Equipment: Fresh New Crop

For golfers, the best thing about each January is the sudden burst of fresh equipment. All of the brands introduce their latest, exciting products for the coming year. And each goodie comes with a promise of distance, accuracy, feel, or whatever it takes to lower your score. The 2014 class shares that sentiment. There are some innovative offerings that vow to take your game to another level. Here’s a preview:

Callaway’s game-improvement Apex irons ($1,300/graphite, $1,100/steel) are forged, but pack distance-enhancing features. A strong, forged steel face insert helps get distance. The long irons have a tungsten sole insert that delivers a low CG and high launch angle.

Callaway’s X2 Hot fairway wood ($230) incorporates a thin face for ball speed, especially on strikes low in the clubface. Internal weighting creates a CG position that yields distance from all points on the clubface. Offered in a 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11-wood.

Nike VRS Covert 2.0 driver ($299) sports a large variable-thickness clubface for revved-up ball speed and distance. Loft can be adjusted to between 8.5 and 12.5 degrees, and face angle independently to three settings.

TaylorMade’s JetSpeed driver ($299) features a proprietary, polymer-filled Speed Pocket to minimize spin for up to five yards more distance than the company’s RBZ Stage 2. A low-forward CG helps boost ball speed. Loft is adjustable.

PING’s compact i25 hybrid ($242.50) strives for high-and-long shots. The stainless steel head features a compressed profile, forward hosel and straight lead edge. Offered in lofts of 17, 19, 22 and 26 degrees.

PING’s Karsten irons ($125/graphite shaft, $106.25/steel) – meant for golfers of all abilities — are distance-oriented. High-launching irons are long from heel to toe, while the CG is low and back. A custom tuning port promotes solid feel.

Cobra’s BiOCELL driver ($375) is adjustable to eight loft settings. Its sole-located SmartPad squares the clubhead at address. Most of the head’s weight is low and back, which aims to yield high, straight shots.

Cleveland’s 588 Altitude driver ($280) boasts a low/deep CG, stable clubhead and lightweight components. The 460cc clubhead has a large sweetspot that boosts ball speed and forgiveness.






Oban Composite’s Kyoshi Gold shaft ($360) mixes a firm butt section with a responsive mid section and tip – thanks to the high-modulus unidirectional material along the length. It’s offered in 65 and 75 grams, in S and X flexes.

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