Perhaps the most diverse and interesting group of products at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando is the accessories category. We see all kinds of electronics, soft goods, golf bags and various other products that it is hard to narrow the list down to just a few standouts. 2015 was no exception as we were able to sample quite a number of cool gadgets. Here are the ones that stood out in the crowd:
- Arccos Golf – Arccos Golf is a game analysis platform that allows golfers to capture information about their swing, club performance and statistics in real time via a set of sensors installed to each club that connect to your phone or tablet via bluetooth. The amount of data collected can be overwhelming, but the mobile app and website help to dissect the information and pinpoint areas that need improvement. Easy to use and priced competitively, Arccos should be a big hit with the tech-savvy golfer looking for advanced stats and game tracking.
- Golfersskin Sunscreen – Hopefully the sun is out most of the time when you play golf. After all, enjoying time outdoors is partly why we play. Too much time in the sun however, and you can develop sunburns or even skin cancer. Most sunscreens are oily and messy, but Golfersskin was developed specifically for golfers to be easy to apply without hurting your grip on the club. It’s not oily or slick and cleans up easily, while protecting from the sun as well as any sunscreen out there. It’s also fragrance free so it won’t attract bugs.
- Izzo Swammi GT – There are many cool rangefinders and GPS devices on the market, and you can spend upwards of $600 on the latest models. That’s what makes the $199 Izzo Swami GT so attractive. It provides quick and accurate GPS yardages for over 30,000 courses, plus it includes game tracking technology using NFC sensors similar to GAME GOLF. It’s a simple, easy to use device with no frills.
- Ogio Silencer Golf Bag – Ogio has been making very high quality products for as long as I’ve known about them. Their golf bags are among the most functional, stylish and durable on the market. The new Ogio Silencer golf bags have a great feature that locks each club so that they don’t bang together while being transported. This not only saves the clubs from bag nicks and bag wear, but also cuts down on noise. In fact, the Silencer system keeps the clubs locked in the bag even upside down.
- Golf Pride MCC Plus4 Grips – There hasn’t been much change in golf grips for decades, because there really isn’t much you can do within the rules and, frankly, rubber is rubber! Golf Pride has been one of the leaders in golf grips for decades and are widely used on all professional tours around the world. What most pros do that most amateur golfer don’t do however, is build up the grips with additional tape for less taper under the right hand. The new Golf Pride MCC Plus4 grips feature a larger lower hand and new softer rubber material. They have a 4.6% larger lower hand diameter than the Original MCC. The larger diameter of the Plus4 encourages lighter grip pressure, reduced tension and just feels better to me. The lower hand has a soft rubber compound ideal for enhanced feel and the upper hand material is a soft compound with brushed cotton cord.
- Switchgrips Putter Grips – Changing grips is a pain and can be expensive, especially for putters. Switchgrips has taken the grip world by storm by letting people change their grips without cutting and installing a new one every time. With their proprietary under listing and interchangeable grips, if you want a change simply loosen with the torx wrench, pull the old one off and slide and twist a new one it into place. Grips come in different colors, sizes and materials, including rubber, leather and exotics like Alligator and Ostrich.
- Ernest ES14 Launch Monitor – Launch monitors are all the rage for club fitting these days, and even golf telecasts on TV use them to show viewers information about tee shots. While the ones used by golf pros and high-end fitters can cost upwards of $40,000, Ernest Sports has a few models that cost under $500. Sure, the expensive units from Trackman and FlightScope are able to track the entire ball flight using military grade doppler radar, but the Ernest Sports ES14 is still able to give you all the information you need like club speed, ball speed, spin, launch angle, carry distance and smash factor, all in a compact package that fits in your golf bag. Oh yeah, and you don’t have to sell your car to buy one either.
- Jan Craig Head Covers – The most basic of golf accessories, the head cover is often overlooked by many golfers when spending their hard earned dollars. Any time you buy a new driver or fairway wood you get a head cover, but those clubs are also the clubs that are most frequently stolen, along with putters. They are easy targets for thieves with their bright colors and easy-to-identify designs. Jan Craig makes premium hand-knit 100% worsted wool head covers that look great and mask your clubs’ brand to help deter thieves, but they are also beautiful and guaranteed for life. They’ve been around since the early 1960’s so they aren’t “new”, but they may be new to you! If you were paying attention to the past two Ryder Cups, you may have noticed that those cool looking head covers the US team was using were made by Jan Craig. These are simply the best made head covers you can buy. They are perfect for an old-school guy like me, and the fact that you can designing your own knit head covers on their website to suit your tastes is the icing on the cake for me.