Equipment

September 2, 2016 - 8:32am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Golf gear
ClubGlove/Callaway
The best season for golf -- the fall season -- is just around the corner. Here's a look at 12 items you'll want to put on your golf wish-list.

For a lot of us around the country, summer is winding down.

That means one thing: Prime golf season is just around the corner. Sure, you’ll still get those occasionally blistering hot days, but for the most part, the fall season is when everything is the most comfortable and the courses are in the best shape.

Chances are you’ve been playing golf for several months at this point and – if you’ve been doing it right – you’re probably playing your best golf.

Why not take a closer look at a bunch of items that could help you look your best, play your best and get around traveling with ease to that late-season golf getaway?

CLOTHING: 

Yoga Smoga: If you’re not familiar with Yoga Smoga, think “high-end workout clothes.” For the golfer, you might ask, “what does that have to do with me?” Well, Yoga Smoga recently released a “Golf Inspired” line of clothing that includes polo shirts, shorts and pants.

The polo shirts, known as the “Montauk,” utilizes Yoga Smoga’s newest proprietary fabric development, Sona Pique, with high-end functional details, a modern athletic fit and advanced bonded touches.

The polo shirts ($150) are incredibly light and there’s none of that undesired “sticking” during a round on a hot day at the course. It’s like wearing a polo that feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.

The pants (Newport, $185) and the shorts (Pentagon, $155) are both made from 4-way stretch D’OR 1024 fabric that allows for a full-range of motion with engineered recovery. They’re anti-microbial and sweat-wicking features make them the ultimate multipurpose pants and shorts.

The sweat-wicking on Yoga Smoga’s bottoms are key for a golfer. We’ve all been there, playing in the heat, wearing cotton or other materials, that put our undesirable sweat marks out there as visible as an electronic billboard in the middle of Times Square. That doesn’t happen with Yoga Smoga.

While the offerings look to be on the pricey side, just remember: You get what you pay for. The comfort and style are second to none and they’re going to last you a long time.

All of Yoga Smoga’s golf-inspired offerings can be worn on the golf course, in the clubhouse or for a night out on the town… or even to the gym.

For more information, visit www.yogasmoga.com.

18 Greens Apparel: Over the last couple of years, 18 Greens Apparel has become one of my favorite companies in the golf business.

Owner Doug Timmons – a PGA Professional – has created some of the sharpest tops and bottoms you’ll find roaming the fairways today. But, best of all, the comfort level is off the charts.

The shorts and pants from 18 Greens feature a casual fit with built-in casual water technology. The 4-way stretch material is water and wrinkle-resistant. The Heathered textured fabric is also a step away from your run of the mill slacks.

These are the lightest, thinnest pants ($75) and shorts ($65) I've ever worn. Timmons got the idea for the materials when he thought up a way to combine his love of boarder shorts with his passion for golf. Incidentally, your 18 Greens shorts -- with mesh inner lining on the pockets -- can also double up as boarder shorts if you want to go from the course to the ocean.

Timmons also recently released arguably the coolest golf belt ($39.50) on the market today recently with his "Aiming Fluid Belt." The buckle is so much more than just a buckle. It's also a 2.5 oz stainless steel flask with a custom holster that keeps it in place between swings... or swigs.

To check out all 18 Greens Apparel has to offer, check out www.18greens.com.

Southern Tide: This southern-prep style of clothing has been making waves in the golf world lately, as it’s worn by Wesley Bryan of Bryan Brothers golf trick-shot fame, who recently earned a performance promotion onto the PGA Tour for winning three times this season on the Web.com Tour.

Southern Tide’s T3 Collection, includes the Admiral Packable 1/4-zip Pullover ($99.50). It can literally be folded small enough to fit into your back pocket – perfect to bring along while spectating a golf tournament, or for a round in the fall when there might be just a little chill in the air.

The Technical Club shorts ($87.50) feature a quick-dry fabric and hint of stretch keep you comfortable all day. The material is paper thin and light as a feather.

Southern Tide’s Driver Stripe Performance Polo shirts ($85) don’t just look good, but also add some great benefits thanks to the fabrics used. With UV protection, moisture-wicking technology and open sleeves, this polo is made from soft jersey fabric that feels fantastic.

For more information, visit www.southerntide.com.

Bradley Allan: A newcomer to golf apparel, Bradley Allan is making a splash with polos, sweaters and pullovers, pants, shorts and accessories.

For the purpose of this review, we tried out the Pilot Polo ($79) made from Pima cotton/Polyester. The color ways offered on the polos are refined, which give them sophistication – it’s all class, you’re not going to get anything loud with Bradley Allan.

The tailored fit allows you to look just as good with the polo tucked or untucked (perfect to wear with your favorite dress pants, shorts, or even jeans). If you decide to get one for yourself, I recommend ordering one size up because of the tailored fit.

To check out all of Bradley Allan’s apparel, visit www.bradley-allan.com.

EQUIPMENT:

Callaway Apex Irons Black: These, quite arguably, could be the sharpest-looking set of irons ever made.

Callaway took its wildly popular Apex irons and simply made up a black set that looks tremendous at address with the black-white contrast from club to golf ball.

It’s not all about the looks with these irons, however. Using its industry-leading, category-defining 360 Face Cup technology, Callaway gives the player exceptional, consistent ball speed across the face and playability in a forged players iron.

The Satin Black PVD finish turns heads. You can get more personal with your iron set, selecting from a long list of premium shaft and grip options at no upcharge.

And we’ve added a sleek all black look with a Satin Black PVD finish and premium shaft options, with a vast no upcharge list to customize your set.

