Golf Forum - Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com) http://www.mygolfspy.com MyGolfSpy - "the top-secret golf site!" Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:13:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 The PGA Show: Then vs. Now http://www.mygolfspy.com/the-pga-show-then-vs-now/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/the-pga-show-then-vs-now/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:13 +0000 Jay Baker http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46661 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for The PGA Show: Then vs. Now

Written By: Jay Baker

Last week I made my annual trek to Orlando to attend the PGA Show. Many golfers would consider the event the Mecca of golf retail.

I have attended every PGA Show over the last 20 years, some good and some bad. I have experienced it from both sides, as a buyer and as an exhibitor. As you might guess, the show has changed significantly since the mid 1990s when I began attending.

Depending on your age and perspective, this article will either come across as nostalgic or as though it was written by a bitter old curmudgeon.

Things inside the walls of the Orlando Convention Center's West Concourse aren't what they used to be. The good old days, right? Regardless, life goes on and so does the PGA Show.

Here's a look at how the annual PGA Show has changed over the last 20 years.

1996pgashow

The Show has become a good barometer of the golf industry

Back when I first began attending the PGA Show in the mid-1990s, everybody appeared to be successful. The floor was so crowded it looked like every company was writing more orders than they could possibly handle.

If you had asked a random attendee about the golf business, he would have told you that golf's future was brighter than the oil industry's. There was always plenty of posturing, despite the fact that you wouldn’t see the same companies from one year to the next (that still happens today). Business always looked good, even when it wasn't.

Back then it was difficult to get a good read on how the industry or any given company was doing. The show is different now. There is an overall attitude on the floor that permeates throughout the show. You can practically sense the health of the industry.

srixon-cleveland-xxio-booth

Last year's show didn't have a positive vibe, and lo and behold, it wasn’t a very good year for the golf industry. This year, the vibe was much more positive for just about every facet of the industry, except hard goods (anything with a grip).

Equipment companies seemed almost indifferent. Nothing exciting is happening, but the sky isn’t falling either. One very large equipment booth did remind me a bit of the Titanic. The ship might be sinking, but the band played on. Despite being humbled by the economic realities surrounding the game, posturing never suffers.

The reason I think the PGA Show has become a good barometer of the golf industry is because there is more truth and transparency in the golf business as a whole.

Sounds crazy, right?

20 years ago we didn’t have the widespread availability of information that we have today. You also had a lot more people attending the show, which made it tough to gauge business. The industry was better able to shield some of its struggles from the consumer. This is not the case today.

1982pgashow

Not many orders are written

There is an element of subjectivity to this. The truth is that tons of orders are written at the PGA Show. It’s a convention for crying out loud! Social media...and media coverage in general make it easy to forget that the actual purpose of the PGA Show is to showcase product and write orders.

That said, companies don’t write orders like they did 20 years ago. Release cycles have changed dramatically...from big box retail to smaller green grass accounts, nearly everyone has already pre-booked their spring orders. It's the end of January. Who hasn't already ordered his Pro V1s?

Practically nobody. That's who.

Retailers have better access to brand reps today (both corporate and independent). Those reps don’t drive nearly as many miles as they used to because there are fewer courses, and they can just as easily leverage the Internet and email to do the bulk of their business. Heck, some golf companies do the majority of business through online portals and have all but eliminated the need for local reps. Obviously not all companies can do this.

1972pgashow

20 years ago, it wasn't uncommon to have buyers that did 100% of their buying at the PGA Show. Today, I doubt you could find one buyer who still does anywhere close to 100% of their ordering at the show.

In the 1990s I remember being pitched anything and everything. John Solheim condemned insert putters like the Odyssey Dual Force. An engineer from Titleist told me that his company would never make a solid core tour performance golf ball.

Memories...

Companies did whatever it took to sell and write orders. My fondest memory is of a man, so inebriated he could barely speak, telling me how he could fix Tiger Woods’ putting stroke with his educational putting videos and gadgets. That was in 1998. Maybe Tiger found him the next year, but I doubt it.

Booth reps are not as pushy as they once were. Most of the big guys are not looking to write orders. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the bigger OEMs didn't write a single equipment order at the show. Sure, there might be some fill-ins or change orders but the main stuff is long since done. The cost of the booth is no longer paid for by the orders placed at the show.

I know of one medium-sized company who was already at full manufacturing capacity prior to the start of the show. Why come to the show when you can't take on additional orders?

The Show is A Marketing Frenzy

callaway-booth

In some cases the booths matter more than the products. The PGA Show has become all about marketing and networking. It barely qualifies as a sales convention anymore. Titleist, Ping, Mizuno and others don’t come to write orders. They come to shake hands and kiss babies. Titleist, for example, organizes workshops for pros looking to learn and network.

I’m not saying that zero orders are taken. With their shorter lifecycles, Taylormade and Callaway are likely booking some business at the show. The same is true for apparel lines - although by late January most are already booking fall orders.

The after show booth parties of yesterday have migrated to Howl at the Moon and Señor Frog’s. Some companies will even rent out entire spaces for private parties. The Peabody, errr… Hyatt Regency, or whatever they are going to call it next year is packed more than ever and it's not the only hot spot. Today you have networking events that make it all the way to places like Rocco’s Taco and Seasons 52. Current trends suggest we're only a year or two away from a meet and greet at the World's Largest Entertainment McDonald's on West Sand Lake Rd.

1954pgashow

There’s no time to go back to your hotel and process orders at today’s PGA Show. You have to get out on I-Drive and network, but make sure to watch your back because…

People come to steal

Back in the 1990s and even in the early 2000s, the people who attended the show were there to do business. Somewhere along the line, stealing became a business. I’m not just talking about guys stealing products from the booth, although that happens quite a bit more than you'd probably think.

When I used to work the show as an exhibitor, we'd inevitably have a golf club, shirt, or accessory that went missing by the end of the show.

Reed Exhibitions would provide neon stickers with the PGA Merchandise logo to the exhibitors to help identify which products were sold and which ones were stolen. Stickers be damned though, there were always plenty of people walking around with undocumented merchandise. Security did little or nothing about it. Frankly, this has been a problem for as long as I can remember.

In recent years a new type of theft has emerged.

At the show this year, it was as if Alibaba sent a crew of spies to take pictures of literally everything. While I'm guessing many of the exhibitors didn't even notice, I'm fairly certainly that counterfeit versions of their products will be available by the end of the week.

cameron-covers

What can anybody do? A patent doesn’t mean much when Asian countries enforce their laws with the same fervor as a DMV receptionist.

As MyGolfSpy has covered before, theft in this industry isn’t above anyone’s pay grade. The big boys don’t have to be as concerned at the show because most of their stuff gets copied at the factory or at the back door anyway. What a relief!

The modern counterfeiter tends to gravitate towards tech items and accessories; items that are easily cloned.

Another trend is suppliers stealing business. Technically, solicitation is not allowed at the show, but that doesn’t stop several manufacturing and supply companies from trying to drum up a little business. Most of the larger companies shoo these guys away like the mosquitoes they are, so most will focus their efforts on small to medium-sized companies.

