By ED TRAVIS
Each January we attend the PGA Merchandise Show to find interesting and significant products among those being introduced by manufacturers and our discussions with them give us a practical understanding of the technology and which kind of golfer is being targeted for a particular piece of gear. This along with our staff’s several decades of experience allows us to “filter” the thousands of the latest offerings for Golf Oklahoma readers.
We don’t try to cover everything, an impossible task for even the most dedicated publication, but bring to you some the most significant gear we found in several categories.
Callaway Golf Mavrik $499 – three models are successors to last year’s bestselling Epic Flash all engineered on a supercomputer using advance artificial intelligence. The new offerings are game-improvement category Mavrik, super game-improvement and even more forgiving Mavrik Max and better-player Mavrik Sub Zero. All use new Flash Face FSS20 design, T2C Triaxial Carbon crown and Jailbreak internal rods. Standard is mid-level spin with draw bias, Max is easy to launch with extra draw bias and interchangeable weights, Sub Zero 450cc low spin neutral ball flight and flatter lie. www.Callawaygolf.com
Cobra Golf King Speedzone $499 – Speedzone makes the highly aerodynamic shape of the F9 Speedback even slipperier and adds a forged titanium CNC milled wrap-around face with a larger milled area. The carbon fiber crown extends around to the sole and has an internal titanium strap for added strength. Over 50 percent of the head is carbon fiber and the weighting low in the rear of the head produces higher launch and lower spin. The game-improvement Speedzone has a traditional profile and the super game-improvement Speedzone Xtreme has a larger shape with added weight in the rear. www.Cobragolf.com
Honma Golf TR20 $650 – two sizes 440cc and 460cc in the better-players category. Titanium frame with carbon fiber crown and panels on the sole.
An inner hosel ring changes loft (+/- 1°), face angle (+/- 1.5°) and lie (<2°) without altering the relationship of shaft and clubhead. Three changeable sole weights with a choice of five weights between 3 and 15 grams. www.us.honmagolf.com
Knuth Golf High Heat 257+ $399 – High Heat takes advantage of the USGA rules allowing a clubface to have higher trampoline effect towards the heel and toe, what Knuth calls the 3-Trampoline Technology face. The effect is that the miss amateurs most often have, not hitting the ball in the center sweet spot, can to a degree be compensated. Knuth for the new year has added the TGS or Turf Glider Sole designed so the club must glide over the turf rather than dig in. Available in three lofts and there is a similarly built High Heat 257+ hybrid $299 with a choice of five lofts from 19° to 31°. Highheatgolf.com
Tour Edge EXS 220 $250 – Key features are an easy launch low spin construction of 14 percent lighter hyper-steel with weight relocated to the rear and center of sole which has two large panels of carbon fiber. Nine-gram back weight and four optional weights available from 3 to 14 grams. Inside of cup face has diamond pattern that produces more ball speed, lower spin and helps on off center impacts. Confidence-inspiring acoustics from sound internal diffusion bar. Speed channels in sole widened giving smoother ground contact. EXS 220 Hybrids offer choice of five lofts. www.Touredge.com
Argolf AR-F15 – From France and riding a wave of publicity for their putters, Argolf has parlayed their aerospace industry experience to get into the very competitive iron market with these better-player category irons. Quadruple forged from S20C steel, they are face and cavity milled with additional weight located behind the sweet spot and thinner areas towards the heel and toe.
Sole is slightly wider to provide the correct ball-to-club contact from most any turf conditions. Set of AR-F15 5-iron through pitching wedge with steel shafts $1,399 and with graphite shafts $1,499. www.argolfusa.com
Callaway Mavrik – Three model categories designed with help of artificial intelligence on a supercomputer with several features in common including a Flash Face Cup and tungsten internal weighting. Long irons biased for high launch, mid-iron spin consistency and short iron trajectory control. Game-improvement Mavrik and super game-improvement Mavrik Max retail at $799 for a set of seven irons with steel shafts and $899 with graphite shafts. Mavrik Max has larger clubhead and very high MOI. The better-player Mavrik Pro model is $899 (set of 7) and available only with steel shafts. Pro model has smaller compact head with flatter lie and thinner topline than other models. www.Callawaygolf.com
Ping G710 – Characterized by Ping as the longest and most forgiving iron they have ever built, the G710 comes standard with Arccos Caddie swing data gathering grips.
