There’s a fine line between having hipster cred for liking things before they’re cool and just being strange for liking things that nobody else likes. I’m choosing to believe that Cleveland Classic putters are going to help me cross the line from the latter to the former, because they are too good to not be cool. I have long said that if you removed the branding I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a Scotty Cameron putter and Cleveland Classic of the same style, and if you blindfolded me I wouldn’t have any more chance of figuring out which one I was using than I would of making putts.
Right or wrong, often times companies get tagged for a certain look and then have a hard time shaking those conceptions even when they no longer fit. About four years ago, we were sent a bunch of Bunker Mentality shirts to review, and since our blog was still pretty new we were probably a bit over-giddy about the hip European brand. As the months wore on and we began to see more apparel, I compartamentalized Bunker Mentality as a “kinda cool, but a little over the top” brand.
What’s in the bag, or WITB for us golf geeks, is a staple of every Monday morning press release. This is where everyone oohs and ahhs at what clubs the winning pro used to win the latest PGA event. Sure, I am interested in what driver and irons were involved in the victory, but it’s the wedges and putters that I primarily focus on because, right or wrong, I can still hold out hope that my short game can become world class with the right tool of the trade (don’t go bursting my bubble).
You see, in my head I’ve always had an idea of what these exotic clubs were all about and imagined that if I could get my hands on them my game would magically improve. Earlier this year, I got my first chance to put this notion to the test when I reviewed the Giannini G6 putter, and while I am still seeking my Tour card, I firmly believe there is absolutely a clear difference between mass-produced and boutique clubs. For one, the simple act of opening the box provokes feelings akin to paging through a Playboy for the first time, those articles… they’re amazing!
The clubs we received from Vega were the VW-02 in the Raw finish with a 56° loft and the VW-08 in the Satin finish with a loft of 52°. I’m gapped at 4° starting at 52° so the wedges fit perfectly into my current setup.
Delivery Day: They say good things come in small packages, but when I saw the box from Vega was no bigger than a loaf of bread, I was perplexed. Were they foldable clubs or a miniature version of the real thing? As it turns out, neither. Vega had sent me just the club heads. ARGG! Rather than heading straight to the range I was now going to have to wait a couple more days since they would need to be shafted.
As it turns out the way the Vega’s were shipped was a blessing in disguise. Since I needed to get the shafts and grips installed at my local golf shop I was able to match them to my most recent club fitting. During that fitting a big change was made to my equipment. I went from a stiff, lightweight shaft to a regular flex one that is heavier compared to what I’ve used in the past. Being able to get the Vega wedges setup with the same configuration as my other irons has been a huge benefit – that’s obvious, right?
Since I was going to have to wait a few days before I hit the wedges, I tried to temper my anticipation by doing some further research. What I realized was that Vega offers a proverbial boatload of options.
First off, the Vega Wedges come in three different finishes; Satin, Brushed and Raw. The Satin finish is a stunning look for any club but with the elegant design it is outstanding on the Vegas. If you’re not a fan of the clean, smooth look the Satin produces, the Brushed finish is an excellent variation with a more aggressive tone, while the Raw finish is without a doubt the club you don’t take home to mother. The dark appearance just screams “Don’t mess with me!” and is easily my favorite variation. Additionally, the Raw and the Brushed finishes are not plated and will rust over time, similar to the old Cleveland and Callaway wedges.
Beyond the three choices in finishes, Vega also offers five different sole grinds so you can get the exact type of grind you are looking for to fit your game. Here’s a breakdown of their unique grinds:
The VW-02 wedge comes with the Angular Tri Grind which features three very distinct grind areas with toe and heel relief. Vega states this is an aggressive wedge to play. For me, this means I feel comfortable using it in even the most difficult lies.
The VW-04 wedge comes with the Three Port Grind which offers cutbacks on the heel and toe areas of the club, enabling this wedge to cut through the rough.
The VW-06 wedge adds a little extra grind to the heel which allows the club to be laid wide open while still maintaining the low bounce.
The VW-08 is your classic wedge in looks but Vega uses a versatile sole grind making it a very playable club from all types of lies. Being more traditional in looks and in feel, this has been my go to wedge around the green and within 90 yards.
Lastly the VW-10 is another traditional looking wedge with one unique element that makes it one of the most resourceful wedges there is. The leading edge of the club is curved and when added to the Vega grind, which is similar to the VW-08, the VW-10 is excellent for tight lies.
Throw into the mix loft variations of 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° & 60° and you can see the possibilities are near endless. Five grinds, three finishes and six lofts (on a few clubs there’s also a 48° option) equals 90 different wedges available and I didn’t even mention the clubs offered for lefties. Yes, Vega was nice enough to take care of those folks from the other side of the stance too!
Gorgeous, stunning, splendid, marvelous are all great words to describe the craftsmanship of the Vega wedges. The grinds are so clean they appear more like works of art than tools to attack flags!
Unfortunately in golf, beauty will only get you so far (unlike in real life) and it certainly won’t help you stuff it close to that back right, tucked pin. The clubs have to perform, and from the first time I struck a range ball before my first outing with the Vegas I was sold.
On course testing: When I finally got my mitts on the shafted clubs, I quickly headed to the course to see if the performance could live up to my lofty expectations. So jacked to hit these guys, I didn’t even care about my tee shot, I just wanted to get about 100 yards out so I could put one of the clubs in play on the first hole.
Almost immediately I fell madly in love with the 52° VW-08. For me a 52° wedge is my go to club anywhere from 100 to 75 yards out, but I also use it for chipping and short bump and runs around the green.
The 56° VW-02 I use for short chipshots and as my sand wedge for greenside bunkers, if they’re not too far away of course. With the special Tri Grind there hasn’t been a lie I’ve found where I can’t get the club to lay wide open, which has helped me get out of some tricky spots and also some nasty bunkers.
As a reference point, it may help to know that I’ve had my current set of wedges for over two years and I never imagined I’d find another set of wedges I like well enough to make a change. Well, it looks like my old wedges feel a lot like the broom and dustpan from the Swifter commercials. Sorry old friends, you have been relocated to the “extra club” bag.
As you can imagine, the Vega wedges are a bit more expensive than your average club so it is worth considering whether they are right for you game. While I have been extremely impressed with the clubs, I thought it would be valuable to get some insight from a real Pro who also plays the Vega wedges.
Interview with Sam Goulden:
Bio: Sam is the founder of TourQuest, accomplished player, respected instructor and author of Square to Square. As an active member of team #TourQuest, Sam is traveling all across the country vying for spots in some of the PGA events by playing in the Tour Qualifiers. Everyone, including Sam, knows the importance of solid wedge game and Sam trusts Vega to deliver for him when he needs it most.
I first want to say thanks to Sam for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Vega wedges for us and, by doing so, adding some valuable insight to this review.
TGG: How long have you been playing with the Vega wedges?
SG: I was fitted in early May and have been using them since then.
TGG: Which Vega wedges are you currently playing?
SG: I play the VW-06 in 50°, 55°, and 60°. All satin finish and no paint fill.
TGG: Was there anything specific about the Vega wedges that helped you make the switch? Did the different grinds Vega offers have anything to do with it?
