November-December 2011

The latest in golf equipment, instruction, training aids, apparel & more


Most golfers don’t set up square to the hole from 12 feet away. With the introduction of their new Ghost Spider ($180) putter, TaylorMade hopes to change that. The Ghost retains the same shape and attributes of its Spider predecessor (Movable Weight Technology, easy to align top lines) but with a white finish that TM claims is easier to align. And they hit a home run. This steady and square flatstick may be one of the easiest putters to align and stay square through the entire stroke. With its soft PURE ROLL face insert, TM has made the most idiotproof putter to date.

The handsome new ProFIT putters ($200) from STX have been updated with new design elements and a nonglare black finish. Like other STX offerings, the new ProFIT line features three different insert choices of varying firmness, but what we love are the variety, slick finish and two neck options: plumber’s neck (ProFIT 4) and flare neck (ProFIT 5). Comes in RH and LH models.

The 343 limited edition ($350) from Flanigan Bilt Putters comes in three different head designs and has a strategically placed CG for truer rolls. But what really caught our eye was designer Ken Flanigan’s mission. The former firefighter built his line to commemorate the fallen firemen of 9/11. Each flatstick comes with a commemorative headcover and Flanigan donates $100 of each sale to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. Great cause.

Get your ball airborne on putts? Don’t get it rolling soon enough? The angled face of MedicusOverSpin putter ($160) might be the answer to all your putting woes. Its design helps you strike the ball above its center, which helps eliminate skidding and hopping. Another advantage we liked was its CT grooves which are designed to help you play chip shots. Chip shots? Yup. And if you can play them with your putter and control your shots better, why not?

PING continues to find fresh new ways of updating their classic Anser ($299) line. Earlier this year, they introduced Milled versions in seven different models, each with its own unique hosel design that determines the putter’s balance. As a result, the putters were designed with golfers’ stroke paths in mind: Four were engineered for strokes that slightly arc, two for strong arcs, and one for straight-back and straight-through swingers. But it’s PING’s elegant satin finish and the milled process that makes these a handsome new addition to the Anser lineup.


Adidas‘ new TOUR360 ATV shoes ($190) aren’t off-road vehicles but they were conceived to handle the most challenging of terrains. Now in its fifth version, this TOUR360 features a dual-density outsole, 10 spikes, strengthened TPU midfoot for support and aggressive TRAXION secondary lugs in the forefoot for better grip. And somehow they managed to
knock two ounces off it from the previous TOUR360. Available in six color combos.

Offered in two styles, Etonic‘s athletic-inspired Difference golf shoe ($145) is lined with Outlast, a NASA-engineered material that reduces heat and moisture inside the shoe by more than 40%. The sturdy, light shoes also have a MicroTech upper with microfiber linings that promote lightness and durability. The four components of its PowerUp Outsole work with the foot’s natural anatomy to maximize traction, flexibility and stability and improve balance.
New for 2012, Callaway introduces its most technologically advanced shoe ever. The RAZR ($185) has an Outlast temperature-management system that absorbs body heat on hot days and releases heat back into the shoe on cold days. Plus it features a soft, full-grain waterproof leather upper for superior comfort. For us, it’s about comfort, breathability and support, and RAZR hits a home run on all three.


Fourteen Golf has introduced two new, strong-lofted, smaller-headed fairway woods called SF-511 ($329). With a wide sweet spot and a 1.9mm thin face that generates tremendous power at impact, these clubs have been built with better players in mind. Still, Fourteen wisely offers two shaft options: the TS-75f for faster-swinging golfers and the MD-335gf for slower swings. Smart move, as average players can take advantage of the new lineup. Comes in 3- and 5-wood models.

Callaway’s new premium RAZR XF iron and hybrid set ($1,299/steel; $1,399 graphite) features six irons constructed with a forged 1025 carbon-steel body and hybrids that have a larger head design and added offset to deliver higher, longer and straighter shots. Both provide a soft, responsive feel at impact and feature a dark, stealthy look for reduced glare.

Weighing only 290 grams Adams’ new 9088 UL driver ($399) is superlight and aerodynamically designed to boost your tee shots. Featuring a 45-gram Matrix Radix HD shaft and an aero-shaped crown that creates less drag for increased clubhead speed. Comes in three lofts and a draw model, too.

Looking for extra yards off the tee, but don’t want to spend a fortune on a new driver? Consider the new Bazooka HT Max-D ($149) from Tour Edge. The highly affordable stick features a sloped crown and aerodynamic shape for reduced drag and improved airflow. What does that do? Generates a faster swing speed. With a 46-inch, 50-gram Aldila NV shaft, you’re guaranteed to swing faster than ever before. Comes in standard and draw versions.

Over the past few years, hybrids have pretty much made long irons obsolete. Eidolon hopes that their new SCOR4161 wedges ($649/five clubs) will do the same for higher-lofted scoring clubs. The custom-built set range in lofts of 41_¡-61_¡ and were designed to deliver improved shotmaking performance for your scoring clubs. Throw in some hybrids or iron-woods and you have a pretty forgiving set.