While these are the current trends, at one time or another every company has had a PGA Merchandise mole roaming the floor. The action used to be a lot more clandestine. Modern day James Bond, these guys are not.

The Show is BIGGER, or is it?

UST-Booth

I could provide links to several articles that prove the PGA Show is bigger now than it was in the late 1990s, and I’m sure that Reed Exhibitions would love to quote me some statistics that show their success since they partnered with the PGA in 1998.

The Orange County West Convention Center has been the same size since it expanded to 1.1 million square feet in 1996. Growth clearly isn't measured by the square foot. So how exactly is that growth measured? Attendance? Auxiliary events? Or is it the most important factor, dollar bills?

The PGA Show has an $81 million impact on the Orange County area for the week. 40,000+ people from over 80 countries attend each day to see products from more than a 1,000 different companies.

But let's not focus totally on those numbers. As Sam Clemens once said, “facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable”, and we all know that can certainly be the case in the golf industry. So let's have a look at where the numbers bend.

In 1996 (my first year at the show), my father and I arrived in Orlando late Wednesday night after the 6 hour drive from Atlanta. Banking on availability close to the convention center, Dad had neglected to book a hotel in advance.

Some of you old-timers will remember 1996 as a time before things like Google Maps, Hotwire, or Expedia. To find a hotel room you either used the yellow pages, or you drove from one hotel to the next looking for a vacancy.

We stopped at every hotel or motel starting at the convention center moving south towards Kissimmee. We didn't find anything until we were inside the Kissimmee city limits; 30 minutes away from the convention center.

Granted, Orlando and Kissimmee have grown since then. There are certainly more hotels today than in 1996. However, getting a last minute room close to the convention center is much easier. The need for lodging is not as not as great as it once was.

The show floor used to be packed, so much so that the aisles weren’t nearly big enough to accommodate all of the attendees. The public wasn't allowed into the PGA Show, not even on the last day. Booth owners were free to do business without John Q. Public looking over their shoulders.

Want to hit some clubs in the indoor range? Forget it, there wasn't one in the 90s, the space was too valuable. In fact, the indoor range was created to fill the empty floor space that Titleist and Ping (among others) left behind when, from 2003 to 2008, they stopped exhibiting.

It's Not the Same Show

adams-tailgate

Today, the big boys are back, but the show isn't what it was in the late 1990s. As we all know, there are fewer rounds being played and fewer courses to play on. Ultimately this leads to few buyers and fewer exhibitors. And while allowing the public to attend the show does help boost the attendance numbers but it doesn’t bring back that business buzz that used to fill the convention center.

The demo day on Tuesday has been a good addition, especially with regards to the public. It gives people the chance to look, touch, feel, and hit the new products. To the benefit of exhibitors, a lot of buzz gets generated on the range. Demo day also makes the show a day longer, which makes the show feel bigger.

demo-day

While the PGA Show is still more meaningful than an Ian Poulter tweet, it has shuffled out of step with the cadence of the industry - at least where the big manufacturers are concerned. For up-and-comers or the inventor betting his life savings on the next great invention (his), however; the show remains as relevant as ever.

In the big picture, the modern PGA Show is no better or worse than it was in the past. It’s just different.

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What The ____, TaylorMade? http://www.mygolfspy.com/2015-pga-show-taylormade/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/2015-pga-show-taylormade/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:00:26 +0000 Tony Covey http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46600 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for What The ____, TaylorMade?

TaylorMade has a history of iconic PGA Show booth designs, but at the 2015 show, that wasn't the case.

Written By: Tony Covey

My reaction upon entering TaylorMade's scaled down booth at the 2015 PGA Shows was a deflated what the... (rhymes with a certain subfamily of waterfowl. Hint: it's not ptarmigan).

Trying to decipher the particular whys of the booth's design is an exercise in contradiction.

Cunningly calculated or cost-dictated?
Well-conceived educational experience or barren equipment wasteland?
New CEO Ben Sharpe's vision or Ben Sharpe's distraction?

By any measure, the 2015 booth wasn't what we've come to expect from TaylorMade.

Nearly every element of the booth's design could be explained from one of two completely opposite positions, and while I could make a good faith argument for either, the reality of the situation is likely far less simple than the booth itself.

A Great Disturbance in the Force

tmag-booth-5

It is a time of transition for both TaylorMade and Adams Golf. It is, by most accounts, an interesting time inside the company. For everything publicly discussed; Adams HQ closing, getting kicked in the mouth (financially speaking), listening to the golfer, a newly stated commitment to responsibility...yada, yada, yada, there are plenty of things happening behind the scenes that most golfers will never hear about.

Over the last several months, a number of senior level and/or long time TaylorMade Guys have left the company - some by mandate, others by choice. There are new faces in new places. The old guys are being replaced by Ben's guys.

From the outside, waters appear turbulent.

That's just one way of looking at it.

As easily as I could argue that the turnover is a sign that some clearly believe it's better to jump before the ship hits the rocks, I could just as easily argue that this is nothing more than exactly the sort of thing that happens any time a new boss starts to make his presence felt in earnest. The company is putting the right people in the right places.

Whichever is closer to reality, I can assure you that this new boss is most definitely not the same as the old boss.

This isn't Mark King's TaylorMade anymore.

Nowhere was that more apparent than inside the company's PGA Show booth. The adjective you're looking for is either barren or focused. The more accurate choice is a matter of perspective.

The Baddest Booth on the Block

tmag-booth-13-1

In recent years, the TaylorMade Wing at the annual convention has served as a monument to opulence, excess, and bloviation; a neon-lit tribute to fiscal irresponsibility and corporate Kool-aid.

Nobody spent and nobody drank like TaylorMade.

17-more-tunnel2

The non-stop booth parties were trumped only by the annual blowout bash. George Thorogood, go-go dancers, open bars and buffet lines; TaylorMade lived high off of 17 more yards, Driver Love, and IER. Even the Hack Golf debacle was good for a glass of chardonnay and a cheese plate.

A Different TaylorMade

This year TaylorMade's booth was...well...different.

Conceding the excess to Callaway, and in stark contrast to years past, TaylorMade's booth was simple, well-lit and completely devoid of neon. For the first time I can recall inside a TaylorMade booth, I could actually see who I was talking to. It was as if the company had literally emerged from the shadows.

Of course, one man's focused or responsible is another's sparse or characterless. Take your pick from the four. Frankly, I'm not entire surely which tells the real TaylorMade story.

Product and people (including CEO Ben Sharpe) were accessible within the booth's wide-open space, and for those looking for hints of a new company attitude, it's perhaps noteworthy that the staff's signature black suits had been replaced by a more (business) casual attire for the duration. Everyone was dressed for the course. Corporate suits swapped out for golfers.