This game-improvement model has hollow cast stainless steel clubheads with a high-strength maraging steel face welded in place for flexing similar to a metalwood. Hydropearl chrome finish is both good looking and moisture repellant. Tungsten weighting in hosel and toe. Available in 4-iron through sand wedge lofts – $175 per iron steel shafts and $190 graphite shafts. Ping.com
Titleist T400 – Something we’ve never seen before from Titleist, a super game-improvement model. It is billed as a distance iron that is easy to launch.
The hollow body is relatively wider with sole ridge from toe to heel that minimizes drag from turf. L-Face insert for maximum playability and tungsten weighting, up to 100 grams, matched to loft for very low CG and lots of forgiveness. Hosel length, blade length and width of sole are all loft progressive. Stock grip is 9 grams lighter than other T-series irons and stock graphite shafts are an ultralight 50-gram. $185.50 per iron steel shafts or $199.50 graphite shafts. Titleist.com
Callaway Chrome Soft – The latest Chrome Soft are the result of a $50 million investment in Callaway’s ball making plant. The core is larger for additional ball speed and still infused with high strength graphene. Dimple configuration of the thinner urethane cover has been improved for better aerodynamics. Chrome Soft is higher launch and lower spin with 3-piece construction and Chrome Soft X is 4-piece with soft inner mantle and firmer outer mantle. Both are priced at $48 per dozen in white or yellow with Triple Track alignment lines the Truvis “soccer ball” pattern cover. Callawaygolf.com
Titleist AVX – still the “softer feel” member of the Pro V1 family as well as being lower spin than either the Pro V1 or Pro V1x but with added short game control compared with the 2018 version. The core of this 3-piece ball has been reformulated and is larger in diameter to provide more distance with changes to the mantle for higher flex and more speed. Cover is cast urethane cover with U-shape catenary curve dimples. Pricing is $48 per dozen with the choice of optic yellow or white. Titleist.com
Srixon Q-Star Tour – This third generation Q-Star is targeted for play by slower swing speed players looking for the performance of a tour ball with softer feel than regular balls in this category.
The core is larger and a new FastLayer composition, but the big news of the 3-piece construction is the SeRM (Slide-Ring Material) coating of the 338-dimple urethane cover that enhances control by maximizing spin and stopping power on scoring shots. Choose between white or Tour yellow with retail price of $33 per dozen. Srixon.com
Bushnell Wingman – By combining Bluetooth with GPS, Bushnell created the first of a kind combo-device. The Wingman not only plays music when paired with your smartphone using the Bushnell Golf music app, but a push of a button gives front, back and center distances to the green. Battery life is 10+ hours and there’s a magnetic mount for the cart plus other devices can be charged from the Wingman. $150. bushnellgolf.com
Mevo+ – Those who are serious about improving at golf should use a launch monitor and the Mevo+ by FlightScope is an ideal choice. Using 3D Doppler radar 16 different pieces of data are gathered: carry distance, total distance, ball and club speed, smash factor, spin rate and 10 more critical readings.
The Mevo+ package ($1,999) includes simulation software and other features that all display on any mobile device. Flightscope.com
Stitch UGB – while in the Stitch Golf booth checking out their new and very nice carry and cart bags, we found a must-have for the traveler. The UGB is the Ultimate Garment Bag but also a duffle. Opened flat the UGB hold a sports coat and pair of pants and a suit but then cleverly folds into a compact size that takes a pair of shoes, shaving kit, shirts, etc. Fits airline overhead compartments plus there are handles and a shoulder strap. Its light weight and made of durable fabric. Three color choices each $298. Stitchgolf.com
DragonFly Smart Suit – Eighteen sensors in the DragonFly Golf smart suit give instructors 3D insight to correct student’s errors and track their progress. Developed by a new English company named Guided Knowledge, the technology provides both 360-degree real time visibility and instant feedback. The suit is worn under regular clothing and measures all the key positions of the swing.