Cedar Creek Collection for Fall from Bermuda Sands

The Cedar Creek fall line from Bermuda Sands is typical of their history for using quality fabrics and construction with enduring designs in their apparel and what first attracted me to the brand when they hit the shops back in 2009.

The Fall Cedar Creek Collection is interesting and includes items from polo tees to pullovers and consumers will attracted for several reasons such as the mid-range pricing.

Starting with fall golf outwear there’s Perfection, a lightweight pullover in a choice of three colors: Blue Sky, Crimson, Deep Violet, Mineral Green and Black. Made from 100% poly with a stylish collar and quarter zipper front they are priced at $75.

Noda is Bermuda Sands name for a heavier pullover great if temperatures are little chiller and it is also 100% poly but with a micro fleece lining. The price is a value at $77 and there’s a color selection in Blue Sky, Crimson or Dark Steel Grey.

In short sleeve polos the Cedar Creek collection has the Woodland and my favorite, because of the tone on tone fabric pattern, the Hemingway.

Woodland polos come in either Mineral Green, Crimson, Black, Blue Sky or Deep Violet for $75. This new take on the classic Bermuda Sands polo shirt uses a striated heather look with detailing on the chest and is a 92/8 poly/spandex, which means there’s little “give” for the wearer.

Finally, I like the Hemingway with what they are calling a “Cuban-inspired” floral print that’s most attractive in an understated way. Like the Woodland, Hemingway is a 92/8 blend. Retailing for $77 you have choice of three colors: Iron, Blue Sky and Deep Violet.

Ten Rounds with Caddy Daddy Ranger

A quick nine after work. Taking the kids for a few holes on a Sunday afternoon. A bucket of balls on the range as a decompression treatment for life’s hassles.

All are great ideas, keep our interest and skills fresh and don’t require a full complement of clubs. Enter the Caddy Daddy Ranger.

Here in Florida everyone knows that golf, especially golf in the summer, is only played from a cart and that’s true except when teeing it up for an early morning nine holes at a local walking-only course. The Ranger is perfect.

It’s also become a habit of mine, for a break away from sitting in front of a computer keyboard, to slip out and hit a bucket of balls. Again the Ranger is perfect. Traveling to visit family, none of who are golf-addicted, the Ranger was ideal taking up little room but always available.

At three pounds the Ranger is light and adding a driver, 5-iron, 8-iron, putter, two wedges six Pro V1s, half a dozen tees and a towel it tops out to just over nine pounds so it’s easy to carry and comfortable on the shoulder. By way of contrast my regular bag (a standup-carry model) similarly equipped but with 14 clubs is almost exactly double in weight.

The 5-inch diameter Ranger has rigid sides, three pockets, padded strap and even a towel ring. The zippered padded top is attached and protects the clubs if you’re caught in the rain or when checking it at the airport. What more could you ask for? The price is $49.99 at CaddyDaddyGolf.com and they offered free shipping plus a one-year warranty.

Negatives: Nothing major, though when picking the Ranger up to put on your shoulder the padded top often gets in the way of gripping the handle or the strap plus the strap’s shoulder cushion has no way to fix it in place so it requires a little adjustment each time.

Recommendation: If you want a well-designed and constructed Sunday bag that will hold up to half your usual complement of sticks the Caddy Daddy Ranger is a great choice.

Shoes for Dad

With Father’s Day coming the gift of golf shoes is not only appropriate but will be greatly appreciated. Here are three models from as many makers that we like and meet our criteria of performance, style and price.

Callaway LA JOLLA:

In the Callaway footwear collection the LA JOLLA is among the most popular and features classically stylish looks and colors. Resistance to water penetration comes from the Opti-repel microfiber leather upper in conjunction with the Opti-soft EVA midsole and 8MM molded EVA sock liner. Callaway uses their Opti-vent mesh liner for breathability and to pull heat away from the foot. The outsole has low-profile Champ Slim-Lok spikes with seven PiviX cleats and each pair has a two-year waterproof warranty. Color choices are the traditional black or white plus a white and brown saddle. Pricing is $99.95 so check them out at callawayappatel.com.

