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  1. Did you guys check the blog today? We're giving away a Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 driver!!! Click here to enter!! Bon chance...
  2. Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP wedges launched Will Medlock November 26, 2015 There will be almost 100 loft and lie options available through custom fit. image: http://keyassets.timeincuk.net/inspirewp/live/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/11/pmp-630x473.gif The new FG Tour PMP wedges. Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP wedges Wilson Staff have introduced the latest addition to their line of wedges with the FG Tour PMP clubs. The PMPs (Precision Milled Performance) have laser etched Micro Spin lines for increased spin and control on partial shots, with a milled, flat face providing players with more consistency. The wedges also feature new maximum volume HM grooves for better spin on full shots. Doug Wright, Global Commercial Director of Wilson Golf, said: “To have input from Wilson Advisory Staff members like Kevin Streelman and Brendan Steele provides us with an insight to produce Tour quality wedges with custom fit options to suit the performance of every golfer.” image: https://keyassets.timeincuk.net/inspirewp/live/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/11/pmp2-630x473.gif The three sole designs – Tour Grind, Wide and Traditional – will give players a number of lie, loft and bounce variables, with 95 playability options through custom fitting. The wedges have a KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 shaft and feature an active tip section for a higher flight, with more spin for added stopping power and accuracy. image: https://keyassets.timeincuk.net/inspirewp/live/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/11/pmpwedge-630x473.gif A Lamkin Performance Plus 3Gen grip with imprinted dots will enable players to hit different shots comfortably. Wedges can be purchased in Gun Blue PVD and Tour Frosted finish and will be available from January 2016. The RRP will be £79. To find more information about your nearest custom fit centre, go to www.wilsonstaff.com. Read more at http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/gear-news/wilson-staff-launch-new-fg-tour-pmp-wedges-84201#tlUFTf1raJMciTf4.99
  3. So I've had the opportunity to play these for the last few weeks of the season and at the risk of sounding all FanBoy I gotta say, Wilson has another solid iron on their hands. If you're in the market for a Titleist AP2/Callaway Apex Pro/TMag PSI Tour/Mizuno JPX Forged type of iron, I would highly suggest these be in the demo mix.... FG Tour F5 Irons Wilson says the FG Tour F5 irons are geared toward the better player that might want a little extra technology, forgiveness and distance along with a forged feel. That would place the F5's in the same neighborhood as your Titleist AP2/Mizuno JPX 850 Forged/Callaway Apex Pro's/TaylorMade PSi Tours. In the Wilson World of F-C-D club categorization (Feel – Crossover – Distance – more on that later), the FG Tour F5's straddle the Feel-Crossover line – sort of a Crossover crossover. “As it is forged and made from 8620 carbon steel and Ni-Cr plated and everything that goes along with it, better players are going to get that great sound, feel and feedback they expect. However, this iron has our Speed Sole distance technology in the long and mid irons.” – Michael Vrska, Wilson Golf Global Director of R&D Speed Sole™ technology is Wilson's way of maximizing an iron's CT, or Characteristic Time (“springiness” of the club face). Specifically, Speed Sole™ technology thins the transition between the sole and the face. In theory, maximizing CT increases ball speed which, in turn, makes the ball go farther. Wilson unveiled Speed Sole™ technology in early 2015 in the D200 super-game improvement iron. The F5 irons mark the debut of Speed Sole in a forged iron, in hopes of adding ball speed and distance within a category that still leans traditional. The F5 irons feature more-traditional lofts (albeit with shafts that are, on average, 1/2" longer shafts than others) are swimming in the same shark tank with clubs that have, comparatively speaking, jacked up lofts. In a world filled with longer, farther, deeper and faster is Wilson worried the more traditional lofts will hurt the F5 when compared to, say, the Titleist AP1/AP2, or the Cally Apex/Apex Pro? “We think MyGolfSpy said it best,” replies Vrska. “It's Technology vs. Specology.” “The Speed Sole Technology works. It's innovation we believe in. We've seen increases in ball speeds from 1.0 to 2.7 MPH faster versus other forged clubs. The irons perform due to real innovation, real technology and the right MOI and not because we changed the loft.” Michael Vrska – Wilson Golf The Speed Sole™ is made possible by something called the “Stabilizing Bar.” It's a heel-to-toe strip of mass in the forged head right behind the impact area, and its job is to provide support behind the thinned out face and sole, which is what allows Speed Sole™ to actually add speed. “It also allows for the area near the topline to be thinned as well,” says Vrska. “When coupled with the thin face, it allows us to move more mass around the perimeter for increased MOI and forgiveness.” The FG Tour F5 irons replace the 2-year-old FG Tour M3's (a 2 year product cycle? Mercy!). There are two visual changes; one obvious, and one that's a bit more subtle.First the obvious: the matte black of the M3 is gone, replaced with Wilson Tour Satin, and the F5's topline has been thinned a bit compared to its predecessor. In this case, thinneris relative. On the thickness scale it's closer to Rhonda Rousey than Kim Kardashian. The more subtle change? M3's Ping G-series-ish offset has been noticeably reduced. A side-by-side comparison with the Wilson FG Tour V4 cavity back irons shows fairly similar offsets. The color scheme on the head is rather tame by game-improvement iron standards. The F5 carries virtually the same matte