In late summer and on into fall club companies begin to introduce the models for the coming year and often they are first seen on the professional tours as manufacturers hope to get early publicity from staff pros playing well or even winning. After researching the new crop of clubs from on information provided to us by the manufacturers here are those we consider significant and if something really attracts your attention you may not have to wait since many models are in shops now.
Callaway is on a roll and hopes to grab more market share with the Big Bertha Fusion Driver. It employs a titanium cage construction with the space between the metal ribs in the crown and sole filled with a very light triaxial carbon composite. Compared to last year’s XR16 driver this allowed 35.4 grams
to be moved to better resist twisting and promote a higher ball trajectory. Depending on the shaft selected the overall club weight has been reduced to between 295 and 305 grams allowing so it may be swung faster for more distance. The crown has the drag-reducing Speed Step from last year, designed in conjunction with Boeing, and there’s choice of two stock shaft lengths, 44.5 inches and 45.5 inches. The BBF uses the familiar OptiFit adjustable hosel with draw or neutral settings and retail price is $400. Similarly constructed fairway woods (3, 5 and 7) are priced at $250.
There are also Big Bertha OS Hybrids and Irons. The OS Hybrids are $250 each and have a deeper body, larger and faster rebounding face and Callaway’s newest Face Cup technology. The OS Irons (OS stands for
Over Size) use an Exo-Cage design that allows weight to be placed for more forgiveness, the 360 Face Cup to be more efficient
and better retain ball speed across the face. With steel shafts 4-iron through attack wedge are price at $1,100.
Callaway also has announced the Steelhead XR Hybrids and Irons. The Hybrids are available in 3H (19-degrees) through 6H (27-degrees) at $220 each and have a larger face with what they are calling a Next-Gen Hyper Speed Face Cup. The clubhead is also larger allowing the center of gravity to be pushed lower and deeper for higher launch. Steelhead XR Irons have a similar shape to the venerable Steelhead X-14s of fifteen years ago updated with the Next Generation 360 Face Cup and a steel-infused polyurethane layer behind the lower part of the face for more feel and better launch. Pricing is $800 for 4-iron through attack wedge.
Cobra’s first oversize irons were way back in 1994 and they quickly became the bestselling irons for the next two years. For 2017 they have an update, the King OS irons (Over Sized) with a new PWRshell that has a thinner, lighter face and sole to lower the center of gravity. This construction Cobra says gives higher ball speeds across the entire hitting area. Throughout the set the body is a full-hollow construction giving a soft, solid sound for added confidence. The face is entirely milled with V-grooves on the 4-6 irons for less spin and U-grooves on the 7-pitching wedge that give more spin and control. The cavity is a multi-material construction with a weight-saving aluminum medallion allowing for tungsten weighting in the toe. Available November 25, pricing for an eight iron set of 4-iron through gap wedge with steel shafts is $999 or $1,099 with graphite shafts.
Known for their irons, in 2017 Mizuno is leveraging that reputation to establish a larger presence in metal woods and the new JPX900 family in addition to irons includes a driver, fairway woods and hybrids. The JPX900 iron line consists of the Tour and Forged models plus the ones for average golfers called Hot Metal. Hot Metal’s have the thinnest face Mizuno has ever produced and the construction is similar to a metal wood with a cup face and large sweet spot. Price is $900.The JPZ900 Hybrids have an adjustable loft hosel and variable face progression to smooth the transition between fairway woods and irons. The center of gravity is low and shallow for high-launch-low-spin ball flight and the sole has Mizuno’s dual channel for more face flex. Pricing is $250 each with 16 degree 2-hybrid
through 25 degree 6-hybrid lofts available.
