Some Really Great Training Aids, Equipment, and New Products – Ideal Gifts for the Upcoming Holiday Season
Every year there seems to be a surge in new golf equipment, both in hard goods (equipment) and soft goods (clothing). 2013 brought some exceptional products to the market and merit your attention.
TaylorMade’s SLDR Driver
What’s the hottest driver on Tour these days?
It’s TaylorMade’s SLDR driver!
Justin Rose, Lucas Glover, Dustin Johnson, Troy Matteson, Boo Weekley, Darren Clarke, Stephen Gallacher and Raphael Jacquelin are just a few Tour players with the SLDR in their bags. Even Phil Mickelson, a Callaway endorser, used the SLDR at the Presidents Cup.
In recent years industry leader, TaylorMade, has always managed to develop and hold the number one position with drivers used on Tour. Their latest iteration, the SLDR, with its great aesthetics, streamlines TaylorMade’s driver technologies. By adding a more powerful 20 gram sliding mechanism on the sole, this gives the driver an ultra low, forward CG(Center of Gravity) which promotes a dramatic leap in distance and, according to TaylorMade, is its longest driver yet.
Movable weight shifts the club head’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or toward the toe, to promote a fade. SLDR’s sliding weight allows you to shift the CG far enough to promote a side-to-side trajectory change of up to 30 yards.
The SLDR weight slides on the track and never comes loose from the club head. To slide the weight to any of the 21 positions on the track, simply loosen the screw, slide the weight, then tighten the screw. It takes as little as ten seconds. And the sole is marked with the words “fade” at the toe-end of the track and “draw” at the heel-end of the track to make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want.
The SLDR will help you hit longer and straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate, and faster ball speed.
Its striking modern-classic shape, charcoal-gray crown, and chrome “button-back” all adds up to a remarkably beautiful appearance at address. And the clean design of SLDR’s movable weight mechanism, including the single, blue weight and the track it slides in, makes its appearance equally striking.
Our testing group was unanimous that the SLDR is one of those special drivers that comes around every so often that captures the hearts of golfers, especially those that have come to expect more distance and adjustability from a driver.
With its Loft-Sleeve Technology, you can adjust the loft choosing from 12 positions within a range of plus-or-minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. SLDR is available in three lofts – 9.5°, 10.5° and HL.
The SLDR uses the Fujikura Speeder 57 shaft. We also tested the SLDR with Graphite Design’s Tour AD R2 shaft mentioned later in this article. Wow! 20 – 25 more yards on average was the result.
The combination of the SLDR’s faster ball speed, lower spin and foolproof adjustability makes it arguably the best driver that TaylorMade has ever produced. Both Men’s and Women’s models are available. A TP version is also available at $499.95
PING’s Scottsdale TR Grayhawk Putter
Looking for a putter that provides great feel and distance control?
Looking for a putter that offers consistent impact and response making for repeatable speeds?
Look no further, as this is one of PING’s best putters ever produced! BTW, Scottsdale TR putters are named for the true roll they provide as the result of PING’s innovative new variable-depth-groove technology. Grooves are deepest in the centre and gradually get shallower toward the perimeter, so as to equalize ball speeds for exceptional distance control on putts struck on the centre, heel or toe.
The adjustable-length telescoping shaft helps optimize fit and performance according to your posture and putting style. A tool is provided for this purpose. I would buy this putter solely for this option.
What exemplifies the advantages of this 355 gram head- weighted putter, is its ability for the face to get the ball moving quickly and true. Dialing in distance, both on long and short putts, is very easy.
With its white sight line running the entire length of the non- glare black PVD finished head and forming a “T”, aiming is a cinch. It feels like “I can’t miss with this putter”.
Our testing group of 25 golfers all gave this putter the pick of the litter!
The light weight aluminum 6061 face insert sounds and feels similar to a traditional steel.
Its understated elegance and simplicity of design push this high MOI (moment of inertia) mallet putter into a class of its own. The putter is available with labels to identify your stroke pattern – straight, slight arc and straight arc.
Alphard DX Duo Cart Golf Cart
The revolutionary 20lb DX Duo Cart is an all-in-one pushcart and golf bag combination that is extremely compact, so it fits easily in the trunk of your car, and takes just seconds to set up. 13” W x 46” H x 18.5 D (equivalent to a regular cart bag). With the turn of a handle, the hydraulic assisted frame has your bag locked in place and ready to go. Not the right height? That’s okay. The Duo Cart is the only pushcart in the industry that allows you to adjust the height and angle of the handlebar to make it more comfortable and easier to push.
The Duo Cart has four wheels that provide a low center of gravity and outstanding stability on even the roughest terrain. The unique varied height base features fourteen full-length dividers that minimize club rattling. The Bag itself has a plethora of storage pockets for balls, tees, raingear, and other necessities as well as a built-in Cooler Pocket (with drains) that can store up to six ice cold drinks. It comes standard with attachable accessories like an umbrella holder and an adjustable drink holder. Other accessories like a GPS holder and cart seat, can be ordered separately as well.
