The new age of golf has become a melting pot of tradition, performance, and modern style. Clothing and shoe companies have always been front and center when it comes to new trends, but there are other trailblazers in the equipment game, too.
Jones Golf Bags is one of those trendsetters, staying on the cutting edge of performance and design with a nod to the game’s traditional style. The company began out of the trunk of a cab, from which founder George Jones sold is hand-sewn bags. More than 40 years later, the company produces some of the most durable and stylish bags we’ve ever carried.
When shopping Jones’ lines it’s apparent the company holds traditional designs close to heart. This means sleek, compact bags with fewer but larger storage compartments, and built to be carried. Jones’ carry bags (ranging from $139.95 to $169.95) top out at under 4lbs, and the sturdy, plush shoulder straps make for an easy trek no matter the model.
The Jones Original is the most traditional of the designs. It’s simply beautiful — literally and figuratively — with a classic unstructured body, 3-way top divider, and a single shoulder strap. This is the bag that started it all, as the web description notes.
Jones graciously sent CGB a pair of customized Utility Bags, among the company’s stand bag offerings (ranging from $174.95 to $229.95). After the gitty-ness of the unboxing wore off, the quality of the bags stood out. The water resistant nylon has proven to withstand an ample amount of fall and winter golf in Colorado without wear and tear, and the sturdy, smooth zippers make access to storage quick and easy. The Utility also sports the new “draw string” pouch for even quicker access to on-course essentials.
Jones calls its patented stand system the “gold standard,” and that sounds like a safe bet. Not matter the lie, the legs hold the bag steady and fold back into place smoothly when picked up, rivaling only one other bag I’ve ever played. During my high school career — when my love/hate relationship with walking the course began — our hand-me-down Ping Hoofer 2s were among the most coveted equipment. The reliability of the stand system and the simple design brought solace to our agonizing practice rounds, and no one wanted to return them at the end of season. I later switched to Ogio, and while durable and convenient I always struggled to find a design that wasn’t too modern for my taste, or didn’t have a bunch of features I didn’t need.
At capacity, the Utility is a cinch to carry (about 5lbs when empty) — I usually pack a couple sleeves of balls, range finder, water, snacks, tees and markers, and extra layers, along with the standard number of clubs. The standard single strap is more than enough to keep this bag comfortable on my shoulder, though it does come with an additional strap if you prefer the backpack-style carry. It feels strange to note how comfortable a golf bag is, but in this case it’s hard not to.
In all, we’re blown away with Jones’ offerings and believe we’ve found a new benchmark to which we’ll compare the rest. Golf has always been a game of style, class, and tradition, and it always will be. Companies like Jones Golf Bags exude that aesthetic, finding a perfect balance between the then and now, and setting the standard for the game’s next generation.
If new clubs meant you’d drive the ball 20 yards longer and drop strokes, would you reach for your credit card? This past August, Golf Magazine published a study conducted with Club Champion, the nation’s #1 premium club fitter. According to equipment editor Rob Sauerhaft, “Fitting matters! Based on data along with tester interviews, it’s clear that correctly matched clubs can help golfers of all kinds — you actually can buy a better game with properly fit clubs.” The study found golfers gained 22 yards off the tee, 15 yards with their irons and lowered their scores by an average of 3 strokes per round.
I went to Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion, for things you should look for when buying new equipment. Club Champion is the highly regarded expert in the field, ranked by Golf Digest among the 100 best club fitters year after year. They offer more than 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations, the best-trained master fitters, nearly every brand in golf, plus unrivaled, in-house club building. Here are 3 tips Nick had to share.
Buy the Right Shaft
The industry taught us the head is the engine because that’s what hits the ball, but it’s the shaft that’s most important. Using that analogy, tires would be the engine of a car. Here the shaft powers the clubhead. In a golf shaft, flex can mean something different for every manufacturer. Manufacturers don’t use the same measurement scale. Sherburne tells customers, whether it’s stiff, regular or senior, it’s important to find the shaft that performs best for you. This makes it important to not just buy clubs off the rack. Find a skilled fitter with a launch monitor to show you how the right shaft will maximize your swing to its fullest potential.
