Suitcase

Clubs aside, what else to pack

SuitecaseSurprises are usually the last thing you're looking for on a golf trip. No matter where in the world you're lugging your clubs, and regardless of the time of year, you can never be too prepared for the likes of ugly weather, snarled traffic, allergy attacks, lost luggage, stolen clubs and more. That's why what you pack for your golf trip should consist of more than just clubs, balls and golf clothes. Other staple items may make your vacation a lot more enjoyable and easy.

Digital Camera Face it: Your cell phone camera takes fuzzy snapshots, as do disposable cameras. However, a powerful, compact digital camera, such as Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-N2, takes vivid 10.1-megapixel shots and high-quality video and can be tucked away in your golf bag or shirt pocket. With it, you can capture that ocean view crisply from the clubhouse terrace or amass footage of your wife's swing. ($449, www.sonystyle.com)

PDA When it comes to golf travel, smart vacationers print out and staple together details of their plane, tee time, rental car and hotel reservations, directions to every course they're playing and maps. But who wants to lug a stack of papers around, risking them getting ruffled or, worse yet, flying out of the car window? Instead, pack a PDA with all of that information stored on it. Preferably, you can get one with built-in WiFi access, such as Palm's TX handheld. Add GPS software and a course-mapping program, and you'll always know where you're headed. ($299, www.palmone.com)

Rainwear Because weather can get ominous quickly, pack versatile rainwear—something that can easily convert between a jacket, vest or half-sleeves. Fully waterproof, Zero Restriction's Featherweight Traveler's Jacket is just that, featuring a high storm collar, zippered, waterproof hand pockets, two-way zipper to release zipper pucker, elasticized waistband, dual-motion cuffs and expansion back pleats. ($300, www.zerorestriction.com)

Insect Repellant Don't let mosquitoes ruin your golf vacation. For excellent nonspray protection, take along Bug Band plastic wrist bands, which give off vapors that form a 15-foot protective shield around you for 120 hours, allowing you to swing in peace. ($4, www.bugband.com)

Video iPod Loaded With Instructional DVDs While it isn't practical to bring along your entire collection of instructional DVDs, you can easily download them onto a portable video player. The latest iPod comes in an 80-gigabyte model, allowing you to play 6.5 hours of video—or 20 hours of music—on one battery charge. It will also take up little room in your carry-on. ($349, www.apple.com)

Extra Gloves Always bring two or three extra golf gloves, especially if you're going to a hot or humid climate. There's nothing worse than putting on the same glove you wore yesterday, only to find out it's still drenched in sweat. Try PING's new M-Flex glove which is made of tightly woven, flexible microfibers. An advanced polymer coating surrounds the microfibers, providing a firm grip in all weather conditions. ($15, www.pinggolf.com)

Sun Mountain PulloverCold-Weather Clothes Weather can turn cold quickly. So it's always a good idea to bring a golf-specific thermal jacket that's lightweight and moves with your body during the swing. Sun Mountain's Cascade half-zip pullover is ideal. Its generous cut gives you full swing range, while the lightweight fleece eliminates bulk. It also has a spill-resistant coating, drawstring waist and two zippered hand pockets. ($60, www.sunmountain.com)

Etonic G>SOK GT Extra Shoes Always bring two pairs of golf shoes, especially if you're heading to the likes of Ireland, Scotland or even Pebble Beach. That way, if it rains, you can give your shoes time to dry out, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Try a pair of black Etonic G>SOK GT shoes. Why black? Their traditional look, combined with the fact that they're comfortable, spikeless golf shoes with incredible traction, means they can double as nice casual shoes at dinnertime, so you can pack less. And they feature the GORE-TEX waterproof system. ($125, www.etonic.com)

Tilley Hats Hat Tilley Hats have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+, are packable, washable, durable and insured against theft or loss. The brim protects your neck, too. ($74, www.tilley.com)

Proderma Face Stick Sun Protection Nothing ruins a golf vacation like sunburn. Proderma Products' SPF 30 Face Stick is perfect for golfers. Like a larger tube of ChapStick, its bottom dial controls the stick of sunscreen. Just rub on your skin and go. It's easily stored in your golf bag. It's also nongreasy and quick-drying. ($6, www.prodermaproducts.com)

Travel Case Travel Case Many of the latest golf travel bags double as cart bags. But if you already own a golf bag, you have to transfer all of your clubs, balls, tees, gloves, windshirt, etc., from your regular bag to your travel bag, just to take the trip. Enter Cargo Golf's X2 DLX Hybrid, an adjustable travel case with a hard top and bottom. It holds any golf bag that measures up to 9.5 inches in diameter, as well as a 48-inch driver. It also adjusts in one-inch increments to hold smaller bags securely so that clubs don't bang around during transport. Best of all, it collapses to 24 inches for easy storage in any rental car trunk or hotel room closet. ($249, www.cargogolf.com)

Callaway Sunglasses Sunglasses There's a good chance that because you're taking a golf trip, you're heading to someplace sunny. Bring sunglasses. Callaway's C401-OGN sunglasses will save your eyes while you're driving on or off the course. They sport oval-shaped lenses and are so amazingly lightweight, you'll forget they're on. ($160, www.callawayeyewear.com)

GustBuster Classic umbrella Umbrella Lightweight and compact, the GustBuster Classic umbrella withstands 55+ mph winds without flapping backward or breaking. The 48-inch canopy has a pinchless opener and collapses so well, it will fit in your golf ball compartment. ($35, www.gustbuster.com)

Bushnell's PinSeeker 1500 Rangefinders Playing unfamiliar courses is tough enough, as yardages are a collective mystery the first time around. Get a battery-operated handheld rangefinder, such as Bushnell's PinSeeker 1500 with Slope +/-. It doesn't need pin reflectors to find yardage. Best of all, you can carry it right to your ball–even on cart path-only days. Knowing exactly how far it is to the pin or trap, or factoring in land slope, is just one button away. ($399, www.bushnell.com) Ernie Els Rockroller Putting Aid If you're like most golfers, your putting is the first part of your game to go–and the easiest to fix. To get you back on the right track, bring along the Ernie Els Rockroller putting trainer which reinforces a perfect putting stroke. It weighs next to nothing and will barely be noticed in your bag. ($59, www.therockroller.com )

 

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