SG: The main reason I switched was for the look and feel. The Performance turned out to be way more than I expected. It was hard to get used to at first. I hit each wedge around 6 yards longer than my previous set with the same lofts. I think the main reason for this is that I got a really good bounce fit for my swing.
TGG: Do you feel the Vega wedges are made only for the high caliber players like yourself or can the mid to high handicapper benefit from the technology used in them?
SG: I’ve suggested Vega for a ton of players. Because of the variability in grinds, lofts and finishes there is definitely a wedge out there for every type of player.
TGG: Since adding the Vega wedges to your bag have you seen any notable improvements to your wedge game? Anything you’d care to discuss?
SG: The main difference in my wedge game has been the feel of the hit and the distance increase. The hit feels really solid. Not soft, not hard. Like hitting a tiny nail with a heavy mallet hammer. They are not heavier than other wedges; they just deliver a really solid blow.
TGG: Thanks for your time and good luck to you and the TourQuest team.
Sam also wanted to point out that beyond making amazing wedges Vega has been outstanding as a sponsor for team #TourQuest. He feels they are super committed to making sure the correct wedges are in their players’ hands and Vega is continually checking to make sure all the guys are happy with everything and offering to help any way they can.
You can check out all of the Vega wedges and options on the Vega website.
Like most people, when I start the adventure of looking for some new sunglasses the first priority on the list is of course style. As a society we can get so hung up on the looks of a pair of sunglasses that I’d be willing to bet 9 out of 10 guys would not wear magical “see thru” sunglasses if they knew they looked ridiculous.
Ok, maybe I’m stretching the truth there a little, but you get my point. While style is on the top of the list, what should be on the forefront of choosing a new pair of shades is the actual lens that protects your eyes from the sun and its damaging rays. To put it simply, protection is exactly WHY we buy sunglasses in the first place.
Providing sunglass wearers more options when it comes to replacement lenses for their current frames is where a company called Revant Optics has decided to fill a void. As much as the big brand retailers would like you to continue to use their lenses for your frames, there is no rule that says you have to replace your existing lenses with the same ones when bad things happen like scratches, or worse, you accidentally step right on them and destroy any chance of using them again.
That being said, when we found out Revant Optics offers replacement lenses that perform equally to if not better than the originals, at a third of the price, we eagerly agreed to do the review for them.
Knowing we’re all about golf, Revant sent us a pair of sunglasses fitted with their new Elite HC3™ polarized lens that we were told is ideal for the golf course. From the Revant website here’s a breakdown of the features for the Elite HC3™ lenses.
- HC3™ Stealth Black (high clarity, comfort, contrast)
- Injection molded, precision polarized HC3™ lenses for complete glare elimination & vivid contrast
- Superior clarity (exceeds ANSI Z87.1 clarity, refractive & prismatic power standards)
- Taper corrected to eliminate peripheral distortion, ensuring accurate and comfortable vision
- 100% infused UV & blue light protection
- 8% light transmission – neutral view tint
- High impact resistant (exceeds ANSI Z87.1 high mass, high velocity standards)
- Revant Elite microfiber transport bag included
- Precision cut and guaranteed to fit
For most, including yours truly, there’s a lot of information in the Elite HC3™ features list that soars way over the cranium, and even though I’m not a fan of listing specs/features I did want to show you some of the key points Revant is utilizing when creating these high performance sunglass lenses.
The stats or features list could have been 200 bullet points long with beyond impressive information but if the lenses don’t perform what’s the point, right? Well, I’m happy to say I’ve been completely impresses with how the elite HC3™ lenses have held up in the desert sunshine over the last month.
I’ve had several pairs of polarized glasses over the last several years so my comparison of the Revant lenses started off relating to my past experiences, and for a few weeks that really hindered my review. I was comparing how everything looked through the lenses and not concentrating on how they were performing. A quick “Bill Nye the Science Guy” moment will help me explain.
Polarized lenses contain a filter that helps eliminate “glare”, which is also known as horizontal reflective light. Long roads and smooth water are a few instances where “glare” can be easily produced. The glare-educing filter in polarized lenses can be very helpful if you find yourself in situations where you’ll be staring into the sun for longer periods of time, like the hood of a car or… a round of golf!
My previous encounter with Polarized sunglasses had made me believe that in order for them to be effective they have to be overwhelming. If you have ever worn a pair of polarized lenses and looked at your cell phone or LCD screen you’ll understand what I mean. Cell phones (my iPhone for example) have a particularly odd visual response.
I tell you all of this because the first time I put o the sunglasses with the Revant Elite HC3™ lenses what I experienced wasn’t as dramatic as others I’ve tried, and that put a sour taste in my mouth. I was concerned these were just another pair of lenses trying to compete with the big boys. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
After playing a several rounds with lenses I started noticing several differences in how they performed. Most notably was the lack of distortion because of the tapered lens technology Revant uses. With most polarized sunglasses the filter can cause the outer edges of the lens, basically your peripheral vision, to distort somewhat like those funny mirrors you find at a state fair. Casually wearing them around the city the lack of distortion was mildly noticeable but once I got on the course, into a wide open space, it was evident how well Revant has taken the troublesome distortion out of the lenses.
I also noticed something different off the course. Later on in the day, once I got home and started relaxing after my rigorous golf outings, I realized my typical “after golf” headache was missing. You never realize how much of a pounding your eyeballs take when they’re not protected to the highest level. The Elite HC3™ lenses block 99.7% of glare, and out here in the desert we’re exposed to a lot of it!
Having a photography background, one of my favorite filters to use is a polarized one. I love being able to make the blues just pop of the page on my prints. The same experience can be said when you put on a pair of polarized lenses. Like I said earlier the Elite lenses were not as dramatic in this area when compared to others I’ve worn, but where the Revant lenses absolutely dominate is clarity.
I have a few “HD” lenses from a several different manufacture and what I dislike about them is how they change the hue or the colors to get their enhancement. The Elite HC3™ lenses accomplish this clarity enhancement without altering the color spectrum. While having some light spectrums “pop” when you wear polarized lenses maybe ideal for some but, I’m a huge fan of natural colors with virtually no glare and amazing clarity.
The Elite HC3™ lenses sell for $52.00 and that price includes a Revant Elite Micro Fiber transport bag for storing your glasses when not in use and also for cleaning. Considering replacement lenses from the OEM Brand can run anywhere from $90.00 to $110.00 – spending half that and getting a lens that is equal to, if not better, is a fantastic option.
There is only one color choice for the Elite HC3™ lenses and it’s called Stealth Black. It’s not a mirrored lens like you often see with polarized sunglasses; however, if you are looking for a mirrored lens Revant Optics has you covered there as well. They offer 8 different MirrorShield finishes that all include the polarized filter and they sell for $36.00. Non-mirrored polarized will run you $32.00, while their non-polarized lenses come in MirrorShield and regular starting at $24.00
The next time you’re in the market for a set of replacement lenses for your Costa, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Rudy Project or Spy Optic sunglasses head on over to the Revant Optics website and see if the choices they have to offer will fit your needs.
Aside from long car rides or days out on the lake enjoying the water or simply fishing, the Revant Optics Elite HC3™ have been a welcomed addition to my golf outings and will be for many rounds to come.
