Last week at Eagles Nest the fine folks from Titleist sat down with the Canadian golf press and walked through the line up of new product that has either just hit shelves, or will hit shelves in coming months. In many ways it is sprucing up the existing product rather than an overhaul, including tweaks to the AP irons, and the release of a new shoe designed to replace the Classic.
The new FJ Icon, which can be customized through the MyJoys program, is a real show stopper. Linking the traditional look and stability of the Classics, the Icon brings in modern technology found in newer FJ shoes. Titleist likes to talk about how they dominate this part of the market — 63% of pros on the PGA Tour wear FJ shoes — and frankly given this new product, it isn’t hard to see why. Boa technology can also be utilized in the shoes, though I’m not entirely sure that has taken off as was expected.
“This is the best of the best in golf shoes on the market today,” says Lesley Hawkins, product manager for Footjoy in Canada. Of course she’d say that — and I haven’t worn the shoes yet. But they look astounding, and given the Footjoys I’ve been wearing off and on for the last couple of years, I’d be surprised if they don’t live up to the hype. Expect these to retail at around $300 CDN when they hit stores.
Next up was the irons and new Scotty Camerons putters — the equivalent of golf centerfolds for those that like to drool over weapons constructed of metal. The AP2 line, which has been a big hit and which is currently residing in my bag, has been tweaked with the standard shaft becomign Dynamic Golf. They ship at $1,199 and are still aimed at the low-handicap “serious” golfer. I find the clubs offer a wonderful flight and a soft feel, though they are admittedly a lot more fun to play when one is striking the ball solidly.
The bigger change, according to Acushnet’s Adam Cox, is to the AP1 series, which are “redefined.” Aimed at the zero to 15-handicap, the irons have an improved feel, Cox says, reduced size in the shorter irons and are “not as oversize, not as clunky.” They still look to big to my eye, which is why I gravitated to the new MB and CB irons during testing on the range. The CBs, which I’ve played in the past, maintain the flight one expects, while having a soft, workable feel. The MBs, on the other hand, are a pure blade, with a penetrating ball flight. On a day when I was striking the ball well, the MBs were wonderful. Not sure I’d want them in the bag on an off-day though. These hit Canada Dec. 15 at a price of $1,049.
Interestingly a lot of time was spent on the “condition of competition” wedges, the short clubs aimed at conforming to the new groove restrictions on the PGA Tour. Recreational players don’t need to worry about this — and Titleist seems uncertain as to the demand for these clubs. I have no idea why the average weekend golfer would play them — unless they really want to emulate the pros.
A new line of Cameron putters, hitting stores Dec. 15, are called the “California” line. I’ve left my Scotty in my office for
the last couple of years, having gravitated to an awkward-looking TaylorMade Spider. But I know those who love Scotty product, and I’m sure they won’t be disappointed. The cult of Cameron continues…
That left the Cobra line up, which is based around the ZL driver, which offers a slightly adjustable head and improved sound over previous models. I hit this on the range after the product introduction and found the driver flew low and penetrating and seemed to come off hot. Oh, and the sound is indeed much improved.