18 months ago I did not think I wanted a laser rangefinder. Then I got one to review, and despite it being an entry level model, I quickly changed my tune. It only took me a few rounds to realize that a laser rangefinder is the best distance finding instrument. Sure watches and apps can get you quick and accurate distances to the front, center and middle of the green, but only a laser range finder can give you exact distances to the pin or other objects.
I think one measure of genius (or at least smarter than average) is the ability to go from step 1 to step 10 without hitting every number in between. Unfortunately, that puts me more in the Average Joe range rather than the Elon Musk circle of trust. Perfect example of my plodding learning process is how I finally arrived at realizing Laser Range Finders are by far the best method for getting distance on the golf course. Rather than simply purchasing one 5 years ago, I went through every product, including early Sky Caddie models to iPhone Apps to GPS watches. I guess I figured Laser Range finders were too slow, too bulky, and just too much accuracy for a 10 handicapper. I mean, who am I to think I can dial in a 143 yard shot?
For years I have never felt the need to own a laser rangefinder for three primary reasons: 1) they are really expensive 2) they seem too clunky and time consuming and 3) they provide more accuracy than my game can handle.
Well, I have finally broken down for my review of the Eagle Eye Laser Rangefinder and I am happy to report that all three of my objections have been negated. The fact is, I will never play a round of golf without a rangefinder again.
I will start with cost since that is an objection I think many people have, and rightly so. Do a search on rangefinders and you quickly realize they can set you back $300-$500 in a hurry. Man, that’s a lot of cash compared to a GPS app or other yardage device. So, one huge advantage of the Eagle Eye Rangefinder is that it clocks in at a cool $199. Not a bad value even when compared to GPS watches or other handheld GPS devices. Why so low a price? Well, part of the reason is that they are sold direct to consumer without a huge marketing budget so they are able to keep the price modest while including quality optics and lasers. Which leads me to my next concern- lasers are clunky and time consuming.
For the most part I play the same course and tend to play rather quickly. I am forever annoyed when guys are fussing with GPS or rangefinders, which is why I usually just wear a GPS watch. To my delight, the Eagle Eye is really easy to use and quick to get yardages.
There are two modes on the Eagle Eye. One for pin seeking and one for general yardage to a spot (like a bunker). You can easily toggle between the two using the mode button which is at the top of the unit. With that said, I find I can pick up bunker yardages in the pin seeking mode which negates the need to switch back and forth between modes. Ok, the burning question is: is it easy to get yardage and is that yardage correct?
For the most part, the Eagle Eye rangefinder gets yardage to the pin very quickly. This is especially true when playing a course that has reflective flagsticks. In those cases I have little to no problem getting a yardage in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, my home course does not have reflective flagsticks. Even so, I am able to pick up yardage from inside 200 yards with relative ease and the unit is capable of picking up a flag up to 300 yards. Helping with this task is the 6x zoom which is in fact higher than many big brand rangefinders. For those who wear glasses I can say that I had no problem using the rangefinder without removing my sunglasses. NOTE: you can also use the manual focus, if you think the view is blurry, with the focus adjustment on the eye piece.
There are a couple of instances when I do have trouble getting yardage. The most common problem I have is when the flag is in front of a lot of trees. Even using two hands to steady the device, there are times I just cannot get it to read the correct number. I know this can be a problem with all rangefinders but in some cases I have found the top-end, $400 laser finders do a better job than the Eagle Eye. Honestly, this should not come as a complete surprise or letdown. I, for one, would hope that a $400 laser finder works better than a $200 model. Is this a dealbreaker? Depends on your budget and your level of tolerance. In my 12+ rounds using the Eagle Eye Rangefinder, I have probably had difficulty with 6 yardages (there are a ton of trees around my home course greens). With that said, I have found the Eagle Eye to be more difficult to pick up a flag than premium range finders. If you play a course without reflective pins, you may get frustrated.
Despite having some trouble with pins in front of trees or pins that are only partially exposed (due to a hill for example), I think the Eagle Eye Rangefinder is a good for the money. Yes, front, middle and back yardages are usually good enough but I find that with large odd-shaped greens, getting the exact yardage is hugely valuable since I get a huge confidence boost just by knowing exactly how far you need to carry a ball.
I have also started to use the laser finder inside of 100 yards now that I carry a few more wedges. For me, I feel like I can more accurately select my club and try to dial in a shot where in the past it was more of a feel shot.
Style and ergonomics:
Not that style should be a huge consideration, but it is kind of nice that the Eagle Eye Rangefinder comes in 4 colors- white, silver, orange and pink. More importantly, the Eagle Eye is fairly small and easily fits in your hand. Rarely do I need to use two hands to steady the device. From a durability standpoint, it feels solid and is weatherproof.
The Eagle Eye Rangefinder is a great option for those who want the power and advantage a laser rangefinder has, but want to save $100-$200. During my testing of this device I spent a decent amount of time borrowing other models to compare yardages and ease of use. For the most part, I found the Eagle Eye to get the same yardage as other bigger name brands (plus or minus a yard or two). With that said, I do think some of the more expensive models did a better job picking up the flagstick when there were trees in the background.
Fortunately, Eagle Eye offers a 30 day money back guarantee for you to make sure it meets your needs. With 12 rounds to review the Eagle Eye, I for one have been very satisfied, especially considering the price. Is it the best rangefinder I have ever used? No, but again it is not really fair to compare a $200 rangefinder to a $400 rangefinder. Bottom line, Eagle Eye Rangefinder is easy to use, accurate, and very affordable.
You can purchase the Eagle Eye Rangefinder for $199 on their website.
It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important — Arthur Conan Doyle
When I reviewed Sunfish Sales wool headcovers several people asked me “What can you say about headcovers?” The answer turned out to be “quite a bit.” Before I tried a set of Sunfish Sales’ heavy-duty knit covers, my headcovers were a source of annoyance rather than a compliment to my bag. I was far more likely to curse the clumsy neoprene socks that come on my clubs as I struggled to get them on and off or jogged back up the fairway to pick them up than I was to enjoy the look and feel of a quality piece of kit.
I call this the “Places you’ll never get to play” collection
Since that first review my woods and hybrids have worn Sunfish for every round, rain or shine, hell or high water. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about my Sunfish woollies, along with inquiries about where to get them. And adding some class to your bag with Sunfish Sales knit headcovers was pretty straightforward, since Sunfish supplies custom covers to many of the top 100 courses in the US. For those who couldn’t wrangle an invitation to, say Winged Foot or Cypress Point, Sunfish’s website and prices starting at less than $30 for a luxe knit driver cover made things easy and painless.
So clearly the guys at Sunfish Sales had it all figured out. They’d done what they set out to do, and it’s time to put the shop on autopilot and head to the course for Cajun Martinis and afternoon golf, right?
The biggest update to the Sunfish Sales lineup for 2015 is the addition of leather headcovers. If Sunfish Sales’ wool headcovers are Spenser: For Hire, then the new leather headcovers are A Man Called Hawk. Yes, I know I just dated myself (and revealed some pretty questionable taste in television in my youth), but bear with me a minute. Spenser, as portrayed by Bob Urich, was tough but cultured. Well-read, a gourmet cook, as likely to talk the bad guys into surrender as he was to engage in fisticuffs. When the weather in Boston turned chilly, Spenser wore a classic wool peacoat.
Avery Brooks’ Hawk was the dark side of Spenser, the Yang to his Yin, the Han Solo to his Luke. Bald as a Sunday US Open green, carrying a huge, chrome Colt Python, wearing his sunglasses at night, as cool as the other side of the pillow. Regardless of the Boston weather, Hawk wore a Shaft Signature Badass Edition(tm) trenchcoat, made from black leather.
I was going to make a Shaft reference, but this is a family publication.
