Equipment

March 11, 2014 - 11:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rose & Fire
Rose & Fire
Rose & Fire headcovers are 100 percent made in the USA.

Golf fashion, these days, isn't limited to the clothes you put on to hit the links.

Golf fashion comes in a number of other forms now -- your glove, your bag, the color of your golf ball and even your headcovers, just to name a few.

In November 2013, Mike Buchfuhrer officially opened the doors for his business Rose & Fire, a company that specializes in high-end headcovers.

READ: Swing Caddie SC100 portable launch monitor -- perfect practice companion

Like many, Buchfuhrer's reason for starting his headcover business came about out of the desire to fill a void he saw in the industry. All of these golf manufacturers -- especially those building handcrafted putters, another business Buchfuhrer dabbled in for a time -- were making expensive clubs that consumers would buy, but, "a special headcover was needed to compliment the craftsmanship of the putters," Buchfuhrer said. "Nothing available worked."

With a family background in fashion, Buchfuhrer got to work in 2010 designing his first headcover. It quickly became a passion and an obsession.

"There came a point where I decided that if I wanted to make truly great covers and achieve my dreams, I needed to open my own shop," he said. "I bought all the proper sewing machines, sourced amazing materials, created the designs, sewed prototypes, and found some of the most incredible craftsmen. That was the birth of Rose & Fire."

The name "Rose & Fire" carries particular significance too.

"Rose" pays homage to Buchfuhrer's grandmother, the first designer in the family, while "Fire" is a play on the second part of Buchfuhrer's last name.

"She was the matriarchal designer in the family and always told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do if I worked hard enough," Buchfuhrer said. "Hearing that and knowing she and other members of my family were able to succeed in fashion gave me the confidence -- and guidance -- needed to get going. I'm incredibly lucky to be in the this position. I get to design and create my dream covers for golfers, boutiques, pro shops, and the best putter manufacturers in the world. It feels great to improve what is out there and make something amazing that otherwise wouldn't have existed."

So what separates a Rose & Fire headcover from the stock headcover that comes with your expensive new driver, fairway wood, hybrid or putter?

For starters, Rose & Fire headcovers are 100 percent made in the USA.

"The number one thing that I tell all my sewing machine operators is that our quality must be the best in the world," Buchfuhrer said. "Made in USA needs to mean something, and not be a plea for charity. We have to back it up with exceptional products -- ones that are undeniably the best. Slight advances aren't enough. We need to shake things up. There's a reason why our logo is a lit match -- we're starting something new."

Buchfuhrer said he uses special materials that are sewn together in a way that respects their quality and heritage. He said industry people often insist the materials Buchfuhrer is using are overkill or unnecessary because consumers won't notice something of lesser quality.

Buchfuhrer disagrees. And that's why he's not willing to compromise the quality of his headcovers.

"I'm here to make covers as if each one was for my personal use," he explained. "Aside from using quality materials, it's important that our constructions compliment them. Our ballistic nylon cover, for example, is constructed very differently from our denim covers. The level of sophistication is also a point of separation. For example, if you look at other companies, embroidered vinyl seems to be the accepted material of choice for putter covers. As headcover makers it's time to step things up and give golfers the quality and material selection they deserve."

Quality craftsmanship can come at a price. At Rose & Fire, though, that price is on the reasonable side.

Buchfuhrer's headcovers -- made from materials including denim, leather, waxed canvas and more -- sell for between $40-$60 per piece.

"Golfers who buy a Rose & Fire covers are really paying for the time, skill, and materials that went into making it, not hype," Buchfuhrer said. "We're here to stay and know that in order to do that we have to treat people fairly by providing the best quality at a fair price."

One aspect of Rose & Fire headcovers that truly sticks out from others is that each cover includes a zippered pocket (or, a regular "jean" pocket on the denim pieces). On drivers, this is a great place to store tees, or even a little cash you may need when the beverage cart comes around on the course. On the putter cover, it's a perfect place to store your ball marker and divot tool.

If you're interested in learning more about Rose & Fire, visit www.roseandfire.com. You can also find Rose & Fire on Facebook, or follow Rose & Fire on Twitter, @RoseandFireUSA.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Rose & Fire raises the bar for high-end headcovers
March 10, 2014 - 11:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Swing Caddie SC100
Voice Caddie
The Swing Caddie SC100 by Voice Caddie is a great practice tool for those serious about improving their golf game.

