Who says the game is played with just clubs and balls? Not us, certainly. We think golfers should use everything possible to improve their games. In this section, we highlight a number of this year's best accessories, from gloves, training aids to GPS units. The future is now.
Featuring a longer battery life and increased sensitivity for a more accurate pressure read, the upgraded SensoGlove ($22 for a replacement glove) has a built-in digital monitor that analyzes your grip pressure during the swing. That way, you'll know immediately if your grip pressure is too firm or light, and as a result, make better, more fluid swings.
sensoglove.com | $89
Made from top-of-the-line cabretta leather, the EQ Glove features antimicrobial Lycra, which helps enhance the fit and reduce heat and moisture. It comes with a distinct holo-graphic ball marker, three sizes and two colors. EQ claims it lasts twice as long as the average cabretta glove.
eq-love.com.com | $40
For heavy hitters only! Tough as nails and big on style in a lightweight package, the Duro features adjustable nose pads and temples for a custom fit. Vented lenses prevent fogging, and hydrophilic ear and nose pads cut down on the slip factor, even under sweaty conditions. Available in regular or prescription lenses.
tifosioptics.com | $59
EXPRESSO Satilite Navigation WR62PS
The first golf GPS watch to include information about hazards, the WR62 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 | $180
IZZO Swami Golf GPS Watch
Boasting accurate distance to the front, the middle and the back of the green, the new Swami Golf GPS Watch 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.
izzogolf.com | $1579
GARMIN Approach S1W GPS Watch
Preloaded with nearly 17,000 North American courses, the Garmin Approach S1W GPS watch 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 8 hours.
garmin.com | $250
All the data you've ever wanted about your golf game"on your wrist. The new MOTOACTV from Motorola gives you access to 20,000 global golf courses, measures distances to the front, center and middle of the green, and keeps track of scorecards, clubs and other key stats. On a diet? The MOTOACTV even counts steps and calories burned during your round. We like the online clubhouse feature the most, as it's synced to MOTOACTV.com, where you can watch a virtual representation of your round.
motorola.com | $250
The latest GPS unit from Garmin is the Approach G6, 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 | $300
CALLAWAY uPro MX
Ever feel like you're not getting an accurate view on GPS units? Then you might want to consider Callaway's new uPro MX. In Pro Mode, golfers can see actual aerial imagery and video flyovers of each hole. The compact, 3-ounce device has a 2.2-inch full-color touch screen, and in addition to all the usual GPS features, the uPro MX features AnyPoint technology so you know exactly how far you have left to the pin. Now that's the kind of course management we like!
callawaygolf.com | $249
Weighing just 15 grams and clamping on a club's shaft just below the grip, the iTrainerMini measures and analyzes swing characteristics no matter what club a golfer is swinging. By utilizing accelerometers and gyroscopes, it gives an accurate reading of how and where the club is moving. What's coolest, though, is that it sends all the data via Bluetooth to an app that runs on any Android device. Analyzing your swing has never been easier.
insight-sports.com | $199
GOLFLOGIX Smartphone App
GolfLogix has unveiled a few new features for its popular smartphone app, 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 | FREE
When it comes to power, the best way to get more of it is to add width to your golf swing. The wider your arc, the more room you have to develop more centrifugal force and clubhead speed. This also comes from having a left arm straight during the golf swing. If you happen to need a quick and easy tool to do just that, try the Golfstr (short for "Golf Straight"). This easy-to-use device attaches to your arm and reminds you if your left arm starts bending during the stroke. Yes, it's that simple and surprisingly comfortable, too. After some repeated use, you'll quickly learn to feel what a proper golf swing should feel like, and we'll bet you have a few sore muscles in areas you probably didn't know were critical muscles used in the golf swing (your core, folks).
golfstr.com | $36.95
A hot ticket at this year's PGA Merchandise Show, the Swing Smart uses a small device that attaches to any club, and via Bluetooth, then transmits feedback to an iPhone or iPad (Android compatability is on its way). Using the Swing Smart, one can track tempo, path, clubhead speed and also, with the Peter Kostis-designed Aiming Triangle, dial in the perfect clubface alignment. Wow, seeing your swing in 3D has never been so easy.