Sunfish’s version of that trenchcoat is a series of headcovers for your driver, fairways, hybrids, and blade putter that are hand-crafted from full-grain leather. As with their wool covers, Sunfish’s leather headcovers are handmade, which gives them character that’s missing from mass produced products. Sunfish uses real, full-grain leather that’s thicker and shows more grain than the thinner and more uniform split leather that some manufactures use. But leather is, after all, cow hide, and since cloning cows is illegal, different pieces of leather have different patterns and characteristics, even after the tanning process. Handcrafting their leather headcovers lets Sunfish accommodate the variances in the leather and makes each piece unique, which I think is extremely cool.
The quality of both leather and finish is top-notch. I tried my set with a selection of drivers, fairways, and hybrids, and for the most part they fit well and were easy to put on and take off. When I first put them on they were a bit snug, but being leather they soon broke in created a custom fit for my clubs. The nylon lining makes them easy to slide on and off, and the detailing makes identifying clubs simple and quick. Because of the design needs inherent in leather, the leather covers aren’t as long as the knit ones, leaving a few inches of my driver shaft exposed. This only became a concern when I was using a putter that has no headcover, letting the head of my aptly-named “Big Ben” from Ben Hogan rattle against the shaft of my driver. No harm was done, and I eventually rearranged my bag to eliminate the problem, but if you’re rocking a $300 aftermarket shaft in your driver you might want to check everything to make sure your clubs are riding safely.
Cypress Point, where they can literally look down on Pebble Beach.
The covers are available as sets or can be ordered individually in a variety of colors and patterns. Best of all they start at a cool $34.99 for putters, hybrids, and fairways, and $39.99 for drivers. Buy them as a set and $90 will get you a set of headcovers that should last longer than your golf career.
Of course not everyone wants to dress like they’ve taken the Red Pill and dropped out of The Matrix, and Sunfish has you covered there too. I don’t know about you, but when I hear “animal headcovers” I think of the Caddyshack gopher headcovers that are apparently part of the Acme Big-Box Golf Retail kit. Fortunately, when Sunfish says “animal headcovers” they mean the same high-quality wool and hand-knitting that goes into their standard knit covers, knit into a line of animals that look like the makers of sock monkeys decided to branch out.
It’s just one happy animal kingdom, until the lobster starts something.
Order them as a set or mix and match, starting at just $25 for fairways and hybrids and $30 for drivers, Sunfish Sales’ knit animal headcovers are a great choice if your tastes are a little whimsical.
Scorecard/Yardage Book Holder
This is the latest addition to my collection of “things I never knew I needed until I had them.” Until you’ve tried one, a scorecard or yardage book holder might seem like a necessity for the pros and their 3-volume yardage books, but a little shishi for weekend warriors who have more beers in their cooler than notes in their yardage book. Even when you try one, the difference is really in all the things you don’t notice. Unless you think about it, you aren’t likely to notice that you didn’t struggle to get your scorecard in and out of your pocket once during your round. That means that you didn’t have to stop and ask your partners what they got on the last par 3 because you couldn’t get the dogeared, sweaty card out of your pocket in a hurry, so you bagged it and moved on.
Made from the same full-grain leather as their headcovers, Sunfish Sales’ scorecard holder has elastic loops on both sides to hold your scorecard and yardage book, as well as a loop for your pencil. It sounds like a little thing, but having a loop for my pencil means that I always have a pencil, which beats the hell out of marking my scorecard with the same Sharpie that I use to mark my golf balls.
If you don’t see “Diver Down”, you should probably just order a plain vanilla cover.
Having my card and yardage book organized and easy to use hasn’t made me a better golfer, but it has definitely made my rounds more enjoyable. Be careful though, when your buddies see how easy it is to manage the card you might find yourself designated as the permanent scorekeeper. It’s a small price to pay for the convenience, as is the $35 price tag.
Customize your covers
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Sunfish Sales’ 2015 offerings isn’t really a product at all. New this year you can customize your headcovers right on the Sunfish Sales website. Visit https://sunfishsales.com/custom-headcovers/ and you can choose colors, designs, details, and even add custom text to your headcovers. Prices vary depending on the options you choose, but I priced a leather driver cover with everything, including having my name embroidered on it, and it still came in at a very reasonable $80. Considering that a leather headcover could well last longer than my golf game, I think that qualifies as an affordable luxury.
Seriously, you can get more options on your headcover than your Honda.
If Sir Arthur is right and the details are what’s important, Sunfish Sales’ 2015 lineup of knit and leather might just be the most important part of your bag. Adding a touch of class and removing the kinds of minor annoyances that can take you out of “the zone” can’t help but be good for your mental game, whether it shows up on your scorecard or not. You can see Sunfish Sales full lineup, learn more, and even create and order your own custom headcover designs on the Sunfish Sales website
I am a numbers guy. I don’t want to be, but as I mature I realize that there is no better way to be miserable than to fight your essential nature. I’ve tried being the ball, gazing at flags and imagining the shot, choosing a club based on nothing more than feel and The Force, but that led to some numbers that I just couldn’t avoid; 7s, 8s, even a couple of 9s before I surrendered to my own personality.
When that happened I didn’t just accept the inevitable, I embraced it with a vengeance. I measured my paces until I could repeat the same stride uphill and down. I added hundreds of steps to my round as I paced off distances from yardage plaques. I bought terrible-quality recycled golf balls to hit at the range because I didn’t trust range floaters. I learned the range of distances for each of my clubs and kept it written in a notebook in my bag.
What I didn’t do was buy a GPS or laser rangefinder. It seemed like every time I got paired up with someone who had one, our round would drag on forever while they checked the distance to everything. It seemed like once they had the ability to know the distance to things they were compelled to find out. They couldn’t not know the distance to the front, middle, and back of everything on the course, from water hazards to cart girls. I once watched as the foursome ahead of me “shared” a laser rangefinder by making the poor geezer who’d spent the better part of $400 on it walk to each of their balls and shoot the distance to the pin. Nobody could choose a club until everyone had their yardage read. Then I watched two of the four lay sod over their ball, advancing it maybe 30 yards before repeating the whole process. I resigned myself to pacing the yardage from the last marker on the way to my ball and trying to do the math in my head (which got increasingly more difficult as the beers added up), but that was a price I was willing to pay to not be one of those guys.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? A couple of years ago I got a GPS watch for running. I wanted to leave my bulky phone at home and go light, but I had to know how far I’d run and what my pace was (yeah, numbers guy). The watch made an immediate difference in my training, and integrated smoothly with my run. So when GolfBuddy sent their new WT4 GPS watch I was eager to get my mitts on it, and not only is it making a difference in my game, it’s actually speeding up my play as well.
I’ll confess that I had some reservations about the a GPS watch for golf. Before the WT4 I made it a point to not wear a watch when I played, to keep my hands as free and unencumbered as possible. I also wondered how well a delicate device like a GPS would stand up to the jolt of hitting one fat. Lastly, my usual courses don’t show up in Golf Digest, so I was concerned that I’d have to go through some computing gyrations to load the courses that I play onto the watch, if they were available at all.
Happily, the Golf Buddy WT4 comes preloaded with 37,000 courses from around the world, including my own favorite tracks, and installing updates is point and click easy using the free software. Arrive at the course, put the WT4 in play mode, and it recognizes the course automatically. To start Play mode, hold down the lower left button until the main menu opens, then use the upper and lower buttons on the right to scroll through the options (Play is the one that looks like a green). Select from the menu by pressing and releasing the lower left button again. The magic doesn’t stop there though – walk to the tee, any tee, and the GolfBuddy WT4 recognizes it when you’re within about 10 feet, displaying the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
Just knowing the distance to the green from the tee really isn’t that useful though. After all, that info is usually on a fairly large marker. What about that bunker on the left? How far to carry the water in front of the tee? GolfBuddy has you covered. Scroll through the hazards by pressing the lower right button and see the distance to the front and the back (and sometimes the middle, in case you ever need to hit one exactly in the middle of a pond). In fact the WT4 gave multiple distances to the front of an irregularly-shaped water hazard on my home course, a feature that really did improve how I played the hole. Be careful though, pressing the upper right button doesn’t scroll backwards, it returns you to Play mode.