The flagship of the JPX900 line up is the driver which is an update of the JPX-850 of two
years ago with a new dual 8-gram sliding sole weights plus two weight ports for draw/fade bias. It also has a visual face angle adjustment as well as an adjustable hosel. Mizuno incorporated a new face design with more rebound and a more stable head construction to increase the resistance to twisting. Priced at $500 the stock shaft is the REAL DEAL Fujikura Speeder EVO II. The matching fairway woods have a single sliding 15-gram sole weight and adjustable hosel similar to the driver. A slightly different version of the sole channel, Mizuno calls it a Shockwave sole, is also built in. JPX900 Fairway Woods are $300.
iBlades are a good looking players-category iron, a follow up on the S55 model of 2016. The cast stainless steel body is compact and has a thinner top rail, minimum offset and straight leading edge. The toe contains tungsten weight for forgiveness, in fact, Ping says it’s the most forgiving blade they have ever made. Face thickness is half that of the S55 and produces more ball speed with slightly higher trajectories. Steel shafted, each is $162.50 and with graphite shafts $177.50.
The up and coming PXG has added to their iron offerings the 0311XF game improvement model. The clubhead is triple forged, the same as their PXG 0311 players iron, but with a longer length and wider sole. Perimeter weighting is enhanced with tungsten weights and the thin face is backed with a cavity containing a thermoplastic elastomer plastic for vibration dampening and maintaining ball speed on off center impacts. Available only through custom fitters the 0311XFs are priced at $350 per club with a chrome finish and $500 each for black diamond-like coating.
After the success of the Z-series 500 and 700 models released in 2014 Srixon is bringing them up to date with two new lines, the Z 565 and Z 765 woods and irons. Both the Z 565 (460cc $450) and the Z 765 (445cc $450) drivers have a new cup face and a three step semi-channel sole construction. The Z 565 produces a high launch angle for average players and the Z 765 a flatter ball trajectory for better players plus each has Srixon’s 12-position adjustable hosel.
Z F65 fairway woods have a maraging steel face for high strength and a similar face cup to that of the drivers. The lower lofts (13.5, 15 and 17 degree) have a crown designed to aid face flexibility while the 19 and 21 degree models have a weight placement to create better ball flight characteristics. Price is $250. The H65 hybrid ($230) comes in three lofts progressive with head sizes based on loft and the same support channel used in the fairway woods.
Tour Edge Golf
Several interesting models are being introduced by Tour Edge and the first is the Exotics XJ1 driver. The body is made of a new titanium alloy they have dubbed SUPERMETAL and it has a Kevlarcarbon composite in the crown which in combination saves 20 grams of weight. That weight was moved to the sole in the form
of two 10-gram bars to increase head stability at impact. The very light clubhead plus a lightweight shaft gives a total club weight substantially less than 300-grams meaning the average golfer can swing it faster for more distance. Priced at $700, the XJ1 comes in 9, 10.5 or 12 degrees loft in right hand only.
The other interesting introduction is an update of the Hot Launch family called Hot Launch 2. Just as with the original driver the new Hot Launch 2 comes with a 460cc four-piece forged cup face clubhead. There are two variations, an adjustable hosel model with five lofts from 8.5 to 12 degrees and an “anti-slice” non-adjustable model. Both have pared down weight so a heavier center sole weight could be used to give more forgiveness and higher launch. The adjustable Hot Launch 2 driver is $200 and the non-adjustable is $170 and Tour Edge promises 48 hour delivery.
Hot Launch 2 fairway woods offer a choice in standard or offset heads with a hyper steel body and maraging steel variable thickness clubface. Both carry a price of $130 and the standard comes in lofts from 15 to 22 degrees and the offset model 15.5 to 22.5 degrees. The hybrids ($110) use the same materials in a similar construction in a 3, 4, 5 and 6 loft. Hot Launch 2 irons are made of a soft stainless steel that allows for easy personalization when custom built and are $400 for a seven iron set of 4-iron through attack wedge. The undercut cavity has been enlarged and a new toe weight design expands the sweet spot while the variable thickness face provides lots of forgiveness. Complementing the Hot Launch 2 irons are a new version of an old favorite, Hot Launch 2 Iron-woods. Available individually or as a complete set, the newly designed Iron-Woods have a bigger clubhead that’s hollow and thin clubface for more spring-like effect and distance. As with previous Iron-Woods the sole is heavy helping to increase launch angle and forgiveness. They are available from a 2-iron loft of 18-degrees to a lob wedge loft of 59-degrees. A set of seven Iron-Woods is $500 or individually they are $80, ideal if using as a long iron substitute.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?