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Equipment Report
  • Updates from PGA Merchandise Show

  • Rickie Fowler used the new Cobra King Utility at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)Rickie Fowler used the new Cobra King Utility at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Titanium is typically used in the construction of metalwoods. But in the case of Ben Hogan Golf Company's new PTx iron, the material played a key role in optimizing perimeter weighting and launch.

Named after Hogan's original Power Thrust, the game-improvement PTx irons feature optimized launch angles throughout the set by engineering a consistently-positioned center of mass in relation to the golf ball. 

The new design starts with the mid and short irons that have a 1025 Carbon Steel frame sandwiched around a titanium core. Using titanium made it possible to reposition the center of gravity within the head, producing a more penetrating trajectory in the scoring irons for improved control. 

"Our research shows golfers are frustrated because they can't keep short irons out of the clouds, and can't get distance control," said Terry Koehler, President/CEO of the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. "We started with the scoring clubs and worked our way back. Because titanium is half the density of steel, we're able to move half the weight from the center of the golf club, as opposed (to) all of the weight, while preserving thickness for trajectory."

The long irons are constructed differently than the mid and short irons with a hollow body design and variable face thickness design that's thicker in the heel than the toe. The scoring clubs have a similar design with more mass positioned in the top of the club head.

A tungsten weight was also added to the toe that lowers the center of gravity and gives the long-irons added forgiveness and a higher launch angle. Like Hogan’s Fort Worth irons that debuted last year, PTx utilizes the company’s V-Sole design that keeps them from digging into the turf at impact. 

The irons retail for $169 per club and will be available in April in 28 lofts (20-47 degrees) with KBS's Tour-V or Tour 90 shafts.

Toulon Design putters

Following a 17-year run as TaylorMade's executive vice president of product creation, Sean Toulon departed the company at the end of 2015 to take on a new challenge: Building a boutique putter company (Toulon Design) with his two sons.

Toulon, who founded Zero putter company and was head of product creation at TaylorMade for Rossa and Spider, is familiar with the inner-workings of putter design. The goal behind the initial putter line was to create four different head shapes that had superior sound, feel and roll. 

That's the goal when any putter is designed, but for Toulon, he wanted to go about things in a different manner. 

During the prototyping process, Toulon tested different face designs and found that when he added a crosshatched face pattern — similar to the pattern found on car tires — it not only produced a softer feel at impact, but a better sound as well.

"Once we added that pattern, we knew we had something," Toulon said. "Similar to the way liquid is channeled away through the pattern in the tire, we found that we could get the sound to dissipate at impact so it doesn't go directly to your ear."

To improve roll, horizontal grooves were added in-between the crosshatched pattern on the face that grip the ball to get putts rolling faster.

Head weight can also be adjusted via a plate that's connected to the sole with the help of four screws. The adjustable sole plates come in three weights: 7 grams (aluminum), 20 grams (stainless steel) and 40 grams (tungsten).

All four putter models are milled from 303 stainless steel and start at $400.

Cobra King Utility

These days, it's easy to adjust the loft on your driver or fairway wood with the turn of a wrench. Cobra Golf believes the adjustable technology that was made popular in metalwoods can work for certain irons as well, including the new Cobra King Utility.

Designed with a similar head profile to King Forged CB, the utility club is adjustable from 18-21 degrees, with draw settings that make the club play slightly more upright. It also comes with a 17-4 stainless steel face and an L-Weld that boosts forgiveness and ball speeds.

Cobra's latest design won't be available until May, but that didn't stop Rickie Fowler from putting it in play during his win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Arccos Driver sensor

If you've ever wondered who the best driver of the golf ball is in your weekly foursome, Arccos now gives you the ability to track every drive during a round. As opposed to offering a package that includes 14 sensors, the company has unveiled a new Driver sensor that just tracks the long ball. 

The club-to-cloud device has one sensor that attaches to the butt-end of the driver grip. Once paired via Bluetooth to the Arccos iPhone app, the system automatically tracks every drive and provides you with in-depth statistics (length, distance and accuracy), analysis and insights into your driving performance.

According to Arccos' director of sales, Zach Barron, the Driver sensor is geared for players that want to give Arccos a try but don't necessarily want to shell out $300 for 14 sensors. 

"This is a great way to try out Arccos without buying an entire set of sensors," said Zach Baron, Arccos' director of sales. "You can track you drivers, compete against your friends and analyze your stats. It's a way to make things a little more interesting on the course."

Arccos' Driver sensor retails for $80 and is currently available for pre-order.

SuperStroke S-Tech grip

Jordan Spieth rarely tinkers with his equipment setup, but at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the two-time major winner made an under-the-radar change, replacing his Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips with SuperStroke's new S-Tech model on his woods, irons and wedges.

Spieth, along with Sergio Garcia, currently use the club grip that features a softer rubber compound that gives it a tackier feel compared to the two different durometers that debuted on the company's TX1 grip last year.

The grip will be available in April and retails for $7 (standard and midsize).