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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels
Product: Uther Supply golf towels
Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”
Our take on Uther Supply golf towels
Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:
“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”
They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.
Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.
Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.
As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.
Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.
WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes
Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes
Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”
Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes
Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.
While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.
Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.
With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.
A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.
A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.
WRX Spotlight: Swag ball markers and divot tool
Product: Swag ball markers and divot tool
Pitch: From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”
Our take on Swag’s ball markers and divot tool
Swag Golf is creating some of the most sought after products on the market right now, with their funky headcovers and putters all being in high demand. Well, the companies ball markers and divot tool are no different, both of which are easily identifiable as coming from this emerging company who create high-quality products.
The Skull is the companies flagship symbol, and their Stainless Steel Skull Marker their most recognizable marker. The skull marker features black and fluorescent paint, with the bright sunglasses on the marker giving it a vibrant look. 100% CNC milled, the tool contains the companies name engraved on the back of the marker.
A variation on the Skull Marker is the companies Rainbow Skull Marker. Just in case the black and fluorescent paint job on the former wasn’t flashy enough for you, Swag’s Rainbow Skull Marker will make sure to get you noticed, containing the same features as their Skull Marker with a Rainbow PVD finish.
Moving away from their Skull Marker’s, Swag’s St Paddy’s Day Cap Marker is more than worthy of a mention. Identical in size to a bottle cap, the St Paddy’s Day inspired marker features a hand polished golden finish, with the word Swag in green written on the front, while on the back the words “Swag Golf Co.” as well as the company’s philosophy “Don’t give a putt” featured.
The company describe their bottle cap/marker as not being the first bottle cap/marker on the market but “the best one” out there. While I can’t confirm how true that statement is, I can certainly say it is an excellent one.
Swag’s first divot tool is the DTF Divot Tool. Get your head out of the gutter, that stands for “Down To Fix”. The device comes in a black and lime paint job, and an impressive weight of 49 Grams which should ensure that it doesn’t go missing on you.
The divot tool, like their ball markers, is 100% CNC milled and made from 303 Stainless Steel. For a Swag product, the writing and branding on the tool is quite minimalist, and it is as clean and sharp looking a divot tool as I’ve seen from the 2019 releases.
As always with Swag products, the only issue is the limited releases and how quickly the items go, which is no surprise considering the unique products as well as the quality provided. They are, however, continuing to create and release more and more products and their website, as well as their social media sites, are all well worth keeping a close eye on if you’re looking to snag some of the companies top gear in the future.
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