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  1. With my semi-annual Two Day Tournament this weekend, I needed to dial in my new Cobra Bio Cell driver. So, after work, I went to a local golf course (Rocky Point in Tampa) just around the corner from my office. There, I got a bucket of balls and warmed up with the short irons before hitting the 3W & Driver. After a few warm ups, I set the 3W at 14.5 neutral and began swinging.......great trajectory and plenty of distance (for me). I eventually settled on 16.5 Draw. For the Driver, I went from 10.5 Neutral to eventually, 15.5 Draw. Then, I started to go home. As I walked back to my car, I felt a loose feeling in my right foot. That's when i saw this.... I guess I should have brought some golf shoes with me........
  2. Prices include shipping and tracking USPS Priority! Shoot me some offers and we can work out a deal. Not really that interested in trades. I have basically new Taylormade SLDR 430 10.5* TP with an upgraded Matrix 7M3 X flex shaft and new Golf Pride Tour Velvet Corded grip with 4 wraps of tape. I literally just took the plastic wrap and hit 10 times so there is ZERO signs of wear. I have the Brand New headcover as well. I got the club straight from taylormade last week. Standard TM driver length. This club is a BEAST and you need to be a man to hit it. I can sell the head only or shaft only or together. Costs $499 retail in stores and online stores. Together $ 420 obo Head only $ 280 obo Shaft only $140 (retail $320 without tip) obo I have a BRAND NEW R1 TP RIP Phenom 60 Stiff shaft that plays 45" in a R1 or SLDR head. Awesome performing shaft. Has the R1 2* TP Tip on it in NEW condition (came in a R1V2 head) TP RIP PHENOM - $65 obo Next up my current gamer- PING G20 9.5* with matching headcover - in great shape. The easiest, most forgiving driver I have ever hit. Recently tried it up agaist the NIKE Covert Tour 2.0 with Speeder shaft and SLDR and it outperformed both. Nice penetrating flight and feels awesome. Has the PING Tour X flex shaft in it. Topline is perfect, crown perfect minus a single surface scrape (see pics), face has very little wear, and bottom also has little wear. Ferrule has a tiny bit of separation that has no effect on club, just want full disclosure. Has a patriot golf pride grip in great shape. $ 140 shipped obo Selling the ultimate HOLY GRAIL 3 wood. The legendary Tour Edge CB2 with the Graphite Design X Quad Extra stiff shaft in it. Standard length and in overall solid shape. Some crown wear as you can see from the pictures and just brush marks on the bottom. Face is in good shape. Comes with matching head cover. $80 Shipped OBO Last up is a sweet COBRA Trusty Rusty Black finish 51* wedge. Awesome performance and versitle with the sole grind. Great and feel and great spin. Only played a few rounds with it and ZERO range time so grooves are like new, and NO dings. Just a touch finish wear and rust coming in. Grip and shaft (Black DG S200) are basically new. I also have the 55* and 61* which I love but i'm going to add a hybrid or 3 iron so getting rid of a wedge. $45 shipped OBO
  3. Earlier this month, I traveled to Carlsbad, California, with my regular golf partner and fellow golf journalist, Ryan Heiman. We left the cold of Minneapolis behind to visit a friend of our's as well as the golf equipment manufacturers that saturate Southern California. When we reached out to the OEM's, we didn't have an agenda or “story” to tell. It was pretty basic, we wanted to see where they lived, and how they did business. Each of them told their story in a different way. Each of them handled our presence in a unique way, and almost mirrored how you think about each respective company. TaylorMade focused on performance, and drove that home, showing us how they are marketshare-IER. Cobra-Puma lacks the marketing resources of the golf superpowers, so they focused on providing visual demonstrations about how their product performs so we can better educate our readers. Finally, Callaway was social about their visit, with many of their personalities from Twitter stopping in to say, “Hello.” They are transforming into a golf media brand, something no other company in golf is doing. As you have already seen here on MyGolfSpy, equipment companies are launching some product from their respective 2014 lines. The timing of this visit was perfect, because all of the companies were excited to present their product and technology behind it. Although I will discuss some of the new product, this article isn't about equipment. Rather, it's designed to provide some perspective about that the top three equipment makers in Carlsbad are all about. An inside look, if you will. COBRA PUMA On Wednesday, I met with Ian Barrett, Global Marketing Manager for Cobra Golf. When you walk into Cobra Puma, you get an immediate sense of the brand with a monster, off-road golf cart inside the front entrance. There is a sense of energy that is conveyed, much like the Cobra Puma products themselves. Barrett prepared a product presentation for their new BIO CELL line that was launched today. Cobra is excited to have two flagship drivers in their stable this year in the CIO CELL and BIO CELL+. Barrett explained that a lot of attention