correct?
 
David/A:
We use robotic laser welding which has the tightest finished weld gap line in the marketplace today. Its the latest, greatest way to bond materials. There is only the smallest gap between the face and body welds.
 
Casey/Q:
When you set out to make a driver like Exotics, how much is done with computer software versus modeling or, even, your gut as a designer?
 
David/A:
I think you reach the end result, a great product, with both approaches. Much of the time, considering our background, we have a pretty good idea where were going to wind up within a certain range of design parameters. But, I think its a working process as well. Its a combination of many factors when designing a new product. It can start with a clay model carved by hand ' something I like to do a lot ' its time intensive but I get to see the true shape from all perspectives in actual 3-D better than I can in CAD orientation models in the computer. But, eventually, in a driver of this complexity, for example, it certainly has to go through the CAD process and get drawn up in great detail. So for us its kind of a reverse engineering method. This is what I like the best.
 
Casey/Q:
How long in to the design processes were you with the Exotics driver before you could hit it? Also, how long for it to hit the market?
 
David/A:
It took about eight or nine months before we had something we could hit and another year or so before we got it to the point where it could actually start to be manufactured. This one took a lot of time because its kind of a touchy manufacturing process and you want to make sure you have it just right.
 
Casey/Q:
You must have invested heavily in developing this product before finally taking it to market. The norm in the golf industry now calls for a high rate of new product introductions. Will you keep this one in your line for a while?
 
David/A:
Our usual cycle is two to three years. So much of it depends on the success of the product. When these other companies are putting drivers out every four months its probably because theyre frustrated the prior driver didnt perform up to their expectations. They have to continue to generate revenue so they have to introduce another product to take the place of something that didnt have the staying power. We hope to have the Exotics driver out for at least twelve months. This would be shorter than normal for us, but, that also has to do with the type of player who is going to buy this driver. Thats the better player who is more willing to buy the latest and the greatestprobably a player who looks to buy a new driver every year. And in fairness, that is another reason why the larger companies do move so quickly in to a new model. Not always because of product failure, but also to quench the thirst of a certain segment of the buying public that wants the newest thing available.
 
Casey/Q:
Tell us about optimizing the CG angle.
 
David/A:
The optimum CG angle is something we achieve within the CAD design. It depends on what materials are being imported to that design and things like that. In the Exotics driver, we wanted a really wide CG angle, or a large CG angle, and we worked to achieve that without having to position more weight in the heel by using the tungsten weights. We want to achieve a quick release through impact and thats what a higher CG angle does. I believe ours is about 24 degrees of CG angle and that is decidedly on the high side which helps a large head close through the impact area.
 
Casey/Q:
Its really doing a couple of things, right?
 
David/A:
Yes. It helps create greater initial ball speed and it helps the player avoid the weak right push. This weak push, or weak fade, has always kind of been the rap on 460 cc drivers. The 24 degree CG angle helps to combat this.
 
Casey/Q:
Which way did you go with shafts on the Exotics driver?
 
David/A:
We offer three different premium shaft lines. We took what we think are the most advanced shafts out there ' Fujikura, Graphite Design and Aldila ' and we worked to co-design shafts within player ability groups. So, our customers have a wide range of shaft choices all of which are premium shafts. This helps us fit players with all different types of club head speed and swing tempo. For the lower swing speeds we chose Graphite Design. For the mid swing speeds we chose Fujikura and for the higher swing speeds we chose Aldila. These companies went to work with us on a kind of co-design. In my mind, all these shafts are exotic in nature and so its a good fit with the Exotics driver. Im happy to be able to offer these premium shafts to our customers.
 
Tour Edge
The new Tour Edge Exotics Combo Brazing Fairway Woods
Casey/Q:
Lets talk about the Exotics 3-wood. You guys are well known in this product category.
 
David/A:
Thank you for saying so. Yes, I think we have a really good reputation for our 3-woods. The Exotics fairway wood is completely different from the driver. A fairway wood in titanium, because of the density and the weight of the material, is not necessarily the best for a fairway wood. Steel is actually really good. But, steel by itself doesnt allow you to move enough weight around. So, we came up with this concept of using a titanium face and a steel body. Automatically, the titanium face on the Exotics 3-wood is fifty grams lighter than a steel face would be.
 
