What’s in the box? This season, whatever you want it to be. We’ve been making our list all year, filling it with everything from big-headed drivers to hot red-leather shoes to an easy-installation home putting green. Not too many of these can be considered “stocking stuffers,” but each gift has been chosen with a purpose in mind, and a way to make the traveling golfer’s life easier — or perhaps just a little happier — for the new year. We’ve done our part. The rest is up to you. Happy shopping this holiday season.
There was a time not too long ago that we never would have championed a product that helped with phone service on the golf course — that was the last thing we wanted to see or hear during a round. But nowadays, with the rise of technology, our phones — especially iPhones — are an integral part of 18 holes, with apps that do everything from help us keep score and track our shots to utilizing GPS for yardages. But despite advances in smartphone battery life, it’s been tough to make it through a five-hour round without hitting the red somewhere around No. 14. Until now, that is. We’ve tried a variety of batter packs over the past few years, but the PowerSkin is by far the most reliable and provides the best power boost, doubling iPhone usage and putting an end to worries. It’s easy to charge, works off USB and provides protective frame for your phone, all while adding just a bit of heft without being too heavy. Simply put, PowerSkin is the powerful addition we all need for today’s powerful phones.
BIRTH. GOLF. DEATH.
Golfers as a whole tend to take themselves too seriously, which is why throwing a couple of these hilarious (and true) hacker-inspired T-shirts in one's suitcase is a great idea. Go for a jog while pronouncing proudly to the world of your love for the game, while making fun of it at the same time. "I Love to Spank Whitey" or "Golf. Masochism at Its Finest" is just the tip of the sartorial iceberg. Forget the tired political slogans or hackneyed "I'm With Stupid" labels: Time to dole out some quick-glance giggles, golf style.
We’re as dedicated gadget geeksters as anybody, especially when a health-minded technological marvel like HeartMath’s emWave2 comes along. Developed by scientists studying the effects of heart rhythm on performance across many disciplines, including golf (visit www.fairwaysandgreens.com for an interview with developer John White), this advanced heart rate monitor is a unique gift option that can help golfers shift out of performance anxiety and feelings like pressure, overwhelm and stress. It lets users know when their heart, mind and nervous system are in sync and in peak condition to make a precision stroke. Using the emWave2 is simple. To start a session users hold the device with a thumb on the finger sensor or ear lobe sensor, and it instantly provides a breathing sequence based on heart rhythms. The emWave2 helps the align your breathing and heart rhythms, and by following the guidebook’s techniques, you’ll learn how to shift emotional focus and change your physiology. Changing lights and audio cues indicate when that shift takes place; through practice you’ll learn to change your response to stress on demand. Included software lets you track your progress on your PC or Mac. FG’s informal testing showed this thing works like a chillin’ charm, and just a little practice tunes you in to the technique. Next time you’ve got a big match coming up, a few minutes with the portable device will put you in win mode on the road, or anywhere.
From the moment we saw the ClubGlider Meridian by Sun Mountain (sported by a fellow golf traveler on the island of Kauai), we knew we had to have one. It would be senseless to know such a travel bag exists and not to get one for ourselves. After all, we’d been hauling all manner of golf travel bags through airports for years — and none seemed to work correctly, always dragging on the ground in the wrong places or breaking wheels or tearing along the seams. Not to mention the toll they were taking on our shoulders and backs with their awkward weights and sizes. But the ClubGlider solves all those problems with one easy solution — an integrated leg that folds out and supports all the weight, making it a breeze to pull without all the hassles of tilting, bending and lifting (imagine how nice it would be in a slowly moving TSA line at the airport). What’s more, the legs retract into molded tray for travel, internal cinch straps secure your golf bag, pivoting caster wheels provide superior maneuverability, and heavy-duty two-way zippers run the full length of the bag for easy loading. We love the ClubGlider so much that it’s hard to figure how somebody didn’t come up with the idea sooner.
But we’re sure glad they did now.
We were skeptical. Portable fitness products come and go more quickly than golf technology, and rarely do they ever live up to the promise. But the Journey Gym sounded unique, so we decided to give it a try. And we’re glad we did because it might just be the easiest-to-use portable fitness product ever. The entire apparatus fits into a James Bond-style aluminum-and-black suitcase and takes only minutes to unfold and set up when you’re ready for a workout. The entire “gym” works off resistance bands, and you’re only limited by your imagination as to the number of exercises you can perform (of course, there’s a DVD and a website to get you started, set up a personal program and track progress). We love the Journey Gym so much, it’s replaced all other fitness products at our house, plus we throw it in the car when we’re traveling for business or hitting the road for that epic golf vacation.