Of course being able to measure the distance from point A to point B with Department of Defense-approved accuracy comes in handy for a number of different things, and the WT4 features as many of them as I could think of. Do you want to know how far you really hit that hybrid you claim to carry “about 200”? (Hint: No, you really don’t.) Your GolfBuddy will tell you. After hitting your shot, enter Shot Tracking mode by holding the upper right button until the shot tracking icon appears. When you get to your ball, press the upper right button again to see how far you hit it. I’ll warn you though, it’s never as far as you think.
The WT4 will also track how far you’ve walked during your round, and how long your round has taken, which has lots of uses, from knowing how many beers you need to drink to replace the calories you burned walking to having an outside authority to remind your human Golf Buddies to pick up the pace. And unlike your human Golf Buddies, the WT4 doesn’t forget unless you want it to, giving you the ability to save your mileage and your score (did I mention that you can keep your score on the WT4? Of course you can) for logging later. In Play mode you can scroll through the secondary information by repeatedly pressing the lower left button.
One WT4 feature that I haven’t seen on a GPS watch before is the ability to actually change the pin location. The Pin Placement menu lets you use the watch buttons to move the pin location on the green. I didn’t use it in play since I didn’t have a solid idea of where the pins were, but I fiddled with it and it seemed to work as advertised. If you’re the kind of golfer who needs to know that the hole is cut 5 paces on from the left and 23 paces from the font, and you have a pin sheet, you’ll have a leg up on most other GPS watch users. From Play mode press the upper left button, or hold the lower left button and then select the Green View icon. In this mode you can adjust the pin placement using the buttons on the right side, and distances to the front, middle, and back are calculated based on your angle of approach to the green, which I hear is convenient if you sometimes hit your approach from somewhere other than the middle of the fairway.
As for my other concerns, after the first few holes the WT4 felt completely natural, and while I’m on a bit of a putting schneid I don’t think I can blame the fact that I’m wearing a watch . . . sadly these things happen. After 7-8 rounds and multiple range sessions in frost-delay weather, my GolfBuddy WT4 still functions flawlessly and looks good.
In fact the WT4 looks so good that GolfBuddy bills it as a “lifestyle” watch, and I wear mine away from the course frequently. With a choice of digital or analog time display, backlighting, and a nifty menu of secondary information that includes day/date, seconds, or my favorite: sunrise/sunset times, my WT4 has been mistaken for a smart watch more than once.
Of course that’s kind of understandable, since smart watches are known for being big, and the WT4 is anything but dainty. With a large LCD surrounded by a chrome-ish plastic bezel, it’s an eye catcher, but the styling doesn’t scream “Golf Watch”, so no complaints there. For all the surface area, the WT4 is relatively slim, a good bit thinner than my Soleus running watch, and the large screen is what makes things like a Pin Placement menu workable. I have small wrists, but the WT4 doesn’t look out of place on me, so chances are that unless you’re very small-boned it will work fine for you as well.
My only real complaint with the WT4 isn’t with the watch at all, it’s with the instructions. The WT4 has a lot of features and only 4 buttons, so it’s no surprise that it’s a little tricky sometimes to find the feature you want, but the instructions make this worse because they aren’t really instructions, they’re really a list of how to access the individual features. The first couple of times I tried to keep score using the WT4 things went adrift pretty quickly. I was able to figure it out after a good sit-down with the instructions, but you can only access the scoring mode when you’re at the golf course, so if you don’t routinely drop by your local course for a beer and a little putting practice, you’re going to have to remember to put the instructions in your bag. Even then there’s no clear-cut route to actually playing a round of golf, which is what I’d like to see in the instructions. As someone who has made his living writing instructions I realize that this is a very small problem, since nobody reads the instructions anyway. Don’t let my professional ire scare you away from what is really a very useful tool.
With the GolfBuddy WT4 I can get yardage information at a glance as I approach my ball without even breaking stride. By the time I get to my ball I know the yardage and have a club in hand. Because I can use the WT4 to track how far I hit each club, I’m more confident in the club I’ve selected, which means less indecision over the ball. The end result is that I play faster and better, and have a better time doing it.
Q: What do you call Chewbacca when he has chocolate stuck in his hair?
A: Chocolate Chip Wookiee.
Funny right? Ah, not really and neither are any of the assorted novelty headcovers you might be tempted to put on your clubs. Sure, it’s ok to represent your Alma Mater but even then, why not give your school some true respect by passing on the $8 headcover and instead opting for something more substantial.
How does one obtain some style advantage over the gimmicky sales rack at Golf Galaxy? One of the oldest types of head covers that are still widely used even today is . . . wool. A perfectly fitted, hand knitted wool cover has a very classic look to it that can instantly add style to your bag in a way that Marvin the Martian falls dramatically short.
Always willing to cover all aspects of the game, we humbly agreed to order up some customized offerings from Jan Craig Headcovers, who has been handcrafting premium wool head covers since 1962.
The Jan Craig story is not only fascinating but also a perfect example of why I love writing for Three Guys Golf, because like most people, I had never crossed paths with this premium headcover company. Learning about Janet Craig and her husband Bert’s passion for the game and for each other was not only inspiring, but it made me proud to have their covers on my clubs.
The beginning of Jan Craig started out I’m sure like a lot of small companies. Mrs. Craig wasn’t satisfied with what was available, as far as headcovers go, so she took it upon herself and handcrafted her own headcovers from worsted wool. It helped that she was good with yarn and needles because soon others were noticing her work and wanted a set of their own.
My favorite part in learning about the history of their company was how it was never planned to be a real business. In fact, the Craigs only intended to make enough headcovers to finance the couple’s yearly wedding anniversary trip to Pinehurst.
Luckily for us though, a certain touring professional by the name of Jack Nicklaus ordered a set, and as his recognition grew so did the attention paid to those stylish wool headcovers that graced the Golden Bear’s clubs. The rest is ongoing history as many top level PGA Tour pros now have Jan Craig Headcovers in their bags.
Like I mentioned earlier, the story is a great one and even though Jan Craig passed away many years ago her family has continued the tradition she started of handcrafting worsted wool headcovers now some 53 years after she created her first set.
When the package from Jan Craig arrived I opened it up and right away I knew I was dealing with superb quality. I likened it to Christmas mornings from my childhood when grandma would send you that hand-knitted sweater that you quickly toss aside, moing on to the next present hoping it’s anything but clothes. Maybe some twenty years later, when you’re much wiser, you’ll pull out that special blanket grandma made you for your 5th birthday that somehow has held up better than any other blanket you’ve ever owned and you begin to realize what went into making such a remarkable piece.
It wasn’t just Grandma taking some needles to yarn and making a piece of clothing or a blanket, but every strand of wool and every stitch was made with love and passion. This is Jan Craig in a nutshell. The quality that goes into every piece screams passion, pride and love.
Their covers are not sitting in a warehouse on a shelf waiting for an order to be fulfilled; they’re made to order, fully customizable and will take up to six weeks to come in. The time frame was tough to overcome but I had a feeling when I did have them in my hands it was going to be worth the wait, and it was.
The first sign that I had a superior quality product in my hands was the weight. Everyone is in love with lighter, faster, stronger, but when it comes to protecting those expensive metal woods in your bag you don’t want an inferior fabric or process. The time that goes into creating each unique piece is a testament to Jan Craig’s dedication to the craft and it is clearly shown in the details of their work.
The ordering process was as easy as it comes. You access the Jan Craig website and with one click of the mouse you’re in step one of the design phase. Next you’ll choose the club you like a cover for, then there’s an option to go with a 5” POM an 8” POM a Tassel or nothing. From there you get into color combinations and lettering.
For this review I went with a color combination of Scarlet & Gray that worked perfectly with my Cobra bag and, in my own vat of self-righteousness, pays homage to my beloved Rebels of UNLV. It’s the closest I’m going to get to the famed “Hey Reb” covers the UNLV Golf team has.
