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John Renslow: New gear to help your game

John Renslow

Twice a year, golf course operators and golf industry vendors gather to highlight new ideas and showcase new products. Earlier this week, the Fall PGA Expo took place in a large, aircraft hanger sized convention center filled with golf purveyors from all over the world.

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

Thankfully, there are many golf addicts (just like us) around the globe. We, the millions of folks chasing a little white ball (and spending billions of dollars in the pursuit), inspire the manufacturers of golf products to keep ‘pushing the outside of the envelope’, to create or develop products that will help us improve and enhance our game, if not our life (through things like skin or vision protection).

Of course, many of the vendors are also infatuated with the game, so for them, this is often a labor of love.

Today, Get Into Golf will introduce several useful (if not fun) products that will fit into most everyone’s budget. Then, next week we will expand into the higher ticket items. A couple of those may require financing (like a new, street legal, electric golf cart from Korea that tops out at 50 mph and will fit into a parking space that your car cannot), but generally they are affordable.

Let’s get started with a little device to assist in making those short putts. Although somewhat of a dying art, we still see a few folks holding a putter up in front of their face, trying to determine which way the putt is going to break. This time honored process was designed to show the player the lie of the land and, in turn, the slope of the green. Whether or not this works is still under debate, but now there is no need for such primeval tactics.

Enter, the EEZ-READ. Essentially, this is a ball-marker with a level built into the top. It is about the size of quarter in diameter and about half an inch tall. Looking down at it, you will see a clear casing filled with green fluid. An air bubble within wobbles back and forth between cross hairs marked in the casing. If the land is level, the air bubble will rest directly in a circle in the center. When the bubble is on the left or right, it shows that one side is higher than the other. The ground is therefore not level and the putt should move away from the bubble.

Just mark your ball as you normally would. Look straight down at the top of the EEZ-READ. Is the bubble in the middle? The putt should be straight. If not, play the putt to break. It will even show uphill versus downhill. Pretty clever, heh?

You can find it online at http://www.EEZ-READ.com. Granted, it’s not legal for competition, but have fun with it. Next time you play in the Club Championship or try to qualify for the US Open, you’ll have to leave it at home. Your spouse can use it for that stubborn home improvement project.

How about a new item for the fastidious? Well, its not so much new as it is improved. It’s a scientific spit shine called FIZ. Rather than carrying around a wet towel or a bulky brush to clean your clubs, try a new, all-in-one aerosol golf cleaner. From a tidy cylinder no larger than a small tube of toothpaste, a foam spray will stick to the face or grip of the club. On the end of the container is a firm, plastic scrubber to remove the tough stuff. The product is 98% water, so when you’re done it just evaporates.

Take a look online http://www.fizgolf.com or it will soon be located at the Alta Sierra Country Club’s Pro Shop.

Now, here’s one that I really like, because it is good for adults, and better yet, great for the kids. Known as BirdieBalls, these ‘balls’ would not give the impression of flight when you first see them. However, this napkin-ring, (round and hollow) looking thing flies just like a golf ball, only shorter. Hit any club with them (there is a special tee for hitting drivers) and the maximum distance is about 50 yards, with approximately 2 yards difference between the irons.

Kids love them. Schools around the country are using the BirdieBall and an accompanying BirdieBall Golf Set. It’s presented in a fun setting (with colorful targets as an option) and a 9-hole golf course can be built using a football field.

Your backyard could be the setting for a new, challenging layout and … you don’t have to worry about a broken window. Check it out at http://www.birdieball.com.

Boy, that is some cool stuff. I am sure glad that the world is full of avid golfers to keep the ideas and innovation flowing, so we can get our golf fix.

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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