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
I recently reviewed the 6-layer golf ball from Forté Golf, an Australian based company. That’s the first of two golf ball modes from Forté Golf. Today’s review is the Tour-Performance S model. This is a ball with a different construction than their 6-layer, but still focuses on “tour” performance. What does that mean? We hear “tour” all the time when referring to golf equipment, especially golf balls. Tour typically means high short game spin and a soft urethane type of cover for control in the short game. Let’s take a look at the Tour-Performance S.
Tour-Performance S Overview
The Tour-Performance S is a 3-layer ball, often referred to as 3-piece construction. The layers are the core, mantle, and cover. Each layer has specific properties and materials designed specifically for performance characteristics throughout the various shots. Golf ball construction is tough. Lower spin rates are great for longer distance and accuracy with the long clubs. But higher spin rate is desired for shorter shots. That high spin provides bite and control.
The core primarily gives the ball its compression, and feel off the driver. The core of the Tour Performance S is soft and produces a low spin rate with the driver. The mantle blends the core with the cast urethane cover. The urethane cover provides the ball’s feel and control in short game shots, even putting.
On The Course
Driving with the TPS is excellent. I love the softer core. I’m able to hit this ball as far most brand name tour quality balls. Just yesterday I was in a tournament in high winds and was still able to hit some long drives which held their line nicely. I even got to put my name on the long drive sign, but that didn’t last long I’m sure.
The soft core and urethane cover make for great feeling shots with the irons. Longer irons compress well and my accuracy with them is great. Shorter irons and especially wedges stop on a dime and leave 7 cents change. In my last round I nearly holed out two shots from roughly 100 yards. Quite sure one lipped out. Nice to have a 10 inch birdie putt now and then.
Short game shots, chipping and pitching around the green are huge beneficiaries of the urethane cover. I feel like I have total control and stopping power with my wedges.
Putting the S is terrific as well. It rolls true and is very easy to control distance.
One problem “tour” balls have is durability. It’s contradictory to have a soft cover and high durability. That said the TPS is very durable. I’ve played one ball for 2-3 rounds and it barely shows any wear.
The ultimate golf ball has low spin with the driver and high spin on shorter shots. The S performs highly on both ends of the spectrum and easily competes with tour caliber balls from the big name brands.
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.
Change of pace for me today. I played the 9-hole Forest Dale golf course, located in Salt Lake City. Forest Dale, known by my group as “Foreskin Dale,” is the oldest course in Utah, serving up bogeys since 1906. Not as old as the New Course in St Andrews (1895), but 111 years isn’t too bad. This is a mini-review.
Forest Dale Clubhouse and practice green
The clubhouse (above) is actually a historical landmark, placed on the Utah Historical Register. Can grease in the cafe be a historical landmark? It might be as old as the course. I kid. I kid.
This 9-holer is interesting. It features a par-36 but three par-5’s, three par-4’s and three par-3’s. Here’s the par-3 8th below, what I could call the “signature hole” of the course.
Forest Dale 8th hole
This course is friendly to the very casual, higher handicap golf crowd. No collars required. In fact, I’d be surprised if shirts are required. It’s inexpensive but the rolling hills make it much more interesting than some of the other flat courses in the city. The old-school greens are pretty small, but since the course is moderately short they’re not overly hard to hit. They were quite slow today. Probably more favorable for the typical client the course serves.
I don’t know who the pro in the shop is. Never met him until today. But for a hot Sunday without a lot of people playing, he was very friendly and obviously enjoying his day’s work.
Forest Dale isn’t exactly golf tourist attraction for serious players, but for locals who don’t take themselves too seriously it’s fun. It’s not too hard to get on the course. I checked in with no tee time and was on the first tee before I had a chance to tie my shoes. It was a no-stress, enjoyable day and some decent exercise for me today. Good times.
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.