is being given to the new hotness on tour, low and forward center of gravity. He explained that while this driver may have benefit to the player it fits, it's primarily designed for players that consistently strike the ball pure. The benefit is diminished for the player that needs some added forgiveness across the face. Barrett explained it was important to continue to offer a variety of color selections so consumers can further personalize the driver. The data on driver sales for 2013 indicated consumers gravitated to all of their color offerings equally. This suggests that a varied color scheme is important Cobra players. The “new color” this year? Black. Who would have thought… I've been told by another company that 2014 is, The Year of the Loft. I disagree, and believe 2014 to be The Year of the Hybrid. All of the companies are offering remarkably better hybrids this year. This is true for BIO CELL hybrid. Cosmetically, from what I have seen so far this year, it is the most appealing to the eye at address. For me, the BIO CELL appeared to combine the perfect shape, size, and face depth to inspire confidence at address. I'll be looking forward to testing this out on course to see if the performance matches its cosmetics. Jose Miraflor, Director of Product Marketing, heard, SPY ZINGER was in the house and had to check out the man himself. Miraflor has been around the golf industry for some time. He's also been a member, and influence in the online golf equipment forums. Like many of us, he's been around since the beginning. He has played a major role in wedge design and shaping with little to no public notoriety. It was nice to finally meet someone I have respected so long in the industry and hear his perspective on equipment. It seems like the Cobra team is excited to have “T.O.” onboard too. TAYLORMADE GOLF On Thursday morning, I visited TaylorMade headquarters and toured their facility with Matthew Greensmith from their R&D group. Greensmith, took us through all aspects of the TaylorMade operation. I was happy to see this included product assembly that was still being accomplished in the United States. Although he purposely did not draw attention too, or mention it, we did see some TP branded products that have since been leaked as part of their 2014 line. Greensmith showed us the Tour Preferred department. This is a subsection of the assembly floor where all of the product is assembled for the PGA Tour, and included The Kingdom as well as the Performance Lab builds for consumers. The department is made up of their most senior builders. Interestingly, Greensmith explained that while most OEM equipment comes from the same factory in Asia, TaylorMade has their own floors segregated to their product only. The equipment that makes its way to the Tour Preferred department is double checked for spec and Characteristic Time tolerance. After touring their facility, we walked across the street to The Kingdom, TaylorMade's tour fitting facility and test center. The Kingdom structure had the feel of private country club clubhouse including a well-manicured range. Four around $5,000, members of the public can experience this tour quality fitting while having their clubs build in the Tour Preferred department during lunch. At present, I believe their M.A.T.T. system to be the best fitting experience in golf. CALLAWAY If it's not already apparent to you by now, Callaway Golf is a company that has the most intimate relationship with their customer base. Since late 2012, Harry Arnett, Senior Vice President for Marketing, has waged a five year marketshare war against the monster-IER down the road. The first step in this process was restructuring their marketing around the customer, making YOU their number one priority in their journey back to the top. This was most apparent about a year ago when their flagship staffer, Phil Mickelson, used a RBZ fairway wood during an off-season event in Asia. Arnett didn't shy away from the issue and took the criticism head on. Oh, and he did so with class. From that point on, Callaway has proven that they really are about the customer, and it's not just legally approved media speak. Arnett, and his cadre of marketing personalities have emerged and interact daily with their consumer base in golf equipment forums, and social media outlets such as Twitter, and YouTube. In fact, they have taken this a step further and have designed their website and social media platforms to be a full scale, newsroom style media production. At the center of this is their, “Callaway Talks” program. No company in golf fosters a closer relationship with their customers. They're the best in the business at this, and continue to evolve rapidly in the media scene. Chad Coleman, and Scott Goryl from their marketing team provided us with a tour of Callaway HQ, and the Ely Callaway Performance Center. We also visited the tour department and saw Anthony Taranto stamping out a wedge for a tour player, as well as Roger Cleveland's “lab.” We also took a tour of the Custom Fitting area where the average customer can participate in a complete bag fitting for $150. This fee can be applied to the purchase of Callaway clubs. One of the lesser known benefits customers can take advantage of