Spy on Equipment: Long Putters, Snazzy Shoes and New Mizuno Irons

Golf gear manufacturers release a lot of new equipment during the year. While the vast majority of offerings are simply updated, tricked-out versions of existing models, interesting stuff does come down the pike every now and then.

Here are a few equipment items that caught our attention in recent weeks.

Bellying up – way up

TaylorMade Ghost Spider

TaylorMade's Ghost Spider putter.

Every golfer of a certain age remembers Jack Nicklaus’ stunning Masters triumph in 1986. Most have forgotten the explosion of putter sales that followed his win. Specifically, sales of the mammoth-headed MacGregor Response ZT putter Nicklaus used to make all those back-nine bombs.

In the 2 ½ years following Nicklaus’ sixth Masters victory, MacGregor sold an astounding 350,000 Response ZTs. A similar boom is mushrooming now in the belly and long putter market.

Late-season victories by Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott and Webb Simpson put extended flatsticks front and center in the public’s eye. TaylorMade recently tripled fourth-quarter sales expectations for long and belly putters, and accelerated the timeline for launching long versions of its popular Corza Ghost and Ghost Spider models.

Cleveland and Odyssey have reported similar success and product plans.

adidas joins street shoe brigade

Constant innovation is a key benefit of the free-market system. And whenever something original breaks through to a mass audience, copy-cats are sure to follow.

adidas adicross golf shoes

adidas' new adicross golf shoes

Hence, Nirvana begat Bush, the Android rode the iPhone’s coattails, and adidas joined the parade of companies mimicking Ecco’s Street Premiere golf shoes.

The adicross is adidas’ entry into this expanding category, which FootJoy, Nike and startups like Kikkor Golf have joined. (For the record, we consider TRUE Linkswear shoes a somewhat different breed.)

What does adicross offer? Lightweight, full-grain leather, five color combos and, of course, a spikeless sole.

Not to be confused with soul-less tripe. For that, we recommend listening to a Bush album.

Rejoice: Mizuno intros new irons

Few golf brands inspire the loyalty of Mizuno, specifically, the company’s forged irons. (You’ll get my Mizzies when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.)

Mizuno MP-59 irons

Mizuno's MP-59

There’s a new member of the esteemed MP family, the cavity-back MP-59. Like its forebear, the MP-58, the 59 features a hunk of titanium forged into the back of the blade. The company claims a 5-percent larger sweet spot on the MP-59s than the 58s.

Mizuno aims these irons at golfers in the plus-2 to 13 handicap range. In other words, you need to be a decent stick, but not a world-beater, to wield them properly.

Spy on Golf: A Game of Inches

September 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

Jack says Tiger can still do it. Johnny doesn’t think it will happen. The Shark is certain it won’t.

We say it doesn’t matter what any of them say.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

The “it” in question, of course, is the breaking of Nicklaus’ record for professional major victories, 18. As the golf world knows, Woods is stuck on 14, his last coming in the 2008 U.S. Open. As the entire world knows, Tiger hasn’t been the same since a 2009 fender-bender with a fire hydrant extinguished his invincibility.

Nicklaus, who must get the Tiger question on an hourly basis, remains diplomatic. Even at age 35, Woods still stands a great chance to win 19-plus majors “if he gets the five inches between his ears squared out.”

(That grinding sound you hear? That’s us resisting the urge to go juvenile on Jack’s “five inches” setup.)

Johnny Miller made a much more specific, if baffling, prediction. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win three, four more majors,” Miller said. “I don’t see him winning a fifth one, the big one.”

We’ll go out on a limb and pronounce that if Tiger gets to 18 majors, 19 will be a formality.

As for Greg Norman, he says Tiger is toast. Woods’ legendary focus is lost, Norman notes, and “the more he shuts people off, the worse it gets.”

The truly noteworthy part of Norman’s chat with GOLF Magazine, though, regarded Woods’ personal missteps. Apparently, Norman once counseled Bill Clinton himself on matters of the, um, heart.

“When he came to my house, (Clinton) wanted to talk to me guy to guy,” Norman said. “We all put our underpants on the same way, one leg at a time.”

Yeah, but some of us take them off a little faster.

Sorry, that one we couldn’t resist.

Our takes on other hot golf topics:

  • Tour signs new television deal, touts parity: Tiger, schmiger. With no dominant player, golf’s more interesting, like the NFL or NBA. At least, that’s how The GolfBlogger sees it.
  • Lexi Thompson headed for LPGA: The 16-year-old tour winner will soon be welcomed to the Show, full-time. Kids these days...
  • 54-year-old wins U.S. Mid-Am: Proving that it’s not just a game for youngsters, Randal Lewis, 54, became the oldest winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Then he went home and yelled at Lexi Thompson to get off his lawn.

Interesting Facts about Tiger’s Win at Memorial

June 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Pro Insider 


Most people that have an interest in golf are aware of Tiger's awesome close out performance last week at The Memorial. He shot a final round of 69 which included a narley chip in on the par 5 11th, and resulted in an overall score of 12 under 276. This was enough to propel him to the winers circle, beating out Jim Furyk by only one shot.

After the win, Jack Nicklaus made the comments "it may be his best driving tournament." Then to Tiger, "you found your swing." If anything, these quotations were understated. On Sunday Woods hit 14 of 14 fairways and has never looked better of the tee! Another interesting fact is that before the tournament, Tiger changed his driver to a 10.5 degree. Doesn't seem to have a sensical correlation to his accuracy improvement, but it's definitely a change that should be noted. Either way, his final round performance completely silences the ideas that he should drop the Nike driver for something else. If he can keep this 10.5 degree Nike driver in the fairway, there's no doubting that he will be unstoppable.

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