SUNLIGHTEN mPULSE SAUNA
Sunlighten's mPulse infrared sauna is the only full-spectrum sauna on the market, allowing consumers to control the heater’s setting, ranging from near-infrared light that aids in pain and muscle relief, to mid-infrared light that assists in fat burning and weight loss, to far-infrared light that deepens the core sweat and is whole-body detoxifying. Besides relieving pain, these saunas are clinically proven to produce weight loss, heart health, detoxification and skin and muscle regeneration. It’s recommended by chiropractors and will help golfers of any age or ability recover more quickly from pulls, minor injuries or just plain fatigue.
Likewise, few golf training aides ever really help you game — we have a garage-ful to prove it. But after a couple years, the SwingRite still lives in our golf bags, making it the undisputed champ of training aide longevity. The premise is simple: SwingRite feels like a golf club (grip and all), but it works off sound as much as feel, creating true brainpower muscle-memory to groove how you release the club at the bottom of the swing. Anytime our swing goes south, we pull out the SwingRite for a few minutes to get that signature “click” in just the right spot, and then head to the first tee, ready to tackle any course — or any opponent. Also, because of the weight of the SwingRite, it’s a pretty good fitness tool, too. After a solid 15 minutes of swinging it, your blood is pumping and muscles are loosened up, promoting good health as much as a good swing. For us, this little gadget is definitely Ms. Rite, and we won’t be giving her up anytime soon.
Pelvic tilt is the root of bad posture. If your pelvis tilts forward or backward, your lower back is thrown off balance and you slouch, making good posture a difficult task. BackJoy Core keeps your pelvis neutral to help balance your lower spine and keep your posture upright — which will translate to lower scores, better comfort and longeveity as a golfer. Sitting on BackJoy Core instantly provides Neutral Pelvis, easing the curves of your back into proper alignment so you can distribute your body weight more evenly as you sit. It also intentionally resets your posture to engage your core muscles while you sit, promoting flexibility, muscle tone, and a restored core to help you maintain better posture all day, every day.
OPTISHOT HOME SYSTEM
Dancin' Dogg Golf, maker of the OptiShot Infrared Simulator, now cost-effectively bundles its award-winning in-home virtual golf system with a wide range of accessories and 11 pre-loaded courses. The Silver Package includes OptiShot, a premium hitting net, stance mat and custom-designed OptiStix Driver. Representing a $200 savings, the package ships for free and is stocked with 10, pre-loaded virtual courses. As an added benefit, customers may also select one course from Dancin' Dogg's premium library of world-famous courses and major championship host sites. These include Atlanta Highlands, Capitol Club, Monterey Classic, Old Scot, Ponte Vedra, Royal St. Marks and Whispering Dunes. OptiShot connects with Windows computers via a plug-and-play interface and requires only 8-½ feet of swing space. With their own clubs, up to four players per round can compete by hitting real balls, foam balls (provided) or no ball at all. Infrared sensors on a durable swing pad precisely record club-head speed, face angle, swing path, distance, tempo, face contact and ball flight. In addition to Core courses that come with the system, OptiShot users can practice and compete on the par-3 option or a realistic driving range.
Travel with your own set of sheets? Yeah, we thought it was a little over the top at first, too. But we’ve been lugging around our own pillows on the road for years, so why not take an entire bed? That’s the idea behind the rather remarkable Sleep Sax by SHEEX. And we’ve never slept better — everywhere — in hotels, camping, even on airplanes. The Sleep Sax is a simple, precision-fit cocoon of sorts that helps control your body temperature at night (it keeps you twice as cool as traditional bedding while moisture-wicking for dry comfort). Better yet, it comes with a handy pillow that is perfect for all modes of passenger travel, plus the Sleep Sax itself has a pillow pouch for larger, hotel-size pillows — so your head never again has to touch those pillow cases you simply can’t trust. And the whole Sleep Sax is washable and remains wrinkle-free — and it comes in a convenient, petite carrying case that easily slips over the handle of your luggage for easy portability. We’ve tested the Sleep Sax everywhere from high-end Las Vegas hotels to discount chains, and when it comes to traveling, we’ll never hit the road again without packing our Sax.
