Welcome back home self. I had to brave flight delays and the airline trying to ram the plane into the snow covered parking stall late Sunday. It is really cold here in Salt Lake. Tough to go from 80 and sunny in Orlando to two feet of snow…
So here’s my first post-PGA Merchandise Show golf blog feature, shots of the new TaylorMade r1 driver. I didn’t hit the r1 at the show because honestly, I don’t wait three hours in line to hit a golf club into a net!
Lets take a quick look at a few shots of the r1. If you want to see enlarged versions, click the photos to go to the HOG image gallery, then click the image there to see the largest and highest quality version.
TaylorMade r1 Sole/Bottom photo – click photo to enlarge
TaylorMade r1 driver top line photo – click photo to enlarge
TaylorMade r1 driver face image – click photo to enlarge
SkyCaddie has a new, simple, inexpensive golf GPS out now called the “Breeze.”
Is it a breeze to use? Let’s dive into this golf GPS review and find out.
- Out of the box the breeze is loaded with about 30,000 courses
- Courses are auto-detected. Get to the course, turn the unit on and it automatically knows what course you’re playing
- GPS yardages to front, middle and back of the greens provided instantly, updating every second
- Measure shots on the course to track club distances
- Digital scorecard tracks scores and stats
- Sharp color TFT-LCD display is easy to read, even in direct sunlight
- Upgradeable feature set
On The Course
I’ve reviewed and tested many golf GPS units. My home course is new, at least to the GPS community. It is about 10-12 years old and for some reason doesn’t “come up” on many units. I have to download the course first. This is not the case with the Breeze. As advertised, I turned the unit on and my home course came right up.
The yardages the Breeze delivers are SOLID. Some GPS units can be quite off. I’ll shoot a yardage with my laser for comparison and sometimes other GPS units are off by 5, 10 and even more yards. Not the case with the Breeze. Yardages are right.
Using the digital scorecard is a new concept for me. I’d forget to punch in scores, but once I got the hang of it the feature was nice. Nothing beats a golf pencil with no eraser and a paper scorecard though.
I really like the shot tracking functionality. You can mark where you hit your shots to/from and the unit will give you the yardages. Want to REALLY know how far your 7-iron goes? You’ll find out. The biggest problem for me was remembering to do it. I’d get a yardage, hit the shot, then halfway to the green I’d realize I forgot to mark the shot.
To truly benefit from the scorecard and shot measuring features, one needs to get the hang of doing those during the routine of the shot process.
Battery life on the unit is great. No issues with unit running out of juice in the middle of a round.
My test unit from SkyCaddie does not include the upgradeable feature set. I’d love to get that functionality running and do a follow-up review. I’ll cover the additional available features here, but don’t have any on-course comments about them.
Feature pack 1 includes “IntelliGreen Pro.” This feature set gives the user reads on distances and major contours of the greens as well as false fronts.
Feature pack 2 has an “interactive hole view” which gives overviews of the hole. These zoomable features allow you to read the hole from above to read hazards, hole shapes and course routing. Quick view, part of this same feature pack, is an overview picture of the hole.
Dynamic RangeVue is part of Feature pack 3. Multiple arcs overlay across the fairway landing areas and greens to show the best club for all shot lines. PinPoint is also part of this pack. With PinPoint the user puts a mark on the green for pin placements to get better and more accurate yardages.
I always include critiques in my reviews, even if they’re minor. I have two for this unit:
My first critique is the membership fee. Many GPS units out there do not charge a membership fee. For you penny pinchers out there, the unit may be less expensive at first but be sure to build in the cost of membership plans in factoring in the overall cost of the unit.
My second critique is with the dual navigation button. This button is a mini joystick style button used to navigate the screen and perform other functions. It is meant to give the user “one hand” style operation but I find it to be much less easy to use than a simple set of arrow keys would be.
The unit charges with an included wall charger or via the computer’s USB cable. A clip system allows the Breeze to mount to the player’s belt, golf bag etc.
The Breeze is an entry-level golf GPS at a $229.95 retail price point. The features are basic but the most important a golfer needs from a GPS. The performance and features included out of the box are very solid and accurate. A high caliber player can depend on the numbers. The upgradeability of the unit is nice if one wants to get started with the basic features and add more features a la carte later.
The Breeze is like having a sprinkler head in your pocket, without getting wet pants.
Fun but short review today. I’m not going to do a 3,000 word review on a golf hat though the comments (mostly positive) I’ve gotten about the hat on the course have exceeded 3000 words. This is the pink old school flat cap, Scottish style, from Royal and Awesome.
The hat is 97% cotton and 3% spandex. Whatever the reason for those percentages is fine with me.
Speaking of fit, there are adjustable buttons on each side which allow for adjustment and a one-size-fits-all gig.
