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Callaway FT Optiforce 440cc Driver Review

Dec. 18, 2013     By     Comments (7)

After making a splash earlier in the year with the X Hot and RAZR Fit line of woods, Callaway golf is back at it again with the introduction of a third new driver, the FT Optiforce.

Early in the year, Callaway made a splash in the golf world with the introduction of their new drivers, the X Hot (which had a standard and Pro model) and the RAZR Fit Xtreme. Both clubs were solid offerings and gained big followings. When I wrote both the X Hot Pro driver and iron reviews, I mentioned how Callaway had decided to scale back on it's product line, which was in my opinion a good thing. They had too many products going at the same time and I felt that it led to a bit of confusion on the part of the consumer. Put simply, there were too many choices. It seems that Callaway is starting to go back that way already, as they have introduced a third line of drivers, the FT Optiforce. This driver isn't aimed at replacing either the RAZR Fit or X Hot line (in fact, we'll see the X2 Hot line in early 2014), but as a third choice for consumers.

The new club has a number of features, some of which haven't been seen before with a Callaway driver, including a new hosel design. Read on to find out if this is the latest and greatest of Callaway drivers or just another club crowding the shelf.

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Callaway Set to Introduce New Apex Irons

Dec. 17, 2013     By     Comments (0)

In the coming months, Callaway Golf will be releasing two new sets of irons; the Apex and Apex Pro.

Bag DropEarlier this year, Callaway Golf kind of put themselves back on the map with the release of the X-Hot series of clubs. The drivers and fairways proved to be very popular and found their ways into the bags of many players. The same was true of the X-Hot and X-Hot Pro irons. Now Callaway is following that up with the release of a new product line; the Apex.

The new Apex irons will come in two different offerings, a standard model as well as a pro model. There is quite a few number of new features with the new sticks and according to Callaway, they are kind of going against conventional wisdom. On the forums here, we often will have members asking which clubs to choose and one question that comes up from time to time is "forged or cavity back." Now, while that really isn't the choice (one can get a forged cavity back or a cast blade/players iron), the general idea is that better player's clubs tend to be forged while those that lend more forgiveness to the high handicap players tend not to be. The big idea, so to speak, with the Apex irons is that they will give all the distance and forgiveness normally seen in a GI club in a forged iron.

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Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Seven

Dec. 11, 2013     By     Comments (0)

A near miss for Woods and Lewis, a first for Ko, and big wins for Bjorn and Jimenez… What a great way to wrap up 2013!

Hittin' the LinksWith Tiger's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge wrapping up this weekend, most of the top golfers will be heading home this week or next to spend time with friends and family over the holidays.

But there is one more big tour golf event for 2013. This week the European Tour holds the second edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, which will start a day early and finish Saturday in observance of the state funeral for its namesake. This year's event was briefly in doubt due to the Mr. Mandela's passing, but the organizers decided that it would be more of a tribute for the tournament to go on. The championship will benefit one of Mandela's dreams - to build a world-class children's hospital in South Africa. To that end, all profits from the tournament will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

But now, for the week that was... HtL links you up with Zach Johnson's shocking win, a first-of-(probably)-many titles by a 16-year-old pro, and much more.

How EA Sports Can Revive the PGA Tour Video Games Sans Tiger

Dec. 3, 2013     By     Comments (7)

How EA Sports can bring golf video games into the next console generation.

Trap Five LogoAccording to a statement released by EA Sports recently, the video game giant and golfer Tiger Woods have severed ties.

According to who you believe, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games already appeared to be on the rocks, and the '15 edition (to be released in 2014) will be either delayed until at least April or not sent to market at all.

Neither option would be all that unheard-of; EA has monkeyed with the release dates for the Tiger Woods games before. The games were released in the fall every year between 2003 and 2007, until moving towards the late summer for the 2008 version and earlier in the summer for 2010. In 2012 EA cut a deal to include Augusta National in the game, and worked hard to push it out before The Masters.

EA is also no stranger to cutting off a game entirely. They dropped the MVP Baseball series after 2007 (mostly because rival 2K Sports signed an exclusivity deal with MLB in response to EA's similar deal with the NFL), and have yet to pick the series back up even after the 2K/MLB deal expired. After their NBA Live 10 game received (justifiably) terrible reviews, they cancelled its follow-up, NBA Elite 11, at the last minute, and haven't released a basketball game since despite relatively weak releases from 2K (though NBA Live 14 is set to come back later this year).

It remains to be seen what exactly the ramifications of the Tiger/EA separation are. I suppose it's possible that Tiger remains in the game as a playable character, though his days on the cover are surely gone.

The games remain different year-over-year, but the yearly releases have become frustrating. Excess players, expensive extra courses, and rotating single player modes have made the games stale, and while the extra space of Blu-Rays and larger on-board stock hard drives should help them, EA needs to make some deep changes. Here are a few things I think could get the PGA Tour video game series off and running again.

Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedge Review

Nov. 21, 2013     By     Comments (1)

The Mack is back with the introduction of the new Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges, but is the new version as good as the original?

If you remember a few years back all of the buzz around the golf world was about grooves. Manufacturers were making them deeper, wider, and sharper, giving golfers of all levels the ability to put an insane amount of spin on the ball from nearly any lie. One of the best examples we saw of this was, of course, the Mack Daddy grooves that Roger Cleveland developed for the Callaway X Forged Wedges. These grooves were mean and nasty and had the reputation for chewing up any ball that crossed its path. Then it all stopped… the ruling bodies of golf decided that enough was enough and put limits on the size of grooves that manufacturers could make and since that time everybody has been trying to figure out how to achieve those insane spin numbers while still conforming to the new regulations.

Once again, it seems that Roger Cleveland has done it, or at least, that is what Callaway would have you believe. With the introduction of the new Mack Daddy 2 wedges, Callaway has brought back a old favorite that conforms to the new rules. They say that the new grooves aren't only as good as the originals but even better. Read on to see if the mack is really back.

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Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Six

Nov. 20, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Stenson gets selfish about season-ending titles, Chi Chi gets a surprise on "The Big Break," golf gets (some) credit for determining an election, and, the typhoon in the Philippines takes the lives of several family members of a PGA TOUR pro.

Hittin' the LinksAnother season ends as the European Tour wrapped up last weekend in the same way that the PGA Tour wound up more than a month ago, with Henrik Stenson winning it all.

That leaves the LPGA as the only tour still in its 2013 season, and their season-ending event is this week's CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon in Naples, Florida. This will be your last chance to see the women play until mid-February.

Even with the seasons over or ending, there will still be golf to watch. The ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf is already under way down under in Melbourne, Australia, with a field that includes Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and a number of other names you would recognize. You would be doing well to recognize more than a half dozen of the names on the leaderboard when the European Tour tees off it's 2014 season in South Africa this week. But that's the way it goes in the Silly Season.

As always, HtL is here to point you toward some of the more interesting goings-on in the world of golf. Here's what made the cut this week.

2013 – The Unpredictable PGA Tour Season

Nov. 18, 2013     By     Comments (0)

The only thing that was constant about 2013 was that it was wildly unpredictable. I muse about the year that was 2013.

Thrash TalkPrior to hydrant-gate, golf had a certain predictability to it. Tiger would dominate, a few other side players would jump in to win the occasional major, and we would likely have a young player have a big flash and a few feel-good stories to talk about. The story was almost always the same.

Yet the 2013 season had very little predictability. The FedExCup winner is not an unfamiliar face. My best memory of Henrik Stenson is at the 2009 Players Championship. He ran away with the tournament and looked destined to win a major in the very near future. From that point on we didn't hear much from Henrik. There were times when it would be easy to think that he might not recover from one of the deepest slumps. But here he is, ten million dollars richer, and will be a favorite of many going into the Masters next year, a full recovery back to where he was in 2009, maybe this time just a bit wiser.

Golfing Plateau

Nov. 16, 2013     By     Comments (4)

Golf, like any game, is full of peaks and valleys, but occasionally we get stuck on a plateau. This is the one on which I'm currently stuck.

Thrash TalkOther than the fact that Tiger Woods and I were both born in California, we share very little regarding our golf. That is until recently… Currently we both are suffering from a golfing plateau. They are different by a margin that is hard to explain in words, but we are both stuck in a rut.

Tiger's plateau is simply identified by the number fourteen - the number of majors at which Tiger has been stuck for the past five years. Majors have been hard to come by for Tiger and for a time we could argue that he was changing his swing, but he has won other big tournaments which should tell us that he is ready to launch again from this plateau. But he hasn't, and has only come up short in the biggest events.

Mizuno Adds to Their Iron Line-up with Four New Sets

Nov. 15, 2013     By     Comments (8)

This year, Mizuno is adding two new sets to its MP line of clubs with the sleek MP-4 and the more friendly MP-54 while also expanding the JPX line to include the EZ and EZ Forged.

Bag DropWhile they may not be as big as some of the names out there (Tilteist, PING, Taylormade, etc.) Mizuno Golf has garnered quite a following especially with their ever growing line of players clubs. Every year, the company updates their line of MP clubs and this year they have introduced the MP-4 and the MP-54 irons. The MP-4 is a full-on, traditional muscle back and the replacement for the MP-69, while the MP-54 replaces the two year old MP-53 and features a cavity back design. In addition to the MP line, Mizuno also has the JPX line of game improvement clubs, and they are adding to that line with the new JPX-EZ and JPX-EZ Forged.

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