We didn’t want to believe the hype. We wanted to take the easy road and just believe the TaylorMade r11 was the same ol’ driver with a new paint job, that the new “whitewash” was just a marketing ploy. And then we hit it. And we hit it again, and again, and again. We hit it straight. We hit it long. We kept it in the fairway. We tinkered with the ultimate-golf-geek settings and dialed in a driver swing that made our friends jealous. And we’ll doubt no more. There’s a reason we see the white driver all over the professional tours, not to mention in the hands of almost every celebrity we see tee it up in charity events, and it’s more than just because we notice it more. It’s because the r11 simply works. It’s that good. It’s that fun, and there’s no doubting the results.
In the year and a half or so since Polara rolled out its series of straight-and-narrow golf balls, two things have happened: They’ve lived up to their promise of keeping more golfers in the fairway, thanks to a unique dimple pattern that, when employed properly, all but eliminates banana balls; and they’ve given recreational players new hope (they’re not legal in competition). That’s enough for us. Polaras love the short grass, so we love Polaras.
SCOR GOLF WEDGES
A new concept in scoring clubs from 41-61 degrees and a fresh way of looking at the short game. The technology behind the revolutionary SCOR4161 scoring clubs was designed to deliver improved shotmaking performance in the scoring zone so golfers of all skill levels can improve their short games and lower their scores. SCOR Golf President Terry Koehler believes the SCOR 4161 product will make as powerful an impact on golfers’ performance in the scoring zone as hybrids did at the longer end of the set.
CLUB-VUE CART BAG
Every golfer has fought their bag when pulling the wrong iron from a confusing mix, jerking on a club whose grip has gotten tangled at the bottom of the bag, or leaving a sand wedge behind on a green. The arrangement of the irons in an inverted position eliminates annoying clatter. The Club-Vue Golf Cart Bag is constructed of the highest quality nylon and hard plastics and is sturdy, flexible, durable and beautiful. Current colors include Hole In-One Blue and Winning Raspberry. It features numbered tabs that snap into grip tops for easy identification, accessory pockets for keys, tees and other items, club tier chart for right-handed and left-handed players, and club clips that grip the shafts at the top. The Club comes out of the bag in a position ready to play and a sturdy strap keeps clubs secure when in transit. Its unique visible club array helps keep your clubs organized and ready. It has a small pocket for valuables, balls or tees, a cart strap portal and includes upper and lower handles for carrying or lifting the bag onto the cart. Other features include a three partition pocket that holds apparel, golf balls, towels and other necessities, an umbrella holder and an insulated pocket that keeps beverages at a refreshing temperature, plus a bottom pocket holds rain sleeve and hood.
Hirzl is a Swiss based company that only makes gloves. They use kangaroo leather that provides a 5-times greater grip in wet weather and 3-times greater grip in dry conditions. It’s the official glove of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship and the Ladies European Tour.
iTAC2 SPORTS GRIP
What do golfers and pole dancers have in common? They both need a good grip. Enter iTac2 Sports Grip, a new, natural product that first caught on with fitness pole dancers that is now providing golfers with a better connection to the golf club, enabling them to swing with more confidence and effectiveness. From the moment you rub a small amount of iTac2 Sports Grip into both hands-including your glove if you wear one-your grip is immediately improved. The feeling of a securely held club in the hands reduces tension and uncertainty, which leads to improved shot-making. Made of organic beeswax and in two strengths to choose from, iTac2 Sports Grip enhances the connection between the club and the golfer, including professionals, elite and novice players, people with health conditions that affect their hands, and those who want to tee it up in tough conditions. iTac2 conforms to both USGA and R&A Rules and does not build up on your grips. One 45 gram (1.6oz) tub is good for 100 applications, which equals approximately 50 rounds. It comes in regular and extra strength.
A proven winner on every major men’s and women’s golf tour, the Players Towel features Microfiber waffle technology golf towel available in custom colors, logos, signatures and fonts. Players Towel has 19 wins on tour this year, including two majors — and they don’t pay anyone to use it.
The comments just keep coming as FG continues to wear (and wear out) its first pair of True Linkswear shoes. “Man, t hose look comfortable” is the most popular refrain. And that, friends, is a true story: Thanks to a wider toe area and studded sneaker-like sole since made popular by Tour player Ryan Moore, these are indeed the most comfortable golf shoes we’ve ever tried. Besides the original True Tour model shown here, the new Stealth model, in solid brown or black, is available.
We’ve put raingear of all shapes and sizes to the test, and Adidas always comes out the winner. You really can’t go wrong with any of their styles, and golfers always have the security of sleek style and superior technology going into both the pants and jackets. Just ask the caddies at Bandon Dunes Resort who wear Adidas gear on the extreme Oregon coast — and look great doing it.
