2011 Buyer’s Guide Accessories

Golf equipment isn't just clubs and balls
While it's true that most of your playing time is spent sizing up a shot and hitting it, to become a better player, you need more than just the latest clubs, shafts and balls. Consider the often-overlooked category of accessories. While it might be easy to write it off as a bunch of gadgets, look closer and you'll see that each of the following items will not only help you play better, but also enjoy the game that much more. And, really, who can argue with that?

GPS Garmin Approach S1

Want to know how far away you are from the front, middle and back of the green, but don't want to carry a GPS unit? It's Garmin to the rescue. The new waterproof Approach S1 GPS watch provides you with those yardages, plus it measures your shot's distance and has a built-in odometer so you can measure how far you've walked. It comes with more than 15,000 preloaded U.S. and Canadian golf courses. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts eight hours in GPS mode and three weeks in regular watch mode. The next time you play, the watch stays on! garmin.com | $249 Golfbuddy World

The new, high-resolution, color, touch-screen GolfBuddy World comes preloaded with 30,000 worldwide courses and with the capacity to hold another 10,000. Features a full layout view of each hole plus an overhead view from tee to green. Want to know the distance to the pin? Touch the screen, zoom in and adjust the pin placement. This Touch Point Technology also provides users with an instant yardage reading from the ball to the green. Other features include a digital scorecard, statistical analysis and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, all in a shock- and water-resistant casing. golfbuddyglobal.com | $299 Sonocaddie V300+

This unit comes preloaded with basic icon-based hole layouts for over 16,000 U.S. courses. It can be used right out of the box with no downloading and no fees. Optional full Layout view is available along with the satellite photos available in two memberships- the Birdie provides 16,000 US color Layout and Satellite Imagery for $29.95 and the Eagle membership gives over 28,000 Worldwide layouts and satellite imagery for $49.95. sonocaddie.com | $199

Expresso AG1

The 3-in-1 AG1 from Expresso functions as a golf GPS, portable media player (you can watch movies, view pictures and listen to music) and automotive GPS. Built to fit in a golf cart's cup holder, the touch-screen AG1 measures distances to any point on the hole, measures shots, and keep scores and statistics. Comes pre-loaded with all North American courses (USA & Canada). Also comes with a one-year warranty, built-in golf-cart mount and a car charger. expressogps.com | $220 Callaway uPro mx

Callaway's sleek uPro mx is a handheld, touch-screen GPS unit that comes preloaded with 25,000 courses and a 2.2-inch, full-color LCD screen. Two thumbs up for borrowing the cool touch-screen "swipe" function found on iPhones and vertical/horizontal viewing option. Another bonus: aerial flyovers. Perfect for doglegs, blind shots and holes where you stand on the tee and go, "What in the world was this architect thinking?" callawaygolf.com | $199 onpar GPS

The big, colorful OnPar screen displays an aerial view of whichever course you play. Simply touch the hole you're on and start playing. The touch-screen option is a plus, even though it's sometimes hard to slide the OnPar's tiny measuring "ball" with your finger (this option measures distances to anywhere on the hole). What's best is there are no membership or course-mapping fees. Just buy the unit, sync it with your computer and play. onpargps.com | $349

Golfshot iPhone App

The Golfshot iPhone app can be used on 35,000 courses worldwide, is mapped in 11 languages, and features state-of-the-art statistics that can be e-mailed to the user and others in his or her group. The app also provides lay-up positioning based on players' clubs and their course. Keeps score for up to eight players, and features iPad HD support so you can analyze your stats at home. golfshot.com | $30 Golflogix Smartphone App

After a late-February upgrade, GolfLogix lowered its annual Championship Membership fee to $19.95 and announced that its free version now includes distances to greens. The app, which runs on 30 smartphones, including the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid, is the world's most downloaded golf app. Look for four-player scoring, pro-level tracking and aerials on the free version, too. golflogix.com | FREE ($19.95/Championship Membership) Izzo Golf Swami 3000

Affordable and loaded with every golf course in North America. What could be better? Try no subscriptions or annual fees. Just charge the Swami 3000 and you're ready to play. While still Spartan (it only gives yardages to the front, middle and back of green), the 3000 is a major upgrade from the current Swami 1500 model, which held only 10 courses. That model now discounts for $69. izzo.com | $99

    Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS

Want pinpoint accuracy to the flag and a device that measures distances to the front, middle and back of green (not to mention creeks, bunkers and one that measures your drives)? Consider Bushnell's new Hybrid Laser GPS. That's right–laser and GPS. As the company says, it's "distance made simple." We liked how easy it was to use (we used the GPS portion more than the laser because its side display is very accessible). Features Pinseeker Technology that hones in on the flag to the exclusion of trees, homes and other background distractions, like hackers on the next tee. Comes with 16,000 courses predownloaded and a rechargeable battery. bushnellgolf.com | $499     BAGS lT Golf The Eazy Bag

The Eazy Bag eliminates the need to lift your clubs up and over the edge of the bag, greatly reducing the strain on your shoulders and back. The unique Club Lock System keeps your clubs secure, organized and protected. Comes with wheels on its base. ltgolf.com | $159 Cleveland Hybrid

The new Hybrid stand bag from Cleveland features a 10-inch, 14-way top and full-length club dividers, plus 10 strategically placed pockets. But look harder and you'll notice a few nifty features like a Velcro strip for your glove or putter cover, a rangefinder pocket, a trunk handle, tee sleeves, an oversized towel ring and a pen and cardholder sleeve. Weighs 5.9 pounds and comes in three color combinations. clevelandgolf.com | $170 Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5