Quite frankly, other than the booth's location, the indoor driving range, and Tom Kroll's hair, everything, including the mood, was different.

tom-kroll

All of this helps make the point that, while the company's largest competitor literally put on a show (filming several Callaway Talks segments over the course of the first 2 days), TaylorMade went out of its way to avoid both literal and figurative spotlights.

It was weird, unnerving, and even a little disappointing (no sushi bar this year?).

As usual, the lines to get fit for the latest TMaG products were often long, but even in the midst of playing "let's see how far you can hit this", the anecdotal evidence suggests a TaylorMade shifting its focus from hyperbolic bullshit to more tangible things.

Little in the TaylorMade booth suggested a company hell-bent on being longer or faster. Outrageous isn't in the vocabulary. And while the new drivers are apparently #MadeOfGreatness, much of TaylorMade's signature hype and hyperbole was replaced by actual information, including daily PGA accredited seminars and an area devoted to short game awareness (backed by data from Mark Broadie's Every Shot Counts).

Product and education, remember that.

tmag-booth-4

Fore Right, Fore Left

As much as you could sell me that the understated booth signals a new direction at TaylorMade, one could just as easily argue that the company over-corrected; the pull hook after the slice.

Hints of a new company vision, or booth design brought to you by the bottom line? Perhaps a bit of both.

We're a long way removed the days of the 52% share of the metalwood market that TaylorMade once enjoyed. If sacrifices needed to be made, it would certainly make sense to start with the neon.

Whether the simple (or tastefully understated...again it's all perspective) nature of the TaylorMade booth was by design or by necessity, it's a safe assumption Ben Sharpe will be a bit more careful with the beans than his predecessor.

rsi-iron-display

What's less certain is the larger message.

You can almost certainly make a well-formed argument for a company that has lost its way and its identity. It's definitely possible. I'd certainly hear you out.

I believe the booth signifies the beginning of a subtle rebranding effort. TaylorMade sees itself as a serious golf company for competitive golfers. To fill that role we're going to see a dramatically different approach to the golf business and a much different narrative.

Success will be determined by TaylorMade's ability to position itself as golf's innovation leader in a way that doesn't trade in or rely on an abundance of bullshit.

TaylorMade will need to play the straight man; Titleist with more flair.

That's a huge order considering the history of the last decade.

tuned-performance-board

An upside to the disaster that was 2014?

By taking a forced step backward, TaylorMade may actually find itself ahead of a curve whose path won't be realized for another 2 years or more.

The nature of golf retail is changing rapidly, and what I saw inside the toned-down TaylorMade booth suggests a company that has come to terms with the new reality and is preparing for the next phase.

This is a new TaylorMade with a new identity and a new plan.

TaylorMade's story could be any or all of that, or it could be that sometimes an empty booth is just an empty booth.

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The Club Report: Bputters Hammer http://www.mygolfspy.com/bputters-hammer-review/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/bputters-hammer-review/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:35:04 +0000 Dave Wolfe http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46526 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for The Club Report: Bputters Hammer

By Dave Wolfe

•   Win a Custom Bputter of Your Choice   •

See the instructions at the end of this article about how you can win a Bputter of your very own!

Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'em

You've probably read enough of my stuff to know that there was no chance that we were going to make it through an article about a putter named Hammer without at least one MC Hammer reference. Prepare yourself for a none too subtle Zolex reference somewhere as well.

Yesterday, we got to know a little more about Bputters as a company, hearing from it's owner Antonio, and checking out some of the amazingly diverse putters that they build. When you consider the variations with the metal, model, finish, and other options, you get possible combinations somewhere in the hundreds.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at the Bputters Hammer that Antonio customized to my playing specs and preferences. You'll get to see how Bputters customized the Hammer for me, and at the same time likely visualize what options you would select for your custom Hammer.

The form of this model resembles a hammer, a tool that can be used with great force but that can also be wielded with delicacy and precision. This model boasts a rugged yet lineal design.
-Bputters

 

Bputters Hammer-15

Specifications: Bputters Hammer

  • Material: 1-piece CNC Milled 303 Stainless
  • Head weight: 330g
  • Loft: 4°
  • Lie: 71° (2° Flat)
  • Toe Hang: 4:30
  • Length: 34.5 inches
  • Dexterity: Right
  • Offset: Full-shaft
  • Grip: Italian Leather Pistol Grip
  • Shaft: Chrome True Temper
  • Price: Starting at 339 € (about $390 US)

Impressions: Looks

Bputters Hammer-01

This Hammer was finished with Bputters' Black Pearl finish. You should be able to get a pretty good vibe for the finish from the photos, but the photos don't completely do justice to the subtle hues found within. It's stunning. There is some real depth in the darkness. It's a darkness that is punctuated by color.

When you look at the putter from different angles, you pick up all kinds of reds, greens, yellows, and more. It is, again, stunning. The polish is mirror-like. Just look at the cavity lettering reflecting on the flange.

Glare is not the issue that you might think when you look at the glossy finish. The Black Pearl isn't distractingly bright or reflective, even in full sun. Check out the gallery below to see shots taken in direct light. In the photos, as well as in person, the putter actually appears darker in sunslight. Perhaps the finish should be renamed Black Hole, as not even light can escape it. Of course, you can get a sun reflection off it, if you hit it at the right angle. It's just tougher to get that reflection than one might think.

Bputters Hammer-16 Bputters Hammer-18 Bputters Hammer-19 Bputters Hammer-20

Outside of the finish, the geometry of the Hammer is unique. The Hammer sweeps up from the bumper and the heel to the shaft, while being more rounded at the toe. The top edge is thick and quite blocky when compared to the sweeping edges at the edge of the cavity. It still has the Anser pedigree common to most of today's heel/toe weighted putters, but the Hammer takes that classic design in a new direction.

Bputters Hammer-14

Feel

Bputters Hammer-04

The Hammer has the classic 303 Stainless Steel feel. It's not as soft as carbon, giving a bit more pop when you roll the ball. What I found much more interesting about the Hammer was the feedback that the Hammer provides. You get a bit of that forged-iron feedback with the Hammer. Strike the sweet spot and it is as buttery smooth as any other putter I've rolled. Miss that spot, and you know it immediately. After you putt with the Hammer for a while you can fine tune this awareness. It's almost like it has a built in training aide. You know if you were even slightly heel or toe with the strike.

Yep, I said it. I sometimes miss the sweet spot when I putt. Maybe some of you do too. The Hammer lets me know, and that knowledge should lead to improvement.

Alignment

Bputters Hammer-07

Oh no! Someone forgot to put at sight line on the putter!

That's right, this Hammer is naked. No dot, no line. Nothing to distract from the nice thick top, the square line of the face, and the edges of the bumpers. As one who prefers all things naked, I was very excited to see that no alignment aides was an option with the Hammer. (Someone really needs to make "I Putt Naked" t-shirts…)

Should you be one that likes a line, or a dot, Bputters can take care of you as well.

Though it doesn't really fall under the heading of alignment, that address photo above shows how the heel and toe sections visually blend together, even though the bumpers are quite different. Overall, you get a nice rectangular shape at address.