Thanks to the black finish, these Apex irons from Callaway ($1,299, steel) are the most distinctive looking I’ve ever seen. They look great, they feel great and they’re wonderfully forgiving for a player’s iron with such a small cavity.

For more information, visit www.callawaygolf.com.

TaylorMade TPX golf balls: Golfers want two things when it comes to a golf ball -- maximum distance and maximum control. No big deal, right? Well, it's not quite that easy. The golf ball -- not everyone realizes -- is the single most important piece of equipment you use on the course. It's pretty simple to understand why when you think about it: It's the only piece of equipment you use for each and every shot.

TaylorMade has delivered in a big way with its new Tour Preferred X golf ball ($47.99/dozen). The cast urethane cover on the X is now slightly thicker for more greenside control, and the ball's five-layer construction delivers lower spin with the driver and irons. With a compression of 87, players can expect a ball that feels firmer than the Tour Preferred, and they can also expect less spin and lower launch conditions on full iron shots with the X compared to its stable mate.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia all have the ball in play on the PGA Tour.

The Tour Preferred X does everything it advertises. Your going to get your distance without sacrificing that all-important feel around the greens.

For more information, visit www.taylormadegolf.com.

LUGGAGE/GADGETS/ACCESSORIES/FITNESS:

Club Glove TRS Ballistic: If you spend a good amount of time on the road traveling for work – and hopefully sneaking in some golf along the way – you know how important it is to have some quality luggage.

When it comes to quality luggage, especially in the golf world, it doesn’t get any better than Club Glove’s TRS Ballistic line ($2,248.00 for a three-piece ensemble). The TRS Ballistic luggage debuted in 2011, but underwent a big-time upgrade for 2016.

“We wanted to come up with a more traditional style luggage that would be able to withstand the rigors of travelling on the PGA Tour,” said Club Glove President, Jeff Herold. “Our original duffels, though incredibly well built, with an almost military style were wonderful for our exclusive niche of clients; however, we needed to come up with something that appeared a little more mainstream in terms of style and appeal to the frequent traveler.”

Club Glove’s Train Reaction System allows travelers to connect their rolling luggage with straps in a perfectly balanced train, providing an effortless and almost weightless movement around airports and cities.

"The reason I went with more traditional structured luggage is that because people were asking," Herold told PGA.com. "I got into the design world there. I design everything. I pencil drew it out and made prototypes. It's been refined to what you see now. We were the first ever to create the Train Reaction System. It balances and rolls all your pieces together at a 45-degree angle. Now we have adjustable straps, so you can tighten or loosen the connecting strap and it allows one to raise or lower the retractable angle for your height."

One of my favorite features of the luggage is the positioning of its zipper for the main compartment. Traditionally, you find the zippers for luggage either right down the middle or on the far edges. With the TRS Ballistic luggage, the zippers are almost “indented” into a looped shape, which means no more having to stuff items in and pushing down with all your might to zip the bag shut.

Each piece also includes packing modules for nearly wrinkle-free clothing organization, which also save space.

"PGA Tour players are all trending toward the TRS Ballistic and the more traditionally structured luggage, it caught on immediately," Herold said. "We have a list of names on the site -- everyone from Rory McIlroy to Bubba Watson -- that use our gear. We had all four major winners and all Olympic medal winners use our new TRS Ballistic this year. We're the heavyweight champions of luggage.

"It's a unique category, the travel side of golf. It's one of the only pieces in the game handled by more people than the actual user. We've gotten really good at handling and creating products that can take a beating." 

Visit www.clubglove.com for more information.

Bushnell Neo iON: Remember years ago when golf GPS devices started popping up and how they were pretty much the coolest thing in the world?

What wasn’t cool, however, were two things in particular: They were expensive and pretty much ALL they did was give yardages (you couldn’t use it for a watch off the course, etc.); Also, you usually had to pay for a yearly subscription (also not cheap).

Thankfully, technology has gotten better and that has benefitted the golfer in a big way both in cost and practicality.

Enter the NEO iON ($199) from Bushnell – a company that has long set the standard in golf measuring devices. The NEO iON is a wearable offering that comes preloaded with 35,000+ courses in 30 countries around the world. You can actually play three full rounds between charges too.

On the course, the NEO iON will give you yardages to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as distances to hazards and layup yardages.

If you’re walking the course, there’s even a built-in pedometer so you can track your steps.

Set the device to golf mode five minutes before your tee time and the NEO iON will automatically recognize the course you’re at, which makes it simple to use.

Another cool feature that I tested was the NEO iON’s “Tee Time” mode. You can actually plug in your tee time up to seven days in advance. Once you’re at the course that day, the device will automatically flip into golf mode seven minutes before your scheduled tee time.

Off the course, which is a huge value-add, the NEO iON can also serve as your everyday watch, displaying time, day of the week and day of the month.

The perfect accessory for when you’re sneaking out of the office for an emergency nine with its Inspector Gadget-like features.

To learn more, visit www.bushnellgolf.com.

TRX FOR GOLF BUNDLE: If you take your game seriously – or you’re really about fitness – TRX is something you should really consider.

It’s basically a full gym, full-body workout that you can take anywhere.

The Rip Trainer (which includes a workout guide) is for those looking to strengthen the core. With its resistance cord system, the Rip Trainer allows you to develop core strength, explosive power, flexibility and endurance -- all important to get the most out of your game.

The TRX Pro Suspension Training Kit ($249.95) includes a suspension anchor, door anchor, Xtender, mesh carry back, wrench and pro wristband. The entire kit can be set up virtually anywhere. And, free on the TRX website, you can look through hundreds of exercises to try with your kit.

The greatest aspect of the TRX is its portability. You can take it anywhere – even pack it in with your luggage if you’re headed out for a business trip since it takes very little space.