Since Adam went the way of the Pom Poms for his review of Jan Craig a few years ago, I decided to go with the tassel look to be different. Yeah, it had nothing to with the fact that they’re Pom Poms.
You can customize the headcovers with any number or letter configuration. I chose the “D” on the driver, “3W” on my fairway wood (which with my game will always be a 3-wood) and an “H” for my hybrid. Keeping with the color scheme I had the lettering done in white to match the accents on my bag.
The lettering came out perfect and it most definitely adds to the classic look the wool covers.
After a thorough inspection of the covers, examining every inch of fabric, it was time to grab my woods and see if the obviously well-made products from Jan Craig were actually user friendly. I say that because in the past I’ve owned a few that didn’t make it through the first couple of holes before the on and off action had transformed the head cover from a functional product to dust rag.
While checking out the Driver cover I noticed Jan Craig includes an elastic band right around where the hosel and shaft come together. I’m not sure how many other wool head cover manufactures are doing this, but it was the first time I had seen it used. It a great feature that allows a large 460cc driver to “slip” nicely into the cover and feel like it’s fully in place.
The driver cover has a very long sleeve and for that reason it may not be ideal for bags that have a shaft lock or a small slot for holding the club. I think it’s a great feature though and I love it. It adds even more protection to the club shaft so accidentally scratching up a shaft when returning it to your bag is no longer a worry.
The Hybrid and Fairway woods have a much shorter sleeve but I’m confident there’s more material than you’ll find on other wool head covers, at least when I compared them to the few I have there is a notable difference.
On and off, on and off, on and off, I spent a decent amount of time (what I’d reflect as at least two rounds on the course) taking the covers off and putting them back on. I’m far from an expert when it comes to fabrics but I have to believe that, because the covers are made from a more durable wool called Worsted (Google is your friend), the repetitive actions of removing and replacing will do little to wear down the material.
Jan Craig Headcovers offers a great option for those looking to add some style and class to their golf bags. The quality is phenomenal and with all the customizable options you can make them your own very easily.
When I started this review I wasn’t sure if I was the type that could pull off wool. I felt I didn’t have the personality to pull it off and over the past couple of years I have grown very fond of my leather covers. I certainly didn’t think it was possible that there was a fabric cover out there that would make me change it up.
Jan Craig and their amazing headcovers did just that.
Prices vary depending of the size of the cover of course. The covers we ordered sell for $62.00 (Driver) $59.00 (Fairway Wood) and $44.00 (Hybrid). For $165 you’ll get an outstanding set of headcovers that are built to last and will probably outlast your golfing career.
To see just how easy it is to customize and order your own set of Jan Craig Headcovers please visit their site and add some classic style to your bag.
My grandfather was a doctor in the post-war US, so of course he played golf. He carried his clubs in a leather bag, hit balata balls, and covered his hand-cut Persimmon woods with knit headcovers sporting a pom-pom on top. He might not have recognized my funky-looking TM Burner irons or my space-age Titanium driver, and I’m sure that he’d be taken aback by my putter, but I know that he’d feel right at home with my set of hand-knit wool headcovers from Sunfish Sales. He might even be a little jealous, because Sunfish Sales has gone to great lengths to make sure that they not only captured the classic look and feel of knit headcovers, but they took advantage of modern technology and production techniques to refresh the classic design and make their hand-knit covers a welcome (and affordable) luxury for modern golfers.
Sunfish Sales is the product of a childhood promise by founders/owners David Riggs and Alonzo Guess that they would one day own a company together. When I was a kid the height of my friends’ aspirations was that we’d have cable TV in our treehouse, a dream that never came to pass. But David and Alonzo kept their eyes on the prize and eventually ended up with Sunfish Sales, delivering fine knit products of various stripes to a grateful world. A few years after starting up, they decided to dip their toes in the golf market, and from there things have happened much faster than the 1950s look and hand-woven quality of their knit headcovers would make you think.
The list of prestigious courses offering Sunfish’s products reads like my bucket list, with names like Cypress Point and Bethpage topping the chart. Since buying a headcover at a once-in-a-lifetime course would be pointless if nobody could tell that’s where you got it, Sunfish offers custom embroidery or inclusion of the course name or club patch in the design. This touch makes them a natural for collegiate golf, and they are showing up (in team colors, naturally) in some of the highest-profile programs in the NCAA.
On tour, Sunfish Sales continues their focus on quality first. Only one professional uses the Sunfish wool covers, but when that one is Miguel Angel Jimenez, two would be superfluous. That’s right, I’m rocking the same headcovers as The Most Interesting Golfer in the World.
When I got my hands on the covers Sunfish sent for review, it was obvious why MAJ would love these – the man clearly appreciates the finer things in life, and just holding one of these cable-knit beauties in your hands tells you that they fall nicely into that category. I’m no expert on knitting, but even I can see that these covers are immaculately put together.
My samples are startlingly heavy, and very heavy-duty. The New Zealand wool and hand-knitting give these headcovers a very luxurious feel that would be perfectly at home in a fisherman’s sweater. I know this sounds strange, but mine even have a rustic and comforting wool smell to them – it reminds me of the coat closet at my grandmother’s house.
The Sunfish Sales headcovers have a cable knit pattern that uses a lot of yarn. This allows the cover to stretch easily over even a modern 460cc driver, while the strength of the knit pulls everything back tight and, aided by a little modern elastic that I know is there but is never visible, keeps the headcover where you put it. And a headcover that stays where you put it is an asset to your game.
Don’t believe me? Read on. When I told my wife that I was reviewing headcovers, her response was “What is there to say about headcovers?” I didn’t have a ready answer, but after playing a few rounds with Sunfish Sales wool headcovers I hit on the real beauty behind a good headcover: you don’t have to think about them.
How many times have you stood on the tee, you’re up, and you can’t get the the logo-plastered wetsuit that came with your new driver off? How many times have you had to backtrack up the fairway for your novelty panda or Darth Vader while the “3 hours or die” group behind you gave you the stink eye? A bad headcover is an annoyance, but what are your choices? If you do without, you stroll the fairways to a constant clanking that will drive even the most zen golfer crazy before the turn. Not only that, but without headcovers your $350 driver and $200 3w are clanking against your $150 hybrid, scraping the oh-so-expensive paint off all of them.
Another nice touch is that the pattern of the headcover tells you what club it’s hiding. A single stripe and a 6″ pom for your driver (or “1-wood” as my Grand Day called it), three stripes and a 4″ pom for your 3w, and another single stripe, this time with a 3″ pom for a hybrid. Each pom looks just right with the size of the club it’s covering, and I find that I can identify clubs faster with this system than with the factory headcovers.
For those who want to go the extra mile and really live the life of The Most Interesting Golfer in the World, Sunfish Sales is bringing out a line of leather headcovers for next year. I look forward to getting hold of some of those, and given the quality of these wool covers I have no doubt that the leather will be quite a treat.
$79.99 for the set represents a bit of an investment, but the quality of Sunfish Sales wool headcovers means you may never buy another set of headcovers. These covers have added a touch of class to my bag that I really enjoy. They protect my clubs, look great, and remove an annoyance from my round. I’ve tossed my previous mix-and-mismatch set of headcovers into a bin in my garage, if I ever actually sell a golf club (I’ve heard that people do that, but what do those people do when 3 friends drop in from out of town without their clubs and want to play?) I’ll put those ratty socks back on them, but until then I’m keeping the Sunfish covers on my clubs.
Check out all the Sunfish headcovers on their website.
A couple months ago I stumbled upon a concept called #TourSauce. Invented by the guys at NoLayingUp, TourSauce is simply all the things professional golfers do that make them, well, professional. Examples would include the club twirl, the wayward drive indication, or casual putter toss to a caddy. Besides making for great twitter fodder, TourSauce can also be fun for us amateurs. Sure we don’t have crowds of people watching us stroll up the 18th fairway but that does not mean we cannot do a little tip of the hat to imaginary fans, or point right when we put a nasty slice on our drive. So while we may never have a PGA caliber swing, we can have PGA caliber TourSauce.
