When it comes to the future of golf, it’s tough to call things a “trend” when only one company is doing it (whatever it happens to be). I think 3D printing in some capacity is here to stay and I think it’s a safe bet that TaylorMade is going to stick with this carbon-face thing for the foreseeable future.
In both cases, what we don’t know is whether any competitors will jump into the fray with either technology.
Also, you’re going to see laces continue to be for suckers.
No. I’m not sure the technology is ready to support repeated high-speed collisions. Then again, I think most of us would have said the same thing about a carbon-fiber driver face.
Cost is the biggest factor and 3D printing doesn’t currently scale at an affordable level. So I think we’ll see the continuation of what’s already been done: more putters and more accessory pieces for clubs … badges and things like that.
One of my rules in life is to never say no to a free T-shirt. What does have to do with virtual fittings? Most that I’m aware of are also free, so what do you have to lose?’
When it comes to fitting, that good, better, best thing is always in play and while I can’t swear that every virtual fitting qualifies as good, I’d wager most are better than bad or nothing at all.
If, for some reason, you can’t get to a good (in-person) fitter, move down your list of options until you find something you can do.
There’s isn’t one.
That’s the upside of an industry driven by marketing. There’s always something new and better. Game-changers are a dime a dozen (even if your game never actually changes because of them).
I think we all understand that golf balls are at the limit and so we’re mostly tweaking spin profiles, playing with compression and trying to make covers softer. I think we can get more spin around the green but distance is tapped out.
On the club side, there’s still room. Whether that’s more ball speed from the driver, more forgiveness from the irons or a new material that disrupts the equation as we know it, stuff can still improve even if it’s only by a little.
It’s so hard to pick just one. The calendar says it’s a JPX year for Mizuno—and I’m definitely a JPX guy.
We know the PING G430 driver family is coming (the fairway wood is already on the USGA list).
TaylorMade almost certainly has Version 2 of carbon face in the mix.
I’m also curious to see if Callaway finally disrupts its Epic/Rogue cadence and drops something that actually feels new and different.
We’re also coming into one of those rare years where the big manufacturers’ driver release cycles all align. We’re going to have new drivers from all the big OEMs (and damned near all of the small ones). I love when that happens.
The easy answer is the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x.
Mizuno has a new Tour ball offering in the works as well, which will no doubt capture an audience.
For me, there’s more excitement in the unknown.
Will Titleist update Left Dash (ideally with a softer cover)? Is it time to put Left Dot in the lineup?
Those answers boil down to supply-chain issues (specifically ionomer supplies) and some calculations around whether the retail market can support a fifth premium urethane offering from Titleist (six if you include Tour Speed).
We also know that Dean Snell would love to update his lineup. Again … supply channel and ownership changes at his factory of choice complicate things a bit.
A new TP5 and TP5x should be coming, too. In my opinion, the current TP5 and TP5x are more similar than they should be. Call that a step backward if you like. I expect more separation between balls this time around. My hunch is you’ll also see TaylorMade ramp up the fitting story and continue to explore interesting patterns like PIX and Stripe.
I’d be surprised if Callaway didn’t sit on the current crop of Chrome Soft for another year (don’t hold me to that) but Srixon will definitely have new balls as well.
Golfers typically replace their drivers every four or five years; irons a little less frequently. Fairway woods and hybrids tend to stick around even longer. Wedges are the clubs that should be replaced most often (but they’re probably not). Putters? Some guys haven’t bought a new one in decades. Others have bought three already this month.
My advice is to wait two generations between purchases for most clubs.
Lots of clubs are on one-year cycles but serious R&D typically takes longer. Often, the second one in a series typically isn’t much different than the first and is almost never different enough to justify dropping another $550.
Irons typically have longer cycles. Two years isn’t uncommon so it often takes four years to get through two generations. You can wait that out.
But again … you should probably replace your wedges more often than you do.
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