Casey/Q:
And its a cup-face design as well?
 
David/A:
Youve been doing your homework. Yes, the cup-face kind of wraps around so that it moves weight back and away from the face and more towards the steel body. Thats improving the MOI (moment of inertia) characteristics ' creating higher MOI ' getting the weight back and away from the face helps the club head resist twisting. This is the first fairway wood that has ever combined this titanium cup-face and bonded it to a steel body through this same type of unique brazing process.
 
Casey/Q:
So, in your opinion, whats the result?
 
David/A:
The golf club is an absolute rocket launcher. There is no doubt about it. Our tests prove that and I hear it every day from people who are hitting our 3-wood farther than they have every hit a fairway wood. There is no doubt in my mind it has a very high COR, close to the limit, and it has the feeling and sound of a driver due to the titanium cup-face flexing. Its a very unique 3-wood. I cant say enough about it.
 
Casey/Q:
You are a fine player in your own right. Do you pay special attention to optics in you designs?
 
David/A:
For me, that is one of the most important things in golf club design; how does it look when you set the club down behind the ball? Im a traditionalist by nature. I played with Tommy Armour persimmon woods in the old days. Im trying to keep those shapes and make the clubs appealing to the eye but with much larger club heads, obviously, and the advanced technology were all looking for these days. Optics is a key element in design especially when youre talking about better players.
 
Casey/Q:
Do you market the same product worldwide, or, do you design differently for specific markets?
 
David/A:
We went through a stage where we tried to design products specifically for Asia. For me, at the end of the day, I didnt have enough time anymore. Neither did my fellow designers. I think now its actually easier to satisfy the demands of the world market without having to make special considerations in design. Maybe thats because of the Internet, Im not really sure. I see less specific design by other companies for one market or another with the exception perhaps of Japan and Korea. For us, we might make a different shaft choice. But I think the U.S. specs are being welcomed more readily to foreign markets and perhaps thats because our clubs are a lot lighter than they used to be. American clubs have gone down considerably in terms of overall weight especially in the last five years.
 
Casey/Q:
Ive been told your 3-woods tend to fly a little lower than normal. Why?
 
David/A:
Thats probably true. The face height is one of the things that will create lower ball flight tendencies. Its a little deeper than the current shallow-face trends we see out there. I initially designed the Exotics 3-wood for mefor my own useand guys maybe who hit the ball really hard. I was looking to make the ultimate 3-wood for myself. So, swing speed is a factor in getting this 3-wood up in the air. Thats why we offer it in 15 degrees as well as the 13 degrees I use. We also sell an awful lot of 4-woods which is a confirmation of the same thing, I suppose.
 
Casey/Q:
Are you bucking the high launch trend?
 
David/A:
Not at all. Thats what the ball calls for now. Everything is about a quick, high launch angle primarily because of the golf ball situation. This is why people need more loft in drivers and maybe even in fairway woods as well. But, if youve got the right shaft in there ' the 3-woods I mean - and you have the correct loft, the ball will get up just fine. Also about our face heightyou can hit it off a tee. It doubles as a second driver in your bag on holes that are perhaps a little tighter or not quite as long. Really shallow-face drivers are somewhat limited to off-the-deck use. This Exotics fairway wood works great off-the-deck and also off a low tee.
 
Casey/Q:
Lets move on to the Exotics Ironwood.
 
David/A:
The new Exotics Ironwood is very similar to the fairway wood in terms of the manufacturing process. We have a steel body and titanium cup-face married together by that same wonderful, patented brazing process. So the face is super light and super flexible, not unlike what you see in driver face technology. We combine this with a heavier, deep-weighted steel body and then tungsten moveable back screws as well. What we were trying to do here is take that powerful feel we are so well recognized for in the 3-wood and apply it to this Exotics hybrid.
 
Casey/Q:
Hybrids continue to be an unbelievably strong product category?
 
David/A:
Clearly, hybrids are the strongest growing product category. And we thought if we could crank up the power quotient wed really have something. And Ill tell you, this baby really goes. Its flying higher and longer and with less spin than anything weve tested so far.
 
