Shafts Sneak Peek for 2009
With all the technology packed into these 45 long shafts it isnt surprising to see some exciting new products being tested out on tour. The players on the PGA are the ultimate critics. The best in the world can feel minor adjustments to the designs. In some cases the technology is directly linked to the trends in head design. For instance we are noticing there has been a lot of modifications and improvements this year to help stabilize the large MOI heads. As the drivers have gotten larger, there is a need to stabilize the heads during off center hits.
Here are the buzz makers for 2009
UST Shafts introduces Proforce AXIVCore
Proforce AXIVCore Tour Black is for a player seeking high initial launch, low spin, and increased ball speed. It is a tour-proven design that integrates a true weave ' 4-axis material ' within the inner walls of the butt section that provides stability and consistent shaft recovery. This counter-balanced shaft reduces club heft helping players gain more MPH of clubhead speed, uses superior high modulus carbon fiber in the mid and tip section and is available in multiple weights and flexes to fit various swing profiles. The Tour Black Series flexible, low torque tip section offers high launch, low spin, and better control. AXIV material provides stability and consistent shaft recovery without sacrificing feel. Counter-balancing reduces club heft helping players gain more clubhead speed. MSRP: $ 165; MASP/Street: $139.99
Proforce AXIVCore Tour Red is for a player who generates above average ball speed seeking a penetrating launch, low spin, and stable feel. Its a tour-proven design that integrates a true weave -- 4-axis material ' within the inner walls of the butt section that provides stability and consistent shaft recovery. This counter-balanced shaft reduces club heft helping players gain more MPH of clubhead speed, uses superior high modulus carbon fiber in the mid and tip section and is available in multiple weights and flexes to fit various swing profiles. The Tour Red Series stiffer tip profile offers a penetrating launch, low spin, and firmer feel for players with above average ball speed. AXIV material provides stability and consistent shaft recovery without sacrificing feel. Counter-balancing reduces club heft helping players gain more clubhead speed. MSRP: $165; MASP/Street: $139.99
Mitsubishi Rayons newest premium shaft- Fubuki
The new FUBUKI wood shaft series incorporates a revolutionary design concept called Modulus Differential Technology (MDT). The end result is a more responsive golf shaft that reduces spin and creates more consistent launch characteristics.
Modulus Differential Technology (MDT) incorporates a revolutionary design concept that combines state-of-the-art high modulus material with specialized, more responsive, pitch based fiber in and above the tip section. The resulting design allows the different materials to work in concert, promoting enhanced feel and stability throughout the length of the golf shaft. Additionally, MDT offers a significant reduction in golf shaft deformation and lag, which promotes consistent spin reduction and a more repeatable dynamic launch angle.
The pure pearl white basecoat for the FUBUKI shaft is inspired by the meaning of the word 'FUBUKI' in Japanese which means 'BLIZZARD'. The shafts signature graphical element, the 'throwing star', is inspired by traditional weaponry of the Japanese Ninja and has been modified to represent a snowflake. The Japanese word for weapon is 'BUKI'. MSRP: $300 USD
More reviews of the FUBUKI
The new VooDoo shaft from Aldila features patented S-Core technology that dramatically stabilizes the shaft cross section through use of an internal rib system. Per Aldila, S-Core Technology allows the hoop stiffness of the VooDoo to be increased by 80% over conventional graphite and by as much as 60% over the competitions attempts at cross sectional stabilization. Increased hoop stiffness allows the VooDoo shaft to better resist ovaling or cross-sectional deformation during the swing. Thus, maximum energy is transferred to the ball rather than being wasted deforming the shaft cross section ' distance is maximized. In addition, because the symmetry of the shaft cross section is maintained throughout the swing, the shaft will load and unload much more consistently thereby enabling the player to more accurately deliver the clubhead to the ball ' accuracy and consistency are maximized.
Voodoo shafts are the buzz of the tour. Ryder cup alone saw some serious traffic from the new comer. Justin Rose, Ben Curtis, JB Holmes, Lee Westwood, Boo Weekley, and Ian Poulter all had it in play.
