Larkin—In Love with Golf

by Dick Harmon

A Long Time Coming

Official Monthly Digital Magazine

of the Utah Golf Association

December 2014 Issue

by Mike Sorensen

A Hall of Fame Career

"Local" Wins the Utah Open

by Kurt Kragthorpe

by Kurt Kragthorpe

Wightman Goes Old School,

Bringing New Life to the Ranches

Idaho's Aldridge Wins

Sand Hollow Open

by Dick Harmon

by Dick Harmon

Product Review

Nike, Cleveland, Titleist, TaylorMade Callaway and eBags

by Mike Stansfield

Volume 23 • Issue 4 • November 2014

View the November 2014 Issue Below

Larkin—In Love with Golf

by Dick Harmon

He’s a friendly, well-spoken spry man who is head over spikes in love with what his Callaway X12s give him: pure unadulterated fun.

Give Darrill Larkin a golf club, put him in a place painted like a Picasso, pair him with his buddies and he’s as pleased as a king over a precious realm.

To many, the 73-year old Larkin is the face of golf in St. George.  He is not quite the professional that is native son Jay Don Blake, but as an amateur who’ll pop up on a tee box anywhere from Bloomington Country Club to Sky Mountain, or his home course at Green Spring, he’s your local legend.

Larkin’s passion for golf runs deep.  He was hooked the first time he picked up a club and embarked on his first round.  It was 1966 and he was home on break from school in Santa Barbara, California, when his twin brother Dale “conned” him into a round at newly opened Dixie Red Hills.

“I was hooked,” he remembers. “It took one time and I fell in love with the game and I’ve played it ever since.”

He plays anywhere from three to six times a week, his best round is 67.  He’s had 15 aces in his life and has kept track of the courses he’s played all over the world. That number is 669.  His wish is that his health will enable him to continue playing golf for the rest of his life, be it 15, 20 years or beyond.  He knows a guy who works at the St. George LDS Temple who is 92 and walks nine holes. “That just amazes me and I’d like to have that. I’ve had so much pleasure out of this game that I don’t want to quit.  If I can’t golf, I’d rather pass on.  I don’t have another hobby.  I do things that are important, but nothing that gives me more pleasure.”

Larkin may have had one golf lesson in his life, he can’t remember when or with whom.  A retired real estate man who got in the hotel business during his prime, Larkin sat on the patio of Green Spring’s clubhouse and praised the game that’s become an important fabric of his life.

“Just look around you.  How could you not want to be out there with such great scenery to look at and be with your buddies?”   As a businessman and hotelier, he had two other close playing partners back in their working days and each had an able assistant manager. “About 1 o’clock each day we’d disappear and meet for golf.  His wife, Lana, understood the addiction and supported it.  “I have a long suffering wife.  I think she decided early in our marriage that she could either be unhappy with my golfing or be happy with me golfing.  She is incredibly supportive.”

Larkin owns a home just off the No. 13 green at Green Spring, a course he says will give a golfer everything he asks for.  “It’s a golf course you can play and enjoy and it won’t beat you up, but if you get off your game it will kill you.  Numbers 6, 16 and 11 are unforgiving. It is beautiful, has character and is a course where none of the holes are the same.  You can play it a thousand times and never get tired of it.  If you get tired of this course, you ought to take up another sport.”

Although he lives and plays at Green Spring, he has been a member at Bloomington and has watched St. George golf grow into the golf mecca it is today.  His favorite course is Entrada Country Club, perhaps one of the state’s best groomed tracks, a challenge to play.  “It’s my favorite.  I could play that every day.  It’s in great shape and challenging and has stunning beauty. It’s hard, but manageable.”

As a mission president for the LDS faith in San Antonio, Texas, he’d find time to get in a round after a conference or long session of meetings, finishing 18 in two hours.

His biggest complaint with the game is slow play. “I play fast and the guys I play with play fast. Tournaments are the worst, so are scrambles when you take five hours to play a round.  If he could change any rule of golf it would be that out of bounds should be like a lateral hazard, you drop and you play.  “It would speed up play and it would be fair.  Otherwise, I like all the rules of golf and I like the competition.”

