With so many people loving the game of golf, clever people keep coming up with new ideas to help improve your game, make you look better and enhance your life. Some products are created in basements and garages; others in the R&D departments of big companies. Still others are special programs designed to attract more golfers. Constantly on the lookout for some of these things to tell you about, here are a few we found.
Belt it Out – This Adidas Fashion Performance Synthetic Belt pops in a cool pattern of repetitive squares and contrasting stitching. It comes in three smashing designs and colors but how can you pick just one? In a conservative mood? Try the black/charcoal with red accents. Feeling daring, self-confident? Wear either the charcoal/pink perked up with turquoise or white/turquoise punctuated by lime green. The belt buckle is brushed nickel, the strap PU leather and sizes range from 30” to 42.” In pro shops and on line. ($39.99) Taylormade.com
When Golf Was Fun – A must read new collection of 38 tales from the “beer and barbecue circuit” of golf tournaments has just been published by author Pat Wheeler, a Texas journalist and radio show host in Dallas who interviewed a number of colorful pros like Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Lietzke and Don January for his book, “When Golf was Fun.” Wheeler reveals stories of legends Ben Hogan, Miller Barber and others who played when golf was still a game, not a big business. Much like baseball’s barnstorming days, the barbecue circuit was a series of unaffiliated events that brought an extremely high level of golf talent to unassuming towns like Center and Pampa, Texas. Out of these events grew some great stories as these colorful characters played and jump-started the PGA tour. ($19.95) AustinBrothersPublishing.com
Private Massachusetts Club Lures Juniors – Now you can enroll your juniors in a private club junior membership at Ledgemont Country Club in Seekonk, Massachusetts, close to Providence. A member of state golf associations in both Rhode Island Massachusetts, Ledgemont, one of the few Alfred Tull Designs, hosts the Rhode Island Open. Ledgemont’s Unaffiliated Junior Golf Membership priced at $700 is for young golfers between 14 and 23 years of age whose families are not club members. Junior members get unlimited access to the golf facilities during non-peak times. Ledgemont goes a step further and offers an active junior tournament program that prepares talented players for state and national competitions. LedgemontCC.com
Texas Hold’Em – For a truly shoot ‘em up fall golf escape for you, your buddies and/or your family, head to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa Austin in Texas Hill Country. Lost Pines scores when it comes to a place where mom, dad and the kids can kick back big time. The resort’s course, Wolfdancer is one great track delivering three different experiences: parkland river valley, rolling prairie, and wooded high ridge. The mood is classy casual with activities like the Crooked River water park, tennis, the Spa Djago, and marshmallow roasting around the fire pit. There is outdoor drama with nature trails, horseback riding, kayaking and of course, golf. A video arcade, storytelling and the Wild Hare Youth Spa are all about kids. And in Austin, wait ‘til you catch the live music. The “Ultimate Golf Getaway Package” includes unlimited golf for four, accommodations in a two-bedroom junior suite, daily breakfast for four at Firewheel Cafe, a daily $50 food credit and four golf-themed mementos with prices from $759 ($959 in the high season). Also ask about family packages, spa packages and more. Yippee ki -yay. LostPines.Hyatt.com
G/Fore Golf Gloves Pop in Whiz Bang Colors – G/Fore color-loaded golf gloves for men and women are all the rage in Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and in Dallas where we’re told, they fly off the shelves. Men are wearing them, women are wearing them. G/Fore golf gloves don’t only look great and grab your attention with eye-popping colors like lemon, tangerine, crimson and wisteria, they are one great fitting glove. Just ask Ricky Barnes, Tommy Armour III and Ryan Moore who wear them on tour. G/Fore gloves are finely tailored out of premium soft AA Cabretta leather and come in 13 colors – everything except white. Chances are whatever you are wearing there will be a G/Fore to match. We say it’s about time. Available in pro shops, Golfsmith and other outlets. ($35) G-Fore.com