Performance

Bputters Hammer-02

I've already mentioned the feedback that one feels when putting with the Hammer. Though I made it sound like I was hitting the ball all over the face in that section, I actually found it quite easy to put repeatable strokes on the ball with the Hammer.

It definitely gates through the stroke, perhaps more than it's toe hang implies. Eyeballing the Hammer, one can see that the front end of the putter is a little blockier, and likely more massive than the sweeping-edges rear. Regardless, that toe does swing. Not so much that I'd call this a strong-arc putter, but with a bit more emphasis than some of the other similar putters that I have swung.

My Hammer came gripped with the Bputters red leather pistol grip. The grip is not as tacky as a perforated leather grip, but it is not slick, even in the current cold and damp weather. It has a real interesting shape as well, with a small diamond-like feature at the lower hand position. While I'm not sure of the diamond's design intention, I found that it was very helpful in ensuring that my hands held the grip in the same spot each time. Anything that promotes consistency with the putter should improve consistency when putting.

Fit-For-Stroke

This Bputter's Hammer putter fits a Slight Arc Stroke, but a different shaft could fit both strong and straight strokes as well.

FIT_FOR_STROKE-1-Slight

Final Thoughts: Bputters Hammer

Bputters Hammer-08

I am very impressed with the Bputters Hammer. The finish is amazing. Communication with Antonio about my specs and customization was easy and prompt. Putter aside, I love to use gear from companies where you can feel the company's personal investment. Bputters are special because Antonio takes the time to make them special.

With a price tag approaching $400, the Hammer is not cheap. I'm sure that some of you would be quick to let me know how you putt great with your $3 Goodwill putter, thinking that a $400 putter won't make you play any better. To you I would say this, you could have a point, but perhaps not. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Price aside, you may actually putt better with a custom putter. If you know your ideal putter specs, and you get a putter made to match those specs, how can you not putt better? It's like putting your size 34 waist into size 34 pants. Proper fit equals proper performance. Bputters can make a putter that fits you. Putting better with that fit putter seems logical.

In terms of price, let's look to another Italian company, Lamborghini. When I was younger, I was in love with the Lamborghini Countach. It was my dream car, generating lots of fantasies of owning one and driving everywhere. Low and behold, I have yet to own one as they are more expensive than I can afford. Do I decry the existence of Lamborghini, going online to say that people should just drive to the store in less expensive Civics? Of course not. Instead, I daydream about the Countach.

The Hammer from Bputters is not even Lamborghini expensive. It's got a premium price tag, that's true. However, its price is in the ballpark with milled, off-the-rack Camerons and milled Odyssey putters. Moreover, when you buy a putter from Bputters, Antonio takes care of you personally, meaning it's not off the rack. It was made for you. I know that these putters are out of the price range for some, but based upon what you get I don't think that they are overpriced by any stretch.

Pre-emptive price rant aside, the Hammer from Bputters is a great looking and feeling putter, and Bputters should be part of the conversation for anyone looking to pick up that special, custom fit putter.

As I said before, Italy is only a keyboard away.

WEBSITE   //   TWITTER   //    FACEBOOK

Win a Custom Bputter

Bring a little bit of Italy to your very own golf bag. One lucky commenter below will be chosen at random in a week to win a custom Bputter. To win, all you need to do is head over to the Bputters site and check out the options available, and then leave a comment below describing how you would build your custom putter. Only one entry per person.
Tap into your inner putter designer and make something amazing!


Bputters HeadcoverB-5 Bputters HeadcoverB-3 Bputters HeadcoverB-1 Bputters HeadcoverB-2 Bputters Headcover-4 Bputters Headcover-2 Bputters Headcover-3 Bputters Headcover-1 BPutters Grip Collage Bputters Hammer-22 Bputters Hammer-21 Bputters Hammer-17 Bputters Hammer-13 Bputters Hammer-12 Bputters Hammer-11 Bputters Hammer-10 Bputters Hammer-09 Bputters Hammer-06 Bputters Hammer-03 Bputters Hammer-05 ]]>
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Company Profile: Bputters http://www.mygolfspy.com/company-profile-bputters/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/company-profile-bputters/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:02:09 +0000 Dave Wolfe http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46468 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for Company Profile: Bputters

By Dave Wolfe

Half A World Away

Almost sixteen hours. That's what Google Maps tells me it will take to get from my house in Sacramento, CA to the Bputters shop in Italy. I'm not opposed to putting in some time and mileage to get the things that I want, but the amount of the Earth that was covered to get one of Bputter's putters may be a personal record.

While it would have been amazing to go to the shop in person, we all know that in this day and age such a trip is not necessary. Thanks Mr. Internet. We hear the term global economy casually tossed around all of the time, but I'm still amazed at how small the world really is these days. I can live in California, and have a custom putter built to my specs in Italy.

I may be showing the length of my tooth, but the modern world still amazes me sometimes.

Bputter Map

But let's get back to that putter shop in Italy, Bputters.

Hold on a minute. I can't quite drop the amazing nature of the global economy just yet. How would I even know about Bputters if not for the net? If we didn't have Twitter, or sites like MyGolfSpy, our knowledge of what is going on in the golf world would be so much smaller. Sure, maybe we live in an age of information overload, but some of that information really does enhance our lives.

OK, now we will really away from me marveling at the world and back to Bputters.

I became aware of Bputters through their Twitter account (@Bputters), and what I saw there was intriguing. If you take a few minutes and tour the Bputters feed, you will see an amazingly diverse collection of putter photos.

To find out a bit more about the brand, we went right to the Bputters source, Antonio. Here is what he said about Bputters.

Five Questions with Antonio from Bputters

 

1. How did Bputters come into being?

Bputters is Antonio and vice versa. I think there's always been the idea to turn my golf devotion into something really tangible, but it has become a real project only after several years of reasoning and experiencing  on mechanical field. I’m not Engineer but I had the chance to follow closely many reman process. During the last three years I tried to “merge” my golf passion with the metalworking techniques  both from a technical and process point of view.

billet

2. What separates Bputters putters from off the rack putters? From other small-shop putters?

Each Bputters is milled using the finest materials available using  modern techniques and finished by hand one by one. Bputters are customized according to the client specifications, both during the milling and the fitting process. The attention to details, the design and the pursuit of excellent performance, make them one of a kind.  Plus they’re Italian :)  lol

cnc the shop

3. What is the process for ordering a Bputters putter?

The process of ordering a Bputters is very simple: you can easily access the product pages on the web site (www.bputters.com). A preset form with the ideal fitting specs is ready to be submitted, although each customer could  modify any parameter according to its characteristics (loft, lie, weight, length, offset), up to the choice of finishes and accessories or engravings. You submit the request and a details quote will be sent immediately. After the order confirmation the customer is updated with pics over each phase until the final shipping is complete.

phase 2

4. What can a golfer expect when he or she games a Bputters putter?

Each player trying a Bputters should expect to be surprised by the attention to details, accessories options, by the finishes choice, the balance and the weight of the head. The roll gives immediate positive feedback and a quick habit on distance control.