A guy who has been to Augusta National and calls it “hallowed ground,” Larkin’s dream foursome would include his twin Dale, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods; although he admits it would be embarrassing.  “But who wouldn’t want to play with those two?”

Larkin once read a book by Art Wall who had 17 holes in one.  “I guess on my bucket list, I’d like to get two more and have 17, too.”

Larkin says golf teaches life lessons and he’s gleaned his share from the game.  “I think you learn about character.  You don’t golf with someone very long before you can tell what kind of person he is.  You can be deceived of course, but it kind of uncovers you.  You see if you’re honest, what kind of integrity you have, if you get angry or lose your temper over a stupid shot and how you handle it.”

As a young golfer he and a friend went to Arizona to play in a two-man Calcutta scramble format.  They’d been used to playing for money, paying 10 bucks or so, but unbeknownst to Larkin, this tournament cost a thousand dollars.  He and his playing partner were young and had a length off the tee advantage playing two guys in their 70s.  It came down to the last hole and Larkin’s duo lost.

“When I went home that day, I was so miserable it ached. I felt terrible. But I learned a lesson that day. I vowed I would never let anything in life make me that miserable, make me hurt that bad, that no disappointment or anything that went wrong in my life would ever make me feel that way again.”

Whether it’s a casual round with friends or in support of a local charity tournament, most days in the St. George area you will find Darrill Larkin on a golf course with a smile on his face.

 

Cover Feature • November 2014

A Long Time Coming

by Mike Sorensen

Feature • November 2014

It seems hard to believe, considering the way she’s dominated women’s golf in Utah for so many years, that Sirene Blair had never won the Utah Women’s State Amateur going into this year’s tournament at Ogden Country Club.

Blair has won numerous girls’ and women’s events in Utah over the past decade, including four straight high school individual titles. But the State Amateur title has always eluded her.

In 2009, at the age of 14, she led the State Am at Thanksgiving Point for two days before being overtaken by Natalie Stone on the final day. Then because of conflicts with national tournaments, she didn’t play the State Amateur the next two summers and was upset in the quarterfinals in 2012. Then last year at Wasatch Mountain, she made it to the finals before losing to Kelsey Chugg in the title match.

Some wondered if Blair would even play in the State Am this year after a successful first year at San Diego State and after playing in national events such as the Women’s Public Links and Western Amateur early in the summer.

But the 19-year-old Blair entered this year’s tournament in August with a determination to win her first State Am trophy. It wasn’t easy as Blair had to beat out two-time defending champion Chugg, medalist Lea Garner of BYU and hometown favorite Alli Cluff to win her first State Amateur trophy.

“It feels amazing,’’ Blair said after defeating Cluff 1 up on the final hole. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s been a big growing process. I could see how close I was every time. It’s an honor to be able to win.’’

This time Blair didn’t have to face Chugg, who was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Weber State golfer Emily Podlesny, who knocked off the reigning champ with a come-from-behind 2 up victory.

In her quarterfinal match with Tara Green, Blair struggled to win 1 up, then faced Garner, who had beaten Blair by nine shots in the medal portion of the tournament earlier in the week. But Blair took the lead for good at the eighth hole and never looked back, closing out Garner at the 17th hole.

That left only Cluff in her way of a State Amateur title.

The 22-year-old Cluff, who had played for Weber State and worked at the Ogden Country Club in the summer, surprised many folks by making it to the finals, although she did have a home-course advantage over most of the field. She edged Sadie Palmer 1 up in the quarterfinals, then beat her former teammate Podlesny in the semifinals by the same margin.

Cluff later admitted she even surprised herself by making the finals and at first she played like she didn’t deserve to be there, by falling behind Blair by four holes with just six to play. That’s when she made her move, making birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to pull within one and then winning No. 17 with a par, when Blair made an uncharacteristic 3-putt for bogey.

That evened the match going into the par-3 18th hole where each player had the chance to win or force the match into extra holes.

“I definitely felt the nerves,’’ said Blair, who had the advantage, as it turned out, of going second off the tee.

The pin was tucked on the right side of the green near the bunker and that’s where Cluff’s ball ended up. She acknowledged it isn’t her favorite hole on the course, but she was going for the pin off the tee.

“The 18th tee is always a little nerve-wracking,’’ Cluff said. “I thought I had the club (9-iron), but I just didn’t hit it as well as I’d have liked.’’