Casey/Q:
Talk about the difference between an optimal high launch angle and ballooning.
 
David/A:
Flying high with penetration is what we are all trying to achieve in this industry. We want to reduce spin and get the ball going with a quick, high launch angle; quicker and higher than in the past. In part, the golf balls are forcing us to do this because they are spinning much less, by-and-large, than they used to. Less spin to me means better flight...a more consistent flight in all weather and wind conditions. Also, if you get less spin, that means youre going to have less side spin and the ball will tend to fly straighter. Hook spin or slice spin is being reduced. I think thats the biggest benefit of getting to that level of reducing spin; hitting the ball straighter.
 
Casey/Q:
This Exotics model hybrid features moveable weights?
 
David/A:
It does. We added moveable weight for this model because we have a lot of discretionary weight that we can do cool things with. And lets face it; its a trend in the marketplace. People like to have the option of moving weight around. Its the modern version of lead tape. You can do two things with ours. You can move more weight towards the heel or towards the toe to help your tendencies or dial in a ball flight youre looking for. And, you can also reduce or increase the swing weight. Theres an optional kit we offer that allows you to do both of these things. I like both of these options quite a bit and especially for better players. Changing the swing weight can be a nice option to have.
 
Casey/Q:
OK, spell it out for us. Heel weight does what and toe weight does what?
 
David/A:
Heel weight promotes draw and toe weight promotes fade. Its that simple.
 
Casey/Q:
Can all players, regardless of ability level, benefit from moveable weight?
 
David/A:
I think in the Exotics product its mid to low handicap golfers who will benefit the most from the technology that is being offered. Honestly, I dont think higher handicap players are impacting the ball with enough consistency to dial in fade bias or draw bias. Believe me, thats not a knock on higher handicap players. Theyve been our bread and butter - and really still are - since I started the company. But, if youre honest about it, and realistic, higher handicap players dont often strike the ball in the center of the club face. To take advantage of draw, fade or even neutral bias weighted golf clubs ' certainly in terms of dialing that in with moveable weights ' thats pretty darn dependent on hitting the center of the club face on a consistent basis.
 
Casey/Q:
Hey, I appreciate you being honest about it.
 
David/A:
Youve got to strike the ball well to see it fly with a particular consistent tendency, right or left. Higher handicap players will catch the ball well from time to time, which is great. Thats what were all afterthat solid feeling hit. But, if a guy slices the ball, I mean really slices it, no amount of weight in the heel is going to correct that. Certainly not the amount of weight offered in moveable weight technology golf clubs. Companies that tell consumers that, I think, are seriously reaching.
 
Casey/Q:
Youre big on optics in this product as well?
 
David/A:
We were probably the first company that had a wood-looking body and a silver iron-like face and top-line. The silver top-line combined with a painted back or back-crown area. I kind of want to keep that going as our trademark, or as our standard look. What Im trying to do is have a hybrid that fits easily within your iron set so that if you concentrate on the silver part of the hybrid it will be just like looking at the rest of your set of irons. The top-line of the hybrid will look quite similar to the top-line of your irons in many cases. Making it easy on the eye, making sure it doesnt look too different or too funny compared to your longer irons. For example, if you carry a 3-hybrid and compare it to your 4-iron, your 4-iron doesnt look like a completely different golf club and vice versa. Its that blending idea we are trying to achieve with our ironwoods.
 
Casey/Q:
It certainly doesnt appear you are sparing much expense on your end; however, the product is still competitively priced relative to the high-end sector of the market?
 
David/A:
Dual Durometer grips are standard. High-end exotic shafts are offered from Fujikura and from Aldila in graphite and Nippon in steel. Our studies showed that we couldnt really have a $400 hybrid out there like we have in the driver. We chose to be more competitive with this one at $199. But, top of the line is top of the line. You have to use the best materials and the best elements to complete the club. $199 is still at the higher end of most of the hybrids out there, but, I think everyone needs to try one of these before they question the price.
 
Casey/Q:
Lets talk about your hybrid iron line. Its an iron that looks like a blade?
 
