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
Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open
The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.
The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.
In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.
Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:
Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties
Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties
HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties
John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties
Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.
Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.
Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.
Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.
Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.
J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.
Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.
Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.
DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.
LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.
Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance
Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.
In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.
"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"
Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.
"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.
The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.
"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.
Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.
Class of 2011: The groups before The Group
We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.
God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).
We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.
Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.
|MORE ON THE Class of 2011|
|Lavner: Origins of the Class|
|Hoggard: Who's got next?|
|Gray: The struggle is real|
|Baggs: Other great 'groups'|
|Photos: The AJGA days|
There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.
It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.
Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.
Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:
BORN IN 1912
|Birthdate||Player||PGA Tour wins||Major wins|
|Feb. 4, 1912||Byron Nelson||52||5|
|May 27, 1912||Sam Snead||82||7|
|Aug. 13, 1912||Ben Hogan||64||9|
Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.
BORN IN 1949
|Birthdate||Player||PGA Tour wins||Major wins|
|Sept. 4, 1949||Tom Watson||39||8|
|Dec. 5, 1949||Lanny Wadkins||21||1|
|Dec. 9, 1949||Tom Kite||19||1|
Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.
BORN IN 1955
|Birthdate||Player||PGA Tour wins||Major wins|
|Jan. 30, 1955||Curtis Strange||17||2|
|Jan. 30, 1955||Payne Stewart||11||3|
|Feb. 10, 1955||Greg Norman||20||2|
Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.
WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57
|Birthdate||Player||LPGA wins||Major wins|
|Feb. 22, 1956||Amy Alcott||29||5|
|Oct. 14, 1956||Beth Daniel||33||1|
|Oct. 27, 1956||Patty Sheehan||35||6|
|Jan. 6, 1957||Nancy Lopez||48||3|
A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.
EUROPE'S BIG 5
|Birthdate||Player||Euro (PGA Tour) wins||Major wins|
|April 9, 1957||Seve Ballesteros||50 (9)||5|
|July 18, 1957||Nick Faldo||30 (9)||6|
|Aug. 27, 1957||Bernhard Langer||42 (3)||2|
|Feb. 9, 1958||Sandy Lyle||18 (6)||2|
|March 2, 1958||Ian Woosnam||29 (2)||1|
The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.
WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70
|Birthdate||Player||PGA Tour wins||Major wins|
|Sept. 12, 1969||Angel Cabrera||3||2|
|Oct. 17, 1969||Ernie Els||19||4|
|May 12, 1970||Jim Furyk||17||1|
|May 12, 1970||Mike Weir||8||1|
|June 16, 1970||Phil Mickelson||42||5|
Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.
BORN IN 1980
|Birthdate||Player||PGA Tour wins||Major wins|
|Jan. 9, 1980||Sergio Garcia||10||1|
|July 16, 1980||Adam Scott||13||1|
|July 30, 1980||Justin Rose||8||1|
Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.
Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.