hand polishing

5. Can you give us a glimpse of things to come at Bputters?

Bputters is now prototyping a new model and further finishes both for 303SS and carbon steel. We’re planning to include neck options on the hammer and panther model (plumbers and slant hosel primarily), as well as new materials for all the models available.

cnc view

Putter Profile: Bputters

  • Models Available: 4 (Hammer, Coyote, Space, & Panther)
  • Metals Available: Carbon Steel and 303 Stainless Steel
  • Finishes Available: 9 (Polished, Black Pearl, Satin, Black Oxide, Black PVD, Grey PVD, Brushed Black Oxide, Blue PVD, and High Polish)
  • Shafts Available: 3 different possible shaft bends
  • Grips Available: Bputter logo PURE grips, SuperStroke grips, or pistol leather grips.
  • Dexterity: All four models available in both RH and LH

Finishes Collage

Diversity Abounds at Bputters

Four different models and nine different finishes. Carbon and stainless options. Something for the spoiled right handers and the too often neglected lefties. None of us are likely very close to Bputters right now physically, but when you look at the diverse stable of putters that they can produce, there is probably something there that makes us feel right at home.

Remember, Italy is now only a keyboard away.

Come back soon. We're going to take a closer look at the putter that Bputters put together for me. If you are looking for some beautiful metal, you won't want to miss this because…

You Can Enter To Win a Custom Bputter of Your Choice

That's right, you pick the head, you pick the finish, and have it customized to your specs. So come on back tomorrow!

 

Until then, check out more Italian metal goodness at the Bputters site HERE

Follow Bputters on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE

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Live from the 2015 PGA Show http://www.mygolfspy.com/2015-pga-show/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/2015-pga-show/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:00:59 +0000 Tony Covey http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46554 Post image for Live from the 2015 PGA Show

What is the hottest golf product of 2015?

Chances are it's somewhere at the 2015 PGA Show.

Follow along as our team searches the show floor to bring you the hottest, oddest, and can't miss new products for 2015. As we always do, we'll also take you inside the booths of the biggest names in golf, bring you new product releases, and anything else we think is just kinda cool.

Live Coverage

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Live from the 2015 PGA Show Demo Day http://www.mygolfspy.com/pga-show-2015-demo-day/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/pga-show-2015-demo-day/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:00:47 +0000 Tony Covey http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46541 [FOLLOW LIVE]]]> Post image for Live from the 2015 PGA Show Demo Day

The annual PGA Merchandise show kicks off today with the Demo Day event at Orange County National Golf Course. For those of you who can't be here, our team will be onsite to bring to full experience to you live as we check out what's new, exciting, and just plain weird.

Live Coverage

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2015 Golf’s Most Wanted: Handheld GPS http://www.mygolfspy.com/most-wanted-best-handheld-golf-gps-2015/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/most-wanted-best-handheld-golf-gps-2015/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:00:12 +0000 GolfSpy Tim http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=45964 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for 2015 Golf’s Most Wanted: Handheld GPS

By Tim Halberg

Who makes the best handheld Golf GPS in 2015?

Handheld Golf GPS units may all appear to be nearly identical on the surface outside of screen size, but when you start to dig in and ask, why would a golfer use this, the test results quickly separate the winners. Your biggest question this year for handheld GPS won't come down to accuracy or number of courses loaded, but will come down to if you want a small, medium or large screen and if you'd prefer to do software/map updates via wifi or through USB interface.

* Note: in general all GPS devices access the same satellites, so accuracy is similar across the board. Likewise all handheld GPS devices come preloaded with more than 30,000 courses. Which means accuracy and number of courses pre-loaded doesn't make a device stand out.

While the answers may appear simple, the testing was thorough and The Most Wanted Handheld GPS winner was put through the paces rain and shine to give you the insight you need to make your buying decision.

0080__IMH2250

Golf's Most Wanted Handheld GPS:

The Competitors

0081__IMH2259 Left to right:

handhandgps-features

While the notable features seem nearly identical for three of the four units, in testing we were able to dig past the features you might read on the box or the manufacturer's website. Our panel of reviewers brought different concerns to the table and were asked to provide feedback on Ease of Use, Battery Life, Screen Readability, Features and Updating the units. Testing took place at a range of public and private courses in Palm Springs, Sacramento, Monterey and Carmel. Units were tested in light rain, under clouds, near/under trees, while walking, while riding in carts and connected to computers. 0001__IMH9954

Among the competitors there was little variation to distances measured - modern GPS units can connect to 20+ satellites when possible and from an accuracy standpoint fall inside of the expected variables to the average golfer's distances. In order for a GPS to stand out from the crowd it was going to need to be dead simple to use, provide all the options you could want without getting in it's own way, and surprise you at a turn or two.

  • Ease of Use - From box to first tee, how much effort does it take to understand the unit and move through your first round. Do you NEED to read the manual in full? Does it take more than one try to figure out just turning the unit on?
  • Battery Life - One round? Two, three...? What does the manufacturer claim? Did we see anything in testing that differed?
  • Readability - In the past it was common for GPS units to be difficult to read in the bright sun. Also, how large are the numbers? Our resident "old guy" was consulted specifically to this factor.
  • Features - Important features are listed in the above graph, but digging beyond that, is there an interface both on the unit and/or online to review rounds and stats? How easy is it to move the target point while seeing where on the map you are? Is zooming in easy and does it make sense?
  • Updating - You want to add more courses or get the latest software update. Do you need to plug the unit in, or just be connected to wifi? Can you use either a Mac or PC platform?

0004__IMH9962

Golf's Most Wanted Handheld GPS Winner

Garmin Approach G8

Overall-Garmin

  • Good - A balance of big enough without going "too big." Easy to read, dead simple to use with hidden features that make reading the manual well worth your time to sync with your phone, view numbers larger and collect/review your stats. In testing we pulled 3 rounds out of one charge.
  • Bad - Would love to see satellite images of each hole to be even more precise.
  • Notes - As with Garmin's S4 watch, the G8 Handheld unit is a pack leader offering everything and then some. Updates can be done automatically via wifi. The interface just simply works, and there's nothing there that doesn't need to be. Your biggest decision now becomes, do you want a smaller form factor in the G7 and then sacrifice the ability to update via wifi, but save $100.

Golf's Most Wanted Handheld GPS Runner-Up

Garmin Approach G7

Runner-UP-G7

  • Good - Almost all the features you "need" as it's big brother, but in a slightly smaller package. We still got three rounds of battery life.
  • Bad - On the verge of being too small
  • Notes - If you have great eyesight  you might not mind the smaller form factor, and if you have smaller hands, this might be a winner as well. If you don't care about wifi updates and don't mind a slightly smaller display, this unit is your clear winner.