More talk and reviews of the VooDoo
Fujikura ATL Series
For 2009 Fujikura will launch the ATL Series (55, 65 & 75gr). These first models incorporate a mid-launch, low spin design. To understand ATL (Academy Tour Limited) it really needs to be looked at as a Canvas of products rather than the traditional 3-model series. There will be succeeding products released under the ATL umbrella throughout the coming months and years. The ATL models are and will continue to be a direct result of the research and testing that Fujikura has done at their on-site Fitting Academy the past two years. The Academy uses the highest level of motion capture technology in analyzing shaft behaviors allowing our engineers to design shafts not only for players of all levels, but to synchronize optimum performance with the new OEM clubheads. Fujikura is looking to the ATL models being the hottest shafts on tour in 2009.
GD will have an extension of YSQ available in 65 grams and 75 grams. It is a stiffer tip, lower launching, higher modulus graphite version. MSRP: $175.
Matrix Shafts - TPHD
In the one in the half years since the last advancement of the OZIK franchise, Matrix has focused on creating new means of structural strength and pushing forward their advancements in spin control. The result will be the much-anticipated series internally nicknamed HD or 16-cut. The nicknames refer to the hexadecagonal (16-sided) internal platform on which the new designs are built. The 16-cut design is meant to provide a new level of strength and stability from the shafts butt to mid sections. Matrix will do two things with this new platform of strength: (1) launch their most aggressive spin-reducing and stable feeling designs to date and (2) add the technology to previous designs to make them more stable. The flagship model is currently under the working prototype name of TPHD Gold Prototype. Matrix believes that this will be the most advanced golf shaft in production.
GolfWRX.com quoted J.C. Beeson, Vice President of Matrix Shafts
The Matrix OZIK player asked us for more stability. We sought further spin-control advancements and the opportunity to again bring something to golf that is completely unique. We have accomplished each goal. These are the best feeling golf shafts we have created. Think of the 16-cut structure as a design platform that allows us to create things that simply were not possible before. Then, think of this first prototype as us taking the best from all the previous OZIK models, stacking them on this platform, and finishing it with something new. The youngest of the World Top 10 stormed through the Ryder Cup with this in his driver. The second youngest just won the BMW and THE TOUR Championship and will get his specially-made version very soon. We could not be more excited about where our brand and this new technology are headed.
More Pics and talk about Anthony Kims Driver shaft
The OBAN Revenge
The Revenge utilizes only the most premium high-modulus pre-preg materials in the world. The Revenge design was designed to have a softer butt and tip section while maintaining a stiffer mid-section. The result of this design is a responsive shaft feeling with great feel and stability. The softer tip and adequate torque allow for a higher launch with moderate spin. This shaft is best utilized by the golfer that has a smooth consistent swing and for the player with a softer shaft load. This shaft is available in 55, 65, 75, 85 gram weights. It is also available in a 85 gm Hybrid. The Devotion is presently being used by Tour players on the PGA, Nationwide, Champions, and European Tours. MSRP - $220.00
More Oban reviews
After Further Review: Haas crash strikes a chord
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the horrifying car crash involving Bill Haas ...
I spent a lot of time this week thinking about Bill Haas. He was the passenger in a car crash that killed a member of his host family. That man, 71-year-old Mark Gibello, was a successful businessman in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a new friend.
Haas escaped without any major injuries, but he withdrew from the Genesis Open to return home to Greenville, S.C. When he’ll return to the Tour is anyone’s guess. It could be a while, as he grapples with the many emotions after surviving that horrifying crash – seriously, check out the photos – while the man next to him did not.
The entire Haas clan is some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Wish them the best in their recovery. – Ryan Lavner
On TIger Woods' missed cut at the Genesis Open ...
After missing the cut at the Genesis Open by more than a few car lengths, Tiger Woods appeared to take his early exit in stride. Perhaps that in and of itself is a form of progress.
Years ago, a second-round 76 with a tattered back-nine scorecard would have elicited a wide range of emotions. But none of them would have been particularly tempered, or optimistic, looking ahead to his next start. At age 42, though, Woods has finally ceded that a win-or-bust mentality is no longer helpful or productive.
The road back from his latest surgery will be a winding one, mixed with both ups and downs. His return at Torrey Pines qualified as the former, while his trunk slam at Riviera certainly served as the latter. There will surely be more of both in the coming weeks and months, and Woods’ ability to stomach the rough patches could prove pivotal for his long-term prognosis. - Will Gray
On the debate over increased driving distance on the PGA Tour ...
The drumbeat is only going to get louder as the game’s best get longer. On Sunday, Bubba Watson pounded his way to his 10th PGA Tour title at the Genesis Open and the average driving distance continues to climb.
