Hot Golf Travel Gear for 2014
Annual PGA Show is the Epicenter of Buzz-Worthy Products
By Shane Sharp
Golfers throughout the East and Midwest take solace: there are only so many polar vortexes this winter can deal out before the spring golf season arrives. And when it does, there's no sense in wasting anytime. Get the golf shopping done now.
The recently wrapped PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando is to golf what the Consumer Electronics Show is to the techie world. For have-clubs-will-travel types, the annual trade show with 40,000-plus attendees is the place to discover - and test - the latest golf travel products. Here's a round-up of some of the buzz-worth offerings from the 2014 edition.
XTD Ti Hybrid
The XTD Ti Hybrid features the hottest club face ever created by the makers of the #1 Hybrid in Golf. Ball speed off the face approaches the USGA limit and is comparable to that of a driver. It is the only club in golf built with progressive face thickness to provide assistance where necessary on off-center hits and optimize performance on well-struck shots. The XTD Ti is engineered with multi-material construction for an optimally low center of gravity and ideal launch angle. "Velocity Slots" in the crown and sole of the club are anchored by a channel cut through the head of the club from the top slot to the bottom. This allows for optimal "trampoline effect" producing distance gains up to 15 yards.
MSRP: Subscription terms from $41.65 - $45 per month (1, 3, 6, 12 month options)
First-ever delivery set for March 2014
BirdieBox is bringing the fast-growing 'discovery retail' subscription platform to the previously untapped but affluent and obsessive golf demographic. It offers passionate consumers a unique and personalized way to experience premium golf products. Every month a package of golf-related lifestyle goods is delivered to your door. Elements are a surprise until arrival. Retail value exceeds $100. Special boxes are available for major golf events, and holidays ($100 MSRP, $200+ retail value). Custom curation opportunities are available for charity tournaments, country club member-guest and other events.
Replace that tired old corporate logo umbrella in the golf bag with a new state-of-the-art Blunt G-1 "Personal Weather Canopy." It might just be the last and only one you'll ever need. The "Blunt technology" is a uniquely tensioned canopy with a flatter aerodynamic profile eliminating sharp edges and weak points. One of the main reasons umbrellas break is the fabric tears away from a tip or separates from the ribs running through the structure. With some of the greatest golf destinations stateside and abroad located in tumultuous weather regions, the G-1 is the perfect road companion.
Boccieri Golf - Secret Grip
MSRP: $12.99 full swing, $24.99 putter grip
Boccieri Golf's new Secret Grip is endorsed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus and allows players to benefit from the same unique counterweight technology the Golden Bear relied on to win 18 major championships. The "secret" lies in a patented grip compound that is 40% heavier than standard and a tungsten weight in the butt-end (17 grams), raising the balance point. This promotes crisp contact, greater control and distance. It is easily installed on clubs produced by any manufacturer and available at retailers nationwide. The company's "no risk" promotion allows players 30-days to test the product and return it for a full refund if not completely satisfied (minimum six).
For 2014, the company is applying this technology to the putter as well. The new Secret Grip Putter Grip (155 grams) raises the putter's balance point and forces players to use their more stable muscles, resulting in a repeatable and reliable stroke. Minimizing undesirable wrist movement, Secret Grip features an oversized design, popular pistol shaping for comfort and an attractive black and green color scheme. The product can be installed on putters from any manufacturer for an instant boost in performance.
CHAMP C8 Grips
MSRP: $15.99 per grip
Producers of the most popular spikes on the PGA Tour, CHAMP has ventured into the grip market with five bold new introductions for 2014. This includes the top-of-the-line C8, a premium offering infused with Kevlar® (an industry first) for incredible wear resistance. Beyond its enhanced durability, the C8 incorporates an anti-shock wrap to absorb unwanted vibrations and a tacky compound to help in all weather conditions. The new offering is available in multiple colors and will be at retailers March 1.
Club Glove Last Bag
For golfers making equipment purchases based on PGA Tour player use, Club Glove is the only option when looking at a travel case. The company's award-winning Last Bag is used by more than 90% of PGA Tour players. Its popularity stems from amazing durability, extremely high quality materials and American made craftsmanship. Utilizing Invista" Cordura® 1000 D water resistant nylon, the Last Bag is more tear resistant than the polyester used by many competitors. It is available in 16 colors, including new military-themed camouflage and an eye-catching black/pink combo.
