Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 PGA Merchandise Show - Day 2 Recap (Part 1): Tour Edge, Honma Golf, Bettinardi, Callaway Apparel, Oban Shafts, and New Balance

You heard a lot of my impressions about the new 2017 gear in my Demo Day recaps and during daily coverage.  Now we're going to look at all of them again, and I'm going to start hinting at what clubs found a place in my Best of Show. 


In this section we'll take a look at Tour Edge, Honma Golf, Bettinardi, Callaway Apparel, Oban Shafts, and New Balance. 

I'll also fill in a bit more of the story about the new clubs that I might not have mentioned enough of during Demo Day. 

Tour Edge 
Tour Edge's new Hot Launch 2 drivers and irons are all about maximum improvement for your game, which  means very straight, very long, and very forgiving.  And they also might give you the most bang for your buck, priced significantly lower compared to other OEMs. 

Honma Golf 
Honma Golf is riding tremendous momentum right now, and their appearance in the U.S. market is definitely turning heads.  The new Honma Tour World TW737 460 driver and TW737 VnP irons were stand out performers for me at Demo Day. 

The T737 460 produced solid distance compared to other drivers, and there's a lot of hidden technology packed inside.  Meaningful forgiveness in the TW737 Vn irons gave me good results even on bad swings.  Better in sound and feel than most, trajectories were also ideal, which is always the mark of an excellent iron.  

Two new luscious designs from Bettinardi include the Queen Bee 9 and Studio Series 8.  The Studio Series 8 is a classic looking putter with a plumbers neck, and has a silky soft feel at impact.  The Queen Bee 9 is a mallet style putter with a crescent milled neck, and has a crisper feel at impact.  Both putters are made of soft carbon steel and feature a slightly raised toe. 

Two things stood out to me when I hit these at demo day.  First, the Studio Series 8 delivered an outstanding, consistent roll on both short and long putters.  And for a blade style putter you won't find many others that give you a better "swings itself" kind of sensation. 

As much as I liked the Studio Series 8, the Queen Bee 9 was even more marvelous.  It has absolutely fantastic distance control for a mallet style putter, and at that moment of truth right before impact it's incredibly steady. 

The Queen Bee 9 made me believe I could make every putt I stepped up to.  And until someone designs a putter that actually makes every putt, I'm not sure you could ask for anything more.

Oh yeah, there's that voluptuous honeycomb milled face.  I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves on that front

Callaway Apparel 
Too many players on Tour look like they're dressed in carnival costumes, but Callaway Golf shows that in this era of performance fabrics and technical golf apparel there's still room for "good taste." 

New designs and colors look just as good on the course as they do off.  Sporty without looking comical, lightweight and breathable while still remaining substantial, Callaway Apparel's new line is top-notch. 

Oban Shafts 
Oban graphite shafts have been validated on Tour for many years now, and this year Oban has released their first ever steel shafts, promising seamless construction and exacting tolerances.  The Devotion HB is their latest edition to the Devotion series, ideal for players looking for mid-flight and low spin. 

New Balance 
New designs from New Balance feature re-engineered skeletal uppers for ultralight fit and support, as well as an innovative foam material for improved cushioning and stability. 

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