The 2001 Première Golf Exhibition opened this week at the Congress Palace in Marbella where more than 100 exhibitors previewed a bewildering array of brand new golf clubs, balls and other equipment.
Taylor Made and Cobra both chose Première Golf 2001 for the European launch of new drivers that conform to R&A rules but are illegal in the areas under the jurisdiction of the USGA.
The new Taylor Made XR-03 and its King Cobra SS 370 Unlimited counterpart join a growing list of drivers that fall foul of the USGA’s rules governing COR (Coefficient of Restitution) and so are banned in competition in America but can be used in all other countries around the world.
The new Taylor Made XR-03 (X stands for experimental and R stands for R & A conforming) has been introduced as an alternative to the company’s successful 300 series.
The XR-03 has a high strength titanium face and body similar to the R300 series but it has a larger head and a thinner face to create what the scientists would describe as more COR but which could also be described as greater Spring Effect. This results in more distance and more forgiveness.
The new King Cobra SS 370 Unlimited driver, featuring a thin Titanium head with oval insert, also has an extremely high COR. Accompanied by a 60g Aldila graphite shaft for a higher launch angle and more distance, the new King Cobra SS 370 Unlimited driver is available in right and left hand in lofts of 7.5, 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees.
A new King Cobra SS 310 Tour driver, designed to offer more shot-shaping options, and a new King Cobra SS 350 Offset are also available.
Taking Things To The Limit
Ping, Wilson and Srixon were three of the leading manufacturers to launch conforming new drivers at Première Golf 2001 in Marbella.
All these new drivers can be used in competitions under both R&A and USGA rules.
The new Ping TiSI Tec driver features a brand new weight distribution system and is described as the most powerful driver the company has ever produced.
“This is definitely the longest driver we have ever built,” said John A. Solheim, Ping chairman and CEO. “It’s longer by design.”
“The club is hot,” he added. We have optimized the spin and lift characteristics of this driver. The Ping TiSI Tec driver imparts the correct amount of spin to the golf ball. As a result players are experiencing a more optimum, boring ball flight and more forward momentum when the ball hits the ground.”
Wilson’s new 365cc Deep Red Beta-Ti driver is described as the ultimate game improvement driver for maximum distance and forgiveness. It is part of the company’s new and improved Deep Red family and features a larger head size for those golfers who desire a higher ball flight and trajectory and a low twist Grafalloy ProLite 480 Wilson Fat Shaft for improved accuracy. It also has a new weight distribution system that is designed to create an optimum launch angle for those golfers who have lower ball flight tendencies.
The new Srixon XX10 driver signals the Japanese company’s first sortie into the headwear market and is complimented by two new iron models all of which will be available in time for the 2002 season. XX1 stands for the 21st century and “O” is for “on”, or moving forward, which is appropriate given that the XX10 driver is design to provide a new dimension in distance and accuracy.
MacGregor, Wilson and Titleist were three of the golf companies who launched new irons at Première Golf 2001. The new MacGregor VIP muscle back V-Foil iron is designed to direct 49% greater mass in the hitting area and this translates to more power, more forgiveness and a solid feel at impact, even for off-centre hits.
The new Wilson Deep Red irons feature a deep cavity that enables the weight of the club to be low and back, promoting a higher ball flight and greater forgiveness on off centre hits. The fluid feel insert, made of two different urethane materials, promotes greater feel and its thin face and extreme perimeter weighting result in extra forgiveness and greater accuracy.
Titleist believes their new DCI 762 and DCI 822OS model raise the performance bar for irons.
The DCI 762 replaces the DC1 990 as the new flagship of the DCI family of irons. It is a high performance blade that incorporates thin face technology and a multi-piece carbon and Mylar cavity insert to provide unparalleled feel, increased playability, and modern flight characteristics.
The new DCI 762 irons feature a slight progressive offset, a six percent larger face area and double the cavity volume of the DC1 990, allowing players to hit long irons more easily without sacrificing shot workability, and short irons with a flatter more controlled flight.
New Balls Please
Titleist has launched its first new balls since the introduction of its hugely successful Titleist Pro V1 in September 2000. The solid construction NXT Tour and NXT Distance golf balls are said to redefine long distance and soft feel for aspirational and recreational golfers.
“The Pro V1 served as the benchmark within the premium segment of the golf ball market and the NXT Distance and NXT Tour will establish a best seller position within the mid-price point, top-grade segment for golfers seeking the next generation attributes of long distance and soft feel for less than £7.00 per sleeve (RRP), said George Sine, Titleist’s vice president for golf ball marketing and strategic planning.
“This segment includes player types ranging from distance challenged low handicap golfers, to mid and high handicap accuracy and durability dependent players,” Sine added. “Prior to the NXT Distance and NXT Tour offerings, products within this segment fell short on distance delivery, as well as failed to deliver soft feel and greenside performance at value. With the next family, we plan to convert 10 plus handicap players of competitive products to the Titleist brand, as well as invite a wide range of new players seeking long, straight distance with soft feel at a value to experience the Titleist brand for perhaps the first time.”
The NXT Tour’s resilient, soft compression 1.590″ core is the largest of any soft core golf ball in the market place and provides high initial velocity and soft feel. The combination of the advanced soft compression core technology and a new, soft, thin, Fusablend cover delivers exceptional spin and feel.