With the TRX, you don’t need to find the time to make a trip to the gym anymore.

For more information, find TRX online at www.trxtraining.com.

T.I.N. Box Partners: I’ve said many times in this space that one of my favorite aspects of the golf industry these days are the products available to the public that make you feel like you’re getting the experience that seemed to be reserved for touring professionals for so many years.

That description fits “T.I.N. Box Partners” to a T.

Specializing in customizable yardage-book covers, T.I.N. Box Partners can create an exceptional accessory for you, or make for an amazing gift for the golfer in your life.

Not all of us use yardage books, but this product can also make for the ultimate scorecard holder.

T.I.N. Box Partners are creating the official yardage book covers for Ryder Cup USA this year – and you can purchase that very cover. Or, if you want to get personal, you can choose from thousands of designs to be sewn onto the cover that bring out your personality, you can use initials, your name – pretty much whatever you can imagine, they can create.

The inside of the yardage book cover is no exception. Words of wisdom, names of loved ones, etc., can be etched into the high-grade leather.

T.I.N. Box Partners’ customer service is second to none. They walk the customer through every step of the process, routinely sending sample proofs of your desired design to insure that it is perfect when it arrives at your doorstep. The only thing that will surprise you when it arrives is the fact that the quality is even higher in hand than what you see on the website.

From start to finish, your yardage book cover will take approximately 30-40 days. Again – this is an unbelievable gift for the golfer in your life.

T.I.N. Box Partners yardage book covers start at $49 and go up from there based on levels of customization.

For more information, visit www.tinboxpartners.com.

Waterfield Bolt Backpack: As someone who travels, I’m always in search of the perfect bag to store my laptop, iPad, camera and other stuff. I take all of those electronics with me even if I’m going on a golf trip.

The reason? I love taking photos on special courses I get to play. I think I took about 1,200 total on a trip to Bandon Dunes a couple of years back. Even more fun than taking the photos is settling down at the end of the day before bed and looking through them on the laptop or iPad.

Well, it’s taken years, but I think I may have just discovered the perfect bag for all this and more in the Bolt Backpack from Waterfield ($329).

Made from a durable waxed canvas material with premium full-grain leather accents, the Bolt gets better -- character -- with age. It features two padded compartments -- one for a laptop, one for tablet -- both easily accessible through a separate waterproof zipper for easy access at airport security. There's an additional waterproof zipper to access main compartment contents. There are also two open-topped, interior hand pockets for storing chargers, cords, pens, etc.; Two exterior side pockets for water bottle or other quick-access items; a front zippered pocket with rain-guard flap for stashing sensitive documents; Two additional front pockets with leather tabs and magnetic closures; an anti-sweat mesh cushion also slides over rolling suitcase handle for breezing through airports; the ergonomically-designed straps distribute weight evenly; and the thick, leather bottom boot provides structure and enhances water-resistance and longevity.

There's also plenty of room within the bag for a pair of shoes and an extra outfit should you need it (maybe some golf clothes and shoes to slip in upon arrival so you can change on the fly to the course?).

On a recent 2-day trip to New York City, this was the only bag I packed for clothes and electronics. It made getting around so much easier.

You can learn more about all Waterfield has to offer at www.sfbags.com.

Orbitkey: Maybe this isn’t a big deal to a lot of people, but it’s a big deal to me. When I’m out on the golf course, there are a few items I keep in a valuables pouch that’s easily accessible in my golf bag. Those items are typically my watch, cell phone, wallet and keys.

The keys, my friends, are the biggest pain in the you know what to keep in there. Over the course of the round, they naturally move around. They scratch up my phone, put nasty scratches on my wallet and – basically – get in the way of my wallet when I’m trying to grab it to pay for a drink or snack on the course.

A few weeks ago, however, I stumbled upon a company called “Orbitkey” which changed all of that. Rather than having all your keys on a keychain dangling around everywhere, Orbitkey created a slim loop – available in leather or rubber – that houses up to seven keys, stacking them.

When you need one of the keys, you then open the Orbitkey similar to the way a Swiss Army knife works. You open the key you need while all the other’s stay in place.

What makes the Orbitkey even cooler is that it offers a couple of well-thought-out accessories that will prove to be very helpful – a bottle opener and a USB drive.

Now instead of all those keys messing up my valuables pouch and the valuables in it, I have everything I need packaged in something that’s roughly the size of a stick of lip-gloss.

Leather Orbitkey’s are available for $39.95 and the rubber version sells for $29.95. Both are available in a variety of colors.

Visit www.orbitkey.com for more information. 

12 items you’ll want to try for the Fall golf season
PGA Fashion and Demo Experience
PGA of America
Wednesday was the final day of the 2016 PGA Fashion and Demo Experience

By John Asay
Special to PGA.com

It was a busy final day on the 2016 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience trade show floor Wednesday, as PGA professionals were wrapping up business with the over 250 vendors in attendance.

Starting with the Demo Day at Cascata on Monday and the Golf Fashion Show Tuesday at The Venetian, things were hopping. PGA professionals and industry leaders were able to view the latest in new equipment, technology, training aids, fashion and accessories.

Since the show is targeted toward PGA professionals, there’s a lot of behind the scenes vendors that contribute to making your golf experience outstanding.

Sometimes your first impression of a golf course is in the pro shop. If you're wowed, there's a good chance it's because of a company called ProCraft Heritage Creations. Their expertise is in designing and building the finest golf shops in the world. From start to finish, every section is designed to honor the game of golf. They boast of a 39 percent increase in sales after a remodel and their notable clients include Pinehurst, Pebble Beach Golf links, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and Oakmont Country Club.

