Nowhere does a golfer see so much of what he wants so badly as
he does at the sport's annual trade show in Orlando. Last week
the aisles at the Orange County Convention Center were again
bristling with cool stuff, and after four days of separating the
wheat from the chaff, this is what made every member of our
scouting party say, "I've got to get me some of that."
--Gary Van Sickle
These shoes could be right up your alley
The slip-on Dexter Golf Mocs ($79.99) are time-savers--no more
lacing up your spikes in the parking lot. Golf Mocs are made of
neoprene and Lycra and are remarkably comfortable. If they look
like bowling shoes, so what? Maybe you won't feel so bad about
your 138 average.
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!
The Ball War rages. The new entries taking no prisoners at the
PGA show were all of the nonwound variety. The multilayer
Titleist Pro V1 ($54 a dozen) has been the talk of the Tour
since last fall and is now available for regular hacks. What's
different about the Spalding Strata Tour Ultimate ($54) is the
tungsten pellet in the center. The Ultimate made news last month
when Jim Furyk won the Mercedes Championships with it. The
construction of the Wilson iWound ($34.99) is unique--a
plasticlike lattice wrapped around a solid core.
When push comes to shove, try this
Pull carts are for sissies, right? Not the Sun Mountain Speed
Cart ($199), which you push rather than pull. The cart rolls so
freely on its inflatable wheels that you need only one finger to
push it. The Speed Cart is light (15 pounds), folds up more
easily than a road map and fits into the tiny trunk of that
sports car you suddenly feel young enough to buy. To add a little
attitude to your game, strap on an Ogio Stinger SKV bag ($199).
The SKV (Single Kill Vehicle) has 11 pockets and eight top
compartments, plus neat extras, such as the neoprene three-ball
pouch that lets you squeeze out a ball when you need to reload.
When you get too frustrated and feel the need to hit something,
go ahead and smash the WhackDuck ($39.99) that hangs from your
bag. It'll respond with one of 18 taped comebacks. The best:
"You're not good enough to get angry!"
Three more irons in the fire
The Mizuno MP-33 forged blades ($1,132 for eight with steel
shafts) were the best-looking irons at the show. But beware: You
gotta have game to play these lean, clean, scoring machines. For
mere mortals a set of the resurrected Spalding Ben Hogan Apex
Edge ($925), forged, perimeter-weighted clubs made of carbon
steel or one of three versions of the TaylorMade 300 Series
($920) may be a better option.
He took a Calc-ulated risk on a new shaft
The True Temper BiMatrx shaft ($60) was introduced in Orlando but
made a bigger splash 2,100 miles away in Arizona, where Mark
Calcavecchia (left) put one in his driver on the Tuesday of
tournament week, then broke a 56-year-old Tour scoring record at
the Phoenix Open. The shaft has a graphite body and a steel tip,
making it light (about 80 grams) as well as stable. Another
showstopper: the Fujikura Speeder 757 ($350, honest). The Bentley
of graphite shafts, the Speeder is hot, hot, hot on Tour (Phil
Mickelson and Mike Weir have them in their drivers) for the same
reason as the BiMatrx--it's stable, even at pro swing speeds.
Would you spend a month's salary on a driver that gives you 10
extra yards? Would you give up Super Bowl tickets to guarantee a
straight tee ball? Would you pass on dinner with Jennifer Lopez
if, overnight, you could back up a wedge shot like the big boys?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're what
Arnold Palmer calls a recreational golfer, and as such you're
qualified to use these helpful--and nonconforming to USGA
standards--items found at the PGA show.
SLIP-SLIDING AWAY Golf, like most of our favorite activities,
goes better with a lubricant. Forget messy gels and gooey sticks:
Spray Flight Coat ($14.95) on the face of your clubs (a secret
ingredient helps it evaporate in seconds), and you're left with a
high-tech Exxon Valdez slick that minimizes side spin and makes
your shots--yes!--go straight. Best of all, this slightly toxic
spray contains no ozone-depleting chemicals. Looks like a win-win
FEELIN' GROOVY This smorgasbord of interchangeable inserts can
make a ball hit by the Spin Doctor RI wedge (wedge, $99.95;
inserts, $5.95-$14.95 each) back up like a yo-yo, sit down, roll
over, play dead or sing Edelweiss. Insert choices include
diamond, titanium, nickel and, our favorite, the reverse groove.
Square grooves? They're for sissies. The Spin Doctor's
reverse groove will slice your ball better than a Veg-O-Matic.
MONSTER MASH At 450 cubic centimeters, the head of the Integra
Super 450 ($249) driver was the biggest at the show--possibly even
bigger than Garth Brooks's. The Super 450's ultrathin beta
titanium shell creates way too much springlike effect to be
legal, and the driver's manly seven-inch shaft says this
supersized club is perfect for you, that is, if your name is
Herman Munster. Warning: may cause a solar eclipse.
LIKE A ROLLING STONE You name the rule, the Viper
ball ($19.99 a dozen) breaks it. The Viper is too heavy,
too small and has too much initial velocity. No need to dial
1-800 before making a long-distance call with these babies.
HANDYMAN Get a grip on your game, finally, with Powerglove
($15.95). Slip the butt of the club handle through the loop just
below the pinkie finger and the club locks into your palm like
the ex-wife on your assets. It's like having a sixth finger. If
you're physically impaired (don't forget to bring a note from
your doctor), the Powerglove might be okayed for use in
competition. Hey, that hardly seems fair. --G.V.S.
SEVEN COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW KAUFMAN
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND