Here’s an A-Z of non-golf club equipment, enjoy reading now and keep for your Xmas or birthday wish list
Marginal Gains – just how prepared are you each time you play golf?
Did you check the weather forecast the night before and pack your golf bag accordingly. If the probability of rain is only 40% do you bring umbrella?
I once played a club 4-ball competition against two tennis coaches. The forecast was heavy showers. I turned up in my golf waterproofs, waterproof hat, an umbrella mounted on my golf bag, an extra waterproof cover over the golf clubs, a towel around my neck, 3 old, spare golf clubs and two extra towels, one already tucked under the golf umbrella to keep the grips dry. My golf partner was an ex-Army guy so also came well prepared. Our tennis coach opponents had one umbrella between them and no club cover of any kind. One of them was wearing a thick woollen jumper and a beanie hat. Within a couple of holes he was soaked through (and much heavier as the jumper absorbed the rain).The conditions were horrid but we soldiered on and won easily. At the end our opponents apologised for their poor play, blamed the weather and asked for a rematch! We politely declined. I’m not trying to be smug here, just emphasising the need to be prepared for the conditions that you may experience on a golf course.
Plenty of choice here! Decisions might include, carry, trolley or buggy? Minimalist or kitchen sink? Personally I prefer to carry and have opted for a Sun Mountain waterproof bag. Build quality is outstanding and waterproof zips help to keep the contents dry, even in a heavy downpour.
- Ball markers
Poker chip sized if just cleaning and replacing your golf ball or smaller options with a pin to keep them low on the green if close to someone’s putting line
- Clothing layering
A big topic but in the cooler months think about multiple thin layers (base, mid, outer/waterproof layer)
- Distance measuring devices
Laser or GPS? Laser is generally more accurate when looking at pin placements but no help with blind driving holes or distances to bunkers, lakes, dog legs, etc. GPS devices have map features and are especially helpful when playing a course for the first time. Personally have gravitated to a laser. Some carry both.
- Food and drink
Staying hydrated and not running out of energy is important if you want to sustain your performance over a 4 hour+ period. Go for water, bananas and healthy energy bars rather than bacon butties and chocolateJ
A golf glove will give you added grip when your palms are sweaty in the summer or when rain will make them slip. They also reduce the need to grip too tightly. So leather or manmade materials? Leather has more feel but wears faster and becomes waterlogged quickly in the rain. Manmade has less feel but is more durable and better in the rain. Suggest you try both. Save your old gloves for a rainy day too (keep in a plastic bag). Change them frequently when it’s raining then throw away after the round. Overall, buy in bulk and switch to a new one when they wear or the elastic starts to stretch too much.
(You can also buy special synthetic gloves as pairs which are designed especially for the rain – the wetter they are – the more effective they become)
- Golf shoes
Leather or manmade materials? Dimples or soft spikes (metal spikes now banned at many courses) Stability is key when swinging at speeds up to 110 mph. Comfort is also vital when walking for hours at a time. Soft spikes for most of the time. Dimples during the summer months when fairways harden up (They are also easier on your lower back – Fred Couples and Justin Rose both swear by them. Ecco and Adidas respectively)
Also consider the level of waterproofing. Gore tex or a similar membrane layer.
If you’re in a competition you’ll need at least one of these, preferably with an eraser tooJ
- Pitch mark repairers
Out of courtesy to your fellow golfers and a mark of respect to the green keepers please invest in a pitch mark repairer and use it on every green, whether you made a pitch mark or not!
Perfect for warmer summer weather or all year round if you’re from New ZealandJ Golf shorts need to be “tailored” no sports or “cargo” shorts (big outside pockets)
Invented for skiers but perfect for golfing on cold and windy days
In the winter go for sports socks with ribbing around the foot for added stability and cushioning
Blister free options are also available and ideal, especially if your feet sweat a lot
In the summer, tennis socks would be fine
Skin cancer is a real issue for people who spend a lot of time out of doors
Go for at least an SPF 30 level of protection and choose a sports version which should reduce sweating
Personally I prefer those with pre-set heights. They’re colour coded by size. It will depend on your angle of attack but for me Pink for my driver, blue for a 3 wood, red for other fairway woods, and lime green for irons and hybrids. It’s one less thing to think about when playing and helps improve my consistency.
One to keep your golf clubs clean (attach to your golf bag) clean grooves on your irons will transform your ball striking and ability to stop the ball on the greens. Also a couple of hand towels kept in the bag for rainy days to keep you and your golf grips dry.
Personally I prefer compact non battery push models like Klick. Many prefer battery powered. if you go for one of these, have two batteries on the go and change after every round.
Go for a large storm proof one. Ideal in the rain or to keep the sun off on very hot days.
- Choose Gore tex or equivalent to keep you dry on the outside from the rain and because they breath and wick moisture away.
- Winter over gloves
Cold hands in winter are a recipe for disaster, especially on the short shots. Investing in warm over gloves to wear between shots.
Being well prepared won’t guarantee anything but by being well prepared you give yourself every chance to perform well and in comfort.
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