Golf courses has a lot of accessories and supplies that are needed on the course. Flags and flagsticks, course signage, club and ball washers, tee markers, hole cutters, driving range yardage markers, bag drop off racks, tee signs with yardage, ropes and stakes and even the dreaded OB markers. You might be curious, range balls are $4.95 per dozen, 2 1/4 inch wooden tees are $10 per 500. Easy Picker Golf Products can supply most everything you need to equip your course.

RELATED: Complete PGA Fashion and Demo Show coverage

PGA professionals are always looking for a way to be more profitable. Night Eagle Golf may have the answers. Their aim is to extend the golf game into the evening with a memorable golf event. They have a complete lineup of LED lit golf balls, tee box markers, hole markers, pitch and putt flags and wrist bands.

Dormie Workshop provides hand-crafted, genuine leather, totally customizable headcovers. Conceived by PGA Canada members and brothers Jeff and Todd Bishop, these headcovers shout class. Design anything you like in any colors and the brothers Todd will create it.

Varick promises the next generation of golf balls. This unique ball features a fancy design in both metallic or bright colors. They had their ball tested and compared to Titleist ProV1x and Srixon, and came out favorable compared to these two popular brands. As they say, “You can have all the bling with no compromises in performance.”

Another product I had never seen was made by SlideBelts. Inspired by an ancient accessory, there are no holes in the belt, instead a plastic strip, think electrical tie, guaranteeing a perfect fit every time. Secured by a ratchet buckle, these belts won’t pull your belt hole like regular belts. Since the buckles and belts are interchangeable, there will always be a color to match your golf shirt.

There's always room for a novelty item. FootWedgePro’s wedge 58 degrees and the toe resembles the toes on your foot with the grooved flat big toe that serves as a putter. Don’t forget the bottle opener on the bottom of the club. Company Motto, “Putt your best foot forward.” 

PGA Fashion and Demo Experience: Products you should know from Wednesday
August 11, 2016 - 10:05am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
GPS, rangefinder, golf
Do you use a GPS device, or a laser rangefinder on the golf course? We surveyed our loyal friends in PGA.com Facebook Nation and learned that it's pretty much a split decision.

There are so many things out there promising to improve your golf game. And, trust us, a lot of them work.

Two of the most important items out there that you should consider are these: A GPS watch/smartphone GPS app of some kind, or a Laser Rangefinder.

Why are these so important, you ask? Because with the help of these products, you're going to discover a more precise yardage, which -- in theory -- means that even your misses should be closer to the hole because you'll be hitting the right club.

RELATED: Here's how measuring devices can shave strokes off your game

With that, we surveyed our hundreds of thousands of friends in PGA.com Facebook Nation to figure what it is you prefer to use between a GPS watch style, or a Laser Rangefinder.

Here are your arguments for why you like one over the other.

Pro-GPS:

Jane Garrard: GPS watch because it gives me front, back and center of the green distance and more accurate distance readings of water and sand. Plus, it's right there on my wrist and I don't have to pull it out and take time to focus it!

Dwight Corky Callihan: As a ranger on a golf course, I prefer the watch. I watch people use the rangefinder and it takes much more time to use than the watch. When I compare distances with my watch with someone using a laser, they are always very close. Besides most of the players that use the lasers don't really need them because they don't play well enough to hit the shot after they use it.

Bruce Jarzmik: I've used a GPS watch for quite awhile. It's always handy and much more convenient then a rangefinder. I don't use it for anything except yardages to the front, middle and back of the green. I've worn it to a number of PGA tour events over the years as a spectator, gives a great idea of what the players yardages are while watching from the ropes.

Mike Shilkitus: GPS watch because its always right there on my wrist and doesn't slow down play.

David Wayne Morgan: GPS. Quick and easy.

John Lancaster: Watch works for me. I've recently upgraded to the Garmin X40 in your picture and it does so much more than just yardages.

Iain Henty: GPS -- much more than a rangefinder. Keeps all your stats up to date -- fairways, GIR, putts, club yardages etc.

John Foglio: The GPS since it doesn't require line of site or steady hands, but not the watch type. The watch makes it look like you're continually checking the time during your round. I'm a high 80s shooter, and the GPS accuracy is MORE than good enough for my game.

Daniel Mcgregor: GPS watch it's more efficient and practical.

Pro-Laser Rangefinder:

Samy Said: I'd rather have the rangefinder at the course. You can have the info of any point such as elevation. Sometimes use the smartphone apps with GPS to give me the info I cannot see at the spot I am.

Dan Sanders: I did the GPS for about 5 years. Found out there were discrepancies on certain holes depending on time of day. Even from height off the ground and spots just to the left or right. This year I bought the rangefinder and have been having a much better time with yardages.

Sammy Saunders: Rangefinder because I don't think they always update the watch stuff when it comes to changes in holes, we play on a lot of temp greens up here in Montana in the spring and a watch is not effective.

Robert Cardone: Rangefinder for me. I find it quicker and no need to worry about inputting any info it just reads the distances for you. I find it making my game easier and more enjoyable.

Payton Gunckel-Johnson: Rangefinder. I can scan specific trees or hazards with it and all that other good stuff. GPS just has never been for me.

Khoa Nguyen: Rangefinder. Can't shoot distance at hazard or bunkers with a watch.

Mike Rushing: Rangefinder simply because it gives me to the pin measurements and slope.

Alex Buysse: Rangefinder. Has so many more uses. Can use it on the driving range to practice better because we all know how accurate the range distances always are. You can also use it to see how far your drive was by shooting back towards the tee box.

Joseph Sciotto: Rangefinder. No need to deal with charging anything, less cords, and mostly because like Khoa mentioned, with a rangefinder can get distance for layup shots!

