Here’s what you need to play better, look better, and have more fun on the course this year. And maybe not throw so many clubs.
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha
It’s been 23 years since Callaway revolutionized golf with Big Bertha, a stainless-steel driver whose club head was a little more than a third of the size of today’s drivers. The new Big Bertha Alpha isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it can definitely help you hit it long and straight. The Gravity Core lets you adjust the vertical center of gravity to optimize spin and launch angle. So you can, say, hit it high without getting too much distance-killing backspin.
TaylorMade SLDR Mini Driver
TaylorMade’s latest innovation, the 270 cc Mini Driver, is designed to fly longer than your 3-wood off the fairway (more chances to go for the green) and is easier to control off the tee than your driver (so you’ll be more comfortable when the tree lines are tight). It’s also the sexiest Mini Driver this side of About a Boy.
TaylorMade Speed Blade Irons
We’re gonna spare you the technical mumbo jumbo about why the Speed Blades are the top game-improvement irons out there. Instead, an anecdote: Last week we took our dad out golfing and let him use our Speed Blades. God bless him, but the dude consistently burns the fairways with his irons. Miraculously, with the Speed Blades he was putting serious air under his shots and actually hitting some greens. A couple of grateful worms bought us a beer in the clubhouse afterward.
Ogio Silencer Stand Golf Bag
Now that you’ve invested in some good clubs, it only makes sense to have a good home for them. Each club has it’s own snug slot, so they don’t rattle and bang into each other as you stride up the fairway. This is probably good for your clubs and your nerves. The bag also features a capacious assortment of compartments, including one with a hard shell and elastic slots to keep your valuables—like cigars and your phone—from getting crushed or otherwise beaten up.
Bushnell Tour Z6 Jolt Laser Rangefinder
You’re not still relying on this guy’s stick placements to estimate your yardages? Bushnell’s new waterproof rangefinder now gives yardages faster and more accurately than ever before. It also vibrates to let you know that it has locked in on your target. Whether this technology will work for you at the bar we don’t know.
Game Golf Digital Tracking System
This thing is like having someone follow you around and keep track of all your shots in a round. (Of course, when things are going badly sometimes you’d like to toss that guy in a lake.) But if you want to get better, you need to evaluate what you’re doing right and wrong. The Game Golf setup is pretty easy. You install the app on your tablet, phone, or laptop, put little plastic sensors in the top of each club, and tap a device you put on your belt before swinging. Then after playing you get a shot-by-shot record of your round on a map of the course. So you can save all your rounds, track your trends, and get a good idea of what you need to work on. Also, you can show your buddies that fantastic birdie on the par five and spare them the blow-by-blow description.
Nike RZN Golf Balls (Black, Platinum, Red, White)
We never really thought much about golf ball specs. But Rock Ishii does. He’s the Director of Golf Ball Innovation at Nike, and when he described why they have four different types of balls this year, it all made perfect sense. It has to do with the core-to-cover weight ratio, different compressions, and a bunch of other stuff we won’t waste your time trying to explain. Fortunately the Nike website has a ball recommender feature. You answer a few questions about your handicap, swing speed, and the kind of shots you tend to hit and it tells you what type of ball to buy. Sort of like one of those Buzzfeed quizzes. We got Black!
$46 per dozen, nike.com
It’s a golden age for golf shoes. There’s no need to wear those goofy saddle shoes with the frilly tongue…you know, unless you like that style. Whether you’re looking for light weight, performance, style, versatility, flash, and/or durability, there’s a cool shoe for you. Here are a half-dozen of the best. (Flamboyant socks are optional, though Kentwool makes the best for golf.)
Adidas Adizero One, $140
Nike Lunarlon Control II, $160
Ecco Tour Hybrid Wingtip, $190
Heaven Golf Shoes, $299
Ecco Street Evo One Hybrid, $160
Ogio City Turf, $129https://ogio.com/
And with the new season, you might as well retire the shirts you spent last summer sweating through. The new breed of shirts use lightweight, breathable performance polyesters that will keep you keep you cool and comfortable.
Clockwise from left:
Nike Tour Performance, $100, store.nike.com
Adidas Puremotion ClimaCool Polo, $75, taylormadegolf.com/adidasgolf