NOW PLAYING: BRIDGESTONE e-SERIES Balls Bridgestone has revamped its e-Series golf balls ($26/dozen). The two-piece e5 has a softer urethane cover and a reworked dimple pattern for a higher ballflight, while the three-piece e6 has a new inner layer that cuts sidespin for straighter, longer hits. The new three-piece e7 is a lot like the e6, only it's about five percent firmer for a lower ballflight.
The latest distance ball from Nike, the Crush, was designed for players with slower swing speeds (80-95 mph) who want to really nuke it. The two-piece ball features an ionomer cover and a high-energy core that helps to reduce unwanted spin. But the best thing about the Crush might be its price: $22/dozen.
Designed to perform with the new shallower grooves put into effect by the USGA and R&A, Wilson's FG Tour ($35/dozen) ball features a soft urethane cover that the manufacturer claims will grab onto the clubface (and grooves) to produce more spin.
Now considered the old reliable in the increasingly heated golf ball war, the Titleist Pro V1 nonetheless continues to lead the pack. Improved in 2007 so it no longer has a seam, the Pro V1 launches higher than its brother, the Pro V1x. While other manufacturers have chipped away at Titleist's market share, it's hard to beat the quality of the ball that reshaped the game. How could they improve it even more? The price. Prepare to cough up $58 for a dozen.Nike Crush Wilson FG Tour Titleist Pro V1
What Golf Ball Do You Play? Titleist–35% Callaway–15% Nike–14% Bridgestone–13% Srixon–7% Other–16% Source: golftipsmag.com
Bag Boy's new Express Auto Push Cart ($189) features a one-step folding mechanism that enables the cart to open and close with one simple fold, making it easy to collapse and store. The lightweight model can carry any-sized bag and is equipped with G-Force wheel technology. It includes an adjustable handle, parking brake, beverage holder, scorecard holder and mesh storage bag.
The Wire golf bag ($110) is yet another out-of-the-box offering from OGIO Golf. The Sherlock Plaid design (shown) brought to mind 19th century London when we first saw it. But there's no mystery as to what makes the Wire a must-have. It has a seven-inch Woode top, 2-to-1 Crossbow shoulder-strap system, neoprene handle, fleece-lined valuables pocket and magnetic tee pocket. Also comes in Hoth Camo, Stealth and Red colors.
Built with Sun Mountain's four-wheeled Micro Cart in mind, the company's new MCB (Micro Cart Bag) ($209) features a 15-way top that will appeal to golfers using any cart, although its bottom was molded specifically for the Micro Cart. Nifty design features include two velour-lined valuables pockets, insulated cooler pouch, two full-length clothing pockets, ball pocket with two-way zippers and matching Reinhold. Women's version is one inch shorter.
Looking for waterproof shoes with superior traction and comfort? Etonic's Dri-Tech Golf Shoes ($95) deliver just that. Made with premium waterproof leather uppers, the Dri-Tech has a Shocksorb Insole Bed for premier cushioning and a microfibre sock liner for cool, dry comfort. Comes in a saddle-style design with four different color combinations: white/black, white/brown, black and mocha/dark brown. Women's version features two color combos.
The Klenz multipurpose sanitizer ($289-309) cleans your golf shoes, even if you haven't previously done so. How? Via nano silver and an ozone system that bombards the bacteria. Only takes eight minutes!
Champ's high-tech Stinger 3 soft spikes ($13/box of 18) were designed with a wear indicator that tells you when you need to replace them. The putting green-friendly, nonclogging spikes also come with spring-flex traction that provide optimum gripping ability.
The edgy, full-framed Lust from Tifosi ($40-60) can be worn on and off the course. Features hydrophilic rubber temples and nose pieces that ensure a secure fit. Choose from one of seven frame colors (Sagewood shown). Available with standard polycarbonate, polarized or Smore Polarized Fototec lenses. Fits small to medium faces.
