What’s in your bag: The best golf accessories of 2019

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.

Birdicorn divot tool

Birdicorn bottle openerThe 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.”

Ampcaddy speaker

Amp Caddy speakerWhether 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

Electric GolfYour 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

Pins&Aces head coversSticking 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 Slope RangefinderHaywood 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

Uther golf towelsGolf 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

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.

How to make authentic Masters pimento cheese sandwiches (supposedly)

pimentocheeseA 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.

According to Southern Living Magazine, the only published version of the authentic recipe *could* be found in the Tea-Time at The Masters: A Collection of Recipes, by the Georgia Junior League of Augusta (copyright 1977). That’s the recipe cited on gatewaymacon.com, a Georgia travel guide, though, we can’t say for sure the secret has been revealed.

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

Ingredients
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

Preparation
Combine cheeses, pimentos, mayo and mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and chill. Spread on bread slices.

The best 6 months of golf in 2019 are finally upon us

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.

Get your popcorn ready.

Is Bryson DeChambeau becoming his own worst enemy?

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.)

The incident brought back visions of DeChambeau putting the “Mad” in “Mad Scientist” during an even bigger meltdown on the driving range of the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Point is, that’s three incidents, two of which coming within days of each other, and each broadcasted more widely than the last.

It’s not a good look.

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.

How Tiger’s blasting 180 yard wedge shots, and you can too (maybe)

The Big Cat made his professional debut in Mexico this week, and the storylines are aplenty. But in a Wednesday press conference, Woods brought up an oft overlooked variable courses like Club De Golf Chapultepec present: high altitude ball flight.

“It’s a challenge,” Woods said. “I hit a couple shots with a wedge on the course [Tuesday] that flew 180. On Sunday [at Riviera], I hit a 5-iron from 171.”

See the full press conference here (his 180 yard wedge comments come at 17:00):

That’s, uh, impressive, for sure — and he’s probably not lying.

A recent study cited by golf.com shows players gain around 2.5-yards per every 1,000 feet with driver and high irons, 2.7 yards with a 7-i, and 2.2 yards with a wedge. At 7,835 feet above sea level at its highest point — making Club de Golf Chapultepac the highest course on the Tour circuit, according to the PGA Tour — and players carrying 300+ off the tee at sea level, you do the math.

From an average golfer’s perspective, the same golf.com piece — which also discusses the effect temperature has on ball flight — offers a Chapultepac-specific example:

“Let’s say you’re the same guy who usually carries the ball a respectable 250 yards in 70-degree conditions at sea level, on a calm day. … in 90-degree heat and its overall elevation hovering around 7,000 feet above sea level, and that same 250-yard drive will now fly about 270 yards.”

20 added yards of carry? Yeah, science!

CGB is headquartered just over 6,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of Pikes Peak, and we can attest to the joys of boosted ball flight. Unlike Woods, though, our struggle is figuring out how far the ball is going when we aren’t at altitude, and the results are often demoralizing. After a number of humiliating rounds, we’ve adopted a 2-club rule when playing at sea level: take the club you’d normally play, and club up twice for full swings. This rule is anything but scientific (sorry, Bryson) — and obviously doesn’t apply when you find yourself at, say, 3 or 4,000 feet — but it’s been a good starting point for us to plan shots at different altitudes.

Woods struggled with distance control in his opening round Thursday, finishing even par (71) and 8 shots behind leader Rory McIlroy (click here for the PGA’s live leaderboard). Si.com reports players are hitting the ball an average of 15% longer at Chapultepec, so he’s not alone in his struggles, but he’ll need to figure it out soon to make a weekend run. (Try our 2-club rule!)

For the amateur golf world, if you’ve never seen your ball soar effortlessly through the thin air at high altitude, you’re missing out — talk about golf porn. Most of us probably won’t be roping 180 yard wedges anytime soon, but with a little help from atmospheric pressure, it’s nice to know it’s plausible.

Growing backlash signals the Tour can’t ignore slow play issues much longer

The PGA Tour suffered an early, downright no good, really bad week — and it’s its own fault.

The bad vibes started when Mayacoba Classic winner Matt Kuchar’s compensation for fill-in caddie David Ortiz came to light. Of Kuchar’s $1.2 million purse, Ortiz had requested $50,000 — caddies are often paid more for top-10 finishes — but Kuchar paid him $5,000. Though technically Kuchar did pay Ortiz a bonus, telling golf.com the two had originally agreed to $3,000 to $4,000, the payment caught the attention of social media (and you know how that goes).

“I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar told golfchannel.com, not making things any better.

It didn’t take long for Kuchar to flip his script and apologize to Ortiz, paying him the full $50,000 requested and making a charitable donation to Mayacopa Classic charities — and saving a some face in the process. In hindsight, a minor blemish in an otherwise good start to the season.

Later in the week, with fewer “KOOOOCH” cheers and little more heckling, the attention had shifted to the Genesis Open, but the Tour’s bad week was just getting started. After a tortuous 5.5 hour round and a disastrous finish from Justin Thomas, J.B. Holmes hoisted the trophy for his fifth Tour victory.

No one cared about Holmes’ win. Instead, the Tour found itself in the crosshairs for its rampant pace of play problems and apparent unwillingness to enforce the rules, and Holmes became the face of the issue.

Pace of play isn’t a new problem, and Holmes has never been known to play quickly. The difference now is the right people are voicing their frustration, and have the platforms to make sure a lot more people hear it.

Before the Genesis incident, Adam Scott joined the likes of Brooks Koepka and others in keeping the issue in the headlines, going as far as volunteering to be penalized for slow play so the Tour can set a precedent.

“I’ll take the penalty,” Scott said in an interview with Golf Digest. “The only way it’s going to work is if you enforce it.”

This comes on the heels of Koepka’s now famous “embarrassing” remarks earlier this month.

“Guys are already so slow, it’s kind of embarrassing,” Koepka told the Golf Monthy Podcast. “I don’t get why you enforce some things and don’t enforce others.”

Koepka’s comments came after video surfaced of Bryson DeChambeau calculating the barometric pressure during his pre-shot routine.

“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.

It’s easier for the “The Scientist” to get a pass for his slow play as he’s established himself a fan favorite, but while Holmes brushes off his slow play as well, he doesn’t share the same distinction.

Unfortunately for the Tour his ugly win combined with the growing backlash created a shit-storm large enough to cast a shadow on the otherwise fun Genesis Open weekend. What’s worse for the Tour: this is a controversy that won’t go away until it actually starts enforcing the rules.

In the same interview Scott said real change won’t happen until tv sponsors step in and that “it’s a waste of time” talking about it. But that’s where he may be wrong.

Yes, sports leagues answer to tv and money contracts. But tv broadcasts, in the long run, answer to the viewers tuning in to see the players play, and talk about playing. Now, with more of the world’s best players speaking out publicly, and more often, the Tour won’t be able to hide from the problem anymore, and let’s hope that means it’s just a matter of time before it does something about it.