swingsmart.com | $249
There aren't many of these, so add this one to the small list of training aids that double as actual clubs, or vice versa. The Dead Aim Putter uses a series of alignment aids (permanent) and a removable laser and/or clip for perfecting your impact (both are optional, but you should get 'em) to help golfers dial in the perfect alignment, head position and putting stroke. Genius, if you ask us. It's also a really nice-looking putter, with a solid, stable feel and a smooth end-over-end roll. Now, if only we could find a way to use a laser on the other 13 clubs in the golf bag.
deadaimputters.com | $149-$189
When it comes to playing your best golf, if you can't grip the club properly, your chances of ever playing well greatly diminish. If you need a device that will help you feel how the club should come in contact with palms and fingers, the Grip Solid is just the ticket. It not only helps you correctly position the grip in your hands, but it also neutralizes unwanted tension and the classic "death grip." It took a little getting used to, but the product really worked; those palmy, weak grips we had on the club were a thing of the past.
gripsolid.com | $19.95
Do you need to keep your golf game in check during the off-season, at night or, frankly, anytime you want? The OptiShot is an affordable golf simulator that we absolutely love. It's a cinch to use as a tool to get better at home.
dancingdogg.com | $399
THE ORANGE WHIP & ORANGE PEEL
The Orange Whip isn't new, but it's still our top pick for helping to improve tempo, balance and rhythm. It doubles as the perfect tool to loosen up before a round, too. There are also several drills and training exercises you can do with it. Add the Orange Peel–which, granted, doesn't have the portability of the Orange Whip, but is a great product nonetheless–and you have the total package. The Orange Peel is a device you stand on to help you better your swing, "alter your swing plane and improve your balance." Both training aids, either together or separately, are among the most effective training aids we've tried in a long while.
orangewhiptrainer.com | $109 & $209
Obstructive training aids (the kind that get in the way and immediately let you know if you're doing something wrong) are some of the most effective tools you can use to improve your game. The Benderstik by Mike Bender, PGA, does just that and a whole lot more. It can be used to help correct a handful of swing flaws such as the chicken wing, excessive head movement and more. The Benderstik can be configured to help out just about every part of your game.
benderstik.com | $99
The Matzie Assist has been around a long time, and, yes, it still works as well as it did many years ago. The bend shaft, corrective grip and oversized head weight combine to teach golfers to release the hands and clubs more effectively. Other than that, the Matzie is also a great tool for getting loose and keeping your golf muscles toned.
matzie.com | $79
One of the most overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the pivot. And it's the one thing that, if corrected, can make a huge impact on your game in terms of power and consistency. The PivotPro helps you feel what a perfect pivot should feel like, as well as trains you to pivot your body as you swing. Simply hook your right foot in, and start swinging. We've tried it, and it works wonders. And it helps us not only perfect our pivot, but avoid swaying and sliding too much during the swing.
pivotpro.net | $79
THE RIGHT ANGLE 2
One of the most overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the right arm (left arm for lefties) during the golf swing. How you hinge and position your arm is critical if you want to stay on the proper plane and have a repeatable, powerful golf swing. This is where The Right Angle 2 steps in. Designed to fit around your right arm (it works on the left arm, too, for left-handers), The Right Angle 2 helps you position your right arm perfectly during the swing. The resulting effect is a perfect 90-degree angle at the top of your swing and a correct unhinging motion through the downswing. The auditory clicker feature is a cool one, using sound to let you know when you're in or out of position.
golfaroundtheworld.com | $49
MEDICUS POWER METER
We prefer to keep things simple when using our training aids. The PowerMeter does what the name implies–it helps you instantly meter and record your clubhead speed. Using it is a cinch, and it's especially useful if you're a player who tends to muscle the ball, which sometimes actually results in a slower swingspeed than if you allow the clubhead to load and release properly. That is, better mechanics always trump bigger muscles (well, almost always).
medicus.com | $129
If you're looking for instant feedback on the practice green and you want to have a lot of fun doing it, The Pill is just what you're looking for. Designed using a real golf ball that's cut on two sides, The Pill lends feedback on well-struck putts (it will roll straight), as well as feedback on poorly struck putts (it will veer aggressively offline). Use two at once for double the feedback!
thepillgolf.com | $12.95