TaylorMade Tour Preferred wedges
SPECS: Cast carbon steel heads, with milled grooves and faces, in 52° loft/8°, 54°/10°, 56°/12°, 56°/14°, 58°/8°, 60°/7°, and 60°/12°.
WHO IT'S FOR: All handicap levels
WHY BUY: TaylorMade says it's found a way to predict feel at impact, making it possible to "tune" the same softness across its entire wedge set. The company claims it achieved this by measuring the Relative Amplitude Coefficient (R.A.C.) — the level of energy that reverberates through the head at impact — and then altering the depth, size, and location of two milled pockets in the back of each head. In addition, the milled grooves — the top of each is shaped like a V-groove, the bottom like a U-groove — are said to produce more consistent spin, launch angle, and ball speed than competitive products.
PRICE: $129 each (steel shaft)
INFO: 800-888-CLUB, www.taylormadegolf.com
Titleist 975JVS and 975LFE drivers
SPECS: The two-piece 975JVS (312 cc) and four-piece 975LFE (350 cc) heads have beta-titanium face inserts. Both come in 7.5°, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5° lofts in five stock shafts: True Temper BiMatrx JWM (95 grams), Fujikura Speeder (77 g), Titleist 4565 ProLite (65 g), Graphite Design YS-6 (65 g), and Titleist Ultralight 60 (63 g).
WHO IT'S FOR: 975JVS: High swing-speed players who'll maximize distance and direction by reducing spin. 975LFE: Stronger or quick-tempo players who want to eliminate the left-side miss.
WHY BUY: The 975JVS and 975LFE join the popular 975J, creating a formidable series of thin-face titanium drivers that deliver "high launch, low to moderate spin" ball flight. One of these three will suit your preferred ball flight (or soften your typical miss). Generally speaking, the J is best for working the ball both ways. Looking to draw it? Try the JVS, which has extra heel weighting. If you desire a fade, then go with the larger-headed, straighter-hitting 975LFE. Stronger players who like a heavier feel should demo the BiMatrx shaft (the top 15 inches, under the grip, is steel, the rest graphite).
PRICE: $500 each (graphite shaft)
INFO: 800-225-8500, www.titleist.com
Nike Precision Double C Tour and Double C Distance balls
SPECS: Both multi-layer balls have ionomer outer and inner covers (thus the Double C name) wrapped around a solid core. The Tour is 78 to 82 compression, the Distance is 82 to 86.
WHO IT'S FOR: Low and mid-handicappers
WHY BUY: The Double C hits the mid-price range (replacing the Spin Control, Distance Control, and Distance). The Double C Tour, with a softer outer cover, offers a softer feel and more spin off the short irons for added control. The Double C Distance, with slightly firmer core and inner cover, is a little longer.
PRICE: $35 per dozen
INFO: 800-344-6453, www.nikegolf.com