Never be disorganized again! The Golf Garage Organizer comes in a double ($299) and single ($199) version, and makes it easy to store your bags, shoes, clubs and gear. Comes as a sturdy three-shelf organization center. Minor assembly required.
Think your clubs feel too light? One of the culprits might be your grip. Winn has addressed that for 2010. Its WinnLite Grip subtracts nearly 50 percent of the weight from a typical grip. Weighing only 25 grams (as opposed to 50 grams on a typical grip), the lighter WinnLite grips make it easier to feel the increased swing weight. Available in firm, medium and soft models. Jumbo pistol putter series (62 grams) available, too.Burner SuperFast R9 SuperTri
TaylorMade has two new drivers, the Burner SuperFast and R9 SuperTri. What's the diff?
The 460cc SuperFast ($299) weighs 14 grams less than the '07 Burner, and features a bulge-and-roll design for more forgiveness on off-center hits. With a clubface that's 14% larger than the Burner '09, it's easier to make square contact (the Burner measures 46.5 inches). Features the popular Dual-Crown technology. Comes in fairway wood and rescue models, too.
The R9 SuperTri ($399) combines the Flight Control Technology (FCT) and Moveable Weight Technology (MWT) that made last season's R9 such a hit, but for the first time, it's in a 460cc version. (The original came in a 420cc design.) How did they do it? Through clever use of the company's Ultra-Thin Wall technology and a lighter FCT sleeve. Comes in four lofts and five flexes.
New from IGOTCHA, the country's best-selling golf ball retriever, comes the UltimateXL ($49). Nicknamed the "Granddaddy of all Golf Ball Retrievers," it stretches out to a lengthy 18 feet (with your arm), but folds down to a mere 20 inches, making it easy to hide in your bag's side pocket. This durable ball retriever is a must-have if you're always in the wet stuff. Available at Amazon.com, as well as golf retailers and sporting goods stores nationwide.
PUMA Golf's latest offering, the Cell Fusion ($180), blends the latest technology with cutting-edge style. Its iCell technology in the forefoot and heel comes with an array of hexagonal inner-cell components in the midsole for enhanced cushioning and stability. The TPU outsole features not only molded Smart Quills, but also new, replaceable Smart Quill spikes with locking technology. Comes in sizes 7-13 and can be found on PUMA Golf's wunderkind Rickie Fowler. Two-year waterproof guarantee.
Featuring three distinct models, Slotline's new SSi-600 Series putters ($199) include the SSi-691, SSi-692 and SSi-693 (692 model shown). The putter line incorporates multimetal construction with years of tech know-how to produce a desired high moment of inertia (MOI). Available in blade and midmallet, and offered in right-handed models only. Lengths measure 33 inches, 34 inches and 35 inches. All three models are equipped with tri-milled 6061 aluminum face inserts, promoting a softer feel at impact. Adams' Speedline FAST 10 Fairway Wood ($299) comes in both neutral and draw models. Built with a weight pad positioned in the back for a neutral ballflight and in the heel for a draw model, the FAST 10 delivers easy-to-hit shots with maximum distance. Comes in three lofts (the draw comes in two) and either an Aldila Wasabi or Matrix HD shaft. Also comes in a women's model.
The XCG-3 hybrid ($199) from Exotics Golf is the company's first hybrid with a tungsten sole. Its thin maraging-steel cupface was designed to improve rebound off the clubface. The XCG-3 also includes two internal weight pads that help lower its CG.
Callaway's new Solaire golf set was built for women to increase distance, accuracy and forgiveness. Available in both 14-piece ($899) and 9-piece ($599) configurations, the Solaire sets provide women with everything they need to take their game to the next level. Both sets feature an Energy Efficient Design that optimizes every element of the golf club to maximize performance. Lightweight clubheads feature draw configurations and higher lofts, grips are lighter, and shafts are flexible. Look for the Solaire golf ball, as well.
