Our editors met with new companies and heard about innovations from brands across the industry all week at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. Here are some of the coolest products we saw, which you’ll likely continue to hear more and more about as the year progresses.
A cart speaker might not be your thing, but when you decide to make one and you’re Bushnell, the premier company for providing golfers with on-course distance information, it becomes a whole lot more than a music machine. The Bushnell Wingman is a speaker that doubles as a GPS yardage device, providing front, middle and back distances when paired with the Bushnell Golf app on your phone. You can also play music through the Bluetooth, and by using the remote – which conveniently doubles as a ball marker – the music pauses for the audible readout of the distances to the green. The Wingman features a battery life of at least 10 hours, automatic hole advance and an input to charge other devices. It also comes with the company’s Bite magnetic clip that allows the speaker to be mounted on your cart so you don’t lose it.
Check out championsports.com.au for more.
Behold the Aussie invention helping golfers all over the globe make a more consistent stroke – and ultimately sink more putts. The brainchild of Cronulla man Brett Arnold – brother of tour pros Scott and Jamie – The Gatekeeper helps users make the correct, pure path by attaching a pendulum ball and “gate” apparatus to the putter shaft. If the putt is perfectly on plane the ball will pass through the gate without contact. However, if the user’s putting stroke is not straight or if the arced path doesn’t match, the ball will strike the gate and alert the user immediately. Golfers of all ability levels often suffer from too much face rotation during their putting stroke. The Gatekeeper helps counter this rotation with the gate width that narrows if the device is off axis with the ball’s path. As Arnold says, “We’re just easin’ the tension, baby!”
Order yours at www.aigolfco.com
Club Car Tempo Walk
One of the biggest criticisms of golf carts is they spoil a good walk – and the undeniable health benefits associated with moving on your own two feet. Club Car has come to the party to silence those critics and offer an ingenious walking option with the new Tempo Walk. Simply clip the small sensor to your shorts at your lower back and this motorised bag carrier will follow you as you walk, in any conditions, on any terrain. It comes fitted with a screen that displays GPS data of the hole you’re playing, along with a dedicated Esky space and divot-bottle holders. There’s no word on Australian availability and pricing yet but it’s understood the Tempo Walk will operate on the same model as traditional carts, where clubs can lease a fleet of their own and rent out to members on a per-round basis.
Stay up to date at clubcar.com
Ping Heppler Putters
The first thing you notice about Ping Golf’s new Heppler putters is what you don’t see. The company that has made great strides in understanding the role grooves play in how putts roll and then executing that understanding in multiple models over much of the past decade has introduced a model with a perfectly flat, grooveless face.
What gives? Well, for Ping, as always, it comes down to research. Turns out, while the grooves in Ping models like those in the current Sigma 2 provide a demonstrable benefit in roll and consistency, not every player prefers them. The reason is simple and it has to do with one of the important yet more difficult to pinpoint aspects of putter design: sound and feel.
The Heppler lineup took extensive tour-player research as a starting point for the face design, but also incorporated a number of material and visual technologies as well. There are nine models in the lineup and each incorporates a stunning two-tone visual of copper and black. The blade models (Anser 2 and Zb3) are cast from 17-4 stainless steel, while the mallets – Piper, Piper C (armlock), Fetch, Ketsch, Tyne 3, Floki and Tomcat 14) mix low-density, lighter die-cast aluminium with higher-density, heavier stainless steel. The aluminium ADC12 is about 10 percent lighter than the 6061 aluminium that has been used in many other putters and is about one-third the density of steel.
Like the Sigma 2 putters, the full Heppler lineup also features Ping’s adjustable shaft length technology. Hidden under the grip, the system adjusts between 32 and 36 inches on the standard models through a carbon fibre sleeve within the shaft.
In Australia, Heppler putters will retail for $435 for the Anser 2, Zb3 and Piper C models, and $475 for the Piper armlock, Ketsch, Fetch, Floki, Tyne 3, Tomcat 14.
Visit americangolf.com.au for more.
Callaway Mavrik Irons
The new Callaway Mavrik irons, which include three models, expands on the company’s use of artificial intelligence, stretching its use from its metalwoods down to its irons. It is, says Dr Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s head of research and development, a logical next step.
The Mavrik iron line, made up of the strong-lofted game-improvement style (Mavrik), a more compact players distance iron (Mavrik Pro) and a launch-focused option (Mavrik Max), all share a common design philosophy of speed and launch in the long irons; speed and spin in the mid irons and spin and launch angle in the short irons. Helping to achieve that in all of the irons is a new flash cupface that is precisely engineered using AI not only for each iron model, but for each club within that model.
In the case of the standard Mavrik, strong lofts (the pitching wedge is 41 degrees) help drive a distance-driven package. Attention also was paid to improving the sound and feel on shots struck low on the face (where many players in this category strike the shot) through the use of a mass dampener. The company also continues its use of tungsten encased in microsphere-filled urethane, which allows for centre of gravity positions that produce a launch angle one would expect to see despite the strong lofts.
The Mavrik Pro [pictured], a little misleading as players of many ability levels can play this club, uses the same core technologies as the standard Mavrik in a more compact head shape with a flatter lie angle and thinner topline. In other words, attributes that shotmakers prefer.
Mavrik Max also shares the core technologies of AI-driven flash cupfaces, tungsten energy core and urethane microspheres, but adds a twist for a super game-improvement iron: instead of producing strong lofts for even more distance, Callaway backed off a couple of degrees (a 43-degree pitching wedge) to provide more launch angle for players that often need it.
Callaway Mavrik irons are available with a number of stock shaft options at retail in Australia at a cost of $179.99 (standard steel) and $199.99 (graphite and pro steel) per club.
Check out callawaygolf.com.au for more.
