At a recent PGA Tour stop I had the pleasure of spending some time inside the PING tour truck. The tour trucks from golf manufacturers travel with the PGA Tour to support their players with gear, tweaks, repairs, maintenance, fresh hats and sometimes just a cool place to relax.
Inside the PING Tour Van. I want to live here. Click for more images.
Inside the PING truck were some very interesting machines and technology used in building and adjusting clubs. The tech, my new friend Daniel Udd (pictured below), could literally custom build any PING golf club in a matter of minutes. customized weighting, lofts, lie, grips take even less time.
Master technician Daniel Udd tweaks a PING wedge. Click for more images.
Perhaps the most fun was looking inside the drawers which contained player specific items like special grips for Bubba Watson or Hunter Mahan. The hat drawer had hats for all of their staffers and I wanted snag one of Miguel Angel Jimenez’s brown hats (below left). I resisted.
Brown hat is for Miguel Angel Jimenez. I want one... Click for more.
I’ve updated this post out of respect for my relationship with TaylorMade. To see images of the R11 irons and read my first impressions, tune in Monday the 1st of August.
New TaylorMade r11 Irons - click for more TaylorMade images
Normally I reserve press releases to the new Hooked On Golf Blog “HOG Wire” site. I’ll do a quick mention here and you can check out the whole press release at HOGWire.biz.
Bridgestone Golf, HOG sponsors for fantasy golf and various other programs, announced today a new Precept Lady iQ+ golf ball. Though they’re designed for ladies, I’ve actually tried previous Lady iQ’s and they performed surprisingly well! Let the jokes begin. I know.
For the whole scoop, click here to read the release on the HOG Wire.
Frogger’s Amphibian Tour Towel
I’m throwing in the towel this week. By that I mean that I’m going to bust out a couple of golf towel reviews I’ve been needing to take care of.
First on the list is the Frogger Golf Amphibian Tour Towel. I’ve reviewed a Frogger Amphibian Towel in the past as well as the Amphibian Ball Towel. This unit, however, is the “Tour” model. The word “tour” attached to a piece of golf gear usually means that it would be something a pro tour player would use. In the case of a golf bag, a “tour bag” would be a very large bag like you see on the PGA Tour. Like the tour golf bag analogy, the Amphibian Tour Towel is a larger and more substantial towel.
The Amphibian towel is a pita pocket shaped towel with an inside and outside layer system which has two functions. The inside of the towel is a wet side and the outside is the dry side. Between the fabric is a water resistant barrier which keeps the wet side wet and the dry side dry. The wet side is 3x as absorbent as a regular towel to hold more water.
The wet/dry concept is awesome. I used to wet half a towel, using the wet side to clean the clubs and the dry side to dry them off. But the wetness creeps to the dry side, the path of least resistance. So eventually I’d just have one towel which was damp, not dry or wet. With my Tour towel, I have a very wet inside to get the clubs clean, and a dry outside to dry the clubs or simply wipe the sweat off my face (or the mustard from the hot dog I inhaled at the turn).
In rain, the towel can serve as a rain cover!
During rain storms reversing the wet/dry concept is a very cool idea. The outside becomes the wet side and the inside is a protected dry towel.
Also I’ve found that with the size of this towel, that I can actually use the towel as a rain cover. See pic to right. I put the pita pocket over my clubs and it covers them all, with a dry layer despite the fact that the outside of the towel is wet.
The Tour model is double the size of the original Amphibian towel, at 20×20 inches. This isn’t small. Most players would benefit just fine from the smaller version. If you carry your bag and have the inside nice and wet, you can add quite a bit of weight to the load. The towel can also get in the way of carrying a stand bag, either when setting it down or picking it up as it can tangle in the bag’s legs. I usually put it high up and covering the top of the bag where it won’t have issues with the legs.
This is a great golf towel which can be much more to a golfer than just a standard towel. Performance and craftsmanship are as I’d expect from Frogger, top notch.
Due to its size the Amphibian Tour towel may be for more serious golf addicts, like me.
I’ve been testing out the new Nike Air Rate golf shoes for a bit. Unknowingly I picked a perfect time to do my review of these babies. Read on to find out why.
Nike Air Rate Golf Shoes - Click image to see more
Nike Air Rate Construction
I have a new pair of training shoes I use when I work out, Nike Air somethings… They’re so light I can hardly believe they’re on my feet. They conform to my feet so well it is like they become one with them. That is exactly the feeling I’ve gotten with my new Nike Air Rate golf shoes. These things are so light I feel like I weigh less with them on than with them off.
Air Rate's Mesh - click to enlarge
The upper of the shoe is one piece of synthetic leather which has a very cool looking mesh pattern. The mesh is precisely carved out of the upper with a laser. The pattern serves more of a purpose than just looking cool. The mesh makes the shoe lighter and provides a ventilation system. I hadn’t read the specs on the shoes before I wore them, and the ventilation was the first thing I noticed. It is about 100 degrees here now, and when a light breeze kicks up I can feel the wind blowing through my shoes. This feels so good, especially for someone who rarely wears shoes and socks because my feet get so hot.
The sole of the Air Rate is a super light “Phylite” material with an “air unit” in the heel. Unlike standard golf shoes which have a leather or hard sole, the Air Rates don’t beat up my feet, my knees and my back. The padding in the sole and air in the heel makes walking the course more doable for me, and more enjoyable. I’m able to play golf and not think about the fact that my knees or feet hurt.
If you are into the traditional golf dress shoe look, these may not be your cup o’ tea. But I really like the look of my Air Rate golf shoes. They’re a little rebellious and a little higher tech looking.
On The Course
The comfort of these babies is off the charts good. Despite the fact that they’re tightly conforming with the shape of my feet, they still feel soft and deliver very low impact when walking the course. Getting beat up by the hard ground is one of the things that sucks about walking, and the Air Rates reduce that greatly.
Despite the fact that these golf shoes don’t have traditional screw in or click in spikes, I have fabulous traction. I hated switching from metal spikes to soft spikes years ago because I slipped all the time. Thanks to the Air Rate’s “Integrated Traction” I have yet to slip once in dozens of holes, hundreds of shots.
As mentioned, perhaps the best part of these shoes is the ventilation. With mid summer temps here around 100 degrees, my feet are as cool as they could be on the course.
The benefit of the ventilation is great, but it is obvious that these shoes are not waterproof. If you are playing in the rain, or plan on stepping into some standing water you may want to use a standard set of waterproof golf shoes. Obviously water can get into the shoe through the ventilation mesh.
The Air Rate comes in two colors: Khaki/White (pictured in this article) and Gridiron/Wolf which is a dark gray with yellow in the mesh.
Nike Air Rate Golf Shoes - click for more
The $110 retail Nike Air Rate golf shoes are excellent, comfortable and very light weight golf shoes. There’s a lot of talk in club shafts and club weighting these days using the “super-light” buzz term. If golf shoes can be classified as super-light, the shoes would be the Nike Air Rates. The ventilation of the shoe is fantastic and refreshing. The comfort level is very high.
The best part of these shoes is the fact that the light weight, ventilation and comfort of doesn’t compromise the performance. In fact, they enhance it.
Hooked On Golf Blog Nike Image Gallery