Cluff’s ball not only hit the sand, but was so buried that only a portion of the ball was showing (“You could see a little bit, but not much,’’ she said). She also had an awkward stance to deal with.

Knowing Cluff was in the bunker, Blair played safely to the left side of the green, ending up 40 feet from the cup.

“I didn’t want to go for the pin,’’ she said. “I just wanted to get on the green and hopefully make it or two putt.’’

Cluff’s first try out of the sand, stayed in, and she barely got out on the second try, up to the fringe. When Blair rolled her putt to within gimme range, Cluff conceded the hole and the match.

As happy as she was to finally capture the State Amateur trophy, Blair couldn’t say it was the biggest golf win of her life, since she won a big collegiate tournament in her freshman season at SDSU. However, she did say of her State Am victory, “It’s definitely up there.’’

While Blair headed down to San Diego soon after the State Am final for her sophomore season, Cluff began her teaching career as a math teacher at Fremont High School the following week.

“I probably won’t be worrying about golf for a while,’’ said Cluff, who came oh so close to beating one of Utah’s finest golfers.

 

A Hall of Fame Career

by Kurt Kragthorpe

Feature • November 2014

Even if he had never qualified for the Champions Tour, Bruce Summerhays may have been remembered as a legendary figure in Utah golf.

What happened 20 years ago, and how Summerhays followed through on that opportunity, elevated him to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame level.

Summerhays joined football player Luther Elliss and Olympic athletes Noelle Pikus Pace and Logan Tom in the Class of 2014 during the Oct. 7 induction ceremony in Salt Lake City.

A graduate of Highland High School and the University of Utah, Summerhays advanced through the National Qualifying Tournament of what then was called the Senior PGA Tour in November 1994. He proceeded to win three tournaments and earn more than $9 million with a performance that basically enabled him to stay on the tour as long as he wished.

He loved every bit of that 16-year tenure, sharing the experience with his wife, Carolyn, and eight children who caddied for him at various times. That family theme was a big part of Summerhays’ induction speech.

The Champions Tour is designed to showcase golfers who became famous on the PGA Tour, while offering only a narrow window to outsiders. Summerhays understood that, fully appreciating his opportunity to compete at that level.

Summerhays thanked his brother Lynn for helping to outline the three-year program that prepared him for the qualifying process, and for caddying him through the two stages of competition. In his speech, he told the story of a magical 4-iron on the demanding No. 15 of the TPC Tampa Bay and how he “blindly” made a short putt on No. 18 amid tears, knowing he had qualified and sharing that moment with his brother.

It is fair to say that no 50-and-over golfer ever took more advantage of his chance to play than Summerhays did. He became known as the tour’s “Ironman,” rarely missing any tournament for which he was eligible, and his consistency rivaled almost any player’s in the late 1990s.

His fitness and longevity also were illustrated in 2004 when he became one of the tour’s oldest winners at age 60.

And there was more to come. He was 64 when he finally fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open, staged in 2008 at Oakridge Country Club, near his home in Farmington. He completed the rare achievement of winning both the State Amateur and the Utah Open, and the 42-year span between those titles gave him an unbeatable distinction. What’s more, he defeated his nephew, Boyd Summerhays, in a playoff.

Summerhays marveled about that experience in his speech, while citing a victory in the 2001 Champions Challenge with his son Joseph as the No. 1 highlight of his golf career. The Summerhayses shot a 13-under-par 58 (No. 18 was shortened to a par-3) in the scramble format, finishing one stroke ahead of Dave Stockton-Dave Stockton Jr.

Summerhays moved his family back to Utah in 1980 after working in California as an assistant pro at the prestigious Olympic Club and then coaching Stanford University’s golf team. He worked for nine years as the head pro at Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course, then designed and built the Homestead Resort course (now Crater Springs), serving as director of golf for five years.

Those credentials helped Summerhays become a member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame. Other golf figures in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame include charter member George Von Elm, Helen Hoffman Bertagnole, George Schneiter Sr., George Marks, Bill Korns, Karl Tucker and Billy Casper.

In a phrase he often used in interviews to describe his Champions Tour career, Summerhays concluded, “I don’t dream this good.”

