April 2012

The latest in golf equipment, instruction, training aids, apparel & more

TRAINING AIDS

MEDICUS

Three products from Medicus will help you hit fairways, gain distance and drain putts. The Dual-Hinge driver ($160) lets you know when you swing incorrectly by "breaking," the PowerMeter ($70) attaches to your clubs and measures your clubhead speed, and the OverSpin putter ($160) helps you strike the ball above its center, which helps eliminate skidding and hopping. medicus.com

SKLZ SKLZ has introduced their new SimStix True-Feel Club ($40), which combines a grip and cut-down shaft that fits into both Wii and Sony Playstation controllers. Use it while you play golf video games to help you experience a realistic swinging motion. It's a great idea to heighten the game-playing experience, but we liked that you can receive real-time feedback on your swing. Clubface alignment, swing path and plane"they're all displayed on the screen for you. sklz.com

ORANGE WHIP TRAINER The Orange Whip ($109) aims to sharpen your swing rhythm and tempo, improve your balance, increase your clubhead speed and develop lag and load. After practicing with it each day, you'll find strength and flexibility in your golf swing. Its cousin, the Orange Peel ($209) is a balance board that helps you direct your center of gravity. Use it to find your balance and replicate different kinds of hilly lies. (Use both and you'll make balanced, rhythmic swings like never before.) orangewhiptrainer.com

DEAD AIM The Dead Aim putter ($150-$220) is an optically engineered putter with a raised three-hole top line that makes it easy to know when your eyes are lined up over the ball. We got to test it out at this year's PGA Merchandise show, and it was a cinch to line our eyes over the ball and ensure the putterface was square to the target line. The feature we liked the most was the optional laser-training device ($30) that attaches to the top of the putter and helps square the face through the entire stroke. Two models are available in standard and belly lengths. Both come in black and silver/white finishes. deadaimputters.com

TOUR STRIKER The wildly popular Tour Striker training aid is now out in a driver version. This model features a little bump toward the sole of the driver's face so you can learn to hit the ball off the top half of the face and maximize the driver's COR. Another great idea from this company that's already knocked it out of the park on their irons. tourstriker.com

PUTTING ALLEY Can't seem to get the ball in the hole from three feet? Don't worry, you're not alone. Fortunately the makers of the Putting Alley ($50-$160) are here to help. Their product features a raised 27-inch alley that leads to a cup. Strike the ball with an open or closed face, and it will veer to the left or right and wind up short of the cup. Hit it with a square face and, voila, the ball will hit the back of the cup. The makers say with just five minutes of practice, you'll train yourself to make perfect contact. Comes in two materials (wood and plastic) and two different alley widths (one inch and 1__ã2 inch). puttingalley.com

SWINGRITE The SwingRite ($150) is one of the game's easiest and most effective training aids. Simply swing it and listen for the click. If released properly, the SwingRite will click at the bottom of your swing. You can easily pinpoint and correct an early or late hand release, and making this correction will result in farther and straighter shots. Adjust the SwingRite to work on clubhead speed and tempo. swingrite.com

PIVOTPRO Sway too much during your swing? The PivotPro ($89) can help you stop. Simply clamp your foot into its wedge-like brace (much like a ski boot) and make a swing without bumping into its affixed aluminum rod. It's designed to help golfers turn their torso against their rear leg and their lead hip toward the target–two ingredients that generate a powerful pivot. Prevents casting and reverse pivots, too. Fits shoe sizes 7 to 14. pivotpro.net

SYNCHRONIZER What looks like an oversized belt is actually a training aid called the Synchronizer ($40). Simply wear it around your waist, and it will help you get in sync by training you to start your backswing and properly transition into your downswing. This simple, innovative trainer actually makes you sync your arms, shoulders, hips and legs so you can effortlessly transform your swing into its most efficient and effective form. Comes in four sizes and with an instructional DVD. syncyourswing.com

ACCESSORIES

GOLFBUDDY Siri, the voice of Apple's new iPhone, has some competition. At this year's PGA Merchandise Show, GolfBuddy unveiled its latest device, a diminutive yet highly powerful GPS unit called the Voice ($199). Billed as the first global talking GPS rangefinder, the Voice audibly delivers distances to the front, middle and back of the green for more than 33,000 (preloaded) global golf courses. What's best is it's so small, you can clip it to your cap or belt. Weighs just one ounce and measures a mere 1.7 inches. No subscription fees, and it's multilingual to boot! www.gpsgolfbuddy.com

WATCH IT! GPS units for your wrist Boasting accurate distance to the front, the middle and the back of the green, the new Swami Golf GPS Watch ($179) from IZZO comes preloaded with more than 19,000 North American courses. Weighs only 3.5 ounces and holds a 6- to 8-hour charge. No downloads or annual subscriptions. izzo.com

Preloaded with nearly 17,000 North American courses, the Garmin Approach S1W GPS watch ($250) is fashionable, functional and pretty darn powerful, too. It delivers distances to the front, center and back of the green, weighs only 1.8 ounces, and its battery life, while in GPS mode, lasts eight hours. garmin.com The first golf GPS watch to include information about hazards, the WR62 ($180) from Expresso Satellite Navigation also tracks your shot's distance, and gives you access to the yardage to the front and back of the green. golfesn.com

BUSHNELL Clarity, precision and speed. Bushnell promises to deliver all three in their new Tour Z6 ($399) rangefinder. It's the company's smallest and most techni-cally advanced rangefinder to date. Vertically configured, it boasts an improved contrast and a brighter digital readout, plus its E.S.P. (Extreme Speed Precision) provides yardage quickly and accurately. bushnellgolf.com