Lost in the debate over driving distances and potential fixes, none of which seem to be simple, is a beacon of sanity, Riviera Country Club’s par-4 10th hole. The 10th played just over 300 yards for the week and yet yielded almost as many bogeys (86) as birdies (87) with a 4.053 stroke average.
That ranks the 10th as the 94th toughest par 4 on Tour this season, ahead of behemoths like the 480-yard first at Waialae and 549-yard 17th at Kapalua. Maybe the game doesn’t need new rules that limit how far the golf ball goes, maybe it just needs better-designed golf holes. - Rex Hoggard
On the depth of LPGA talent coming out of South Korea ...
The South Korean pipeline to the LPGA shows no signs of drying up any time soon. Jin Young Ko, 22, won her LPGA debut as a tour member Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and Hyejin Choi, 18, nearly won the right to claim LPGA membership there. The former world No. 1 amateur who just turned pro finished second playing on a sponsor exemption. Sung Hyun Park, who shared Rolex Player of the Year honors with So Yeon Ryu last year, is set to make her 2018 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And Inbee Park is set to make her return to the LPGA in two weeks at the HSBC Women’s World Championship after missing most of last year due to injury. The LPGA continues to go through South Korea no matter where this tour goes. - Randall Mell
Nature calls: Hole-out rescues Bubba's bladder
LOS ANGELES – Clinging to a one-stroke lead, Bubba Watson had just teed off on the 14th hole at Riviera Country Club and was searching for a bathroom.
“I asked Cameron [Smith], ‘where's the bathroom?’ He said, ‘On the next tee there's one. Give yourself a couple more shots, then you can go to the bathroom,’” Watson recalled. “I said, ‘So now I'm just going to hole it and go to the bathroom.’”
By the time Watson got to his shot, which had found the bunker left of the green, his caddie Ted Scott had a similar comment.
“When he went down to hit it I said, ‘You know you haven’t holed one in a long time,’” Scott said.
Watson’s shot landed just short of the hole, bounced once and crashed into the flagstick before dropping into the hole for an unlikely birdie and a two-stroke lead that he would not relinquish on his way to his third victory at the Genesis Open and his 10th PGA Tour title.
“I looked at Teddy [Scott] and said, ‘You called it.’ Then Cameron [who was paired with Watson] came over and said I called it. I’d forgotten he and I had talked about it,” Watson said.
Bubba Golf takes long road back to winner's circle
LOS ANGELES – Bubba’s back.
It’s been just two years since he hoisted a trophy on the PGA Tour, but with a mind that moves as fast as Bubba Watson’s, it must have felt like an eternity.
Since his last victory, which was also a shootout at Riviera Country Club in 2016, Watson was passed over for a captain’s pick at the 2016 Ryder Cup, endured a mystery illness, lost his confidence, his desire and the better part of 40 pounds.
He admits that along that ride he considered retirement and wondered if his best days were behind him.
“I was close [to retirement]. My wife was not close,” he conceded. “My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. She's a lot tougher than I am.”
What else could he do? With apologies to his University of Georgia education and a growing portfolio of small businesses, Watson was made to be on the golf course, particularly a golf course like Riviera, which is the canvas that brings out Bubba’s best.
In a game that can too often become a monotonous parade of fairways and greens, Watson is a freewheeling iconoclast who thrives on adversity. Where others only see straight lines and one-dimensional options, Bubba embraces the unconventional and the untried.
For a player who sometimes refers to himself in the third person, it was a perfectly Bubba moment midway through his final round on Sunday at the Genesis Open. Having stumbled out of the 54-hole lead with bogeys at Nos. 3 and 6, Watson pulled his 2-iron tee shot wildly right at the seventh because, “[his playing partners] both went left.”
From an impossible lie in thick rough with his golf ball 2 feet above his feet, Watson’s often-fragile focus zeroed in for one of the week’s most entertaining shots, which landed about 70 feet from the hole and led to a two-putt par.
“His feel for that kind of stuff, you can’t go to the range and practice that. You can’t,” said Watson’s caddie Ted Scott. “Put a ball 2 feet above your feet and then have to hold the face open and then to swing that easy. That’s why I have the best seat in the house. That’s the essence of Bubba golf.”