 

Wightman Goes Old School, Bringing New Life to the Ranches

by Kurt Kragthorpe

Feature • November 2014

Dealing with people always has come naturally for Tele Wightman, even in the real estate title business.

Yet anyone who meets him would have trouble picturing him anywhere other than in a pro shop, greeting golfers.

Like a lot of aspiring pro golfers who reach the harsh end of those pursuits, Wightman briefly convinced himself he could live without the game. He discovered he was wrong, and that realization changed everything for himself, a golf course and a community that now embraces it.

Wightman’s influence has revived The Ranches Golf Club, making it a fixture in the town of Eagle Mountain. The partnership seems built to last, with a PGA professional who’s going a little “old school” by modeling his father’s personality to establish himself in the business and in the community.

“Golf is all about customer service,” Wightman said on an October morning, taking a break from behind the counter.

He learned that while growing up in western Massachusetts as a son of Via Wightman, a beloved pro who recently retired and moved to Utah. Via’s hallmark was getting to know the people who walked into the pro shop, making them feel wanted.

That style is working at The Ranches, a formerly struggling facility that’s now profitable and part of the fabric of Eagle Mountain, a town west of Utah Lake. Installed in the position five years ago by Vanguard Golf Management, Tele Wightman took over a course that was perceived as too remote, too difficult and too unfriendly. Actually, the venue is only about 30 minutes from anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley, but its greatest potential naturally stems from becoming a source of community involvement.

That’s happening. Working with city recreation officials, The Ranches attracted more than 80 youth to each of two camps this past summer, and the women’s association keeps growing. Those were Wightman’s primary targets, and he’s doing everything he can to make the course family-friendly.

Like any course, The Ranches relies on loyal players. Wightman is both giving back and trying to create bonds with young golfers by coaching Lehi High School’s boys and girls golf teams and the Westlake High girls team, along with his father.

The Ranches is difficult to walk, with long distances from greens to tees, especially on the front nine. But by installing junior tees in the middle of fairways, improving the course’s conditioning and treating golfers well, the team of Wightman, superintendent Mike Hawkins and assistant superintendent/mechanic Joe Robinson has succeeded in attracting and keeping new players.

Wightman, 36, seemingly was born to do this. But he first had to chase a playing career for as long as he could, then try something else before settling into this life. A former University of South Florida golfer, Wightman played the Canadian Tour and advanced to the second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, which is a major obstacle for many golfers.

Frustrated, and out of money, he relocated to Utah, where his sisters Sarah and Juli had played golf for BYU, and became licensed as an escrow officer. After about a year in that business, he started missing golf again. Wightman helped former coach Sue Nyhus with the BYU women’s golf program and volunteered at Thanksgiving Point, developing and demonstrating the skills that led Vanguard executive Mark Whetzel to appoint him as The Ranches’ head pro.

Whetzel credits Wightman’s clinics and other ways of engaging golfers for increasing The Ranches’ annual 18-hole rounds 12,000 to 30,000. “The way we like to operate our golf courses is we like to wrap our arms around the community,” Whetzel said. “People want to play there, because everybody knows Tele is their friend.”

The course also enjoys a strong relationship with PGA Tour rookie Tony Finau and his caddie, Marcus Burbank.

Looking ahead, Wightman is excited about The Ranches’ further potential, amid Eagle Mountain’s growth. Looking back, he was not sure he could make it work, during a “make-or-break” period, by his description. “The losses were not sustainable. The challenge was put forth.”

Five years later, the course is making some money and, not coincidentally, the perception of it has changed for the better.

Wightman “was kind of on pins and needles that first year,” said Bob Clements, a Ranches regular who lives in Lehi. “He’s come a long way. He does an incredible amount of work out there, and he never makes it seem like it’s beneath him. Tele’s a really humble guy, very even-keeled.”

With his Samoan heritage, Wightman’s given name is Toatele. The shortened version rhymes with “jelly.” Wightman lives nearby with his wife, Erin and children Trey, 4, and Emma, 2.

And now that the course is more stable, Wightman is committed to redeveloping a high-level golf game of his own. He shot 70-70 in the first two rounds of the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club in Provo in August, eventually tying for 40th place. He then tied for second in the Utah Section PGA Championship, posting 67-69 at Toana Vista Golf Course in September, qualifying for the 2015 PGA Professional National Championship.

