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egardless of the economic cli- mate or state of the game, the PGA Merchandise Show never disappoints in introducing the year’s newest and best golf products. In some respects, the show is no different than Christmas. Neither is going away, but some years the gifts are bigger and better than others. This year’s three-day show in January would be best described as consistent.

cts, the show is n ristmas. Neither

some years the nd better than

w in be


After walk- ing the aisles and trying out a variety of equipment

a pm ment

and gadgetry, my notebook revealed a lot of items I would use, but noth- ing that caused a “wow, I gotta have that” response.

noteb y notebook revealed book revealedl d

As always, companies declare their products will increase distance, accuracy and offer forgiveness. Some promise to fix a swing that even the

ar’s e


no is

o s

Equipment’s annual refrain: distance, accuracy, forgiveness R


best equipment would have a hard time improving.

Here’s a sampling of the new product offerings for 2012.

• Speed was a recurring theme in the equipment section, maybe none more so than at Nike.

more so than at Nike.

Speed is prevalent throughout the Nike

p t t

VRs line that advances the original VR line that was intro- duced in 2008. Nike has taken its proprietary NexCOR face technology and applied it through- out the bag – driver,

ad that duce

VR dv


rig at

Nike h propriie face te


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applied out the bag

fairway woods, hybrids and irons, including forged irons.

“In golf, when we talk about dis- tance, the first thing that comes to mind is the driver,” said Tom Stites, director of club creation for Nike Golf. “We decided to look beyond that and

th th

focus on the entire bag from a holistic point of view.”

The technology focuses on the clubface. Knowing that not every player hits the ball on the pre-deter- mined sweet spot, Nike conducted impact studies to find the spot that is more reflective of players’ games. Nike then incorporated its NexCOR variable face thickness to adapt to those new areas.

Nike condt d d

ducted Combined with a a

new aerodynamic design, the end result is more speed at impact, which equals greater distance. For the skeptics, Nike Golf will conduct VRs Speed Trials for three months starting in March. Golfers can compare the speed of what is in their bag to Nike’s new products on a launch monitor.

esign the

The accumulated distance will be recorded on a national leaderboard at, which also lists partici-

pating retail shops and golf courses. • While Cleveland likely would not be the first – or second – choice in the driver selection process, the company should be commended for turning back the clock so to speak.

tur so

The company’s

Classic game-improve- ment titanium driver has all of the modern technology perks, yet looks like a deep brown persimmon driver right down to “Classic” in an old- style font across the crown. From a construction standpoint, the face is Cleveland’s largest and deepest, mak- ing it look mammoth. The driver comes in three weights (270, 290 and 310 grams) to accommodate different game types. Cleveland also has a new Mashie-line of hybrids, fairway woods and irons. The name may imply an old-school look similar to the Classic driver, but

Cl m

h ha tech look persim down to style font acro style font a a construction st Continued on page 25

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