Golf Buddy PT4

GB-PT4

  • Good - Biggest screen and number of the competitors
  • Bad - Slightly clunkier interface vs. the Garmin units, not enough battery to realistically play two rounds
  • Notes - This unit wins the Elder Statesman stamp of approval for largest screen and default largest numbers (the Garmin can zoom the number just as big or bigger)

SkyCaddie Touch

SkyCaddieTouchc

  • Good - Decent sized screen, and offers updating via bluetooth
  • Bad - SLOW boot time and reaction time to touch screen inputs. Low quality graphics. Not very intuitive to use out of the box.
  • Notes - Slowest unit we tested from pressing the power button to getting your first distance on course. Sluggish response in the software to touch screen inputs and difficult to actually work your way through setup to update maps via bluetooth (first must download their app to your phone, pair phone bia bluetooth, then you're in business) Absolutely must read the manual for this device.

 

IZZO Swami 4000

Izzo-4000

  • Good - Dead simple, no fuss
  • Bad - Tough to make sense of this purchase with so many lower priced units that offer more in a smaller format
  • Notes - For someone who isn't tech savy and doesn't want to mess with a map, this might work for them, but our suggestion would be to look at the options from our Watch/Voice GPS Guide.

Final Ratings

handheldgps-ratings

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You Deserve the Truth http://www.mygolfspy.com/you-deserve-the-truth/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/you-deserve-the-truth/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:30:23 +0000 Tony Covey http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46402 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for You Deserve the Truth

Dear MyGolfSpy Readers:

This would normally be the time when I’d tell you all about Callaway’s new XR Driver.

I’m not writing that story today. Instead, I’m going to break a pseudo-promise I made to Harry Arnett, Callaway’s Senior VP of Marketing.

A few months back, I told Harry that product or no product in-hand, company-supplied info or not (we can get the details from other sources), I was never not going to cover a major Callaway release.

As it turns out I’m not going to have much more to say about the XR driver.

Instead, I’m using this time and space to pull back the curtain to reveal the true story of what’s really going on between MyGolfSpy and Callaway. I’m going to be as honest and transparent as I possibly can, because I’m sick of tired of the speculation and accusations from people who have absolutely no idea what’s actually going on.

It’s time to put it all out there.

A Patent Dispute

For those relatively new to MyGolfSpy, I should probably tell you that the owner of MyGolfSpy got his start in the industry as an independent club designer. Some of you have probably played one of his creations.

Very long story short, he believes that a key Callaway technology, one that has generated millions in revenue for the company, leveraged one of his original designs. He believes he should be fairly compensated for an idea he contends Callaway used to help re-launch its brand in 2014.

I personally have no way of knowing if that’s true (I wasn’t in the room), but nobody at Callaway denies those original meetings took place. Nobody denies his designs were shown to Callaway engineers. There’s also an email trail that suggests Callaway representatives liked what they saw.

No reasonable person could deny the obvious similarities between his design and what Callaway eventually brought to market.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of the design – and I’m sure as hell not going to weigh-in on whether the dispute has any merit. There are chasms between what is right and what is legal. Sometimes similar is legally the same, sometimes not. The ultimate resolution is a matter for lawyers and judges.

As a matter of absolute fact, I can tell you that Callaway thought enough of the claim to host a meeting with my boss at last year’s PGA Show.

We’ll come back to this in a minute, but it’s important to point out that the timing of most of this roughly coincides with last year’s driver test.

2014’s Most Wanted Driver Test

There are some who believe the origins of the ongoing issues between our companies lie with lingering bitterness over the results of last year’s driver test where Callaway’s NEW (at the time) Big Bertha finished in the statistical middle (based on standard deviations of total performance). Because we rank by the numbers, it was listed near the bottom.

Clearly Callaway was disappointed by the result, and Harry Arnett’s response on Social Media reflects that. Despite celebrating XHot’s 1st place finish the year before, the company’s representatives didn’t hesitate to belittle our test.

There’s an obvious hypocrisy there which we didn’t hesitate to point out.

One can make a perfectly fair argument that six testers isn’t the ideal sample size, but at the time, nobody was offering a better alternative, and my viewpoint is that Callaway’s initial reaction suggested it was sandbagged. It certainly gave some the impression that they didn’t know what they were getting into when they agreed to participate. That certainly wasn’t the case. The details of our test are explicitly laid out in the invitation.

There are countless club tests conducted annually. None of them are perfect (there’s no such thing). We know the flaws with everybody's tests, and Callaway does too. For whatever reason (and the reason is obvious enough), ours was the one the company’s representatives chose to go after publicly.

I will absolutely concede that I was less than thrilled by the company’s willingness to incite (in fairness, I believe this was inadvertent) its loyalists to troll us on Twitter, and complete unwillingness to straighten out the factual inaccuracies being tossed around by those same fans.

We fought back. Just as Callaway did, we defended our brand, and things escalated quickly.

As I said, I was angered – and I’ve subsequently let my Callaway contacts know that, but I’m also not a guy who holds a grudge (ask around), nor do I ever let business disputes become personal (again, ask around).

We moved on with our fairway wood test, and had absolutely zero reservations about naming Callaway’s Big Bertha Fairway Wood the winner.

Back to the Patent Dispute

As an unfortunate timing coincidence, not far removed from our driver test, the patent dispute reached a boiling point. Those of you keeping up on Twitter witnessed a flame war for the ages, and what was put out publicly was tame compared to what was exchanged via email. If you missed the back and forth, sufficed to say it was ugly.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. My boss, he has no filter (and that’s from a guy most would say lacks a filter himself). He says exactly what’s on his mind..sometimes all of it. He is at times abrasive, and very often rubs people the wrong way. For those of you who read his article on Bob Parsons, let's just say the two share some similar personality traits.

Knowing him as I do, and getting to know those on the other side of this mess a bit, it’s relatively easy for me to understand how a business dispute – one with origins that pre-date MyGolfSpy somehow escalated to a deeply personal level damaging a solid business relationship in the process. We have exceptionally passionate people on both sides of the metaphorical table, and when passionate people disagree - especially where money is involved - relationships can sometimes go sideways...really sideways.

From my perspective, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Quite frankly, in letting the dispute manifest itself both personally and publicly, it’s fair to say neither side handled things with any particular grace.

All of this came to a head when Callaway’s legal team made the internal determination that no patent infringement had taken place and that it would not offer the compensation discussed during the meeting at the PGA Show. As his response, the owner of MyGolfSpy told representatives of Callaway Golf that he would consider using the full reach of MyGolfSpy to tell his story.

If the proverbial fan wasn't already covered in excrement, it was now.

As a major golf media outlet, this website is his leverage. I would imagine it’s an almost unprecedented situation.

In response, Callaway made the decision to withhold all product and related information from MyGolfSpy.

Lots of back and forth…some publicly, some privately, and nearly one year later, we’re almost exactly where we were when this started.

None of It Matters To Me

I want to be absolutely clear about several things:

With regard to the patent dispute, I have no particular dog in the fight. Wherever the truth lies (and I make no claiming on knowing where it does), compensation for the design or not, my life is not impacted (financially or otherwise). I have no personal stake in the situation, and it has never impacted how I’ve covered Callaway Golf.