Club Champion starts all fittings by looking at the shaft. It’s critical to identify not just the proper shaft flex but also the proper shaft weight. The shaft is what’s going to deliver the clubhead to the ball. To facilitate finding the right components, Club Champion, has a unique coupling system that allows golfers to hit any head and shaft combination. They deliver combinations that address a golfer’s problems and fix them. Most fitters use fitting carts provided by club manufacturers. While they offer options, golfers are unable to mix-and-match across carts to determine their ideal combinations. Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many not available through most other fitters and retailers.
Buy the Right Clubhead
Each brand or model of clubhead has distinctive characteristics that affect launch angle, spin rate and ball speed. Buy a driver that has the right launch, spin and forgiveness for your swing. Be sure use a launch monitor and look for the highest smash factor, ball speed and spin that generates the greatest distance.
Iron heads are more complex. Design features like offset, non-offset, blade or cavity back impact ease of playability and whether you hit a draw or fade; whether you hit it high or low. Most people overlook turf interaction, which comes from having the right lie angle, grind or camber on the sole. It affects squareness at impact, the speed you move through the ball and overall consistency. Club Champion fitters will find you the best equipment options for your swing.
Buy the Right Swingweight
Swingweight is a measurement of the weight distribution of the club or how your driver feels when you’re swinging. With widely variable shaft, grip and clubhead weighting, swingweight is more important than ever.It affects how a player swings the club and ultimately how they deliver it at impact. A heavier swingweight will make a shaft play looser; a lighter swingweight will make it play stiffer. The key application of swingweight is matching clubs within a set. If your clubs aren’t matched properly, they may feel different as you swing them.
Club Champion studios carry all the top golf club, shaft and grip manufacturers in the industry, which allows for 35,000+ equipment combinations for customers to test. Studios are equipped with advanced analysis technology and highly trained certified fitters and builders, all of whom must graduate through an extensive training program. Services include custom fitting and building for all club purchases, repair services, personalization and highly engaging corporate and personal entertainment events. For more information about Club Champion, visit clubchampiongolf.com.
With advances in club technology, most golfers could easily hit the ball further and more accurately. Yet, a Golf Magazine study found that 90% of U.S. golfers may be playing with improperly fit clubs. A Golf Digest study found that 8 out of 9 Club Champion custom fit golfers lowered their score by as much as 6 strokes per round and added an average of 21 yards off the tee.
Club Champion is the country’s premier club fitter, builder and retailer of the best brands in golf. The company delivers a Tour-quality fitting that produces longer, more accurate shots, with a nearly 100% satisfaction rate. Their approach is unbiased; no specific vendor is promoted. The only goal, for any skill level player, is to find the best combination of components to lower a golfer’s scores.
Ranked by Golf Digest among the 100 best club fitters eight times in a row, Club Champion’s unique coupling system allows them to combine any head and shaft together, so golfers can hit the precise combination to be custom built for them. Most golf stores use fitting carts provided by club manufacturers and while these carts offer options, golfers are unable to mix and match from different carts to determine ideal combinations. Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many not available through most other fitters and retailers.
Chuck Autry (Longmont) wrote, “I’ve taken my golf game to a new level. Being 64, I was struggling with almost every club in my bag. At the time I came to see you, I had a 13.5 handicap but was beginning to see much higher scores. You did some magic and it made an incredible difference. I have played many rounds in the past month in the 70s and of lowered my handicap to 8.3. This was the best investment I have ever made in my golf game!”
Former PGA Tour player Jay Williamson says, “I had access to every brand of shaft and head, but I never understood what they did for me. I didn’t have the opportunity to experiment like I do at Club Champion. They provide the same level of service players receive on Tour, including the newest heads and shafts and most advanced fitting technology. If you are a committed golfer at any level, I highly recommend it.” Incidentally, Club Champion was able to add an average of 15 yards to Jay’s drives.
To obtain results like Jay’s, Club Champion fittings utilize Trackman launch monitors and the Science & Motion PuttLab. Both are considered the gold standard in fitting technology and are used by Tour players around the world to improve their game.
Club Champion stands out because they actually assemble clubs in-house to exacting, unrivaled tolerances. Club variables such as shaft flex, swing weight, club length and loft/lie DO alter performance. The experience and know-how in combining these intricate parts together is what separates Club Champion from its competition. TaylorMade CEO David Abeles believes, “Club Champion truly is one of the most innovative club fitters in the business. They provide a consumer experience that is undeniably helpful for all golfers to play better. We couldn’t be more thrilled with our partnership with Club Champion.”