Taylormade Pix 2.0 balls
The TaylorMade TP5 Pix 2.0 balls reflect the next iteration of the company’s approach to adding flashes of colour to a white golf ball to improve focus and enhance performance. But unlike in the past where the company has used scientists and university professors in sports optics to develop the visual aspects of its drivers, putters and golf balls, the developments spurring this new design came from a somewhat lower tech – and decidedly higher performance – source: Rickie Fowler.
The TP5 Pix 2.0 balls, which are available in both the TP5 and TP5x varieties, continue the use of a multi-coloured pattern of images to produce a visual indicator of the ball’s rotation, introduced last year. The images arrayed on the original TP5 Pix were a design developed by researchers at Indiana University. The aim is to enhance the eyes’ natural ability to better process darker images more efficiently when it’s lighter and lighter images when it’s darker. Fowler, who has occasionally played a Pix ball since switching to TaylorMade TP5x last year, wanted to improve the ball’s effectiveness in terms of aiming.
“The Pix graphics give you a precise focal point to work with,” Fowler said.
In the Pix 2.0, the pixilated images, which are now a multi-coloured triangle, are arrayed to make room for a distinct open space between the logo and sidestamp on the ball. The orange baselines of the triangles line up to frame the open space that encloses the logo and sidestamp. According to the company, the feature, which TaylorMade is calling “ClearPath”, is designed to improve both alignment and provide feedback on whether the putt was struck solidly and on target.
The new balls are the same as the monochrome TP5 and TP5x balls, the company’s trademark five-layer urethane cover balls that were upgraded last year. The current version features an improved layer just below the cover, a high-flex modulus resin. Eric Loper, director of golf ball research and development, called it “the fastest material that TaylorMade has ever used in a golf ball”.
Puma Cloudspun range
Have you dreamt of playing golf in a shirt that’s so comfortable you’d never want to take it off? Something you could golf in it, work in it, relax in it… basically live in… Well, we may have found it.
When it comes to Puma’s 2020 Cloudspun apparel, there’s more than meets the eye. This new collection of polos and layering pieces with innovative Cloudspun technology are literally the softest, most lightweight, breathable, stretchiest fabric the brand has ever used.
Each Clouspun piece in the 2020 Spring Summer collection is not only eye-catching but features a supreme fit and, according to the company, “the softest polo a golfer will ever wear thanks to Puma’s custom-milled fabric, brushed for additional softness, genuinely warranting the marketing tagline ‘Ours Feels Better Than Yours’.”
The moisture-wicking, four-way stretch fabric delivers the softness of cotton and the performance of polyester without simply looking like a golf top. The result is a collection of wardrobe essentials for any golfer that will easily transition from a business meeting to the golf course to dinner with friends, without sacrificing comfort or style.
The SS20 Cloudspun Collection, available now in select retailers across Australia, includes one polo and two layering pieces for men, along with two layering pieces for women, and starts from $90.
Check out cobrapumagolf.com for more.
FootJoy Pro|SL shoe gets a reboot
When FootJoy consulted its top tour players to inquire about making changes to the popular Pro|SL model, the best-selling shoe in golf and the shoe chosen by more tour players than any other, the feedback was clear: don’t.
But players never settle, and neither does FootJoy. The brand operates with a singular focus on the game of golf and every little thing golfers need to perform at the highest level. Because to them, “only everything matters”, And it is why the brand spent more than 18 months to develop, test and perfect a new Pro|SL.
“As the industry leader, we didn’t tweak or adjust the new Pro|SL, we innovated and advanced and received tour approval,” said Richard Fryer, the director of product management for FootJoy footwear. “As a result, we’ve developed a product that delivers more stability, more traction, more comfort and more choice, setting the standard in performance footwear, again.”
The all-new Pro|SL offers more traction and stability for every single shot. The all-new Infinity outsole configuration provides grip that just won’t quit, with 189 points of traction that deliver superb contact with the ground and the perfect foundation throughout the golf swing. The unique infinity shape optimises stability, with an 11.5 percent wider heel and increased forefoot stability.
Pro|SL offers just the right amount of comfort with a Dual-Density (D2) midsole that delivers both stability and cushioning. Its advanced design utilises two densities of FootJoy proprietary Fine-Tuned Foam (FTF): a firm FTF around the perimeter for support and control, and a softer FTF under the foot for max cushioning and comfort.
With multiple layers of comfort and support, along with a super-soft waterproof leather and Power Harness to hug your feet, the all-new Pro|SL provides the comfiest ride in golf with maximum medial/lateral control and support.
For those looking for even more comfort and stability, FootJoy has created an additional option, Pro|SL Carbon, integrating a full-length carbon fibre insert into the midsole for off-the-charts stability and motion control. Carbon fibre flexes and elastically snaps back to its moulded position with each step recovering more of the energy generated while walking and allowing the body to work less. This will result in less leg and foot fatigue at the end of the round.
Pro|SL Carbon shoes provide enhanced wrap-around comfort and no-slip fit with a soft, molded collar and conforming underfoot cushioning with an OrthoLite Impressions FitBed.
“I’m someone who loves to be comfortable, and the new Pro|SL is the most comfortable golf shoe I’ve ever put on my feet,” said Louis Oosthuizen.
“When I tried Carbon for the first time, I wanted to put them in play immediately,” said Charley Hoffman. “The comfort and stability is incredible”.
Looking to design and customise your own golf shoes? The all-new Pro|SL is now available on MyJoys. Create custom MyJoys with more than 14 million possible combinations of colours, prints, laces and more, available for both men and women in both laced and Boa.
Available now in Australian stores for $299.95 (BOA and Carbon models) and $269.95 (laced).
Check out footjoy.com.au for more information.