Geoff Morrison: Laser. Exact yardage to anything.

So, there you have it. Practically split down the middle and fantastic arguments for both.

 

 

Do you prefer a golf GPS, or a laser rangefinder on the course?
July 7, 2016 - 1:39pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Holderness and Bourne
Holderness and Bourne
Holderness and Bourne offers fine polos and plenty of accessories for the golf course.

Over the course of a given year, I'm able to get an up close look at some incredible golf gear. Periodically, I like to compile a product round-up of some of my favorites.

Here's a peek at a list of items I've had the opportunity to test in the last couple of months that you may want to consider for your own game -- everything from clubs, to gadgets to apparel and more.

Let's break them down by product type.

BAG:

TactiCool BAMF: You've never seen a golf bag like this one.

The BAMF (abbreviation for words that are NSFW) bag by TactiCool is an incredibly functional golf bag with a nod to our military. Available in Stealth Black, Coyote Brown, or Olive Drab, the BAMF bags utilize a MOLLE webbing system that allows you to attach as many or as little accessories you want.

TactiCool's Expeditionary Mode BAMF bag comes preloaded with accessories for your sunglasses, smartphone, water bottle, and more.

"We knew it was an excellent way to change out and customize parts and pieces, and we knew enough people with some kind of tactical background who also had other hobbies," said Jake Richmond, TactiCool's Chief Brand Officer, an Air Force veteran. "The tactical sensibility naturally includes the compulsion to customize your own 'loadout,' so when you combine that with other hobbies, it was clear to us that we weren't the only ones who would appreciate a MOLLE golf bag."

Another beautiful thing about this bag? You're not limited to just the sweet accessory offerings from TactiCool.

"We want our customers to know they can buy accessories from any MOLLE gear manufacturer, and it'll fit on their BAMF bag," Richmond said. "In other words, we're liberators, not monopolizers."

Added Chris Holland, TactiCool's founding partner and also an Air Force veteran: "The goal was to create something that empowered people to make their own loadout, instead of enslaving them to our little cult of products and forcing them to buy accessories from us. Buy the bag, then buy a pouch here, a patch there, and its all up to you."

If you're looking for a bag that's extra cool and like nothing anyone else has (for now), this is the bag for you.

Learn more at www.tacticoolcac.com.

SHOES:

Canoos: If there's a better crossover shoe for the summer, I have yet to see it. In a word, Canoos are "awesome." They're the type of shoe I never knew I wanted, never knew existed and -- now -- not sure I'd want to live with out.

The concept is brilliant. These are high-quality boat shoes with built in soft spikes on the sole. The soft spikes underneath are relatively short, which I love. There's plenty of traction on the course, but when you where them off the course, you don't feel as though you're wearing golf spikes.

You can wear them on the course, to the beach, out to dinner, with shorts, with slacks, with jeans -- whatever.

Quality golf shoes are expensive. Quality boat shoes are expensive. With Canoos, it's as if you're getting both for the price of one. Price: $150. You can learn more at www.canoos.com.

Ecco Speed Hybrid: When it comes to fashion these days, we're seeing lots of "throwback" gear -- a new spin/twist on an older look. Or, in the case of the Ecco Speed Hybrid, a new and improved spin on a throwback look.

The best way I can describe the Ecco Speed Hybrid is that they look like an old-school sneaker. But the technology behind this killer Ecco offering makes it way better than that old-school sneaker sitting in the back of your closet.

Ecco describes it like this: An outsole with molded traction bars combined with groundbreaking E-DTS® hybrid technology provides enhanced stability throughout your swing. The breathable leather uppers have Ecco's unique HYDROMAX™ treatment, which has water repellant characteristics.

Trying to save space in your luggage? With that sneaker look, these are fantastic to wear through the airport and then straight to the course when you land. Price: $180. us.shop.ecco.com.

PUMA Ignite Spikeless: An argument could be made that these are the most comfortable golf shoes ever created. They're light and they fit and feel like your favorite pair of slippers.

Even when you wear these shoes for the first time, there's no "stiffness" whatsoever. It's as if they're already been broken in for you.

A "running performance foam" was used to give these shoes incredible cushioning. Along with the comfort, they look great too. Price: $120. www.puma.com.

HEADCOVERS:

Fore Ewe Knitted Headcovers: Another example of that "throwback" look in golf, Fore Ewe knitted headcovers will let you add some spice to your golf bag with a nod to the past.

Mary Jackley, an avid knitter from Minnesota, is the mastermind behind Fore Ewe. All of Fore Ewe's yarn is skein dyed to make sure the colors are rich and consistent. Since June 2012, Jackley says she has designed and sold over 11,000 headcovers.

My favorite thing about Jackley's business is the fact that -- along with her catalogue of beautiful offerings -- she gives you, the customer, the ability to design your headcovers with the colors and patterns you want. And the turnaround time is amazing -- usually 2-3 weeks.

Overall, these are just beautiful, beautiful headcovers. Price: Starting at $35 and up depending on club and custom options. www.foreewe.com.

Headgear Golf Leather Headcovers: Again, for me, it's all about customization these days. With companies like Headgear Golf, you can get the same level of customization as your favorite Tour pro.

Headgear Golf carefully cuts and manually stitches only the highest quality leather hides and line the inside with soft fleece for easy slip on and off. A double elastic pinch keeps the snug fit.

Headgear Golf has a bunch of stock offerings that are spectacular, but you can really make it personal with a custom design -- your favorite colors, the colors of your favorite sports team, etc. Price: $39 and up. www.headgeargolf.com.