Sun Mountain‘s KG:2 bag ($199) was built on the same frame as the company’s Superlight 3.5, but offers more pockets. It also features an oval, four-way top with full-length club divider, three integrated top handles and a new lift-assist pocket handle. But what we really like is its striking array of colors.

Convenience on the golf course is a must, and the two new Revolver cart bag offerings from Bag Boy provide just that. Both feature a rotating top so it’s easy to gain access to your clubs and Clip-Loks that secure them in place. The smaller XL ($220) features a 9.5 inch, 7-way top and one external putter tube, while the larger LE version ($240) has two external putter tubes for your putter and favorite wedge. Both feature many pockets and color combos.

You’ve heard it before. Golf is 90% mental. So if your brain is such an important asset, why do so many golfers not know how to use it? That question has nagged sports psychologists for years. Now there’s a way for you to sharpen your golf brain at home. The training system called Pro Mental Coach ($140), which runs on your computer, will stimulate your brain with "exergames." After taking a 30-minute assessment test, users train three times a week for 20 minutes at a time, so they can get in the zone, recover quickly and boost mental endurance.

Available in two different sizes (8×8 feet and 7×7 feet), the Quickster Net ($140-150) from SKLZ takes only 90 seconds to set up and is the perfect training aid for folks who want to hit balls in inclement weather, at night or when the course is closed. If you have space in your garage, you can even use it there. We loved how quick and easy it was to set up.

Hate the gym? So do we. We’re never really sure which exercises will help our swing and which ones will hurt it. Plus all those mirrors get really distracting. Edinburgh, Scotland-based Graeme Alexander must feel the same way, because he developed The Extra 20 Yards ($365 + $30 shipping). This slim and unobtrusive home golf gym was designed specifically to train your golf muscles and, as Alexander claims, it will "increase swing speed and lead to more distance." What we like, of course, is that you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to it. Alexander suggests short workouts of 3-5 minutes, 3-4 times a week. Does it work? Hard to say, but if you’ve got the extra money for a driver, maybe you should consider investing it in one of these. For right- and left-handed golfers.

Designed by a former Tour caddie, the Players Towel ($20) features microfiber technology for optimal groove cleaning, absorption and durability. But this isn’t just a super club-cleaning towel, it’s also available with custom logos, signatures and colors. Hey, it’s the age of personalization so why not make your towel about you?


Can a golf shirt really help your game? According to a double-blind study conducted at the Sport Technology Lab at Loughborough University in England, it just might. Scientists there concluded that athletes wearing the Energy Athletic shirt ($70-80) with IonX fabric had a 2.7% increase in power output. "Wearing Energy Athletic Golf allows the athlete to sustain a workout for a greater period of time, and then have a much more rapid recovery time," said Dr. Al Ouimet, Energy Athletic Golf’s chief scientist. Comes in long- and short-sleeved shirts.

The Trust Control gloves ($29) from HIRZL were constructed specifically for medium- to high-handicappers who want to maintain a firm grip on the club. As the company claims, the kangaroo-leather palm material provides three times more grip in dry weather and five times more in wet weather.

Gripping the club too hard produces lots of tension in the golf swing. As instructors have long advised, golfers should hold the club like a little bird–strong enough that it doesn’t fly away, but light enough that they don’t crush it. The makers of the new LeviTee glove ($20) address that by placing foam pads in between each finger that reduce a golfer’s grip pressure by 30% and helps them avoid the death grip.

Affordable, long and precise”the "Holy Grail of golf balls." That’s what Innovex says they’ve discovered in their new, cast urethane-covered V-Motion Tour ball ($30/dozen). The high-performance ball rings in for about half the price of the industry leader, and with a 318-dimple pattern, it reduces drag and delivers a penetrating ballflight yet retains high spin around the greens.

Made from 100% bamboo, and nearly unbreakable, the FATTEE ($6.99/60 tees) from Zero Friction is thicker than your traditional wood golf tee and provides unparalleled strength for better performance.

At first sight, Eyeline Golf‘s Ball of Steel ($30/3) may look like a red rubber ball, but pick it up and you’ll realize it’s anything but. Weighing five times more than a regular golf ball, the Ball of Steel is a putting training aid built to help you accelerate through the ball. Because it’s so heavy, there’s no way you can advance it without giving it a good knock. We loved how, after returning to a regular ball, we accelerated through the stroke. We’ll probably never leave another putt short again. (For six-foot putts or less only.)


A recent survey by the sunglasses store N3L Optics found that golfers are more active outdoors than any other sports enthusiast, but only 19% of them wear sunglasses when they play. That’s cause for concern when you consider how harmful the sun’s UV radiation can be. N3L Optics helps educate consumers on how to pick the right pair of glasses for their sport. For golf, they suggest amber-, brown- or rose-tinted lenses, impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses and good-fitting wraparound lenses that block light from the sides. For more info on how they match lenses to the game, visit them online or in the store.

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