ECCO Cage Pro:

Featuring their new SYPDR-GRIP outsole, the Cage Pro targets the foot’s pivot points to give better traction and are available with the BOA closure for easy adjustment during the round. This model is designed for both stability and flexibility with a one piece PU cage that wraps around the heel, through the midsole and across the toes. The PU structure is bonded to ECCO’s light weight and breathable HYDROMAX treated textile upper. Suggested retail price is $210 for the conventionally laced model offering four color combination choices and $230 for the BOA model which has a choice of two color combinations. Additional information may be found on eccousa.com.

New Balance NBG2004:

High performance and lightweight (just 11.6 ounces) are descriptors of this stylish shoe which makes use of an exoskeleton TPU outsole that moves naturally with the foot. The upper is a water-resistant microfiber leather with their FantomFit technology giving great support while keeping moisture from penetrating. The midsole has added cushioning while giving a sharp looking low profile. The NBG2004 uses the low-profile SLIM-Lok Zarma Tour2 cleat system. Priced at $99.95 the NBG2004 comes in a choice of colors white/red, black/green or grey/blue. Get all the details at newbalance.com

Ten Rounds with Leupold GX 5i3 and GX 1i3

Leupold makes great laser rangefinders and so the opportunity to test out two of their newest models, the top of the line GX-5i3 (street price $550) and the entry level GX-1i3 (street price $300), was welcomed.

Our ten round test procedure was simple. For the first two rounds every yardage was shot with both units and then, alternating, four rounds were played with each. The results were hardly unexpected given my experience with Leupold products including my “regular” rangefinder, one of their older models a GX-2i2. And trying the new models under a wide variety of conditions each could clearly be appreciated.

The GX-1i3 and GX-5i3 share several features starting with both have a 6x magnification with an eyepiece that can be focused for the user’s vision. Both weigh about the same—7 oz. for the GX-1i3 and 7.3 oz. for the GX-5i3. Their lasers have a fast rate of pulsing so not only are distances quickly determined but any slight movement by the user is, for all intents and purposes, ignored by the unit.

Both have a fog mode and one touch scanning so measurements to the pin and say, the top of a bunker can be made while sweeping the entire area.

The difference between the two however is in the ability of the GX-5i3 to be personalized to the user and the outside conditions because it measures the slope uphill or downhill and compensates the yardage accordingly. Called True Golf Range (TGR) it tells you how much longer an uphill shot is playing and likewise how much shorter a downhill shot plays.

The GX-5i3 as has a club selection feature which, once the distance you hit three clubs is entered the unit suggests which club to hit based on the TGR and even shows if you are between clubs.

In one word, amazing. Add to that the GX-5i3 also makes yardage compensations after temperature and altitude are entered and all you’re left to do is swing the club.

To make the GX-5i3 USGA tournament legal these adjustment features may be turned off leaving only the line of sight distance feature similar to what the GX-1i3 provides.

We particularly liked the way the GX-1i3 fits in the hand making it very easy to use. The GX-5i3 is handy as well, just that we like size of the other one. The view through the eyepiece is the same though the GX-1i3 has a choice of seven aiming reticles while the GX-5i3 has three.

Both reach out and give back yardages extremely well, to a tenth of a yard. The head to head comparison didn’t find any meaningful discrepancies…to a tenth of a yard. Now if my swing were able to do that we’d be all set.

Negatives: You are getting a whole lot more in the GX-5i3 but at a $250 higher price and you should think carefully if, to you, the features are worth the extra outlay. In my mind there’s no question they are. Some who tried both units didn’t like the more “ergonomic” shape of the GX-1i3. We did.

Recommendation: We highly recommend either unit. Probably the best all-around laser rangefinders we have tested and the ease of use is tops.

Images courtesy of Leupold

Bermuda Sands for This Spring

For years when visiting a new course I purchased a logoed shirt both as a memento of the round and because like all frequent players, I go through golf shirts at a pretty steady clip. At one course there was a nice looking shirt in kind of a peach color and I bought it. (I know—real men don’t wear peach but you had to see the shirt to appreciate it. It was a masculine peach shade.)

