Snapped some shots of the Japan only Callaway EPIC "Star" driver today and figured now would be a good time to go over the differences between the standard sub-zero model and the Epic star version found in Japan. First thing to note is Japan offers both models but the Star has been met with explosive demand as of our orders placed near the end of Janurary are now shipping sometime in May and beyond. Follow the jump to learn more about the differences...
Japan Only Big Bertha Beta Series Woods & Irons - Globally Callaway Golf has released the Big Bertha Alpha Series & V-Series while Japan get's a very unique new model called the Big Bertha "Beta" that was produced to replace the higher end Legacy models. The U.S Big Bertha V-Series is based on the Japanese Legacy Driver while this new BETA could become the foundation of a next gen design by Callaway Global.
This is the lightest weight Callaway driver has every released and it features their thinnest and lightest face material in the history of the brand called 811 Titanium which promises to have the highest ball velocity of any Callaway Driver ever. This driver has a fixed heel weight giving it a draw bias to aid in keeping the right side our of play and it's also Interesting they released a higher end model using yet left out the adjustable hosel in the sake of performance & design. A new internal sound rib was implemented for better feel and the standard shaft similar to the Fujikura Air a very light weight longer in length distance focused design mated special with this head design is supposed to make the new Beta series driver Callaway's biggest distance club they have ever released. Ready to see the rest of the models including the new HEAVENWOOD? Follow the Jump Please...
The entire TSG team arrived bright and early at the 2013 Japan Golf Fair at Tokyo Big Sight ready for a day of meetings and checking out the latest gear. To our surprise, unlike previous years, there was quite the lineup just to get into the show before the 10am gates opened. Perhaps the economy in Japan is finally turning around or this years golf show was to be unlike any other. All we knew is we had a busy day ahead and our predictions came true as for the first time ever we spent more time developing relationships than taking pictures... so yes admittedly we are a bit behind in our coverage. Today I will highlight just a few brands to start off our continued coverage over the next week(s).
As we headed into the East Halls where the show is held every year, we quickly weaved our way towards the back where Taylormade and many of the bigger brands typically have their booths. This was the plan to beat the crowds. Taylormade's setup was twice as big in previous years and they had Adidas golf on one side and shared their space with Adams Golf. Tourspecgolfer actually ran into Tom Watson on the elevator who is here for promotions of the new Adams lineup and part of the morning events at the TM booth. Taylormade went all out as they do every year and had an army of R1 girls ready to promote the new R1 driver. While we know the R1 as well as new Rocketballz Stage2 clubs are coming out worldwide, we were excited to see the new Daddy Long Legs Spider Putter.
Callaway Golf had a Lamborghini Diablo center stage at their booth this year evidence of its focus on the Diablo line. It's a shame really as that black car drew attention away from what might be the most forgiving Legacy line ever. The Legacy is the premium forged Japan lineup which has long provided amazing performance matched with wonderful premium feel. Callaway showcased the new 2nd generation Legacy Forged iron. The original Legacy Forged is one of my favorite irons of all time. Soft, reasonably small with amazing lines and pretty good looks, the first gen Legacy provided superb all around performance with distance, accuracy and pretty good feel.
The new second generation Legacy Forged Iron has been redesigned but maintains several similar concepts. Premium forged with VAR to dampen vibrations (yeah you guessed it Vibration Absorption Rubber), the new Legacy no longer uses that milky pearl finish that the first generation had. The back cavity appears more boxy but the face profile more round. The sole grind is a bit of an improvement with a nice cut away trailing edge. The one thing the that stands out a bit too much for my liking is the amount of offset. For the average golfer this may not matter so much but there is obviously more offset in the new model.
The Legacy driver and it's forged ELF Titanium hyperbolic face has been a best seller in Japan since its release back in late 2007. Since the first Legacy we've had the the Legacy Aero, Tour, Type L, Type S and this year the Legacy Apex. All these Endo forged models have been known for awesome soft feel and great performance and the new Apex is no different. Interestingly I got the sense that Callaway was shifting the Legacy line towards a more forgiving and performance image that would more suit the midcapper and improving golfer rather than the better player. Our tester sup067 (Stew), said the Apex was ultra forgiving, maybe the most forgiving he had hit all day. Plus it felt great. That forgiveness along with a forgiving FW, forgiving offset UT and forgiving forged irons equal more premium forged performance for the average golfer. Throw in the new Legacy Apex ball which is a distance performer and there you have it.
