Web Exclusive: Technology for Golf
Browsing through the Web we came across this fun fact courtesy of Golf Digest “The average handicap for all golfers—men, women and children—has decreased by two points in the last 15 years.”
Two points? Since the practice range hasn’t been overly crowded and golf courses haven’t become easier (if anything they’ve become much longer and harder) how can we explain the drop? Technology, technology and technology.
Confused about what to buy? Here’s a list of the newest available equipment that just might make you two strokes happier.
The key word for drivers: customization.
Gone are the days when every driver is basically neutral.
A great example is Taylor Made R9’s ($499) Flight Control Technology, which allows you to change the club’s head in eight different positions to affect the face angle, lie angle and loft. The R9 also comes with a 16-gram and two one-gram weights that can be installed in the toe, heel or back of the club head to affect the ball’s trajectory. This means that the R9 basically packs 24 different drivers in one.
As every golfer knows, getting a new club means adjusting to the feel of the club, sometime for a long, frustrating period. But with the R9, simply test drive, observe then alter to fit your needs! With so much to love, you almost forgive its steroid pumped appearance.
Forget the Turnberry disaster and take a closer look at hybrids.
A cross between long irons and woods, hybrids are the newest must-have item. Our favorite? The Callaway Big Bertha Diablo ($160).
We love Callaway’s variable thickness face, which makes even those off-center hits soar up and far in the air. The rails in the back of the sole also allow you to hit just about every shot you may encounter, from rough edges to softer fairway grounds. Its red-devilish color doesn’t hurt either. Our only regret? It’s not yet available for women.
Your putter is your game’s success maker. There’s nothing worse than landing beautifully on the green only to bogey (or even double bogey) with some bad puts. But before you start testing all the available putters out there follow these words of wisdom from ProAm Golf treasurer Hatsue Mizota: “If you’re not a scratch player, stay away from blade putters.”
That being said, average players can opt for a mid-mallet style. Mid-mallets still have the face balance (when you balance the putter on your finger, the face will point up) and heel-and-toe balance of the traditional mallets, without the funky designs.
Of the mid-mallets our favorite is the Titleist Cameron Fastback ($299.99). The circular heel-toe weights reduce head rotation on off-center impacts, which allows for greater forgiveness in your stroke. Forged in stainless steel, this putter has a clean look and a solid feel.
After all—golf is all about the ball. It’s the only thing you’ll play with throughout the course. A rule of thumb when choosing balls: A golfer with a lower swing speed should pick a lower compression ball.
Ideally, when hit, a ball will squish before springing back to its original shape. If you chose a higher compression, you will have to hit the ball harder to create the same squishiness at impact. But thanks to technology, golf balls now come in lower compression than ever before (roughly between 45 to 70 for women and 60 to 75 for men), so even the average Joe can get some distance from his swing.
Confused about your ball’s compression level? Check the box.
For a mid-to-low swing speed, we like the Bridgestone E6+ ($27/dozen) as the low compression core makes for a more consistent ball.
Golf isn’t all about fancy equipment, it’s also about style. From Tiger’s red and Corey’s plaid to Rick’s painter cap, golfers are now using the links as their own runways.
What’s the hottest trend? Breathable material.
Check out The Skins Game’s Holy Moly! shirts ($46-58). With a flower print and miniature holes in the cotton knit fabric, these polo shirts will keep you sweat-free, even in the Island sun.