There were plenty of highlight moments on Sunday for Watson. There were crucial putts at Nos. 11 (birdie), 12 (par) and 13 (par) to break free of what was becoming an increasingly fluid leaderboard, and his chip-in birdie from a greenside bunker at the 14th hole extended his lead to two strokes.
“It was just a bunker shot, no big deal,” smiled Watson, who closed with a 69 for a two-stroke victory over Kevin Na and Tony Finau.
A player that can often appear handcuffed by the most straightforward of shots was at his best at Riviera, withstanding numerous challenges to win the Genesis Open for his 10th PGA Tour title.
That he did so on a frenzied afternoon that featured four different players moving into, however briefly, at last a share of the lead, Watson never appeared rattled. But, of course, we all know that wasn’t the case.
Watson can become famously uncomfortable on the course and isn’t exactly known for his ability to ignore distractions. But Riviera, where he’s now won three times, is akin to competitive Ritalin for Watson.
“[Watson] feels very comfortable moving the ball, turning it a lot. That allows him to get to a lot of the tucked pins,” said Phil Mickelson, who finished tied for sixth after moving to within one stroke of the lead early in round. “A lot of guys don't feel comfortable doing that and they end up accepting a 15 to 30 footer in the center of the green. He ends up making a lot more birdies than a lot of guys.”
It’s the soul of what Scott calls Bubba Golf, which is in simplest terms the most creative form of the game.
Watson can’t explain exactly what Bubba Golf is, but there was a telling moment earlier this week when Aaron Baddeley offered Watson an impromptu putting lesson, which Bubba said was the worst putting lesson he’d ever gotten.
“He goes, ‘how do you hit a fade?’ I said, ‘I aim it right and think fade.’ How do you hit a draw? I aim it left and think draw,” Watson said. “He said, ‘how do you putt?’ I said, ‘I don't know.’ He said, ‘well, aim it to the right when it breaks to the left, aim it to the left when it breaks to the right,’ exactly how you imagine your golf ball in the fairway or off the tee, however you imagine it, imagine it that way.”
It’s certain that there’s more going on internally, but when he’s playing his best the sum total of Watson’s game can be simply explained – see ball, hit ball. Anything more complicated than that and he runs the risk of losing what makes him so unique and – when the stars align and a course like Riviera or Augusta National, where he’s won twice, asks the right questions – virtually unbeatable.
That’s a long way from the depths of 2017, when he failed to advance past the second playoff event and dropped outside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But then, Watson has covered a lot of ground in his career on his way to 10 Tour victories.
“I never thought I could get there,” he said. “Nobody thought that Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Fla., would ever get to 10 wins, let's be honest. Without lessons, head case, hooking the ball, slicing the ball, can't putt, you know? Somehow we're here making fun of it.”
Somehow, through all the adversity and distractions, he found a way to be Bubba again.
Spieth: 'I feel great about the state of my game'
LOS ANGELES – Jordan Spieth is starting to feel confident again with the putter, which is probably a bad sign for the rest of the PGA Tour.
Spieth struggled on the greens two weeks ago at TPC Scottsdale, but he began to right the ship at Pebble Beach and cracked the top 10 this week at the Genesis Open. Perhaps more important than his final spot on the leaderboard was his standing in the strokes gained putting category – 12th among the field at Riviera Country Club, including a 24-putt performance in the third round.
Spieth closed out the week with a 4-under 67 to finish in a tie for ninth, five shots behind Bubba Watson. But after the round he spoke like a man whose preparation for the season’s first major is once again right on track.
“I was kind of, you know, skiing uphill with my putting after Phoenix and the beginning of Pebble week, and really just for a little while now through the new year,” Spieth said. “I just made some tremendous progress. I putted extremely well this week, which is awesome. I feel great about the state of my game going forward, feel like I’m in a great place at this time of the year as we’re starting to head into major season.”
Spieth will take a break next week, and where he next tees it up remains uncertain. He still has not announced a decision about playing or skipping the WGC-Mexico Championship, and he will have until 5 p.m. ET Friday to make a final decision on the no-cut event.
Whether or not he flies down to Mexico City, Spieth’s optimism has officially returned after a brief hiccup on the West Coast swing.
“For where I was starting out Phoenix to where I am and how I feel about my game going forward the rest of the year, there was a lot of progress made,” he said. “Now I’ve just got to figure out what the best schedule is for myself as we head into the Masters.”