You can see all of their products on the Revant Optics website.
If you’re lucky, not too picky, and living your life to the fullest, you’ve probably had a relationship that you’d really rather not show up on your Facebook page. The kind of relationship you have when you’re taking a year off to find yourself, or just getting out of long-term relationship, or “this one time, at band camp”. If love is moonlight, wine, and roses this relationship is neon, Tequila, and something that gives you a rash. You aren’t proud. You swear you’ll never do it again. You feel a little guilty whenever you think about it. And if you had the chance, you couldn’t stop yourself from doing it all over again.
That’s my relationship with the TaylorMade Spider putters.
When TaylorMade introduced the first Spider putter I immediately dubbed it the Millennium Falcon. It was ungainly, with more sprawl that suburban Atlanta, and didn’t look at all like a proper putter (read “Anser”) should. It was heavy, it was white, and you couldn’t even scoop the ball up with it! Who in their right mind would ever put this monstrosity in their bag?
Then I rolled a few putts with one, and I got that feeling in my gut. You didn’t have to get all handsy to manipulate this putter. Hell, you pretty much couldn’t. The damn thing practically swung itself, all you had to do was hold on to your end. All that weight and sprawl made it nearly impossible to move this putter offline. It was going straight back and straight through no matter what you did. It really was the Millennium Falcon putter – “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts kid.”
But if every one of these relationships was that simple, romantic comedies never would have become an industry of their own (we can debate whether that’s a good thing another day), and the course of true lust runs never smooth or some such thing. So I never put one of these bug-eyed monstrosities in my bag. Lots of people did, however. Lots and lots of people. High MOI putters sprouted like toadstools after a rain and color combinations got so outlandish that the original Spider’s white finish seems downright tame these days, but nothing ever really came close to dethroning the original. Whenever I found myself with time to kill in a golf shop I wandered over to the putter rack and rolled a few with a Spider (and there was always a Spider on the putter rack). Then I put it back in the rack, picked up my trusty Anser, and three-jacked at least one GIR every round.
The Spider continued evolving, and not even TaylorMade’s biggest critics have ever accused them of resting on their laurels. The Spider has lent it’s name and iconic white-and-black color scheme to an entire line of putters in traditional shapes, and with anchored putters on the way out and victims of the yips desperately seeking a balm for their shaky putting strokes and shattered nerves, the high-MOI Spider design goes with counterbalancing the way that peanut butter goes with jelly.
For those who haven’t been keeping track, TaylorMade introduced their latest take on the Spider theme last year. The Daddy Long Legs (DLL) design took the “legs” that moved the center of gravity of the original Spider far to the rear and made them longer – thus moving the center of gravity even farther back and increasing the moment of inertia (MOI). In fact, TaylorMade says that with an MOI of 8500, the Daddy Long Legs is the highest MOI putter they’ve ever built.
Science break: moment of inertia (MOI) is a measure of the amount of force it takes to twist an object around it’s axis. In practical golf terms the higher the MOI of a putter the more it will resist twisting on off-center hits, keeping the face square and helping the ball to go close to as far as you thought it would, in the direction you thought it would go.
Besides the innovative design, the original Spider was notable for being part of the “white revolution” from TaylorMade. TM researched how golfers’ eyes talked to our brains, and the result was a line of white club heads with black faces that, research said, created better contrast with the golf ball and drew the golfer’s eye to where they needed to focus in order to make good contact.
The Daddy Long Legs 2.0 continues this philosophy with a reversed color scheme that uses white alignment aids on a black background, framing them with the black perimeter of the putter to make it easier to start your putt on your intended line, coupled with a black putter shaft that eliminates reflection and thus distraction. The technology doesn’t stop at the hitting end though – the user interface for the Daddy Long Legs 2.0 is a 130-gram counterbalancing grip. By adding weight to the back end, TaylorMade claims to have achieved a putter that’s 60% more stroke stable than anything they’ve released before.
My first impression of the 38-inch Daddy Long Legs 2.0 that TaylorMade sent for review is that it’s big. I mean really big. I stand a towering 5’7″ (5’8″ on my driver’s license), and with my build the 38″ Daddy Long Legs comes dangerously close to being a belly putter. While unboxing it and shooting photos for this review I expected the DLL to be a bit unwieldy when the time came to put it into action. With a 395 gram head and a 130 gram grip, the Daddy Long Legs definitely has mass. When you start trying to put the ball in the hole though, all that mass doesn’t translate into feeling massive. As I spent more time with this putter I learned that this kind of contradiction is pretty much the hallmark of the Daddy Long Legs.
Take the aforementioned 395 gram head, for example. It’s 16 different pieces in 8 different materials, but you never feel the pieces. The Surlyn PureRoll face insert is quite a bit harder than I’m used to and delivers a solid but clicky feel. While I’m not a fan of the feel, the PureRoll insert delivers a ground-hugging roll on the ball. Putts from the Daddy Long Legs had noticeably less hopping and skidding than putts from my regular non-insert putter.
The Daddy Long Legs 2.0 reverses the color scheme from the original. While both use the black PureRoll insert, the 2.0 mates that with a black frame and a black center weight with white alignment stripe, framed in white . I prefer this color scheme to the original, which was just too much white for my eye. Using more black makes the head look smaller and more manageable, and somehow more substantial as well. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the sole of my putter, but the red sole plate on the 2.0 is eye-catching. To protect all this paint and plastic the Daddy Long Legs comes with a neoprene head cover large enough to double as a lady’s clutch, if your lady is the type to carry a neoprene clutch with a spider motif. If you like high-tech and high style, the Daddy Long Legs 2.0 will certainly satisfy your need for cool.
TaylorMade’s latest putter innovation is the black putter shaft. The thinking is that chrome is shiny, and shiny draws your eye. I have a very hard time thinking and putting at the same time, so I can’t tell you for sure that the black helped me avoid distraction, but it certainly didn’t add any distraction, and I prefer the look to a chrome shaft.
At the near end TM has installed a 130 gram custom Winn grip sporting the Daddy Long Legs logo to counterbalance the head. Adding weight to the butt of the putter actually increases the MOI of the head, creating what TaylorMade calls “stroke stability” – meaning that the putter is easy to swing back and through. This was very true for me. After just a couple of short sessions on the practice green I took the Daddy Long Legs to the course, and my first couple of rounds were very promising.
I immediately putted as well with the Daddy Long Legs as I had been putting with my familiar putter. The DLL has a substantial increase in stroke stability over the original Spider, and I had no trouble at all keeping the face square and swinging the putter back and through. The PureRoll insert gave good feedback, and my putts held their line well. After such a good start I had high hopes for the Daddy Long Legs.
Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. I kept hoping to see my putting stats improve as I got more familiar with the Daddy Long Legs, but my learning curve seemed to flatline after the first few rounds. I was still putting okay, I just wasn’t putting great. In retrospect I think that it’s not really a question of the putter, it’s a question of the puttee. My natural stroke is a moderate arc, and while the Daddy Long Legs is unquestionably easy to swing back and through, the high MOI combines with my hands’ desire to arc the face – if I get it open I have a hard time closing it, and I missed putts with a block to the right. I’m also a very feel-oriented putter – my putting stroke is nothing but a mass of errors that usually cancel each other out for the fraction of a second that I’m actually in contact with the ball. The Daddy Long Legs’ awesome stability worked against my neurotic putting stroke. The Daddy Long Legs is an aircraft carrier, and I’m used to putting with a Jet Ski. If I committed to the DLL I could learn to putt with it, but a man with a dozen putters clearly has commitment issues.
