Product watch: Callaway news, PING

The beginning of autumn was particularly busy for the products.

New gear from Titleist, PXG, adidas Golf, LAB Golf, Mizuno, OnCore and Tour Edge highlight the latest industry releases and more are expected in the weeks leading up to the 2023 PGA Show in Orlando, USA. Florida.

Another trio of high profile products – the latest i230 and iCrossover from PING and the next generation of the Great Big Bertha family from Callaway – were announced last week and they come with some intriguing questions: the i230 irons from PING can they replace Brooke Henderson’s four-year-old irons? old PING i210 irons and how much traction should Callaway Golf expect from its ultra-premium Great Big Bertha family with irons and hybrids overall at around $600 (Cdn.) each?

Let’s dive into some more details:

Callaway Great Big Bertha Family

So far, Callaway hasn’t played a big role in the premium and ultra-premium category because, well, it didn’t really need to. That’s the reality of an industry-leading brand that continues to pull in huge numbers across multiple categories in nearly every business quarter.

The counter argument is that several of the Carlsbad, Calif. company’s direct competitors are now launching into space, so it’s not really practical for Callaway to stay away because it has a brand profile and the kind of technology and innovation needed to make a splash in the ultra-premium segment.

That’s how we got here with this Great Big Bertha line-up.

Keep in mind that these products are aimed at a relatively smaller consumer demographic of mid to high handicap players, typically with slower swing speeds and a “price is not an object” mentality. . Optimized materials and construction applications are most often the two main points of difference with this category.

In Great Big Bertha irons, it starts by marrying an AI-engineered forged titanium face and a commercially pure grade 4 (CP4) titanium body with up to 145 grams of tungsten. The use of materials allowed the R&D team to reposition 96 grams of discretionary weight to increase launch and forgiveness. The level of tungsten used is 133% higher than the Rogue ST Max and the highest in an iron produced by Callaway.

The lightweight materials also provide the driver with their main talking points.

Thirty grams lighter than the Rogue ST Max, golfers with moderate swing speeds can expect faster ball speeds and a high level of forgiveness. To increase moment of inertia, Callaway engineers paired a lightweight triaxial carbon crown and forged carbon sole that allowed discretionary weight to be moved lower and deeper into the clubhead. With Callaway’s AI-powered Jailbreak Speed ​​Frame and AI-designed Flash Face, the Great Big Bertha driver comes with an ultra-premium UST Helium Nanocore shaft and Winn Dri-Tac Lite grip.

In the fairway woods, Callaway designed Great Big Bertha with titanium on the face and body, pairing it with the company’s AI-designed face cut and Jailbreak with Batwing technology. The combination adds speed over a larger area of ​​the face profile according to Callaway. To help reduce weight by 53% and move it where it’s most effective, the R&D team used a triaxial carbon crown and forged carbon sole for extra launch and forgiveness.

For the hybrids, the R&D team actually used the rider’s DNA profile, taking advantage of the same AI-designed titanium face, Jailbreak technology with Batwing, lightweight triaxial carbon crown and the forged carbon sole to create more speed and forgiveness on a wider variety of shots.

The entire Callaway Great Big Bertha product family is set to launch at retail on November 11. US-based MSRP is $699.99 for driver, $499.99 for fairway woods, and $449.99 (per club) for irons and hybrids. Canadian pricing was not immediately made available.

PING i230

Whether PING’s product team has done enough to move Henderson into the new i230 will obviously be determined when the LPGA begins its offseason.

That said, there’s a reasonable chance these will end up in the Canadiens’ PING staff bag to start 2023 in my opinion. After hitting them at the Burlington G&CC a few weeks ago, I think these irons will please Henderson as much as they play better consumers.

“The i230 iron sits in the middle of our iron offerings, so it forces us to balance a variety of performance attributes,” said John K. Solheim, CEO and President of PING. “It needs the precision and solid feel of a player’s irons while providing the forgiveness golfers expect from a PING iron.”

Perhaps the most dramatic visual change from previous “I” Series models is in the long irons. Constructed from 304 stainless steel, the i230s are slightly more compact than the i210s while the rest of the set is designed with similar blade lengths. The sole design has a rounded leading edge and proper rebound profile to promote smooth turf interaction. Precision-machined MicroMax grooves help maintain consistency and spin accuracy in the 3-5 irons and more control in the short irons and wedges.

PING’s move to a four-piece 304 stainless steel and injection molded thermoplastic badge supports the face, dampens vibration, and offers exceptional sound and tactile attributes.

“Meeting the needs of our tour pros, who have already won with it, is an important part of the i230 iron. Their validation of this design goes a long way in giving golfers confidence that they too can benefit from this technology,” added Solheim.

PING iCrossover

High swing speed players looking for alternatives to long irons should be impressed with PING’s new iCrossover.

Some big changes here too.

Constructed with a 17-4 stainless steel body, forged maraging steel face and tungsten toe and shaft tip weights, the trio of models – 2XR, 3XR and 4XR – feature a lower center of gravity , a smaller internal cavity with EVA polymer for improved sound/feel quality. The blade lengths are also slightly shorter with less offset than previous generations, giving it a more tower-style appearance in playing position.

Also of note is the quarter-inch shorter shaft length for improved control and tighter dispersion.

The most dramatic change concerns the adjustment function. PING engineers added an adjustable hosel with eight settings for loft and lie to dial in a specific ball flight.

“We looked closely at our fit and Arccos data and found that the vast majority of our crossover users were better players using one of our blade irons,” Solheim said. “So we focused on designing a crossover that better meets the needs of this type of player. The addition of the adjustable hosel is a huge plus.

The i230 and the new iCrossover are now available for custom layouts at PING retailers worldwide.

The I230 irons are $260 CDN per club with a stock steel shaft and $285 CDN per club with a stock graphite shaft. iCrossover models are $350 CDN per club with a graphite or steel shaft.

James T. Quintero