ECCO Men's Street EVO One
Danish company ECCO continues its leading cleat-less footwear advances with the introduction of the Street EVO One. The next evolution of ECCO's best-selling golf shoe, the Street EVO One boasts performance and style elements for Tour players and amateur golfers alike. Built atop the award-winning E-DTS hybrid outsole and two-colored uppers, the Street EVO One is fashionable both on and off the course. With a slightly wider rear construction, Street EVO One is designed to wrap around a player's heel for a more stable platform to power through each shot. Other upgrades include a superior cushioned TPU base and hybrid outsole with approximately 100 molded traction bars and 800-plus traction angles for superior grip in all conditions.
MSRP: $150 - $509
Founded by PGA TOUR player Paul Stankowski, Francis Edward produces colorful and luxurious exotic belts and accessories for men and women. Belts are highly customizable, including leather-type, color, border and width. They can be sized in-shop with Francis Edward's unique fitting system. Featuring Alligator, Crocodile, Lizard, Shark, Python, and other leather types, Francis Edward belts are as unique as they are stylish.
Aron GORE-TEX Paclite Full-Zip Jacket with Stretch Fabric
The world's leading maker of functional golf clothing for serious players, Galvin Green adheres to a "We Never Compromise" mantra. Founded in 1990, the Swedish company is a pure golf brand specializing supplying high-performance clothing in more than 20 countries. It formally launched in the U.S. for Spring/Summer 2014 and is available exclusively at better green grass shops.
New for 2014, the Aron GORE-TEX Paclite Full-Zip Jacket with Stretch Fabric is totally waterproof and guaranteed to keep golfers bone dry. It features an ideal combination of lightweight weather protection and extreme breathability that enables the release of excess heat and moisture. It's styled to avoid unnecessary fabric at the front of jacket that could impede the swing motion. Specifically developed for golfers to provide a perfect fit and maximum freedom of movement, the jacket is extremely durable and hard-wearing.
Delta Force Golf Glove
G/FORE's design and array of color delivers on comfort and style. With premium AA Cabretta leather in a precision cut and embroidered patch detail, the G/FORE golf glove is unparalleled in construction, quality and fit. The gloves, which conform with USGA rules, are worn by Tom Watson (PGA & Champions Tours), Jonas Blixt (PGA & European Tours), Ricky Barnes (PGA Tour), Robert Rock (European Tour), Alex Cejka (European Tour), Shingo Katayama (Japan Golf Tour), Tommy Armour III (Champions Tour), Kathleen Ekey (LPGA Tour) & world-renowned golf instructor Rick Smith.
GolfLogix - the No. 1 App for Golf
Club Membership: Free
Champion Membership: $19.99/year
GolfLogix is easily downloaded to more than 60 smartphone models for 32,000 golf courses worldwide. For $20 annually, it can track every shot, learning club distances and shot trends. Accurate distances are provided to points throughout the hole with yardage book quality imagery. Scorekeeping and club tracking produce a mapped history of every hole and aerial flyovers just like you see on TV. GolfLogix is the first company to introduce handheld GPS to the golf industry and holds a U.S. patent for its unique GPS and Internet-based club tracking application. A partnership with Golf Digest delivers customized instruction content from Golf Digest's staff of top-ranked teachers and Tour stars direct to GolfLogix member's Smartphones. Members receive exclusive Golfsmith product discount offers on the leading retailer's expansive collection of equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories
Pro-Light and Sport
Worn on Tour by Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar and scores of other elite professionals, the 170-year-old wool innovator, KENTWOOL, uses a proprietary blend of natural and high-tech fibers to create an innovative, micro-climate system for superior moisture management and wicking, as well as odor control. The result is a sock that stays dry and odor-free without washing for multiple wears. In addition to the brand's performance and fashion socks, KENTWOOL is releasing two new styles for 2014, the Pro-Light and Sport. Updated with sleeker silhouette, faster designs and new fabric blends, both performance styles retain the brand's signature blister-free guarantee and are made entirely in the USA.