chrome-black-yellow branding as the V4's but, as you can see, the graphics are much bigger and bolder Wilson has been making irons since the Wilson Administration (Woodrow, not Flip), and knows a thing or two about forging. The F5 irons join the Tour 100 blades and the V4 cavity backs in the forged 8620 carbon steel club. Like it's older brothers, the F5 has a soft, springy-feeling muted click when struck on the sweet spot.As for forgiveness, the added perimeter weighting works as you'd expect: off center strikes lose very little – if any – distance. There's plenty of feedback when you miss, but it's more gentle reprimand and less electro-shock aversion therapy. The F5 is finding its way into Wilson's Tour Staff bags, further proof that even Tour Pros could use a little forgiveness. Brendan Steele – who games the Tour 100 blades – has added the F5 3-iron to his bag. Ricky Barnes is gaming the F5 4- and 5-iron and may switch to the full set at some point this season. Wilson says anyone from a low single-digit player to an 18 handicap can game the F5's. In reality, the mid-teen handicapper who's what you'd call an “emerging” player could play the F5's. The can't-play-or-practice-as-much-as-I-like-and-don't-count-that-last shot 18 ‘capper may find more forgiveness elsewhere. The FG Tour F5 irons sets will include 4-iron thru Gap wedge, with an optional 3-iron also available. Stock shafts will be True Temper Dynamic Gold XP in steel or MRC Kuro Kage LB 85 in graphite, with Lamkin Crossline Black grips standard. Custom shafts will be available at an upcharge. List price is $899.99 steel/$999.99 graphite, and the irons will be available in January. So, what are your thoughts?
  4. Enter and win!!! This Halloween, 5 lucky winners will score a custom Wilson Staff FG Tour Wedge featuring a KBS Custom Series Black Pearl shaft with laser engraving! Enter with your email address or reshare our posts on Twitter and Instagram with ‪#‎WilsonKBS‬. Winners will be announced via Twitter and Facebook on November 2. CLICK HERE to enter... " data-width="500"> No matter how you slice it, that's a badass looking wedge!!!
  5. As you all know, we have 15 MGS'ers out there testing Wilson Staff's 2015 lineup of golf balls. The testers are: Wilson DUO: Joezilla, Woz, BogeyInTheWoods, severtheties, tider Wilson DUO Spin: snuffyword, Fozcycle, TxSTCatman, SlicerB, TacoTollefson67 Wilson FG Tour: Sp0rtsfan86, MotoGolfer250, casey_0507, JudgeSmails, PBH3 Balls Being Tested: Wilson DUO: Redesigned for 2015. 29 compression (lowest on the market, according to Wilson), 2-piece ball for greater distance and soft feel around the green. $19.99/dozen Wilson DUO Spin: New for 2015. A 3-piece ball with a 35 compression, Wilson touts it as the world;s lowest compression multi-layer ball. $26.99/dozen Wilson FG Tour: Also redesigned for 2015, it's a 4-piece, urethane tour ball with a 70 compression. $44.00/dozen MyGolfSpy sent each tester a pre-test questionnaire to get a general idea their thoughts on the Wilson brand, what balls they play now and what they look for in a golf ball. We received some interesting feedback. Experience with Wilson Staff Balls Most of our testers had never played Wilson Staff balls prior to this test. Four testers had tried Wilson balls before, either the original DUO or the 50Elite. One tester went all the way back to the 80's with the Wilson Blue Ridge. Favored Ball Brands When asked what balls they normally play (several testers play several different brands), here's what we found: Titleist (ProV's/NXT/DT Solo) 9 Bridgestone (E5, E6, E7, 330) 6 TaylorMade (Project a, Lethal) 3 Nike (Mojo, PD Long, Speed Soft, Vapor 1) 4 Srixon (Q-Star, other) 2 Callaway (Hex Chrome) 1 TopFlite Gamer 1 MaxFli 1 3UP 1 MG Golf 1 Where Do You Get Info on Balls? We also asked our testers where they get their information on golf balls (multiple responses from several responders): MyGolfSpy/Other websites: 9 Golf magazines, HotList: 5 Other players: 3 Golf retail outlets: 3 Manufacturer's websites: 3 TV ads, GolfChannel: 2 What Do You Look For In a Golf Ball? Tons of answers here, but there were some dominant themes. Nearly everyone greed on two things: consistency and feel. Testers want consistency in distance and control, especially from 125 yards and in. Nearly every tester mentioned predictable action on the green (i.e. spin). Feel is harder to define, but virtually all of the testers place a value on feel, especially when putting. And when it comes to feel, we have to share what may be the quote of the review process so far, from TxSTCatman: “I like a ball that has some feel to it. Nothing too hard that reminds me of having dental work under a local, and nothing so soft that I'd rather use it in a cup of hot chocolate” Yup, MGS reviewers have what it takes!!! Several reviewers also mentioned durability is important, valueing a ball that could last a few rounds without unacceptable scarring. Thoughts on the Wilson Staff Brand I'm a marketing geek, so this is where things get interesting. We asked our testers what comes to mind when they think of Wilson Staff: “Tennis! I never thought of Wilson golf balls, other than as bulk discount” “Cheap, for hackers.” “Better than cheap brands. Decent quality for the price” Outdated Wal-Mart quality” “Once a top brand but now obscure” “2nd tier brand” Yikes! Other testers, however, had very different opinions: “Older brand, solid equipment without the glitz and glam of the big OEM's” “A little dated, but certainly on the comeback” "Really like the brand...the golf equipment is on the rebound" “Great history, rebuilding the brand and making great strides in recent years” “Very underrated, high quality” “Underrated, making great clubs and really nice golf balls” “Improving quality in all of their equipment” After this introduction, we'll have the reviewers chime in with their experiences. Please ask any questions of our reviewers that you want. They're ready and eager to share their experiences with you and let you know what they think of the 2015 Wilson Staff ball lineup.
