Thus far in 2023, golf participation, equipment sales and private club memberships have maintained their collective momentum gained over the past three years. In other words, golf has been economically resilient, weather-proof and mostly unaffected by trends that many thought might render it a flash in the pan a while back. Okay, enough with the heavy speaking. Let’s have some fun and look at a few summer options for golf gear, goodies and even a non-traditional country club membership that’s all the rage in the Sunshine State.
OnCore Golf has been the leading direct-to-consumer golf ball brand for over a decade. Its patented, perimeter-weighted golf balls have completely upended the industry as they’ve outperformed many of the “big name” brands in independent testing. OnCore recently released the VERO X2, a four-piece, 95-compression ball that’s quickly making a name for itself on the Korn Ferry and PGA TOURs via brand ambassador Erik Compton. Last year, OnCore launched “Club OnCore,” a totally new concept in the “DTC” world that provides members with free shipping, customization, sitewide discounts and partner deals for an annual fee. And just for joining, they even receive free balls and merch.
Sunny Sun Mountain
Summer is prime buddy trip time for many golfers who are simply not able to get away as easily during the spring and fall months. For those hopping planes to their dream destinations, the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian is the gold standard when it comes to travel covers. Remarkably, it was awarded Golf Digest’s “Editors Choice” for Travel Bags 2016-2022 and has scored numerous accolades in 2023. Dense foam padding through the top of the bag protects clubs while the leg mechanism supports the weight of the bag. The pivoting wheels are key, making the ClubGlider a cinch to maneuver around crowded airports.
TRUE Summer Story
Golf shoes and the summer golf season were incompatible with each other for decades. The summer is hot and humid. Golf shoes were heavy, thick and unbendable. Enter TRUE linkswear a few years back. The company, based in Tacoma, Wash., was founded by PGA TOUR standout Ryan Moore and his brother Jason. At the time, Jason was caddying for Ryan and the duo was walking many miles every week around the country and suffering from sore feet. This led to the launch of TRUE, which today crafts an amazing collection of walking-focused, spikeless golf shoes that are so comfortable, they’re worn on and off the course. The All Day Knit 3 is a top seller in the summer. It features a minimalist design and a breathable, one-piece upper that forms to golfers’ foot shapes.
Rumbling Bald Escape
The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are within easy driving distance of hundreds of thousands of people in the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Have-clubs-will-travel types will be delighted to learn that Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure is a cinch to access off I-40, but also feels like it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the proverbial “real world.” Apple Valley is the lead course, a 6,800-yard masterpiece from Dan Maples, son of designer Ellis Maples. It plays remarkably stable given its mountain setting but features plenty of elevation changes and views. Bald Mountain is the older, more traditional mountain-style course crafted by George Cobb protégé W.B. Lewis. Golfers enjoy on-course villas that are perfect for groups looking for comfort and convenience.
Olde Cypress to Dye For
Most private golf clubs in Sun Belt markets from coast to coast are currently full and only accepting new members on waitlists. It’s incredible how the market has changed over the past three years. For those looking to join a club this summer, a few creatively available options are out there. The Club at Olde Cypress in Naples, Fla., recently sold out its full golf membership category for its P.B. Dye designed award winner. However, it still offers an Associate Golf Membership with the same full privileges during the off-season from May through October and a set number of golf rounds during the peak season. The “AGM” grants unlimited golf course use for six months for cart fee only and unrestricted use of the practice facilities year-round. Tee times are available two days in advance – more than ample given the limited number of members utilizing the club during that span. During the peak season (November through April), AGMs are allotted 12 tee times for a reduced green and cart fee.