Volume Four Hundred Seventy

It’s all about Arnie.

Hittin' the LinksJordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler kind of stepped in it last week by not playing. For two guys who generally do all the right things, their absence (and that of other top Americans) at Bay Hill was noticeable. Yes, their schedules are very hectic and both have been doing quite a bit of traveling this year. Still, it’s Arnie’s week.

All tour players owe a great deal to Arnold Palmer for popularizing golf beyond the country club set, for trailblazing endorsement deals, and so much more. Unfortunately, the number of times left that he’ll be there to shake the winner’s hand as they come off the 18th is dwindling. This year he will sit out the ceremonial first drive at the Masters because he can no longer hit it like he wants to. American pros, find another week to get your rest in, this one belongs to the King.

Best t-shirt at Bay Hill? “Arnie for President, 2016.” We could (and probably will) do worse.

Let’s hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Nine

Spring ahead… Golf, too.

Hittin' the LinksThis week we set the clocks ahead, which means that spring and the core of the golf season are almost upon us.

Next week is the Arnold Palmer Classic, a week later the WGC Match Play, then the Houston Open follows, and then the one we’re always waiting for. Major season begins with the Masters in four short weeks.

But first, the Valspar Championship frustrated tour pros all week and gave us the game’s #1 pro getting beat by the game’s #1 amateur. So that was pretty cool.

Let’s hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Eight

Wetting your putter, bowling on the course, and a tour pro can’t break 80.

Hittin' the LinksThe WGC Cadillac Championship turned out to be quite a spectacle. The Donald turned up on Sunday amid cheers and shouts of “small hands.” A crowded and quality leader board led to a late charge on Sunday by the eventual winner. There were rules controversies, big numbers, and narrow escapes. What more could you ask for?

In the end, Adam Scott beat fellow countryman Steven Bowditch by 49 strokes. Let’s hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Seven

Rickie falters, Lexi rules, and Adam makes a quad and survives.

Hittin' the LinksDoes anyone else remember that Adam Scott started out last year putting well with a short putter before returning to the security blanket of the broom? Well, now he’s won with the regular-length flat stick and, barring a retreat on the rule by the USGA, there’s no going back.

Sergio, Sergio, Sergio. You were supposed to be the new rival for Tiger, more than 16 years ago. And you’re still allergic to Sunday? Bogey-bogey-birdie finishes don’t often work out.

On the women’s side of things, Lexi Thompson proved once again that when the flat stick cooperates, she is very, very hard to beat.

Next week, we get our first stop at a Trump property with the presidential candidate leading the GOP field in an election year. This should be weird.

Let’s hit the links.

Titleist SM6 Wedges Coming in March

A favorite among many, Titleist has updated the Vokey wedge lineup with the new SM6.

Bag Drop Over the last handful of years, one of the biggest trends in the golf industry has been the creation of equipment fit to the needs of the golfer using this. Obviously, where this is most evident is with drivers, where through the use of technologies like moveable weights and adjustable shafts, the golfer can fine tune the club to their swing. Wedges are now starting to follow suit. While there are any wedges with an adjustable shaft or a movable weight (yet) more and more companies are offering a greater variety. Instead of just four or five loft options mixed in with a couple of bounce options, companies are going to more lofts with a greater variety of bounces and grinds.

Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Six

Bubba wins again, Tiger sits on the couch (painfully), and Happy Gilmore turns 20.

Hittin the LinksBubba Watson won for the first time in 2016 this week, furthering the argument that he belongs with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy at the top of the golf world. This was Bubba’s second win at Riviera, and came at the end of quite the busy week.

It was the opposite of a busy week for Tiger Woods, who is still unable to even hit chips after his third back surgery. It was reported that Tiger has had a setback in his rehab, though agent Mark Steinberg has issued a denial. Woods will also be the subject of an upcoming biography about his life and career.

In addition we’ll touch on Jordan Spieth missing the cut, the LPGA Tour’s dwindling ratings, and a big birthday for Happy Gilmore.

Let’s hit the links.

Callaway Apex CF16 Irons Review

Callaway’s latest flagship irons combine the precision of a player’s set with the forgiveness of a game-improvement set in one package.

Callaway Apex CF16 Irons 7iron HeroIt seems more and more nowadays that the landscape of golf equipment is changing. Where there used to be fairly distinct categories of clubs meant for certain skill levels (blades and cavity-backs, players irons, game-improvement, and super game-improvement, etc.), clubs are designed now to benefit and appeal to a broader range of golfers. Equipment manufacturers have found that even better players appreciate additional forgiveness in their irons while less skilled players can still use workability and good feedback on mis-hits, just as long as they don’t come with significant loss in distance or accuracy.

Callaway’s newest flagship iron, the Apex CF16, is blurring the lines once again. As the first forged irons to feature Callaway’s Cup 360 technology, it blends the characteristics normally found in a game-improvement iron with those of a forged iron. The Apex name has a long history of being top of the line in forged irons and the previous Apex offering, the 2013 Apex irons, lived up to the standard. With the CF16s, Callaway sets the bar even higher by pushing the limits of speed and distance out of an iron while maintaining the same high level of precision that Apex is known for.

Does it live up to the hype? Can Callaway have it’s cake and eat it, too? Read on, to find out.

Ben Hogan Golf Expands Line-up

After relaunching the brand last year with a unique set of irons and wedges, Ben Hogan Golf is expanding the lineup with a new set of irons and their first hybrids.

Bag DropLast year we saw the relaunch of one of the most storied golf companies, Ben Hogan Golf. The company took a unique approach; instead of offering traditional iron sets 3-PW or 4-GW they decided to offer the clubs every single loft from 20° to 63°. The initial offering from the company was comprised of a single set of irons, the Fort Worth, and the TK Wedges. The clubs, and especially the irons, were designed with a better player in mind, and now the company is expanding its offerings to include irons that are a bit more forgiving as well as the introduction of hybrids to the lineup.

TaylorMade Completes the Family With the New M2

On February 19th, the TaylorMade M family will be complete with the M2 driver, woods, and irons.

Bag DropIf you watched any of the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach this year, you’d have noticed that all of the TaylorMade Staffers were wearing the same hat with “FAM1LY” across the front and M2.19 on the side. That is because on February 19th (Friday), TaylorMade will be completing the M Family of Clubs with the M2 series. Unlike how the R11 replaced the R9 or the Titleist 915 series replaced the 913 series, the M2 is an addition to the current line up rather than being a replacement. The M2 series of clubs is composed of a new driver, fairway woods, and irons.