Available in Black, Navy and Red.
$299. 95 www.DuoGolfCart.com.
Jumbo Max Grips
The USGA Conforming, JumboMax Grip, with its patented design and larger diameter, provides a more secure Finger-Palm Grip which makes for a tension-free connection to the club.
This Finger-Palm Grip Technology promotes relaxed grip pressure, more consistent squaring of the clubface, and a more fluid and powerful swing.
Golf instructors universally agree that the surest way to ruin a good golf swing is by gripping the club too tightly, or by increasing grip pressure during the swing, which prevents the club from releasing properly at impact.
The larger diameter and unique design of the JumboMax Grips instantly gives you a more secure hold on the club, so you don’t feel the need to squeeze it too tightly. You’ll relax your grip on the club, freeing your hands and arms to release the club naturally, giving you the fluid, effortless and powerful swing you need. Not only do JumboMax Grips outperform standard grips for distance and accuracy, they have the added benefit of being extremely comfortable and shock-absorbing. If you have arthritic hands, you will really appreciate the super-oversized, twist- resistant, shock absorbing technology.
Golfers are experiencing better control, increased distance, more confidence and are just having more fun on the golf course!
The JumboMax putter grip has a great feel and has personally allowed me to lower my putts per round, especially with the PING Greyhawk putter mentioned in this article.
Price for JumboMax Swing (Round) Grips is $10.95 each or $134.95 for a Full Set (13 grips) and the price for the Putter Grip is $14.99.
Order a TRIAL SET, FULL SET or an INDIVIDUAL JumboMax Grip. Install ONE of them on your golf club of choice and try it RISK-FREE for 60 days. This offer does not include the putter grip. If you don’t agree that JumboMax Grips are the most comfortable golf grips on the market and improve your ball striking and accuracy, they’ll take them back! To order call 1-800 573-4747 or visit www.JumboMax.com.
Putt – Rite Training Aid
There are three basic tenets to better putting – setup and aim, green reading and distance control.
Think you know where you are aiming? Want to improve your aim and distance control?
Putter misalignment is the greatest disruption of a simple path to the golf hole and creates compensating motion in the putting stroke.
Most golfers misalign their putter left or right of the cup from just 10 feet. Surprisingly, over 30% will misalign over 8″ left or right of the cup from that same distance. The result? The Putt-Rite Training Aid is the inexpensive solution.
Golfers tend to set up incorrectly without realizing it, thereby, causing them to compensate by either pulling or pushing the stroke. The Putt-Rite by itself will show where a player is aiming.
Using a putter such as the Odyssey Versa* putter series in conjunction with the Putt-Rite, will speed up your putting skills. Once a player knows his or her bias, corrections can be made in alignment and in custom-fitting the putter.
The new Putt-Rite putting aide will definitely get you to your desired goal of lowering your score and therefore your handicap.
Setting up this user-friendly training aid is as simple as shown in the photo. Find a straight stretch of green and insert the two golf ball pins ensuring the white dot is immediately behind the hole. Start practicing as often as possible.
* The Versa putters: Players that typically use the face to aim the putter and/or are more “feel the line” oriented are gravitating to the white/black/white finish.
Players who use alignment features on a putter and/or are more “target” oriented are gravitating towards the black/white/black finish. www.odysseygolf.com
adidas adiZero Tour Shoe
Arguably, the most talked about and popular golf shoe to hit the market since the Big Bertha!
This 10-cleated shoe, with its distinctive color options, is the rave both on the Tours as well as with consumers. It is the epitomy of walking on air in a golf shoe. Weighing just 10.6 ounces, the shoe is 38 percent lighter than the adidas TOUR360 ATV.
With two insoles to maximize performance, the FitFOAM sock liner provides the best comfort, while the CLOUDFOAM insole provides the best lightweight cushioning with every step.
By using a microfiber leather upper that is light, thin and strong, in addition to a 1.2 millimeter outsole — Adidas’ thinnest ever — the shoe is laterally stiff for stability during the golf swing, but otherwise flexible for comfort while walking. The base of the shoe’s forefoot is widest near the small toe, which is where golfers need the most stability, while the shoe’s 10-spike system adds traction. The adizero Tour is available in five colors, along with a line designed specifically for women.
A two year water proof warranty is available. Spike less models are planned for 2014.
$109.00 – $129.00 with the Limited Edition model at $149.95
adidas ClimaLite 3-Stripes Contrast Stitch Short Sleeve Polo Shirt.
This is one of the best-looking golf shirts that hit the market in 2013.
The photo shows the Black/Gardenia model which is apt to turn many an eye on the golf course. It is a vibrant, yet elegantly handsome shirt, that offers a “modern” fit. It is also available in Rasberry.
Made of 100% polyseter, the shirt features a self-fabric collar, a contrast stitch at the shoulder and back yoke and the familiar adidas brandmark at the back neck.
