Instant Classic: Cleveland Golf Driver a Beautiful Behemoth

As a guy who grew up playing woods made of a strange substance called wood, I find many of today’s drivers unappealing to the eye. There’s only one form a driver should take, and that’s pear-shaped.

Cleveland Classic Driver

Drooling yet?

So my heart skipped a beat when I saw Cleveland Golf’s new Classic Driver, due out early next year. Mahogany finish. Brass-colored face “insert” and sole plate. The word “Classic” scrolled on the crown as an alignment aid. Even a black leather head cover in a shape the company calls “RetroBarrel.”

Cue Homer Simpson drooling sound.

In a word, this is one gorgeous golf club. But that’s the end of the Cleveland Classic’s similarities with its ancestors. (You know, the ones made from trees.) The Classic maxes out the USGA volume allowance at 460cc, about three times the size of a persimmon driver head. Its face is massive – the deepest on the market, according to Cleveland. And off-the-rack models are powered by an ultralight Miyazaki graphite shaft.

While it’s not yet for sale to the public, the Classic has already been tested on Tour. In fact, 2011 Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley used it en route to winning (with Brendan Steele) the Franklin Templeton Shootout last weekend.

Bradley, who strikes me as the traditional type, instantly fell for the club’s old-school aesthetics. “When I looked at the new driver, honestly, I loved it,” he gushed. “I love the gold face on it… You look down at the face and the thing that you focus on is the sweet spot. I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s gonna change the way drivers are made.”

Of course, Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade et al will have something to say about that. In fact, TaylorMade just introduced its new wood lineup, which carries a decidedly non-traditional name: RocketBallz.

May the best club win.



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.

TaylorMade Rossa Corza Ghost Putter (Spy Pics)

May 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Spy Pics, Spy Reviews, TaylorMade 

TaylorMade Golf has unveiled Corza Ghost, a mallet specially designed to be easy to aim, and easy to use to roll the ball down your intended line. It was designed with significant input from putting instructor Dave Stockton.

"We started with the intention of designing a putter that's easier to aim than any other," said Bill Price, Rossa senior director. "That led us to experiment with a white finish. We consulted Dr. Steven A. Hitzeman, a professor at the Indiana School of Optometry and he felt we were onto something."

"Corza Ghost's white putterhead stands out so clearly against its background - the putting surface - because of the high contrast between white and green," said Dr. Hitzeman, who is also a past president of the Indiana Optometric Association and a past chairman of the American Optometric Association's Sports Vision Section. "That high contrast maximizes stimulation to the retina and highlights the head's shape and features. The contrast would be lower if the putter were black or gray because these colors are closer in luminance to the color of the putting green than white. White creates the biggest difference in luminance, hence maximizing contrast and promoting focus. Many golfers use the leading edge of the putter as part of their alignment strategy (by positioning the edge perpendicular to the imagined target line). So, this high contrast for the leading edge gives the golfer the best chance of squaring up the putterface at address. Also, the lines on the top of the putter are painted black to achieve maximum contrast against the white surface of the putter. All of these high-contrast alignment elements give the golfer the best possible chance of accurately aiming the putter."

(Click "Continue Reading" For More Information and Spy Pics)

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Golf Gear Updates: Rory McIlroy’s New Titleist Irons, Nike VR Hybrids and Martin Kaymer’s Winning TaylorMade Clubs

January 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News 

Rory McIlroy, who finished third last week in Abu Dhabi, has switched from playing Titleist ZB muscle back blades to the company's new MB irons. McIlroy is carrying a 3- through 9-iron, 1 upright, with True Temper Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts. Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Karlsson have also recently switched to the new clubs.

David Duval and Jamie Lovemark both experimented with an 18° Nike Victory Red Hybrid before the start of the rain-soaked Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

Nike also reports that Sweden's Carl Pettersson had tour reps make him a Victory Red Split Cavity 4- and 5-iron last week. Pettersson, who plays Victory Red Forged Blades (5-PW), joins a group of several other Nike staff players who have created combo sets using various Nike clubs.

