For those of us in more seasonal golf locations, the coming of the Masters each year marks the unofficial start of the golf season. Lord only knows what all’s accumulated in the depths of your golf bag since last season, so before you go trunk slamming to your first tee shot of 2019, it’d be wise to take inventory.
We’re skipping past the obvious golf necessities — count your clubs, clean your grooves and wash your balls — and focusing on what’s in your bag’s extra pockets: tools and accessories. There is no shortage of these products on the market, from gimmicky to practical and everything in between, but the items below are sure to earn a permanent spot in your on-course arsenal.
The tagline “The best divot tool in golf,” is a little misleading when you’re talking about Birdicorn’s claim-to-fame. Don’t get us wrong, it is the best repair tool on the market, but that’s literally a fraction of what this product can do. Birdicorn‘s genius lightweight design packs 6 functions into one easy-to-use tool; a repair tool, putting alignment aid, grip rest, bottle opener, line stencil, and ball mark holder (fits any 1″ ball marker). The compact, ergonomical design fits comfortably in your pocket, meaning you’ll have absolutely no reason to leave pocked greens behind you on the course. Birdicorn tools are made from CNC anodized aluminum for longevity, and come in a wide range of colors and matching ball makers — or you can take it to the next level and choose a custom design. In short, Birdicorn is simply “the best tool in golf.”
Whether controversial or not, CGB believes golf and music go hand-in-hand — there’s nothing like the sounds of Nature when the beat drops. Ampcaddy knows exactly what we’re talking about and has delivered us from the days of shitty cellphone speakers and clunky wired setups. As a matter of fact, the Ampcaddy is a speaker designed specifically for the golf course with directional audio features (keeping the music from disturbing other golfers), an adjustable attachment clamp, a rechargeable lithium battery, 33′ of Bluetooth connectivity and a weather/shockproof housing. Don’t worry about keeping your connected devices safe, secured and fully charged, either — Ampcaddy’s portable charger has two USB ports for multiple devices, and the phone holder keeps your device from going anywhere. Like keeping the tunes to yourself? Ampcaddy’s bluetooth ear buds and beanies keep you jamming on and off the course, anytime, anywhere. Hey DJ, play that song for me.
Electric Golf sunglasses
Your fashion choices on the course are your own business — though we hope you’re at least trying — but protecting yourself from the elements is important stuff. Electric Golf sunglasses represents the best of both worlds with affordable, stylish, and high performing eyewear specifically designed for all golfers. The company’s offerings are a perfect substitute to their often overpriced competitors without skimping on performance, including the Knoxville Pro which earned a Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award for best eyewear in 2018. Accompanying Electric’s golf-centric designs is a variety of lens options to make sure you get the exact style and performance you’re looking for. As your Electric sunglasses become your go-to, you’ll want to keep an eye out for anything else the company may be up to — its award-winning design team is constantly cranking out some of the hottest golf accessories and apparel you’re going to find.
Pins & Aces headcovers
Sticking with the theme of style and performance, don’t forget about your club heads. Pins & Aces has bust onto the headcover scene with quality, stand-out styles that are sure to draw attention to your bag. While we may be partial to the company’s Colorado Collection, the Keep America Great! collection, sporting a likening of 45 himself complete with a tuft of yellow hair, has become a hot-list item (and a sure conversation starter). Available in sets or driver through rescue, Pins & Aces headcovers are all hand-made from premium leather to ensure the highest quality and longevity. Bigly.
Haywood Golf Slope rangefinder
Haywood Golf is making a name for itself in the golf club game with stunning wedges — rumor has it a full set of irons is in the offing, too — but that’s not all the company is about. HG’s Slope rangefinder is perfect for golfers aiming, quite literally, to up their game. With 500 yards of range, 6x magnification, slope adjustment and even more features, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value for $175. It may seem menial, but knowing your distance from the pin or target area makes all the difference in making a confident swing on the ball. HG’s compact design is easy to hold, water resistant, and also comes with a hard carry case to keep the unit safe in your bag. With a plethora of rangefinders now touting dozens of features, something like the HG Slope is an excellent product to test the waters with at a lower price. You may not find a better value when when you’re shopping for rangefinders.
Uther golf towels
Golf can be a dirty game — in more ways than one. But if you let all the dirt and grime build up on your club heads unchecked, it’ll start affecting your ball striking. Golf towels, the ever-preferred cleaning method, have always been a must-have, and another way to flash a little personal flare on your bag. Uther plays that game better than most by producing the most durable and stylish golf towels we’ve been able to find. Keeping your clubs clean is the easy part, selecting a print from Uther’s ample offerings will prove much more difficult. It’s literally impossible to find a Uther towel you wouldn’t want on your bag — you can even customize your own to make sure of it.
