Golfzon TwoVision simulator

Sports

Game On

Ten noteworthy discoveries from the 2022 PGA Merchandise Show.

BY SHAUN TOLSON

GOLF SIMULATOR


1. The new Golfzon TwoVision simulator is the leader in replicating the conditions and the challenges of a real round of golf. The system’s swing plate is equipped with five hitting surfaces: fairway, two distinctive patches of turf that resemble different types of rough, and two similarly distinctive patches of densely packed, tall bristles that replicate the conditions of both fairway and greenside bunkers. Of even greater significance, that swing plate can tilt and rotate in 24 directions, which means when golfers are faced with an uneven stance on the screen, the swing plate moves under their feet to replicate the slope of the terrain. From $48,500; golfzongolf.com

GOLF CLUBS


2. When viewed from above, the debut putter from Makefield looks like a stealth jet. But that has little to do with the club being CNC-milled from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Instead, the shape allows for nine weights of varying density and material to be strategically positioned in three rows—one out near the toe of the putter head, one near the heel, and one at the center. Positioned where they are, those weights offer maximum forgiveness for off-center strikes and deliver the majority of the putting stroke’s energy into the equator of the golf ball. That force transfer allows the ball to begin rolling with topspin almost immediately, assuring that putts remain online with greater regularity. From $400; makefieldputters.com

3. It used to be that buying a full set of clubs was an option reserved only for beginner golfers. Those full sets were affordable and provided an easy introduction to the game, but it wasn’t long before novice players outgrew them. In the past, those players would then have to spend a great deal more to furnish a complete bag—full, 14-club sets for the average, experienced player didn’t exist. Stix has changed that model. Most golfers will find that every club in this stylish, all-black set performs admirably. (Some may find the driver hard to control—even when equipped with a stiff shaft—but such afflictions don’t hamper any of the other clubs in the set.) $1,000; stix.golf

4. At the Haraken display during the demo day portion of the PGA Show this year, language barriers made it difficult to learn a lot about this Japanese fairway wood’s construction, which meant the club’s performance had to tell the whole story. It only took a couple of swings to know this 3 wood was expertly engineered. Each shot produced a piercing ball flight with plenty of distance—two characteristics that confirmed clubmaker Kentaro Hara’s assertion that the club produced shots with “strong trajectories.” The Docus Design fairway wood carries a steep price tag, but its performance offers a commensurate return on the investment. About $524; docus-golf.com

GOLF CART ALTERNATIVES


5. Inspired by surfboards and longboards, the GolfBoard debuted in 2014 with a revolutionary riding experience, albeit one that some golfers found too challenging or intimidating. By contrast, the Golf Skate Caddy Tourer delivers the same thrilling experience, but it’s more stable to operate and more comfortable to ride. In particular, this alternative vehicle only requires riders to angle the steering column right or left to change direction, since the base platform where riders stand remains in a fixed state. Powered by a lithium NMC battery, it can reach maximum speeds of 10 mph. $3,470; golfskatecaddy.com



6. Prior to this year, Motocaddy produced motorized golf carts with a variety of features. Some could be controlled through the use of a slim remote control; others required a hands-on approach but offered a fully integrated GPS system. The new M7 GPS model combines both features. Powered by a high-capacity, waterproof lithium battery, the M7 GPS holds a charge long enough to play 36 holes of golf; it features responsive remote-control technology; and it’s equipped with a high-resolution LCD touchscreen display showing GPS-aided course maps with dynamic green views that allow users to move the flag based on where the hole is cut on a particular day. $1,900; motocaddy.us

DIGITAL ACCESSORIES


7. The Shot Scope Pro LX+ is the first product to operate as a laser-powered rangefinder and a GPS-aided device. Enhanced with 7x magnification, a 900-yard range, and target-lock vibration, the device as a range finder is accurate to within a yard. As a GPS-powered accessory, the Pro LX+ is preloaded with more than 36,000 courses, and it can provide distances to hazards, layup zones, and to the front, center, and back of every green. The device also includes 16 tracking tags with smart GPS chips for a player’s clubs, allowing it to act as a shot-tracking device. $350; shotscope.com



8. As portable launch monitors become more widely used, GPS technology specialist Garmin has entered the fray with its lightweight Approach R10. Utilizing radar technology, the compact device tracks more than a dozen metrics in real time, including club speed, club path, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, and carry distance. Users can customize the main screen of the affiliated app to display three data points—all valuable tools when analyzing a swing. From there, swipes left reveal additional metrics for further analysis. With a Garmin Golf Membership, the Approach R10 also doubles as a golf simulator with access to more than 42,000 courses from around the world. $600; garmin.com

SWING AIDS


9. Golfers who aspire to strengthen their cores, improve their balance, and quicken the speed of their swings can do so with the Golf Forever swing trainer, which is comprised of an asymmetrical bar, weighted ball attachments, and a 15-pound Latex training cord. The training aid includes three months of access to guided workout videos, as well as recorded golf lessons taught by British Open champion Justin Leonard. Once that initial trial membership expires, a Golf Forever membership costs $25/month. $200; golfforever.com



10. Lag Shot Golf has created a flexible training device equipped with a wedge, 7 iron, or a driver club head. With a Lag Shot club, golfers can now improve the tempo of their swings as they hit golf balls. That detail is significant, as golfers’ practice swings are often different than the swings they make when attempting to hit a ball. With purpose-built versions for men, women, and juniors, Lag Shot allows all players to refine their swings and collect visual feedback from the shots they hit. From $87; lagshotgolf.com