COBRA STRIKES: As part of the Acushnet Co. golf empire, which includes Titleist and FootJoy, Cobra Golf wont be at the PGA Merchandise Show Jan. 23-26 in Orlando. Acushnet opted out of the show this year, planning to direct its marketing dollars elsewhere.
But its full speed ahead with product introductions nonetheless. Titleist has a new driver on tour, and the next generation of NXT golf balls is due soon.
Cobra is ready with new irons and an addition to its driver line. The new SS-i irons, an enhancement to the SS models, feature a urethane insert on the back of the clubhead to suck up some of the vibration big-cavity, thin-faced irons can produce. The sole is the same skid design that was on the original SS line; its meant to reduce mishits by getting through the turf better.
The SS-i irons will ship on Feb. 1. Suggested retail prices per eight-club set will be $559 for mens clubs with steel shafts and $684 for mens, senior and womens clubs with graphite shafts.
Cobra claims to be the fastest growing iron brand in the business. Citing figures from industry metrics leader Golf Datatech, Cobra says it has a combined on-course/off-course golf shop market share of 6.8 percent, up from 3 percent last year. The on-course share has doubled from 5.9 percent to 11.9 percent over the last 12 months, Cobra says, which vaulted it from the No. 10 best-selling iron on-course to No. 3, behind Callaway Golf and sister brand Titleist.
The new driver in the SS line will be the 380, an intermediate head size to join the existing 350 and 427 models. The titanium head offers an outsize sweet spot, Cobra says, and a new welding process allows the benefits of a higher coefficient of restitution to be spread over more of the clubface.
The new driver also ships Feb. 1. Suggested retail price will be $369; a 350 cc Tour model will be available for the same price.
TMaG EMPTIES THE LOADING DOCK: TaylorMade-adidas Golf will be at the PGA Show, but it pulled the trigger already on four new products, just to whet golfer appetites.
The rac LT iron, the lower-trajectory model of the companys rac (relative amplitude coefficient) family, has a back-rim insert called the Tuned Performance Cartridge. It helps distribute weight to the perimeter of the club, TMaG says. The club joins the OS model, introduced last month, in the rac line. Suggested retail: $900 with steel shafts, $1,100 with graphite.
The rac MB is a muscleback model for players who like a blade look and want to work the ball. The clubheads are coin-forged, a process that involves precise compression into shape after the usual forging strikes. Suggested retail is $1,120 per set with Flighted Rifle steel shafts.
The V-Steel fairway woods feature a V-shaped sole to cut down on turf resistance. The clubface is made the same way as the TMaG R500 driver, which spreads out the high-C.O.R. area of the face, TMaG says. Suggested retail: $240 per club with steel shafts; $300 with graphite.
And finally, the rac Fe2O3 wedge is for players who prefer the unchromed, meant-to-rust kind of clubhead in their wedges. Special precision-milled Dual Draft grooves impart more backspin, TMaG says. Many lofts and bounces will be available at $140 per club.
MORE NIKE SIGNINGS: In pursuit of its plan to broaden tour usage of its new TA2 golf ball, Nike has signed three more players this week: Stephen Ames, Rory Sabbatini and PGA Tour rookie Jason Gore will tee up the new ball.
TOUR, GOLF WAREHOUSE IN DEAL: Leaders in the golf Internet business are emerging now that the segment is maturing. The Golf Warehouse will run the PGA Tours online shop at PGATOUR.com under a new private-label arrangement that will offer 20,000 apparel, equipment and accessory items. TGW will also handle catalog sales for the Tour.
The Tour considers this a relaunch of the retail section of its site, which attracts about a million visitors a month. TGW, based in Wichita, Kan., is in its fifth year of operations.
CLOSING THOUGHT FOR GOLF BALL SHOPPERS: Remember compression?