Asher Golf gloves
“Look good, feel good, play better” usually rings true, but like everything else, the difference is in the details. Asher Golf specializes in the details of premium golf gloves. Asher gloves come in a wide variety of colors and styles, including NBA logos and collabs with other brands. Made from high quality leathers and durable velcro and palm inserts, these gloves are also made to last — more than you can say about the wrinkled mass of dried leather at the bottom of your bag. With styles and color sure to match any ensemble, durable materials, and a price point much lower than other premium gloves, there’s no reason not to give Asher a swing.
A tradition unlike any other; an unforgettable experience; the pinnacle of golf excellence — much can be said about the famous $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta National.
Now, if you live anywhere but the American South, chances are you couldn’t care less about a pimento cheese recipe. But just like sweet tea, the difference is in the details, and these recipes are often closely guarded — no kidding. Augusta is already known to take its traditions seriously, slapping many a small business with cease-and-desist orders for just about anything that resembles anything Masters related (even the damn color scheme), and the famous pimento cheese recipe is no different.
Really though, how different can a cheese, pimento and mayo mixture really be? Apparently quite a bit. A quick Google search delivers a myriad of renditions for Augusta’s “original” recipe, though, those who’ve actually made the coveted concoction for the tournament refuse to share the actual ingredients (and are probably subject to non-disclosure agreements, knowing Augusta). In 2013, the last time Augusta’s recipe changed with a new vendor — much to the ire of attendees — ESPN’s Wright Thompson tracked down what could be the authentic version, though he still couldn’t unlock the “secret” ingredient, only that there is one for sure.
Whether this is the bonafide authentic version of Augusta’s famed recipe or not, it’s the one we’ll be using Masters weekend.
Augusta National’s Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (4-oz) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup light mayo
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 loaf of white bread
Combine cheeses, pimentos, mayo and mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and chill. Spread on bread slices.
According to a study by Dr. Lucius Riccio, an original member of the USGA’s handicap research team, cited by golfpracticeguides.com, the average golfer makes 36 strokes or less with a putter per 18-hole round. That’s two putts per hole, and, according to our math skills, is pretty much half of the total number of strokes you’d make for a par 72 round. Kinda makes you realize just how awful three putts can be, and how important your flat stick really is.
Practice usually does make perfect, but when you’ve reached a point in your game where you’re comfortable with your putting stroke, it’s time to tinker with the tech.
Like drivers, big brand names typically dictate what most consider “the best” putters on the market, but if you’re really serious about saving strokes on the green, consider looking at smaller, specialized clubmakers. Cure Putters is a perfect example. The company launched with two models at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show to immediate success. 5 years later Cure touts 12 models, each designed to perform for every golfer.
Cure’s Tour X1 blade putter
Cure’s claim to fame is its “extremely High MOI” (moment of inertia). As the company explains on the website, a common misconception regarding high MOI putters is that they only offer forgiveness on off-center hits. They certainly do, but Cure’s high MOI designs also keep the clubface more square throughout the entire stroke, which, combined with that off-center forgiveness, equals more distance and directional control. (These results are also based on a player’s individual “IDEAL WEIGHT” — which basically means you’ll want to be fitted to optimize the weight of your Cure putter.)
The company graciously sent 3 putters built to spec to the CGB headquarters for review purposes, and our first impressions from the practice green: Cure = Pure. (We won’t be sending these back.)
With my usual blade putter, a pre-Titleist Scotty Cameron, I sometimes struggle with the initial takeaway in my backswing, wavering off square from the ball within the first few inches of my stroke. When this happens, I find myself focusing solely on correcting my clubface mid swing — often over or under compensating — and neglecting the other factors determining if the ball goes in the hole or not, like distance control. But after several practice putts with the Cure Tour X1 ($299.95), I found myself having to force the clubhead to waver on my takeaway to produce similar mishits. The Tour X1’s aluminum clubhead, with tungsten weights in the toe and heel and removable steel weights in the back, helps promote a straight and silky smooth stroke overall — truly noticeable — and the feel and sound of the ball coming off the 4.85″ milled face is unreal. Putt after putt after putt with the Cure rolled as pure and on line as one could ask for, and even toed and heeled shots only went slightly off line, still delivering not-so-terrible results. The confidence this club brings to my backswing allows me to focus on my desired line and pace, knowing the ball will come square off the clubface. Finding the pace can be a bit tricky to get used to if your Cure is any heavier than the putter you’re use to playing — really, though, when is it not? — and you may find it all to easy to muscle it past the hole until you get it dialed in (all the more reason to get fitted.)
