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John Renslow: Gear up with new gadgets

Last week Get Into Golf provided you with information about some new or improved products from the PGA’s fall merchandise show. Each year golf course operators and golf industry vendors gather to showcase new products and highlight new ideas. This year’s exposition took place in an aircraft hanger-sized convention center in Las Vegas.

An abundance of golf clubs, golf carts, software, game improvement tools, and game enjoyment items are presented, as well as the latest in fashion and apparel for women and men.

Rather than “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, it is my solemn privilege to share the experience with you. (Well, almost everything … I’ll leave out a couple of poor decisions at a poker table in Binions.)



We began with a few useful, if not fun, products that will fit into mostly everyone’s budget. The EEZ-READ putting device, essentially a level built into a ball-marker to help you read the greens. FIZ, a new spin for the fastidious golfer. It’s like a scientific spit shine to keep your golf club’s clean. And, the BirdieBall, a fun way to teach kids how to play and/or practice around the yard.

Today, we’ll start with a practical product that, although not real romantic, could be very helpful for golf and beyond. It’s actually surprising with our many outdoor activities an effective sunscreen and insect repellant has not received broad appeal. Bugbeegone, producers of AllSport, an all natural insect repellant and sunscreen may have an explanation and a solution.




According to the makers of AllSport, the problem is DEET, the chemical used in nearly all insect repellants. DEET is incompatible with sunscreen ingredients and neutralizes their effectiveness. AllSport is a DEET free, 100 percent natural SPF 30 sunscreen and insect repellant.

Considering that only a small percentage of us use sunscreen regularly and we love to be outdoors on the course, we should all be using this stuff. AllSport is FDA approved and it applies with a spray on mist that dries on contact.

Okay, let’s up the ante a bit with a couple of trendy, but helpful items. One is the Laser Link. Laser Link is a pistol shaped laser that bounces off a reflector on the flagstick to inform you of the exact yardage. The Laser Link is quite accurate. However, a drawback is that they only work well with golf courses equipped with an appropriate reflective device.

The new product from Laser Link is pink, ladies version. Known as the Lady Laser Link. The unit is smaller to more easily fit into a woman’s hand and a portion of each unit sold goes to support breast cancer research and awareness. (www.laserlinkgolf.com)

If you’re a big Callaway fan, it may be time for a new watch. They have some slick timepieces for men and women included in a Sports Series, a Collection Series, and a few designed to hang from your golf bag. Granted, I don’t play Callaway, but these things look pretty cool. (www.callawaygolfwatches.com)

On the eco-friendly side, we have a new biodegradable golf tee. Produced by Plantaplast, the tees are made from wheat starch and degrade within six to 12 weeks on the golf course. Check them out at http://www.biogolftee.com.

This last one might be extravagant to some, but may be very practical to others. It is the e-ZONE Golf Car. It’s kind of like the Smart car meets the golf cart. This little guy is street legal, tops out at about 50 miles per hour and has a special set up in the back for two golf bags.

ZONE stands for Zero Oil and No Emissions. They will travel up to 70 miles on one charge and cost an average of $10 a month in electricity. It has windshield wipers, a climate control system, CD player and an optional sunroof.

Just think, if you don’t drive down the hill very often, Alta Sierra, Grass Valley, and Nevada City are your primary ports of call; you can go play golf, head over to the grocery store (finding a spot to park would be easy), then stop by a friend’s house, without changing vehicles and it only cost you two bucks to plug it in.

The e-Zone vehicles costs about $15,000 which may be a bit pricey, but with the price of gas these days, you may get your money back pretty soon.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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