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Accessory Reviews

Accessorize Your Game

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From GPS technology to fancy golf balls there is never a shortage of accessories for the golfer.  Some can enhance your game and others just plain add style.  Here are just a few accessories that I have tired recently.  Any one of these is a potential gift for the golfer dad, grad, birthday, or other occasion: 

GPS: The first GPS technology I’ve recently tried out is called GreenFinder.  This is basically a yearly subscription that costs $35 but you only need an existing iPhone or certain BlackBerry devices to operate it.  The plus side is that this is an application that you can add to a service that you already have and know how to use.  Unfortunately, these are the only two platforms that are available at this time.  The company website does have a sign-up page for those folks that have phones that run Android or Windows Mobile that will notify the consumer when these platforms are available. 

I’ve got this installed into a BlackBerry Storm and definitely like many of the features.  I find it easy to use and am especially fond of the “Use GPS” feature.  By choosing this you get a list of courses that are close to your current location in order of increasing proximity.  The other way to find a course is to search the current list.  If you cannot find the course you want in the list.  The current list is at about 10,000 and the company claims they add another 150 per week.  If you can’t find a particular course you can request it to be added and it should be available within 24 hours.  One must also take care when spelling the name of a course.  The best way is to enter only part of the name or else you may get no result. 

Again, the only glaring limitation is that you must have one of the phones that currently support the software and you must have the necessary data plan in certain cases.  It is also essential to be concerned with battery life of your phone.  I could imagine being in a very long round at one of our busy courses in Los Angeles and not having the battery life to support the application for the whole round but haven’t run into that problem as of yet.  The GreenFinder site also has tips on battery life in the FAQs.  The biggest benefit is not only that you don’t need to buy a separate piece of equipment but that if you have the right phone the cost can’t be beat.  Check the website to see if your phone is compatible and for the other FAQs regarding if you can use this technology.  You get measurements from the front, center, and back of the tee and can get other distances in the fairway and around parts of the course. 

http://www.greenfindergps.com/

 

If you don’t have the right smartphone for the GreenFinder application then you can try the inexpensive Izzo SWAMI.  The piece of equipment itself is only $149 and then the yearly subscription is another $35.  It has an easy to read display and automatic course recognition.  The challenge with this is device is that you must plan ahead.  After the unit is charged and you have installed the accompanying software on your computer, you can load in 10 courses at a time.  It is a good idea to check the available courses well in advance also so that you can put in a request if your desired course is not currently available and the company claims it will be available within 5-10 business days .  Once your subscription is up, the ten courses that you have in the device at that time will remain.  Some may be put off by the simplistic display while others will find it to be just what they need.  I personally found it to be an easy to use piece and generally have plenty of time to charge one up and have enough time to request a course if need be. 

This piece of equipment gives you the distance from the front, center, and back of the green.  There is no other option as far as measurements are concerned though.  As far as accuracy of the distances there are mixed reviews.  I found it to be an acceptable accuracy but others claim the distances are off quite a bit.  The battery is rechargeable and touted to last up to at least 12 hours (plenty of time for an L.A. course).  In addition, Izzo announced back in March that the SWAMI would be available as a rental at many courses in the States for a fee of about $10 a round or providing them with cart rentals.  Check your local course for details.  These devices are also designed to fit into a docking station on some Izzo bags. 

http://www.izzo.com/product/tabid/97/p-100-swami-1500-gps-unit-new.aspx

Just a Tee:  Yes, Evolve Golf’s Vireo S3 tees are just that – tees.  Some golfers prefer not to have to buy any tees and use whatever they get free from an event or that are included in another purchase.  This particular tee claims to be different for a few reasons.  Vireo S3 tees have specific marks on one side that are intended to allow you to consistently put in the tee at a particular height – something they refer to as the “sweet spot system”.  The key is to find the height that you hit your driver the farthest/best – where the sweet spot is – and put it at that height each time.  The company website even has a list of optimal heights depending on your driver.  The packaging also shows a diagram of what they claim to be the ideal for smaller volume and 460cc drivers. 

I can’t say that I noticed a major difference when hitting my driver off of this tee.  I did try it at a range other than my usual since the only place at my regular rangeto hit drivers was off of a mat so it is hard to decide what contributed to my driver distance on that particular outing.  The part I really like about this tee is the fact that it is a “sustainable” tee.  They are not only harder to break but are biodegradable.  I did use only one for an entire session at the range where I have gone through up to 5 wooden tees in the same amount of time at a grass range.  Although I am in on the fact that this is not terribly important to much of the golfing population why should it remain that way?  Why not start to take care of the environment more in every way possible even if it starts with something as small as a tee?  A pack of 35 tees retails for around $6. 

www.evolvegolf.com/settings 

Your Personal Rake and Recovery:  The Course Keeper provides an all-in-one rake, recovery, and repair system.  This gadget can be put in your golf bag or mounted on to a cart.  It includes a plastic rake with and adjustable handle that doubles as a means to retrieve your ball from a water hazard.  The piece can adjust up to ten feet with the purpose of saving money on expensive golf balls (if you use expensive balls).  There is also a nylon cover that has a divot tool, ball marker, and extra tees while protecting the device. 

The Course Keeper is a nice addition for the golfer that has everything.  It is quite convenient to have your own rake if needed for those moments when you can’t find the one at the bunker.  The end has a rake on one side and a blade on the other for “proper bunker grooming” according to the accompanying instructions.  I have an Ogio stand bag myself and it does stick out well above all of my clubs in the fully collapsed position but it didn’t ever fall out while walking with my bag on my back.  My only other wish besides being a bit more collapsible would be an easier transition from ball recovery mode to rake mode.  I have been in the position of having to hunt down a rake on certain courses so this would have sped up my game then.  It is also nice to grab my ball that is normally just out of reach at the edge of the water.  Retail price for the Course Keeper is about $50. 

http://www.coursekeeperkit.com/ 

For the Ladies: Identity Golf sells a premium ladies golf ball “created for your game”. The two piece construction features an ionomer cover and large, high energy rubber core that provides distance off the tee plus a soft feel for the short game.  Identity Golf touts the design as ideal for the way women play.  There are five colorful designs available – strong, beautiful, classic, driven, and empowered.  The best part of these distinct balls is that you’ll never be accused of taking someone else’s ball on a busy course.  I found them to perform satisfactorily for my game.  I’m no scratch golfer but I’m definitely socially acceptable and can break 100.  These are perfect for a stylish golfer and are excellent as a gift.  They retail for about $15 on the company website and are shipped free. 

http://www.identitygolf.com/

 

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  1. Apryl DeLancey

    Jun 1, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I did have to email them with a question – here is the page that has their contact info:

    http://www.greenfindergps.com/about/contact/

    The email address I used was

    support (at) greenfindergps (dot) com

    They got right back to me as well.
    Good luck!

  2. BillHart

    Jun 1, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Used it on my storm for the first time last week and LOVED it! Do yourself a huge favor and try it.

  3. Bobby Pierce

    May 31, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Hi there’
    I was wondering if you had any trouble uploading the Greenfinder program to your phone. I have a Blackberry curve and am having trouble signing up. I enter my last name,e-mail address, pin, and blackberry and hit accept. Then it tells me that my last name or e-mail address was blank. Did you have this same problem? I can’t find any #’s to call for tech support to help me. If you can help me I would appreciate it. Thanks for any help you can give. Bobby

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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