So everything is trending positively for Wightman in the golf business, specifically in a job that makes him say, “It’d be tough to leave.”

 

"Local" Wins the Utah Open

by Kurt Kragthorpe

Feature • November 2014

The Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open is not the Utah professional golf tournament that B.J. Staten ever expected to win.

He’s not giving the trophy back, either.

And even if he’s not a Utah Section PGA member, keeping the trophy in the state is a nice bonus for everybody involved.

Having lost access to the Web.com Tour that includes a stop at Willow Creek Country Club near his home in Cottonwood Heights, Staten found a place to play at Riverside Country Club in Provo. He took full advantage of the opportunity in late August. So maybe he needed three playoff holes and had to withstand Arizona pro Nathan Lashley’s last-chance putt that rimmed out of the hole from 50 feet, but Staten produced a victory that he labeled “probably the most rewarding” of his career.

He’s earned considerably bigger checks than $21,000 for his two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and three playoff defeats on the Web.com Tour, but he was thrilled to perform so well in his first tournament of “a very trying year,” by his account.

Staten, 36, birdied No. 18 in regulation to complete an 8-under-par 64 and post a 16-under total for three rounds (69-67-64). Lashley, the 2009 champion, settled for a closing 69 after reaching 16 under through 11 holes of the final round.

In the playoff, Staten had two chances to win with 12-foot putts in consecutive tours of No. 18, but missed both times. So they moved to the par-4 No. 10, where Staten knocked his 144-yard approach shot a foot from the hole with a pitching wedge. Lashley’s desperation 50-footer caught a lot of the hole before spinning away.

“Just tried to give it a chance,” Lashley said.

Staten, who swings left-handed and putts right-handed, then completed his victory.

There was plenty more Utah flavor in Riverside’s first turn as Utah Open host in 39 years, following a successful seven-year run at Oakridge Country Club (the 2015 event also will be staged at Riverside).

Some important golf history also came into play. Special Olympics Utah, the tournament’s longtime charity, received a $40,000 donation and celebrated a return to Riverside. The roots of golf as an official Special Olympics International sport can be traced to the driving range where the Utah Section PGA originally staged clinics for the athletes in the early 1990s when it was operating Utah’s Web.com Tour stop.

Playing on his school’s home course, BYU golfer Cole Ogden tied for sixth place as the low amateur. Former BYU golfer Nick Killpack of St. George also tied for sixth, collecting $3,500. Riverside assistant pro Chris Moody tied for 11th as the low Utah Section PGA member, earning a $500 bonus from the $10,000 Black Clover Sidebar purse, in addition to a $1,920 check for his overall finish. Riverside teaching pro Matt Baird placed second among section members, followed by Johnson, who closed with a 65.

Former BYU golfers Steve Schneiter and Keith Clearwater each earned $700 as the co-winners of the 36-hole Senior Sidebar, as the only seniors to make the cut (although seven other players benefited from the Sidebar purse).

It also was fun for Riverside members to have ex-Cougar star Dean Wilson in the field. Wilson shot 68-68-69 to tie for 11th and was gracious throughout his homecoming event.

Wilson basically is retired—“a weird word,” he acknowledged—at age 44 after having success as a touring pro in Japan and the United States with one PGA Tour victory. “It just feels fun for me, just to be back and see everybody and play at Riverside,” Wilson said.

The course has been subtly redesigned since the days when Wilson played it hundreds of times in college and subsequently as a pro shop worker, making some of the driving angles different, but “the footprint’s the same,” he said.

Living in San Diego, he intends to play selected tournaments, but “not put so much importance on it,” he said. “I still love it and I still want to be involved in the game, but I just don’t want to get after it 60 hours a week and get on planes and sleep in hotels and eat in restaurants anymore.”

Staten is happy married with a stepson and another son, but he would love to resume that touring lifestyle.

Staten appeared at Riverside after caddying for his friend Brice Garnett in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship the previous week, with the tight schedule preventing him from entering the Utah Open’s Monday qualifying event. Devin Dehlin, the Utah Section PGA’s operations director, gave Staten a spot in the field, in exchange for fielding a pro-am team.