The Tour X1 is a beautiful club to look at, too. Though one of Cure’s smaller designs, the clubhead is still larger than most blades you’ll see, but with a solid black finish, hidden weights and clean lines, it isn’t distracting to the eye or gaudy in any way. Aside the X1, Cure’s Tour Series includes two mallet designs in the X2 and X3, both with seemingly impressive features along the same lines.
Cure’s CX1 blade putter
The praise continues on to the CX1 ($279.95) from Cure’s Classic Series. With a slightly larger 5″ clubface, the CX1 touts the same weight systems, milled face and high MOI as the Tour X1, but the slightly bulkier design reads and feels a lot more like a mallet hybrid than a traditional blade putter — the best of both worlds. Speaking of mallets, the Classic Series includes two traditional mallet designs with the CX3 and CX4, and rounds out its blade design offerings with the CX2. The Classic Series putters are also available in red, black, or white, to add another touch of style.
While it’s clear Cure putters isn’t making your average blades and mallets, the company obviously wants to make sure it stands out from the pack. The RX Series does an excellent job of that — easily the most customizeable putters that have ever come through the CGB headquarters. The RX Series sports an eye-catching door handle design and “t bar” alignments; the putters vary by profile size with the RX3 ($259.95) being the smallest with a 5.25″ milled face. Other than that, there’s little you can’t customize on these putters. Each comes with two, 12g, 1/4″ aluminum and two, 35g, 1/4″ steel toe and heel disk weights added and removed with a standard hex tool (additional weight sets sold separately). Not only that, the RX Series boast interchangeable shafts and customizeable lie angles.
When we first heard of this feature, honestly, is sounded like a pain in the ass to have to worry about or adjust in on the fly, but that is far from reality. Two screws on the bottom of the putter loosen the shaft housing with a 1/4 turn, allowing you to move the shaft freely and adjust the angle as needed. All in all, the RX Series may sound more like a DeChambeau-like science experiment than something an average golfer would have in the bag, but the customization process takes about as long as it does to adjust the loft on your driver — and a lot more fun — so don’t let that be a deterrent. Sorry, lefties, the RX Series putters come RH only, in black or red.
Cure’s RX3 putter
While we’ve only had the chance to play those noted above, we can assume the same performance rings true throughout the company’s offerings. Cure putters — all of which are USGA conforming — come equipped with straight or offset shafts in standard lengths (custom lengths available by request), a branded Winn Pistol midsize grip and durable leather clubhead cover. The company also offers accessories and gear, as well as a trade-in program. Really, if you’re interested in making more gains on the green, you’d be remiss to not try a Cure putter, at the very least. With an optimized stroke using your own ideal weight, you my find yourself inching closer to that 36 or below number at the end of your round.
Depending on how you look at it, the new Tour’s been enjoying an exciting start to the calendar year, and it’s about to get even better. Over next 6 months, the golf world will be blessed with major tournament after major tournament (literally), keeping us satiated through August.
Here’s a quick break down of the major schedule in store — plan accordingly:
March — The Players Championship
2018 Winner: Web Simpson Dates: March 14 – 17 Course: TPC Sawgrass, Florida Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Everyone’s favorite non major major, The Players Championship, celebrates 45 years in 2019. There has yet to be a back-to-back Players Champion; as of this writing Webb Simpson is sitting at 33/1 odds to be the first, according to betting-directory.com.
April — The Masters
2018 Winner: Patrick Reed Dates: April 11 – 14 Course: Agusta National, Georgia Broadcast: CBS | ESPN
The last several Masters Tournaments have been quite dramatic, with Spieth’s now infamous meltdown in 2017 and the tour’s favorite punching bag, Patrick Reed, joining the green jacket club last year. Here’s to another memorable weekend amongst the azaleas.
May — PGA Championship
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: May 16 – 19 Course: Bethpage Black Course, New York Broadcast: CBS | TNT
Inevitable storylines sure to surface at the PGA Championship: How will Bethpage play hosting its first PGA Championship (foreshadowing the 2024 Ryder Cup)? Will this be the year Jordan Spieth caps his career Grand Slam? Will Tiger better his second place finish last year? … The list is endless.
