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 comfortable shoes to talking GPS units. The future is now.
TRUE linkswear phx
The new, water-resistant TRUE phx is the first shoe with a sneaker profile offered by TRUE linkswear. It's also their first product at a price point of less than $100. The phx looks and feels like a low-to-the-ground sneaker and has added game-enhancement benefits like a leather upper, 3D mesh lining, memory-foam heel, ergo-fit insole, ErgoTraction 2.0 Outsole and Anti-Slip Rubber Sole. Four color combos available.
truelinkswear.com | $99
Nike Dunk AG
Who wants to play a game of hoops on the 16th green? No? Okay, we understand, you'd rather play golf, but still, it's pretty radical to dress like Jordan and (try) to play like Woods. These new kicks feature a full-grain waterproof leather, two sets of shoe laces (why not?), full-length contoured sock liner and a rubber cup sole. Plus they feel awesome and feature Scorpion Stinger spikes. Okay, who's up for a quick game of P.I.G.? Four color combos.
nikegolf.com | $160
Adidas Powerband 4.0
Like to swing out of your shoes? Or rather, swing so fast and hard that you need shoes to keep your feet snug inside? If that sounds like you, then Adidas' latest iteration of the Powerband is your next purchase. These athletic new shoes feature a Powerband Chassis that provides extraordinary lateral stability from the ground up so you can swing for the fences and maintain great support. Plus they're comfortable and stable, boasting a FitFOAM insole and TPU forefoot with eight spikes. Offered in three color combos.
adidasgolf.com | $150
Ecco Golf Street Luxe
The Golf Street line is already worn by dozens of top Tour stars, including Freddy Couples. Now the game's first hybrid sport-casual shoe comes in a new reptile print for 2012, delivering maximum breathability and a casual aesthetic while looking pretty darn cool. Includes a second skin lining that's extremely breathable and moisture-wicking and an outsole with nearly 100 molded traction bars that help you grip in all conditions.
eccousa.com | $180
New for 2012, Callaway introduces its most technologically advanced shoe ever. The RAZR has an Outlast temperature-management system that absorbs body heat on hot days and releases heat back into the shoe on cold days. Plus it features a soft, full-grain, waterproof leather upper for superior comfort. For us, it's about comfort, breathability and support, and RAZR hits a home run on all three.
callawaygolf.com | $185
Offered in two styles, Etonic's athletic-inspired Difference golf shoe is lined with Outlast, a NASA-engineered material that reduces heat and moisture inside the shoe by more than 40%. The sturdy, light shoes also have a MicroTech upper with microfiber linings that promote lightness and durability. The four components of its PowerUp Outsole work with the foot's natural anatomy to maximize traction, flexibility and stability and improve balance.
etonic.com | $145
Ever wonder why some golf courses' yardage is incorrect on your GPS? Well, SkyCaddie says it's because the preloaded information is often out of date. To avoid any yardage hiccups, the company has unveiled its newest offering, the SGXw, a Wi-Fi-enabled device that allows you to access updated course info wherever Wi-Fi is available.
skycaddie.com | $400
Garmin Approach G6
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
Bushnell Tour Z6 Rangefinder
Clarity, precision and speed. Bushnell promises to deliver all three in their new Tour Z6 rangefinder. It's the company's smallest and most technically advanced rangefinder to date. Vertically configured, it boasts an improved contrast and a brighter digital readout, plus its E.S.P. (Extreme Speed Precision) provides yardage quickly and accurately.
bushnellgolf.com | $399
Expresso GPS Watch
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
Two new lightweight models have debuted from Tifosi. Called SEEK and SEEK FC, they both have an adjustable hydraulic rubber temple and nose pad for a custom fit. Both fit small to medium-sized faces and are molded from a flexible material called Grilamid TR-90. Comes in many color schemes. Available with GT lens, which is made specifically for our sport.
tifosioptics.com | $150-$90
Zero Friction FATTEE
Made from 100% bamboo, and nearly unbreakable, the FATTEE from Zero Friction is thicker than your traditional wood golf tee and provides unparalleled strength for better performance.
zerofriction.com | $6.99/60 tees
Celestron CoursePro Elite
The full-color, weather-resistant CoursePro Elite from Celestron holds 100 courses, features scorecard data and analysis, hazard maps and even the ability to create a new course. It measures distances to the front, middle and back of the green, and includes a mini USB cable, belt clip, carry pouch and AC adapter. Comes in both black and white colors.