There have been a lot of Japan Market only Odyssey putters as of late especially since the first gen iX putters came out using the Japanese tour prototype insert which gives a firmer more responsive feel at impact. Odyssey showed off new Black Series Tour Designs iX putters as well as their Tri Hot iX 3 which again look to fuel sales for the number one putter in Japan. I've taken a liking to JDM Odyssey putters lately and I actually own 3. I guess there will be more to add this year around as well. (^_^)
Make sure you check back for our video as it will be added to this post once Chris finishes it up.
In the meantime please click on the album below to view the pics for Callaway from the 2011 Japan Golf Fair!
[album id=15 template=extend]
In 2 weeks TSG will be live at the 2011 Tokyo Golf Fair previewing some of the hottest new Japan Only releases. With speculation from GolfDigest Japan we can safely guestimate some of whats coming from the major OEM's. That said there are surprises in store that golf companies are just not willing to reveal yet.
As you can see on the chart below it highlights releases starting back in November with the TourStage 705 series, Srixon New Version Z-TX Driver, and new 2011 Yamaha Inpres X models followed by December Yamaha Inpres X utility woods, PRGR Egg driver and two new XXIO drivers. This month (January) the new Callaway Legacy APEX was released, XXIO VP Prime, and Srixon's updated GiE series.
The chart also shows some blacked out models coming in February, To save time I'm skipping over new USDM releases because all that stuff is common knowledge and covered on most mainstream websites. I'm pretty sure the woods from Nike are the U.S release VR Pro models yet there is usually something Japan only that we could see during the show.
Titleist will have a Japan Only TVD model wedge and Mizuno for the most part has kept hush on their new releases outside of the Japan only and Endo produced MP Craft 425 and JPX 800S Drivers. The return of the T-Zoid has also been rumored since recently announcing their new T-Zoid utility club.
There will be a slew of Odyssey putters as well as a few designs produced exclusively for the Japanese Market along with a couple of Japan only finishes. On the very right hand side of the Feb. line were assuming thats the Callaway Legacy APEX utility wood and moving over to March there should be a new players model of the Tourstage 705 driver that could be named the 705R. Another unknown Callaway driver is also present on the list. The replacement to the Taylormade Burner along with the TourStage PHYZ series has already been announced yet is shaded in, could these be other new releases? In regards to Taylormade we do know the Burner 2.0J (Japan Only) has already been announced. More to come on that one this week.
We are aware of a handful of other new releases that we were asked not to mention. So far that's all the news that the major OEM's are comfortable with officially releasing.
Along with Callaway Japan's announcement of the new RAZR line of clubs, they will be releasing an all new Legacy Apex driver as part of Callaway Japan's flagship Legacy line for the Japanese market in January 2011. The new Legacy Apex is a 460cc conforming driver aimed at the mid capper wanting distance and ease of use.
The Legacy Apex features an all new hyperbolic titanium crown, the first of its kind in the golf industry, which is created through chemical milling. This process creates a crown only 0.4mm thick or should I say thin. The hyperbolic crown is as strong and stable as previous heavier and thicker crowns but with the reduced weight allows additional weight to be placed lower in the driver.
A newly designed, chemically milled ELF titan hyperbolic face creates high ball speeds with minimal energy loss at impact. The same light weight concept applies to the face allowing weight to be distributed to the sole and body for optimal CG and higher launch and carry.
With the Legacy Apex sporting a thinner crown and face, Callaway Japan decided to implement their VAR technology borrowed from the Legacy line of irons to help manage sound and reduce any vibrations at impact. The Vibration Absorption Rubber is a medallion placed at the back of the driver head on the sole which stabilizes the entire head at impact.
