Golf Gifts for Christmas 2011

Christmas DecorWith Christmas fast approaching my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas. As a mad golfer it is always so difficult to decide on golf gift ideas that would really make my day. I have a couple of ideas which I list below and would appreciate any comments from readers as to which I should choose :-) Maybe I have forgotten something that you think is really awesome, if I have then please let me know by commenting below.

Garmin Approach G5 Waterproof Touchscreen Golf GPS

Garmin Approach G5 Waterproof Touchscreen Golf GPSThis is something  I have always wanted, not only is it waterproof but it has a great screen that you can read in the sun. It also has very accurate shot measuring distances and records your four balls score so you can check it out on the PC when you get back home. It has all the US courses pre-loaded and you get free updates. This has to be a fantastic gadget for any golfer. The reviews on this product have been outstanding, if you want to have a look. BLACK FRIDAY GPS DEALS ARE CRAZY THIS YEAR – CLICK HERE!

 

 

P3ProSwing Pro Package for Clubs

P3 ProSwing Golf Simulator for Home

I have always wanted my own golf simulator. The P3 ProSwing is one of the most popular models. This will allow me to work on my swing and play some virtual golf for fun. The only thing I have to work out is a room with enough space and height clearance to swing golf clubs. Again this has some excellent reviews, click here to read some.

 

TaylorMade Men’s R11 Driver (2011)

Taylormade R11 Driver

I just love the cosmetics on this driver, it really is striking and modern looking. I have already reviewed this product which you can read by clicking here. I have had the opportunity to test one of these out thoroughly and with all its adjustments the Taylormade R11 has to get my vote as Driver of the Year! Once again this product has excellent reviews from other customers at Amazon.com.

 

 

 Nike Trunk Organizer, Black/Silver

Nike Golf Trunk OrganizerAlthough not as exciting as the products above I would love one of these to chuck all my golf kit in when I travel to play golf. This is really a well designed product that would be handy to any golfer. I have seen quite a few different makes and models but the Nike Trunk has my vote. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

Callaway Quad Net, 8 Feet

Callaway Quad Net 8 Feet

This is really cool for practice in the garden. Nothing technical about this product but it works much better than a home made attempt at producing a practice net!

If you are lucky enough to have a golf simulator then this could come in handy for catching balls.

Click here for more info on this practice hitting net.

Confidence Junior Golf Set

Confidence Junior Golf SetWhy not get your Children playing some golf. It is a great sport and good to get them started when they are still young. The Confidence Junior Golf Set is a great place to start. There is no point in spending a lot of money as they will grow out of the clubs quickly. I also strongly recommend you do not try and cut down old clubs you may have lying around. This is possible the worst thing to do as you ruin the balance and swing weight of the club and make shafts super stiff! You can read more on this with my article on Children’s Golf Clubs. You can check more information on the Confidence Junior Golf Set on the Amazon page and you get Free Shipping!

Taylormade Penta Special Offer

Taylormade Penta 3 Dozen Special

This new Golf ball from Taylormade has been very popular. It features a new 5 layer technology that creates faster ball speed and therefore more distance. This would make a really nice golf gift. There is currently a fantastic special you get from Amazon where you buy 2 dozen and they will give you 1 dozen absolutely FREE! Click here for more details.

 

 

These are few things on my wish list. Let me know what you think would be the best Golf Gift Ideas for Christmas by leaving a comment below!

 

 

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Medicus Power Meter

Medicus Power MeterOne of the easiest ways to get more distance is to increase your swing speed. The problem is to actually monitor your swing speed. It is almost impossible to tell without expensive equipment like golf simulators and launch monitors. The Medicus Power Meter provides an easy solution. This can also help you to fit the correct shafts into your clubs as it gives you a fast and accurate swing speed reading.

 

 

How Does the Medicus Power Meter Work?

It is very easy to use and can be attached to any of the clubs in your bag.  Simply clip it on to the shaft and swing away. This is where it differs from other similar products as there are no sensors or other irritating equipment which can get in the way. Watch how easy it is to use in the video below.