  6. A couple of buddies are down in Myrtle Beach for the World Am -- they bumped into the Wilson rep at the PGA Superstore down there -- and took only a hasty picture of these babies... The blade is the FG 100, which has been out a while, but the other two are the newbies. The cavity back is the replacement for the MG Tour M3 iron, while the other iron appears to be the highly touted C-200, the replacement for the C-100 iron. My buddy, being a novice, didn't think to take any more pictures. I'll speak to him about it when he gets home... Thoughts?
  7. Up until a couple of weeks ago, most people only knew PGA Touring Pro Troy Merritt as the guy who stoved in the face of his utility iron break during a tournament. Well, Troy changed all that with a tournament record tying 61 on Friday at the RCB Heritage Classic at Hilton Head a couple of weeks ago. Troy stayed in contention over the weekend, but ultimately lost out to a gutsy performance by Jim Furyk. Troy is a rarity on Tour, having grown up in “northern climes.” His gutsy performance at the RBC has moved him up in the FedEx Cup race to 73rd place as of this morning, and Troy is currently the 158th ranked player in the world. Along with his 3rd place finish in the RBC, Troy also has a 6th place finish to his credit at the Valspar Championship, as well as a 2nd place finish in last year's FedEx St. Jude's Classic. We're very psyched to have Troy join MyGolfSpy this morning in this week's edition of “5 Questions.” MyGolfSpy 5 Questions: First off, congrats on a great performance at the RBC, and for that clutch eagle on 16! When you look at the tournament, with a season-best 3rd place finish, do you feel disappointment at not ‘sealing the deal,” or do you think you're getting closer to that first tour victory? What do you learn from coming close? Troy Merritt: I don't feel much disappointment about not winning the RBC Heritage event because if you told me I would have had the lead going into the weekend and shot 69-69 on Saturday and Sunday, I would be very happy! I learned that to win down the road I need to lead by 10 going into Sunday! (hahaha) However, it is good to know I can handle the spotlight with the lead on Saturday and Sunday and I am looking forward to the next time I get in contention. MGS 5Q's: How does it feel to one-up the newly crowned Master's Champ? He shoots a 62 and you go out and tie a tournament record 61! Did you know you were going that low during the round? What was it like ‘in the moment?' Does the game slow down for your during a round like that? TM: I really don't think I ‘one-upped' Jordan, and I am pretty sure he still has me one-upped at this point with the Green Jacket! I do believe everything slowed down on Friday during my 61 and I was very focused on each shot at hand and I was very comfortable. MGS 5Q's: You were raised in Iowa have Minnesota roots, graduating from Spring Lake Park High School and playing 2 years at Winona State University. We love our golf up here, but it seems like there are only two seasons – winter and bad ice fishing. How did you hone your game growing up? TM: I was born in Iowa, but actually raised in Idaho before moving to Minnesota in 9th grade. Playing golf in Minnesota is a lot different than playing golf in the warm climates and I learned to play in all types of different weather. I was always playing in cold weather and I had my fair share of rounds in the snow. There were certainly limited playing opportunities in Minnesota and not many junior tournaments around. I played basketball and golf in high school and was later able to walk on the golf team at Winona State. MGS 5Q's: You joined Wilson Staff early this year – how did you get hooked up with Wilson? What do you look for when selecting equipment? Lots of folks think it's just about the endorsement money, but what goes into choosing an OEM to partner with? TM: I was very fortunate to have a few equipment companies talk to my agent about a new staff deal for me for the 2015 season, but after a few conversations with my agent and some testing with different equipment...it was very clear that Wilson Golf was the perfect home for me. I am extremely impressed with the Wilson Staff clubs I have in my bag and it is a great feeling to know that I have such a fantastic company supporting my career and me. As for the endorsement money, my agent and I had a deal that we wouldn't even talk about the financial consideration from different equipment companies and that we should focus on getting the best possible clubs in my bag without knowing the money involved. It didn't take me long to realize that Wilson Golf had the best product and I am thrilled I had the opportunity to partner with Wilson Staff and their leader, Tim Clarke. MGS 5Q's: Putting is a strength of your game – you currently rank 4th on tour in Strokes Gained Putting. What goes into success on the green? What other parts of your game need to develop to crack the top 50 in the world? TM: I feel like putting is a strength of mine because I stay confident and patient and I make sure I don't line up until I am completely ready. I don't have any real putting drills and I really just try and keep it simple. For me to crack inside the Top 50 in the world, it will be very important that I maintain tempo in my golf swing throughout an entire tournament. I was able to control my tempo in Hilton Head and I had a very strong finish. Thanks for joining us, Troy. Best of luck in the coming months!
