The latest belt script I’ve been proudly featuring is a very cool and unique custom milled Hooked on Golf Blog belt from NXT18 Golf Belts. Let’s take a look.
Custom Milled HOG NXT18GOlf Belt – A Work of Art
NXT18 Golf custom mills the buckles out of a block of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. And we are not talking about milling in China either. These are done in Massachusetts.
While one could simply purchase the original artwork of the NXT18 belts, custom artwork is where it is at. Just look at the beauty of the HOG logo and you’ll see what I mean.
The milling effect alone makes most artwork look very cool. Add that to the different color/paint possibilities and the buckles look out of this world awesome. The buckles are hand painted, adding to the fine attention to detail and quality of the product.
The belt tightens through a tension lock system. In the HOG photo above you can see left of the H a loop in the belt which is where it is tightened. This is cool because the tightness of the belt can be perfectly set to the wearer’s preference and comfort level. Belts which have holes and pins to lock them seem to never have the right setting for me, they’re either too tight or too loose. With the tension lock system one can loosen the belt up a little for comfort while sitting in the office after a large lunch which includes an Italian Stromboli. Trust me on that one.
The belts themselves are a nylon webbing material which is very strong and light. These belts come in about 13 colors/designs. I chose black, being a former rock & roll musician. If they had skulls, I’d be all over it like John Daly over a cigarette.
There are a large number of colors available for the bucles, somewhere around 10-15 is my guess.
Since the belt is a tension system, sizing is easy. You just let them know your waist size and they’ll hook you up with the proper length, which is once again, completely adjustable.
My only critique and suggestion for this belt is for NXT18 to consider a different system than the Tension Lock. While it is cool, the system results in the buckle not sitting on the wearer’s body very flat. The tightening side sticks out farther than the other side (photo below).
A different system with the lock on the back of the buckle would solve that issue, and also free up about another inch of space for artwork/milling.
Love my custom milled aluminum HOG belt. I wear it proudly and love the quality and uniqueness it showcases, thanks to NXT18 Golf Belts!
The sun always shines when you’re cool.
I’ve had the pleasure of wearing the Bolle’ Ransom golf sunglasses for a while. These glasses are best fitted for a larger head, like mine. One must have a large head to hold as much golf knowledge as I do.
Let’s take a look at the Bolle’ Ransom, or should I say look through them…
- Thick, stylish, unique frame design
- The B-Clear lenses are anti-glare and produce colors and highlights well suited for the golf course
- The lenses are as clear as glass but considerably lighter
- The “Oleophobic/hydrophobic” lenses repel grease, dirt, and water spots
- High strength nose pads and rubber gripping to keep glasses from slipping
- 100% UVA and UVB protection
- Nice case
- Cleaning cloth included
On The Course – On The Beach
My on-the-course portion of this review is a little tough. I wear prescription sunglasses which really help me see the ball far away. I’m nearsighted, so reading greens, standing over the ball, and short range stuff is great. But long range, seeing a ball from 150+ yards was tough.
That said, in my good range I loved the clarity of the lenses, the colors, and how I could easily see the contours and slopes of the course.
I sport these shades in far more places than just the golf course. On my recent trip to southern California I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the beach and soaking up the rays in the comfort of the Ransoms.
Other situations where sunglasses are great and the Ransoms have shined include outside parties, walks around the neighborhood, hiking, spending time at the park with my little boy.
On or off the course the style is fantastic and the comfort is as good as any shades I’ve reviewed.
If I had a prescription version of the Bolle’ Ransom they would be my gamer sunglasses on the golf course.
They’re certainly my gamers for many other sunny outdoor activities.
On my recent trip to southern California I was mildly entertained by this Porsche 911 Carrera heading north on I-15.
Porsche 911 Carrera Golf Clubs
You can see his golf clubs on the right, and barely make out the ball pocket of his golf bag sticking up just to the left of the clubs.
Seems like a pain to have to do that but I’m betting it’s worth it.
This past weekend I put into play some new sticks. Sticks can be a synonym for golf clubs, but can also be for cigars. Actually put into play new irons and new cigars, so a double set of sticks!
La Gloria Cubana Serie RF Cigar
I was struggling with my game on the front nine. I decided I should tone my intensity down a bit and enjoy a cigar during the round. On the par-5 10th hole I started up this La Gloria Cubana Serie RF from Famous Smoke Shop. I hit a good drive but it kicked right and ended up in a lateral hazard. After taking my drop from the hazard I bombed a 3-wood from 270 and hit the green, past the pin. I then nailed about a 40 footer for birdie. Birdie, even with the penalty for the hazard.
First birdie of the day. Must be the cigar, right?
On the next hole I missed the green left, but chipped in for my second consecutive birdie.
Definitely the cigar!
Two holes later, I made birdie on the par-5 14th.
All told I carded three birdies during this fine cigar’s life. It did kick my butt a little bit. I smoked it a little too fast. Otherwise I might have had another one to try and finish out the last four holes with more birdies.
Cigar holes: Three birdies.
Non-cigar holes: Zero birdies.
- Body: Medium
- Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
- Binder: Havano
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian
- Price: A little over $5.00 each
I might make the PGA Tour if I just smoke 4-5 of these per golf round.
I’ve heard a lot about the golf course at Pechanga and I’m glad I was finally able to make the short trip down to Temecula, California to check it out. The course is called Journey, or sometimes referred to as Journey at Pechanga.