Now some flavors of TourSauce do not require any props but other more subtle varieties do. Ideally, we could rent a caddie to toss our ball to or steal a Marshall to announce our name on the first tee but alas that could get expensive (and maybe illegal). Ah, but what about the yardage book green inspection? Sure, a few of us have a yardage book, but clearly whipping out a snappy leather bound book of notes has a double helping of TourSauce. Look, when a guy stands in the middle of the fairway, studies the blowing tree tops and promptly pulls out a leather bound yardage book from his back pocket it has “yup, I play golf for a living” written all over it. The problem is, I doubt I will ever own a yardage book. Fortunately, the guys at CarveOn have a solution: the scorecard holder.
As a walker, I carry my scorecard in my back pocket and obviously take it out at the completion of each hole. That gives me eighteen, count them, eighteen TourSauce opportunities. So instead of pulling out a boring scorecard from my back pocket and a pencil from my front pocket, I can whip out my leather bound, stitched and engraved scorecard holder (and write down a 6). TourSauce aside, the CarveOn scorecard holder is absolutely brilliant. How brilliant . . . well Rory McIlRoy’s red yardage book with a Nike swoosh is in fact a custom CarveOn yardage book. Kinda cool that the Irish kid shows some support for a fellow countryman. Oh, I guess I have yet to mention that CarveOn is located in Kildare Ireland. Well, now I did and we can move on.
The scorecard holder I received is made from vegetable tanned Tuscan leather that is stitched around the edges. On the front it also has my name written which is a very nice touch and an option for all CarveOn products. While not as large a full yardage book, the scorecard holder fits very nicely into any back pocket with just enough leather sticking out to let everyone know you have TourSauce.
Additionally, it solves one real world problem, the sweaty scorecard. Anyone who plays in the humidity knows that on hot days a scorecard can literally fall apart by the 8th hole. Placing it into a leather holder keeps all your ticks and tacks legible and can easily be put back in your bag to be ready for the next round. Inside the CarveOn scorecard holder you will find corners that will hold nearly any golf scorecard.
What I did not realize was that for the first time I was able to see the entire scorecard at one glance rather than having to flip it over for the back nine. Not that it really matters, but it is nice to not have to rewrite initials at the turn. Additionally, the CarveOn scorecard holder has a pencil that fits neatly on the side, keeping everything in one place. In my case, the pencil even had a logo…nice touch!
The Perfect Golf Gift
Speaking of nice touches, I was super impressed with the packaging. Each scorecard holder comes in an engraved wooden box making it an ideal gift for a golfer. Moreover, when something arrives in a wood box, you just know it is meant to last. That is the great thing about leather, it lasts forever, but continues to change as it ages making it truly one of a kind.
CarveOn is a relatively new company, only formed in 2011, but it feels like they could have been making leather goods for 80 years. Using a combination of new technology and old world craftsmanship, CarveOn offers a wide selection of leather goods including bill folds, notebooks, bags and iPhone sleeves. Basically, all the boutique items that no one needs but loves to get. In other words, an absolute no-brainer gift for the hubby or boyfriend who has a golfing jones.
As I have written before, there is just something about leather. It is one of the oldest materials and yet it maintains an unrivaled level of sophistication. Nothing says class like a finely crafted leather accessory. Whether it is James Dean in a leather jacket, James Bond with a leather strapped watch, or Jim Morrison in leather pants, the dudes are legendarily cool. Who woulda thought the Barney Rubble daily pelt would stand up thousands of years later.
Of course a scorecard holder is not for everyone. 95% of golfers just want to throw on a pair of cargo shorts and a collared shirt and save their money for the greens fees or a fancy new driver. But a little secret, this little taste of TourSauce will only set you back about $80 and will make you 100% more badass, which is worth at least two strokes a round.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a CarveOn scorecard holder or yardage book and let the TourSauce mayhem begin!
Remember Hello Kitty, the unstoppable feline that took over the world a few years ago? Well, there is a new cat on the block and its name is Loudmouth Golf. See, I write about a ton of apparel companies but by far the most unique is Loudmouth Golf – not only because their clothes are made from eye-popping patterns but also because they have set their sights far beyond the golf course.
A little history here. Loudmouth Golf was the third company to send us gear to review and probably the single biggest reason why we decided this whole blog thing might be a good idea. So not only am I indebted to Loudmouth for their unreasonable “leap of faith”, but I have also gotten to know a number of folks on staff. Basically, I am a card-carrying member of the Loudmouth Nation (jeez it pains me to write “nation”). Anyhow, you get my point – I dig the company, regularly wear their gear and am convinced they are absolutely crushing it.
My epiphany came when I realized that the Loudmouth Golf is not just about pants, short, hats or umbrellas. Loudmouth is literally about any item you might buy… just like Hello Kitty. Yea, that Hello Kitty, the one that took over households that had 4-11 year old girls. Blankets, t-shirts, mouse pads, pillows, shoes, bikes… you name it, Hello Kitty made it.
Well, Loudmouth is clearly taking a page from the Kitty book and the product line extension into sunglasses is just one more piece of evidence. While they currently only offer three models (in two colors), Fairway to Heaven Shagadelic, Stroke of Luck and Swingblade, the line is sure to grow.
I am gonna tell you right now that I am a sunglass snob. Long ago, I decided that there were two things I was willing to spend a lot of money on… shoes and sunglasses. The way I see it, if your feet and eyes are happy, the rest of your body can manage. Hence, most of the sunglasses I buy are over $240. Part of my rationale is that I figure if I buy expensive sunglasses I will be less likely to lose them. The opposite philosophy is “I lose my sunglasses all of the time so I get cheapo ones”.
So, I guess you could say Loudmouth sunglasses split the difference. Clocking in at a cool $99, they won’t break the bank but they also are not quite up to the level of your high end Costa Del Mar or Maui Jim.
When I first heard that I was being sent a pair of the new Loudmouth sunglasses, I was obviously prepared for the most gaudy and flashy eye-wear imaginable. Remember, this is not my first Loudmouth rodeo. I own about 7 pairs of Loudmouth shorts and pants and none are ever confused for any other brand.
Much to my surprise then was the subtle use of the trademarked Loudmouth pattern. Only on the lower sides and inner arms is there any hint that these are anything but your regular brown sunglasses. Well, the lens is a bit brighter than most (a reflective red), but all things considered, pretty tame stuff.
Alright, you are a Loudmouth fan and you want to wave your Loudmouth flag, do these cut muster? I think they mostly do. Really, not many people want to wear crazy sunglasses but a hint of flare… that’s ok. Just enough Shagadelic to let everyone know whose team you play for without going all clownglasses on us.
Per my earlier admission to being a sunglasses snob, the Loudmouth glasses are definitely not as good as my $240 Costa Del Mar which I wear all of the time (and have had for over 3 years). For example, the plastic arms feel a bit “plasticky” when you fold them in and out, but then again they are made from plastic.
On the other hand, they are darn comfortable. I have worn them for full rounds of golf and did not have any issues with them digging into my head or nose. They are also quite sturdy and can be tossed around without too much concern. As an example, I pretty much have neglected putting them in any kind of case for the past month or so and have had zero issues.
In the end, however, what you pay for in sunglasses is the lens. Without any training, nearly anyone can tell the difference between a $20 pair of sunglasses and a $200 pair simply by walking outside into the sunlight. With a quality lens, colors are sharp and everything looks crystal clear. Cheap lenses just make stuff look darker. The lenses used in the Loudmouth glasses are “pretty good”. Not fantastic, but definitely on par with glasses in the $100 range.
Personally, I have worn these on the course, driving, and at the beach and the lenses are good enough that I have not immediately ditched them for my regular pair. The rose color gives enough shade to cut the bright light but also adds enough contrast so you don’t feel like you are just in a dark room. Additionally, the lenses are made from a polycarbonate so they resists scratches. In my case, no scratches so far (and I have yet to put them in a case).