  8. Testers Wanted -- Apply NOW!! Say what you will about Golf Digest's Hot List, but when products made by an OEM that doesn't advertise heavily in GD are recognized, you might want to take a closer look. All 3 members of Wilson Staff's Low Compression golf ball family are Gold Medal winners in this month's Hot List – the updated DUO, the brand new DUO Spin and, for the 2nd year in a row, the FG Tour. Wilson says each ball is the softest in its category, and it's that low compression that sets each ball apart. So, are these balls really Gold Medal worthy? We want you to tell us! We have 5 dozen of each ball and we're looking for 15 MyGolfSpy Forum members to give these balls a whack and see what all the fuss is about. The newly redesigned Wilson DUO is a 2-piece distance balls and at 29 compression, it's the softest ball out there. Wilson says the DUO is for “distance” players looking for less spin off the driver and soft feel around the green. The brand new DUO Spin is, according to Wilson, the softest multi-layer ball in golf. It's a 3-piece ball with a 35 compression and is for the “control” player seeking forgiveness off the tee and more control around the greens. And the FG Tour is a 4-layer ball with a Urethane cover and Wilson says that with a 70 compression, it's the game's softest 4-piece tour ball. HOW TO APPLY ** You must be a member of the MyGolfSpy Forum (if you are not a member you can register here) We are looking for 15 of you guys to help us put these balls through the wringer and fine out if softer really is better. To apply, please tell us your handicap, your driver swing speed and, since it's MyGolfSpy and history matters, your favorite Wilson Staff golfer of all time (click here for background). Good luck and get ready to get SOFT!
  9. As promised, here are some pictures and details from Tuesday's big fitting event for Hack To Jack's Team Wilson Staff. First, some background: Hack to Jack is a Minneapolis-based Golf Reality Show (YouTube channel here), now in its 2nd season. I've been a contestant both years. It's a hell of a lot of fun and since starting the program my handicap has dropped from 12.5 (April of 2014) to its current 7.5! This season OEM's and other golf companies (including retailers 2nd Swing & GolfSmith) are sponsoring 2-person teams. Sponsors include Callaway, Bridgestone, ScottGolf, TaylorMade (Hack to Jack received $25,000 from TMag's HackGolf.org initiative - yes, they DID give away some money!). Wilson Staff is sponsoring two 2-person teams, and we have a custom club fitting experience Tuesday when Wilson Tour Fitter Nick Geyer drove Wilson's Tour Van up to pay us a visit... First we met Nick at the fitting/demo tent,and then he brought us to the Tour Van. We expected to see a "working" van where clubs are built. We did see that, but we also saw a nice surprise from Wilson: They sure went all out for their team! We also had the chance to poke around the van - this was the traveling Demo Day van. Nick brings it to demo days around the country, does custom fittings (he's REALLY good) and can build the clubs right away. The fittings themselves were done over the course of about 3 hours or so. I had already been fit for my clubs, so teammates Josh Wurzberger, Brin Paulson and Stephanie Lang had their turn. Josh and Stephanie were fit for the FG Tour M3 irons. Josh is a 12 handicapper who hits the ball a loooong way - while Stephanie has been playing golf most of her life but is just now getting back into golf after a back injury. She's about a 26 'capper now but will have that down into the teens before too long. Stephanie was fit into graphite shafts in her irons, as well as 3, 4 and 5 D200 hybrids. All were also fit into the D200 driver and fairway woods, as well as the FG Tour TC wedges - which Nick was able to custom-stamp and paint fill for them! (pix to come). We were also set up with putters. I wanted an 8802 in the worst way, but since I crouch when I putt and need a 32-33 inch putter, the 8802 just wasn't an option. Oh, and they also customized some Duo, Duo Spin and FG Tour balls for us, as well! It was great fun watching Josh, Brin and Stephanie go through a thorough club fitting. Nick was great to work with, explained everything and let the player lead the process. He encouraged them to try all the clubs and all the combinations to see what worked best. He did not have a Trackman with him, instead relying on his eyes and ears. Could a different driver/shaft combo have worked better? Possibly, but Nick watched ball flight, launch angle and listened for the impact sound to do most of the work, which he would have done with or without Trackman. I made some Periscope videos of the sessions - some of you watched them live. If you have the Periscope app, you can go to my account and watch them - pretty fascinating stuff to watch. Brin is also about a 12 and was fit into the FG Tour V4 irons (same as me).