It's been a long, cold, snowy winter here in New England. Not that I'm complaining. That's what you sign up for when you live in these parts.

At a certain point though, all this dreary weather makes us long for spring and the start of golf season. This past weekend, we got a hint that perhaps -- just maybe -- spring is around the corner after all. With temperatures in the low 50s, scores of golfers flocked to the local driving range, myself included.

Along with hitting golf balls outside for the first time since November, I was very much looking forward to trying out a new device that caught my eye recently -- a product called the Swing Caddie SC100 from Voice Caddie.

RELATED: What's in the winners' golf bags for the week of March 9, 2014

The Swing Caddie SC100 is a portable launch monitor. Who wants to lug that around, right?

Consider this: This particular portable launch monitor is slightly bigger and weighs about the same as an iPhone. It comes in a small pouch and includes a remote. You can tuck it into the valuables pocket on your golf bag and you won't even know it's there.

Once you're at the range, you simply set the monitor on its stand behind your hitting area and with the tiny remote that clips to your belt loop you can adjust the settings -- the club your hitting, and the mode you're playing.

In just a few minutes, the Swing Caddie changed the way I'll practice going forward. While the Average Joe golfer might wonder: Why do I need a portable launch monitor -- the data is only going to confuse me? Let me tell you, the Swing Caddie is an invaluable practice tool.

Not all of us have the skills to be a world-class player, but that doesn't mean we don't take our golf seriously. The Swing Caddie -- a tiny, standalone device that doesn't require a smartphone app -- will give you the key information you need instead of overloading you with the technical information you don't understand.

The instant feedback LCD display measures the following:

- carry distance
- swing speed
- ball speed
- smash factor

You can select from three different modes, as well -- practice, target, or random.

Have you ever played golf with the person who thinks he or she hits his or her clubs a lot further than they actually do? Are you that person?

After a quick warm up and in about five minutes time, I was blown away by the consistency with which the Swing Caddie allowed me to practice. It takes the "guessing" factor out of the equation and really allows the user to dial in consistent distances at which there ball travels with each club in the bag.

Here's a video showing how the Swing Caddie SC100 works:

 

 

It's one thing to follow the flight of your golf shot and see that you did something wrong -- a hard hook, a massive slice, etc. It's another thing to be able to, instantaneously after hitting that shot, look back at your portable launch monitor to try and make sense of why that shot happened. Was your swing speed a lot faster than your previous shot? Slower?

Based on the swing speed element on the display, you can quickly develop rhythm and tempo to help frequently repeat the swing that bares the best results for you.

The Swing Caddie is not a substitute for lessons from a PGA Professional. It is, however, an incredible practice tool that any player who takes his or her game seriously -- regardless of ability level -- should have as a companion at the range.

The Swing Caddie SC100 retails for $269. You can learn more about the device -- and others offered by Voice Caddie -- at www.voicecaddie.com.

You can also follow Voice Caddie on Twitter, @vcaddie.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Swing Caddie SC100 from Voice Caddie -- a perfect practice companion
Nead custom putters
Courtesy of Nead Custom Putters
Nead Custom Putters is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby.
When it comes to putters there are a few who stand above the rest. While the Scotty Cameron may be the most sought after, there are other companies that deserve a look, especially if you want something that is uniquely yours. One of those is Nead Custom Putters.
 
The Charlotte-based company is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby during his “quiet time” away from the track.
 
“Building putters is something I have enjoyed doing since I was young  It was sort of like the game of golf.  My quiet time between complete chaos,” he said. “I really never thought of it as business until the last few years… it was just my quiet time.”
 
 
Nead’s “quiet time” activity has turned into a full-fledged artistic endeavor. Nead builds a lot of custom, one-of-a-kind items, but also produced some mass-produced products, such as their best-selling BiTi mallet.
 
“[Our] most popular model over the years has been our BiTi Mallet. It was an original design a few years ago that has a carbon or stainless head with a titanium rear flange,” Nead said. “Every time I make a run of them they aren’t around for long.”
 
Some may think the putters are a tad pricey, but when you consider each one is meticulously hand-crafted in North Carolina, and realize they perform as well as they look, it’s a small price to pay. These putters aren’t just for show.  According to Bunkers Paradise these bad boys perform, too.
 
I don’t think we target any one group, I feel like we just build a great product,” Nead said. “Some of our exotic materials used in our putters will be more for the golf collector-type people… but we also try to keep putters rolling out that are affordable with more of a personalized touch than can be found at your local golf store or national chain.”
 
