Molly McMulligan’s Fab 5: Ideas to add to your bag this season
Ah, finally, we can empty our golf bags of handwarmers and headbands and shift into the summer season of Colorado golf. On second thought, we might want to hold on to those headbands for the unexpected mountain windstorm. But, here are five items experts suggest adding to the bag for the new season – along with your sunscreen, insulated water bottle and energizing, heat-resistant snack, of course.
1. Zero in on the target. The USGA has given rangefinders the thumbs-up, and this year they’ll make their first approved major appearance, the PGA Championship. Consider one a must-have for precision distance. But, laser or GPS? “GPS helps with pace of play,” says Lenny’s Golf owner Nick Nosewicz. “In the old days, we’d have to look for a 200-yard marker or 150-yard marker or sprinkler. Now you just look down at your watch or your gizmo.” Big names include Garmin, SkyCaddie and Bushnell, at a range of about $129 for basic GPS distance to $450 for laser rangefinders that provide distance to any target and can take slope into account for a “playing” number. Want both GPS and laser? Hybrids run around $600. The disruptor in the category, Blue Tees Golf, backs up lower prices with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
2. Make practice more fun. The launch monitor has now gone portable! “A TrackMan would be close to $30,000,” says CommonGround Director of Instruction Elena King. “Now you can get a decent launch monitor that you can take to the range and get your club head speed and distance for closer to $500.” They’re the size of a tablet or cell phone, so, while they may double as in-round GPS, they won’t give you all that TrackMan data. But they’ll let you play games on the range – perhaps inspiring you to practice more. A few examples, all at about $500: FlightScope Mevo, Garmin Approach, Rapsodo.
3. Consider a carbon copy. “We opened in 1985, so I know everything there is to know about clubs,” says Nosewicz. “And I think the most exciting thing on the market this year is the Stealth, a TaylorMade club that has introduced the carbon fiber face. Most drivers are titanium. This is such a radical approach. Carbon’s been tried and tested in the past (specifically by Callaway 20 years ago) and it’s never really taken off. And this seems to do well.” TaylorMade claims the face makes these drivers lighter and more forgiving. Prices are running between $600 and $800.
4. Tune in. Not everyone likes to hear music blaring on a golf course. But there’s no denying that course-friendly speakers have made the golf shop hot list: They’re as ubiquitous these days as balls, tees and towels. Look for one with a strong magnet on the back that will secure the speaker to a golf cart. “There are even golf bags now that come with built-in Bluetooth speakers,” Nosewicz says. Bushnell’s tiny Wingman speaker (about $150) not only plays music from your phone, it gives front-back-middle yardages.
5. Roll it. The pandemic sidelined carts for a while and forced us all to walk. And that created a demand for pushcarts that shop owners say has yet to go the way of some other pandemic-inspired trends, like home meal kits and Peletons. So while you’re loading all this other stuff into your golf bag, consider wheels, especially motorized wheels. “A good electric push cart starts at about $1,000, but it comes with a lithium battery and maybe also a remote,” Nosewicz says. Vendors include Motocaddy, BatCaddy, MGI and Alphard.
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