Golf For Women
I’m happy to announce the long awaited Hooked on Golf Blog 2017 Golf Apparel Product of the Year. After hundreds of hours of testing, wearing, washing, evaluating countless apparel items in the calendar year of 2017, one item has triumphed and is clearly the best of the best. Drumroll please…
Galvin Green Dash Insula Pullover
The Insula Dash pullover is a 1/4 zip golf outerwear piece that exudes style and provides great comfort and performance. “Body mapping” was used to assist in the design of this tremendous looking and high performance pullover, helping to determine areas which need optimization for breathability. Extra padding on the shoulders and arms not only looks cool, but provides extra insulation and warming in crucial areas.
Innovation, style, and performance have really set Galvin Green apart from other golf apparel companies. For more details on this fantastic apparel piece, check out the HOG Galvin Green Dash Insula Pullover review.
Hats off to Galvin Green for claiming the 2017 HOG Apparel Product of the Year. I look forward to seeing what Galvin Green comes up with in 2018.
It’s the end of the year and time to look back at some awesome golf products and golf courses I’ve covered, and award the cream of the crop with the Hooked on Golf Blog Product of the Year. To qualify for this award the product has to have been reviewed here at Hooked on Golf Blog during the calendar 2017.
For the first Hooked on Golf Blog Product of the Year award of 2017 I’m starting with the golf accessory category. This award goes to the golf accessory I found to be the best, most important, and most go-to new accessory to my golf gamer bag of 2017. The envelope please…
Bushnell Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder
Hands down the most crucial and by far the most used accessory in my bag is my laser rangefinder. Boy is my gamer a good one, the Bushnell Golf Pro X2. The Bushnell Pro X2 uses “pinseeker” technology to nail the pin very quickly and give me solid yardages instantly.
Bushnell Golf Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder
This unit is fast, small, easy to use, accurate, well built, and dependable.
Features include rock solid yardages in yards or meters, vibration when locked onto the pin, bright red LED readout or standard black, slope (enable or disable easily for legal play), and a great carrying case.
Check out my Bushnell Pro X2 review for more details.
I get a LOT of golf accessories submitted here for review from golf GPS’s to lasers to training devices, apps, and countless other gadgets. The X2 stood out above the rest and deserves the great honor of winning a HOG Accessory Product of the Year.
You’re in trouble, so you think. You’ve waited far too long to get that golf gift for the golfer on your Christmas list. Now it’s too late to order anything from Amazon.
Fear not. There’s probably a local golf course somewhere near you or even better, the home course of your gift recipient.
Last Minute Golf Christmas Gifts
If you know your golfer’s home course, a great gift is simply a gift card to the course. Then your recipient can choose exactly what he/she wants. Some courses separate pro shop apparel and equipment from golf green fees, so make sure you get them the card for whichever one you prefer.
Some courses also offer range passes or punch passes for buckets. A gift of game improvement is a great idea.
Speaking of game improvement, consider buying a lesson from a PGA Pro at your local course as a Christmas golf gift. The course can likely work that into a gift card of some kind or gift certificate.
If you’d like to be a little more personal take a sneaky peek at your golfer’s golf bag if you can. See what kind of golf balls they have in the pocket. There’s probably a hodge podge of balls, but look closely and try to figure out his/her preferred brand and model, or perhaps you already know it. Your local golf shop should have them.
Some other ideas for golf gifts you’ll easily find at any local golf shop include golf towels, umbrellas, head covers,
Golfers can never have too many golf shirts, shorts, hats, outerwear or golf socks. Most local golf course pro shops have great selections. Many regional shops have team logo items for your favorite college or pro team.
I’ve sat here for about 10 minutes staring at my blank screen. Nope this review isn’t going to write itself. I’ve been a bit stumped because I know it’s going to be hard to express how fantastic a time I had at Punta Espada Golf Club, and just how amazing the course is. I’ll give it a shot.
Punta Espada Golf Club Overview
Punta Espada is a Jack Nicklaus signature design golf course located on the east coast of Dominican Republic. The course is oceanside and features hole after hole of fantastic views of the Caribbean. We’re not just talking a hole or two. Most of the course is on the water.
The course plays to a par value of 72 (36 front, 36 back) with a slope of 137 and rating of 77.0. In other words, the course is difficult, but not extreme. There are five sets of tees. The longest tee (Black) plays to a total of 7,396 yards.
The best club to pull off of most of the tees at Punta Espada may be your camera. Every tee my camera was my first instinct before picking a club! I walked to every tee with a camera and a club or two. Every one.
Playability wise the tee shots at Punta Espada are fun and challenging. The fairways are wide enough to accept moderately accurate drives. Players who want to play away from trouble, like the Caribbean, can be smart and save themselves from potential danger, a.k.a. big numbers. There are some definite proper places in the fairway to place the tee shot for the best approach angle to the green. There are several situations where proper placement means a shot over land, not an all-carry shot over water.