Location Location Location
Journey at Pechanga is located on the property of the fabulous Pechanga Indian Reservation resort/casino in Temecula, California. Temecula is in a perfect location roughly midway between San Diego and Los Angeles. When booking my flights it was nice to be able to choose between the LA airports or San Diego. I ended up choosing San Diego this time around because the cost was a little lower.
Pechanga Hotel Left – Golf Clubhouse Right
Journey’s routing brings it in the hills behind the resort, and gives the course some great elevation changes and views.
Pechanga is a very challenging golf course featuring five sets of tees. With five sets of tees players can choose how much of the challenge, or journey, they wish to bite off. From the tips, the Copper tees, the course plays to a par-72 with a course rating of 74.8 and a slope of 142. In plain English that’s one tough journey.
The course architect for Journey is Arthur Hills. I’ve played many of Mr. Hills’s courses and while he has some architectural signatures, his design at Pechanga is quite unique and original on a few levels. Part of the uniqueness of the course design is the challenges Hills had in preserving sacred areas and sacred items on the property. Players who are unaware of these sacred items might complain or wonder why there’s a large tree in the of the fairway. After solid drives I found myself directly behind a couple of those large trees with no shot at the green. I was irritated for only as long as it took me to remember these are sacred trees. Then I took my bogey and moved on.
There are several spots on the course where huts can be found, and some very old historic structures.
Modern huts, homes, are not on the course and never will be. I love courses like this which aren’t developed for the strict reason of selling lots. Major points scored on this for Pechanga.
Tee shots at Pechanga are probably the strength of the course design. Hitting the tee shot accurately is perhaps the most important shot on just about every hole. Many tee shots present forced carries and very large elevation changes, requiring precision and good math skills at figuring out the yardage to elevation change difference. Coming from a mountainous area, the elevation changes were right at home for me.
Tee shots sometimes present the player with risk/reward options, like the par-4 5th hole. At around 300 yards a bomber could play aggressive and try to drive the green. There’s not much room for error though with a stream dissecting the landing area and a lake the player must carry. On my first time around the course I chose a conservative route on that tee shot, hitting hybrid to the left fairway. From there it was a sand wedge to five feet and my first birdie of the day. The second time I played it I played more aggressive and ended up making bogey.
The next hole (#6) is a par-4 that provides the most dramatic elevation drop of about 300 feet. Drives seem to stay in the air for an hour or two from that tee box. In the photo below I’m about to launch one on #6.
Par-4 6th Hole Tee
Another great tee is on the par-3 17th (pictured below), with a large drop and a view of the resort and parts of Temecula in the background.
Pechanga Golf Course 17th Green
I almost aced 17 on my first go-round. Unfortunately my playing partners just missed out on some free beer.
The fairways at Pechanga are generally fairly wide and not terribly difficult. If you’ve managed to find the fairway, you won’t be faced with a tricky or unfair stance, but you might have issues due to the aforementioned sacred trees. It happened to me twice, once on the first hole and once on the par-5 9th.
First fairway before the early morning marine layer has burned off. Note the trademark tree in fairway…
A few fairways are split, giving the player two routing options. One option is often for the more aggressive player and one for the conservative.
During my round at Pechanga I found the greens to roll smoothly. They were receptive to good shots, even spinning a few back. Some greens like the 18th featured large undulations and tiers while others like the 2nd and 3rd were more flat and subtle.
15th Green at Pechanga
Many greens are guarded by some stern bunkering. Greens located on the hillside often had a favorable uphill side to help deflect errant shots above the green onto the green. But that same slope would severely penalize errant shots which hit the downhill side. I know this first hand.
The gap between the 5th and 6th holes is literally about a five minute drive in a golf cart, including a massive elevation change. That may be the “Journey” right there! There’s another big gap between 16 green and 17 tee. Because of some of these long gaps between holes and the steepness of the hills I really don’t see walking the course as an option. The walk from 5-6 could take a fit individual 15-20 minutes. Those gaps make some of the routing/flow a bit on the funky side.
Pechanga has a great driving range with high quality range balls. There are actual greens and bunkers in the range providing players the opportunity to play real golf shots at targets with forced carries. This is a great alternative to the ranges on some courses where the target is “north.”
The short game area is perhaps the best of the practice facilities at Pechanga though. There are several short game greens with side-hills, chipping pitching slopes, and bunkers to practice from. That’s where I should have spent most of my time, and where most players would benefit as opposed to pounding drivers all day on the range.
Short game practice area
Finally the practice green (below) provides an accurate representation of the speed and feel of the greens on the course. More importantly though, there’s a bar/cafe about 20 feet away.
Pechanga Practice Green
The clubhouse is quite an architectural piece. Inside are the pro shop, locker rooms, and a great restaurant called Journey’s End.
Journey at Pechanga Clubhouse
The pro shop is full of a massive apparel and equipment selection. If you forgot something or need some new gear, they have it.
I had breakfast at Journey’s End a couple of times and the huevos rancheros was fantastic, along with the pancakes.
The Journey produces some very fun resort golf between all the great amenities the hotel and clubhouse have to offer and the Arthur Hills designed golf course itself. The course can play as relaxing or as challenging as a player may want with it’s diverse set of tees. Bring some extra balls and bring a camera.
Journey at Pechanga photo gallery.
Pechanga Resort/Casino photo gallery.