The super-game-improvement clubs featured on this page are designed for higher handicappers who want extra help getting the ball airborne and keeping it on line. The most surprising of the bunch are Mizuno's MX-900s ($1,264 MSRP steel shafts/$899 street; $1,408/$999 graphite). From a company known primarily for its forged players' irons, this set of forged oversize clubs seems improbable—until you hit them. Even poorly struck balls vault off the face, and good shots feel as pure as if hit on the sweet spot of a blade. Engineers achieved this effect in part by milling the face with three different areas of thickness, to improve distance control and feel. The seven-iron and lower have forgiving two-piece hollow-construction heads with a tungsten weight on the bottom to lower the center of gravity. The eight-iron and higher are forged from one piece of steel with a bar across the back. Call 800-333-7888 or visit mizunousa.com.
NIKE SLINGSHOT OSS
Nike has extended its game-improvement line by supersizing its original Slingshots. The Slingshot OSS irons ($800 MSRP steel shafts/$700 street; $900/$800 graphite) have a dual-camber sole that is 10 percent wider than that on the standard Slingshots, plus the OSS has 20 percent more offset, a deeper center of gravity and a hotter face. Our sense is that all but the highest handicappers will do just as well sticking with the wonderfully forgiving originals. Also new: Slingshot Tour irons, with less offset and a less radical profile. Call 800-922-6453 or visit nikegolf.com.
TOUR EDGE BAZOOKA JMAX TOUR IRON-WOOD
Tour Edge began selling an all-hybrid set last year. The new Bazooka JMAX Tour Iron-Woods ($600 street steel shafts/$700 graphite/$900 Aldila NV Hybrid shafts) have a thinner profile and less offset, making them suitable for more and better players. Like the originals, the Tour Iron-Woods have a steel topline visually distinct from the black crown. This helpfully creates the illusion of a traditional iron at setup. Although they take some getting used to, especially the bulky short irons, every club in the set is capable of hitting quality shots. Call 800-515-3343 or visit touredge.com.
IN THE LOCKER
With its elongated head, the new NIKE SASQUATCH DRIVER ($360; 800-922-6453 or nikegolf.com) has what the company calls "the biggest footprint in golf"—hence the name. If you can handle the larger size (we didn't have any trouble and neither have several Tour pros; the crown design helps minimize the visual effect), the SasQuatch delivers a radically lower and deeper center of gravity than Nike's Ignite driver, with which it shares the same forgiving NexTi titanium face. This produces higher launch, potentially less spin and, according to Nike, more resistance to twisting on off-center hits than any driver out there.
Traditional golfwear company Ashworth has launched a technical line of clothing called ASHWORTH WEATHER SYSTEMS ($50$70 per item; 800-931-1234 or ashworthinc.com). The three-piece system consists of a moisture-wicking short-sleeve polo, a long-sleeve thermal layer and a lightweight wind vest. Each garment is available in different color options and is sold separately. Together they take the guesswork out of dressing on a cool morning.
If it works for your car, why not your feet?The new FOOTJOY GF:II GOLF SHOE ($200; 800-225-8500 or footjoy.com) features a wishbone suspension, designed for maximum stability and flexibility. They handled fine for us, and we were especially impressed with their instant comfort, thanks to new supersoft Pittards waterproof leather, shock-absorbing gel beneath the heel and a gel-filled collar. In all, a smooth ride from this top-of-the-line model from the leading golf shoemaker.