CLUBS:

TaylorMade M2 3-wood: This club goes long... and straight. What more can you ask of a fairway wood? I suppose it's "look." When it comes to "look" I'm not sure anything tops what TaylorMade has done with its M1 and M2 offerings. They're just gorgeous to look at with the Carbon Composite Crown.

The sound upon contact is phenomenal. It just pops right off the clubface and is as solid a sounding club as I've ever hit.

The best part of the M2 fairway woods? They're not going to break the bank, ringing in at $249. www.taylormadegolf.com.

Wilson Staff C200 Irons: Looks aren't everything when it comes to golf clubs. It's all about performance. Luckily for Wilson Staff, the companies new C200 irons have both attributes going for it -- they're gorgeous, they're easy to hit and they're long.

Categorized as "crossover" irons, the C200s are made for the player seeking a midsize head shape and moderate offset with the type of distances you don't get from traditional irons. Wilson Staff's proprietary FLX Face Technology minimizes the contact points between the body and the thin face. These minimized contact points -- combined with a series of Power Holes around the entire perimeter of the face -- maximize face flex upon impact, resulting in increased ball speed and distance.

They're easy to swing and provide what every golfer is looking for: forgiveness on mishits. Price: $799.99 (steel 4-PW, GW). www.wilson.com.

APPAREL & ACCESSORIES:

Holderness and Bourne: When it comes to golf polos (starting at $88), Holderness and Bourne aren't looking to recreate the wheel. These are just classic, timeless polos made with modern fabrics that are lightweight and move with your body instead of getting stuck while swinging.

And when I say they're not "looking to recreate the wheel" I simply mean that this isn't "trendy" stuff. It's beautiful apparel that stands the test of time. It's all class.

The same goes for Holderness and Bourne's accessories. I was able to test out their Ouimet Scorecard & Passport Cover ($90); The Travis Valuables Case ($65); and The Crosby Shoe Bag ($125). Each of those accessories comes in three colorways: Annapolis Blue, British Khaki, or Nantucket Red.

The accessories all feature a premium water-resistant cotton duck canvas exterior, while the Ouimet Scorecard & Passport Cover and Crosby Shoe Bag also include pebble grain leather, a premium polished nickel zipper and blue bengal stripe oxford cloth interior.

Unlike a lot of valuables cases/pouches out there, the Travis Valuables case is long and easily accommodates today's bigger smartphones. It's thin design also makes it easy to slip in and out of the bag.

For more information, check out www.holdernessandbourne.com.

Galvin Green: The same apparel that has been used to outfit European Ryder Cup teams, Galvin Green prides itself on making the types of garments that do not interfere with your golf swing.

With its VENTIL8 line, Galvin Green uses materials that transport moisture and excess heat away from your body twice as quickly as conventional offerings that come in polyester. The material disperses perspiration and moisture over a larger area, which allows it to evaporate faster.

As has been the theme here with apparel, we're all about ultimate comfort on hot summer days. This is the epitome of what Galvin Green offers with its VENTIL8 polos and trousers. They're light and they don't stick to you. What more can you ask for?

For more information, visit www.galvingreen.com.

Lululemon: If you've heard of this Canadian brand, it's likely because of its high-quality yoga gear. You may also think of it as a brand mostly for women.

If that's all you thought, please think again, because you're missing out... big time.

Lululemon also makes a bunch of great gear for men. And it's not just for yoga or working out. They have clothing for the golf course too -- polos, shorts and pants.

I tried out the Evolution Polo ($88). It is the lightest polo I've ever worn. Lululemon describes it as: A sweat-wicking, four-way stretch, and engineered to feel like your favorite broken-in tee.

They're not kidding. It feels just like a broken-in tee and there's nothing better than that feeling when you're spending a hot summer's day on the course. The shirts are a bit form-fitting, so if you like a little more room, go up a size.

For shorts, I tried out the Commission Short QWICK CHINO ($88) and the Works Short ($88). The pants included the ABC ($128) and the Commission Urbanite Swift ($128). Both the shorts and the pants include a stretch material that make them feel more like a pair of lightweight sweatpants than more golf-course/boardroom appropriate attire.

Being 100 percent honest, the ABC pants are the most comfortable pants I've ever worn. And on the golf course, they're just perfect. The back pockets are the ideal size for a yardage book or scorecard.

Speaking of which, I was recently on the road for the Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by KitchenAid, as well as the PGA Professional Championship. You know when you get a new car and you don't realize how many people drive that car until you're driving it yourself? The same can be said for the Lululemon ABC pants. I had no idea how many golfers wore them until I had them on myself.

The bottom line is this: Lululemon is no longer just for the ladies. Guys -- you don't know what you're missing if you don't try them out.

Find them at www.lululemon.com.

Kentwool socks: Are you more of a walker, or the type that takes a cart when playing a round of golf?

Either way, Kentwool makes the perfect sock for you. Why socks don't seem like a big deal to many is beyond me. Golf is uncomfortable enough with everything you face on the course. Your feet shouldn't be a part of that equation.

Kentwool socks, made in the USA, are constructed with 58 percent Merino Wool, 31 percent Nylon, 9 percent Stretch Polyester and 2 percent Spandex. The best part about the socks? They have a blister-free guarantee.

For more information, visit www.kentwool.com.

Devereux: I'd classify Devereux as a luxury golf brand without sacrificing comfort. Devereux's polos (65 percent Pima Cotton and 35 percent Polyester) have a touch-of-class look to them.

The thin material on the polos make them exceptionally comfortable and perfect for those hot and humid days on the course.

The same goes for Devereux's short, which are 90 percent Polyester and 10 percent Spandex.

Overall, it's an apparel brand for when you need to be a little more dressed up.

For more, check out www.dvrxgolf.com.

