I have too much fill-in-the-blank, said no golfer ever. From gadgets to grips, tees to tops, golfers got goods.
And such goods are the bread and butter of the 2017 PGA of America Fashion & Demo Experience. Held in advance of the Mother of All Shows in Orlando in January, the Vegas show figures heavily in soft goods – as it is held concurrently with other clothing events and exhibitions during “fashion week” – but with enough trade gear and gizmos to keep most clothesophobes walking the aisles and gawking.
For this first of two parts, let’s take a look at a few of the notable gadgets.
Most of us don’t have an at-home, multi-camera, high-speed, swing-capture system. If we want a look-see of what passes for our passes at the ball, it’s off to see our local PGA pro, a visit to golf school or entrusting ourselves to the analytical and diagnostic “skills” of our best golf buds. Enter SelfieGOLF, with what is touted as the “ultimate cell phone clip system,” and in this particular case that might not just be so much self-aggrandizement
What we’re looking at is a foolproof way to film our swings made up, effectively, of a couple gator clips that attach a smartphone to an alignment stick or driver that is then attached to the golf bag. From there it is a matter of aligning the smartphone and hitting the record button. The clip also works on the ground as a way to capture path, alignment and roll on putts. www.selfiegolfusa.com
Do you know your last swing thought before impact? Do you even want to know your last swing thought? Lacking a supervising adult anywhere within my psyche, “swing thought” for me might as well be “Beer Pong” or “LOOK, a squirrel!” (My pals have resorted to screaming “heel down” as I take the club back otherwise I end up like a ballerina en pointe. I can’t seem to remember such a complex matter on my own.)
ShoeTips might be my ticket, one of those amazingly basic ideas that until recently no one thought to invent and, more importantly, for which to secure the USGA’s blessing. Each of two small clips, one attached to the lower lace of each shoe, holds a pithy reminder: TURN, FEEL, POSTURE, BREATHE, SOFT HANDS – 18 preprints in total. The flip sides are blank and can be used for something personal, customized, say in my case, DEATH and LUNGE.
For a simple game of hit and walk, we sure clutter up the works. And why not, it’s an obsession; excess is allowed. Look at conveyance. The walk got easier with a caddie, then the trolley entered the scene, motors came in and the cart was born, and in a bit of mad social tinkering by way of reverse engineering, we more recently were given the golf bike and the golf board. It’s not enough.
The owner of a motorsports shop in Arizona – and an avid golfer – got to messing around in the garage and the result is Fat Tire Golf Scooter. Picture a barebones Vespa, with easy-on-the-grass balloon tires, a bag mount on the rear and spots for a seed bottle and scorecard. The scooter is powered by a quick-change lithium battery with a life of several rounds, reportedly one on very hilly courses, and can be purchased for personal or resort/club usage.
Tour stats seem to flip the adage about driving for show and putting for dough. One Jordan Spieth turns that old saw back upright. A relatively short hitter off the tee who also often goes yard off the tee, he’ll then jar four straight 30-footers. Putting matters. I learned that tellingly, even painfully, during a recent session at Fairmont’s Grand Golf Club in Del Mar, where worm-level video showed I aim significantly offline, abetted by a balky heel-first blocking stroke. Money … for everyone else.
So for me, and I’d venture to say a large number of other folks, a keen takeaway was the INPUTT training device. INPUTT consists of a calibrated board, a few tees and a guide string. Once set up, stroking putts with the heel of the putter along INPUTT helps ingrain the sensation of proper stroke path and face angle. Keep it short, simple.