GARMIN The latest GPS unit from Garmin is the Approach G6 ($300), a light, slim unit that can fit inside your shirt pocket. What's best however is that it comes preloaded with 25,000 worldwide golf courses and has no hidden fees or subscriptions. Keep track of all kinds of stats and adjust for that day's pin placement. It's a caddie in your pocket. And you don't have to tip it. garmin.com

GOLF LOGIX GolfLogix has unveiled a few new features for its popular Smartphone App (free), including a club-tracking function, which accurately captures shot distances and locations (and produces a round log for every shot). Other new features include an aerial flyover of every hole with high-end imagery from tee to green, precise distances to the pin and a digital yardage book that allows users to create notes on top of course imagery. golflogix.com

SKYCADDIE Ever wonder why some golf courses' yardage is incorrect on your GPS? Well, SkyCaddie says it's because the preloaded information is often out of date. To avoid any yardage hiccups, the company has unveiled its newest offering, the SGXw ($400), a Wi-Fi-enabled device that allows you to access updated course info wherever Wi-Fi is available. skycaddie.com

APPAREL

OTTER As the makers of the Otter Rain Sweater ($179) put it, this sophisticated, soft garment is "perfect for doubtful weather." What makes it stand up to the elements? Its construction. 30% of it is made from Merino wool that's treated with a durable water-repellent finish. It's lined with a 100% polyester liner, and 70% of its outside (a caped back and shoulders) is a waterproof acrylic shell. It's the perfect outerwear for days when the weather just can't make up its mind. theottercompany.com

BIONIC If you suffer from arthritis and find playing golf to be, well, a pain, consider trying Bionic's new ReliefGrip glove ($30). Formerly known as the Silver Series, it has been revamped and updated for even more comfort and grip strength. (It used to be sold as a pair, but now is sold as a single.) How does it help your arthritic hands? With an additional row of finger pads and form-fitting LightPrene material that adds wrist support. bionicgloves.com

ABACUS One of the challenges with rain gear is ensuring that it provides freedom of movement, while keeping you dry. Abacus has achieved just that with their Pitch 59 rain jacket ($325-$365). It's made from a four-way stretch OPT 15,000 fabric and has sealed seams, so no water gets in and you can make an uninhibited swing. Don't take our word for it, though, take the pros'. Abacus is the official apparel provider for the European Solheim Cup team. abacussportswear.com SHAFTS nVENTIX nVentix Golf debuted their NUNCHUK 370 Precision hybrid shaft ($175) at this year's PGA Merchandise Show. It incorporates the same Tri-Zonal Stability technology as the original NUNCHUK shaft, which is an alternative to shafts with varying flexes, kickpoints, weights and torques. Basically NUNCHUK simplifies the fitting process so you don't have to worry about all the specific differences in a regular shaft. This new hybrid version features a wider tip diameter, which sets it off from the original version. nventix.com UST MAMIYA UST Mamiya has unveiled its Proforce VTS hybrid shaft ($80) in three different weights: 75, 85 and 100 grams. Like its VTS driver and fairway-wood shafts, the VTS is all about torque. All you have to do is find the weight and flex on the shaft, and UST Mamiya will offer three different torque profiles to fine-tune your performance even further. This shaft will help players increase their ball speed, hit straighter shots and simply have better-feeling strikes. ustmamiya.com FUJIKURA Fujikura has introduced its Motore F3 hybrid shaft ($150) this year in a 95-gram offering. This shaft not only provides tremendous feel but features the company's proprietary H.I.T. Technology (High Inertia Tip). H.I.T. stores more energy during the downswing, then releases that energy right before impact, which means the tip end of the shaft accelerates faster to the ball. This provides optimal spin, regardless of hits with higher or lower trajectories. fujikuragolf.com

INSTRUCTION CORNER Lower your scores with these new releases

The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness ($25) is Dr. Bob Rotella's eighth book. In this relatively short book, the master sports psychologist trains his eye on the deceptively challenging short game. Being target-focused is a common theme in Rotella's work, and he doesn't veer too far from that mantra in The Unstoppable Golfer. Available wherever books are sold.

57 chapters. 250 tips. Four hours of instruction. No it's not the latest issue of Golf Tips, it's Butch Harmon's new DVD. Titled Butch Harmon About Golf presented by Titleist ($80), the two-disc set features guest appearances by many of Harmon's past and present students (Phil, Dustin and even Tiger). What will you learn? More like what won't you learn? This baby is comprehensive"and entertaining. Released in six languages, including English, Spanish and Korean. butchharmondvd.com

Chances are your diet is actually causing your golf scores to go up, says author and veteran golf writer Scott Kramer. His e-book The Golfer's Diet ($2.99) is entertaining and fast reading and helps golfers learn what kinds of foods to eat before, during and after a round of golf. It also explains why the most popular food items at golf courses are often the worst for your game. Look for PGA and LPGA Tour pros to reveal what they eat, when they eat it and what foods they avoid. Available on amazon.com.

Kai Fusser wants to pump you up! The Director of Fitness at the Annika Academy in Orlando, Fusser has trained some of the game's best golfers. In December, he released his first book called Weight Training for Women's Golf, The Ultimate Guide ($17). Now, there's a men's version, too. Learn all of the exercises that will get you knocking the cover off the ball. Wherever books are sold.

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