Paul Casey — Pro Combo OS (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)
Stewart Cink — Pro Combo OS (2, 4), Victory Red Split Cavity (5-PW)
Justin Leonard — Pro Combo Tungsten (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)
Pablo Martin — Victory Red Full Cavity (3-7) and Nike Forged Blades (8-PW)
Anthony Kim — Victory Red Full Cavity (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)

Martin Kaymer (right) won last week's European Tour event in Abu Dhabi. The win, which moved the German to a career-high sixth position in the world rankings, was his first using TaylorMade clubs. Kaymer had previously played Titleist equipment.

Kaymer played a TaylorMade R9 460 driver (8.5°) with a Ping prototype 824-X shaft, an R9 3-wood (13°) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 73 X shaft and aBurner TP 5-wood (17.5) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 83 X shaft. He also played TaylorMade's RAC TP irons (3-9) and wedges (54°, 58°) and the company'sPenta ball. Kaymer's putter was a Ping Karsten Series Anser 2.

At Torrey Pines this week, TaylorMade will be debuting the newest Kia Ma putters. According to the company, the new putters will have weight ports that will allow for easy and quick customization.


New 2010 TaylorMade R9 Irons (Spy Pics)

October 29, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Spy Pics, TaylorMade 


Here are some spy pics of the new TaylorMade R9 irons at the BMW Championship. Click "continue reading" to see more.


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TaylorMade’s Penta TP Five-Piece Golf Ball

August 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Spy Pics 

taylormade-five-piece-penta-tp-ballFinally! The ball that TaylorMade has been working on for 3 years is finally starting to show up on tour. Players like Sergio Garcia and Ratief Goosen will be gaming the new TaylorMade Penta TP during next weeks PGA Championship at Hazeltine. The Penta was just added to the USGA's conforming ball list last Wednesday. Unfortunately, it will not become available to the public until December 1st, but I'm sure we'll end up seeing numerous black market sales as a result of early caddy kick downs.

The main goal of the Penta is to optimize performance in driving, long irons, middle irons, short irons, and wedge shots. Funny, they were gutsy enough to claim performance increases in just about every area, why not throw in a lie about putting performance?

SpyGolfer's Opinion

TaylorMade expects the Penta to be the new "be all and end all" to their golf ball lineup. Their auspicious marketing and design departments claim that it is perfect for all types of golfers, due to the fact that it utilizes 5 layers in a consecutive order, based on swing speeds. At a first glance this seems like a good idea; however, once we read the descriptions for each individual layer, we began to realize that it will most likely just be another good ball that good players will experience the best results from. Each layer is designed to work with specific clubs, but the swing speed required to activate the layers that correlate to those clubs, is based on tour swing speeds. And while it is true that players with slower swing speeds will activate the outer layers, they will not receive its initially intended performance results based on the situations they are in. So it's probably not worth the extra money for the slower swinging player, but definitely worth the extra buck for players that can utilize all of its layers.

The 5 Layers

The cover is a soft urethane material(beware of cart paths and flop shots, this cover is as strong as Phil Mickelson after a yoga routine) similar to the one on the Pro V1, which is great for feel, just doesn't last long. It's used to promote a high spin rate with low trajectory on wedge shots and pitches for more control.

The outer mantel layer under the white cover is the most compressible and was designed to create optimal spin and flight when the ball speed is below 120mph (short irons for pros).

The middle layer has a medium firmness which was designed to be compressed on shots with a ball speed between 120 and 140 mph (mid-irons).

The next inner layer was created for high-luanching, low spinning shots for a ball speed between 140 and 160 mph (long irons).

The center of the ball is the core which is made from a low compression substance that only fast swingers will be able to activate. According to TaylorMade, those who do reach high enough swing speeds to activate the center will see more ball speed and less spin on drives for increased distance.

