Golf is a game of technology. Players are constantly looking to gain an edge by making sure that the clubs that they put in their bag give them an extra couple of yards, keep them in the fairways (or closer too them), and put them on the green. If there is one company that has tried to bring as much technology as possible to the putter, that company would have to be Odyssey golf. While the PING Anser and its subsequent clones and variations still represent the most popular style of putter, no company has been as innovative with their various designs as Odyssey. Between the different inserts, head shapes, and alignment aids, Callaway's putter division believes that they will have something that works for you.
In today's golf equipment world, the major manufacturers are companies like TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist and PING. Look in the bag of most players and you're likely to find clubs with one of those names stamped on them. That wasn't always the case though. It wasn't long ago that a different name dominated golf clubs; Wilson Staff. While the company definitely lost a bit of popularity in the 2000s, they have been making a comeback as of late and their clubs are popping up in more and more bags, including both weekend warriors and tour pros alike.
At one time, it was hard to beat a set of Ben Hogan irons. For the better player, they had it all; the company offered a sleek blade that was forged out of soft carbon steel and offered feel that many felt was unmatched by any other manufacturer. Then the company got sold. And then sold again. And again; until finally in the mid 2000s, clubs with the Ben Hogan name all disappeared. Now the company is owned by Eidolon Golf. Readers of this site might recognize the name as the company that owns Scor Golf.
Scor is the maker of the unique 4161 wedges, which offer every loft from 41 degrees to 61 degrees with their V sole. Their thoughts are that short irons are more like wedges and less like irons and should be designed as such. Some of the ideas found on the Scor Wedges are found on the new Ben Hogan irons and wedges, which promise to be the best feeling, most consistent and most responsive clubs you can put in your bag.
While the Big Bertha line is undoubtedly the most popular line of clubs that Callaway Golf has ever created, the X Hot line, which first came out in 2013, has seen it's fair share of love from golf fans. If you remember, it was that line that promised to add a whopping 17 yards of distance to your fairway woods, and for a lot of people, that's exactly what they got. While the awkwardly named sequel to the X Hot Line, the X2 Hot didn't seem to take off quite as well, those were still solid clubs that took a step forward from the original. Soon to be released now from the company is the successor to the X2 Hot, the XR. Like the line it is succeeding, the XR is a complete product line featuring multiple drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and a couple sets of irons. Read on to get all the details.
Bridgestone Golf, which has made a name for itself as of late for their B330 and e-Series balls, is set to unveil their newest set of irons at the upcoming PGA Merchandise show. While producing irons (and clubs in general for that matter) is nothing new for Bridgestone, the company is not as well known for it, at least not here in the states. They aren't the kind of company that rolls out a new set of irons every six months, and in fact, it was nearly a decade ago that their J33 came out. In Orlando, the company will show off its new J15 family of forged irons which contain four different options, each aimed a different type of player.
Always at the forefront of cutting edge golf technology is TaylorMade. They seem to be the one company that puts themselves out there time after time and seem to be first with the latest and greatest equipment. Sometimes strategies like this backfire, and your products are seen as a joke or as gimmicky; other times you hit home runs. One technology that the company has been pushing over the last several years is its speed slot technology which has been found on both woods and irons. On the irons, it is a polymer filled slot found on the clubs sole. The idea behind the slot is that it allows the face to flex more, producing higher ball speeds across a larger portion of the face. In other words, more forgiveness and more distance. With the release of the RSi Irons, the company is pushing the bounds even more with the addition of slots on the clubs face.
TaylorMade got away from their core audience last year, and new CEO Ben Sharpe knows it.
The SLDR was released with less fanfare than they expected, and it took TM too long to realize that the "Loft Up" features of the club were more important than the moving weights. They tried to rescue that later in 2014 with the SLDR-S, but that line's overlap with the underwhelming JetSpeed just gave TaylorMade a muddled lineup.
The familiar "R" and Burner lines were no where to be found, and the RocketBallz line with which TM had so much commercial success was similarly jettisoned. The entire lineup was blue and grey, and they never quite decided whether they wanted the club crowns to be white, black, or somewhere in between.
TaylorMade's new lineup brings back some of the old standbys, while incorporating the technology that got lost last year.
At the beginning of 2014, Callaway Golf brought back an old favorite with the reintroduction of an old favorite; the Big Bertha. The driver came in two different versions (a standard Big Bertha and the Alpha) and both were received well. Callaway worked hard on these clubs to create a club that was both forgiving and long, and in the eyes of many, they did just that. Recently, they followed up with the release of the Big Bertha V Series; which wasn't an update to the Big Bertha line so much as it was a replacement of last years FT Optiforce line. Those clubs were meant to be lighter and faster than a typical driver and help those that needed it achieve higher club head speed. Now, the company has the true update to Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha, and it is the Big Bertha Alpha 815.
While some golf companies go the route of bombarding the customer with release after release, Titleist takes the opposite approach and sticks to a two year product cycle with woods and irons alternating years. While that means that there is often a product from a competitor with more current technology, it gives Titleist the opportunity to do its due diligence and figure out what technologies work, which don't and then bring debut a lineup that will hold its own for a couple years. It wasn't until the 910 line of clubs that Titleist added an adjustable hosel, which was quite a while after competitors such as TaylorMade and Callaway had done so; however, Titleist took the time to do it right and the hosel they created is regarded by many to be the best of the bunch; an opinion which is further supported by the fact that four years later the company is still using the same one and is no essentially being used by Callaway (just a minor tweak to their version).
With the 915 woods, Titleist has its most featured packed set of clubs. While most of the technologies are ones that we've seen in one version or another from the company's competitors, you can be sure that the company has done it the right way.