So maybe I am not the target audience but I know at least one person who is… my 14 year old son who thinks they are all that. The kid never wears sunglasses but he picks them up all of the time. Heck he played golf in them last weekend and it was overcast the entire time.
What can I say, the boy knows what he likes and Loudmouth Golf is always his go-to golf shorts. Hello Loudmouth.
You can see all of the sunglasses on the Loudmouth Golf Website.
You remember those old Reese’s commercials when some dude with chocolate slams his chuckwagon into someone with peanut butter and the world rejoices? I think I just stumbled onto civilization’s next ‘duh’ moment with the Hydro Flask, a reusable water bottle that actually keeps things cold, hot, or whatever temperature you started with.
Yes, the thermos was invented 1,200 years ago and the water bottle was invented back when feudalism reigned, but for some reason it took until 2008 for someone to consider merging the two. The result is a water bottle that incorporates double-wall vacuum insulation, BPA-free materials, and food grade stainless steel . . . all in the name of keeping your water cool or your coffee hot.
This is a fairly simple concept and product, so I will spare you my usual 2,000 word diatribe. My wife and I ordered the 18 oz. bottle and the 21 oz. bottle, in orange and pink respectively, and put the Hydro Flask into play. Here are some examples of what happened:
- Cold Stays Cold: Over the past 10 years my wife has converted me into a water addict. Don’t worry, I am not one of those all-American healthy guys that does everything the doctor tells him – I am also addicted to ice cream, beers on courses, and honking 4 foot putts. But anyway, I now drive to work with a reusable water bottle and leave it in my car for the ride home. For the past few years, this meant enjoying a nice gulp of boiling hot water during the months of July and August. But now with the Hydro Flask in action, I simply drop a few ice cubes into the bottle in the morning and when I get back in the whip at the end of the day I have cold water waiting for me.
- Hot Stays Hot: My wife is a coffee drinker. Of course she’s always used the same coffee travel mug things that everyone uses. Apparently these things do a good job of mitigating spills, but nobody ever thought to make one that actually keeps the stuff hot. Even the stainless steel looking ones are just show ponies. So now my wife gets in the car and has hot coffee waiting for her for up to 12 hours if she so desires. I’m hoping that doesn’t rank as one of her desires, purely for breath purposes, but there’s some benefit to having the option.
- Perfect for Golf: When you walk 18, you know that after the first 3 holes you will be drinking lukewarm water for the rest of the way, unless you are lucky enough to stumble upon some cold pondwater in one of the course’s coolers. With the Hydro Flask, you are pulling cold water for the entire round. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but on the hot summer days, it is. In fact, anything that can enhance your ability to venture out when everyone else thinks it’s too hot is a win. Course is empty and you can have a glorious experience.
I also ordered the Hydro Flask Growler, a 64 oz. canteen that is shaped like a, well, growler. Hydro Flask is headquartered in Bend, Oregon, land of intense craft-brewing, so I’m thinking this is a nod to the craft beer world. Anyway, Adam and I have spent a round or two of golf trying to determine when exactly a growler would come into play. Maybe on a course that actually does a TSA check of your cart to make sure there is no cooler . . . just empty 5 cans of cold beer into the growler and tell those clowns you have doctor’s orders to stay hydrated on the course? Or perhaps when you hit one of those newfangled outdoor concerts when everybody is expected to buy beers for $7 a pop instead of bringing their own? In either of those scenarios, we concluded that bringing contraband in its natural form was always still too feasible to bail out for the growler option. If you can’t figure a way to hide 12 cans of Coors Light from a course ranger then you and I cannot be friends, and the last time I worried about violating an outdoor family-friendly concert rule was never. Okay, so what the heck is this growler good for?
- Sports: If you’re headed out to exercise in hot weather, you gotta have cold water or Gatorade on hand. If you don’t want to be Tim Allen and roll up with a big-ass cooler for a pickup game of basketball, the growler is a perfect solution. Ice cold water, 64 ounces of it, at your disposal. And if I haven’t made this clear yet, ice cold water. Stays ice cold for a very long time. The website says up to 12 hours – I haven’t counted, but it’s a long time.
- Boozin’: Last weekend I decided that beer was making me a doughboy, time to take a breather. But, another free concert was on, and like any good parents, my wife and I felt compelled to corral the kiddos and hit the lawn. Now we all know there ain’t no concertin’ without some boozin’, and that’s when the true genius of the growler hit me. Instead of using the ice in the cooler for my Moscow Mules, which gets manhandled by all the grubby mitts and is already tainted by dirty beer cans and what have you, I realized that I could throw some ice into the growler and keep it separate from the riff-raff. Eureka! The ice stayed ice, and I’m talking zero meltage, for about 6 hours. If I tipped the growler over, no water would come out. Even better, my drinks were made with clean ice, not the stuff with pieces of my kids’ cheez puffs floating around in it (organic cheez puffs, of course). My apologies to those of you brilliant enough to follow me on Twitter, I realize this last point is a repeat. Oh, and I’m sorry for sucking at Twitter.
WARNING! Different bottle sizes have different mouth sizes. Please heed this information when you choose your Hydro Flask, this actually screwed us up a bit and we all have different size holes for no good reason. Gross. This also comes into play with the different accessories, sport lids, etc. Just sayin’.
Check out the Hydro Flask website and see what they have that might work for you. Different shapes, colors, lids . . . somewhere in there is your winner. Products range from about $24 to $50 – not as cheap as the ones you pickup at Wal-Mart, but clearly more bang for the buck. The Hydro Flask is about as no-brainer as you can get for a golfer or really anyone who requires liquids to exist.
Confession time..I have stopped using every GPS device I have ever owned or reviewed. Don’t get me wrong, my dismissal of these units was not because they did not work or were not useful, but rather simply because they end up in my bag uncharged. Maybe it is just me, but I pack GPS unit in my bag after my round which means I end up forgetting to take it out and charge it. Flash forward, to the next round and my GPS is safely packed away with 10% battery.. Adding to my reasoning for not using a GPS is because I often play the same course and have unfounded belief that I can accurately judge distances without a measuring device. Superpowers aside, I am actually well aware that I would benefit from a GPS, but until I can find one that meets my basic nature I am going to have to rely on yardage markers and hunches. Good news, I think I have finally found my GPS soulmate. The Bushnell NEO XS GPS is not fancier than the ones I quit using but it does one thing none of the other do . . . it comes back in the house with me. The simple fact that it is a watch style GPS has been a total game changer for me. Starting with some facts (or at least my opinion of facts). The Bushnell NEO XS is pretty darn light and thin. At no point does it bother me and I often forget to take if off after the round, which is fine because it is also a waterproof watch. I found out about the waterproof after I realized it was on my wrist after a shower. Hey oh, good thinking Bushnell! Just as important is the display which is super easy to read with big numbers that contrast in bright sunlight. Plus, there is no issue reading the numbers if you wear polarized sunglasses like I do. That is not the case with some units which require me peeking under my glasses to read. Then there is the little fact that it is on my wrist the whole time, which saves me from having to tote it around or worry about losing the sucker. I mean, I guess some guys like to bring out the arsenal of technology before each shot, but not me – just give me the yardage (heck if I could dial in to 132 yards I would not be a 10 handicap). Function wise, the buttons are all intuitive. To start the game just click “play golf”. The GPS quickly finds course around you so that you can choose the correct one. A few minutes later you are ready to go. On the course, the GPS will move from hole to hole but you can always toggle holes if for some reason it is showing the wrong hole. The other button I like to use is the “Golf” button. After you hit a ball simply click this button and it will start calculating how far you hit the ball. A handy feature if you are trying to dial in you club distances or when you bomb a drive and want some additional satisfaction for exactly how deep you went. Because I play 80% of my golf on the same course, I really only need distances to the front middle and back. Sure hazards are fine but 99% of the time I don’t use them. Fortunately, the Bushnell includes up to 4 hazard distances just in case. The code for the hazards is slightly confusing but typically, I can figure out that “RGB” means “right green bunker”. There is a key to all codes in the manual. Beyond the basic “Front, Center, Back”, the Bushnell NEO has a couple of other bells and whistles that make this a great product. First, the battery life is solid. You can easily get 3 rounds of golf in before charging. In “watch” mode it will last about a year (but I am not sure who would buy this GPS unit and only use it as a watch). The point is that what chows the battery is the GPS and since it is super easy to forget to turn off the GPS, there is a feature that will automatically return the unit to “watch mode” after a set amount of time. For example, I set the Bushnell NEO XS to turn off after 4.5 hours. If I am stuck behind a slow group and end up on the 17th fairway after 4.5 hours, the GPS will ask me if I want to resume playing so that I do not have to restart the round. In other words, you won’t have to fear forgetting to turn it off or having it turn off before your round ends . . . best of both worlds situation. Another feature that is kind of cool (even though I don’t use it) is that the NEO has an odometer, so I can tell my wife that I just walked 5 miles so there is no reason for me to go to the gym. After really digging my newfound love with a GPS device, there was still one looming issue. My home course moved 3 greens last summer and for some unknown reason, the management has never gotten the course remapped. That means everyone’s SkyCaddie is useless for three holes. Not surprisingly the Bushnell NEO had the same issue. However, after a little poking around on the Bushnell website I found a form to submit changes to a course. Bing, bang, boom, two days later my course has been updated! Heck yes, that is what I call customer service! So bottom line: if you want yardages but not the hassle that comes along with a larger device the Bushnell NEO XS is a great option. It only runs about $199, which is roughly half the price of handheld models. Sure, it will not give you yardage to every tree on the course, but it works great for simple access to accurate yardage to the green.