This was my first exposure to the Bermuda Sands brand and while I don’t remember the course and the shirt is long gone into the rag bag the Bermuda Sands apparel line has become one of my favorites.

They have a wide variety of men’s short and long sleeve shirts plus outerwear and for ladies there are tops, skorts and outerwear.

This spring they’ve done it again with several items for men that are standouts and with pricing that’s friendly to any wallet.

Action Polo

The Men’s Action shirt is an authentic plaid print with both a pop of color and a measure of style that goes with any wardrobe. It’s made of the G2 Tech polyester/spandex performance fabric, a fine gauge jersey, with a UV Protection of 25+…comfort and sun protection wherever you wear it. It has a three button placket and available in Peri Blue or Amethyst for $77.

Griffin Shirt

The Griffin shirt is made of the same G2 Tech performance fabric with a twist on the tried and true striped design, featuring wider and alternating color stripes, along with an accent striped collar to keep the look fresh all season long. Also with a three button placket there are six color options each priced at $72.

Steam Polo

The Steam Polo is one of my favorites offering a choice of five colors all with a striated look. Bermuda Sands says, and I agree, “This shirt feels like wearing a cloud.” Both lightweight and soft it retails for $60.

Strata Shirt

The Strata is a perfect layering piece when spring is less spring maybe a little winter. Lightweight, long sleeve and quarter zip it’s made from polyester jersey and built for active wear with a relaxed drop shoulder. Priced at $65 there are four color options from which to choose.

All these and the entire Bermuda Sands apparel line may be seen at bermudasandsapparel.com.

Proper Threads–Devereux

My first impression three years ago meeting the Devereux brothers, Will (left) and Robert (right), was here were two guys who were passionate about life and golf. And they were frank about their goal of translating that passion into being leaders in golf-lifestyle apparel. Since then they have created the Devereux brand and each piece uses high quality fabrics constructed with the distinctive looks a sophisticated well-dressed man wants to wear on and off the course.

In other words, they created Proper Threads.

As the Devereux brother’s point out this is more than a tagline. It reflects their approach to dressing well without the commonness of other lines in color and cut.

The Devereux collection has shirts, shorts, slacks and sweaters in distinctive colors with lots of style and modern cut. All are made with attention to detail plus there’s a hat line in the modern flat bill design with some that have the more traditional look of “Dad hats.”

For spring we were attracted to one of their lightweight sweaters, the Naples Crewneck made from long staple Pima cotton in a camo knit pattern. Seams have a raw finish and the side vents are ribbed for better stretch. Priced at $145 it comes in two good-looking shades of blue.

The Cruiser Hybrid Shorts ($85) are made with Stretch Hybrid Woven fabric (71% Polyester/25%Cotton/4% Spandex) that is quick drying and the mesh pocketing means they are at home on land or on the water.

Also take a look at the Cameron Polo (also $85) made from breathable and moisture wicking fabric called Airflow Knit that’s 96% Polyester/4%Spandex. It helps to regulate body temperature for warm day activities such as golf.

You can see their entire line for spring at Devereux – Proper Threads.

Looking Good on the Course

If you dress with style and comfort it may not cut strokes off your handicap but you’ll look good whatever your score. Performance fabrics are a big part of staying warm or dry or both and we found some great examples by Carnoustie Sportswear for spring starting with their performance outerwear.

Great workmanship and high quality micro-poly fabrics combined with distinctive styling such as a chest stripe vest and shoulder stripe ¼-zip pullover make Carnoustie outerwear just right for challenging weather conditions.

Carnoustie points out their waterproof garments are ideal for the gale force winds and rain such as happens sometimes at the Open Championship. They are made from fabric woven specifically to keep out the rain and all have colorful taped seams to make them standout in a world of drab colors made of heavier material. Since all Carnoustie waterproof pieces are lightweight and colorful they are ideal pairings for their line of knit shirts, stylish slacks or when layered over other outerwear pieces.

We especially like the Vardon collection of cotton interlock outerwear. They “play” year round because they are the right weight with knit detailing and are offered in a long sleeve, a quarter-zip vest or regular vest in a variety of colors.