If you’re looking for a high MOI putter, the Daddy Long Legs is among the highest. It’s well put together and the alignment aids work extremely well. The whole package looks high-tech and even sleek, a look complimented by the funky neoprene head cover. If you have a smooth, mechanical putting stroke, or if you want to develop one, take a look at the Daddy Long Legs. Of course you can see all of the Spider putters at http://TaylorMadegolf.com.
A couple of years ago at the PGA Demo day I stumbled upon a small putter company who made what I thought were some of the best looking putters I had ever seen. While I had never heard of Kronos Golf at the time, I was so intrigued by the brand that I featured them in my PGA Show recap. Beyond tinkering with the flat sticks, I was also fortunate enough to steal some time with the founder Phillip Lapuz. Over the course of 30 minutes or so, Phillip showed me about 6 of his new putters and explained how he got into the business. Seeing that Phillip looked to be 19 years old, I definitely was curious as to how such a young guy could have created such a premier line of putters. Turns out, Phillip grew up around milling and grinding machines as a kid and just had a natural affinity for it. So while young in age, the Kronos founder actually has many years of hands-on experience.
Since that time, I have kept my eye on Kronos as I was confident they would become the next “hot boutique putter company”. While that mark has yet to pass, Kronos continues to make some of the finest putters available. Worse (at least for me) was that until recently I have been limited to poring over pictures of Kronos gems instead of pouring in 10 footers with an actual Kronos putter.
Well, it seems things are changing as Kronos founders will be on the season premier of Shark Tank on Sept 26th, 2014. At the time of this post I have zero details about the actual show so no need for a spoiler alert. What I do have, though, is a first hand review of the Kronos Metronome putter that I was sent about three weeks ago. As a product reviewer, I have the opportunity to try many putters. Obviously this is a good thing, but believe it or not there is some downside. Not that I am complaining, but moving between putters is not exactly optimal for your game, especially when not every putter sets up well for my stroke.
For the better part of my golfing career (lifelong earnings of about $60), I have primarily used some type of mallet. I really love the idea and look of blades, I just don’t think I make as many putts with that style. Thankfully, the Kronos Metronome putter falls into my mallety sweet spot of putters I have had success with. The Metronome putter’s shape is not only classic but is also very similar to the putters I have enjoyed. With that said, the Kronos has a couple of very unique features that were new to me.
First off, the Kronos is heavy. My heaviest putter is 345 grams, making the 360 gram Kronos a slightly different beast. Admittedly, it has taken me a bit of time to go from a light blade putter that I have been using this summer to something with so much more mass. For me, using a heavy putter requires a longer back stroke rather than a quicker and shorter stroke. I know this sounds a little counterintuitive, but because there is a greater mass you don’t really have to ‘hit’ the ball but instead only need to let the head move through it. The key for me was getting used to that mass.
Putting lessons aside, I’d like to speak to some of the technology and craftsmanship. I mean, how can a putter justify a $450 -$550 price tag? Well, to start with it comes in a canvas bag (not exactly common). Then there is the “22 of 50” stamped on the bottom of the putter letting you know Kronos is not exactly cranking these fellas out by the bushel full. No, each one is painstakingly made and measured to be exactly what Phillip has designed. Take for example the weighting. Each putter is perfectly balanced on the sightline. How do they know that? Well, they test each one by hand. And, lest you think every putter company does this…think again. When a putter is not balanced you are basically aiming for a spot that is NOT the sweet spot. Sounds crazy but with some putters you are actually trying to hit the ball on a spot that is not optimal. The horror! Seriously, that’s really dumb.
Sightline: This is perhaps my favorite aspect of the Kronos putter. Every company uses some kind of sightline. Some use balls or squares or lines. The Kronos features 3 key elements in their sightline. First is a center line (which is the exact center weight of the face). Second they have lines on either side of the top line to make sure your ball in centered. Third they have extended the outside line on the bottom section of the mallet which helps to give you a virtual “chute” to align to. Moreover, because the lines are on the top and bottom part of the putter, you can visually see when your eye is directly above the ball. When the lines do not break you know you are in a good position. Now, I don’t get my eyes exactly over the ball (right or wrong), but I can still check to make sure they are consistently in the same place. You can see from the pictures below how the lines will change as your eyes go from off center to center.
From my experience, the first step in putting well is having confidence in your line, and the Kronos putter does the best job with alignment aides of any putter I have used. It is straightforward, elegant and intuitive. I am never unsure as to where I think the ball is aimed. Not to mention it is freaking beautiful. There are just no unpleasant lines. When you think about it, the top of the putter is really the only thing you see when standing over your ball so I don’t care how cool the sole looks, the top is what has got to fit your eye.
Moving on to the front of the putter you will find light milling which adds to both the look and the performance. Sure I know that milling helps get the ball rolling, but it is also a way for a putter to show craftsmanship and personality. In the case of Kronos, the milling is not super deep or overly complex, but it is detailed enough to let you know whoever made this took their time.
The sole of the Kronos putter is much like the rest – understated. Phillip has purposely kept all of the branding very light in order to maintain the weight perfection. A simple logo, a gram indication, and “22 of 50” are all that is found. This is what is called “limited edition”, and from what I remember about Econ 101, it’s a pretty good way to limit supply and increase demand.
What else you will notice is that the center section of the sole is flat instead of rounded. This allows the putter to sit flat on the green and give you the opportunity to get all of your alignment correct before pulling the trigger. Again, subtle design details that you just do not see very often.
Sound and feel: For me, the sound of a putter is a huge factor. I have tested a number of putters where the sound of the ball off the face is just unpleasant enough for me to have to relegate it to the bench. Specifically, I am not a fan of a “tingy” sound. The sound of the Kronos is a nice “click”. It is not overbearing but is characteristic of a putter made from a single billet of metal. In terms of feel, the ball reacts much like other milled putters in that it is not soft or springy like putters with an insert. The ball just comes off clean and square.
As I mentioned, I have been using the Kronos putter for about 3 weeks (about 6 rounds and a bunch of time on the practice green). Admittedly, I had huge expectations and absolutely believed I had found my “lifelong putter” just based on looks and ‘wow’ factor. The first few rounds I putted “ok” but was struggling with distance control. I chalked up my difficulty mostly to making such a big change in putters (light blade to heavy mallet). By round four, I had gotten used to making a longer stroke and letting the mallet push the ball rather than “striking it”. In my final round before writing this review, I had posted one of my lowest rounds of the year which included 3 birdies (I average about .75 per round). My point is, I do indeed love the Kronos putter both from a looks and performance standpoint.
Lastly, let me touch on a few smaller items of note. The headcover that came with the putter is made of denim, which to me was a bit odd seeing that I equate denim with ordinary (and Brett Favre Wrangler commericals). Seeing that the Kronos is anything but ordinary I would prefer a leather headcover, which fortunately Kronos does offer.