The Legacy Apex will feature an all new Speed Metalix shaft as it looks as if the old Speed Amorphous shaft is no more. The Metalix is a higher grade and more advanced 4 axis carbon weave design that minimizes rounding of the shaft when loading and maximizes energy transfer and unloading to the square position at impact. It will be interesting to see how the Metalix compares to the Amorphous which was very obviously on the soft side for flex. As an upgrade, Callaway will offer pre built Legacy Apex's with Diamana 'ahina 60 and the new Tour AD DJ-6.
Legacy drivers are always known for their great feel and great distance performance. We look forward to trying this new model out.
(Callaway Legacy Forged Iron and Odyssey Tri Hot iX #3 - Pic of the day - thanks to GDO)
Callaway Golf had a terrific display this year featuring the new FT-Tour, Odyssey BackStrike Putters, Callaway Japan Only Legacy & Legacy TOUR Drivers as well as the Legacy Forged Irons, Fairway Woods, Hybrids, and a ton of amazing accessories.
Follow the Jump and click "Read More" to watch the TSG Callaway Golf Japan 2010 Tokyo Golf Show Video in HD!
Callaway FT-iZ in Play
Ernie Els became one of the first golfers to put the new Callaway FT-iZ driver to use in the Sony Open last weekend. The Callaway FT-iZ is set to release soon and features a triangle shape which the company claims to be their best driver ever produced. The FT-iZ features a woven carbon fiber body with Callaway's famous hyperbolic face, the forgivenss is enhanced big time by its high density rear weighting and aerodynamic design.
Ernie El's driver average has increased by 15 yards to an amazing 306 yard average at the Sony Open when combined with the new Callaway Tour i(s) ball.
Titleist Prototype <+---PRO V1x--->
According to Golf.com writer David Dusek Titleist has put a new prototype ball into play. Although most ProV1 users stuck with the standard and current version six players decided to put the ProV1 Plus Spin & Plus Trajectory models into play.
The Plus Spin is marked with <s----PRO V1---s> on it's seam while the Plus Trajectory has a <+---PRO V1x---> on its seam. Golf.com reports that Titleist that they are customized versions of the latest ProV1 and ProV1x golf balls to enhance results for a small handful of PGA Tour Players and that this in no way has anything to do with the new groove rule.
The Titleist Tour Rep Also Noted:
" These products are not in response to nor designed to address new groove rules and they are not planned to be sold commercially"
Taylormade XFT Wedge @ Sony Open
Retief Goosen became the first player on the PGA Tour to request a new face plate be installed in his Taylormade XFT face changeable wedges in 54* & 60*. I guess all that practice and play wore it out, It would be helpful if Taylormade provided information on when he began testing it, how many shots hit and exactly how long that first wedge face piece lasted him.
In the TSG forum there was a topic on Japanese golf apparel and I wanted to get a little more in depth with some of the apparel brands starting with Callaway and it's collections. Callaway in Japan runs several side brands such as Collection by Callaway, CHEV18, Callaway X, WarBird, and Tweety .
The Callaway Collection has a very modern feel to it with expensive materials and very serious designs. Their latest release is a shiny and luxurious reversible down jacket, from far it looks pretty average but up close you begin to see the small differences that make the Collection Series so premium. The products available for men and women are very well made for a complete luxury golf lifestyle and feature all sorts of products from jewelry, designer pants, bags, hats, and the list goes on.
The CHEV 18 brand is trendy, bold, younger, and more playful featuring lots of bright colors. The use of big sports styles or collegiate logo type fonts is evident throughout the Chev18 line up. Produced for Ladies and Gentlemen it too is also made very well with top notch fabrics and materials.
The Callaway X-Series line is still what i would consider a step up above other countries Callaway apparel, it's sporty and elegant with small callaway logo's and comfort gear like soft warm hoods, sweatshirts and women's gear as well.
Tweety is the ever popular tweety bird from warner bro's licenced out to Callaway of Japan to produce fun, cuties type luxury gear for the playful golfer. Still very expensive and made very well it just sits in a different style category. Everything from the Tweety brand I have seen is made for the female golfer.
To give those interested an idea of how much they cost, Jackets start at around 250, while golf shirts start at around 100 bucks. Take a look at some of the images in the below thumbnails to get a better idea of how these outfit's setup.