June — U.S. Open
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: June 13 – 16 Course: Pebble Beach, California Broadcast: FOX | FX1
The U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for a sixth time, but this year is a little more special; the iconic course is celebrating its 100th birthday. Koepka will look to add to his consecutive U.S. Open titles, but others have proven they can go low when the stakes are high, too — 65s are becoming a norm on the U.S. Open leaderboard.
July — The Open Championship
2018 Winner: Francesco Molinari Dates: 18 – 21 Course: Royal Portrush, Ireland Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
As the oldest, original major championship, it’s hard to find anything new to say about The Open. But 2019 does signify something of a special reconnection as the tournament returns to Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in almost 70 years.
August — Tour Championship
2018 Winner: Tiger Woods Dates: August 22 – 25 Course: East Lake, Georgia Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Though also not a major, the Tour Championship is A LOT more important in regards to the FedEx Cup. That’s because players who do not win the Tour Championship will no longer be able to claim the FedEx Cup title. According to a breakdown by CBSSports.com, players will come into the tournament with an assigned score based on their FedEx Cup rankings — the no.1 ranked player will begin at 10-under par, no.2 at 9-under, and so on to the bottom 5, whom will start at even par — setting the stage for a dramatic comeback victory or a total blowout to end the summer swing.
How will DeChambeau be remembered when his career comes to an end?
After 9 top-ten finishes in 2018 — including 3 wins — starting off on a hot streak in 2019, and the full embrace of his scientific method, Bryson DeChambeau has cemented his place on the A-list of professional golf. But is he also in danger of becoming his own worst enemy?
Admittedly, this author is not a fan of The Professor, but I’m not a hater, either. The dude’s got style, he’s great with his fans, and he’s been a big part of the not-your-dad’s-PGA image that’s capturing the attention of younger generations. DeChambeau is good for golf, no doubt. I’m not a fan simply because I can’t relate to “the scientific method” approach he uses for the game — show me one average golfer making gains by measuring the barometric pressure and carrying around a protractor. Oftentimes I find it annoying. But he’s not called “The Scientist” for nothing, and he owns it.
What DeChambeau may not be calculating, though, is the power of his celebrity.
Before the buzz of Sergio’s epic bunker meltdown and subsequent disqualification from the Saudi International earlier this month had died down, cameras caught DeChambeau swinging his club in frustration and taking a chunk of turf from the lip of a bunker at Rivera last weekend.
Heat of the moment, yeah; emotional player, who isn’t? No harm, no foul.
But the cameras were at work again at the WGC Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chepultepec — Bryson, there’s ALWAYS a camera somewhere — catching DeChambeau slamming his putter into the practice green before promptly fixing the damage (and unbeknownst to Rich Beem who was being interviewed by Sky Sports).
“I want to apologize to my fans, fellow players and the staff at Chapultepec for my actions following the round yesterday,” DeChambeau said Friday. “I am an extremely passionate player and I am always working on ways to be better. I am certainly not perfect but I respect the grounds staff and the game of golf and am focused on working harder on this just like I do on my golf game.”
(DeChambeau’s frustrations continued Friday with a +2 73 in the second round, 17 strokes behind leader Dustin Johnson going into Saturday’s round.)
Airing one’s frustrations on a global stage is one thing, but DeChambeau’s approach to the game — his signature — has slowly crept its way into the seemingly everlasting pace of play controversy, and it’s an even worse look. Players and fans are growing more and more frustrated with undeniably slow play on the Tour, and estimating the amount of dew between the ball and the club face, or whatever, during your pre shot routine isn’t going to help you with that argument.
“I think that anyone that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do,” DeChambeau said after video surfaced of him working calculations during his pre shot routine during a European Tour event.
That stance won’t work for very long. J.B. Holmes offers the same kind of rebut to critics of his slow play, as do others, and while their names may not be DeChambeau, and they haven’t been officially penalized for it yet, slow play is slow play. The Tour is running out of good excuses for its rampant pace issues, and with a rise in demand for change, you better believe it’ll be looking to make an example out of someone. Being the most famous offender may not be a good thing when that time comes.
Fortunately for DeChambeau, his star status remains strong enough to keep earning him a pass — J.B. Holmes and Sergio are the current poster boys for related issues — but the underlying issues are still there. If DeChambeau’s not careful, his unquestionable celebrity status could be used to redefined him by his less desirable qualities when all is said and done, and that’s much worse than any three putt.