We love the big, roomy mouth of the 3.5, not to mention one of the most comfortable strap systems (E-Z Fit Dual Strap) we've tried. We also dig how the bottom of the bag was designed so it doesn't slip off a golf cart. That's smart stuff. sunmountain.com | $139

Adidas Strike AG

Yeah, the white is sure to turn heads, but this bag isn't just for show. Its lightweight and sturdy construction makes it a cinch to use and carry. We really like the placement of the multiple pockets, and the wide mouth makes dropping and pulling clubs a piece of cake. It also has FAS-TEK technology, meaning you can attach a handful of devices such as a GPS to it, using the type of clip you'd use on a belt or pants pocket. adidasgolf.com | $134 Ping 4 Under

Simple and understated, the 4 Under bag has all you need from a lightweight carry bag without excess frill. The four-way divider mouth is plenty big enough, and like virtually every PING bag, the 4 Under promises to last a long, long time. The most unique feature? The retractable strap that makes it easier to lift the bag from a more upright position. ping.com | $134 Mizuno Aerolite IV

This lightweight bag is full of cool stuff: a Velcro patch to hold your glove, a big Pelican Pocket for easy access to balls and accessories, a comfortable hip pad and a shoulder harness that's super comfortable to use. The "Divide and Slide" technology uses the club's weight to separate the clubs for easy access during play. mizunogolf.com | $149 Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0

There are 11 pockets on this wide-mouthed, lightweight bag, not to mention a four-point double strap that's very comfortable to wear. The pen and water-bottle pockets make sense, but we really like how easy this bag is to pick up and put in the trunk, thanks to handles in all the right places. callawaygolf.com | $159 Datrek Sabre

Datrek's lightweight Sabre stand bag includes a 10-inch top with eight full-length dividers, nine pockets, a scorecard holder sleeve and an easily accessible insulated water-bottle holder and ball pocket. Designed with a rubberized lift-assist handle, a stylized hip pad and an ergonomic molded carry handle. Offered in a variety of color combinations. datrek.com | $149 Bag Boy Revolver Plus

Bag Boy's Revolver Plus Cart Bag features a 360° revolving-top design for easy access to your clubs. Plus the company's innovative Clip-Lok technology keeps clubs and shafts from banging together. Includes 11 compartments, including a large cooler pocket and a fleece-lined valuables pocket. bagboycompany.com | $179

EYEWEAR Pilla Performance

Pilla claims that its bulletproof (yes, bulletproof) "Ballistx" lens material is the clearest sports lens on the market. Its light-management system lightens up the putting surface so the user can see and perform with greater accuracy than ever before. Comes in two golf models (Liberty, shown). pillasport.com | $449/two pair Switch Vision

These premium sunglasses feature a magnetic, interchangeable-lens system, so you'll have great clarity no matter what the weather. Incredibly comfortable, too. switchvision.com | $169-$249 Tifosi Slope

Weighing just 34 grams, the Slope fits medium to large faces and is made from Grilamid TR-90, a highly flexible nylon. Features hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces for a no-slip fit. Comes in 14 different color options, including Pacific Blue (shown). Its GT lens tint features "object illumination," which makes it easier to spot a ball in flight. tifosioptics.com | $60 Adidas Evil Eye Halfrim

Want to incorporate the same equipment that world-class cyclists and Olympic rowers use? Consider Adidas' newest offering, the Evil Eye Halfrim. Features a wide angle of vision and Light Stabilizing Technology that increases contrasts in your vision. With two-way adjustable nose pads and three-way adjustable temples, you're sure to find the perfect fit for your face. Four swappable lens types are available, including polarized. adidas.com/eyewear | $170 Callaway FT__ÒIH

Featuring a techie look and a lightweight yet durable Grilamid TR-90 frame, the FT-IH is semi-rimless so there's nothing between you and the ball. Fits a medium to large head shape, and its Megol rubber nose and ear tips provide secure nonslip retention. shop.callawaygolf.com | $200 Kaenon Hard Kore

The lightweight, durable HARD KORE from Kaenon integrates with the natural form of the wearer's head shape while accommodating different facial features. All SR-91 lenses are Rx adaptable and provide your eyes with broad-spectrum protection against 100% of all harmful UVA and UVB rays, offering razor-sharp optical clarity and unsurpassed glare reduction. As seen on PGA Tour pro, Robert Allenby. kaenon.com | $209-$219

TRAINING AIDS MomentusGolf Speed Whoosh

One of items that made the most, um, noise at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day was Momentus Golf's Speed Whoosh, a training aid that promises to increase one's swing speed by 7-10 mph. While it weighs the same as a typical driver, its flexible shaft allows you to swing it more than 20 mph faster than your normal big stick. Swing it just six times, and you'll notice that distance gain, says the company. What's most helpful though is the "whoosh" sound it makes in the impact zone (when swung correctly). That gives you the right feedback so you can make solid contact again and again. momentusgolf.com | $70 PSP Golf The Little One

Oversized clubheads have been the rage for years, and for good reason–they're incredibly forgiving. But maybe they're too forgiving. Hitting the ball off the heel or toe isn't nearly as punishing as it was 10 years ago. Still, those shots don't go nearly as far as ones that are hit on the sweet spot. If you struggle to make consistent, flush contact, consider PSP Golf's The Little One. First introduced in 2000, the severely undersized 7-iron clubhead (it's the size of a standard club's sweet spot) is designed so you make solid contact every time. pspgolf.net | $120 Sklz Vari-Break Putting Green

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