Case in point is the 2nd hole above, a par-5. The 2nd shot (if not going for it) can be placed to the far left of the fairway for the best approach. The green juts out to a sliver of land, with water on both sides, but mostly short right. That left placement puts land between the 2nd shot and the green, and saves strokes if the shot comes up short because it ends up on grass instead of wet.
Once on the fairway, the lies and stances aren’t too bad. Not a ton of sloping, humps bumps, or craziness. The condition and health of the grass is so nice that there’s never a bad lie. The ball feels like it’s teed up just right.
Fairways missed can mean a wide variance of rough, bunkers, desert style waste areas, or the Caribbean. Shots from the rough are very manageable, provided there’s a clear shot at the target. Shots from the Caribbean? Not so much, unless your 15th club is a snorkel.
The areas around the greens at Punta Espada allow the golfer to be creative. This is one point I’m very sticky on. I’m not keen on architects who force the golfer into one shot or way of getting the ball on the green. Personally I prefer a Scottish style low-game with the putter or low bump-and-run shots, but I’m not afraid to lay open a 60 and take a full swing either. At Punta Espada the golfer can choose either most of the time, unless there’s a carry of some sort over a bunker or hazard.
I found the putting surfaces at Punta Espada to be fantastic. See the photo below and look closely at the cut and quality of the green. There were some tricky reads where the grain went one way, and the slope went the other. How putts can break uphill is still hard to fathom for me, a bent grass no-grain-playing mountain golfer from northern Utah. It can happen, so that’s when relying on the caddie or some course knowledge comes in.
Photo by Greg Corbo
The sloping of the greens for the most part was not to crazy. Very manageable. That’s not to say there weren’t some places that had some insanity to them. The sloping of those areas of the greens was extreme enough to allow the golfer some creative ways of approaching lines. One could putt off the edge and bring it back down the slope, or take a straighter line and end up close to the same place. That was more the exception though.
Overall putting was enjoyable and controllable. I won’t say “fair” because I’ve decided to try to use some less, shall we say, “overused” descriptions in my course reviews.
Punta Espada offers a full driving range, practice green, pro shop, locker room, library, snack bar, 19th Hole Bar, Restaurant, and Members Room.
I’ve played more Jack Nicklaus designs than I can remember. Many of them are easy to spot as they share architectural similarities, typical “Nicklaus” features or styles. Punta Espada has those, but the course does not scream “Jack” to me. The course is the least “Jack” of any of Jack’s designs I’ve played. This is neither good or bad, just an observation. What does scream out to me is that this golf course is as scenically pleasing as any I’ve played, yet provides a perfect balance in it’s challenge, playability, and its use of the terrain. Some courses look fantastic but sacrifice playability or playing qualities, while others may play great but don’t cut it aesthetically. Punta Cana is tops across the board.
There’s a reason Punta Cana is the new #1 course in the Caribbean and Latin America, it’s that good. I strongly suggest putting Punta Cana on your must play list, your bucket list, your golf buddy trip list, or your golf getaway list. I don’t even need a list. I just need to get back there and play it again, as soon as possible!
Hooked on Golf Blog Punta Espada Photo Gallery
Nearby is a fantastic all-inclusive Caribbean resort, Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa. Check out my review.
La Cana Golf Club Review
Teeth of the Dog (Pete Dye) Course Review
It’s a great day when you find that brand new Titleist ProV1 or other expensive “tour” ball in the bushes. Mint condition! #winning! Just made $5.00. It’s no big deal that some other golfer hit that ball before you. It’s got plenty of great shots left in it. So why not consider that when purchasing golf balls? There are options out there to allow you to get your golf balls, premium pro lines or others, for a fraction of the original retail price. One great example is “Two Guys With Balls.”
Two Guys With Balls is a seller of pre-owned golf balls. I’ve just picked up a couple dozen myself, and I’ll be damned if I can tell the difference between most of them and a brand new one.
The ordering process is easy. Find your ball, choose the quality level, pay a very reasonable price, and the product shows up at your door a few days later.
The Two Guys With Balls website has a very friendly and easy to use interface. From the home page, pick your pellet. Once on the ball page you can select how many and what quality level you want. There are three quality levels in their grading scale: Eagle, Birdie, and Par. Eagles are the highest quality, like new. Birdie has some signs of use. Par has definite signs of use which may also affect the performance. The levels are priced accordingly.
I chose the Eagle grade for some Bridgestone B330’s. It doesn’t cost that much more to go first class (unless you’re flying, then it actually does cost a lot more). They’re sweet. They were only $23.99 per dozen, almost half the price of a new box. I’m thrilled with the quality.
One great aspect to giving Two Guys some business is that they’ll donate a portion of the profit from your purchase to the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation.” We believe that children and youth should be given the opportunity to develop the tools and values that will allow them to achieve success in life.” Amen Two Guys.
I dig what Two Guys With Balls is doing and wish them the best of luck in their golf venture. They have an easy to use shopping cart, excellent product quality, and I can get some feel-goods knowing a portion of the profit is going to a good cause. That’s two good causes: my golf game and Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation! Well played. #winning