The 2013 PGA Merchandise Show has come and gone, and the golf world is now ready for all the new toys to come to market. I’ve been going to the PGA Show in Orlando since 1996, and every year some companies come out smelling like roses, and others – not so much. In this “hit & miss” series, we’ll explore some of the winners and losers from this year’s show broken up into categories for Drivers, fairways, irons, wedges, putters, balls, accessories and misc items. Read on, because there will surely be some surprises and upsets!
- Adams Speedline Super LS - This driver is hot. The face feels springy and responsive, and the sound is a classic click, which is refreshing compared to that ”hollow can in an empty warehouse” noise many drivers make. It features Adams’ Fast Fit fitting system, which allows for extensive adjustability of face angle, length and swingweight.
- Cobra Amp Cell – Youthful and colorful are words used to describe all of Cobra/Puma’s offerings. They are available in Red, Orange, Blue or White. Adjustable for loft and face angle.
- Callaway X Hot - This driver is light and easy to swing, and combines a hot face with Callaway’s OptiFit Hosel that lets you adjust the face angle in Open, Square or Closed positions.
- Wilson D 100 – One of the lightest drivers I’ve ever swung, this one shocked many testers at the outdoor Demo Day. Don’t overlook Wilson when shopping for a driver this season, you’ll be impressed.
- Cleveland Classic XL Custom – A continuation of the throwback Classic driver from last year, Cleveland blacked out the head and adorned it with gold trim and an adjustable hosel. Still one of the hottest, lowest spinning drivers on the market.
- Nike VR_S Covert - Nike made a splash with the Covert driver and its oddball cavity back design. The unique adjustable hosel lets you adjust loft independent of the face angle, allowing them to sell a single lofted head that the user can adjust from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees.
- Taylor Made R1 - Sorry Taylor Made fans, the newest driver looks like a reboot of the previous models with a new paint job that is even more distracting. 168 different adjustable configurations virtually guarantees you’ll never stop fiddling with it. Still a good club, but didn’t steal the show.
- Taylor Made RBZ Stage 2 – The RBZ gets a new paint job and Taylor Made is promising even more distance. Ever hear that line before? The standard shafts from the RocketBallz woods continue to be some of the most inconsistent on the market. If you want this club, don’t buy it off the rack – get properly fit.
- Titleist 913 – Titleist is on a 2 year product lifecycle and as such, their clubs don’t change as much as other companies. The 913 drivers are great performers and popular with better players, but Titleist’s presence at the show was uninspired this year.
- Ping G25 and Anser – Both drivers are quality offerings, but they both look and perform very similar to one another and this will just confuse consumers. The graphics are more or less the same as last year’s models, and I don’t see any compelling reason to upgrade if you bought a G20 last year.
- Tour Edge Exotics XCG6 – Tour Edge makes one of the best clubs you’ve never heard of. Their fairways are legendary for distance and have sort of a cult following. For some reason the drivers have never been as popular, and this season’s models will not change that. Shame, because they are one of the best drivers in golf.
I want to point out that this isn’t a review, nor am I saying any of these drivers are crap, but I’m commenting on the impression I got of their launch at the PGA Show based on their performance at the outdoor demo day, media buzz at the show and after speaking with company reps. As with all trade shows and product intros, there are many factors that go into a successful product launch, and we look forward to getting our hands on these drivers for full reviews in the coming months!
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