To get your hands on your own Nead putter, visit NeadCustomPutters.com or WantsAndNeads.com for pre-built putters and Nead accessories.
 
Nead custom putters combine beauty and performance
March 6, 2014 - 9:33pm
john.holmes's picture
Light-up golf ball
The Light-Up Golf Ball from Night Sports is LED-infused with a light that can illuminate the ball for up to eight minutes.
A “flashy” golf ball might just be the answer to golf course overcrowding or lack of day tee times: glowing balls that light up on impact.
 
That’s the story being reported on TIME Magazine’s tech website, which details the Light-Up Golf Ball from Night Sports. The glowing pellets are LED-infused with a light that can illuminate the ball for up to eight minutes as you search for it in the black of night. It’s like your own mini-lighthouse!
 
 
Each ball reportedly has a 40-hour battery, making them perfect for multiple after-hours rounds. The only trick finding a golf course that will allow you to play at night. (Stupid rules.)
 
But therein lies an opportunity many golf courses may consider. If their patrons complain about finding a tee time on a busy Sunday, or if the course is prone to overcrowding, extending tee times past dusk may be the answer.
 
Oh, and if you’re wondering whether or not night golf is any fun, here’s a video I took of Graeme McDowell defeating me in a closest-to-the-pin contest in Chicago from 2012*. It’s a little hard to follow the golf ball tracer, but the guy stuck it to three feet.
 
 
(*Note: All that’s required to have a similar experience is the 2010 U.S. Open Champion and gallons of Guinness Black Lager.)
 
 
 
Night golf balls light up on impact
Mantys golf buggy
Courtesy of Mantys
The Mantys is like a Segway, but has four wheels and carries both you and your golf bag.
Maybe you don't like to walk when you play a round of 18. The clubs are heavy whether on your shoulder or on a pull cart, golf courses have lots of hills, and it's often hot outside.
 
But maybe you don't like to ride in a cart either. You spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk; the last thing you need is another four hours on your rear.
 
Then the Mantys may be for you. It's like a Segway – the two-wheeled, stand-up electric scooter that moves when you shift your weight – but it has four wheels and carries your golf bag. You stand on two platforms similar to skis and shift your weight to move in the direction you want, while also holding onto two handles that control your forward/reverse speed and the brakes.
 
 
You could call this the ski counterpart to the GolfBoard, which resembles a snowboard or surf board.
 
The Mantys units can reach about 10 mph, last up to 27 holes, and come with a scorecard holder, ball and tee holder, and cup holder. They're also able to fold down and fit in your car, but weigh more than 100 pounds.
 
And they're not cheap. One scooter costs $4,500 on the retail website for Hammacher Schlemmer, and that doesn't include shipping. Mantys is made by a company based in the Netherlands, LEEV Mobility, and the products are more readily available in Europe.
 
 
Mantys: The latest innovative way to get around a golf course
March 4, 2014 - 11:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Jessica Korda and Dustin Johnson
Courtesy of USA Golf
adidas ambassadors Jessica Korda and Dustin Johnson joined representatives from adidas and USA Golf in announcing that adidas will provide the clothing for the 2016 U.S. Olympics golf teams.
adidas Golf has been named the official uniform provider for the athletes, coaches and staff of USA Golf – meaning that adidas will clothe the players representing the United States when golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, along with the coaches and support staff.
 
"We are elated that the game's best players will showcase their talents in our apparel on the world's greatest stage," adidas Golf President Ben Sharpe on Tuesday as the agreement was announced at Trump National Doral in Miami. "The storied history of adidas has long been associated with the greatest athletes in the world, and we're proud to support the athletes of the USA Golf Team as they compete for their place in Olympic history."
 
 
The men and women playing for the United States in Rio de Janeiro will receive layering pieces, polos, outerwear and pants that adidas says will be "designed and engineered to the highest levels of innovation the brand has ever developed." 
 
The Olympic line of apparel has yet to be unveiled. adidas also is creating a USA Golf-branded line of apparel that will be available to the public later this year.
 
USA Golf is a collaboration of The PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the LPGA and the U.S. Golf Association. It is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Golf Federation as the national governing body that will name the players and manage both the men's and women's U.S. Olympic golf teams. 
 
adidas Golf will outfit U.S. golf teams in 2016 Olympics
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