1 Adjustable Drivers:
Adjustable drivers are everywhere, and in some cases, the technology isn't limited to just drivers (we've seen adjustable fairway woods and hybrids, too). Will the trend last, or will this be a passing fad? If we had our druthers, we think adjustability is not only here to stay, but it's going to trickle into irons and wedges, too. Just you watch.
1 Belly Putting:
We say belly putting, not belly putters, for a reason. You can use a belly putter; you just won't be able to anchor it much longer. Look, we get the USGA's insistence on preserving how the game is meant to be played. But come on, is belly putting really where the focus ought to be?
Having colored clubs has never been more en vogue, with eye-catching hues of blue, red, orange and, of course, white making repeat appearances in both golf balls and in clubs. We like that, but there's something subtly beautiful about black that will never go out of style. At least, we hope not.
2 Michael Phelps:
Michael Phelps is an 18-time gold medal Olympian, which frankly, may be the most phenomenal achievement in all of sports. And we like that athletes of his caliber have a love for golf. But, seriously, let's let him get good before we start caring about his golf game.
3 Mobile-Powered Swing Trainers:
The latest in swing trainers uses Bluetooth technology and small, unobtrusive sensors that attach to any and every club in the bag. These sensors load up on critical swing data that's then beamed to your phone or tablet device. Ya, they're cool and incredibly easy to use.
3 Deer Antler Spray:
We don't really understand it either, nor do we know how or why it works. We do know that having a high-profile member of the PGA Tour admit to using a controversial substance to stay competitive probably isn't the best thing for professional golf. We'd hate to see this snowball into something like the steroid epidemic in professional baseball.
4 Spikeless Shoes:
They were hot last year, and they're hot again this year. We really like them, too, but trust us, you probably want to wear spikes when playing in wet weather. The added traction spikes have is necessary if you want stable footing. Nonetheless, spikeless golf shoes are still popular.
4 Golf Equipment Apps:
There's some awesome new stuff out there this year, but do we really need an iPhone app to go with our new driver? Nope.
5 The Long Drivers Of America
: The LDA is back (it never left, by the way), with a new, reinvigorated outlook this year. And with a Vegas-based final this fall, look for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to be among the most exciting events in golf. If you've never seen these athletes perform in person, you're missing out. It's incredible.
5 John O'Hurley:
We love John O'Hurley and genuinely find him to be really funny. And we also think Cobra's new gear for 2013 is the best yet from the company. But we just didn't quite get those weird commercials.
6 Rory Vs. Tiger, Or Is It Tiger Vs. Rory?
We love rivalries, and this one is getting better by the day. Time will tell who comes out the victor, but our money is on Tiger winning the duel in 2013.
6 Flighty Endorsement Deals:
Look, if you're paid somewhere in the $200+ million range to endorse a brand (you know who you are), you better figure out a way to make that company's equipment work for you. Especially the putter, which usually gets the most airtime and close-ups on TV.
7 Wedge Fitting:
Wedge fitting has long been overlooked, but not anymore. With companies like Cleveland and PING stepping up their wedge fitting, it's getting a lot easier to find a wedge that's perfect for your swing.
7 Course Marshals:
Seriously, guys, we know you're retired and you're probably working for free in exchange for free golf, but can you at least try to keep the pace of play moving as it should?
8 Shorter Shafts:
Yes, some clubfitters, including longtime GT contributor Tom Wishon, have extolled the virtues that come from using driver shafts that are less than 45 inches. Why? Simple, you hit the sweetspot more often, which translates to longer, more consistent drives.
8 Incessant Talking:
We've been so annoyed that we've actually hit the mute button during some golf telecasts. The need for announcers to talk nonstop is nauseating. Don't they know that golf is a very quiet game, and it's okay to stop talking once in a while? And don't get us started on the interviews with CEOs of sponsoring companies. Please, we just want to watch golf. And we'll gladly sit through commercials to do so.
9 The Waste Management Phoenix Open:
Yeah, Phil Mickelson played brilliantly. That was awesome. But more awesome was the fun-filled vibe at the TPC of Scottsdale and the record-setting attendance. We think a break from the stuffy, uptight feel that many tournaments have is a welcome reprieve. Once in a while, at least. The recent Ryder Cup showed some of this sizzle, too.
9 Slow Play:
Slow play will always be on our "Not" list until someone actually does something about it. Five-plus-hour rounds of golf are inexcusable. And slow golfers aren't the only ones to blame. The lethargic food orders at the turn, silly cart path-only restrictions and, dare we say, distracting cart girls really slow things down. Oh, and it's worth mentioning again. Let's do something about No. 7 on this list.
10 Rounds Are Up Over The Previous Year:
2012's rounds played were up by about 1 million rounds over 2011's tally. Sure, mild weather helped, but we can't help but think some folks can only hold out for so long. Let's hope the trend continues for 2013. More rounds played helps everyone.
10 Tiger's Love Life:
When will the gossiping ever end? We were tired of it two years ago. Let's focus on his golf game now. Thank you very much.