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Franchise Players

Baseball has its franchise players, and so do golf equipment makers. In this issue we feature new top-of-the-line drivers from three of the biggest companies: Titleist, TaylorMade and Callaway.

Titleist Pro Titanium 905
The Pro Titanium 905 series ($499 MSRP, $399 street) replaces Titleist's two-year-old 983 drivers and comes in two versions, both for better players. The deep-faced 905S is designed for high swing speeds and a flatter initial launch angle. The 905T, sure to be more popular, has a shallower face and more clubhead length from front to back, creating additional loft-generating spin to shoot the ball higher. Both 905 drivers have 400-cc clubheads, the traditional Titleist pear shape, super-solid feel and a new hollow hosel tube that allows for more-forgiving weight distribution. Call 800-225-8500 or visit titleist.com.

TaylorMade r5 Dual TP
For all the fuss about the smash-hit TaylorMade r7 Quad driver—with its four interchangeable weights—it has a clubhead volume of only 400 cc. The new r5 Dual TP ($750 MSRP, $599 street) combines the more forgiving 450-cc head of the regular r5 with the r7's movable weights, albeit only two; adjusting them can make five to seven yards of difference in draw or fade bias. As part of TaylorMade's TP line (clubs identical to those used by Tour pros), this r5 is expensive and not designed to fight big slices. But it pounds the ball a mile. TaylorMade is also introducing a fairway wood and two hybrids with interchangeable weights. Call 800-888-2582 or visit taylormadegolf.com.

Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3
Callaway has been pushing graphite-headed drivers for years now, without breakthrough success. The Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 ($500 MSRP, $399 street) may be the version that finally succeeds. With an extremely forgiving 460-cc head, this titanium-face, graphite-body driver is a full 100 cc bigger than its predecessor composite driver, the E.R.C Fusion, and it's now in the bags of Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam. Its sound is louder, although lower in pitch than all-titanium clubs. Another welcome innovation is three available trajectory biases for every loft: neutral, draw-bias and fade-bias. Call 800-588-9836 or visit callawaygolf.com.

SUMMER STYLES

When playing in desert climes or anywhere hot in summer, it's nice to have shoes that don't weigh you down. The CALLAWAY E.R.C SUMMER OXFORD ($165; 866-407-1010 or callawaygolffootwear.com) is a sophisticated choice, made with Pittards leather and a new waterproof, breathable mesh. Or if it's a casual look and total foot freedom you seek, slip into the new BITE FOCUS Sandal ($59; 800-248-3465 or biteshoes.com), which features quick-drying, lightweight, synthetic-leather dual straps and a durable, structured heel for adequate support during your swing. Both pairs of shoes have soft spikes on bottom.

Sport sunglasses should not only protect your eyes but also provide a sharp contrast that can actually improve your vision during activities such as golf. Both of these pairs do just that, and they're stylish enough to wear every day. The MAUI JIM KAPALUA ($249; 888-628-4546 or mauijim.com) is the lightest pair of glasses we've ever worn, weighing a hummingbird-like twelve grams. Choose the rose-colored lens, which offers the most contrast. The BOLLE KICKBACK ($120; 800-222-6553 or bolle.com) enhances contrast specifically at the green part of the color spectrum, making putts easier to read.

Yes, they're made of cotton, but not ordinary cotton—these two new shirts are sewn from technologically advanced fabrics nearly the equal of moisture-wicking synthetics. That is, they're perfect for hot summer rounds. The FAIRWAY & GREENE SURF/CAPRI LISLE SHIRT ($82; 800-926-8010 or fairwayandgreene.com) is made of double-mercerized Pima cotton that feels more like silk. Made from a similar cotton is the DOCKERS TOUR BAJA BLUE SHIRT ($46; 949-260-8700 or dockerstour.com), a rich-azure-colored polo that is not quite as silky soft as the F&G shirt but is a great value. Both garments will help keep you cool while giving you the soft feel and flexibility that synthetics can't match.

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