GolfBoards start to catch on, new grips and more
January 26, 2016
By Jonathan Wall and Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
- CEO John Wildman says the GolfBoard is now available at 120 courses worldwide. (Bill Cooney/PGA TOUR)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- It’s like riding a skateboard with more stability, one that carries your golf bag and a mini cooler stocked with your favorite beverage.
While the GolfBoard first hit the market in 2014, it is now catching on worldwide and may just show up at your local club someday.
Look no further than the practice round that Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson played on the European Tour last week, where the four raced around the course while playing on GolfBoards during a fun promotion.
According to CEO John Wildman, 120 golf courses around the world have GolfBoards, 1,200 of which are currently in use. About 1,000 new people ride one each day and around five new courses add GolfBoards each week, Wildman said.
“It really just adds fun to the game,” says Wildman, who previously worked as an executive for Bally Total Fitness. “Whether you have a good round or a bad round, you experience the course in a whole new way. You look at the turf and the terrain … a lot of people also love the fact that it improves the pace of play.”
The GolfBoard won best new product at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, and has since evolved into a product that is designed and sold more for commercial use. It features four turf-friendly 4-inch wheels and a board that carries one passenger. The GolfBoard runs on a lithium battery that can last up to 18 miles before it needs a recharge. The product features a double handlebar but can only be turned by placing weight on a certain portion of the board.
Most GolfBoards travel at speeds of 5 to 10 mph.
MORE: Blog from Demo Day
A few weeks ago, Wildman got a call to see if he could send some GolfBoards as soon as possible to the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi. Wildman said it would be quite challenging to deliver them so soon. Then he was told, if you send them, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, among others, will be riding them.
Wildman said some of his first clients saw rounds played increase by up to 35 percent. There has also been demand for an all-terrain, non-golf urban board, something Wildman said could be available by mid-2016.
GolfBoards are generally leased by golf courses for $175 per month for 48 months or $150 per month for 60 months. In return, the golf course rents them for around $25 per round. Retail price of a GolfBoard is $6,500.
Odyssey Golf White Hot RX putter
Odyssey went through 17 different materials before selecting the final version for the elastomer insert. (Odyssey Golf)
Odyssey Golf's popular White Hot insert returns with a re-designed look in the new White Hot RX putter line. In search of a White Hot insert that produced a better roll, Odyssey's design team worked directly with golf ball chemists and material scientists to create an elastomer insert that featured the company's oval dimple design.
The oval dimples currently found on the White Hot RX insert were made popular in Odyssey's Metal-X and Odyssey Works lines and help promote a more consistent roll. In the past, the dimples were milled directly into the face. Injection molding them into the White Hot insert proved to be a bit more difficult.
"Doing it right into the White Hot is really tough, because those are cast on sheets and laser cut, and you have to line everything up," said Austie Rollinson, Odyssey's chief designer. "So we decided to try and injection mold it like we used to do with our White Hot XG and White Ice inserts. We wanted to use those similar technologies but not necessarily those same materials."
Odyssey went through 17 different materials before selecting the final version for the elastomer insert. Along with adding oval roll technology to the face, a softer back layer was added just behind the insert that improves speed and feel.
Because the new insert is softer than what's currently found in Works and Fusion RX, a firmer cover was added to ensure the ovals were hard enough to dig into the cover of the ball. A textured clear coat was also added to increase friction between the insert and ball.
The White Hot RX lineup will be available February 26 for $160 ($180 with SuperStroke grips) in the following head shapes: #1, #2, #7, #9, Rossie, 2-Ball V-Line, and the new V-Line Fang that combines the technologies and shaping of the Odyssey #7 model with the V-Line mallet.
SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour grip
SuperStroke has made a name for itself on TOUR in recent years — the grip is currently used by Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner and Sergio Garcia — with its flat-top front, pentagonal back putter grip design that increases shoulder rotation and decreases wrist activity for a more repeatable stroke.
The company's oversized grip design isn't going anywhere –– in fact, it's actually expanding to include new designs and sizes — but over the course of the last year, requests started coming in from players that wanted to see a grip in a more traditional profile.
What came from those conversations was the new Pistol GT Tour, SuperStroke's smallest grip to date. Currently 10 percent smaller in the lower hand than Flatso 1.0, the grip comes in a classic pistol shape with SuperStroke's no taper design that promotes even grip pressure.
"There's a reason we call this grip Pistol GT Tour," said Peter Farner, SuperStroke's marketing coordinator. "It came about through direct feedback from TOUR players. Some just wanted to see a smaller grip with the same technology. We think it's a great option for those players that play a traditional pistol but are interested in our grips."
The grip also comes with SuperStroke's CounterCore Technology that lets golfers fine-tune feel and stability by adjusting the weight of the grip. A 50-gram back-weight engages larger muscles in the arms, shoulders and back, which results in more of a pendulum motion. The grip can also be played without the back-weight.
SuperStroke's Pistol GT Tour retails for $35 per grip.
Golf Pride Tour SNSR grip
Golf Pride's Tour SNSR grip is 40 percent softer than other grip the company offers. (Bill Cooney/PGA TOUR)
It’s almost like squeezing cotton balls in your hands. Well, almost.
The new Golf Pride Tour SNSR putting grips are billed as the softest putting grip the company offers.
“It’s 40 percent softer than anything else we make in putter grips,” said Bruce Miller, Golf Pride’s Retail Product Manager. “So it’s soft, but also responsive. You’re getting feedback.”
What Miller means is players using the Tour SNSR will instantly know if they're squeezing the grip too hard since the rubber will move inward. And, when putting, grip pressure needs to be as loose as possible.
The SNSR grip comes in two models. The red one features a pistol contour in the back of the grip, which sits in the heel pad of your hand. The blue one is a straight taper version.
The Tour sensor will be available in early April for $24.99.
Aldila's new NV 2KXV shaft
Aldila's NV is widely considered one of the most popular graphite driver shafts of all time and is still played by a handful of players.
But like nearly every piece of equipment that makes its way to TOUR, there comes a point when even the most popular products need an update to remain relevant.
Following the release of NV 12 years ago, Aldila went to work last year on an updated version of the shaft. The end result was a new NV 2KXV shaft that features a counterbalanced profile and second generation NexGen Micro Laminate materials that produce a higher quality and more balanced structure by reducing the ply thickness within the shaft by 25 percent.
"We took the original NV's and essentially modernized them," said John Oldenburg, Aldila’s VP of engineering and product development. "We didn't want to mess with the profile too much. This is still low spin shaft, but it's not the spin killer that Rogue is. You're going to get more moderate spin."
The shift to a counterbalanced profile made it necessary to add more mass to the tip section to account for the flex adjustment.
The shaft also features the same tapered profile as the original NV that promotes a smoother feel.
While the shaft is making its debut this week at the PGA Merchandise Show, it was initially put in play last season by Jimmy Walker at the Scottish Open and was in Kevin Kisner's bag during his maiden TOUR win at the RSM Classic.
Aldila's NV 2KXV currently comes in two profiles: Green and Orange. The Green features the same performance profile as the original Green NV, while Orange is meant to mirror the original NVS. Oldenburg also noted a Blue version was released recently on TOUR that has a VS Proto profile.
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