Gear up for Crystal Springs Resort’s Winter Pentathalon – Take 7 courses, really pretty hills that can almost be called mountains, spacious suite hotels and condos along with a full service resort, and you have a recipe for a great vacation. Crystal Springs in Hamburg, north central New Jersey is a place you can bring your family and not have a pang of guilt when you go off to play. The kids might just be splashing it up in the Biosphere Pool with its jungle like gardens under glass or teeing up on the Minerals golf course, a 9-hole executive course designed by Robert Trent Jones, perfect for a family game of golf. And here’s an idea for the colder months: the Winter Pentathalon. Participants complete a number of skills, winning points for each. Included in the fun is a three-hole golf tournament (using holes 1,2 and 18 on Wild Turkey) snow or no snow as well as a Hit the Snowman contest, a Stymie Putting test, a Simulator Challenge and a Putt off with the Pro. Time to get your training hat on. CrystalSpringsResort.com
Win-Win Stay & Play in Greenwich & Pound Ridge – The Delamar, a classy harborside boutique hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut has teamed up with the only Pete Dye-designed course in New York for a weekend Stay-and-Play package. The price at $550 (single) or $729 (double) includes your golf, club and golf shoe rental, $20 food voucher and discount in clubhouse, Continental breakfast, a wine & cheese reception, bottle of champagne, and yacht cruise around Long Island Sound. The course, Pound Ridge Golf Club, is dramatic, challenging and scenic with lots of natural rock walls, boulders, wooded hills and cliffs. When it opened in 2008 when it was named by GOLF magazine as the “No. 1 U.S. Open-worthy Public Course.” And what a great getaway weekend for those living in the Tri-State area. DelamarGreenwich.com
Kicks Candy Bling – Navika’s “Kicks Candy Bling” takes crystal ball markers to a whole new level. Encrusted with Swarovski crystals, these glittery markers attach to the laces of your shoes. Or try the necklace with the magnetic mall marker. You can wear it anytime and know one will guess it’s a golf aid. Hat clips, Kicks Candy, Necklaces and other sparkly items come in several designs including a ladybug, blue martini, heart, strawberry and flowers. Navika.com
Grizzly Head Cover – Grrrr. Where but in Jasper, Banff or Kananaskis in Alberta, Canada? Found in the pro shop of The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course we found the perfect head cover to pop atop your woods at this Stanley Thompson-designed course in the Canadian Rockies where bears, elk and moose make frequent appearances just when you least expect them. “It is the ideal golf course built 87 years ago,” says, Alan Carter, director of golf for Jasper. The design is by Critter Club Covers who has an amazing line of other fun covers as well. Critter rocks. ($34)
Private but Affordable in Westchester, NY – Just when you think private club fees are out of sight, you discover a very classy club for avid golfers in North Salem, NY. Spread over 165 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands, Salem Golf Club opened in 1967 treating members to challenging elevation changes and multi-level greens. After playing, you can simply chill out in the clubhouse or on the porch overlooking Peach Lake. A non-equity club, Salem has no initiation fee, no assessments and no tax on dues – and no tee times. Flexible membership programs include a special weekday-only option and plans to encourage golf among juniors and families. The former notion that this golf club is “just for men” is simply not true. Dues range from $7,400 for a single to $9,000 for a full family golf membership.
Hot to Trot – “The Nike/ iPhone sensor is very hot,” says Kyla Keough who supervises the shoe department in Dick’s Sporting Goods in Auburn. New York. This wireless sensor is designed to fit into a space just under the insole of Nike shoes but for golfers or for use on other shoes, you can slip the sensor into one of the pocket or pouch adaptors that fit snuggly on the laces on top of your shoe. (i.e. Nathan Reflective Shoe Pocket Plus). Plug the sensor into the connector on your iPod nano with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, iPod touch, or iPhone 3GS (or later) and let it go to work to track your time, distance, pace and calories burned. All this information can be synced and transferred to iTunes and Nikeplus.com to evaluate performance history, track goals and even challenge others to a virtual race.