Tuesday: Products you should know at the 2015 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
By Ken Van Vechten
LAS VEGAS – In golf, hopes springs eternal, and whether the cycle is seasonal or simply hole-to-hole, we always know that magical moment is right out there, somewhere, close at hand, if not in apparent view. Nowhere are our spirits as buoyed as they are when perusing what's new and hot and wonderful in golf gear. Here on Day 2 of the 2015 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, we've seen some items that could fulfill that ardent desire.
CHUTE THE BREEZE: It might look like a neon-hued parachute for really, really small people, but Golf Chute by Chute Trainer is a golf fitness and training device. Affix it to any club, assume the position and take your normal swing. The chute will deploy, adding wind resistance – good for the muscles – and properly sequencing the release of the club; those who cast might not know that concept. According to the company, using wind for resistance is more physiologically efficient than wielding a weighted device.
Swing the chute several times a week for 10 or so minutes as part of a fitness regimen, and take it to the range and mix it in between full shots. (Don't hit balls with the chute attached.) Hockey, tennis, batting and throwing versions also are available for the cross-sport crowd.
LOCK DOWN: Cleatless shoes have been a big part of the story in recent years, but industry numbers show that some players are trending back to cleats, even as they might still embrace more minimalist platforms and construction in shoes themselves.
CHAMP has a new cleat attachment system known as Slim-Lok that is both thin and light, and it works with the Fast Twist and Tri-Lok systems across multiple cleat patterns. So what? For one thing, there's a bit less confusion when switching out. And lower and lighter never is a bad thing.
TEE TIME: The Zarma FLYtee line of performance tees – made of durable ABS and featuring a six-prong low-resistance top to combat sidespin – continues. For 2016, new colors join the already Technicolor family: neon purple and the red, white and blue "Patriot."
ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE: Call it golf's version of soup to nuts, or maybe hitting for the cycle. Next year's lineup from Glove It shows off six color/pattern ensembles that each appear on 11 different items: glove, two visors, shoe and accessory bags, towel, two totes, head covers, stand bag and cart bag. It's coordination of an order of magnitude beyond anything seen since D-Day. And there are even more a la carte items.
The company also partnered with Greg Norman Collection to produce three seven-item ensembles keyed to 2016 Norman golf wear.
STEPPING OUT: We know a round of golf is about a six-mile walk. Did you know that walk occurs on top of 26 bones, some 33 joints and north of 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments? And that's just one foot. ECCO knows, and has for years, producing some of the most feet-loving kicks out there.
There's a lot going on with the 2016 catalog, and what really caught our attention is the ECCO Cage, which weds a whole lot of technology into one happy pair. Caldera leather is soft, enveloping and durable. The midsole and a revolutionary heel cage provide stability. A revamped outsole continues the brand's nod to flexibility and foot mobility. And it's cleated. Think of it as minimalism meets supercharger. (The BIOM Hybrid 2 also gets an eye-catching tri-hued color-block treatment in the "HM" variant.)
STEP AGAIN: Skateboarders, lifestylists, runners … golfers? Yep, Skechers is a few years into the golf biz, and the company has received a lot of airtime through its association with PGA Tour stalwart Matt Kuchar, who wears the Go Golf Pro. But the next time you see Tony Finau on TV, get a look at what's on his feet. That's the new Elite model, a cleatless version of the Pro with the same waterproof leather, athletic, minimal-drop, wide-toe-box orientation.
EVOLUTIONARY, NOT REVOLUTIONARY: When you practically own the market for travel covers, you've done something right. And once you do something right, you don't have to tinker with the formula just for the sake of tinkering. That's the way it is at Club Glove.
Borrowing from its top-end T.R.S. Ballistic line of piggyback-able rolling luggage, CG has put the same military-grade Cordura into its Last Bag, a veritable battleship of a travel cover. Anyone with a regular Last Bag or the more destroyer-sized Burst Proof II cover knows how hardy those suckers are, so going "ballistic" might just prove a lifetime commitment.