Sergio Garcia Using an Odd Putter at Players?

May 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Pro Insider 


Sergio is using an odd putter this week at the players, mainly due to the fact that he hasn't had a very stellar putting average lately. He ranks 173rd in average number of putts per round (30.17) and 155th in putts per green in regulation (1.812).

"It is 35 inches long, and the head is from an extended-length TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza.

The standard-length version of the Corza has slots cut out of the frame (top right), but the extended-length model is solid to add weight (bottom right). TaylorMade reps say that Kia Ma, the company's putter guru, ground the sides to make the shape more pleasing to Garcia's eye.

The grip on the putter also extends farther down the shaft than normal, making it look a little like Angel Cabrera's extended-length i Series 1/2 Craz-E B."


TaylorMade R9 Max

April 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Spy Pics, TaylorMade 


Here are the latest spy pics of the new TaylorMade R9 Max Driver. It's very similar to the original R9, but it's a bit larger at 460cc's instead of 420cc's. It has been reported that it should be released in the US around June or July in the price range of $300 to $400 retail. We will keep you updated.

For now, here are a list of the main differences between the original R9 and the R9 Max:

R9 Max -460cc, One back weight port, Face angle adjustable by 3°, Loft adjustable by 1.5°, 45.5″ standard length

R9 - 420cc, Three weight ports, Face angle adjustable by 2°,  Loft adjustable by 1°, 45″ standard length

(Click Read More for more pics)

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TaylorMade R9 Driver

January 23, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Spy Pics, TaylorMade 


The newest driver from the TaylorMade machine should be quite impressive, to say the least. Rumors are still flying around about it's actual release date, but it sounds like it could be as late as 2010. We will keep you updated as we find out more, but for now here's what we do know about the club.

The R9 will feature full adjustability in that it will combine 3 movable weights with TM's newest technology-Flight Control Technology (FCT). FCT gives the golfer the ability to adjust the club head to affect face angle and loft. MWT and FCT give 75 yards of left to right adjustability, 3 degrees of launch angle adjustability, and up to 1800 rpm of spin adjustability. The club head can be rotated into one of eight positions, giving the ability to adjust from 2 degrees closed to 2 degrees open (actual measured face angle will be square to four open, though visually, 4 open looks 2 open to the golfer). This is done by a wrench and turning the club head onto the axis of the shaft. The three movable weights are in similar positions to r7 Limited. The result to the golfer will be the ability to have an open club face while still promoting a draw, for example.

taylormade-r9-5It's really 24 drivers in one.

The club head has a large address, similar to the r7 SuperQuad, though TM did not make this as large a club head as the Burner, for example. This is, according to TaylorMade, the optimal size demanded by the most discerning players.

They are launching this on Tour at the end of January, though many Tour pros have been testing the club already. Some say that it is the best driver ever produced.

The stock shaft on it will be Fujikura's brand new Tour platform, called "Motore" and it will be the only club in the market with Motore in the stock offering. TP shafts will be offered at a $100 ($499 street retail) upgrade and will be assorted offerings from Fujikura, Mitsubishi, Matrix, and Aldila.

There is NO difference in the head between the TP and non TP versions. The
driver will not have any TP graphics on the head. Only the shaft upgrade makes up the difference.

The FW metals will have a TP on the head. No difference in the head... just the graphic. There will also be a Rescue with the same technology. The name is simply "Rescue".

All in all, pretty exciting news! Again we will keep you up to date as new information is released, so stay tuned!

TaylorMade TP Irons – Forged Edition!

January 2, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Spy Pics, TaylorMade 


The iron on top is a forged version of the new TaylorMade TP 2009 cast iron set. Recently they have been seen on tour being played by players such as Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. As of now we are unsure if TaylorMade plans on releasing these to the public, but we will update with more information as it is released.

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