Old-school leather style head covers are the hot ticket right now in the golf accessories world. There are some very nice ones out there, some which fetch a hefty price. On the less expensive side and less smug is Craftsman head covers. These are Chinese made (don’t sigh, 99.9% of golf stuff is made in China). I’ve played most of the 2017 season with these head covers and they look like brand new and are not wearing out in the slightest.
My set includes a driver, 3-metal, hybrid, and blade putter cover as shown in the picture below.
On The Course
On the course I find the Craftsman head covers to work well and do their primary job, protect my golf clubs. They are solid, well made, and durable. I’m not sure if the colors in my set are supposed to be from the American flag though. The blue is more of a black.
I can’t write a detailed 2,000 word review on golf head covers. Suffice it to say that Craftsman Golf makes solid and simple head covers, including full customizing options. I’d love to see what they could do with some Hooked on Golf Blog logos on there.
I need a head cover to do three jobs: Show up, keep up, shut up. Oh sorry, that’s a caddie’s job. I need head covers to protect my expensive golf investment. I need them to be easy to use. I need them to be durable and light weight. Finally, I need them to look decent. Craftsman Golf’s covers cover all the bases, and all the clubs.
Craftsman Golf website
You’re probably asking, “WTF do heel pain relief flip flops have to do with golf?” In my case quite a bit. Last year while “training” for my 3rd Scotland golf trip, I completely overdid it on shoes with low arches and gave myself plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a very painful condition in the heel and arch of the foot which is caused by lack of arch support in shoes, among other things. Fast forward a year later, and now I have a new pair of flip flops that aren’t the typical flat ones. These are designed to treat, alleviate pain, and promote overall better foot health.
In the high heat of summer here I never wear shoes and socks, especially after walking 10 miles and sweating like crazy. I’m always in flip flops apres golf. I’m just about to start “testing” these flip flops now. Yes, it is hard work but someone has to do it. These incredible golf and lifestyle reviews don’t write themselves.
Stay tuned for my review of the Healing Sole soon.
I may be fooling myself, but I like to think I hit certain clubs fairly accurate and consistent yardages. When I have an exact yardage to my target it helps me confidently pick the right club and put a solid swing on it. That’s one reason I typically prefer laser rangefinders over GPS devices on the golf course. I can shoot anything and get a number. Top lip of the bunker guarding the front of the green is 127 and the pin is 135. Perfect. I know just what to hit.
Laser rangefinders are not typically inexpensive. The Bushnell Pro X2 laser I recently reviewed is $500! That’s a lot of dough for golfers on a budget or who only play a few times a month or even a few times a year. Luckily the more affordable laser rangefinder space has an excellent player in it, TecTecTec. TecTecTec makes several “affordable” lasers which start in price from $149 and max out at $249.00. Many of the features found in the more expensive laser units come standard in TecTecTec lasers. Today’s review is the VRPRO500S.
The VRPRO500S is not the least expensive offering from TecTecTec. It’s the next level up, and can be found on Amazon for only $179.99. This model comes in a very small and convenient size. See the photo below.
- “Flagseeker Advanced Pinsensor Technology” – (LOL, not pinseeker) technology locks onto the pin (see critiques)
- Slope – not legal for tournament play but can be turned off
- Yards or Meters
- Measures up to 540 yards (good for you long hitters)
- Very nice zippered case with elastic quick release
- Compact size
- 6X monocular magnification
- 2 year warranty
On The Course
The VRPRO500S performed fairly well on the course for me. Keep in mind I’m used to gaming lasers that are 2-3X the cost. I found that in most situations I was able to get an accurate yardage quickly. The numbers on the display are clear and easy to read. The visual through the 6x monocular multi-layer coated lens is clear and bright.
I don’t typically use slope when getting yardages with lasers because my rounds are almost always legit handicap or tournament rounds. But for fun I used the slope a few times to get the hang of it. The slop can be turned on or off via the “mode” button on the top. The slope is quite cool. The actual yardage is shown as normal, but under it is shown the yardage compensated for change in elevation. For instance on one par-3 at my home course the yardage was 145 downhill. With the slope turned on the unit told me the yardage would play like a shot of 137 yards. The top of the display also shows the number of degrees in the slope, which is interesting.
There are also other modes and settings one can use the mode button for. One is a kind of “scan” mode where you can hold the button down and the numbers will automatically update as you move it around.
Naturally the main mode I used is “Flagseeker” mode. LOL, doesn’t sound anything like Pinseeker.
One weakness this laser has over the expensive higher end brands is a situation I’ve ran into a few times. The Flagseeker mode has a hard time locking in on the pin when there are trees close behind the pin. More often than not the unit gives me the yardage to the trees, not the pin. Bigger target. In events like that all is not lost though. I’ll just shoot the ground at the bottom of the pin, or shoot the false front, or better yet shoot players if they’re still putting.
