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What is it about Florida and dimples? Last November brought that voting-ballot chad controversy. And at this February’s PGA Merchandise show in Orlando, Callaway announced the newest in its Rule 35 Series, the CB1 Red, an aerodynamically advanced golf ball with 382 dimples — 46 more than the standard ball — due in stores by May. Even with all those dimples, Callaway’s ball conforms to the United States Golf Association’s ultra-strict guidelines, meaning that it’s “legal” equipment. That, as most golfers have heard, isn’t the case with Callaway’s ERC II, an Arnold Palmer�endorsed driver that the USGA said was just too springy to sanction for competition. Arnie didn’t back down, saying the USGA should let “recreational” golfers have their fun. We love Arnie, but if lawyers start subscribing to this it-ain’t-cheating-if-you-don’t-get-caught school of thinking, what’s next? Judge bribing? Herewith, straight from Orlando, is a roundup of the season’s best new clubs — all legal — and the best dimpled orbs to use them on. DRIVERS Once you get used to the longer shaft (46 as opposed to 45 inches) and the melon-sized head of the TaylorMade 360Ti ($500), you might actually start reaching those long par-fives in two. A forgiving club that’s almost featherlike to swing, the big dog in the 300Ti series offsets slightly to the left to correct that slice. Players who have trouble handling a big club head might opt for the sleek Callaway Big Bertha Hawk Eye VFT ($500). VFT, which stands for variable face thickness, is a new modification that translates into more forgiveness off the toe and heel. The VFT’s only slightly less boingy than Callaway’s ERC II — “barely legal” as the marketers like to say — and its higher center of gravity means less loft, so players who usually go with an eight-degree loft should opt for nine. PUTTERS Year in, year out, whether in mallets or blades, the perimeter-weighted PING putters always play true. The eight PING isopur2 ($135) models are no exception. The secret could be tungsten weights in the heel and toe. Or it could be the satin finish that produces a consistent smooth roll. It could just be I’ve played a PING my entire life and love it. BALLS After months of hearing the pros crow about the multilayer Titleist Pro V1, we can finally lose a few of them ourselves (for $4.50 apiece). Two other hot rocks are the Spalding Strata Tour Ultimate ($54 a dozen), which features a tungsten pellet in the center, and the Wilson iWound ($35 a dozen), which has a synthetic lattice wrapped around a solid core. And what about Callaway’s CB1 Red ($31.25 a dozen)? Well, let’s just say that, like last November’s election, dimples don’t necessarily count for much. IRONS If you regularly card scores around 80, the sleek, beautiful, forged blades of the Mizuno MP-33 ($1,132) could take you into even more rarefied air. Because they’re forged, and not perimeter-weighted, there’s a much smaller sweet spot, which means you’ve got to be precise when you hit these babies. It’s easy to see why the pros love Mizuno — and why the rest of us should consider either the perimeter-weighted Spalding Ben Hogan Apex Edge ($925) or one of three versions of the TaylorMade 300 Series ($920). WEDGES When it comes to wedges, Cleveland rocks. The Cleveland 900 Form-Forged Wedges ($125�$142, depending on the finish) boast more loft and bounce gradations than any previous line of Clevelands. While all of them can get you up and on from anywhere within 50 yards, to get the optimal effect have them custom-fit to your attack angle. FAIRWAY WOODS While the three and five woods in TaylorMade’s SuperSteel series nicely complement the 360Ti, the more forward-biased center of gravity of the Titleist 975 ($185 for steel shaft, $285 for graphite) offers more control and more loft. Which makes them perfect to launch a parabola over the trees from just about any lie.

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