Gym Solutions / Training Aids
A new-comer at the PGA Show, Logical Golf turned many heads with its sleek, resistance-based gym and surreal-looking training aids (including an airplane cut-out on a shaft). The Gym Solution and Training Aids are the brainchild of Robert Baker, Ernie Els former coach. Logical Golf is a bio-mechanical-based system developed through Baker's years of working with Els, Greg Norman, Nick Price and Nick Faldo. Simple yet effective props such as the aforementioned airplane and hula-hoops help students make the connection and forge muscle memory. The target audience is golf academies, resorts and instruction-oriented private clubs. However, training aids and even kids' clubs with inter-changeable shafts are available at the consumer level.
The vast majority of PGA Tour players list "fishing" as a favorite hobby in their official bios. If that's the case, Salty Grips might just be a match made in a watery heaven. Made from Portuguese cork used on high-end fishing rods, Salty Grips are designed for putters. The company is the brain child and labor of love of partners Mark Button and Whit Flowers, both avid angles and golfers. Cork is 25 to 40% lighter, more responsive, and enables the golfer to really feel the weight of the putter head. The grips can be installed after market, or with a purchase at a rapidly growing number of retailers throughout the U.S. Oversize models are available.
Scheyden Precision Eyewear C130
Handcrafted in Japan with the world's finest materials, Scheyden offers superior functional and quality sunglasses. New for 2014 is the C130 model with hand-welded titanium frame and spring-loaded hinges to provide a comfortable flex-fit. The mineral glass lenses are hand-ground and polished with anti-scratch and water repellant features for ultimate clarity.
The leader in the personal swing analyzer category is SwingSmart, which was recently named the industry's "Techiest Training Aid" by GOLF Magazine. Users simply mount the small (1 oz.) Bluetooth-enabled sensor to their club shaft and it wirelessly communicates with a free app for iOS and Android devices, providing instant and accurate feedback on critical elements of the swing. Not only does it spit out information on tempo, swing speed, shaft lean and face angle, but it provides a "3-D Swing-View" so players can see the path of the club head in motion from a variety of angles. Data from the best swings can be saved and used as a point of reference during practice. Legendary instructor Peter Kostis provides in-app video tips and strategies on developing the ideal golf swing and new for 2014, the app incorporates special mini-games that are designed to be fun, while helping players accomplish specific goals.
Imagine a harmonic marriage of cutting-edge, light-weight fitness gear and golf performance training aids and you have SKLZ. New for 2014, the Carlsbad, California-based company is offering the Gold Flex warm-up and temp training aid. A whippy shaft with a polyurethane-weighted head improves golfers' swings while strengthening their cores. It claims to flight slices by flattening the swing plane. Just as importantly for traveling golfers, it is easy to take on the airplane, as the Gold Flex fits easily into a golf bag and is legal to carry on course.
TRS Ballistic Luggage from Club Glove
MSRP: Check-In XL, $799; Check-In, $750; Carry-On, $699; Shoulder Bag, $349; Backpack, $349; TravelRX, $399
This new ultra-premium, Made-in-the-USA collection from Club Glove is designed with military-grade ballistic nylon material (INVISTA CORDURA® 1050), providing vastly superior abrasion resistance than other premium brands. It features the renowned Train Reaction System, which allows travelers to link multiple bags together to create one rolling unit, making it extremely easy to navigate airports and hotels. Six bags in varying sizes are part of the line-up, each is available in black or a new black/bronze combo. Nylon mesh packing modules are included to help travelers stay perfectly organized and custom embroidery is available for a small upcharge.
Wolsey - one of the world's oldest existing clothing brands and a pioneer of premium men's apparel for sporting endeavors - is re-launching its historic Sportsman line this year, and has appointed Johan Lindeberg "Golf Brand Ambassador." Sportsman's sophisticated modern garments use traditional British menswear colors in a clean and subtle manner.
The Insulator Jacket is a must for golfers traveling to cooler climes. It features 100% polyester ripstop with Prima Loft Tech details. Light weight, high-performance and fully insulated for exceptional warmth and comfort, the jacket is windproof and water-resistant with two-way stretch and wrist cuffs for freedom of movement.
Revised: 02/05/2014 - Article Viewed 2,004 Times
Written By: Shane Sharp
Shane Sharp is a Vice President with Buffalo Communications. He is the former managing editor of WorldGolf.com, a past contributing editor to GOLF Magazine, and wrote for the Charlotte Observer and other newspapers in the Carolinas and Arizona covering golf, NBA and college basketball.
Contact Shane Sharp:
Buffalo Communications - Vice President