While any caliber of player can benefit from premium club fitting, it’s for the golfer who wants maximized performance. “I chose Club Champion due to reputation and depth of the fitting process.” wrote Michael Rowells (Lakewood). “I’ve played 19 rounds with my new clubs. I’ve also played six new golf courses, not normally good for the handicap. I’ve lowered my handicap from 8.2 to 5.6 in less than two months. My best round? A 74 with five birdies and a triple bogey on 18 (water)! I could not have improved like this without getting fitted. I implore all serious golfers, and those not so serious to get fitted for their clubs.”
Studio manager Mitch Anderson relates, “I’ve become enamored with the differences between shafts in golf clubs. I wanted to pass that knowledge down to my clients. One of the best things about working for Club Champion is the chance to offer the best possible club fitting to the client, while maintaining a brand-agnostic approach. Club Champion is the major leagues of club fitting.”
When Club Champion says you’ll add 20 yards off the tee, they mean it. Whether you’re looking to buy new clubs or optimize your current set, premium club fitting is the answer. Fitting prices range from $150 for a driver to $350 for an entire bag. The local state-of-the-art studio is conveniently located at 2670 E. County Line Rd in Highlands Ranch.
Don’t just buy clubs, buy guaranteed improvement! For more information, call 888-335-9692 or visit clubchampiongolf.com.
I have run the gamut of products trying to find the right one for my golf photography. I’ve gone from just holding the camera in my hand, propping it up on something like a rock or wedging it on the cart somewhere to standard and Joby tripods, GoPro Mounts, drones, and, of course, friends just to get a good image or video. It’s always a disappointment in one way or another: the equipment is either too bulky or cumbersome to lug around the course or range, too costly, or not reliable enough for constant use — you had one job!
Then I got the opportunity to try out the SelfieGOLF Set, the most simple and versatile course photography aid I’ve used by far. The company sent CGB The SelfieGOLF Set ($35.99) which includes a selfie clip, bag clip, dust bag, a pack of extra stick holders, two alignment sticks, and some fool-proof instructions.
It doesn’t get any easier than SelfieGOLF: plant a stick in the ground, attach your phone to the clip and the clip to the stick, then record. The single stick method — you can even use a driver shaft — means SelfieGOLF can be deployed faster that a standard tripod, too.
One of the best parts of SelfieGOLF is that I’m always the cameraman, able to capture the angle I want without keeping my hands full on the course. The added bonus is the unit fits in a small travel pouch and setup takes just a seconds. The straight forward design and simple instructions, coupled with a durable design features will earn SelfieGOLF a permanent spot in your bag for sure. You’ll only need a replacement when you lend it to a friend, who in all likelihood won’t give it back cause it’s awesome.
In all, SelfieGOLF is made for golfers looking to improve their swing with visual data and those shutterbugs on the course, and neither will be disappointed. For capturing your swing and dance moves on film out on the course, or making time-lapses and long exposure photography from tee to green, SelfieGOLF is the perfect tool.
“It’s the archer not the arrow,” is a saying that may come to mind while taking the walk of shame into BFE to look for a lost ball. Everyone needs practice, but even with constant practice do you ever really know if you’re upping your consistant swing speed, improving your launch angle or generating spin? Outside of expensive TrackMan or indoor range sessions, your “what am I doing wrong?” question may forever be left unanswered.
OnCore wants those answers, and plans to get them from the source — the golf ball.
With what’s probably the most innovative leap in golf equipment, the cutting edge golf ball company plans to change the game (again) with the “GENiUS” smart golf ball. The GENiUS indigogo page details the ball’s impressive offerings, here’s an excerpt:
After each stroke, the GENiUS Ball will transmit data to your mobile device showing your location on the course, ball velocity, spin rate and spin axis, carry distance and roll, and even the distance from the green. You’ll see the information using a variety of formats and have the ability to share it to your social media accounts as well.
Real time stats aren’t new to the course with numerous apps, wearables, cart features and even smart clubs, but sourcing from a high performance golf ball has, as of yet, remained unattainable.
Yeah, we were thinking it too: how can something built to suffer blunt force trauma house something as delicate as a computer chip?
Perhaps the writing was on the wall with OnCore’s Cliber golf balls, which made waves with a hollow metal core. The GENiUS will take advantage of OnCore’s technology to protect the chip through multiple rounds and able to withstand more than 15K+ G-Force, according to the company.