The other detail I did not love is the grip – I am a Super Stroke fan and the thinner grip does not suit my style. With that said, the stock grip is very nice and features minimalist branding that is well suited to the club. Worth noting is that Kronos is a believer in thinner grips as it gives more tactile feedback. Again, not a big deal to swap out for what you like.
Bottom line is that I absolutly love the Kronos Metronome putter. The combination of style and craftsmanship is world class and I remain confident that there is a bright future for this small company. With that said, the putter industry is extremely competitive so it will be very interesting to see what the panel of Shark Tank think. In the meantime, you can learn more on the Kronos website (and make sure to check out the videos they have).
For years the mongo golf apparel brands have been able to dominate both retail sales and player sponsorship. However, in the past few years, smaller companies have been able to start to crack into the mainstream. One of the best recent examples is Travis Mathew, who while still dwarfed by companies like Nike, boasts a number of high ranking PGA players and is regularly seen being worn at your local golf course. What some of you might not know is that a few years ago Travis Mathew was bought out, leaving the founder and chief designer, Travis Johnson, to enjoy some time off and ponder his next move.
Now most normal folks who catch a big payday would smartly head straight to the nearest bar in the Caribbean to work on the perfect arrangement of paper drink umbrellas. Clearly Travis is not like most people as he felt he still had more to prove. Sorry Tahiti, next stop, House of Grey.
House of Grey is comprised of Matte Grey and Heather Grey, two distinct but similar apparel brands for men and women. Like some other popular boutique golf brands, Matte Grey can be classified as lifestyle company in that nearly all of the apparel can be worn on or off the golf course. In other words, nothing about the brand screams “I just played golf”. With that said, all of the polos are absolutely golf appropriate and are made from material that is suitable for warm weather play.
‘Lifestyle’ branding seems to be thrown around a lot these days by companies, which I guess is no surprise given the fact that the golf industry is not exactly growing by leaps and bounds. So to the extent that a company can pull a “Taylor Swift” and jump across industry lines, the marketing opportunity expands. Unfortunately, many of these lifestyle claims are a bit of a stretch. I like to use the “wife test” on the lifestyle claim. Basically, if I walk out of the house and she asks where I am playing golf then the apparel is not lifestyle. Or, if she tells me that we are going out to dinner not to play golf… it is not lifestyle.
In the case of Matte Grey, I am gonna go 50/50 on the lifestyle claim. Roughly half of the polos and nearly all of the shorts are absolutely appropriate to wear for any casual occasion. Some, like the polos with contrasting shoulders and sleeves, fall into “I am playing golf” category but heck there is nothing wrong with that.
After four years of writing apparel reviews I have to admit I have become a touch snobby. The days of fuddling through the bargain rack at Golf Galaxy hoping to find a decent big brand polo for $19 are thankfully behind me. Of course I realize it is easy for me to recommend an $80 shirt when I don’t have to pay for it. With that said, I do believe that investing in quality golf apparel is a wise choice. Not only will you look damn sharp, but I have also found the material holds up much better. Collars looks crisp, colors remain intact and most importantly, the tailoring is not boxy.
Matte Grey is a bit tough for me to categorize. Generally muted in colors, many of the polos have small details that are rarely seen on most golf shirts. For example, the “Captain Stubing” sleeves on the Commander Polo or the pleated chest pockets on the Castro Polo are something rarely seen. Despite these stylized details, the shirts themselves do not cross the “a little too hip” line. In fact, I think most of the Matte Grey apparel falls into the conservative range simply because the color schemes are so subtle.
Size-wise, Matte Grey is fairly standard. Certainly more fitted than, say, FootJoy, but not nearly as thin as the European brands. Arm lengths are moderate and tail lengths are appropriate to wear tucked or untucked.
One of the most pleasant surprises I found was that Matte Grey makes it incredibly easy to mix and match tops and bottoms. For example the Shadow Players shorts (blue) are easily paired with most of the blue tonal polos. Additionally, you will note that the blue on the chest pocket of the tan Commander Polo is the exact same color as the shorts. Boom…Garanimals baby! Having a line of apparel that is this flexible makes a ton of sense but too often brands do not give enough thought to how people will actually script out the gear. Giving people the ability and ease of coordinating outfits is a huge advantage for us dopey guys who can still struggle with what color belt to wear.
Which reminds me of a story… about 15 years ago, one of my regular golfing partners fancied himself a sharp dresser. All was fine and dandy until one day he admitted he could take very little credit for his golf scripting. As it turns out, his wife had made a chart – literally a chart on the wall – that told him exactly which shirts could go with which shorts or pants. Every Sunday (because we had the 1st tee time), he would choose an outfit from the color coded matrixes strictly determined months before. If only he had some Matte Grey… he could have dressed himself.
In terms of fabric, the polos are primarily a polyester with a touch of elastane. However, they don’t really look like your typical shiny polyester shirt. In fact I was sure the Commander polo was cotton until I felt it. In my opinion, this is a good thing, especially if I want to wear these shirts off the course. Nothing screams golf like the sheen of polyester.
The shorts and pants are also made from polyester but again don’t look like they are. Fitting is incredibly standard. They just fit like any good pair of pants. I also like the fact they have deep pockets and do not have a coin slot inside (the most annoying feature in any pants). On the course, the shorts and pants are super in the heat as they are very light. Again, the colors make them versatile so you will get a ton of use.
Finally, the price is right! Yes, they are more than the big brands, but not much. $70 polos and $80 pants are much less than what you will pay for like brands. So guys looking to expand your humdrum wardrobe, check out the Matte Grey Website
Can better socks make you a better person? That sounds like a strange question, but I’m pretty sure that good socks have made me neater, more conscientious, and possibly even easier to live with.
For years I was a plain-white-cotton-sock kind of guy. I thought about socks the same way I thought about vodka: you have to have ’em, but since they all seemed pretty much the same it was a shame to spend any money on them. I begrudged the $8 I spent on a dozen pairs of white cotton crew socks, but I couldn’t find anything cheaper so I bit the bullet.
Many years later, a long and winding trail of shin splints, wretched excess, high cholesterol, and intimations of mortality brought me to a running store. When I kicked off my generic “athletic shoes” and reached for the shiny high-tech Brooks that I would develop a love/hate relationship with over the next year, my fitter gasped at my socks. “You run in those?” he asked, eyeing me suspiciously. “It’s no wonder your feet hurt.”
So I left the store that day with a pair of Brooks Addiction running shoes, and three pairs of running socks that set me back what seemed at the time to be an exorbitant amount of money for something as simple as socks. But over the ensuing weeks I started to change my tune. My feet stopped hurting. My shoes fit better. It was like angels massaging my feet while I ran.
I was never much of a laundry guy. I figured that if some things needed hot and some needed cold, and some needed heavy duty and some needed delicate, then “Normal” and “Warm” should work for everything, right? Not for my new socks. If I was going to spend actual money for socks I decided I had better take care of them. I actually Googled “How to wash socks.” (I’m sure my mother is proud to read that.) The answer: turn them inside-out and wash them in cold, delicate cycle, tumble dry low.
