Competing Golf Brand Products & Companies
Golf equipment technology has changed the game tremendously and changed it forever. Here at New England Golf we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the materials, design and construction being used by manufacturers to highlight what makes for uniqueness among the competing brands. In other words what separates each from the crowd and what manufactures feel creates an advantage for their equipment over there competitors.
We selected those with readily apparent product differentials and here’s what we found along with comments from some the makers.
Bettinardi Golf – Makers of a range of high quality milled putters in their facility located in suburban Chicago. Used extensively by better amateurs and players on the PGA Tour.
“Our Bi-Metal technology in the Inovai lineup of putters separates Bettinardi from all other MOI styles by using a lighter and softer material in front with 6061 military grade aluminum, and a heavier stronger material in the rear with 303 stainless steel. This promotes a softer feeling putter, that helps promote a smoother, more stable putting stroke.”
Bridgestone Golf – Using ball fitting as part of their marketing plan Bridgestone has a firm grasp on the number two slot in golf ball sales. The biggest differential in their product strategy is in the premium urethane cover category the make a ball specifically designed for swing speeds over 105 mph and another for speeds under 105 mph.
Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf Ball Fitting
“We rely on our database of millions of swings to understand how different players hit the ball. From there, we build golfer personas based on trends and collaborate with third-party industry data sources to fine-tune each persona bucket. Once we know the exact needs of different players we determine which of our proprietary technologies will most benefit them.”
Callaway Golf – Callaway found a way to put bars inside a driver head to both strengthen the head and reduce flex in the crown which wastes energy that could be transferred to the face making for more ball speed, In other words hit it longer.
Dr. Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of R&D
“Breakthrough distance comes from our innovative Jailbreak technology, which fundamentally changes how the clubhead behaves at impact to promote more ball speed. Jailbreak bars form a vertical connection between the crown and the sole to inhibit their movement. This focuses more impact on the face; physicists call it energy lensing. In Epic, this promotes more speed for more distance.”
Cleveland Golf – Cleveland is all about wedges and the RTX-3 are very popular with better amateurs and Tour pros. For recreational players the Smart Sole family-the latest being the SS 3-are designed specifically to give help out of sand and short shots around the green with very wide soles and a choice of grinds. The CBX line are versatile game-improvement category wedges with the same Rotex milling of the face as the RTX-3.
John Rae, VP of R&D
“With our Rotex face technology, we have used cutting edge manufacturing techniques to implement three distinct face technologies that allow golfers to maximize spin with their wedges from any condition allowing them to hit balls closer to the pin and shoot lower scores. A proprietary manufacturing process allows us to make the largest and most pristine grooves allowed by the USGA. A combination of machine milling and laser milling on the face creates a surface roughness that is the most consistent in golf and the most aggressive allowed under the USGA rules.”
Cobra Golf – In what could be labelled a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment Cobra added a shot tracking sensor to the butt end of every King F7 driver so that along with the smartphone app every drive can be measured and tracked. Best of all, it all comes at no additional charge.
Tom Olsavsky Vice President R & D
“Our COBRA KING F7 and F7+ offer a new dimension in drivers, with great performance, movable weights and the Cobra Connect system powered by Arccos. By introducing the first smart driver, COBRA Golf is once again leading the way in Innovation and Performance combined with industry leading style.”
Edel Golf – Makers of highly crafted putters, irons and wedges. Edel is sold through authorized fitters in 24 countries and over 40 states in the U.S.
“Edel Golf has been working on the design of single length irons for the last 4 years. The goal was to create the longest and most forgiving set of single length irons. Using a hollow bodied forging with a polymer fill to create a hotter face on our longer irons and more control with our shorter irons. We also have the ability to change head weight to maximize COG. We have teamed up with Paderson shafts to create a revolutionary wound Kevlar shaft that optimizes launch and spin for tighter shot dispersion and maximum distance. Please visit our website to find a fitter near you.”
