Mike’s Mulligan

Mike Ditch Jr.

For most, Christmas falls on Dec. 25.

However, for the golf junkies in the world, Christmas falls in the early part of the new year when the PGA Merchandise Show takes place in Orlando, Fla. With the upcoming show only a few weeks away, let’s take a look at how you can become the next Tiger Woods, or at least break 100 for the first time.

With size, sweet spot, and forgiveness being reined in by the USGA and their restrictions, club companies are looking toward other unique ways to get their products in the consumers’ hands.

The most intriguing concept that will debut in 2008 is Callaway Golf’s screw-in golf head. No longer will players have to spend a lot of money and time waiting for a driver to be reshafted with the newest technology. Callaway has developed a driver that will allow shafts to be screwed into the head, to help properly fit the average golfer and to also allow better players to quickly fine-tune their equipment to course conditions.

It appears that Taylor Made Golf and Cobra are still sticking to their guns yet again this year by pounding the market with even more high-forgiving, high-distance drivers. The Taylor Made CGB Max is probably the most forgiving club on the market. Cobra is introducing yet another new line this year, following in the footsteps of their popular Speed Series models.

Perhaps the biggest trend in golf right now is the use of the utility hybrid club. The one-iron is officially extinct, the two-iron is critically endangered and the three-iron has been put on the endangered species list.

All of the major club manufacturers have created at least two models of these hybrid clubs in the last few years, which has gradually put to rest the “fad” label these clubs had. The hybrid club offers the flexibility of hitting soft, long fairway wood shots from lies that demand the digging ability of an iron. While Tiger Woods and other staunch traditionalists on the Tour are not using these clubs, it is vital that your average weekend warrior have at least three of these in the bag.

The most contested club in the marketplace right now is the wedge. The club that used to be the afterthought of the average golfer has now become so technologically advanced that the USGA is looking into restricting the amount of spin these clubs can generate. Manufacturers are highly recommending purchasing the new models that will be allowed by the USGA for at least the next few years so that players can take advantage of these clubs before they become outlawed. Cleveland’s Zip Groove technology, found in their CG12 and CG14 wedges, along with Titleist’s Vokey Spin Milled wedges are the three hottest wedges in golf right now.

The old adage that you can’t buy a golf game has now become a myth. So go out, help save the economy, and shell out some bucks this spring at your local golf shop.