If the socks needed the delicate cycle, I thought, I might as well make a load of it. If I’m going to have a load of delicates, I might as well get a hamper to separate them from the other stuff. If I’m going to have a hamper, I might as well go ahead and put the dirty stuff in it when I take it off instead of making a pile of dirty clothes and dumping them in the hamper when they get in the way. And if you give a mouse a cookie…
Fast forward to today, where I am a veritable laundry czar. The delicates hamper is overflowing with my active family’s performance gear, I wash/dry/fold with the best of them, and socks have stopped turning up in random and inexplicable places in our house.
I’m not saying that Stance Performance Golf socks will change your life, but if that idea sounds impossible to you then I’m confident you’re not wearing Stance Performance Golf socks.
The golf swing is powered by your leverage against the ground. This has led to lots of advances in golf shoes – new and better sole designs, lightweight materials, and running-shoe technology let you grip the turf and exert maximum leverage to power your swing. So what happens to all that leverage if your socks make your feet slide around in your shoes?
Walking an average round of golf means walking anywhere from 5-8 miles. Put in that context who wants to walk 8 miles in dress socks?
But golf is a gentleman’s game – neon lycra is fine for the track but golf demands a certain amount of style, and who doesn’t want to look sharp they’re teeing it up?
Solution you ask? How about Stance Golf Performance socks. With features like Quik Wick fabric and ventilation zones to keep your dogs cool and Stance’s Advanced Cushion Support System to keep them cushioned and deliver outstanding support, I wouldn’t bat an eye at running a half marathon in any of the three pairs that Stance sent for this review, except for one thing: These bad boys look good. These aren’t just high-tech socks for serious athletes, these are good-looking fashion items that add a touch of class to any outfit from the golf course to the office to Sunday brunch.
But I’m not a fashion reporter and this is not a fashion blog. I will say that these socks are every bit as good-looking in person as they are on the web. Fit and finish is very good, and durability has been excellent. After wearing each pair several times I decided that I wasn’t happy with my original set of photos, so I shot them again. The socks you see in these pictures have been worn and washed several times each and still look great.
If looking good was all that mattered you could golf in the same nylon socks you wear with your tassel loafers while you toil away in mergers and acquisitions. What makes Stance Golf Performance footwear a double threat is that Stance has woven in serious athletic pedigree. Since they’re socks let’s start from the bottom, where Stance’s Advanced Cushion Support System translates into a very substantial cushion layer from toe to heel. Besides the obvious benefit of easing the impact on my feet, I found this layer actually helped make my shoes fit better – the loft allowed the socks to compress where my shoes were a bit tight and stay expanded where they were a bit loose, avoiding hot spots on my oddly-shaped feet.
Above this cushion layer is a tightly woven elastic zone that draws the cushion snugly across your foot, particularly in the arch where the additional support helped ease fatigue and keep a spring in my step for a full 18 holes. I won’t go so far as to say that they helped me play better, but after several long, hot tournament rounds my feet were in much better shape than the rest of me.
At the top is a thin, breathable layer that lets you lace your shoes tightly without additional pressure on your instep. This is a huge advantage for folks with tall insteps, since a high instep can make a shoe look clunky, so manufacturers are prone to keep them as low as possible.
Out front is a toe cap that gives your tootsies room to spread out, which is a natural reaction to the need to grip the ground as you transfer weight and turn through the ball. Note that just behind the toe the Stance Performance Golf socks have embroidered “R” for Right and “L” for Left. This is NOT a suggestion. In order for all of this cushiony, stretchy, supportive magic to happen, you absolutely have to wear these socks on the correct feet. That’s the level of engineering we’re talking about here. Just once I put the socks on without paying attention, and I could immediately tell that something was wrong. Trust Stance, they put some thought into this, they’ll take care of you.
Out back is an accommodating heel cup that fits will with no wrinkles or bags. This is always a challenge for me, my duck feet are wide at the front and pointy at the back, and the heel of the Stance Performance Golf socks fits me well, with plenty of elasticity for those with bear paws.
And finally at the very top is what seems to be the hardest part for sock makers to get right – the elastic. The elastic has to walk a delicate line: Too tight and it will drive you nuts, and possibly interfere with circulation, making your feet swell and undoing all the good that Advanced Cushion Support System and Quik Wick fabric have done. Too loose and your socks will fall down. I’m happy to report that Stance got it exactly right – the Sable and (my personal favorite) Lahaina low versions are unobtrusive, but snug enough to keep grass clippings, sand, and random detritus from ending up in my socks. The crew cut Samson is supportive enough that I initially had concerns about being able to wear it all day, but after repeated all-day wearings I’ve found that while it stays quite snug, it never crosses the line and becomes stifling.
In addition to the beauties shown here, Stance Performance Golf socks come in a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns, and with prices ranging from
$10-$22, they deliver a lot of style and tech without breaking the bank.
I won’t promise that Stance Performance Golf socks will make you a better person, but with happy feet anything is possible.
Check out Stance Performance Golf socks, and a whole lot of other cool Stance socks at Stance Website
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!
With summer coming to a close pretty soon here, we at Three Guys thought it appropriate to review a soon-to-be appropriate garment – the golf jacket. A Galvin Green golf jacket to be exact. As their website tells it, Galvin Green is a “pure golf brand specialising in the design and supply of high-performance clothing to golfers in more than 20 countries worldwide”. So they’re pretty established, and a deeper look into their product offerings reveals that Galvin Green focuses primarily on protecting golfers from the elements. They take a multi-layering approach to keeping golfers dry/warm from head to toe, and they take it all very seriously. In fact, in just jackets alone the Galvin Green website offers 29 different styles (differences might be shell vs. inner layer OR just design).
And while Galvin Green makes hats, pants, vests, and underwear, I kept it simple and SFW with the Aron rain jacket, one of Galvin Green’s new styles for 2014. The idea behind the Aron is that it offers waterproof protection with stretch capabilities that allow for a free-flowing swing (if you have one to begin with). It is a full zip jacket made with Gore-Tex Pacilite Technology, and the deal is that there are different places designed to stretch in different directions, thereby accommodating your sick swing.
It’s been pretty hot here in NC, but I was recently able to test the Aron out during a trip to San Francisco, where I was lucky enough to pay $175 to play the vaunted TPC Harding Park. That’s sarcasm. That course is laaaame . . . no idea how they will make it cool for the 2020 PGA Championship. No joke, the best part of the course BY FAR was the two hole stretch that allowed you to look across the way (and up) onto Olympic Club. Other than that it’s just back and forth with the same crap holes, and it is wide open. San Fran definitely has the cool points to warrant many a tournament hostin’, but this is a fool’s Bethpage Black for sure. But anyway, it was chilly and misty in San Fran that morning . . .
I knew going in that Galvin Green was a high-end brand, so I was not surprised that the jacket felt first class from a materials standpoint. The zippers are sturdy and work great, the velcro cuffs are very functional, and the waterproof claims are backed up. My first few swings, however, felt a bit cramped. I was feeling some restriction around the sides of my chest each time I swung, which confused me because I know Galvin Green has done their homework by player-testing all of their equipment, etc. Turns out, there are two velcro straps on each side of the jacket that allow you to adjust the chest width. WHAT?! Pretty smart – tighten it up so the jacket can make you look like a stud (and not like Grimace, which many golf jackets are wont to do), but not so tight that you can’t put a good move on the ball. Brilliant.