You can get the Medicus Power Meter as a stand alone gadget or you can get it as part of the Medicus PowerPak Kit which includes their dual hinged driver to help you practice your swing.

To read some positive customer reviews on the Medicus Power Meter and for Free shipping and ordering information click here for Amazon.com.

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Golf Shaft Torque

We often read a lot about Golf Shaft Torque and what consequences it has for a golfer. Let’s take a look and see what it is and how it effects your swing and performance. Shaft Torque is often printed on the shaft and is expressed in degrees. Torque ratings are most commonly found on graphite or composite shafts you will not normally see any manufacturer publish their steel shaft ratings. Steel shafts do have a very minimal amount of torque but it is less of a factor.

What is Shaft Torque?

It is a really simple expression for how much a shaft twists when a certain amount of pressure or force is placed on it. One way to see what we are talking about is to hold your driver head in one hand and the grip with your other. If you twist the grip you will feel a certain amount of give in the shaft, this is the rotational torque. Imagine during your swing you hit the ball out the toe, the club face can twist on a higher torque shaft causing your shot to push put to the right. So, essentially shaft torque is a measurement of resistance to twisting when a force is applied. A shaft with a 4 degree torque rating can rotate 4 degrees when enough pressure is applied. Depending on the quality of the materials shafts can vary from 7-8 degrees right down to around 1 degree.

Shaft Materials

So how do shaft companies change or measure the torque? In the early days shafts were table rolled, in other words, flat sheets of graphite were rolled around a mandrel (a metal tube) and depending how tight the sheets were wound you could determine the shaft flex. Most decent shafts today are filament wound (read my article here) which gives the factory far more control over the shafts final specifications. Cheap graphite shafts have a large percentage of fiberglass and really have no care taken to stick to precise tolerances. The fiberglass is heavier than graphite and that is why expensive shaft technology contains pure graphite.

When the shafts are put through the filament winding process the factory can work out on a computer how to wind the graphite strands to achieve a fairly exact weight, flex, kick point and torque rating.

To build a quality shaft with a lower torque requires more expensive materials and a more time consuming production process.

One of the problems in the world of golf today is what are the standards. Well to be honest, there aren’t any. If you have the equipment to measure the torque rating you need to clamp the top of the shaft in a machine and force the shaft to rotate to see it’s torque rating. However, depending where you clamp it (at the top or say 2″ down the shaft) you will get very different readings. Also, different machines can produce different results so it is nearly impossible to work out an exact torque rating and we have to rely on the manufacturers who yet again may measure things in slightly different ways.

How do I find Ideal Torque for Myself?

I have found over the years that extremely low torque shafts feel quite dead to the average golfer. Unless you have a really powerful swing you do not want to go too low otherwise you will probably lose feel and control. On the other hand if you have a really slow swing which usually won’t generate a lot of power then a slightly higher torque shaft (around 5 degrees) may actually feel much better as if the shaft has some life in it.

Don’t Worry too much about Shaft Torque

If we sum everything up I would say that 95%+ of golfers out there will be fine playing with a reasonable quality graphite shaft and shouldn’t need to spend any time worrying about golf shaft torque ratings as it will not have a huge effect. If you are looking to go on tour and have a fast and powerful swing then it is important to fit yourself out with a lower torque shaft.

 

 

 

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Home Putting Green

Starpro Home Putting GreenAll golfers are aware that the real scores in golf are achieved around the greens, to lower your handicap and improve your scores why not install a Home Putting Green to allow you to practice as often as you like without having to leave your home. Putting greens are on sale from basic carpet like models right up to custom installations, let’s have a look at the different options below.

 

(The picture above is the perfect solution from Starpro Greens but it is rather expensive for the average golfer!)

 

Home Putting Green Options

Grassroots Par Three Putting GreenThis is the type of home putting green you can buy for under $50. Although this is not a professional green it is something you could use in your home or office. This is not going to turn you into an overnight putting sensation but it will allow you to practice fairly easily wherever you decide to set it up. It is perfect for the office if you have space to practice a few putts when you have a short break.