At $179 the VRPRO500S is a great value in golf laser rangefinders. It’s difficult to find many with slope in that price range, if there are any others at all.
Last spring I was training hard for my summer Scotland trip. Having done two previous trips to Scotland for a week plus of 36 holes per day, I knew I needed to be in good walking shape. My home course is quite hilly and provided a great challenge to get in walking shape.
I overdid it.
A few weeks before Scotland, after pushing myself quite hard, I started to have pain in the arches and heels of my feet. Eventually the pain was so bad I could hardly walk. The training, combined with testing out new shoes which had very poor arch support resulted in plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. If prolonged and untreated the condition can worsen and turn into other problems in the foot and other areas like the back.
In mornings and after prolonged times sitting writing incredible blog posts at the computer, the first few steps were quite painful. It was very painful getting to the finish of my swing. The right foot would nearly buckle since the arch and heel were so inflamed.
To prevent the issue from worsening and to help it heal, I had to stop the problem: walking a lot on shoes with crappy arch support. I bought a set of inserts for my shoes at a running store which “ran” about $40. The arches were very different. The bottom was very hard. The arch was very high compared to what I was used to. It took some getting used to. Since last summer, any pair of shoes I wore, street or golf, I’ve used those supports. Those inserts helped me start to heal a bit before Scotland, and helped me survive the walking I did there, a total of 125 MILES. Despite walking 125 miles, the inflammation subsided and I did not make the injury worse.
After a year of dealing with with this situation, I know much more about arch support and shoe design. And about a year later I can gladly say that since adding the inserts to my shoes the problem has completely gone away.
Early this season I was approached by Aline to test out shoe inserts designed for golf. I eagerly accepted and shortly after put the Aline inserts into action. I first wore them in my street shoes, to work and around town, just to get used to them. I’ve grown so accustomed to the comfort and feel of the Alines in my regular shoes that I feel like I can’t wear any shoes without them.
For the past few weeks I’ve now graduated to putting those old running inserts in the garage and using the Alines 100% of the time for my street shoes and golf shoes. They provide great support in the perfect places, and they’re not as hard and uncomfortable as the running store inserts. My feet aren’t as fatigued and achy as now and of course, there are no issues with the arches or heels in my feet.
I’ve just realized something else as well. This could be related to the fact that we are in the high heat of summer, but my back does not ache after golf rounds. While reading up on Aline’s inserts I happened across some information that says the inserts will help with spine alignment and help prevent back pain. Whether it’s the heat or the inserts, or both, I’m thrilled about it.
ALINE patented technology optimizes a golfer’s performance by properly aligning the back, hips, knees and ankle. This helps reduce lower body fatigue and improves swing mechanics, resulting in maximization of ground force reaction for more distance and accuracy. Proven by 10 Professional wins, Olympic Gold Medals, over 100 X Games medals and doctors across the country, ALINEs are designed for performance in sports and life. ALINE makes similar equipment for Skiing, Snowboarding, Hiking, Cycling, Gym Workouts, Running, Walking and General Fitness activities. ALINE…what’s inside counts.
At this point I’m not going to take my Aline’s out of any of my shoes. In fact, I need to get more units so I’m not constantly moving the one pair I have from street to street to golf to street. I’m walking more with less fatigue and feeling no pain in my feet or back. If the inserts could help with my chipping…. one can dream.
Line and speed are the two crucial factors in making putts. It doesn’t matter what grip you have, what putter you use, or what your apparel scripting is. If you can’t get the putt rolling on the proper line and speed you’re destined to bad putting.
PuttOut Putting Trainer
The PuttOut “Pressure Putt Trainer” is designed to train the golfer get get the putt rolling on the correct line and speed. The unique curved design returns good putts the distance they would have traveled past the hole. The side contours reject offline putts and force the golfer to a bit of a “walk of shame” to get the balls, as those shots are not returned.
An interesting feature of the PuttOut is the little retractable “micro target.” In the photo above you can see the HOG golf ball is sitting in it. Putts on the exact line and speed will stop inside the target. Once the golfer gets used to strokes at such a tight precision and speed, putting into the much larger and easier to hit golf hole seems much easier. The micro target back plate is hinged so the golfer can flatten it out and turn the device into strictly a returning device.
The unit folds into a compact and easy to carry shape. The unit would fit easily in a golf bag or even luggage when traveling.
I keep mine in the hallway between the kitchen, my office, and the bathroom. It’s quite a trafficked spot. It’s fun to grab my putter and stroke a few to clear my my mind and improve my stroke, a few times per day.
If you need help with your line and speed and “pressure putting,” the $29 PuttOut could be a good option. Not sure the unit will help with non-pressure putting though. 😉