David/A:
Yes, an unbelievably exciting product category. We call it a hybrid iron because it has a lot of hybrid-like technology to offer. Its got hollow technology with the hollow box back. Its got a huge tungsten weight on the sole thats welded to the steel face. It actually weighs 100 grams100 grams of tungsten. Its a very hybrid feeling clublow center of gravity for an iron with an extremely traditional look. We like that combination and I know a lot of good players will like it as well.
 
Casey/Q:
Whats up with the hollow box?
 
David/A:
Theres kind of a hollow box shape on the inside, and that box area has a perimeter that surrounds the sweet spot. That puts a little more weight and structure behind the area of the face just off the sweet spot. These are the places where a decent player hits a little off-center but not super off-center. Theyll get a little extra good feel from the box on less than perfectly struck shots. Its a physical engineering characteristic that Im quite pleased with. Even very good players arent hitting it perfectly square every time and this structure helps on slightly miss hit balls.
 
Casey/Q:
Which way did you go on the shaft in this set?
 
David/A:
It has a Nippon shaft ' the 950GH in steel ' this shaft has been super hot in Japan the last few years and Im a big fan of the quality and the consistency of the shaft. For my money, its spectacular. Weve been really happy to have that as our stock offering steel shaft. And, again, were using Fujikura as our graphite shaft in the irons. These two offerings are the main point of difference and we believe both shafts truly benefit the overall performance of the irons.
 
Casey/Q:
How do you handle the testing of your product before it heads to market?
 
David/A:
Our first test is always lab testing with swing speed and initial ball velocity analysis, ball flight monitorsmaking sure were getting in to the league of where we intended to be with the product from a trajectory and distance standpoint. Once we get past that lab testing, then we use focus type groups at two levels: mid and lower handicap players, and then, certainly, all my buddies around here in the Chicago area. Theyre always standing around my door waiting for the new stuff to come out.
 
Casey/Q:
You must be a popular guy at certain times of the year.
 
David/A:
Theres no doubt about that. Testing for us is a combination of things and its obviously important. Its also, perhaps, a little easier than people might think. Golf is hands on, its about feel and playabilitya mental and physical connection with the equipment when you stand up and look at that stick. And that first hit, the first time you make impact, how does that feel and what sensation is delivered back to your hands? Usually you know almost right away if you have a winner.
 
Casey/Q:
In addition to the new Exotics driver, another of your drivers, the V25also big in the technology department?
 
David/Q:
Without a doubt. We pack a ton technology in to this driver. We take three statically different heads in the V25 model driver ' set weight specifications ' and go from there. For instance, our draw model has a fairly closed face angle with a more upright lie angle. Conversely, our fade model has a two degree open face and a little bit of a flat lie angle. Right out of the gate they are going to tend to draw or fade the ball as they are designed to do. Then, on top of that, we have the moveable weights that allow the golfer to dial in the final trajectory. If he takes the draw bias driver, for example, and hes hooking it too much, he can add some weight to the toe and still be in the draw category. We try to take the concept of moveable weights to the next level and I believe weve done that in this driver.
 
Casey/Q:
And in terms of structure, how do the Exotics and V25 differ?
 
David/A:
There are two parts to the V25 driver while the Exotics driver has three. In the V25 theres a casting body of titanium and then there is the titanium cup-face as well. We use more conventional welding in this head just like the rest of the majority of manufacturers do. Its still a high-end method; its just not to the level of the brazing used in the Exotics.
 
Casey/Q:
And price points?
 
David/A:
The V25 is $299 and the Exotics is $399.
 
Casey/Q:
Are you making enough money over there, David?
 
David/A:
No, actually were giving it away at those prices.
 
Casey/Q:
Lets move over to your Bazooka products. This is still your bread and butter?
 
David/A:
I believe so. Id like someone to shoe me more golf club for the money anywhere in the world. The new Bazooka jMAX QL driver ' QL stands for Quick Launch ' this is a real titanium driver. There are a lot of bells and whistles and this driver is made to very exacting quality standards as well, however, at the price Tour Edge customers have become used to. There arent many drivers out there in titanium that you can get for $149; mainly because the cost of titanium went up about 30% in the last two years. However, were still making it work at that level. Its a great product and I think people will recognize the quality and value when they hit the driver.
 