Garmin Approach X40: I have a confession to make... Since smartphones these days are practically attached to our person at all times, I figured it had eliminated my need for a watch.

Now, however, technology has turned toward the enhanced development of "wearables." Picking up on that trend is Garmin with its Approach X40 band. It's not just a watch. It's not just a golf GPS preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses. It also measures your shot distance, tracks stats such as putts per round, greens and fairways hit, is a digital scorecard and -- when connected to your computer or smartphone -- allows you to review your scorecard and round.

In addition to all of that -- and what separates the Approach X40 from its competition -- is its fitness tracking capabilities. It counts your steps, measures your heart rate, tracks your sleep, allows you to set fitness goals and more.

This is a golf watch that you never have to take off... except to charge, which you'll only need to do every 5 days in activity mode, or every 10 days in GPS mode.

Oh, and for good measure -- when synced with your smartphone, you can have text messages and call alerts sent to your wrist.

For more, visit www.garmin.com.

Golf Pride Tour SNSR Putter grips: Putting is all about feel and that starts with the grip you're cradling in your hands.

Golf Pride's Tour SNSR putter grips -- available in two styles and two sizes -- promote light grip pressure in the hands for superior control.

The counter of the grip encourages a more consistent, repeatable putting stroke. We can all use more consistency on the greens.

Visit www.golfpride.com to learn more. 

15 golf items you'll want to try out this summer
New golf equipment
Courtesy of Nike Golf, Ping Golf, Cleveland Golf and Mizuno Golf
Among the most intriguing new gear at the PGA Show this week is the (clockwise from upper left) Nike Vapor Flex driver, Ping G Crossover irons, Mizuno S5 wedges and Cleveland TFI 2135 putters.
 
 
ORLANDO – Walking the floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, it's easy to get caught up in the thousands of eye-catching new products on display. The fact is, however, that the vast majority of best-selling equipment comes from a handful of golf's most prominent equipment makers.
 
Here is a round-up of some of the biggest releases from golf's most prominent equipment companies – it is not in any way a complete list of the new offerings – presented in alphabetical order:
 
CALLAWAY: Riding a wave of momentum into 2016, Callaway is out with its XR16 driver and fairway clubs, which have a unique backstory. As clubhead aerodynamics become more prominent, the company teamed with aircraft maker Boeing to design the heads of these new clubs to cut through the air more easily than ever – Callaway bills it as "where forgiving meets fast."
 
"To make a driver as advanced as the new XR16, we had to think outside the box and come up with new techniques to break the common mold of driver design," says Alan Hocknell, Callaway's senior vice president for research and development.
 
The XR16 has a large head (450cc) like those of many modern drivers, but it is shaped to allow for more stability through the swing and positions the center of gravity lower and deeper than previous models. The Speed Step Crown is thinner and stretched out to lower drag.
 
 
The driver also contains the latest version of Callaway's R*MOTO face that's lighter and almost 20 percent thinner than before to help generate faster swings and more ball speed. It is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees, and retails for $349.99. The tuned-up Pro model comes in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees, and retails for $399.99.
 
The XR16 fairway woods feature a larger head and a bigger footprint than you might expect. The crown is lighter than previous models, and the sole is cambered to get move more easily through the turf. Its Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup provides for more spring and forgiveness. 
 
The XR16 comes in 3+, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 11 models, and retails for $229.99 each. The Pro woods have a more compact head design, and are available in lofts of 14, 16 and 18 degrees with a retail price of $249.99 each.
 
CLEVELAND: At Cleveland, a lot of the focus right now is on proper alignment while putting. The company's latest advancement is small but crucial – they've raised the alignment bar on the flange of their new family of TFI 2135 putters.
 
On most putters, the alignment bar – the little line behind the face that helps you aim – sits on the flange, near the bottom of the putter. That's fine, Cleveland says, if your eyes are directly over the ball. But most golfers – the company says the number is 80 percent – don't actually set up with their eyes in that position, which can led to incorrect alignment and missed putts.
 
 
So on these new models, Cleveland's designers raised the alignment line up to where it is equal to the midpoint of the ball – 21.35 millimeters. At that level, they say, the line will never give you a misperception no matter where your eyes are when you address the ball.
 
The "2135" obviously stands for the 21.35-millimeter level of the alignment bar, while the "TFI" stands for True Feel Innovation, the name of the copper-colored face on these new models. Specifically, it is a Milled Copper Infused Face Cap over a Copolymer Insert for improved feel and consistency across the face. The three new putters retail for $129.99 (blade and mid-mallet ) and $169.99 (counterbalanced blade with a heavier 405-gram head weight).
 
COBRA: Cobra Golf got a nice boost over the weekend when Rickie Fowler won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship over a star-studded field that included Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. Fowler won with a brand-new King LTD driver in his bag, and Cobra has five versions of the new King driver to choose from.
 
Cobra calls the King LTD the longest and straightest driver it has ever created. It has a 16-gram weight near the back of the head to lower the center of gravity for more stability and forgiveness. Its TexTreme Carbon Fiber crown is 20 percent lighter than standard carbon fiber, while its re-engineered Forged 8-1-1 Titanium E9 face is hotter than previous versions while also boasting a larger "sweet zone." 
 
 
Golfers looking for more adjustability can choose from the King F6 and F6 Pro Custom versions, which feature moveable weights, and there is also a standard King F6 model that has a "front-to-back" weight system that allows you to select your center of gravity. All the King models have Cobra's MyFly system that lets golfers choose their loft settings.
 
The King LTD and LTD Pro retail for $499, while the F6 and F6 Pro Custom retail for $399 and the standard King F6 retails for $349.
 