for a relatively low out of pocket expense. Next, I visited the set of Callaway Talks, and sat as a guest on Arnett's couch. Arnett is every much the larger than life character he is in person, as he is in social media. He really knows a great deal about the golf industry and is articulate when engaged in golf conversation. His only rule for Callaway Talks guests? “No scripts, and only one take.” I enjoyed our conversation on the couch, and it was great to finally see their operation first hand. All of their marketing personnel where fantastic, and went out of their way to stop in and introduce themselves. They are a group of passionate individuals that seem to enjoy brining Callaway, its people, and equipment, to life. Our final stop was the Ely Callaway Performance Center, which is a detached component of their HQ. The ECPC is a site for their R&D staff to utilize for testing, as well as specialized fittings for their touring professionals and VIP's such as MyGolfSpy staffers. They also have the equipment to build equipment so they do not have to travel back and forth to their main facility. We were introduced to their X-2HOT lineup, and got to see the product in hand. As I mentioned earlier, I believe 2014 is The Year of the Hybrid. The X-2HOT Pro is probably among the best looking hybrids I have laid eyes on for 2014. JP The original purpose of our trip. Visiting our friend, and wedge designer, James Patrick. I am happy to report, he's alive, doing very well, and more focused and determined than ever, while realizing his dream. It was great to see and fun to catch up. Stay tuned, I belive this is the calm before the JP storm. THE SPY ZINGER ANALYSIS If I had to summarize these visits in a sentence, I would tell you Cobra is about being fun, Callaway is about getting to know their customer, and Taylormade is about being #1. At TaylorMade, their focus remains on product performance, and living up to their byline, The Number One Performance Brand in golf. It was evident at every level, that performance and innovation is the only thing that matters to them. They are committed to maintaining market share, and will do whatever it takes to stay there, no matter the cost. They remain calculated and methodical in their delivery of information to the consumer, but that conversations remains one-way. Callaway has set out to make their customer base the most educated in golf. They are making every effort to bring Callaway to you, rather than making you find them. It seems as though, they are breaking down the clinical media speak and having a real-life conversation with people about their product. They're bending over backwards to make customers part of the Callaway Golf team. It's a social experience. At Cobra, they know they know their competitors are behemoths. So in addition to performance, they are going to give you some fun with it. Their products are probably just as good as the other manufacturers, but it seems as though they lack the budget to plaster you with that message. But if you want to have fun, and look good doing so, their customers know right where to find them. I enjoyed this trip a great deal, and give special thanks to Ryan & JP for making this trip one of the best experiences I've had in golf to date. I plan to make this an annual pilgrimage, and look forward to bringing Carlsbad to you, the MyGolfSpy reader. Thanks for reading, and look out 2014.
  4. Prices include shipping and tracking USPS Priority! Shoot me some offers and we can work out a deal. Not really that interested in trades. Maybe an X flex driver I have 2 brand new, never hit Taylormade Tour Issue TP drivers R1 V2 drivers. Get what the tour players play! Slightly smaller head for more workability (440cc) and lighter head (both heads weigh 195 grams). One has a TP RIP Phenom 60 Stiff shaft and the other has a TP Matrix Ozik RUL 60 stiff shaft. I can sell them as is or just heads or however you want them! Sorry no HC or tools. Head only $250 each Head + RIP PHENOM $300 Head + Matrix RUL $380 I have an awesome Scotty Cameron Monterey putter in MINT condition with custom finish and paint fill, with a Super Stroke grip. Head has 2, 20 gram weights so you can really feel the head perfectly. Measures 33.5" and comes with original "Art of Putting" headcover $250 shipped Next up my current gamer- PING G20 9.5* with matching headcover - in great shape. The easiest, most forgiving driver I have ever hit. Nice penetrating flight and feels awesome. Has the PING Tour X flex shaft in it. Topline is perfect, crown perfect minus a single surface scrape (see pics), face has very little wear, and bottom also has little wear. Ferrule has a tiny bit of separation that has no affect Just want full disclosure. Has a patriot golf pride grip in great shape. $145 shipped Last up is a sweet COBRA Trusty Rusty Black finish 51* wedge. Awesome performance and versitle with the sole grind. Great and feel and great spin. Only played a few rounds with it and ZERO range time so grooves are like new, and NO dings. Just a touch finish wear and rust coming in. Grip and shaft (Black DG S200) are basically new. I also have the 55* and 61* which I love but i'm going to add a hybrid or 3 iron so getting rid of a wedge. $45 shipped OBO