Certainly articles I’ve written about Callaway over the past year have been critical at times, but one thing has nothing to do with the other. Obviously I'm not oblivious to the fact that it may look otherwise, but I am my own man. Believe that. I've been perfectly clear with both my boss and the guys at Callaway; while the communication gap obvious impacts my ability to do my job to the best of my ability (and I don't like that), I will not be involved in any of the other stuff.

And so yes, I have taken shots at some of what Callaway has done in the last year. Anyone who's been here a while also knows that at one time or another I have been mercilessly critical of nearly every golf company on the planet, which is exactly why Callaway isn’t the first to put us in time out. I don’t make friends easily, but I am well-respected (mostly).

If you look at the whole of the body of Callaway-specific work, as well as how Callaway has responded, one could surmise that the company took some of what I wrote to heart.

After I criticized Callaway’s claim of Big Bertha being the #1 Selling Driver in Golf, Callaway changed the graphic to provide what I would characterize as more accurate context.

After I criticized Callaway’s V-Series launch, specifically the video where the company claimed that the new driver was “for anyone who wants to hit the ball farther”, the company removed the video.

My criticism has been neither unreasonable nor unfair. I stand by every word I've written without reservation.

The Communication Black Out

For the duration of the dispute, I have made every effort to work with Callaway, and from my perspective, the company hasn’t always followed through to the degree it suggested it would.

Early on, Callaway representatives suggested that a simple conversation could have cleared up some of the open-ended questions I raised in an article.

Fair enough, but my response was that it’s difficult to involve Callaway in the article when the company is unwilling to actually provide information or contribute in any way to the article.

You can’t provide two sides of a story when one side isn’t communicating, but that doesn't mean I won't write the article.

As the launch of Big Bertha Alpha 815 approached, I was told that, regardless of any dispute, Callaway would always answer marketing questions. With nearly two weeks of lead time, I submitted several questions, none of which received an answer. Those are the same unanswered questions I included in the Big Bertha Alpha 815 launch article.

Part of my job is to ask questions. If they go unanswered, I’m not going to pretend they weren’t asked.

While trying to work through the larger issues, at Callaway’s request I provided an outline of what we were willing to do to get things moving in the right direction. Well over a month later, the company’s response, which was tied to its decision to not participate in this year’s driver test, was that it will continue with the status quo for now.

And so here we are.

So Where Does that Leave Us?

As you can imagine, Callaway declined to provide any information around its most recent product launch. While some may point to the current situation as reason enough, I would suggest to you that Callaway’s efforts (or lack thereof) are inching closer to media manipulation – especially when one considers the efforts the company makes elsewhere to ensure its products receive a significant amount of favorable coverage.

For the sake of total transparency, I haven’t addressed this with Callaway (I'm sure it will be discussed shortly), but I’ve come to believe that by allowing us to be cast in the role of anti-Callaway malcontents, the company can more easily de-legitimize whatever criticism we happen to levy. Having us perceived as the bad guys probably doesn't hurt Callaway.

That’s far from who we are.

No Resolution

The likelihood is that we’re far removed from any sort of resolution. The impact of how the the larger situation impedes my ability to provide you with timely, in-depth coverage of Callaway releases is frustrating, but the issues, I believe, are not insurmountable. I'm an optimist.

While the larger situation is unfortunate, I've worked (and certainly Callaway shares credit here) to maintain what I believe to be solid professional, even friendly relationships with several of the guys at Callaway. At some point...someday...probably not tomorrow, we'll come out the other side.

So with the understanding that a resolution may not be in the immediate future, I felt it was necessary to put the speculation to bed, and let all of you know what's really going on. We're huge proponents of transparency, and given how much of what probably should have been handled privately has been aired publicly, I wanted to make sure our readers, regardless of how you might feel about the situation, understand its origins.

Speculative discussion have been had elsewhere, and so we might just as well have a more informed discussion here.

Thank you for your continued support of MyGolfSpy,

Tony

 

Tony Covey
Equipment Editor - MyGolfSpy

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FIRST LOOK – 2015 PING Ketsch http://www.mygolfspy.com/ping-ketsch-cadence-tr-putters/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/ping-ketsch-cadence-tr-putters/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:00:50 +0000 Dave Wolfe http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46291 [READ MORE] Unfamiliar with the PING Ketch and why it gets put on a pedestal? Let's just say that the first incarnation of the Ketsch dominated the competition in the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Test. 5-footers were basically gimmies for all of our testers. Yep, all of our testers.]]> Post image for FIRST LOOK – 2015 PING Ketsch

by Dave Wolfe

Ketsch: Early Favorite For 2015 Most Wanted Mallet

When we first toured the new PING Cadence TR line-up, one putter was left out of the article. I gave you a pretty good clue as to what was excluded, hinting that the excluded putter had earned the right to a little solo attention. Well let's drop the subterfuge and get right to the potentially special putter in the Cadence TR stable: The PING Cadence TR Ketsch.

Unfamiliar with the PING Ketch and why it gets put on a pedestal? Let's just say that the first incarnation of the Ketsch dominated the competition in the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Test. 5-footers were basically gimmies for all of our testers. Yep, all of our testers.

The Ketch was an amazing performer on tour as well. In less than a year of play, there are already gold versions in PING's fabled Gold Putter Vault.

It was the hot putter of 2014 and if the Cadence TR version of the Ketch is truly updated and upgraded, then I think that we have an early favorite in the 2015 Most Wanted Mallet field.

Not One Ketch, But Two

The Cadence TR line consists of both Traditional and Heavy versions for each model, and the Ketsch is no exception. Let's take a look at the two incarnations.

  • Style: Machined Aluminum mallet, 17-4 stainless steel sole plate
  • Face: Milled TR Grooves
  • Alignment: alignment line extends from top rail to back of putter
  • Weights: Traditional, 355g; Heavy, 388g
  • Stroke Fit: Straight, Slight Arc, Strong Arc stroke types (achieved by different shaft bends)
  • Customization: lie angle +/- 2º
  • Price: U.S. MSRP: $245

Admittedly, there is not a whole lot of visual differences between the two Ketsch models. The are made of the same materials, with the variation in weight coming from the sole plates. There are some differences between the 2014 Most Wanted winning Ketsch and the Cadence TR Catch though.

First, let's take a look at the big difference, the TR grooves.

The Groovespiracy

Top: Original Ketsch     Bottom: Cadence TR Ketsch

Top: Original Ketsch            Bottom: Cadence TR Ketsch

In the highly-praised Ketsch putter, which is widely used on Tours around the world, our internal team recently determined that the grooves in the face technology are deeper than intended. As a result, we suspended productions and shipments of the putter. Today, we are announcing the Ketsch putter is returning to production and will soon me available with new grooves. - PING Chairman & CEO John A. Solheim, August 19, 2014

The Ketsch entered the 2014 golf market with very little promotion or fanfare. Then it won our Most Wanted Mallet Competition in a dominant fashion, and it became a very hot commodity. Lots of golfers had to wait through backorders, as PING strove to get the supply up to the demand. PING had a real hit on their hands.