The Aron also boasts “rain channels at the sleeve ends”. To be honest, I didn’t really notice those, and upon further review, I still don’t know what they look like. I’m looking at the sleeves right now . . . I got nothin’. On the course though, I was definitely satisfied with how the jacket performed in cold and wet conditions.
In the looks department, I was a bit disappointed by the Aron (at least in this color scheme), because the shape of the jacket is so cool and is sort of asking for an equally cool design. I’ve seen enough styles on the website to know that Galvin Green can definitely crank out some good-looking stuff, so I’m actually surprised that they would make a run with the white/black/red shapey thing from my high school days. And on a final grumpy note, I don’t think the boldfaced citing of “GORE-TEX” on the left sleeve and right cuff is necessary. I would argue that 1) nobody cares, and 2) I remember my dad crowing about Gore-Tex when I opened a highly disappointing Christmas present of sledding/shoveling gloves . . . that was in like 1987. In fact, I think that was the same year he regaled us with office tales of an alleged “facsimile machine”.
All in all, the Galvin Green jacket definitely gets the job done and lives up to its claims on all fronts. Waterproof, comfortable, swingable. Galvin Green jackets range in price from $300.00 – $460.00, and the Aron lands on the high end of that range. I’m gonna have to leave that one up to you.
You can see this and other styles on the Galvin Green website.
Long ago when hair was large and men wore spandex (that would be the 80s, for you youngsters), Ping founder Karsten Solheim applied his engineering background to club design and quickly realized that square-cut grooves could put more spin on the ball while still abiding by the USGA rules. Depending on who you ask this was either the greatest thing since sliced bread or an unmitigated disaster. The USGA was in the latter camp and they promptly banned the square grooves, effective in 2010 (for those not following the anchored putter kerfuffle, “promptly” has a slightly different meaning when applied to the USGA). This led to 2010 being declared “the year of the wedge”, competitors everywhere had to replace their non-conforming wedges. All was not lost, however, as manufacturers milled, spun, and laser-cut the faces of their wedges to try to return the spin of the old square grooves.
Golf is a game of opposites: hit down to get the ball up, swing left to make the ball go right, swing hard to dribble the ball 15 yards in front of the tee. This contradiction extends all the way to a golfer’s wardrobe. We’ve all made tee times at new courses and received the gentle reminder: “Proper golf attire, please.” Spelled out, that means shirts with collars and bermuda shorts or slacks. I’ve heard of but never seen courses that go so far as to regulate the length of gentlemen’s socks! I don’t think I’d enjoy playing in those conditions, but I do dress better to play golf than I do to go to work, and the de facto dress code in my office would be unacceptable at even a relaxed golf course (although one local course states clearly in their dress code: “Sleeves required.”)
And yet golf is played outside. Outside is where the heat and the humidity and the sun and the bugs are. In North Carolina in August the temperature routinely runs into the 90s and the humidity on the high side of 75%. With a round of golf taking four hours or so golfers are virtually guaranteed to be on the course during the hottest part of the day. It’s enough to make it tempting to hit one into the trees on purpose, just to get a little shade!
So now as a golfer you’re faced with having to look presentable while toiling under the summer sun for four or more hours, playing a game that requires a delicate balance of precision, power, and control. Non-golfers frequently claim that isn’t a “real” sport, but under these conditions I think it’s a pretty good bet that golfers have benefited more than any other athletes from advances in performance athletic clothing.
Companies like Nike, Addidas, and Puma are all familiar to fans and amateur athletes in all sports, but golfers are spoiled for choice. Not only do we get to choose from these offerings, but from many more companies whose roots in golf run deep and are paired with modern designs, materials, and construction to create high tech apparel for modern golfers.
That description fits Antigua to a tee. Leveraging 35 years of experience in the golf clothing business Antigua has branched out to create clothing for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and a host of collegiate and minor league sports, and in turn has applied the lessons learned from other sports to design good-looking clothing for today’s more athletic golfers.
Before we go any farther, I think I should confess that I am not what you would call “fashion forward.” In fact my teenage daughter has frequently implied that I am fashion backward, but all of my best-looking clothes are golf duds and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m normally a pretty understated dresser – I learned early that pretty much everything goes with khaki, and I didn’t branch out very far after that – but on the golf course I like for my outfits to be as colorful as my language, and the Performance-72 gear that Antigua provided for this review is right up my alley.
All of the shirts in this review are made with Antigua’s proprietary Desert Dry moisture-wicking material, but you might not know it if you didn’t read the tags, as each shirt has a different design and a different finish. What they all have in common is admirable hot-weather performance. Legend has it that North Carolina’s famous barbeque is inspired by the Dog Days of August. Hot, humid, and slow. Great for turning a cheap cut of pig into some of the finest eats anywhere, but less appetizing for 10am tee time. I was lucky enough to get these conditions for three weeks in a row, putting each of the Antigua shirts to a torture test, and I’m happy to report that they passed with flying (and brilliant) colors.
Despite each having a different cut, all of the shirts fit me as expected, so I would say that they’re sized for the “mature” man. I often have trouble finding shirts that fit my shoulders without being too tight across the midsection, but each of the offerings from Antigua fit well. This might not work for those who prefer a more tailored look, but I think that given the generous length of these shirts it should be possible for slimmer builds to go down a size for a closer fit without looking like a sausage.
The lime green “Oasis” style pictured above was particularly generous, with shoulders sewn for maximum freedom of movement. Wicking and breathability are impeccable, as they are for all of the shirts sampled. I might have been able to get away with a small in this style, but the cut didn’t look baggy and it was extremely comfortable for 18 holes on a hot, muggy day, followed by wings at the bar and a movie with my kids. The starter at my home course asked me if it needed batteries, but he might want to invest in some new sunglasses because he’s going to be seeing this shirt on a regular basis.
The “Highlight” style featured a great finish in alternating bright and dull stripes and a polished finish that looked very sharp. The first time out of the gate I wore it with the matching “Lead” hat in grey with magenta undersides. The Highlight is cut a bit slimmer than the Oasis and gave a more tailored look. It still runs a bit on the large side – if you have any doubts about sizing I think you can safely go down one. On another muggy day it was cool and comfortable.
The “Axiom” has a heathered finish that feels more like pima cotton than a polyester wicking fabric, the finish is very soft to the touch and I was really looking forward to playing in this shirt. Unfortunately the soft finish comes at a price – this is the only shirt of the three that I found myself needing the “tour pro pick”, the little hitch where you pluck your left shoulder as you address the ball to make sure that your shirt will be out of the way when you swing. If you don’t care for the slicker finishes of the other two styles then it’s a small price to pay, and the Desert Dry fabric really outshines even a performance cotton shirt.
