Equipment releases have ground to a virtual halt, but 2020 has already seen a lot of great new gear.
By Tony Dear
The darn coronavirus has stopped golf in its tracks, but we’re far enough into 2020 for the year to have thrown up plenty of quality equipment launches. Of course, you’re always guaranteed a few good releases early in the year with the PGA Merchandise Show descending on Orlando at the end of every January. However, the climax of this year’s show by no means saw an end to the debut of clubs, balls, accessories, clothing and tech that perked our interest and induced us to open our wallets. But, with very little happening on the gear front (or, indeed, any other front) right now, we’re taking this opportunity to have a look back at some of our favorite equipment launches of the year so far.
Driver: Callaway Mavrik
A potent combination of Jailbreak Technology, a significant expansion in the use of Artificial Intelligence in creating incredibly powerful and forgiving faces for the family’s three models (Mavrik, Mavrik Sub Zero and Mavrik Max) and a face material–FS2S–developed by FS Precision, a leading producer of investment castings for the aerospace, automotive and defense industries among others, resulted in a very impressive follow-up to last year’s AI-built Epic Flash.
Mavrik comes in as our favorite driver of 2020 so far by a distance. The eight-way adjustable hosel allows players to change loft by plus two degrees and minus one and offers draw and neutral face angles.
Lofts – Mavrik and Mavrik Max: 9˚, 10.5˚, 12˚; Sub Zero: 9˚, 10.5˚
Shafts – UST Helium Black (40g), Project X Evenflow Riptide (40g/50g/60g), Aldila Rogue White 130 MSI (60g/70g)
Here is our full feature on the product.
Players Iron: Honma TR20V
One-piece, forged, soft S20C carbon steel construction. Relatively short blade length but a wider top-line and sole than its counterpart–the TR20P. The cambered sole facilitates crisp contact.
Not packed with tech perhaps, but a handsome, elegant club better players appreciate.
Shafts – Nippon Modus 3 105 (steel), Vizard TR20-85 (graphite)
Grips – Honma Tour Velvet +2 (two inches longer than standard)
Game-Improvement Iron: Ping G710
Besides the striking black PVD finish, the G710 has a great deal to offer the mid-high handicapper. The maraging-steel face flexes like a fairway wood’s, boosting ball speed and distance, and an epoxy behind the face dampens vibrations at impact, giving a sweeter sound. Tungsten in the toe and heel increases the club’s Moment of Inertia (MoI), and Arccos Caddie sensors in the grip comes standard.
Shafts – As well as the Ping AWT 2.0 and Alta CB Red, several custom shafts are available at no extra cost.
Ball: TaylorMade TP5 Pix
Under the urethane cover are four increasingly-stiff layers which combine to make what TaylorMade calls the Speed-Layer System. The increase in stiffness increases ball speed, while the rigid inner and soft outer covers combine to enhance greenside control. The Rickie Fowler-inspired Clearpath Alignment feature–12 strategically-placed, multi-color graphics (Pix) either side of the TaylorMade logo and TP5/TP5x stamp–is designed to inspire confidence when lining up the putt. The TP5x has a higher compression and firmer feel than the standard version.
Wedge: Wilson Staff Model
Soft-forged 8620 Carbon Steel and a classic head shape give the Wilson Staff Model wedge the look and feel of more expensive wedges. And, Wilson claims, the machine-engraved scorelines in the precision-milled face create tour-caliber spin.
Lofts – 48˚, 50˚, 52˚, 54˚, 56˚, 58˚, 60˚ (52˚, 56˚, 60˚ in left-hand)
Shaft – True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 steel
Putter: Ping Heppler
Wanting to acknowledge the quality on offer from a number of manufacturers, we were keen to avoid having any OEM appear more than once here. But the company’s G710 irons were too good to pass up, and the Heppler line of putters, which we featured just two weeks ago, was likewise hard to reject. So Ping got twice the love in 2020.
Heppler putters have a distinct copper/black finish comprising steel (copper color) and aluminum (black) which are positioned to maximize forgiveness and optimize the Center of Gravity (CG). The flat, no-insert face gives a firm feel and a pleasing sound. Ping’s adjustable shaft allows you to alter the putter’s length from 32 to 36 inches.
Models – Five mallets, two mid-mallets, two blades
For more on the latest and greatest gear in golf, visit our GEAR PAGE.
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