  10. Sometimes the Day Job and the Side Job happily co-exist. The Day Job landed me in Chicago for a massive trade show early this week, allowing me the opportunity to follow up on a Side Job invitation to visit the Wilson Golf Headquarters and Innovation Center. All I can say is there's an awful lot going on there! Alessandra Bollero, the Marketing Specialist for Golf, gave me the grand tour – showing everything from golf equipment to baseball uniforms to high tech tennis racquets to some of the coolest baseball gloves ever. Wilson's focus in the coming years is on customization – for baseball gloves, uniforms for teams and leagues, and even golf bags. Check some of these out: At its core, Wilson makes balls and equipment to hit balls with, but I had a chance to see some interesting innovations. There's a basketball (Wilson is the official ball of the NCAA) with a microchip that learns what a made shot feels like and saves info to a smart phone or computer. Then there's the little device that slips into a tennis racquet handle to capture data such as where you hit the ball on the racquet face. It's currently in use at the Australian Open, so they can monitor how Venus, Serena and Roger are doing on the other side of the world. And then there's the golf operation. The office was a beehive of activity following the PGA show but I could see engineers and graphic designers already working on the next generation of Wilson equipment. Michael Vrska, head of R&D for Wilson Golf, drove me over to the Wilson Innovation Center – basically the “skunk works” for golf and tennis research and development. Wilson has roughly half of the top 100 tennis players in the world on staff, and there's a room where their racquets are kept, ready for stringing and shipment when needed. All of the top players have their customized grip molds, as seen here. They can custom-form grips for each of their pros in a matter of minutes. The golf area of the R&D center is where the fun begins. I used to work for a pipe manufacturer, and there was a special room where the product managers worked to develop accessories, valves and fittings for our radiant floor heating systems. It was a BUSY room, and was fondly referred to as “Little Beirut,” since it looked like a bomb went off there. If “Little Beirut” was ever neat, it was a sign the product managers didn't have enough to do. The Golf R&D area reminded me of “Little Beirut” at its busiest, which to me means the R&D team was totally engaged. Vrska walked me through the timeline from bright idea to hittable prototype. “45 to 60 days is a best case scenario, unless we mill the head,” said Vrska. “We can fully mill irons, wedges and putters here in about 2 to 3 weeks from concept, but we usually take 90 days for most first prototypes.” There's a 3-D printer at the innovation center. I did ask Michael how much iteration an idea may go through until they settle on the final design. Rather than tell me, he brought me over to one of the engineer's desks, opened a drawer, and showed me! Wilson does its ball R&D at the Innovation Center, as well. They mold the cores separately – the different color globs you see here are cores for different types of balls: They can then mold the layers and can have hittable/playable prototypes within 2 days. Want to test a ball for compression? There's a machine for that, too. FG Tour ball, coming in at 71 compression! All of the custom club-building takes place at the Innovation Center. The clubs you see at the golf retailers are assembled overseas, but any custom order through a pro or Wilson fitter will be assembled here: A new feature this year is the ability to custom-stamp their wedges. Nothing fancy, but just enough to personalize your scoring clubs: Wilson is a company that's very proud of its history, and it's everywhere you look in both the main offices and the Innovation Center, with two huge highlights for history geeks like me. Alessandra showed me the library of Wilson Sports product catalogs dating back to the 20's: Meanwhile, at the Innovation Center, Wilson has an entire collection of boxed, brand new, unhit clubs also dating back to the 20's: There are also plenty of relics on display: And then there are the filing cabinets, with drawer after drawer of club specs for everyone Wilson has fit at the Innovation Center, dating from around 1970 right up until the time they started storing info on computer; everyone from Hall of Fame Tour Pros to Hall of Fame baseball players to Hall of Fame crooners: And it wouldn't be a trip to Wilson without discussing the latest kerfuffle regarding “The Duke,” Wilson's official game ball of the NFL. No truth to the rumor that this is one of the balls confiscated from my beloved Patriots after the AFC Championship game: Also no truth to the rumor that this will be the new, undeflatable game ball used in the Super Bowl: There's a Custom Fitting Station at the Innovation Center, manned by a master fitter affectionately known as “Junk.” I'll post that experience in a separate thread.
  11. There are people in this world that if you pay attention to them, you're guaranteed to learn something. If they're pedantic and professorial, listening to them is hard work. But when that person is the type you'd want to yack with over a beer or two, and who just happens to have a deep understanding of - and excitement over - what he's talking about? Well, then it's just plain fun, and 5 Questions can quickly turn into 6 Questions. This week MyGolfSpy's 5 Questions talks with Michael Vrksa, Global Director of Research and Development for Wilson Golf. Michael shares with us the goals for Wilson Staff, his take on changing brand perceptions and the Gold Medal winning D200 and FG Tour V4 line of clubs. If you pay attention, you'll learn what the "Right Light," and "Club MOI" really mean, and whether it's something you should look at for your own game. MyGolfSpy 5Q's: Hard numbers, in terms of market share, for Wilson Golf - what's your goal? How can you change the perceptions of Wilson Golf, and is there anything in Wilson's 2015 lineup that will help change that perception? Michael Vrksa: The goal is to, realistically, be the number 3 or number 4 iron out there. I think that's realistic. It's not going to happen next year. It'd be great if it does, but it's unrealistic to happen in one year. But that's where we want to be. We've been there in Europe. Some of the management issues that happened in the past, before Tim (Clarke, Wilson Golf GM) was on board and before others were on board – there were some bad decisions made in the US, period. In Europe we're still number 4 in irons share, because some of those same decisions weren't made over there. And the