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.

Mizuno MP-630 and MP-630 Fast Track Drivers (Spy Pic)

February 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Mizuno just recently released the MP-630 and MP-630 Fast Track Drivers, both of which are considered "Tour Ready." The MP-630 Fast Track will have 45 adjustable trajectory settings through 16 grams of movable weight. And the standard MP-630 will be the same driver, just with neutral settings and no adjustability. In our opinion Mizuno did a great job with this tour performance driver. Whether you prefer a clean, super solid look, or a techy adjustable head, they've got you covered.

The MP-630 Fast Track driver allows for 45 different trajectory settings through its use of two adjustable 8-gram weights. These settings include the ability to adjust left and right properties, increase or decrease spin rates, and higher or lower launch angles. If thats not enough technology for you, they've also added a Hot Metal Ti-9 Titanium face with CNC CORTECH design provides maximum ball speed and an increased COR area for unbelievable distance. The MP-630 Fast Track also features a player preferred head shape and is frequency tuned to increase solid feel and optimal sound at impact.

The standard MP-630 driver is also "Tour Ready" and has a player preferred pear shaped head. It also has a low, shallow COG(center of gravity) for medium-low spin and penetrating yet workable ball flight. The Hot Metal face of MP-630 is sheet forged 6-4 Titanium with CORTECH design which provides explosive distance and maximum control off the tee. Mizuno also used Modal Analysis and wavelet transform, of recorded impact sound data to produce a pleasing powerful sound at impact.

Both the MP-630 and MP-630 Fast Track drivers will be offered in right hand with a 64 gram MRC Fubuki shaft, engineered exclusively for Mizuno, and the Golf Pride M-21 Round grip. The MP-630 will be available in 9.5º and 10.5º, and will retail for $299.99, and the MP-630 Fast Track will be available in 8.5º, 9.5º, and 10.5º, and retail for $499.99. Custom options are available through Mizuno's Custom Club department. Mizuno will begin shipping the MP-630 drivers in February.

This is one of the few times we can absolutely say that you will get what you pay for if you purchase one of these drivers. Because of the extensive R and D and adjustability features of the Fast Track, Mizuno has created two products that players won't have to worry about replacing for a very long time.

Spy Pics: Mizuno MP-58 & MP-68 Irons, MP-T10 Wedge, MP CLK Hybrid

July 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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From a recent Mizuno press release describing new clubs to be released in late 2009.

Mizuno MP 68 Irons – Spy Pics!

June 22, 2009 by · 2 Comments
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New pictures of the Mizuno MP-68 are begining to surface. It seems like it will be a mix between the MP-14 and the MP-32. It also has a small and hard to see channel in the cavity behind the Mizuno logo. Overall it looks like another solid semi-blade. As always we will keep you updated as more information is released.

[Images Via golftoimpress.com]

Mizuno MP-52 Irons

November 3, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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The Mizuno MP-52 irons have a newly designed twin cavity slit that deepens the center of gravity, providing an even more forgiving feel to the blade style head. The small cavity back on the irons was a great adition that made the clubs slightly easier to hit than a full muscle back, and this new update of an aditional cavity on top of that, should make for a pretty easy hitting club. It also maintains the feel Mizuno has been known for by being forged out of 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel. Overall great iron!

Mizuno MP-62 Irons

November 3, 2008 by · 1 Comment
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The Mizuno MP-62 is another great addition to the company's iron line up. These irons feature new u-grooves meant for even more control, along with a great players club feel in the blade style head. They also incorporate the slight cavity, giving a bit more forgiveness than a standard blade.

This is one of our favorite irons out right now because it clearly represents 3 very important qualities. A clean look, great feel, and workability without being the most difficult club to hit.

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The only downside to this set would be the size of the pitching wedge(above right). The head looks a shovel. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but definitely worth mentioning.

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