(To answer what’s probably your second question: The GENiUS’s GPS feature will come in handy when you do lose it, so don’t worry about that.)
Introduced late summer 2017, the project, as of this writing, has raised $36,000, with a listed $30,000 goal, and plans to launch in 2018.
Real time stats are great on the course, but until now the information has always been closer to secondhand data, adding the challenge of deciphering it after the fact. Golf balls could offer a wealth of information if they could talk — after laughing at you, of course — and it’s about damn time they start talking.
We average golfers will continue to send balls into the sticks — some things will never change — but with a little help from OnCore’s forthcoming technology we can get the data to make sure it happens a little less often.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have been long been the majors, so to speak, of the holiday shopping season. But not everyone makes that weekend cut.
If bowling over grandmothers (or vice versa) isn’t your idea of nice afternoon out, and if those cyber deals pass you by, you’re often left with the anxiety of tackling your holiday shopping list before the big day(s) without seeming like you just grabbed the last items on the shelf. But if you’re looking to go beyond a tacky novelty gift for the golfer on your list — and we know there’s at least or you wouldn’t be reading this — fret no more.
Our inaugural Gift Guide highlights a collection of CGB-trusted companies covering just about everything on your golfer’s wishlist, and often for less than your high-priced, major brand offerings. It’s difficult (at least for us) to pick just one item from these product lines, so you’ll still need to do a little browsing for the best fit. But from shoes, clothing and accessories to tech, putters and more, any of the following brands will help the golfer on your list look and act like they know what they’re doing.
You can’t go wrong with the gift of a membership to one of the Internet’s most famous golf groups. OK, it’s not really a membership as much as a badge of honor, and it’s more of a “Skuad” than it is just another golf group. However you see it, anything emblazoned with the Skramble Clothes logo is sure to be noticed by others in the know with a head nod or a fist bump. With t-shirts, polos, outwear, hats and more, Skramble has everything your recipient will need to strut the course in style, and finally meet those “Skuad Goals.”
High performance golf attire is beginning to move away from the mainstream, and companies like Atlas Premier are leading that charge. With hats, tops, bottoms, outerwear and more, Atlas is creating functional lines for golfers on and off the course. The breathable material and sturdy build make Atlas products a go-to in all weather conditions — cooling in the summer months and a comfortable layer in colder temps — and the seams and cuts don’t impede flexibility. You’ll be pressed to find a design that doesn’t fit the golfer on your list, and after a few rounds they’ll have a new favorite performance clothing line.
Golf and … underwear? Stick with us, this isn’t the underwear your parents stuffed in your stockings. 2UNDR drawers, for men, feature what the company calls the “Joey Pouch,” which keeps the other stick and balls from unwanted skin contact — meaning less chaffing and a more comfortable feel. 2UNDR offers a variety of lines and styles to make sure your golfer looks and feels great on the course, at work or at home. If you’re one for a little man eye-candy yourself, you won’t be disappointed by the Joey Pouch, either (*wink).
It’s easy to see why 36 Golf made this year’s list, they’re just like us — unabashed lovers of the sport looking to make the game a little more fun for everyone. 36’s simple, minimal designs run throughout the company’s offerings, including hats, shirts, fleeces and accessories, and suit just about any kind of golfer regardless of style. No matter how bad your recipient’s swing is, 36 golf will make sure they look good doing it. And there’s no shame in that.
Weekend Warrior is a staple in the novelty golf clothing and performance polo game, and should have a place in every golfer’s wardrobe. Make your first stop to at the premium tees page, rife with some of the best prints in the game — and grab a CGB logo t-shirt while you’re there. WW’s performance polos deliver subtle yet unique designs in a range of colors and styles, and hoodies and long sleeves will round out any outfit. With a Weekend Warrior label, everyone will know where to find your recipient between Friday and Monday.
There’s a reason True Links is the sole shoe company to make our list this year — and it’s because we wanted to use that pun. Joking aside, the company makes some of the best and most comfortable golf shoes we’ve slipped our feet into. True Links’ outlet lets you shop from a number of lines suited for golfers of any style, from classic and contemporary to more colorful and eye-catching designs. Browse the Outsider and Original lines for even more form and function on the course. True Links is one of the few companies with shoes your golfer can and may actually want to wear off the course, too. And when they realize just how much these shoes can impact their game — a solid swing starts with a stable stance — they won’t want to take them off.