product is the same. It's not like we design different product and sell it in the UK – it's the exact same product. We're competing against the exact same TaylorMade irons, the exact same Mizuno irons, the exact same Callaway irons, and we're number 4 in market share over there. So it is a little bit of that perception. It's not a performance issue - I'm a firm believer in that. It's not a look, sound and feel issue. So if we can be number 4 market share in Europe with the same exact competitors and the same exact everything, why can't we be number 4 here? It's just changing that perception and it's going to take a little bit of time. We've had stores who do independent testing say our new D200 irons are the best irons they've ever tested for that category (game improvement-distance). The D200 driver is the 2nd best driver they've ever tested, period. That will come out eventually, they will publish that information – and that's independent. For the driver, we didn't even know they were testing it. They actually took the samples we had given them – they were just salesmen samples that were rattling around the back of the salesman's Buick Enclave or whatever they're driving around. So the D200 lineup, we are very excited about. Our V4 irons and Utility irons are really, really good, and our tour players have said that. Getting Brendan Steele and another player who's been playing them who we're trying to sign – he's been playing them for a month now, and we haven't paid him a penny, and he's playing our irons. He could play any irons he wants, but he chose ours. That's not because I told him to do it, I've never met the guy (As it turns out, that guy was Troy Merritt, who joined Wilson Staff in January - ed). But he did that because he looked at a bunch of irons and loved ours, and he knows Kevin Streelman and tried Kevin's and “wow, how good is this?” MGS 5Q's: You mentioned the new Wilson V4 Utility Irons, what's with the weight port and what makes them different from the Callaway, the TaylorMade or the Titleist? MV: Well, I mean the weight port is specifically for adjustability, that being a tour product. I think why it's different is that it's a Carpenter Custom 455 face, and we're thinner than anybody else. We've gotten really good data on our ball speeds, and we've take all the left bias out of that golf club. It is a true, straight club, truly for better players. That doesn't mean other people can't play it, but that's a little bit of a niche product, and we're okay with that. We did not design that product for every golfer on Earth. That's why we have the F, C, D (Feel, Control, Distance) product categories and why, when we design products, everything we do from design to marketing, focuses on “who is this product for? How does it make that player better? Who are we competing against in that field?” And we try to clearly differentiate, and I think the FG Tour Utility iron is a great example of that. We didn't design them to go sell 100,000 of them. If we do, great. That's unrealistic, but we designed that club specifically for some better players who wanted to have a little help in their long irons and want to be able to work the ball with their long irons and not worry about missing it left. It's a great product for that group. But it's not for everybody and we're okay with that. Is our utility iron vastly different from everybody else's? I think that's unrealistic, but I think it's every bit as good, if not better than everybody else's for a good majority of the players. But that doesn't mean everybody's going to hit ours better than the competition's – that' unrealistic. But we're getting great feedback form people who don't play Wilson and then tried ours and said “Wow, I gotta give this a chance and here's why.” The ball speeds and some of the things we've done with the face and the weighting I think make it a little unique, again not completely and totally different, but a little unique and gives a performance benefit. MGS 5Q's: What's the “Right Light?” MV: That's something we really believe in not just for the D players (Distance), but all players. It really all started when we were doing a bunch of research on tour players bags and specifically what head weights and shaft weights tour players had gone to. We found just how light a lot of the driver shafts on tour had become, and how much lighter the fairway wood weights have got, and how lighter the hybrid weights have got, and then talking to some of the shaft guys – shaft manufacturers - and we learned some of the things they were doing with tour players. And then we talk about wedges – well nothing's changed on wedges in 100 years, but the drivers haven't gotten 50, 60, 80, 100 grams lighter in some cases, when you went from steel to some of the lighter weight graphite of today. Obviously the heads have gotten a little bit lighter over the years as the clubs have gotten longer, so it's just this combination of stuff. We looked at what the tour players are doing, just because it performed better. We were looking over the 10-15 years to today – we just got some interesting data on how much lighter drivers have gotten and how much lighter fairway woods have gotten, and then hybrids just a little bit lighter, and irons pretty much the same but maybe little and wedges not at all and we started to think how that would benefit the average golfer? And what does that mean? We did a lot of testing with different weights and lengths and really feel that there is a sweet spot – and I hate that term, but it resonates with people since they understand what that means – we really feel like there's a sweet spot from a weighting perspective that allows players to swing the club faster. If I give you a Wilson club or a company X or company Y, your swing won't change - you won't suddenly get on your left side better and all of a sudden start swinging like Rory or Padraig or Kevin Streelman. So how are we getting these 1, 2, 3 mile an hour increases in club head speed? There has to be something to do with the weighting of it. So the "right light" for us is a way for us to make clubs as light as possible, but still have the power, the sound, the feel, the launch and spin to maximize distance. We are the lightest adjustable driver on the market right now. We're not the lightest driver. We have some of the lightest fairways, but not the lightest – and that's one of the things that's critical – it's not a race to the bottom. We can make every club lighter tomorrow, but we've found that you can make golf clubs too light, to the point where you can swing it marginally faster but because you can't get the mass right inside the head, you lose performance. So it really is this – I hate this term