MIZUNO: Among the most eye-catching products on display this week are the "Blue Magic" S5 wedges from Mizuno. They get their nickname from their dazzling Blue Ion finish and their cache from the fact that Luke Donald not only helped design them but also uses them.
 
The S5 wedges have a new "silhouette" head shape that gives them a clean look and helps them interact more cleanly with turf and sand. They're made from 1025 mild carbon steel using Mizuno's famous Grain Flow forging process to produce a soft but consistent feel. 
 
 
These new wedges also boast Mizuno's Quad Cut Groove technology, in which the width, depth, draft angle and shoulder radius of each groove are precisely rendered to enhance spin control and ball-stopping ability in all playing conditions. For greater control on the high-bounce options, 15 percent of the center trailing edge is beveled, while 25 percent is removed on the low-bounce options. 
 
Along with Blue Ion, the S5 wedges come in a White Satin finish, and are available in 25 different loft and bounce combinations ranging from 49 to 62 degrees via Mizuno's Performance Fitting System. They retail for $129.99 per club.
 
NIKE: While Luke Donald was giving his input on the new Mizuno S5 wedges, Rory McIlroy was helping to fine-tune the design the new Vapor Fly line of clubs from Nike Golf. They're called Fly because the goal in creating them was to provide an overall higher launch angle.
 
"We've verified that if we can launch the ball higher, while managing spin, it will ultimately fly farther," says Nate Radcliffe, Nike Golf's director of engineering. "We are using innovative designs that consider mass distribution, tuned compliance and stiffness to help the ball consistently fly high and long."
 
The vanguard of the new line is the Vapor Flex 440 driver, whose 440cc head is made primarily of carbon fiber-reinforced RZN, the proprietary material that Nike uses in both clubs and golf balls. RZN is extremely light and strong, allowing the company's engineers to position more weight forward and down for extra adjustability and forgiveness.
 
 
The HyperFlight face is thinned out around the perimeter to help produce extreme ball speed across the entire face, while the FlyBeam Reinforced Covert Cavity Back stiffens the head and redistributes weight to the heel and toe for better ball speed and forgiveness. 
 
The Vapor Flex 440 also features FlexFlight technology – a RZN tube with a high-density weight on one end. Golfers can adjust their launch angle, spin rate and other characteristics by inserting either the light or the heavy end of the tube into the head. And Nike's FlexLoft 2.0 technology lets golfer select from among five lofts and three face angles to fine-tune their ball flight.
 
The Vapor Fly family also includes the Fly and Pro drivers as well as fairway woods and hybrids, and Vapor Fly and Fly Pro irons. The Vapor Flex driver retails for $600. 
 
PING: The new G Driver – the follow-up to its hit G30 driver – is obviously Ping's headline this year, but the company's most intriguing new offering is its G Crossover club. Ping says it combines the precision, workability and control of an iron with the ball speed and forgiveness of a hybrid. 
 
"People love the look and feel of the Crossover because they haven't seen anything like it," says Ping CEO John Solheim said. "It shouldn't be confused with a driving iron. It's higher-launching and much more forgiving, and offers a lot of versatility."
 
 
The distinctive gray head resembles a huge muscleback, yet the club has a narrow top line. The head also has extreme heel-toe weighting to keep the center of gravity low and back for extra stability and forgiveness. The high-strength Carpenter 455 steel face is machined for greater flexing and faster ball speed, while a cascading internal sole helps the entire face, sole and top rail to flex and maximize distance. 
 
The Crossover is available in three lofts – 18 degrees, 21 degrees and 24 degrees – and retails for 
$247.50 per club.
 
TAYLORMADE: Whenever TaylorMade introduces a new driver, it immediately generates worldwide attention. The company's other releases, however, often fly under the radar. The latest case in point might be its new M2 irons.
 
TaylorMade's focus for these new irons was to achieve maximum distance without sacrificing peak trajectory. For starters, the company's designers utilized a Thick-Thin Fluted Hosel, which removed three grams of weight from the hosel and distributed it as low as possible around the clubhead's perimeter to help lower the center of gravity and promote a higher launch.
 
 
MORE: The face is thinner than on the previous irons – it doesn't include the Face Slots found on some recent TaylorMade irons – and works with the Speed Pocket – the channel cut into the sole that helps the face flex – to increase the launch angle and ball speed, even on shots struck below the face's equator. Additionally, the 360° Undercut expands the unsupported face area for more ball speed across the face, and removes weight from the top line to allow for stronger lofts that maximize distance.
 
The M2 irons retail for $799 per set with steel shafts and $899 with graphite), while the tune-up M2 Tour version retails for $899 with steel shafts.
 
TITLEIST: There's no shortage of new gear at Titleist, most notably all the new irons that appeared last fall. But the big newsmaker at the PGA Show is the company's Vokey SM6 wedges.
 
The center of gravity is progressive through the set because, the company says, aligning it with the impact position of each loft produces precise distance and trajectory control. Lowering the center of gravity in the pitching and gap wedges moves more mass behind the ball, while the sand wedge has a mid-level center of gravity and the higher-lofted wedges raise the center of gravity even higher.
 
 
The wedges' TX4 grooves feature a new parallel face texture that creates a more consistent groove edge and tighter quality tolerances to generate more spin. The lower-lofted clubs (46 to 54 degrees) have narrower, deeper grooves, while the higher-lofted clubs (56 to 62 degrees) have wider grooves. These distinct designs, the company says, optimize contact with the ball for maximum spin.
 
The SM6 models also offer five different grind options and three different finishes, and they can be customized in many different ways. They retail for $169 per club. 
 
Most prominent new equipment releases from golf's biggest companies at the PGA Show
<div class="breadcrumb"><a href="/home">Home</a> » Equipment</div>