The shirt employs adidas’ moisture wicking ClimaLite fabric and has a 3-stripe heat transfer on the left chest and also a 3-button placket.
Graphite Design BB- 5R2 Shaft
Needed and received 25 yards extra from this shaft!
This product is the one that gets my Tour players, (who I coach) and myself the most excited!
As one of the top three shaft manufacturers, if not the best, Graphite Design has introduced the newest premium golf shaft in the Tour AD series – Tour AD BB “Blue Bullet”. The new Tour AD BB – 5R2 shaft is available in a variety of weighting, starting from 55, 55.5, 60, 70, 80 and up to 85.5 grams. By the way, AD stands for Accuracy and Distance.
Since switching to this shaft, my distance has increased dramatically and my dispersion rate has tightened equally. I am using the BB 5 R2 flex, 55 grams with a 4.3 torque. There is also an R1 which is slightly heavier at 55.5 grams.
The Tour AD BB design features an increased stiffness from the tip-to-middle section to provide the player with more stability. The end result is a tighter shot pattern and an increase in ball speed. The Tour AD BB was designed with the appropriate amount of flex in the butt section allowing players the ability to load the shaft properly, thus creating a sense of power.
I truly believe that Graphite Design produces the best shafts in the industry, not only for Tour players, but for the senior golfer, as well as the high handicapper and many women golfers. I have hit some of the longest drives ever with it. It launches mid/high – flattens out – and releases with a good amount of roll out.
Tour AD BB shafts will produce a LOW to MID piercing ball flight and reduce spin through impact.
Also available is the GT-5 R2 shaft. The new Tour AD GT shaft is available in 50, 60, 70, and 80 gram weights.
The Tour AD GT design features an overall slightly stiffer profile than the Tour AD BB, resulting in a higher kick point that produces a MID trajectory while maintaining optimal spin control.
Like similar Tour AD wood shafts, the new Tour AD GT provides a player with amazing feel and improved performance in accuracy and distance.
The GT has the same relationship to the BB. But while it’s slightly softer than the BB, it’s slightly stiffer than the DJ, providing a lower trajectory with less spin.
The GT is available in five different flexes, from R2 to X, and four different weights, from 50 to 80 grams. Like the rest of the Tour AD line, the GT sells for around $380.00
SPECIFICATIONS: Flex = R2, Length = 46.0″, Weight = 55 Grams, Tip Diameter = .335″, Butt Diameter = .595″, Parallel Tip Length = 3.0″, Torque = 4.3 Degree, Frequency = 233 CPM and Kick = Mid
L 2 Putter
Struggling with your putting? Cannot ever see the line or set the face square? Wish you had a head heavier than 350 grams?
Look no further. The L 2, not only satisfies the above, but it stands upright all by itself.
While not for everyone, this putter can and will help your putting stroke.
The L2 Traditional is a relatively new putter, so the manufacturer has not had the chance to get it in the bag of any Tour players to date.
Although the head was developed for face on putting or LATERAL LINE PUTTING, the lie angle and grip that bring out the qualities of the head , along with the stand up feature, took more time to develop.
Steel and plastic constitute the head material with the insert being plastic composite.
The head weighs 640 grams, has a 3 inch sweet spot and a face length toe to heel of 5 inches, and a toe to heel length of 6 1/4 inches. The face loft is 2 degrees, but can be varied to 4 degrees, with a lie angle of 76 degrees.
The L2 sole is flat from heel to toe to allow for a “stand alone option” with a taper toward the back to allow for loft variety and ground clearance on the follow through.
The putter shaft is that of a ski pole design that features a double bend of 75 degrees and lengths from 33″ to 38″ are available.
This club could be and probably is the answer to anchor putting because it creates stability in the putting stroke that is not felt in the mainline putter designs. The truth in this is obvious when you see the best players in the world needing to anchor their clubs to their body in an effort to produce a stabilized consistent stroke.
The L 2 is used in a different way from most putters. There is a learning curve that is not difficult, but it takes a belief in the logic of the design and a willingness to use it this way.
A good way to understand this putter is to watch the videos by the inventor, John Ambrose, on the L 2 website, who truly believes that the L2 Traditional Putter will do for putting what wide bodied drivers did for driving.
Daphne’s Head Covers
Every year I always feature the head covers from Daphne’s. Why? Simple- this 22 year old company offers both a unique and a quality product for all golfers.
Even though this mom-and-pop company is based in Phoenix, Arizona, it continues to be an international one. Its covers are sold at pro shops, resorts and other specialty golf stores in 75 countries.
According to Jane Spicer, the owner, certain products do very well in certain countries. The British like the dogs, and the Japanese are crazy about sock monkeys.
I personally like and use their Wildlife and Dog series, especially the Black Panther driver head cover and the Black Labrador hybrid/utility series.
A visit to their web site is a fun trip in and of itself, as the plethora of designs is a feel good experience.
Prices range from $18.00 to $30.00 www.daphnesheadcovers.com
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf”, now in its fourth printing, is used by many PGA Tour members. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org