Good move. The PGA administrators love keeping the “Utah” in the Utah Open. Staten is an unconventional winner, compared with Davis Park Golf Course pro Zach Johnson, the 2013 winner, or other homegrown champions. But the Tennessee native and self-described “Texan at heart” is a genuine Utahn now, having met his wife, Alisha, while playing in the 2010 Utah Championship at Willow Creek.

Staten opened the 2013 Utah Championship with a 63, but faded to a tie for 45th place during a rough season that resulted in his lack of Web.com Tour access this year. That explains how he went so long without playing competitively, but he responded well at Riverside with Utah Championship tournament director Mike Smith as his caddie.

Conversations with friends have made him realize “everybody’s allowed a bad year,” he said, and he’s determined to get back to the Web.com Tour by competing in the annual qualifying tournament this fall.

 

Idaho's Aldridge Wins

Sand Hollow Open

by Randy Dodson

Feature • November 2014

Claiming he “…came here to win,” the Sand Hollow Open presented by the Leavitt Group, Idaho’s Tyler Aldridge did just that shooting a three day total of 195 on the par 72 Championship Course at Sand Hollow Resort. Aldridge’s 21-under score was four strokes better than Nick Mason and local pro Dusty Fielding who tied for second place with (-17) 199.

The 30 professionals and two amateurs that survived the 36-hole cut also had to survive a four hour weather delay to start the final round Saturday morning. A massive thunder storm with torrential rain and lightening kept players in the clubhouse watching the Ryder Cup until the final round could start at noon.

The golf course held up well withstanding many hours of inclement weather, especially during the start of the final round. “We felt pretty confident that once the storm moved on we could get back on the course and get the final round completed,” said Dave Wilkey of Sand Hollow Resort. “The Championship Course is nationally recognized as one of the top 50 Resort Courses in the country, and seeing such a large number of high quality players from across the country is exciting.  I’m very happy that we got the final round in. We are going to make next year’s Open even better, and hope to draw even more nationally and statewide players.”

Aldridge pocketed $15,000 for the win and some confidence has he and many others in the field prepared for the upcoming Web.Com Tour Qualifying Tournament. Aldridge has a taste for golf at the highest level as he once played the PGA TOUR and Web.Com Tour and most recently with PGA TOUR Canada. His best finish coming at the 2009 Utah Championship presented by the Utah Sports Commission. Aldridge’s last win came at the 2006 Idaho Open.

Zac Blair and Steve Freisen finished tied for fourth place at 16-under, 200. Former BYU golfer Justin Keiley shot a 9-under, 207 to capture low amateur honors. Dixie State’s Hayden Christensen was the only other amateur to make the cut and finished at 5-under, 211 tied for 20th place with Utah golf legend Jimmy Blair.

Tournament organizers and sponsors are pleased with their first year tournament. Director of Golf Adam Jasperson said, “We are very pleased with the strength of our field for its first year. We hope the tournament grows and that many of these golfers will spread the word about the tournament and the golf course.”

The tournament purse of $68,000 attracted many former tour and mini-tour players looking ahead to upcoming Q-school. Many of the participants are searching for a place to play as they try to keep their games sharp as they enter the annual grind to Web.com Tour status. The money doesn’t hurt either, with all final round players receiving a check.

Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert was on hand to watch some of the action of the first-year event, “This is a fantastic new tournament for this area of the state. Sand Hollow is a fantastic golf course, and it has attracted a very qualified field. It’s a great golf course, a good purse and a strong field, for the first go round here, this is pretty impressive.”

“We wanted a tournament that would attract this type of field. These guys are good players in search of places to play this time of year. We are thrilled with our first year and looking forward to growing the Sand Hollow Open,” said Jasperson.

 

Product Review

Department • November 2014

by Mike Stansfield

  • Cleveland RTX 2.0 Wedges

    Cleveland

    RTX 2.0 Wedges

    Cleveland’s Rotex face technology changed the face of spin in golf last year and has been one of the most popular wedges in recent history.  The Rotex 2.0 takes spin control to yet another level, according to Cleveland, with  15% sharper grooves and a new micro-milled Rotex face pattern that give these new wedges the most surface roughness the USGA will allow.

