One note on Bushnell’s new hybrid GPS/Rangefinder, it already has 16,000 courses loaded onto the GPS. Furthermore, if your course is not loaded onto the GPS, you can still use the rangefinder to find the distances you want.
Probably the ‘winner’ of this show for me was AimPoint Golf Technologies. Mark Sweeney, the inventor, was there and the amount of information he passed along to me was downright phenomenal and had plenty of things that floored this golfer who has been playing since he was 11 years old, played on scholarship, and currently plays to a +1 handicap.
However, it all actually made sense and now ‘cleared the fog’ on a lot of things that confused me from my own observations. Something like ‘a straight putt doesn’t actually roll straight, it actually will break a couple of times, but you have to aim straight to make it.’
When I started working with the fall line, one thing I noticed is that It was almost impossible for me to get the ball to roll actually straight from the 12 o’clock position. It would usually ‘swerve’ around a bit and go in the cup, but it wasn’t straight. And then I would think I wasn’t on the fall line (which was actually true on many occasions as Mark explained to me, but that’s just another piece of information he told me that absolutely floored me).
Fortunately, the Golf Channel had the PGA Tour on when we hit up Miller’s Ale House afterwards and with Mark being there, you’d be amazed at his ability to tell you how much putts were going to break with uncanny accuracy.
How tough are Augusta’s greens to read?
‘Easy’ Sweeney replies.
Why? Because almost all of the greens have one low point on them. So they are the easiest to read. The problem golfers have with their greens is when they don’t hit their approach shots close enough. Something I’ll go on about when the Masters comes around.
Toughest greens to read?
‘By far and away, St. Andrews.’ Because of the multiple low points on the greens and the low points that they will have in the middle of the greens.
One thing for the sake of sanity of golfers, Sweeney stated that pin placements should never really be on a slope of greater than 3%. The only exceptions is if the greens are very slow, and even then it’s probably not advisable. So if you have an Exlys Breakmaster, 3% of slope is about 1.7*. I’ll be doing an experiment on this later on.
Anyway, great job by the AimPoint guys and Mark Sweeney. I’ll be attending a clinic sometime this year and will blog about the experience. For more info, check out their Web site at www.aimpointgolf.com
I checked out GripMaster USA, but there was nothing really new there. They do have some exotic putter grips that some golfers may really like.
Enlow Grips make some very unique style of grips.
They are very oversized grips, but they told me that they were *not* made for the arthritic golfer, but for every golfer. They claim that the grips will allow for more clubhead speed and better control of the clubface. I didn’t try any out (they probably should’ve gotten a booth at the indoor hitting range area), but I know some of my readers prefer large grips.
I tried some of the IOMIC grips. I think their regular grips are really nice. Very nice and tacky. However, I wasn’t very sold on their new cord grips. In fact, they felt noticeably less tacky.
Lastly, I checked out the Karakal Grips and was quite impressed.
These are similar to the IOMIC grips in many ways and are very affordable, going as low as $2.50 a grip to $7.95 a grip. www.karakalgolfgrips.com
HIRZL GOLF GLOVE
Another big winner at the show was the HIRZL golf glove. I believe HIRZL started off making gloves for cyclists and have now stepped into the golfing array. This felt like the best golf glove I have ever worn and will be purchasing one before the Florida heat comes here in the spring.
First ,the glove feels really nice. They are not ‘custom fit’, but they feel like a custom fit glove. They feel a bit rubbery, almost like what I would imagine a Spiderman costume would feel like.
HIRZL’s claim is that rain and sweat will not effect their gloves. In fact, they had me hit a few balls with the glove on, then spray my glove with water and have me hit the ball again. And there was *no* slippage. And I didn’t even wipe my glove dry.
HIRZL also told me that after 30 days, you can put the glove in the washer and you will now have a clean glove that is still as tacky as a new one. They also guarantee the gloves will last for 3 months. I couldn’t get a price from them, but it appears it’s around $30. But for a glove guaranteed to *work* and stay in tact for 3 months, you should be saving money in the end over buying a new glove every few weeks.
I mentioned how much I liked the Oban shafts at the demo day. One thing that they mentioned to me is that a golfer cannot buy the shaft and install it themselves. They would need to go to a dealer, get fit and have the dealer install the shaft they need. I didn’t ask if Oban shafts will be an available option if one wanted to buy a new driver like the new Titleist drivers. But that could be a pitfall.
Piretti putters had an impressive line of putters on display. Most of the designs were fairly standard, but the craftsmanship was impeccable. I got to putt with a few of the putters and found them to be extremely soft, but not spongy like you would see out of the White Hot Odyssey putters. They do offer quite a few custom options as far as grip, sight aligment lines and dots, lie angles and lofts. They can be found at www.pirettigolf.com. With the less endorsement money available on the PGA Tour, I think you’ll see more and more Piretti putters popping up on your TV screen.
Fairway Pro– I was asked by several readers to check out any new indoor mat technology. The bad news is that there was only one real indoor mat surface I saw at the show. Everything else was geared towards outdoor hitting mats.
The good news is that I got to try the Fairway Pro (www.fairwaypro.com) and it was excellent. This device is supposed to emulate the divot as the mat will move forward as you strike the ball.
It is very soft and feels far better than any indoor mat I’ve felt. In fact, I purchased one at the show for a friend of mine who is stuck in the cold and has been a great help with this blog. They were selling them at the show for $110. But you can get the same one, which is portable, for $160. In fact, they have a tremendous deal going on now where you can get the Fairway Pro with the stance mat for a total of $219! Check it out http://www.fairwaypro.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21
Lastly, there’s a monitor of sorts called the Insight Sports Golf iTrainer. It’s a device that hooks up to the club and can give readings for both the full swing and putting. I just grabbed a brochure, but they were busy so I didn’t want to wait to ask them questions. Their Web site can be found at www.insight-sports.com
All in all, a great, fun show to go to. Afterwards a bunch of us like John Graham (www.johngrahamgolf.com), Dan Carraher (iteachgolf), Nick Clearwater, John Randall, Ralph Perez (Gotham Golf Blog), Mark Sweeney (www.aimpointgolf.com), John Dochety (www.lakewoodgcctullahoma.com), Claude Harmon III, Jamie Donadlson (AimPoint), Bobby Siravo (www.ifitgolf.com), and some others I unfortunately can’t remember went to Miller’s Ale House and had an excellent time talking about the game we love.
I’d like to thank those guys for talking to ‘some blog guy’ like myself and thank Sherry Major for inviting me to the show and the PGA for doing such a top notch job of putting the event together.