Knuth Golf – After the success of the High Heat driver, they followed up with fairway woods and hybrids using an oversized clubhead and a beta titanium face cup to reduce the loss in ball speed on off center impacts. Add to that a low and back center of gravity and High Heat fairway woods and hybrids can be a real benefit to recreational players.
Dean Knuth, Founder & Designer
“High Heat fairway metals have titanium faces for a much higher trampoline effect across the entire face and much larger sweet spot than major brands which all have steel faces. These clubs also provide a CG which is much deeper and lower making them easier to launch high with less spin for more distance and increased accuracy for amateurs.”
Miura Golf – Master craftsman Katsuhiro Miura has an unequalled reputation for uncompromising high quality for all his designs as exemplified in the new CB 2008 irons.
Ryan Burke, Director of Sales
“CB 2008 is the first composite body iron produced exclusively at the Miura factory in Himeji, Japan. Technological advancements have enabled our factory to integrate a forged face (4mm thick) with a SUS composite pocket cavity back.”
Mizuno – Mizuno says they want to be taken seriously for drivers as wells as irons and the JPX900 combines a new and thinner face with a unique weighting system. There’s a pair of eight-gram adjustable weights sliding in a front to back sole track, fade-draw bias weight ports towards the toe and a face angle adjustment towards the heel.
Chris Voshall, Senior Club Engineer
“Mizuno has a long history of creating some of the best performing and softest feeling products in the industry. We do this by focusing on every aspect of how each club is created, even down to a granular level. This year Mizuno is pushing the envelope even further by introducing a few new material processes that will really allow clubs to perform. In the iron side of the world, our new MP-18 family is created using a new forging process called “Grain Flow Forged HD” that will redefine what the industry knows in terms of soft, solid feel. By focusing on the grain structure of the 1025E Mild Carbon Steel and the actual density of those grains in certain parts of the head, we are able to very tightly control the vibrations to give the player the ultimate in feedback and soft feel. On the wood side we are introducing an incredible new material called SP700 this Fall. This beta Titanium, when combined with our COR Tech face, is able to deliver ball speeds faster than we have ever measured. Pair that speed with adjustability and numerous high end shafts available and any player will be able to gain distance and performance from their woods.”
Ping – John Solheim’s legacy to the golf industry is to not be bound by what everyone else is doing…but in new ideas and new approaches. Paying attention to the aerodynamic drag to improve clubhead speed resulted in turbulators on the crown first seen two years ago but lately in a 445cc head and more streamlined shape which reduces drag by 15%.
“All the G400 products have tremendous appeal and each represents advancements in technology that will help golfers play better and enjoy the game more. The driver is the most exciting in that it has so much new technology that really differentiates it and allows it to outperform everything else. From the streamlined shape to the forged face and tungsten back weight, we’ve been able to create a faster, longer and more forgiving club head that has an amazing look, feel and sound. The tour acceptance has been immediate which gives it the instant validation all new products need to be successful.”
Parson’s Xtreme Golf – Bob Parsons’ company sells only high end, custom fit clubs and has already made a splash in headlines signing among other touring professionals Charles Howell III, Zach Johnson, Lydia Ko and Brittany Lang.
Brad Schweigert, PXG CPO
“PXG irons are very special. The proprietary technology is one of the most innovative concepts to ever hit the market in the iron category. The extremely thin faced construction coupled with a thermoplastic elastomer core supports performance gains greater than a similar-sized cavity-back in both distance and forgiveness.”
Snell Golf – The company was started by Dean Snell after almost three decades in the ball business with major manufacturers to change the way golf balls are thought of. Has a very popular tour-type ball priced one-third less than the leading brand.
“We use two key technologies… one is in the core. It is a proprietary core formulation that allows the core to be lower in compression for lower driver spin rates, but FASTER in speed. So typically when the core gets lower in compression, it also loses speed. But our core technology allows us actually increase speed when lowering the core compression, thus producing lower spin, faster ball speed and subsequently longer driver distances. The second technology is the cast urethane cover, which allows us to cast very thin. This soft, thin yet durable urethane allows for increase short game spin and control in the scoring zones”
Srixon – Competition in the golf ball business is tough but the urethane cover Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV offer a dual core and an aerodynamic dimple pattern plus the third generation of the Spin Skin coating to give a softer feel with more spin around the greens.