 

 

This next model is a bit more of a training aid than a basic putting green. Although Putting Trainerit is quite a bit more expensive. It ships in different lengths and has a string that helps you line up putts and keeps your putter on line. This can help you correct any problems that you may have with bringing your putter back outside the line. Training aids have helped me tremendously in my golf and this could help you to become a much better overall putter. It is available in 3 different sizes (7,9,13 foot)

  • Golf Putting training aids
  • Improve your putts
  • Six different devices deliver quick,  feedback when you make a putt
  • String Guide for marking a path to the hole
  • Ball-Marking Tool helps with alignment

Big Moss Home Putting Green

Big Moss Home Putting Green
The Big Moss putting green is a is a 4′ x 12′ home putting green that you can easily roll up for storage. It is easily moved around and perfect for either the home or office. You can also use it for chipping practice. One of the nice things about this product is the ‘break snakes’ that allow you to make contours and mini up hills by moving around the parts underneath the green. This is perfect for practicing your putting all year round.

 

Pro Circuit Home Putting Green with Ball Return

Pro Circuit Home Putting GreenThe Pro Circuit has a handy ball return system to bring your ball right back to you after each putt. You can adjust the putting surface to either 3,6 or 9 feet and with a stimp meter reading of 9 this plays like top tournament conditions. The ball return system has been designed to work for right and left hand players. The Pro Circuit is a reasonably priced product that can give you a quick few minutes of putting practice every day,

This is just a  small sample of the many home putting greens you could choose from. They range from just under $50 right up to $1700 for the Starpro (picture at the top of the page) so there is a putting green to suit every budget. With Winter almost here it makes sense to set up some basic equipment at home to keep your golf game alive over this season. Click Here for a nice selection of putting greens from Amazon.com

Have you tried any of the home putting greens above? Leave your comments below!

 

 

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Selecting a Golf Ball

Golf ball in grassAs with many things in golf there are just so many great golf balls for sale it is quite difficult to decide on selecting a golf ball one will suit you the best. Golf Balls have a massive price difference between the entry level models and the top performing branded balls.

Let’s take a look at what is available at the moment.

There are also some unique and novel balls that you can buy which make great gifts for Christmas or special occasions.

Which Golf Ball Should I be Using?

This is perhaps one of the hardest questions to ask as different balls have unique feels and therefore quite often it comes down to a personal choice. One thing we can be certain of beginners will not be able to tell a huge difference from one ball to the next so if you are new to the game a middle of the range quality golf ball will be fine.

For better players I would have to admit that currently Titleist are number one. You can verify this by taking a quick look at the PGA Tour Statistics, most of the top players are using the Titleist Pro V1 and the Titleist Pro v1 X, you can check all the specifications on these balls here Golfballs.com which offer the largest selection of new, custom logo & personalized golf balls on the planet!

The Titleist balls are quite expensive and I suppose that is for a reason, they have been manufacturing golf balls since 1935. This gives them the experience to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. I wanted to find out how many balls they make every year and I came across another site which said they shipped over 28 million dozen in the last year, that is mind blowing! (Not Verified Though!) This goes to show you how big the Golf Ball market really is!

There are plenty more popular Golf Balls used on tour at the moment, Srixon Z-Star, Callaway Tour and the Taylormade Penta. The Nike One has proven to be a very good product and they have a full range to suit every level of player ability. Lets have a deeper look at the Taylormade Penta TP.

Taylormade Penta TP

This is the first 5 layer ball ever manufactured, you can how the ball is constructed from the image. According to Taylormade each layer helps with a specific shot characteristic.  So far customer reviews have been very favorable and I can see this ball gaining popularity. To explain the function and benefits of the 5 cores read below.