Sunglasses are a must on the course, and not just to add a finishing touch on an outfit. Average golfers spend A LOT of time looking for their ball — because golf is hard — and squinting in the sunlight or battling glare from cheap lenses doesn’t make it any easier. Electric sunglasses‘ new golf offerings deliver two-fold, with the OEM+ lenses blocking UV and HEV blue light for crisp, crystal clear vision, and designs suited for any occasion. Electric’s designs rest comfortably over the ears even with a hat — an issue we’ve had with other companies — while staying snug and stable during even the most violent swings.
Golf gloves don’t get their fair share of attention, which is why we should be thankful for companies like Asher Golf who pay respect where it’s due. Elevate your recipient’s glove game with one of Asher’s colorful or flashy designs — always an added statement to any outfit. It’s not just about the looks, though, Asher gloves are built to withstand swing after swing after swing after swing, with a lesser chance of cracking, tears or holes, unlike some of those mainstream brands. “Make golf gloves great again.” — Asher golf (probably).
The divot tool to end all divot tools. That’s because Birdicorn‘s is a ball mark holder, putter holder, stencil, bottle opener, alignment aid and divot tool all in one. Get one in every color of the rainbow and trust the sturdy design to withstand everyday wear and tear. As if that isn’t enough, the company also offers matching ball markers, golf towels with scrub patches, hats, and fun t-shirt designs to compliment that green-side swagger.
It’s always nice to have some comedic relief ready for when the bogeys are racking up and tempers start flaring. Enter Sir Hissalot, a toy snake and Instagram’s favorite golf prank. There’s no secret to how it works: you set Hissalot down in the path of your target, scare the pants off them and everyone around points and laughs hysterically. The trick is getting it all on camera. Nothing on the golf course will ever be as funny as a perfectly played Hissalot prank, and few things are more memorable.
Without a doubt your golfer can always use golf balls, and, thankfully, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for something they’re bound to lose at some point anymore. Cut Golf is a direct-to-consumer ball company, cutting as many costs as possible in the production process to make its 2- 3- and 4-piece balls affordable for everyone. The company cuts costs, not corners, meaning these golf balls are on par with mainstream brands, touting comparable distance, spin, response and green-side control players expect.
OnCore Golf, meanwhile, is on a mission to change the game with its cutting edge golf balls. It all started with the company’s Caliber ball, sporting a hollow metal core that combats wayward ball flight and improves roll off the face of the putter. Among OnCore’s other offerings is the Elixr, included in Golf Digest‘s 2017 Hot List, a three-piece ball sure to help take your golfer’s game to next level. The company isn’t showing signs of slowing down as it’s circulating that plans for the world’s smartest golf ball are already in the making.
Shirts, tools, balls, accessories — the hardest part of finding the right golf gift can be picking just one. If that’s the case for you, take the guesswork out of it with a Swing Society subscription. Swing Society finds the best of golf apparel and products each month to deliver a tailored gift box right to your favorite golfer’s front door. You never know what you’ll find in your Swing Society box, so really this is 12 gifts in 1, and sure to make your golfer the envy of their foursome.
For a guaranteed “wow” from your recipient, look no further Bradley Putters, a go-to for show stopping custom wood putters. The company hand-crafts each putter with gorgeous burl wood resulting in stunning, artful designs. Each piece is one-of-a-kind — build-your-own options are available too — and sure to give its owner plenty reason to show it off on the practice green. Don’t discount the performance on account of the wood — Bradley putters feel as good as they look, and are built to withstand the wear-and-tear of everyday use (with a lifetime guarantee, too). If you need a second opinion, ask golf.com, which included Bradley Putters in its “Best Products from 2017 PGA Merchandise Show.”
For a custom putter design using more traditional materials, Raybon Putters does not disappoint. Shop from Raybon’s Signature Collection, or build your own from four showroom base designs. From start to finish the custom design process is a blast, personalizing each piece of the putter, from insert to grip and everything in between. Raybon putters’ performance on the course is also nothing short of spectacular, the milled designs delivering control and consistency on every stroke. (Now if you could only give the gift of birdie putts…)
Outside of the hottest new driver, a new set of clubs or a destination golf vacation, it’s hard to beat from the brands on this list when shopping for the golfers in your life.
Editor’s note: CGB receives products direct from manufacturers for advertorial purposes. All reviews posted on this site are not associated with advertising agreements unless otherwise noted.