  5. Get AMP'ed! These clubs are filthy!
  6. You can't go wrong with this Cobra Trusty Wedge
  7. Get AMP'ed because this deal is awesome!
  8. I know everyone wants to see the new stuff from COBRA. Since we can't post that yet, here are a few pics you might find interesting meanwhile. These are the steps in the process of machining a prototype head. Starting with a block of steel, they machine what they can from the top. They leave the block on the face so they can fasten it upside down to machine the back. Once they do the back, they cast it in epoxy so it can be held in place to machine the block off the face and mill grooves. On a mass produced piece, they would build a jig to hold it in place. But for one at a time prototype, this is how they do it. Driver face. OK, now this was interesting. The USGA has a maximum roughness allowed for wedges measured from the peaks to the valleys on the face. This doesn't include the groove areas, just the surface. They also have a maximum average roughness measured across the whole face. It's fairly easy to approach the maximum on one or the other of the two, but very difficult to get close to the maximum for both. COBRA came up with a simple, but ingenious way to approach both maximums and get the best friction coefficient allowed. They do a variable feed rate milling pattern on the face. When you're machining a part, be it on a lathe or mill, the feed rate will determine the surface roughness. A slow feed rate will create a smoother finish than a faster rate which creates grooves or lines. COBRA programs the mill to feed it fast for a few hundredths then slow for a few, then fast again, alternating like this across the entire face. This gives them close to the max on the peak to valley measurement as well as the average across the face as a whole. Here is a picture of the machine used to measure the face. It has a very fine diamond tip similar to a needle on an old record player. As the stylus is dragged across the face, it measures the variations in micro inches. Here is the graph generated at different scale factors. They do a tremendous amount of testing to maximize performance and durability. Here is a pic of a testing machine that launches a ball at a club. They can use this to hit a club thousands and thousands of times to check durability of the face. It will also measure the ball speed into the face and the rebound which is how to measure C.O.R.. As you can see, this machine is not a portable device which is why they are now measuring C.T. (Characteristic Time). They have a C.T. tester too. Unfortunately I did not grab a picture of it. But it is a small, portable machine that drops a steel ball on an arm into a club face and it measures the time the ball is in contact with the face before the rebound. This machine was blasting ball after ball at the club mounted in it. Now, here's the really cool one! The robot. Yea, that's a bad word at MGS for club testing and rightly so. However, they have their place. They are invaluable for R & D. This one doesn't just hinge the club like some of the first such as Iron Byrons. This one actually rotates the club open in the backswing and rotates it to square and shut through impact and follow through like a real swing. They can set up different clubs and do what they call "carpet bombing" them. Once they get the club to release exactly square, (which can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days due to variations in shafts!), they can make it come into impact across a grid covering the entire face. This let's them measure exactly how performance drops as impact is moved away from perfect. They can measure the area that provides very close to 100% of the performance of a perfect strike. The new drivers we can't show pics of yet have a much larger area that provides close to optimum ball speed on the not-so-optimum strikes. Here's the robot. And here's the GCS2 with the HMT (Head Measurement Technology) addition. A side note: Radar units, while very good at tracking the ball, cannot actually measure the face angle and all of the club data they provide at impact. The units are behind the club and have no view of the face. So they calculate it based on what they do see the club doing as well as the ball flight. The HMT seen here has full view of the face to provide actual measurements of it at impact making it more accurate for this application. Now, this was REALLY cool! I could have spent all day in here, but we were running out of time. Here is a simulator with another GCS2. However, it was more than that. See what looks like track lighting that Jose is pointing to in the second picture? That is a 3D tracking system. There are a few more pics I'm kicking myself for not getting here, but I was swinging a club and didn't stop to grab them. They have clubs with special reflective spheres attached to the club head and the shaft that these sensors mounted around the room track in addition to to ball itself. It tracks the club through the entire swing, including how the clubhead moves in relation to shaft flex. They also have a suit they can put you in with reflectors in strategic places that then models how your body moves through the swing as well. We didn't have time to get me suited up, but I was able to take a number of swings with the club and see the results on the screen. Sorry for not having more pics of this. Here's one of the "Wedge Wizard" Jose Miraflor working on my wedge. Here's a few more random pics of the event and La Costa. Catching T giving me the "eye" on day 1 Haha! A cool bridge across the water on the course. A couple more pics of the main building at La Costa from the course. Rickie pulling a club and getting ready to hit a pitch shot to the green with us. (I have that ball he's about to hit in the last one BTW. Haha!) Tony visiting after the tournament, before dinner, and in his room DOING HIS JOB!!!! OK, that's about it for now. We'll have pics of the new clubs before long. Most of it in November and some of it in January.
  9. Get AMP'ed!
  10. Get AMP'ed up with all the long drives you'll hit with this Cobra driver!
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