Then they stopped production.

The issue was the grooves. It was not that they were non-conforming, or ineffective. Instead, PING had discovered that they were just not quite as effective as they could be, and so they re-tooled, and re-released a Ketsch with the 2.0 grooves. That means that the Cadence TR Ketsch is actually the third incarnation of the Ketsch. If you look at the photo above, you can see that both versions have the same number of grooves, but that the grooves on the Cadence TR version are definitely smaller.

It will be interesting to see if the new grooves make an already great rolling putter even better. I played a round with the Heavy version last week and one thing that I did notice is that the new grooves put a slightly hotter roll on the ball. I tended to miss short with the old version, and that was not the case at all with the Cadence TR. Just speculating though. At some point, I am going to follow up with some old vs. new groove testing with the iPING app.

Stay Tuned...

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Want a Lower Spinning PING G30? Done. http://www.mygolfspy.com/ping-g30-ls-tec-driver/ http://www.mygolfspy.com/ping-g30-ls-tec-driver/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:02:54 +0000 Tony Covey http://www.mygolfspy.com/?p=46253 [READ MORE]]]> Post image for Want a Lower Spinning PING G30? Done.

Written by: Tony Covey

PING has just announced a new member of the G30 family.

Meet the G30 LS Tec.

Would this have been from any other company in golf we’d probably be hearing some bold statements about more yards…how it’s longer and faster than what was released just a few months ago, and how it’s most definitely the ideal driver for anyone who wants more distance, but alas, that’s not how PING rolls.

Instead, we’re going to have to rely on technical details to help us get to the bottom of why the G30 LS Tec exists.

PING-G30-LS-TEC-1

To the naked eye – and as far as the lion’s share of the technology goes - there’s not much that separates the G30 LS Tec from the G30 or the G30 SF Tec.

  • Turbulators – check.
  • T9s face – check.
  • Adjustable hosel (loft/face angle) – check.
  • Matte black finish (the LS Tec also has a matte finish on the sole) – check.

“The G30 LS Tec”, says PING’s Marty Jertson, “completes the circle”.

PING-G30-LS-TEC-4

The LS Tec isn’t a ditch your G30 (or G30 SF Tec) because this one is newer and better. Instead, the LS Tec is positioned as a complimentary model for those who find that the other two members of the G30 family spin a bit too much.

And since I just mentioned it, family ties are important. In every respect the G30 LS Tec is a blood member of the G30 family. The LS Tec is 460cc. The LS Tec has Turbulators. The LS Tec is 100% G-Series, and not much of i-anything at all (except for the spin part, which we’ll talk about in just a bit).

So let’s take just a moment to clear up any possibility of confusion right now; while recent discounts and the apparent end-of-lifing might suggest otherwise, the new LS Tec is not a direct replacement for PING’s i25.

So How is It Different?

PING-G30-LS-TEC-6
Left to right: G30 SF Tec, G30 (standard), G30 LS Tec

While the LS Tec is pure G30, there are some distinctions between it and the other two models in the G30 driver family. Let’s sort those out.

The LS Tec has a reduced surface area. While, as previously mentioned, the G30 LS Tec is still 460cc, PING has refined the actual footprint of the driver. This is most notable when you focus on the trailing edge of the crown where PING smoothed things out just a bit.

While the golfer will likely see only the slightest of differences between models, this is significant for two reasons.

Firstly, when the face of the club is open (from the top of the swing to roughly halfway down), surface area is part of the drag equation. Less drag means more speed. PING’s calling it a .25 MPH improvement over the standard G30, which, when all other factors are equal, works out to about ¾ of a yard.

DITCH YOUR G30 NOW!

I kid…3/4 of 1 yard is definitely not any sort of reason for you to trade in your regular G30 (or SF Tec).

Secondly, the change to the trailing edge design, along with some internal mass adjustments allowed PING Engineers to nudge the center of gravity location forward. And a gentle nudge is really all we’re talking about here. The LS Tec still offers what anyone in the industry would characterize as a low/back CG placement.

PING-G30-LS-TEC-7
Left to Right: G30 LS Tec, G30, G30 SF Tec

This isn’t PING’s answer to the TaylorMade R15, the Cobra FLY-Z+, or Callaway’s 815 Alpha Double Black Diamond. The G30 LS Tec most certainly isn’t an Anser driver replacement either. Like I said earlier, it’s not even an i25 replacement.

In reality, the change is CG movement is only 0.015" (PING moved the CG horizontally, neither higher nor lower). While not a huge difference numerically, the change is significant enough to help create a higher launch to spin ratio (basically the G30 LS will spin less at equivalent loft).

You’ll note that in that last sentence I said help create.

There’s actually another piece of the equation. Similar to what we saw from Bridgestone last week, PING has added a surface texture the face of the G30 LS Tec. Unlike Bridgestone’s design, there aren’t any true grooves to speak of, but there is some added grit (probably not noticeable in photos), which at driver loft, PING says helps to further reduce spin.

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Those dots aren't part of the new face design. This LS Tec has been prepped for Most Wanted Testing with the Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor with HMT.
The sum total of all of these differences is a driver that spins up to 400 RPM less on average than the standard G30 (comparison based on the tour model shaft ). Perhaps more significant, while the G30 LS Tec is less forgiving that the standard and SF Tec models (MOI is 6% lower), the LS Tec offers greater spin stability, particularly on mis-hits above the center of the face.

Though it runs a bit contrary to the notion of a low spin driver; your signature miss…the high toe knuckleball, will actually retain more spin, and therefore stay in the air longer than it would with the other drivers in the G30 family.

Who Is the G30 LS Tec For?

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When you consider that the G30 is already a reasonably low spin driver (considering CG location and MOI), and the SF Tec serves the shot shape correction crowd, you may find yourself wondering exactly who the G30 LS Tec is for.

According to Jertson, the LS Tec is designed for the tail of the bell curve. While there are seldom any absolutes in club fitting, it will generally be best suited for the guy with a minus angle of attack; golfers who hit down on the ball with their drivers.

If you’re looking for a market breakdown, Jertson estimates that roughly 40% of the market will be best served by the standard model. Another 40% fit into the SF Tec, while the remaining 20% should be LS Tec guys.

What we’re talking about is really a semi-niche driver within the larger G30 family.

For those looking for a comprehensive performance breakdown, the G30, G30 SF Tec, and G30 LS Tec will all be included in MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Most Wanted Driver test.

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Pricing, Specs, and Availability

The PING G30 LS Tec is availble in lofts of 9° & 10.5°, and features the same adjustable hosel as other G30 drivers. At the standard length of 45.75", the swing weight is D3.

The stock shaft is the PING TFC 418D (Soft R, R, S, X). Tour 65 and 80 Shafts (standard length 45.25") are available in R, S, and X flex for a $30 upchage.

Retail price for the G30 LS Tech, which ships to dealers in February, is $385.

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