Also new for this spring is color block style of a combination of mélange fabric with an awning stripe fabric giving both a great look and one that stands out from the crowd. The new performance collection has a mini floral print that trendy, smart and colorful for wear the entire season.

Finally, a beautifully simple jacquard pattern introduces a classic look seldom seen a performance line while giving all of the performance feature a golfers wants. Carnoustie tells me that in fact, all of their performance styles include moisture management properties, stretchable comfort, odor management and UV protection.

Of course, Carnoustie’s Spring ’17 collection also still includes the cotton knits, cotton woven sport shirts, worsted trousers, cotton and performance shorts all of which are typical of the items on which they have built their reputation over the past 20 years.

PGA Show Attention Grabbers

Each year at the PGA Merchandise Show with its 1,000 exhibitors and thousands of products we look for a few items to highlight for our readers. Here are a few that grabbed our attention as we walked the 10 miles of aisles in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. There are no clubs or balls in this listing…that will come later as we complete our testing and reviews.

Bermuda Sands—Finding good looking, reasonably priced golf shirts is sometimes difficult so take a look at Bermuda Sands, it’s a great brand to consider. For example there’s the Elite polo for $60 with a sophisticated subtle stripe, self-collar and three button placket. This one looks equally at home on or off the course.

Golf Pride–MCC ALIGN grip ($10.99) is best reminder grip we have seen. It has a raised ridge with a firmer feel flanked by channels down the back of this cord/rubber all-weather model. Though grips to facilitate proper hand position have been around for a long time the combination of the already popular MCC hybrid grip and alignment aid is a real winner.

Zero Friction—The DistancePro GPS Glove is the convenient combination of a glove which, we wear anyway, and a distance measuring device. We like the lightweight and 400 hours battery life of the GPS plus the fact the glove is one-size-fits-all. Two gloves and the DistancePro GPS unit which is switchable between the two list for $129.95.

New Balance—The NBG2004 is an athletic-style cleated golf shoe with a great look and lots of features such as two year guaranteed waterproof upper, New Balance’s proven comfortable REVLite midsole and a wider area for your toes to help with balance while swinging. Three color combinations of white/red, black/green and grey/blue available at $99.95.

SkyCaddie—At last someone has put a GPS rangefinder and shot tracking watch together with a mobile app for Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. For $349.95 the SkyCaddie LINX GT has those features plus comes preloaded with thousands of courses and, if you choose, it can use data from smart tags, one of which comes in the package.

Under Armour Sunglasses—There are hundreds of sunglasses on the market but we were drawn to the UA Igniter 2.0 which happens to have a very nice feature not found on competing brands…an adjustable nose pad. It doesn’t maybe sound like much but just a seemly small touch like that can make all the difference in fit, comfort and wearablity. Polarized, super light titanium self-adjusting frames for $144.99.

Sun Mountain—Known for their high quality, functional outerwear, golf and travel bags and push carts new for 2017 is the Speed Cart GT which folds down to only 37” x 16” x 13” at weight just over 17 pounds. The bag bracket is a new design to better hold golf stand bags plus there’s a new mobile phone slot and it comes with umbrella holder, scorecard holder and padded storage tray for $209.99.

P2 Putter Grips–Golfers talk a lot about putter grips, mostly about size or sometimes about feel, but perhaps most important is really the position of the hands in relation to the shaft. P2, based in Ireland, did lots of testing to come up with a design that forces the hands and wrists upward slightly, i.e. more arched, by positioning the shaft towards the bottom of the grip. The new Tour model ($35) is 50% lighter and the tacky feel is excellent.

ECCO-The new CAGE PRO model’s outsole doesn’t use cleats but does use their SPYDR-GRIP that takes advantage of pivot point for gripping. The BOA closure is both comfortable and helps to make for a perfect fit that helps performance. Waterproof with the textile upper bonded with a custom polyurethane. A choice of either black or white for $230.