I love flat caps. I feel like Old Tom Morris when I wear one. They’re different feeling than standard golf caps. More comfortable usually. The Pink Ticket is most definitely comfortable. The fit is perfect with both of the adjustment buttons on the loose setting. If the wind kicks up (or my head shrinks for some reason) I can tighten the hat up to keep it secure.
Conclusion – I want to be Mr. Pink
Pink is the new black. I love wearing this cap for the comfort and the unique style.
The biggest unkept secret in golf is no longer a secret. Rory McIlory is now officially a Nike player.
NIKE’S PRESS RELEASE BELOW
It’s Official: Rory McIlroy Signs with Nike Golf
-McIlroy, the world’s number one, will make his debut as a Nike Athlete at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship-
BEAVERTON, Ore. (January 14, 2013) – Nike Golf today announced at a press conference in Abu Dhabi that Rory McIlroy has signed a multi-year agreement with the company. McIlroy now represents the Swoosh in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories. He is making his debut as a Nike athlete this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
A self professed sports nut, McIlroy has been a fan of the Nike brand since he was a child and is excited to continue his career with the number one sports brand in the world. “I chose Nike for a number of reasons,” said McIlroy. “It’s a company and a brand that really resonates with me. It’s young. It’s athletic. It’s innovative. They are committed to being the best, as am I. Signing with Nike is another step towards living out my dream.”
“Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere,” said Cindy Davis, President of Nike Golf. “He is the epitome of a Nike Athlete, and he is joining our team during the most exciting time in Nike Golf’s history. We are looking forward to partnering with him to take his remarkable career to the next level.”
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who is known for his length off the tee, will be playing with the world’s first high speed cavity back driver that conforms to USGA and R&A Rules, the Nike VR_S Covert. “The new VR_S Covert driver, is completely different,” said McIlroy. “It’s the first cavity back driver. It’s striking, it looks cool and it performs unbelievably well.”
Rounding out McIlroy’s Nike Golf arsenal are the Nike VR Pro Limited Edition fairway woods, Nike VR Pro Blade irons, Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method prototype putter. McIlroy will play Nike’s new 20XI golf ball featuring more RZN technology. He will wear apparel from the Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection and the new Nike Lunar Control footwear.
In switching to exclusively play and wear Nike Golf products, McIlroy is making his first manufacturer change during his six-year career as a tour professional. “I visited The Oven and I was seriously impressed with both the craftsmanship of the Nike club engineers and also how much R&D and product innovation goes on there,” said McIlroy. “To be honest, I’ve been blown away by the attention to detail when it comes to product. Nike Golf is clearly committed to being the best and that gives me a lot of confidence in what we can achieve together on the golf course.”
McIlroy had a standout year in 2012 with a dominating season filled with becoming the world’s number one, securing five global wins, a Ryder Cup victory for Team Europe and taking countless season titles across the PGA and European PGA Tours. His five global wins in 2012 include his second Major Championship victory (PGA Championship) and two PGA Tour playoff events (Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship). He won the 2012 PGA Championship with the largest margin of victory in the PGA Championship history. McIlroy joins Tiger Woods as the only two active players under the age of 40 with multiple Major wins.
McIlroy also earned the 2012 US PGA Tour Player of the Year award and lead both the PGA Tour and PGA European Tour money lists for 2012. To cap off a sensational season that saw McIlroy post career-highs in earnings and wins, he closed his year with a victory at the DP World Tour Championship and becoming the second youngest athlete to achieve the world’s top spot as number one in the world golf rankings. McIlroy has 10 global career wins on his resume including two Major Championships.
McIlroy’s Nike Golf Arsenal
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert Tour 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree and 5-wood/19-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 54-degree and 60-degree
Putter: Nike Method 006 Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control
I’m happy to report that once again the Hooked On Golf Blog (HOG) World Tour will be stopping in Orlando, Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show. I’ll be at the show all day Thursday and Friday, then competing in the annual Battle of the Golf Blogs golf tournament Saturday. Can’t wait. Stay tuned for my take and angle on all the new golf equipment and golf apparel coming out, complete with lots of photos and videos!
<whine>I considered not going this year. This is a bit of a tough gig. I’ve been going to the show for years, covering all the new gear and happenings at the world’s biggest golf show, but it is hard on the pocket book. You see, us bloggers don’t have corporate credit cards we can simply charge to the “company.” I am the company. I pay for all my airfare, food, hotels, rental car and whatnot out of my own pocket, so I can report my angle from the show.</whine>
If you or your company will be at the show, I’ll try to meet up with you. Email me (if you have my email) or use the site contact form to send me a note.
I’m going to do things a little different this year. I’m not setting specific appointments. I’m never able to get away from one and to the next in time as the meetings always seem to go long. I’ll be doing interviews on video as I have for years: probably the first blogger to do the POV format I’ve done. This year I’ll have a little wrinkle in that format. Stay tuned.