but I don't know what else to call it right now – this "sweet spot" of getting it as light as possible, to let players swing it faster, but still have enough mass so it sounds great, it feels great and you can control the mass properties of the head, so it still has a big enough Moment Of Inertia, it still has the right center of gravity location to get the launch and spin you're going after, and we believe in that. We touted it on our D100 line, and the D100 line by any measure was a huge success. D200 - we're up over double-digits in percentage in pre-books in D200's. So people saw D100 and what it did and the sell through it had, and looking at what we've done with in D200 driver – adding adjustability – and to the Speed Sole technology on the D200 irons, which is really incredible with CT's in the 230's on irons, which is really something we're excited about. And yet they're the most forgiving irons we've ever done. So it's just this great combination of lightweight, but not being as light as possible – we really feel that there's a weight that lets players swing it faster, and we're going to continue to push that. MGS 5Q's: You've talked about something called “Club MOI?” Does club MOI = Light Club? MV: Well, yes and no. We have gone out of our way to not talk about club MOI a lot, because it confuses people and we understand that. We dabble in it a little bit, we put it on our website, we talk to some key people – if it's something like this when it's one-on-one or I'm doing a product demonstration to 30 or 40 people where you can stand up there and explain it, then it's a great time to do it. We believe in high MOI golf heads – that's resistance to twisting on off-center hits. We are always trying to maximize head MOI from a performance standpoint, but from a club MOI standpoint, we're actually trying to minimize that. The reason is very simple –when you talk about a club head, the higher the MOI to slower it turns. When you're talking about club MOI, the lower it is, the faster it can turn, the faster you can get it through the impact zone. One of the other nice things that we found is not only do people swing it faster; it's easier to release, if you will. We certainly haven't eliminated the slice – I'm not going say that – but it's amazing how many golfers swing their traditionally weighted driver or hybrid or fairway wood, and then we give them a D100 or a D200 with the Right Light technology, and their misses are not anywhere near as far right as they used to be, just because this is the first time they could actually release the club and it's not drafting through. So the main benefit is the ability to swing it faster – Club MOI is that same thing – we measure the MOI of the whole club. You grab it near the butt end, about where the center of a player's hands would be and we can see what the weight of that whole thing is, and weight is part of it. But it's also where that weight is placed. I could have one driver and take it to an extreme with a 30 gram shaft and a head weight, and another one with 120 gram shaft but a super lightweight head – and even thought the total weights might be the same, the club MOI's could be drastically different. It is trying to get the club MOI as low as possible, again within reason. There has to be club head feel, people have to know where the club head is at in their backswing so they can still control it. Club MOI is something we believe in, but it's really kind of behind the curtain in innovation and R&D rather than something we're going to go out screaming to the who world about, just because it's confusing unless you've got 5 minutes. MGS 5Q's: Low forward/low backward CG – is that in Wilson's future? MV: Yeah, we've actually done a number of prototypes, we've had a prototype on tour that's much more low and forward since January or February of last year. That's something we've been messing around with for a while. And it's not just about that. It's one of those things where if we feel we can make the best product with that then we'll do it. Right now with our D200 and the M3, we've gone a little different way. I just think people need to get fit – it's most important to see what's right for them. Do I think that every player on Earth needs the weight jammed up to the face? That, I think, is a little unrealistic. When we talk about what we do at Wilson Staff with F, C and D, we want to know what kind of player are you? How do you fit? Do you need more MOI, or do you need less MOI? Do you need the weight forward, do you need it in the back? Understanding that and getting fit within that is so critical. I think there's lots of places you can put the MOI in the head and can make a good performing product, it's just how does it all fit together with what you're trying to do overall for that particular golfer. MGS 5Q's Bonus Question: Is there a “must have” club in Wilson's future, something like the RBZ or original Big Bertha that is a game changer? Is that the holy grail of R&D and is there one in Wilson's future? MV: Well, I'd sure like to think there's one in Wilson's future because if there isn't they're going to find somebody who's gonna do that! Obviously we're trying that, but I think one of the things that people need to understand is there aren't too many products that really are going to fit a Zero handicap and a 20 handicap that's going to have the right launch and spin for both of those players. I know there have been products that a wide majority of players have purchased and have sold very well. I just wonder a year out how thrilled all of those players are with those same purchases. I think some of the iron technology we're working on, plus some that are even further off are very cool and revolutionary and certainly could be that “must have” product. But we're going to stay focused on our F-C-D categories and what would make me even more happy is if we had a driver in our F category that killed it for that 0 to 8 or 10 handicap player, and we had another driver that killed it for that 15 to 30 handicap group. That would make me way happier than selling a driver to a 36 handicap and then selling the same driver to a Plus-1 guy who walked in next. I know in that way each of those players would have a better fit for them and they're going to enjoy the game longer term than just walking in and seeing what their buddy was playing and therefore they want to buy it. Obviously that's what everybody wants but I'm not sure that's what's best for everybody.
  12. Saw this little gem posted on the Twitter this morning.... Nicely done for the defending Traveller's Champ! Took me a minute to realize the numbers represent his scores on Sunday's back 9, with seven birdies in a row...