 

Images courtesy of the manufacturers

 

Keep Your Head Still…or Maybe Not

“Keep your head down. Keep your head still” are perhaps the most often heard bits of swing advice to recreational golfers from their playing partners. The trouble is, both admonishments are wrong and attempting to keep the head still especially with the chin firmly pressed downward can result in poor ball contact, a loss of distance and control.

The “head down” problem is a function of the setup position but easily fixed by correctly addressing the ball with the chin up and the derriere pushed out slightly so your weight is balanced and you’re in an athletic position…think of a shortstop preparing for the crack of the bat.

The “head still” is a little harder to fix since if the head does move, how much is OK and how much is not? Teaching professionals will tell you that the head moving slightly (maybe 2 inches?) towards the right on the backswing is correct. On the downswing the head moves back to the starting point and when the club actually hits the ball the head is moving slightly back to the right again which is described as “staying behind the ball.”

The amount of head movement and in what sequence is difficult to learn even with the help of an instructor but now there is some new technology called the PowerPlane to give you the feedback you need.

PowerPlane is simple to use, just attach the hat clip above your left ear (assuming a right handed swing), place the sensor on the clip (it’s magnetic) and set up to a ball with the PowerPlane unit parallel to the line of the shot.

If your head is out of position at address or if it goes too far in either direction during the swing the unit beeps.

We tested it and it works actually showing two of the testers they were set up too far forward at address meaning they effectively were positioning themselves for a reverse pivot. It also quickly showed there was a lot of movement on the downswing by the single digit handicap tester, sending him back to the pro shop for more range balls.

We like that the PowerPlane was equally good if you are having problems with head movement during you putting stroke or when chipping. The sound of the beep is particularly telltale for the lookup before impact either with a putter or wedge.

Negatives: Some may feel the price of $189 is a little expensive.

Recommendation: If you have conquered the problems caused by keeping your head down toward your chest and need help for fat and thin shots plus want more distance from better contact the PowerPlane can go a long way to solving the problem. For additional technical information and to purchase visit PowerPlaneGolf.net. Included in the purchase price is free shipping and a PowerPlane hat and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

Last Minute Golf Gifts

The time is getting short and each sometimes forget to buy a gift for someone on our list. For me last year it was my daughter’s boyfriend and thank goodness for gift cards.

This year I’m applying the criteria that whatever I get for him is something I would like myself so here are a few suggestions.

cc-driver-wall_640x440Get Fit
For even the casual player a club fitting can produce huge benefits and there are no better fitters than Club Champion with 16 locations around the country. They have special on until the end of January of 50% off a $350 full bag fitting and 33% off if just a driver, iron and putter fittings are chosen. Club prices are the same as any retail shop and they have gift cards in $50 increments. More information may be found at ClubChampionGolf.com.

Take a Swingcindy-miller
Cindy Miller, one of the best golf instructors around, has a gift that’s ideal even for non-golfers, “The Learn to Hit Kit” of a mat, foam balls, her book Golf 101, a coupon for 10% off any Callaway club plus access to her 10 video online course. Miller’s approach has modules for every level from never-had-a-club-in-hand-before novices to accomplished players. Buy “The Learn to Hit Kit” on Amazon on special for $99.99.

traxtowel_golfbag_baglatch-it_1000x1000-copy-686x686Trax Towel
Everyone has a towel on their bag and sooner or later it falls off but this new idea from Frogger is a solution, simple and effective. The Trax towel (20 by 24 inches microfiber) has a magnetic fastener, Frogger calls a Catch Latch, consisting of a clip with a magnet that attaches to the towel and a bracket that attaches to the golf bag. Six color combinations are offered and all are available at FroggerGolf.com for $24.95.

Record Drives
driver-product-open-800_1024x1024The hottest idea in golf is the real time recording of shot stats and Arccos Golf has a great way to try out their system without paying full price, the Arccos Driver. Included are one sensor that fits into the hole at the butt end of the driver grip and the apps for either an Apple or Android smartphone plus on a one year subscription to cloud recordkeeping. Priced at $49.95 it’s a great way to find out just what this new technology can do to help your game at $200 less than the whole bag system. For details and to find a retailer go to ArccosGolf.com.