Casey/Q:
Whats the size?
 
David/A:
Its 455 cc which is most of the way there to 460cc, plus, a deep face with to-the-limit COR. It has fixed weighting, as with the Exotics driver, in the heel and rear area of the sole for a deep, low center of gravity. The driver, I think, tests remarkably well and plays remarkably wellcertainly better than anything else at its price point.
 
Casey/Q:
And the jMAX QL fairway woods?
 
David/A:
The fairway woods are hyper-steel in nature which I believe make the fairway woods sound a little bit better than 17-4 stainless. It also allows us to make the face a little thinner so we can put more of the weight down low. We have a wonderful reputation worldwide for our fairway woods. There are a few secrets involved in terms of how we make them, that, unfortunately, I cant share with you. But, this fairway wood design of the new Bazooka QL is based on many of our past models where we have been successful. The Any Lie fairway woods, for examplewe had that in our line six or seven years ago. The basic design platforms are kept in place because they work.
 
Casey/Q:
And the shaft in these?
 
David/A:
You get a Grafalloy Quick Launch shaft which is based on the Pro Launch platform from Grafalloy. Youre getting a premium shaft in a club that retails at $129. These are the products that we do the most volume in. They are extremely user-friendly products at a remarkably good price.
 
Casey/Q:
Talk a little about off-set woods?
 
David/A:
Usually the off-set driver is geared for the player who slices that ball. If you have a chance to test it you can really see the difference. That off-set adds quite a bit of CG angle; what we talked about earlier. In fact, the off-set Bazooka driver has more CG angle than any of our other drivers and thats what helps make the ball go left. This whole line is designed with slice-fighting in mind. Thats about 80% of the golfing public and those are mostly the people we are selling to.
 
Casey/Q:
Is there a stigma attached to off-set drivers?
 
David/A:
The off-set side of the industry was wide open a few years ago and became much more popular of late. However, it is a smaller percentage of our business than normally configured drivers. I think we were one of the first companies to really get in to offering all the off-set models. Aesthetically, youre right. There are issues there with having that off-set hosel. But, in most cases, we find if the player hits the ball straight all of a sudden after using the off-set model and that player used to be a big slice guy, who cares. Give me the club I hit the best. The aesthetics can be overcome if the player gets results.
 
Casey/Q:
Check your ego at the door where golf is concerned?
 
David/A:
Checking your ego is a very good idea. Especially with the technology that is out there these days.
 
Casey/Q:
Whats your Houdini line all about?
 
David/A:
The Houdini products are about magic. They are about loft. As we have found over the last few years, as well as have other manufacturers, with the golf ball changing so quickly loft is an issue. Getting the low spin balls to fly properly for slower swing speed players is an issue. They need more loft. The only loft we offer in the Houdini driver is16 degrees because thats what a lot of slower swing speed players need to get the right launch angle. Theyre not going to get that launch angle through club head speed. Theyre going to get it with a pre-set higher loft. This is especially good for seniors and women. I know my wife hits it 200 yards, seemingly by magic. The ball is going great for her. She used to hit this ugly worm burner and now the ball is flying longer than ever before for her; nice and high and it has that wow factor just about every time she hits it. Thats why we tagged it Houdini. Its kind of magical in the way it can help the ball flygreat for players who have never really experienced hitting a high ball.
 
Casey/Q:
Youve also taken one inch off the shaft?
 
David/A:
Yes. Thats an effort to help higher handicap players strike the ball more solidly more often. If they need this type of loft to help get the ball airborne, they most likely also need help hitting the ball more consistently. The one inch less helps get them a little closer to the ball and they are going to hit it more solidly. Either way, the extra inch at slower swing speeds is probably only worth three to five yards. And thats only if youre hitting it on the screws. So, theyll probably actually hit the shorter shaft driver farther because they are hitting it more solid.
 
Casey/Q:
A trend you think?
 
David/A:
I think youll see more of this coming in the future from other manufacturers. Things do tend to trend in this industry. Theres nothing wrong with more control in the game of golf, either. A shorter shaft driver will give you more control.
 