Short game guru Dave Pelz doesn’t want you to forget about the short game, which is where most strokes are saved or squandered. So, he’s teamed up with SynLawn Golf to offer the GreenMaker, a game-changing new putting and chipping system designed to improve the golf game and reduce strokes right at home. The do-it-yourself putting greens — offered in 6’x12’ and 8’x14’ models with two hole locations, a 10’x16’ model with three holes and a 12’x18’ model with four holes — go together in three simple steps. “This is a true innovation in our industry,” said Pelz. “The GreenMaker system gives the golfer the most realistic feel and performance in a product that you can build yourself in minutes.” It’s a great alternative for golfers who can’t always make it to a practice facility or who can’t afford expensive backyard systems, and also provides a step up from standard putting mats. The system is ready to go in minutes and can be used indoors or outdoors. The greens look and play like the real thing and measure a “10” on the Stimpmeter, and each green has a fringe for chipping practice.
There’s never enough room in the suitcase for all the shoes she wants to bring. A brand-new product, the InstaGolf Shoe, might help. It’s a plastic slip-on that converts any shoe to a golf shoe. OK, maybe not Jimmy Choos ... but maybe now she doesn’t have to choose between tennis shoes and golf shoes.
TIP TEE TOE
Suddenly the good ol’ sand wedge has company on the links — a line of women’s footwear that incorporate a unique, stylish and functional “wedge” sole into their design. Tip Tee Toe shoes give gals the grip they need when they’re playing, and the look they want once the round is over and it’s time for lunch, dinner, shopping, whatever. By incorporating raised rubber soles rather than spikes, they keep you grounded, and there’s a built-in ballmarker in every pair, too — available with the logo of your choice, including your college alma mater. A wide breadth of bright colors, from simple black and white to hot pink, orange, citron green or red, begs the question: How many to buy? And how many outfits can you match up with them?
Imagine playing in a full-field scramble and knowing instantly which cart is yours. That’s what happens with the bag from Birdie Babe Golf, which offers seven statement designs on bags that are made to carry. Margaritaville, Zsa Zsa Zebra or how about the “Lime in the Coconut” for a signature?
KikiGolf high-design headcovers will please the elegant woman who wouldn’t be caught dead with a fuzzy animal in her bag. These are works of art with hand-stitching, luxurious fabrics, name tags, coins and names like “Go for the Green” and “Lipped Out.”
Leave it to Navika, golf’s leader in novelty jewelry, to render the ball-marker-on-hat passé. The latest innovation puts a glitzy ball marker on her shoe — but the most girly, blingy option remains the ball-marker-necklace. With a powerful magnet that comes with two markers in many, many choices, it’s not confined to the golf course.
OK, now we’re really talking color coordination. How about outfitting your clubs with just the right-hued putter grip to match your favorite playing ensemble and, at the same time, adding some nifty spine-saving functionality to the bag? That’s the premise and promise of Never Bend products. It’s the one and only one-piece putter grip and ball retriever, making it impossible for the suction cup to fall off no matter how many times you use it to pull that just-sunk birdie roll out of the cup. Never Bend has the patent to this grip and there are no other similar products on the market. The grip itself is now being manufactured by golf’s number one putter grip company. It fits all standard length putters and is available in mid-size and oversize models, and an expanded color scheme allows you to show off your stroke in style. Don’t believe us? Just ask Hollywood stars like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Heather Locklear and Cheryl Ladd, who give the Never Bend a gloved thumbs-up.
SWING TRUST OIL
Swing Trust Oil is an aromatherapy product targeted at avid golfers looking to enhance their game. A proprietary blend of essential oils including bergamot, cedar atlas, clary sage, red cedarwood, ylang-ylang and grape seed create a distinctive aroma that can improve both concentration and relaxation, two essential elements in the game of golf. The blend may be sniffed as often as desired by golfers of all ages. Packaged in a handsome keychain flask, Swing Trust Oil is easily clipped on to the golf bag and will last for 200 rounds of golf.
MY MINI GOLF
My mini Golf is entertaining and rewarding for golfers and non-golfers of any age. The game is fun for the whole family and can be played both indoors or outdoors, and on any smooth surface. My mini Golf was manufactured in Germany and the product is durable, lightweight and portable. Since the game can be played on any smooth surface, ranging from natural grass to carpet to wood flooring, just open the game up and users will find a fun, interactive training aid to help improve the skills of both veteran golfers and those new to the sport. The game is the first and only portable indoor/outdoor golf putting kit for golfers and non-golfers designed to develop, improve or maintain their golf putting skills while having enjoyment and a unique challenge.