  13. As if we needed another reason... I'm sure most pros have similar commitment to worthy causes, but this story just tugs at the ol' heartstrings... Streelman helps make Masters wish come true Jason Sobel, Senior Golf Writer AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jennifer Couch first noticed some irregular behavior in her 11-year-old son, Ethan, two years ago. His hands trembled. His feet were sore. His balance was so poor that he struggled to put on his pants and tie his shoes. She took him to see their pediatrician on a Friday. Her voice quivering, she explained her concerns. By the time she offered her own diagnosis, tears were rolling down her cheeks. Between sobs, Jennifer told the doctor, "I think he's going to need brain surgery." Tests confirmed their deepest fears. Ethan had a tectal glioma. A brain tumor was blocking his body's ability to circulate spinal cord fluid, causing hydrocephalus and all of the other symptoms in his behavior. Four days later, he underwent surgery. Doctors discovered that the tumor, though benign, was inoperable. There was nothing they could do but continue monitoring him on a regular basis. When Ethan awoke from the surgery, a nurse entered his room. "I heard you were a champ," she told him. "So I want you to go home and think of a wish. Pick anything." He didn't need to go home to think. This was a boy who'd been carried around the golf course by Jennifer as a newborn while his father, Jeff, a former golf professional near their home in Spruce Grove, Alberta, would play nine holes. He'd grown to love the game. And so when offered one wish by that nurse, Ethan didn't hesitate. "I want to go to the Masters," he said. Kevin Streelman didn't know this story when he called Ethan on the morning of March 7, two days after his 13th birthday. The truth is, he knew absolutely nothing about Ethan, besides the fact that the boy had a wish to attend the year's biggest golf tournament and he wanted to make that wish come true. This week marks Streelman's fourth Masters appearance. The first time he played, in 2011, he invited his father to caddie for him in the traditional Par-3 Contest. The next time, his mother got the call. Last year, it was his father-in-law. Not long after qualifying again by winning the Travelers Championship, Streelman decided he wanted to offer the opportunity to someone who really deserved it. His daughter, Sophia, was born the previous December amidst pregnancy complications. She'd spent seven days in the NICU before coming home. Enduring that afforded him a matured perspective. "That changed a lot of the ways I see children," he says. "I have an entirely new appreciation for what parents with children having tough times are going through." Streelman contacted his local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He asked if there were any kids who had a wish to attend the Masters. Soon enough, he was calling Ethan with an offer. "Yeah, I know who you are," the boy replied when the pro golfer introduced himself. He didn't know why he was calling, though. Streelman explained that, as a Masters competitor, he was allowed to choose his caddie for Wednesday's event. He was choosing Ethan. The boy fell silent. His parents, each listening over speaker phone, began crying. When Ethan finally spoke, his voice was shaking. "I just wanted to go to the Masters," he'd later say. "I didn't expect this." He's now in Augusta, along with his entire family, two years removed from making his Masters wish, preparing to wear the famous white jumpsuit given to all caddies. The boy who owns a career-low score of 82 won't be bashful in the role, either. "I'll definitely make sure he's hitting the right club," he says with a confident laugh. As Ethan spends the afternoon with Streelman, he won't worry about the brain tumor. He won't worry about the MRI he'll undergo next week or the unknown long-term prognosis. He'll be too focused on having his wish come true. As for the man alongside him, he's just hoping to brighten the life of a kid who could use it. "I just want to open the door to someone and hopefully give him a great day after going through some rough times," Streelman says. "This isn't about me. It's about giving back. It's about using the opportunity that I have to make someone's wish come true."
  14. Here's a quick little vignette, exclusively for MyGolfSpy readers, from Padraig Harrington. The Honda Classic champ tells us how he stays in the moment when disaster strikes, like his double-bogey with a 1-stroke lead on 17 at the Honda...
  15. News today from the Wide World of Sports... Wilson Sporting Goods has acquired the Louisville Slugger brand. Not sure what this means for golf, but it sure is interesting...
  16. Found this on Facebook today - interesting video on Padraig Harrington's journey...
  17. Big news from Wilson Staff!! Do you guys remember last year's neXus Stand Bag Design contest? That contest was won by none other than our own GolfSpy MBP!! Well, Wilson announced yesterday the new "Mann Bag," as we're calling it, is finally ready for sale. This was posted on Wilson Social Media yesterday... Nice bow tie! Anyway, Dan's design was one of over 3,200 entries in Wilson's design competition. The three finalists were chosen by a committee of Wilson Staff staff, and the "Mann Bag" beat out two others in a week-long social media competition - edging out two other designs that were, quite frankly, nowhere near as cool as Dan's! "I really wanted a yellow bag," ways Dan, "and no one had a nice one. This was my chance to get exactly what I want. And I really wanted a Wilson bag since I saw a badass Ionix bag in a store. "The color scheme really pops, but it's not offensive and should work for a broader range of golfers." Those of us lucky enough to know Dan know he's a stylin' dude. And since he's been showing off his neXus, he's getting even more attention, "It's a head turner, that's for sure," says Dan. "Everyone wants to know where I got and where they can get one!" The Wilson Staff neXus won the 2014 MyGolfSpy Stand Bag Most Wanted competition (click here), and finished a very strong 2nd in the 2015 competition (click here). The Mann Bag is now available on Wilson's website (click here). And here are some shots of Dan's own version -- enjoy!
  18. This came today in the inbox...Wilson's 2015 online catalog... Thoughts? CLICK HERE
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