June 2014

Check out some of the best stuff we've seen this year

NOW PLAYING: NIKE GOLF, G/FORE &NEW BALANCE When it comes to new shoe technology, sometimes the best advancements come from well beyond the fairway.

 

NIKE GOLF Tiger may be out of golf for a while (get better, dude!), but there's no reason his shoes need to miss out on the action. The new Nike TW '14 Mesh golf shoes ($169) have Nike-Free technology, meaning they flex and bend for a full range of motion. Nike goes so far as to put a disclaimer on its Nike-Free shoes, saying that these shoes generally make your feet work a little harder than rigid shoes do. In our mind, that's a good thing, since healthy feet are generally happy feet. And with footwork such a critical component of the golf swing, these shoes may be just what many of us need to activate the huge power source we all have (but few take advantage of) beneath our feet. The rugged built-in sole limits slipping and the Dynamic Flywire tech lends a glove-like fit. Comfortable, and athletic-inspired, look for these shoes to be a popular choice among fitness-conscious weekend warriors this summer. Nikegolf.com Nikegolf.com

G/FORE G/FORE, who happens to make our favorite premium golf gloves in a huge assortment of color options, was founded by the mega-popular fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli (yes, that Mossimo). "Moss" (as his friends call him) not only has the chops to play some really good golf, he also knows what it takes to make a fashion-forward golf shoe that beautifully masks some serious technology on the inside. The suede on each shoe is water-resistant, the footbed is an extremely light material, and the colorful, logoed sole is more than just good-looking–it was rigorously tested for maximum traction during the swing. But that's not the best part. These shoes (Gallivanter shown, $250) are so insanely, incredibly, almost ridiculously comfortable that we never want to take them off. So–we don't. These shoes double as the perfect kicks for the office and for the golf course. And, yes, we know they're a little pricey, but look closer. These shoes are both golf shoes and work shoes, so consider them the ultimate 2-for-1 deal. We're sold! gfore.com

NEW BALANCE When a company dedicated to making high-performance running shoes decides to start making golf shoes, how could we not take notice? There are a handful of new styles available, but so far our favorite is the New Balance Minimus Sport. "Minimus" essentially means minimal toe drop, which means the shoe doesn't slope more than 4mm from heel to toe. This helps the shoe lend a more natural, comfortable feel. And in case you're wondering, there's plenty of cushion here–it's not really like playing barefoot; it's infinitely better thanks to the REVlite midsole cushioning. At only 7.2 ounces (that's extremely light) and with built-in traction, the Minimus Sport feels so good you could easily wear them for a hearty jog around the golf course. No, Really, we mean on that dirt path that surrounds the golf course. Like many New Balance shoes, these come in wide or standard width–an option rarely seen in golf shoes. Newbalance.com

PING Some of our favorite putters through the years were the ones PING made of beryllium copper, and while copper is no longer used by PING, the new Karsten TR Putters ($149) have the look and feel of copper thanks to a copper-toned PVD finish over an all-steel body. The variable True Roll grooves on the putterface (deeper in the middle of the face) help the ball roll end over end, and the Elastomer insert behind the putterface absorbs vibration for a softer, shock-free feel. Oh, yeah, the shaft is adjustable for length, making it a cinch to find your perfect fit. That said, we couldn't help but love the color, first and foremost. The classic B60 design has never looked so good. Comes in five models. PING.com

DAVID EDEL David Edel makes some seriously great stuff! The new line of Torque Balanced Putters ($295) are true works of craftsmanship, and look as though they belong more in a glass showcase than a golf bag. But that's not what they're made to do; instead, they're destined to perform on the course. Each Torque Balanced putter is designed with the toe lighter than the heel, which according to Edel, reduces face rotation during the transition from backstroke to forwardstroke, making it easier to get the putterface square to the target at impact. Comes in three models (mallet, semi-mallet and blade), with one variable weight port toward the heel in each model and PIXL face insert technology. To call these putters "exquisite" would be an understatement. Edelgolf.com

BRIDGESTONE Wait a minute. A putter that stands on its own? We've seen that before, but never like this. The new True-Balanced Putters ($199) from Bridgestone employ an insanely light EVA foam grip and graphite shaft, which lowers the putter's balance point all the way down near the hosel. So, yes, these putters do stand upright on their own, and they feel incredible. The True-Balanced putters eschew the counterbalancing trend we've seen as of late in putters by virtually eliminating it, and that's why we really like these. They practically swing themselves. And the feel is unlike any putter we've tried in 2014. Go to your local shop and try it. You'll be impressed. Bridgestonegolf.com

TAYLORMADE Wait, what? A mini-driver? Okay, we're intrigued. The new SLDR Mini Driver ($279) from TaylorMade is a 2-wood in our opinion–and it's the best 2-wood we've ever seen. Measuring a quaint 260cc with lofts at 12_¡, 14_¡ or 16_¡, the SLDR Mini Driver is designed for golfers who like hitting fairway woods off the tee, but who want added distance to go with it. With a 3-wood length shaft, the SLDR Mini Driver has the stuff not only to perform as a strong option off the tee, it's also a viable club from the fairway, as well. Just remember to do as TaylorMade preaches and "Loft Up." Like the driver bearing the same name, this is a low-spin club, so adding loft is what you want to do to maximize performance. Comes in a TP model, too (with a souped-up shaft). Taylormadegolf.com

THE PUTTING ARC The new MS-3d ($69) from The Putting Arc can be used either on the heel or the toe of the putter, helping golfers with varying putting styles fine-tune their putting strokes. It also comes with a mirror for shoulder alignment. At 33 inches and less than 3 pounds, it's portable and very easy to use. Theputtingarc.com

BUSHNELL When 90% of PGA Tour players (and/or their caddies) use it during practice, it's definitely worth your attention. The new Bushnell Pro X7 Jolt Rangefinder ($499) not only has a super-refined laser for precision yardages and a bright, vivid display, it actually vibrates (jolts!) as soon as the laser locks onto the flagstick. Pretty cool, right? No more guessing whether you're picking up a tree, hillside or bunker lip in front of the pin. The device actually sends a short, quick vibration to the hands to help you dial in the perfect yardage. Other cool features include a 7X magnification, 5-yard to one-mile range, waterproof housing, and best of all, it's legal for tournament play (where applicable). We also like that it comes with a long-lasting, replaceable 3-volt battery. No more fussing with recharging; just replace the battery every few months. Bushnellgolf.com

MITSUBISHI RAYON The new, lightweight Bassara-P graphite shaft ($400) from Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) uses an elastic, Titanium Nickel wire in the tip section of the shaft for a tighter shot dispersion. Okay, that's over our heads, too, but just know this shaft is designed to perform as all MRC shafts do–to the highest level of precision and performance with added control. That's not to say the Bassara-P isn't a distance shaft–it most certainly is. MRC claims when this shaft with TiNi tech was compared to another shaft of comparable weight (39g-59g), distance increased by 4 to 5 yards when swung at the same speed. Mitsubishirayongolf.com

JONES SPORTS The latest new bags from the reborn bag company Jones Sports embody what we think golf bags should look and feel like. With old- school models such as the Original Jones Bag ($139), as well as several more options available in a bunch of colors and styles, you'll immediately be able to tell these bags are made to last a long time. Just sling one over your shoulder and you'll see what we mean. We love the styling, too. Classic always looks good. Jonesgolfbags.com

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