You can learn more on the Bushnell website
The greatest golfers have always been described as artists. While technique is a requirement, it is the vision to see shots most could never imagine that has separated the great from the good. Whether it is Phil’s flop shot or Bubba’s 90 yard hook to secure the Masters, we marvel at the artistry of the game. The same holds true for golf equipment and accessories. Beyond technical excellence, it is the artistic vision that moves a product from good to exceptional
When it comes to headcovers, I am on the record stating that 99.9% of big brand headcovers are awful. Not only do they look horrible, they are not even that functional. On the other hand, for two years, I have admired from afar the Seamus headcovers. But until this winter, I never been fortunate enough to see them in person. In January, I picked out three headcovers from the growing Seamus pattern selection. Over the course of the spring, the headcovers have become a staple in my bag, and frankly, I do not see them ever leaving.
Founded by husband and wife team, Megan and Akbar Chisti, Seamus is truly and family-owned and run business. The unique perspectives both individuals bring to the table have helped to make the company one of the most respected small golf accessory companies around. Proof to this point is the fact that Bandon Dunes, along with a number of other prestigious golf courses, carry Seamus in their Pro Shop.
Over the years of writing for Three Guys Golf, I have found that every company has its own vibe and that beyond the actual products, it is that vibe that plays a huge role in how I end up feeling about the company. Now, with huge multi-million dollar behemoths like TaylorMade, that vibe is created in a marketing department by folks who measure trends and focus groups; with small companies the vibe is genuine and is a direct reflection on the owners of the company.
The Seamus vibe is one of tradition, honesty, and appreciation for beauty. Everything Seamus creates harkens to Megan and Akbar’s artistic values and background. Even their trade show booth, which was handmade using old boards and decorated with vintage clubs, signals the Northwest origins of the brand.
None of this is surprising once you speak with Megan or Akbar who are both soft spoken, kind, and insightful, which is a welcome change to the too often “over the top” personalities of the golf world. To me, it is the rare blend of craft, passion and vision that has been as big a factor in Seamus’s success as the product itself.
So what is it about the Seamus headcovers that has garnered such widespread praise? In my opinion, the beauty of Seamus headcovers is two-fold:
First, the selection of woolen patterns is so rooted in the origins of the game. Tartans and plaids from the old country run throughout the collection, many of which are Clan specific. Being a southerner, I don’t know too much about tweeds and other woolen fabrics, but browsing thought the Seamus site, you will find a mutitude of color selections that range from blues to reds to browns. I think it is the combination of color selection and fabric that is at the heart of their essence. So finding a single headcover you love is easy, but perhaps more difficult is trying to envision how different patterns will look next to each other. Fortunatley, I have found that it is hard to go wrong as the mere fact that the fabric and construction is the same means they all look great together.
In addition to the visional beauty of Seamus, the construction of the headcovers is outstanding. Nearly all of the headcovers are made from wool, which holds up incredibly well and tends to repel dirt. On the inside, you will find soft fleece which protects the clubs as well as makes it super easy to get the clubs in and out. Plus, the contrasting color and texture adds to the beauty.
You will note that the headcovers do not have a sock attached and are actually relatively short. While you might think this would lead to the headcovers falling off, this is not at all the case. Part of the reason why they stay on so well is because (in the case of the driver headcover) there is a hidden elastic band sewn inside near the top. Frankly, it is an ingenious little detail as it goes unseen but not unnoticed. Again, I think it goes back to the attention to detail that flows throughout the company. From a durability standpoint, I have been regularly using the Seamus headcovers for 4 months and they look just as good as the day I got them and I expect to keep them for many years.
Beyond the headcovers, Seamus is now branching out to other products including neckwear, wood iPhone cases, pitch repair tools and ball markers. While I cannot personally speak to all of those items, I can say that the ball marker is one of my favorites. I am a bit of a ball marker snob and only use ones that are hand made or one of a kind. I just feel like it is a great opportunity to show individuality and for the most part they do not cost very much. The Seamus ball marker is hardly flashy, but the hand pounded metal has a great weight and size.
I will end this post much the same way I have ended other headcover reviews. Every few years you go out and buy a new driver or fairway wood and for a brief moment in time they are your best friends. Inevitably, you grow weary and the love fades. Soon enough you are on the free market for the next stick to help your game.
Fortunately, this scenario does not have to hold true for many of the other items in your golf bag. Finding a set of headcovers is such an example. Since quality headcovers like Seamus will last for years and years, the actual investment becomes quite small given the amount of use they will get. If you are like the vast majority of golfers who are still toting around the stock headcovers, it is high time you take the plunge.
Check out all of the Seamus headcovers and accessories on the Seamus website.
Raise your hand if you hate hitting off of range mats. Ok, everyone can put down their hands now. Yep they all suck…even the ones that are basically brand new. Unfortunately, most are way past their expiration date, paper thin, and leave a green film on the bottom of your golf clubs. Worse is the fact that there is often no alternative in sight. Even at nice clubs, the grass range is sometimes closed for weather or just because the greenskeeper is in a bad mood. I am sure he had a better reason, but honestly it’s sometimes a total mystery why they won’t let you hit off of grass.
It was fortuitous when last week I got a call from the inventor of Range To Go. Normally, I shy away from inventors, but his idea was so cool and so immediately useful I had to give it a try. The concept is simple, a tri-fold mat that you can use at home or take with you to the range (via a handy carrying case).
The Range To Go portable driving range consists of three square hitting mats connected together, each one simulating a different part of the course. You have your basic mat (fairway), long grass (rough) and a thick long turf (suitable for putting a tee into).
Lets start with at home practice. I tend to do a lot of chipping at my house and I have a cheapo mat that I use. To be fair, it works ok but compared to the Range To Go mat, it is a joke. Chipping from the long grass is so realistic I feel like I am at a swanky country club. I can even choose to chip with or against the grain (say what!). And, because the mats are basically indestructible, I can leave it out and not worry about it getting messed up. The mat that I used has literally had thousands of balls hit from it. Remember this is their one and only prototype that has gone through tons of testing.
