Golf Guide: TaylorMade driver, Callaway irons hot items
One of the ways to improve your golf game is to buy custom-fitted equipment with the latest advances in technology.
The hottest new toys for duffers run the gamut from drivers all the way through putters and training aids, according to Scott Hoffman of Northway 8 Golf Shop Inc.
“The hot new driver these days is the TaylorMade R11,” said Hoffman. “It is the most versatile golf club in the market, right now.”
Hoffman said that no matter what kind of swing and/or ball flight a golfer possesses, the R11 can improve it.
“There are more adjustments than ever with this club,” he said. “It has an adjustable sole plate technology that can open or close your clubface to accommodate your tendencies to either slice or hook the ball. It helps golfers hit the ball straighter. Also, they combine that technology with the ability to manipulate the loft by a full degree and a half in either direction. That helps raise or lower the ball flight.”
But the R11 also has other adjustments available.
“There is an internal weighting, toward the heel or the toe, to enhance the feature of the clubface to open or close,” he said.
“The key is to customize the club for every player. We can fully customize your shaft. In fact, there are six or eight shaft options that you can choose. There are more options than the average consumer has knowledge of.
“We carry every brand, and there are some great drivers out there, but the R11 is the most popular one we’ve got, right now.”
Meanwhile, the most coveted set of high-technology irons is the Callaway Razr X.
“Their iron design has a cleaner-looking club that has outstanding performance,” Hoffman said. “It has a softer feel and is more consistent. It is geared for the average player. Typically, they aim for the middle-tier players. Their Diablo line, which is the replacement for the Big Bertha, is the most forgiving iron they have, but the Razr X is for players with handicaps of 10 or 12 to about 20. If a player has a handicap above 20, I would recommend that they stay with the Diablo brand. Callaway also has a Razr X-4 for single-digit handicappers.”
Alignment aids helpful
When it comes to putting, alignment aids are the key.
“There is a new Odyssey series called the White Ice Dart,” Hoffman noted. “They have an innovative alignment system that was developed from an archery system. This putter replicates the lines and feathers that are on an arrow. It helps to draw your eyes from outside to inside of the target.
“Most players are too far away from the ball or too close to it, but this putter draws your focus to the center line.”
Hoffman said another popular putter that came out last year is the TaylorMade Ghost, which has a face that is completely white.
“Science and technology are continuing to make a big impact in all of the equipment these days,” he said.
In wedges, the USGA ruling on the width of grooves in wedges was an attack on the new technology, but equipment companies are still trying to find ways of getting around the new rules.
“As of this past January, companies can’t make wedges with those deep and wide grooves, but we’ve stocked up with those wedges with the more aggressive grooves,” he said.
“Since the width and depth of grooves are now limited, companies have moved toward different improvements in their wedges. They are now putting the grooves closer together. For example, if you had 20 grooves before, they might put 23 or 24 grooves on a wedge now. It should give you the same amount of bite or spin that you had before. There are always different ways of skinning a cat.”
Hoffman isn’t real big on training aids, but there are plenty of new ones on the market.
“I’m still a believer in the older training aids like the Momentus and the Medicus to improve your swing, but one of the new ones is the Tour Striker. We are bringing those into the store because it seems to be very popular. It’s a golf club that has a rounded outside perimeter. It not only makes you hit down on the club, but it also makes you hit the sweet spot, or you can’t get the ball into the air. We think this aid has some merit.”
Hoffman also said there are several new putting systems that are beneficial, like the inside-down-the-line method and other alignment guides, but he added that solid putting mechanics are the better way to go.
Literally hundreds of different types of golf balls are also available with new technology that can help your shots go straighter, longer or with more spin.
Finally, there are myriad new GPS systems to give golfers exact yardages on the course.