How Do You Like Your Driver Sir

By George WhiteJanuary 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO -- MacGregor has the V-Foil. Callaway has the ERC. Mizuno touts the MP. Srixon trumpets the W-302. So does Tommy Armour with its 845, Ram with its FX5, Dunlop with its LoCo.
Sound confusing? Each is the best driver in the world, if you would believe the publicity brochures. But obviously, there can be only one best. The exhibitors at the PGA Merchandise Show put their products out there for you to examine, and hope you will choose their warclub to play your Saturday morning scrape-arounds.
Without a doubt, all can help you. They are just a tiny portion of the improvements made on the 2004 clubs. But only a fool would assume the entire laundry list of club changes can help every player. As each individual is different, with different swing flaws, so, too, are the many different brands fully capable of best helping the individual player.
Length accuracy and precision. Every golfer wants more length. But can you get it and not sacrifice the accuracy that will leave you in the fairway? The clubs at the Show will help, though of course there never has been a club invented yet that a terrible swing couldnt foil.
Below are just a few of the myriad number on display this week:
MACGREGOR ' Heres the scoop - 62 percent more mass, low and deep below the hitting area for high launch; perimeter weighting for less twisting at impact and greater accuracy; and a deeper center of gravity for a larger effective hitting area.
The V-Foil features something called an Eye-O-Matic face, which is where the explanation gets pretty technical. Suffice it to say that it is designed to hit drives straighter and to better provide easy visual alignment.
Nike GolfNIKE ' Nikes serves up the Ignite driver for 2004, a club made of a material called NexTi Titanium. Nike touts it as the strongest titanium ever invented, and Ignites 460ccs make it one of the industrys biggest heads.
The Ignite also features Around the Crown design, a construction that actually wraps the face over the top line of the club head. And Nike has done it with a large 460cc head. The expanded sweet spot was the next logical step toward reaching peak distance and control.
CALLAWAY ' The ERC Fusion is one of many Callaway offerings this year. The company combines part forged titanium and part carbon composite to make the ERC ' properties which allow for greater swing speed and power over a larger area of the clubface.
The club has three weights inserted internally, giving it three times more discretionary weighting, Callaway says, than an all-titanium driver of the same size. The weights also make the driver more resistant to twisting.
MIZUNO ' The MP-001 driver is also a carbon fiber composite crown blended with a titanium face and body. This creates a lower, deeper center of gravity. That, in turn, optimizes launch angle and reduces spin.
Mizuno says the drivers design, utilizing the high-tech materials, will generate long, accurate drives for players of all abilities.
TOMMY ARMOUR ' Tommy Armour remembers days gone by with the 845 Forged Persimmon driver. Of course, it really isnt persimmon. But the head resembles the old persimmon clubs.
The club features a bore-through shaft to provide stability, and the center of gravity has been concentrated in the back. Of course, this provides an optimum launch angle. And the old product standby ' the Silver Scot ' has an extra-large sweet spot which better straightens out those off-center hits.
DUNLOP ' The LoCo Pro series includes a driver that has a large 450cc head and is forged construction. The TP (Total Performance) 420 set has a smaller face at 420ccs. The Motive driver has the smallest head of all at 400ccs.
SRIXON ' Srixons W-302 driver has a rather small head at 380ccs, but has an internal weighting scheme that is geared to the faster swinger. The XX10 series plays especially well for higher handicappers, possessing a very low center of gravity to get the ball up in the air quickly with reduced spin.
RAM ' The FX series is one of Rams prime offerings. The FX5 is a 400cc titanium head and has a reduced center of gravity ' of course that aids in hitting higher, longer and more accurate shots. The FX3 is engineered to square the club face every time, which leads to longer and straighter drives.
LA JOLLA ' The premium line is the LJC Titanium driver. The oversized 450cc High Launch features 14 degrees of loft, allowing for the always-elusive straighter shots. La Jolla says that every clubhead undergoes 85 quality control checks, including tests for wall thickness, co-efficient of restitution and face angle.
TOP-FLITE ' Top-Flite has a fantastic idea ' they are introducing a driver that carries a $200-or-less price range. The Top-Flite Tour titanium driver retails at only $129 and offers an optimum launch angle thanks to a low center of gravity and a deep-face design that provides faster ball speed.
ALPHA ' This company boasts a large, 460cc driver with a two-piece forged titanium head ' the C380.2 model. The sweet spot is greatly enhanced by an oval face and the thin cold-forged titanium face.
NANCY LOPEZ GOLF ' The Torri set offers every club ' all 10 of them - in a metal-wood design geared toward the woman golfer. The Ti driver has an offset hosel and a 14-degree face, providing plenty of loft that gives maximum lift. The hybrid fairway clubs-irons feature heavier heads than traditional irons. This rethinking of conventional golf logic has created clubs that are easier to hit, making golf much more fun.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage of the PGA Merchandise Show
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.