Ok, so why is it called Range To Go? Well, because it is small enough that you can bring it to the range with you so you are not forced to hit of the garbage mats the courses provide. Simply lay the mat down on the existing surface and whack away. The rubber on the back keeps it from moving around so you will be free to hit off of turf normally reserved for tour players. Not only does the surface look real but it also give you the sensation of taking a divot. BONUS TIME: when you are done you don’t have to scrape the green junk off off of you clubs!
Back to the whole prototype thing. Normally, we only review products that you can actually buy. When we were contacted by Range To Go, they were planning to raise money via Kickstarter. Apparently, I am not the only one who thought Range To Go was a great idea because they are now fully funded and are taking orders. While the product won’t ship until August you can save $20 by ordering now.
Alright, back to the actual product and my three day experience with it. I told you it was a prototype so I had to return it (but that is the kinda guy I am). At $109, this mat kicks ass (but you can get it for $89 if you order early). The section of the mat that is the “rough” is so realistic it makes for a perfect home chipping surface. No more taking chunks out of my lawn and only using my old clubs (because of the damage cheap mats do to my clubs).
Again, this is the Range To Go, so I would absolutely take it to the driving range during the week when the grass is closed. As it stands, I avoid going mid-week for this exact reason. With Range To Go, it is so stupid-simple, I have no excuses not to practice (except for the overpriced range balls).
One final note on usage. You can either lay the mat parallel or perpendicular to your stance. I prefer to not straddle the mat but it was actually designed to give you a semi-optimal stance width. Either way, it never feels awkward.
Bottom line, great idea and I am not at all surprised they went from KickStarter to full production in lightning speed.
Double Bonus: use promo Code back9 to get an additional $9 off (for the first 100 customers) when you order from the Range To Go website.
Each spring we scour the earth to find a handful of unique items that are what we call “golf bag essentials”. While each one may not literally go into a a golf bag, they are all products we think every golfer should check out. We have gadgets, tools and even food – all of which have be personally used by us and get our Three Guys Golf sign of approval. Check it out!
Seamus Divot Repair and Ball Marker
What golf bag essentials post would be complete without a divot repair and ball marker suggestion. Most divot repair tools are either too wimpy or too gimmicky. The Seamus divot repair tool is neither. It is big and honking and hand-freaking-made. Not just handmade but hand forged. Yea, banged out by a big burly guy with a hammer and sweat dripping from his brow…well I made that last part up but I think I have seen a few too many episodes of Game of Thrones recently. You get the point – they are legit and 100% unique.
You can find both of these items on the Seamus website. Oh, and they also sell awesome headcovers!
The Hat Sponge
How many of your favorite hats have you had to throw away due to nasty sweat stains? I know for me, living in the south, hats have a short life span in the dead of summer. Leave it to an Englishman to come up with a clever invention called the Hat Sponge which sits inside the brim of your hat. Not only will it wick away and absorb most of the sweat but it will also eliminate any scratchy feeling for those of us who are a little thin on our forehead. Plus, it won’t change the shape of your hat at all. No one, even you, will realize you are wearing it (kind of like the man bra). My tip: save your hat, get the Hat Sponge.
The Hat Sponge runs $13.00 which is will pay for itself pretty darn fast. Get them on the Hat Sponge website.
Mettle Golf Gloves
You gotta have a golf glove but that does not mean you have to settle for a boring white one. Mettle Golf is a new company that offers sylish golf gloves. Made for Cabretta leather and a lycra top, the Mettle gloves are definitely not run of the mill. I have been all in with unique golf gloves for a few years now but I have not seen any that have these types of patterns. Because the top is lycra they are able to create intricate designs that are not possible with a full leather glove. NOTE: these gloves are supposed to fit tight but I would recommend ordering a full size up as they also run a bit small.
Don’t settle, get some Mettle. The Mettle Golf gloves are $20 – $24 and can be purchased on the Mettle website.
3 Up Golf Balls
The one thing that is in every golf bag is of course golf balls. 3 Up golf balls are a premium golf ball that perform extremely well. While I will not claim they are the best ball on the planet, they are pretty darn good, especially if you like a lot of feel around the green. Plus 3 Up Golf does something really unique…they give back. Yep, they have actually built the cost of charity into the price of the ball. That way every ball that you purchase will send $3.00 to charity. To date, 3 Up has donated thousands of dollars to groups like “Golfers Against Cancer”. Another cool thing about 3 Up is that when you buy a dozen balls they come in a pouch that includes a few branded goodies like tees and ball markers. Get the point? . . . these guys want to show you the love. Check them out, buy a dozen and if you don’t like them you can rest easy that you still made a charitable donation…but my bet is you will dig the balls too.
You can order sleeves or dozens of the 3 Up Golf Balls on the 3 Up website.
Now normally my ‘golfer aide’ is a few cold beers, but every now and then we all need some real hydration. Where GolferAid is different than most sports drinks is that is is loaded with supplements that are directly related to the game of golf. So not only do you get the electrolytes that help replenish, but you also get supplements that help with everything from vision to mental focus. What it does not have is a ton of sugar, which is basically the primary ingredient in most sports drinks, and it has zero caffeine. Plus they give 5% of the profits to golf-centric charities. In other words, while most energy drinks are casting a big targeting net, Golferaid is made specifically for golfers who have special requirements.
You can find GolferAid in many pro shops or you can order directly from the Golferaid website.
Are you one of those guys who likes to carry three towels, a club brush and still have a place for 5 gloves to hang? Problem is, most golf bags only have one hook or loop. Good news, hoarders… Snap Hookz is here to rescue you. Snap Hookz is a super easy and cheap way to add additional loops and connectors to virtually any bag. Just use the snaps from your rain hood to attach Snap Hookz. You can put it on either side or front of your golf bag depending on your preference. You then can hang, clip or loop all the essential gear. Oh Snap(!), this gizmo is pretty darn useful and the guys who I have given the Snap Hookz to absolutely love it.
Snap Hookz run $15.00 and can be purchased on their website.
Socks? Yeah socks, and they are not all created equal. I am a huge fan of Kentwool socks and they have pretty much been a staple on my foot for the past three years, but since getting Swiftwick I am now a two brand guy. What gives? Well, for starters, Swiftwick offers compression socks which really provide some extra comfort. Additionally, they offer a ton of styles from super thin to a thicker wool so you can have a pair for any occasion. And, for guys like me who have too many pairs of shoes, I sometimes need a thick or thin sock depending on the particular shoe (or even the season as feet swell in the heat). As for durability, I have been wearing the Swiftwick regularly for the past 3 months and they show no signs of breaking down.
They are your feet dammit! Get some decent socks. Check out the Swiftwick website.
No golf bag is complete unless it stocked full of tasty jerky. Being a bit of a jerky snob, I can tell you this stuff is legit. Plus, it was created by Tour Caddie, Jeff King. After years of tinkering in his kitchen, Jeff grew weary of having to fix up batches for guys on the PGA so he has graciously made it available for everyone (even non-golfers). Kingmade Jerky comes in three flavors, Buffalo, Sweet Chili and Classic (which I am eating as I type). Seriously, don’t be a dope, get some Jerky!
You can buy these direct from the Kingmade website.
BONUS: Pig Whistle Barbecue Sauce
Ok, you can’t put this in your golf bag but take it from me this is some of the best sauce ever. You know how every time you take a $5.00 shot and try some cool looking new BBQ sauce at the store, only to find out that it tastes exactly like the dumb Kraft sauce that costs $1.00/gallon? This is not that sauce.
Yes, he is a buddy of mine (introduced by fellow blogger Matt). Not only has Wyatt won numerous awards for his barbecue sauce but he cooks one hell of a pig. Seriously, the dude is a bit crazy with how much time he spends preparing the pig. True story: My wife made a chicken dinner that looked kinda lame, but being the good husband I did not say anything. I was stunned when in fact the boring chix tasted amazing! When I asked her what was on the chicken she said “I just put some of Wyatt’s sauce on it”. Damn, and that was chicken.
Do yourself a favor and check out the Pig Whistle website.
That’s it for this year, but you can also check out our 2013 Golf Bag Essentials post as well.