celestrongolf.com | $149
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
Golf Buddy Voice
Siri, the voice of Apple's new iPhone, has some competition. At this year's PGA Merchandise Show, GolfBuddy unveiled its latest device, a diminutive yet highly powerful GPS unit called the Voice. Billed as the first global talking GPS rangefinder, the Voice audibly delivers distances to the front, middle and back of the green for more than 33,000 (preloaded) global golf courses. What's best is it's so small, you can clip it to your cap or belt. Weighs just one ounce and measures a mere 1.7 inches. No subscription fees, and it's multilingual to boot!
golfbuddy.com | $199
Available in two different sizes (8x8 feet and 7x7 feet), the Quickster net from SKLZ takes only 90 seconds to set up and is the perfect training aid for folks who want to hit balls in inclement weather, at night or when the course is closed. If you have space in your garage, you can even use it there. We loved how quick and easy it was to set up.
sklz.com | $150-$150
The Extra 20 Yards
Edinburgh, Scotland-based Graeme Alexander has developed The Extra 20 Yards, a slim and unobtrusive home golf gym designed specifically to train your golf muscles. What we like, of course, is that you don't have to dedicate a lot of time to it. Alexander suggests short workouts of three to five minutes, three to four times a week. Does it work? Hard to say, but if you've got the extra money for a driver, maybe you should consider investing it in one of these. For right- and left-handed golfers.
extra-yards.com | $365 (+$30 Shipping)
The SwingRite is one of the game's easiest and most effective training aids. Simply swing it and listen for the click. If released properly, the SwingRite will click at the bottom of your swing. You can easily pinpoint and correct an early or late hand release, and making this correction will result in farther and straighter shots. Adjust the SwingRite to work on clubhead speed and tempo.
swingrite.com | $150
Three products from Medicus will help you hit fairways, gain distance and drain putts. The Dual-Hinge driver ($160) lets you know when you swing incorrectly by "breaking," the PowerMeter ($70) attaches to your clubs and measures your clubhead speed, and the OverSpin putter ($160) helps you strike the ball above its center, which helps eliminate skidding and hopping.
What looks like an oversized belt is actually a training aid called the Synchronizer. Simply wear it around your waist, and it will help you time your swing and get in sync by training you to start your backswing and properly transition into your downswing. This simple, innovative trainer actually makes you sync your arms, shoulders, hips and legs so you can effortlessly transform your swing into its most efficient and effective form. Comes in four sizes and with an instructional DVD.
syncyourswing.com | $40
Pro Mental CoachVEX
You've heard it before. Golf is 90% mental. So if your brain is such an important asset, why do so many golfers not know how to use it? That question has nagged sports psychologists for years. Now there's a way for you to sharpen your golf brain at home. The training system called Pro Mental Coach, which runs on your computer, will stimulate your brain with "exergames." After taking a 30-minute assessment test, users train three times a week for 20 minutes at a time, so they can get in the zone, recover quickly and boost mental endurance.
promentalcoach.com | $40
Gripping the club too hard produces lots of tension in the golf swing. As instructors have long advised, golfers should hold the club like a little bird–strong enough that it doesn't fly away, but light enough that they don't crush it. The makers of the new LeviTee glove address that by placing foam pads in between each finger, which reduces a golfer's grip pressure by 30% and helps them avoid the death grip.
gettheglove.com | $20
Eyeline Golf Ball of Steel
At first sight, Eyeline Golf's Ball of Steel may look like a red rubber ball, but pick it up and you'll realize it's anything but. Weighing five times more than a regular golf ball, the Ball of Steel is a putting training aid built to help you accelerate through the ball. Because it's so heavy, there's no way you can advance it without giving it a good knock. We loved how, after returning to a regular ball, we accelerated through the stroke. We'll probably never leave another putt short again. (For six-foot putts or less only.)
eyelinegolf.com | $30/3
The Orange Whip
The Orange Whip aims to sharpen your swing rhythm and tempo, improve your balance, increase your clubhead speed and develop lag and load. After practicing with it each day, you'll find strength and flexibility in your golf swing.
orangewhiptrainer.com | $109