Casey/Q:
Did we save your best for last, perhaps? The original Bazooka Ironwoods ' Tour and standard, or original
 
David/A:
Our Bazooka Ironwoods are our grand-slam; hit it out of the park, number one selling golf club we have ever made. We have been very highly rated with this product since it came out. Its simply because we have a good understanding of ironwood and hybrid manufacturing. We were one of the first companies to put one out on the market going on almost ten years ago. The engineering behind this golf club is nothing short of spectacular. It allows more weight than any other iron-shaped hybrid to be placed on the sole. Weve got the thinnest face, wonderful sound, the beautiful aesthetics of a traditional iron combined with a big, hollow body. Its been very exciting for us with this product over the last two-and-a-half years now, just to watch the success and hear the stories people tell us about how much they like the product. Its very gratifying to have people tell us how easy it is to hit these golf clubs and how much these golf clubs have helped their game.
 
Casey/Q:
And the difference between the original and the tour models?
 
David/A:
The difference between tour and original is really in the shape, and, the original has much more generous off-set. The material is the same as in our fairway woodsthe hyper-steel materialwhich is harder than normal stainless steel. This allows us to make the face a little thinner which in turn gives us that great sound at impact. A bit of a click versus a thud. I like that in this product.
 
Casey/Q:
You also seem to do quite well for the ladies with your line.
 
David/A:
From Exotics on down we offer ladies, usually with multiple flex shafts, and in left hand. So, we are very aware of the womens market and were happy about that.
 
Casey/Q:
The Moda womens set is a complete set?
 
David/A:
The Moda womens line is specifically about taking the full-set concept and making a value priced, fully flowing set which has three woods, two hybrids and five irons to make up a ten piece set at a great price. Its $599 with ultra light weight, 55 gram graphite shafts, and really wide sole irons. On top of that, a full titanium driver with 14 degrees of loft to help get the ball in the air even with lower swing speeds. It also includes a beautiful cart bag. So, its very specific to the womens market and also very price sensitive.
 
Casey/Q:
Now, lets hear about this V25 putter.
 
David/A:
The V25 putterfor a player that likes to adjust weight, this has got to be the mother load. This putter is the ultimate dream for the player who likes to tinker. I think even more than that, though, it really shows what you can do with extra weight when the platform is in place to properly move weight around.
 
Casey/Q:
What kind of weight are we talking about?
 
David/A:
We have 80 grams of weight that can be moved in or out of this putter as well as in different regions of the back from the heel to the toe. You can actually achieve many different launch conditions with the putter depending on where the weight is relative to what surface you are putting on. As far as the product Ive tested, I cant think of another putter that lets you dial in the feel you are looking for more than this putter does. There is a huge variable in terms of moving the weight and you can do it quite quickly as well. You can actually fit the green speed and type of grass and type of roll youre looking for that week, or that day.
 
Casey/Q:
How is the weight configured?
 
David/A:
There are four different weight ports and you can put any of the gram weights we offer in any of those weight ports. If you look closely at the putter youll see it says V25 and then it has a little number six. This is a little play on numbers indicating there are 256 possible weight configurations. Thats pretty wild. We asked ourselves what can you do with weight movement and then we took it to the extreme. It has a nice light aluminum body so we can move a lot of weight and the aluminum still feels good. And also, its large which is popular with people in terms of helping with alignment. The putter retails for $149 and that includes all the weight kits you need to have fun.
 
Casey/Q:
So, David, Tour Edge? You like where youre going?
 
David/A:
Tour Edge has gained a lot of knowledge while growing in popularitythrough mostly word-of-mouthover the last fifteen years. Were at a new level now with the Exotics at the high-end and Tour Edge at the mid level. I believe were coming close to being recognized as a top ten company in the golf club industry. And I think that is because of what weve accomplished in terms of people trying our stuff and thinking that we make pretty good golf equipment. Not because we spend millions upon millions of dollars advertising, rather, because people try our stuff and they like it. Then they tell their friends, and those friends tell other friends, and so on, and so on. And theres nothing better than that, really. Making really good stuff and having people tell you that you have helped their gamethat is very satisfying for us and I love that part of what we do.
 
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If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''