The comfortable, lightweight (less than seven ounces per shoe) and affordable Golf Spirit ($50) from Dawgs Golf features nine strategically placed soft spikes and is available in six color combinations. Will Dawgs become a golfer's best friend? Plenty of folks will have the chance to decide. They're available in men's, women's, boys' and girls' versions.
The lightweight, functional Micro-Lite Stand Bag ($129) from TMAX Gear has all the features and benefits of a larger-sized bag but at a fraction of the weight. The 3.9-pound nylon-constructed bag comes with a four-way top, velour-lined valuables pocket with internal key/ring clip and a water-bottle sleeve, among other cool features.
The Pure-Lite Stand Bag from TMAX Gear ($149) features seven pockets, an integrated handle top, insulated water-bottle pocket and comfortable, well-balanced shoulder straps. Also comes with full-length dividers, integrated bottom trunk handle and rain hood. Weighs 4.9 pounds.
From SRI Sports, one of Japan's premier golf manufacturers, comes the new Miyazaki line of shafts. Introduced on Tour this past spring, Miyazaki's Kusala series has already posted two wins and has been put into play by Vijay Singh, Jerry Kelly and GT contributor, Kevin Streelman, among others. The Kusala series are currently offered in three weight options and three unique flex profiles (R, S and X).
Did You Know?:
A typical golf course measures about 6,500 yards, which is roughly 3__ miles. Since nobody ever walks in a straight line on the course, it's estimated that an average golfer walks between four and five miles per round (that is, if they don't ride in a cart). Professional golfers (who make the cut) walk four rounds per tournament, and from the back tees. Most usually play a pro-am and practice round, as well. Factoring all that in, we can assume they walk between 25 and 30 miles a week on the course. The idea for soft spikes came about when a group of golfers were prohibited from playing golf on a warm winter day because their spikes would damage the grass roots.Funnyman Josh Karp's hilarious new book, Straight Down the Middle (Chronicle), documents his quest to get in touch with his inner self with the hope that it'll somehow improve his golf game. The perfect antidote for anyone who's ever read Golf in the Kingdom or Zen Golf and wondered what really goes on in the shrouded world of mystical golf. Former rocket scientist Dave Pelz' latest book, Damage Control (Gotham), promises to eliminate up to five shots per round. How? By helping you get out of trouble. Chapters address, among other things, setup, swing shape and the mental game skills needed to handle precarious situations. Everyone has dream courses they'd like to play: Augusta National, Cypress Point and St. Andrews for starters. But how many of us have imagined what a perfect course might look like? The one made up of our favorite holes? (18 at Pebble? 12 at Augusta? 17 at TPC Sawgrass?). In the beautifully photographed Golf's Dream 18s (Abrams) by David Barrett, the author cleverly groups different holes together to form numerous dream 18s, like the eighteen most scenic holes. Pick this up and start dreaming. Written by Joey Diovisalvi, the head strength and conditioning and biomechanics coach at the PGA Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass, Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing (St. Martins Press) details, through text and photographs, how to get as fit as a Tour pro. Written with Steve Steinberg, Joey D., as he's known, passes on his "Joey D Dozen" workout secrets. But what we liked the most were his time-saving exercises. Golf Tips' Senior Instruction Editor Jeff Ritter has been on the lesson tee for fifteen years now and seen all kinds of swings and things. Now he's sharing them with us in his latest book, Your Kid Ate a Divot! (The title comes from one of his stories in which a kid, yes, actually eats a chunk of turf.) Ritter's stories aren't just funny; there's also a life lesson attached to each one. Perfect if you like to laugh while you learn. Just as breathtaking as Golf's Dream 18s is Planet Golf USA (Abrams) by Darius Oliver. Featuring photographs and reviews of America's best 140 courses, it provides the most comprehensive directory ever published of the nation's outstanding golf layouts. Includes reviews of every "Top 100"-ranked course in the U.S. with detailed historical and architectural commentary by the game's leading architects.