  • Nike Vapor Irons

    Nike Vapor Irons

    Nike Golf recently introduced its new Vapor line of clubs as “Modern Muscle irons.” They include the Nike Vapor Pro, Vapor Pro Combo, and Vapor Speed. Modern Muscle, according to the company, is a modification of a standard muscle-back design that moves the iron’s center of gravity to the center of the clubface and away from the heel.  This more precise center of gravity yields more efficient and pure strikes. The Vapor irons became available Oct. 31.

  • Nike Vapor Driver

    The new Vapor Pro driver blends three key technologies: Nike’s new FlyBeam reinforced Covert Cavity Back design, a re-engineered Compression Channel and FlexLoft 2. The FlyBeam construction stiffens the Covert Cavity in the back of the club, while the Compression Channel accentuates the spring-like effect across the face. Together they focus, store, and return impact energy to the golf ball. All of these are vital, according to Nike, in achieving the ultimate combination of distance, speed and launch. The Vapor Pro driver will be available on Jan. 30, 2015.

    Nike Vapor Driver

  • eBags

    eBag

    The eBags eTech 2.0 Mother Lode 29” Wheeled Duffel is the go-to bag for gear. One of the sturdiest duffels on the market, this bag features pockets galore and enormous compartments capable of holding everything from ski boots to scuba fins. Movable shelves in the deep bottom compartment allow you to pack it all any way you want and, to accommodate larger items, the two compartments can even combine to make one massive compartment! Grab handles on both ends and an adjustable trolley handle offer maximum maneuverability while fold-up framed ‘wings’ allow this duffel to stand up even when fully loaded. Extra-long skid rails, a wrap-around skid plate, and lockable zippers protect your most valuable gear while a roomy and adjustable top forehead pocket and mesh pockets throughout guarantee you won’t lose the little things, either.

    Price: $199.99

    Dimensions: 29” x 17.5” x 15.5” • Weight: 12 lbs. 2 oz.

    This bag comes with eBags Lifetime Warranty and would make a great gift for the traveling athlete.

  • Titleist 915 Driver & 915 Fairways Woods / Hybrids

    Titleist 915 Drivers

    New Titleist 915 drivers were designed using patented Active Recoil Channel™ technology to produce lower spin and higher speed for more distance all without sacrificing forgiveness. Titleist’s driver design strategy of “distance and forgiveness,” is the result of three key improvements according to Titleist.  The proprietary Active Recoil Channel, a long, wide and deep sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin;  Radial Speed Face, a high-speed forged face insert with a radially thinner perimeter in the heel and toe, which works with the Active Recoil Channel to increase ball speed on off-center hits; and  A precise, high-MOI design with a low and deep center of gravity location that delivers stability and forgiveness by preserving off-center ball speed for more distance, more often.   The new drivers were available on November 13.

     

    Titleist 915 Fairways and Hybrids

    Titleist 915 fairways and hybrids became available to the public on November 14 and provide improved performance due to three advances, Titleist’s Active Recoil Channel, a long, deep, forward-positioned sole channel that actively flexes at impact and recoils to launch the ball off the face with higher speed and lower spin, an Ultra-Thin Face, and a precise, high-MOI design with a low center of gravity (CG) that delivers stability and forgiveness.

  • TaylorMade RSI Irons

    TaylorMade RSI  Irons

    The stats don’t lie: 72 percent of hits by golfers are below the center of the clubface and 76 percent of golf shots are mis-hits, whether it’s off the heel or off the toe. The new RSi irons are designed to limit distance loss from iron mis-hits.

    According to TaylorMade two vertical slots located near both the heel and the toe help provide a more uniform hitting surface. More uniformity in the club means more uniformity in the shot at impact. The clubs also have the thinnest face design which helps increase swing speed. The technology builds on the previous Speed Slot technology introduced by TaylorMade Golf.

  • Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver

    Callaway Big Bertha

    Alpha 815 Driver

    The Big Bertha Alpha 815 ushers in a brand new driver category: low spin with forgiveness. It provides both the distance and performance that comes with low spin along with the forgiveness you need to hit it straight all in one club, according to Callaway. The Gravity Core helps lower CG for low spin, and RMOTO Technology provides a lighter, thinner face that creates more efficient energy transfer, high ball speed and forgiveness with adjustability. The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver is available November 13.

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