  • Feel: Urethane cover for softer feel and a higher spin-rate on essential wedge shots within the 100-yard “scoring zones”
  • Spin: Outer mantle delivers optimum spin from short-irons to prevent the ball quickly on the green without sacrificing distance
  • Control: Middle mantle increases accuracy with mid-irons and prevents up-shooting, ballooning and falling short of your target
  • Launch: Inner mantle creates soft feel, high-launch, and low spin off the long-irons for amazing distance
  • Distance: Core provides faster ball speed, high-launch and low spin off the driver for maximum carry and extremely long distance

If you want to test some of these out then check out the special at Golfballs.com Buy 2 Dozen Taylormade Penta and get 1 Dozen Free!

I currently use the Taylormade Penta balls and have been very happy with them so far. It just seems to have a refreshing feel, maybe it is in my head! I do find it interesting though how much technology and design is packed in to a standard Golf Ball. How much is beneficial and how much is marketing, without the sophisticated testing equipment the big guys have access to, I guess we will never know!

Golf Ball Fitting

Quite a few companies have introduced Golf Ball Fitting. Whether it is by following an interactive process online or using a BLM (Ball launch Monitor) where a specialist can help you determine the best ball for your game. This generally works by capturing your shot data with the help of radar ball tracking technology and using high speed photography. The sensors capture your launch angle, spin rate, distance and ball speed off the club to fit out the best golf ball for you. This is certainly the way to work out which ball is best if you have access to a facility that has this technology near to you.

So, which golf ball do I choose?

If you are a lower Handicap golfer then either the ProV1 or Penta are the top two balls on the market at the moment and get my vote. Higher handicaps can choose from the large variety of mid range balls around that are normally about the same in specification and price. Perhaps a good all round ball is the Top Flight Gamer V2 for mid range golfers.

Personalize your Golf Ball

Golfballs.com have a great service where they personalize your golf ball by printing your initials or name around the side of the ball. This makes a great gift and is worth checking out! They also do novelty balls where you can have any image or photo printed directly on the ball.

Conclusion

It is nearly impossible to tell with any sort of accuracy which model you should buy, it very much depends on your capability as a golfer and your budget. Buying an expensive ball is unlikely to make you a much better player. My recommendation is to try to get to a facility which has a BLM as this will give you the best chance of selecting a golf ball which has the closest match to your game.

What do you think is the best Golf Ball? Leave your opinion below.

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Are Lighter Drivers Better?

ScalesThe trend from most manufacturers in the last couple of years is to slowly reduce the overall weight of their Drivers. If you think back 20-30 years ago everyone played with a wooden head and a steel shaft.

Today you probably have a 400cc/460cc Titanium Driver in your bag and an ultra light weight shaft that is getting close to 300grams in total. Grips have weighed an average of 50grams for a while now but lighter models around 40g are available.

The clubs from years ago used to weigh in around the 370 gram mark, which as you can see is a fair amount heavier than your average driver today. This is the major advantage of Titanium, the head is much bigger but the material weight is considerably lower. Around 5 years ago the USGA capped the size you can build a driver to 460cc, we have to wonder what materials and clubs would be retailing today if they didn’t implement this rule!

Steel shafts used to weigh twice as much as current lightweight graphite’s and the shaft companies are scrambling to shave every last gram off the finished product they can.

The big branded companies currently claim that the lighter the overall club is the faster you will swing it and therefore the longer your shot will go. This theory seems to work for some people but certainly not for everyone. I suppose it is another choice you have when selecting a new club. Often if the club is too light you will lose control, so you have to strike a balance between that extra distance on your drive without spraying shots all over the place.

The Taylormade R11 comes standard with the Fujikura blur 60 which they have finished with a new low density paint, the shaft weighs in at 56grams! This is quite clever as to be honest I had never even considered the paint as a factor.

If we thought the R11 was serious in the lightweight department then the new Cobra Long Tom has been launched (named after a serious cannon used in the second world war), this club is 48″ in length and weighs in at 269grams! This has to be the lightest retail club ever sold. The 48″ (4ft) length of the shaft is the USGA’s maximum legal shaft length. I have not had a chance to hit this yet but I am really looking forward to getting my hands on one, the results should be interesting.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues and whether it will stick as the market standard, or, as with most things in the golf world it will go full circle and people will want slightly heavier clubs again.

Have an opinion? Leave your comment below.

 

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