January 23, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
- Longtime shaft-maker KBS introduce their first putter shaft with the CT Tour in four colorways. (Andrew Tursky/PGA TOUR)
WINTER GARDEN, Florida -- Golf companies from around the world gather on the range at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge each year in late January, ahead of the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, to show off new products and allow golfers to test them out. The event is known as “Demo Day.”
While some companies are displaying products already announced to the public, other companies unveil new product at Demo Day. In this article, I highlight products that I saw at Demo Day that you may have never seen or heard about before.
Miura’s new K-grind wedges and CB-301 irons
Following up on its original K-grind wedge, Miura’s new KG (K Grind) 2.0 wedges also have “back knuckles” that are designed to keep the club square through impact from various course conditions. The soles of the new wedges are thinner near the heel and wider near the toe, according to a Miura representative. They also have more heel-to-toe relief and more front-to-back camber for more bounce and more playability.
The KG 2.0 wedges (52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees) are fully forged with milled grooves, and they expect to launch “around 2/15” retailing for $295 apiece. The company has also extended its line of Tour wedges with a new HB (higher bounce) profile that will release “more toward the Masters,” also retailing for $295.
Miura’s new CB-301 irons are 1025 forged cavity-back irons that have longer blade lengths, wider soles, more offset, and made for more forgiveness and a higher launch than their blade MB-501 family members. They’re plated in nickel chrome with a satin finish and sell for $280 per club.
KBS new line of putter shafts, and more iron shafts
Putter shafts have received more attention from the equipment market recently, most noticeably from BGT’s Stability shafts, and Odyssey’s new Stroke Lab Technology shafts.
Longtime shaft-maker KBS is now making its first step into putter shafts. The company launched its new line of CT Tour putter shafts in four different colorways (gloss black, matte black, brushed chrome and chrome) and three different shaft bends (single-bend, double-bend and straight); all of the shafts are the same weight. According to a KBS representative, KBS putter shafts will be stock shafts in OEM putters, and are already in play on TOUR. The putter shafts will also be available for aftermarket purchase. A KBS representative said the price is still unconfirmed, but to expect their release in March.
KBS also launched a new, lighter version of its $-Taper shaft, and a 45-gram KBS Max graphite shaft. The $-Taper Lite is said to help keep the ball lower and with less spin for golfers who desire a lighter weight, and the KBS Max graphite is for the “everyday player” to make it easier to hit the ball, according to a KBS representative. Both shafts will hit aftermarket retail sometime between March and May.
Bridgestone’s new e12 golf balls, XW-1 wedges and yellow “Tiger” golf ball
Between Bridgestone’s Tour B golf balls at $44.99 and its e6 golf balls at $21.99 is a new golf ball from Bridgestone called the e12 ($29.99); while “12” is two times “6,” the 12 name is actually an ode to Bridgestone’s 12 years making golf balls.
The new e12 golf balls are made for a softer feel, but they also have an “Active Acceleration Mantle” for more speed. Basically, the layer between the core and cover has a tighter blend to rid the layer of air bubbles, resulting in better energy transfer, according to the company. The e12 Soft is for golfers with a “moderate speed” swing, and the e12 Speed is a firmer ball for a “faster swinger.” The e12 soft is available in the matte colorways (colors pictured above) in addition to white, and all of the e12 golf balls will be available on February 15.
The Tour B XS golf ball – or “the ball that Tiger plays” to some – will be released in a yellow colorway in 2019.
Additionally, Bridgestone unveiled new Tour B XW-1 wedges with three different sole grinds – an F sole for full shots, an A sole with a “traditional grind,” and an M sole with a “versatile” grind for higher lofts. The wedges also have “Biting Rails,” or in other words, the company has increased the number of parallel rails between each groove to induce more spin onto the golf ball. The new XW-1 Tour B wedges will be available on March 4.
SuperStroke’s line of Traxion putter and club grips
SuperStroke has unleashed an expansive lineup of new Traxion grips that have X-shaped “Traxion” zones, and new polyurethane layers, for enhanced feedback and feel.
The Traxion putter grips are available in the Tour (1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 5.0), Flatso (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0), Pistol GT (Tour, 1.0 and 2.0), the new Claw-style (1.0 and 2.0), XL Plus (Tour XL + 2.0 and 3.0, Flatso XL + 2.0) and SS2R models. The colorways are black, gray, red, white-and-blue and white-and-red, each of which will be available in “early February” according to a SuperStroke representative.
As for club grips, SuperStroke has two all-new options. There are Traxion Wrap grips in two colorways (black and brown), and Traxion Tour grips with a reminder seam underneath the grips. Both grips come with the “signature [Traxion] pattern that we put into the putter grips,” according to the SuperStroke rep.
Additionally, SuperStroke says there will be new S-tech cord grips, and longer 17-inch Arm-lock style grips coming out sometime this year.
PRGR’s new clubs and portable launch monitor
You may know PRGR because of Satoshi Kodaira, who used the company’s clubs to win the 2018 RBC Heritage. Or, you may know PRGR because Corey Pavin played its clubs in the late nineties. Either way, Japanese golf company PRGR, or “Pro Gear,” debuted a number of new golf clubs, and a portable launch monitor, at Demo Day.
Included in the new lineup of clubs were PRGR Tune O1 and O2 drivers with Nabla faces, Tune O3 fairway woods, Q-18 fairway woods, PRGR Tune 01 cavity back irons and Tune O2 blade irons forged from S25 carbon.
The portable launch monitor, which sells for $189.99, measures club head speed (between 25 and 180 mph), ball speed and estimated distance of flight. In radar mode, it can also measure baseball pitching speeds, bat speeds, soccer ball speeds, and other ball-related sports.
Fujikura launches Ventus shaft to the public
Officially debuted at Demo Day, the new Fujikura Ventus wood shafts have VeloCore technology that’s designed to reduce twisting at impact, and they’re made with “ultra stiff” tips, according to the company. They have multi-material constructions that use Pitch 70 Ton Carbon Fiber – a material that Fujikura says is 150 percent stronger and more stable than T1100 – and 40 Ton Carbon Fiber.
The Ventus shafts, which we’ve spotted out on TOUR, will be available to the public in 56-86 gram spec weights and R, S and X flexes. They hit retail on February 1 for $350 each.