Jeff Brunski, Director of R&D
“Over the last few years, Srixon’s Z-series golf balls have won more global tournaments than any other brand out there bar one, and we’ve done it with a significantly smaller team of professional golfers. That speaks volumes to the performance of our product – performance enabled by market-leading technologies such as our variable stiffness cores (the Energetic Gradient Growth core), our spin skin coating for maximum control around the greens, and our dimple patterns, which are among the most aerodynamic in the market.”
TaylorMade Golf – TMaG is a power in the club business and acknowledge as a technological leader. Driver adjustability with weight sliding on T-tracks and a loft-changeable hosel mean any player can be fit precisely.
Chandler Carr, Product Creation Manager
“TaylorMade’s heritage of innovation has been characterized by industry leading breakthroughs within the metalwoods category. From the original metal driver to today’s M1 and M2, TaylorMade’s R&D team has continuously pushed the limit of performance, delivering more distance, forgiveness, and consistency to golfers everywhere—from amateurs to best Tour pros in the world.”
Titleist – Titleist is the biggest maker of golf balls in the world and the Pro V1 and Pro V1x dominant the urethane cover ball market. Length, accuracy, control and consistency are their mantra with the new models. Pro V1 feels softer than the Pro V1x, and a lower trajectory giving players of any skill level outstanding performance.
Michael Mahoney, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing
“Every time we set out to develop new Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, our challenge is to set an even higher benchmark for golf ball performance. We are constantly in the field talking to golfers of all skill levels about what we can do to help them shoot lower scores. At the same time, the Titleist Golf Ball R&D and Operations teams are working together to develop new golf ball technologies that deliver performance golfers may not yet realize they need. It’s because of this ownership and commitment at every step of the process that we’re able to deliver meaningful performance improvements and make the best golf balls in the game even better.”
Tour Edge Golf – A well-deserved reputation of making clubs for every level player, Tour Edge is particularly known for hybrids and fairways that are so good they find their way into Tour bags even though the company does not pay any player endorsements.
David Glod, founder & president
“All Exotics products embrace new materials and manufacturing methods. We call it our material advantage and it’s the very DNA of all Exotics products. Only Exotics combines titanium, steel and graphite in the head composition for dramatic distance gains. The CBX line is our latest example focusing specifically on locating the absolute center of gravity creating spin-killing woods and hybrids.”
Vertical Groove Golf – Golf clubs have grooves running horizontally across the face except for the Vertical Groove driver which they say adds distance and reduces spin.
Jeff Berry CEO
“It’s been an incredible debut season for Vertical Groove Golf, backed by two victories on the PGA TOUR Champions, including a Major Championship. “Currently we are #1 and #3 in driving distance on the PGA TOUR Champions, and the improved accuracy off the tee from our stable of professionals has been impressive. As professional tours validate performance, it’s nice to see more amateurs realizing the benefits of vertical groove technology, and placing the Vertical Groove Driver in there bag.”
Wilson Staff – Pushing to regain their past prominence of the past Wilson uses several designs and construction techniques including flexible face irons with distance and control.
Jon Pergande, Manager of Golf Club Innovation
“Wilson Sporting Goods has a long history of providing a variety of different irons to cover the needs of players of all abilities. One universal goal of iron design for ALL players is to deliver ball speed. There are several ways this can be accomplished and Wilson has found a leap forward with its Power Hole Technology. Power Holes are series of holes that surround the perimeter of the face that separate the support structure of the face from the rest of the body. This provides the face with more freedom to move at impact and deliver greater ball speed. For any given head size, we believe in providing the largest thin unsupported face as we possibly can, to deliver the greatest ball speeds possible.”