The NXT Distance ball is constructed of a large, soft compression core, which includes tungsten to provide exceptional velocity for distance and soft feel. A softer sodium and zinc Surlyn cover blend combination provides higher partial wedge spin for short game control.
Both models will carry a suggested retail price of £27.50 per dozen.
Wilson is another of the leading golf manufacturers to launch a brand new golf ball range for the 2002 season. The new Staff Pro Distance family, complete with improved Smart-Core technology, offers four different balls for different types of players. A simple player profile, to help each golfer to make the best choice, is featured on every dozen box and sleeve. The Staff Pro Distance Family includes four distinct balls, the Staff Pro Distance (Straight), the Staff Pro Distance Spin, the Staff Pro Distance Women’s and the Staff New Players Ball.
Srixon launched its brand new Hi-Brid Tour golf ball at the Premiere Golf 2001 in Marbella. The new ball compliments Srixon’s current range of balls.
The new Hi-Brid Tour golf ball is a 3-piece ball that gives the golfer a unique combination of distance from the tee and feel round the greens. It features a new EGG core that starts with a firm outer area and gradually becomes softer towards its centre, creating a high launch angle and low spin. The new ball also has a brand new ultra-thin mid layer, creating high repulsion for longer distance and soft feel off all clubs, plus a soft elastomer cove, designed to provide superb control around the green.
New Putters Launched
Ping used Première Golf 2001 for the European launch of five new high performance putters. The new PENGYO, PENGYO Isopur2, VSLà”, VSL Isopur2 and lil’b putters, all crafted from aerospace quality 17-4 stainless steel in a satin finish, have been designed as part of PING engineers’ continual quest to revolutionise putting and will all be available in Europe by the start of 2002.
All five can be custom fit for length, lie, loft and grip type.
Key features on the new PENGYO putter, named after the Madarin Chinese word for “friend”, include an attractive continuous curve on the flange, a slanted, flat top hosel and a single sight line on the top rail to aid in putting alignment. Both the flat top hosel and the putter flange were purposely designed with no abrupt angles in order to give the PENGYO putter a very pleasing look.
“The radius of the curve that sweeps from the heel to the toe of the PENGYO is designed to keep the centre of gravity low for better roll and concentrate mass at the putter extremes for maximum forgiveness,” said John K. Solheim, PING Vice President of Engineering.
“The slanted, flat top hosel also helps golfers by keeping the hosel alignment neutral,” he added. Two models of the PENGYO putter are available. The PING PENGYO will retail at £80.00 whereas the Isopur model, the PENGYO i2, which is milled and combines soft responsive feel with increased forgiveness, retails at £110.00. Both will be available in mid-October 2001.
Golfers who prefer very subtle and accurate sight lines will want to try the new VSL putter. “The design of the PING VSL putter incorporates strategically-placed ridges in the flange which cast shadows onto the flange, creating a visual sight line,” said Solheim. “Alignment with the VSL putter in incredibly easy.”
The VSL putter features a flared tip hosel with minimal offset. A single line on the top rail is available as an option. There are two models available. The VSL retails at £80 and the Isopur model, the VSL i2, costs £110. Both will be available at the turn of the year. Standard length for the PENGYO and VSL models is 34 inches.
PING is also introducing a new mid-length putter, the lil’b, which is a shorter version of the popular PING B90, introduced in 1991 measuring 48 inches.
The new lil’b putter, which has a slightly smaller head than the B90, features a shaft with a small double bend and the ability to change lie angles. The standard lie angle is 18 degrees and the standard loft is 3 degrees although both can be customised to suit golfers’ requirements. The lil’b will be available in standard length of 41 inches, with a recommended range of 33 to 44 inches. It will be available from December 1, retailing at £100. All five putters will be available in right and left-hand models.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
FootJoy and Hi-Tec used Première Golf 2001 for the European launch of their exciting new ranges for 2002. FootJoys newcomers included a new DryJoys range, featuring a new Torque Control outsole with a new Opti-Flex forefoot channel, new additions to the existing ClassicDry, DryI.C.E and Sierra Trek ranges, plus a new Contour Series that is guaranteed to take the company to the forefront of the golfing fashion stakes.
The new Contour Series offers unparalleled levels of comfort and flexibility and has been designed with fashion appeal very much in mind. The secret to the Contour Series’ unique flexibility and stability lies in a combination of an ultra flexible DuraMax outsole and the PU midsole.
The soft leather uppers and slip last construction provide excellent support and deliver a modern look and a comfortable, relaxed fit. The new Contour series is available in taupe or black.
The cornerstone of the 2002 Hi-Tec range is the new broad based “Orton Last”, designed and implemented by Shoe Last designer, Ken Orton. It is a fact that 90 percent of the population has one foot larger than the other and Hi-Tec are the first company to address this with the introduction of the Hi-Tec Custom Comfort X5, the first of Hi-Tec’s new concept shoes that allows customers to adapt the fit of the shoe to the shape of their customers’ feet.
This waterproof, full grain leather shoe is supplied with both a regular and wide fitting removable footbed, offering the customer a customised fit. The shoe, which retails at £69.99, also has a lightweight and durable new Greenfield X5 sole unit with Trisport Eclipse re-active fast-twist cleats, directional lug patterns that provide exceptional traction whether going uphill or downhill and stability bars on the sides of the sole ensuring maximum balance and grip.
Première Golf www.premieregolf.com