All of the styles feature the Antigua detail on the sleeves, which I thought was just the right touch – classy and not overbearing. You might find Antigua shirts with other branding and details as well. Antigua offers a comprehensive customer service department that features a specialized event services group. These departments offer a comprehensive list of services including embroidery and event customization. This flexibility, combined with Antigua’s “in-stock” program that keeps inventory on-hand and ready to be customized, has made Antigua golf wear the choice of a great many pro shops.
With or without custom embroidery the Antigua Performance-72 line offers a wide selection of solid performers that work as well for Casual Friday as they do for Tournament Sunday. If I can get my fashion consultant to stop rolling her eyes every time she hears the word “golf” I think I’ll turn her loose with the Antigua catalog. Billy Crystal once said that “It is more important to look mahvelous than it is to feel mahvelous” but thanks to Antigua I don’t have to choose.
Shop more on the Antiqua website
Taking on the challenge of purchasing a new pair of golf shoes can be a daunting task. Luckily for us golfers there are tons of sources when it comes to helping us choose which shoes to take into battle. Thankfully we are no longer constrained by what is on the rack at the local golf store, but still, even a google search for “cool golf shoes” can leave out a ton of potential winners.
This is where our job as reviewers takes on a challenging aspect. We have to go beyond typical retail outlets to find the next big name. Personally, I find the challenge both exciting and rewarding. Especially when we are able to discover a relatively unknown company that is making outstanding products.
A perfect example of this situation is the shoe company Kankura Golf. Hailing from Portugal, Kankura Golf has created a masterful line of shoes that seamlessly blends craftsmanship, technology and style.
My first encounter with Kankura Golf came at the 2014 PGA Merchandise show. Oddly, despite their massive display of shoes, hardly anyone seemed to be paying attention to their booth. Red flag? Maybe, but since our job is to provide fresh content for our readers, further investigation was clearly needed. Maybe it was the unfamiliarity of the brand or the strong Portuguese accents, but either way, I had a hunch about this brand of shoes.
First thing I noted was that every single pair of Kankura Golf shoes showcase the letter “K” on the sides (some very prominently, some more subtly). In either case the “K” was stitched into the design to produce a striking and recognizable look.
As I mentioned, the Kankura booth had a ton of styles. In fact, there were over 30 different variations to choose from covering 7 different styles. Needless to say, coming to a decision on which style I was going to choose for our review took me a bit longer than the typical “would you like black or white”.
What I saw next surprised the hell out of me. The sole of the shoe is like no other golf shoe I have seen…diamonds. Now I’m not familiar with every golf shoe ever created but I’m pretty confident I’ve never seen a diamond spike pattern on golf shoes. So then the question becomes: why diamonds? Is there anything beyond the look or is there a real difference in traction?
What I found is that the diamond shapes and their arrangement make it a very stable shoe when swinging and really comfortable shoe to wear walking. As you may have guessed, the restrictions to wearing these only on a golf course have been lifted. With a durable sole and the unique styling of the Kankura shoes you will want to wear them off the course.
There I stood in the middle of their booth, trying on several different pairs of shoes, just perplexed why the two gentleman from Kankura weren’t beating away the masses with sticks trying to maintain the peace. I mean, the look is outstanding, the design of the sole is refreshing, there had to be a reason no one was as engaged as I was. Unfortunately, I have no idea why the Kankura booth never seemed to fill up, but I was certainly happy to get the extra time and space to check out all of the models.
After trying on a few different sizes I exchanged information with one of the gentlemen running the booth and let him know that Three Guys was incredibly interested in doing a review, and while it may have taken some time for the Vidago pair I picked out to arrive, the wait was incredibly worth it.
I can tell you the several rounds I’ve played in them since their arrival have been nothing but impressive. What I wasn’t able to do at the show because of my tight schedule was take some time to really look over the shoe from top to bottom. Now at home with the kicks in my hands I was able to go over them with a fine-tooth comb to see if the shoes were as good as I thought or if all of the people who passed the booth like it was a Spalding Golf Ball exhibit knew something I didn’t.
The box that arrived was well sealed and by the tracking number I could tell that the shipment came from Portugal (rather quickly I might add). You see, some international shipments can take literally weeks to arrive so I commend Kankura for somehow avoiding such delays.
Much like the shoes, the box they come in is rather unique as well. The Kankura graphics cover all the sides of this drawer style container. While the drawer style construction could easily be used to keep shoes in, it will probably become permanent fixture in my closet for random nothingness (I’m a total hoarder when it comes to shoeboxes).
Also inside the decorative box you’ll find a bag for your shoes and even a shoehorn. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of using an actual typewriter or had to use a PC with MS-DOS, a sho horn is a wonderful little invention that is way under-appreciated.
On the Kankura website it states you have to first love the look of the shoe before considering a wearing them. Kankura took that ideology to heart when crafting their shoes and it shows with every fine piece of leather and every stitch that holds it all together. They are, hands down, one of my very favorite golf shoes.
The attention to detail is outstanding and the design is gorgeous. This is no cookie cutter product and it does not take a discriminating eye to tell right away how much thought went into the design.
I took their vision to heart and wore the Kankura out to dinner the first night I got them. Kankuras decision to make them more than just a shoe for the golf course isn’t anything new. Today’s modern shoe companies are going along with the apparel trend that says I’m not just playing golf in this today. I have several “golf” labeled pieces that I wear all the time and I don’t confine them to just a round of golf. Now that shoe companies are following suit it’s nice to know that I can head into the local watering hole after playing 18 and not feel completely out of place wearing exactly what I wore to the course that day.
You may have the hottest looking shoes on the planet but unless they perform you’re never going to wear them for a round again. That’s why I was thrilled when my first golf outing in the Kankura shoes was a huge success. Not only did I shoot a personal best but afterwards while at the 19th hole I had someone ask me about the shoes. Vegas is a lot of things, but a place where people willfully engage you in conversation about your shoes is not one of them. So when someone asks where I got my shoes, you know they are cool looking. Again, the style of the Kankuras speaks volumes.
I’ve been 100% satisfied with the performance of the Kankura shoes. They are comfortable enough to walk 18 holes and durable enough to play in the nastiest of conditions.
With Vegas being so hot during the summer I’m not often excited to throw on a pair of black leather shoes and trek around the desert whacking golf balls, but for whatever reason I haven’t once been uncomfortable while wearing the Kankuras. That’s a testament to their performance.
You have to remember these shoes are from Europe and the sizes are European as well. What I’ve found out about most shoes that come from overseas is they really don’t take half sizes into consideration. I typically wear anything from a 7.5 to an 8.5 depending on the shoe of course. The 7 (Euro size 6) that I tried on at the PGA Show was a bit snug and not very conforming. The 8 (Euro size 7) fit much better, and even though it was easily a half size larger than what I should be wearing, it was the clear choice.
Be sure to take that information to heart if you decide to purchase a pair and you’re in the half size area.
The Kankura Golf shoes range in price from $170 to $200. Because they hail from Portugal, expect to pay some shipping charges to get it over to the states. The wait is entirely worth it though and I feel these shoes can compete with any of the major brands you find in those big box retail outlets. To find out more about Kankura Golf and their amazing shoe company please visit their website.
I highly recommend you watch the videos they have too. It’s not often you find a company that will show you the entire process of how their shoes are made with a very well put together video. It really brings to light how much work goes into each and every pair they make.
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