How To Remove The Hassle From Your Next Golf Trip

By Scott Kramer

Golf travel is fun. But transporting your gear with you can be a major hassle — especially shlepping your clubs to and through airports. And the costs can add up: Airlines generally charge $25 to send your golf travel bag each way domestically, although some set you back twice that amount. And that’s if it’s your only checked-in luggage. Fees may double if you’re also checking in a suitcase. Plus you’ll be tipping the bellman at the resort to move the clubs into and out of the golf bag storage area.

You can always rent clubs at your destination. But that can frankly be both expensive ($50/day on up) and dicey: You can often be given clubs that you’re unfamiliar with and are not suited to your swing. As a golf writer, I take a lot of golf trips every year for work. And rental clubs — generally my favorite option, particularly for short excursions, can be hit or miss. I recall one recent multi-day trip when the clubs were so mis-gauged for my swing that it actually ruined the golf portion of my trip. The game is not fun when you cannot get the ball airborne.

So what’s a golfer to do? Ship the clubs ahead of time to your destination. Know up front that there can be drawbacks, such as being without your clubs for a few days immediately before and after your trip. But this method can also eliminate many of the hassles. Which is why several club shipping services have gained popularity the past five years. The most popular is Ship Sticks. It’s a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company started and run by golfers, that’s been around since 2011.

I went to use it for a trip I’m taking next week. The process was simple. I called the company, told them where I live, where I was going to play golf, and how long I was going to be there. I could’ve used my own travel bag — had my father-in-law not taken it with him on his own golf trip. Instead, Ship Sticks sent me a box via FedEx, replete with pre-printed shipping labels for both directions. And they arranged a date to pick up the clubs at my home. Unfortunately, the day after the box arrived, I had to cancel the golf portion of my upcoming trip. So I was unable to use the service this time.

But several of my friends and colleagues have used it in the past. I’ve heard several praises of the service, and not one complaint. It can be a little pricey: Ship Sticks sends your clubs each way for $40 and up, depending on the weight of your bag and how quickly you need it to get there. But the convenience can outweigh the cost. The company arranges all of the back-end handling at the golf course. All you do is set your bag on your porch or at the front desk of your office, for initial pick-up. Then just show up at your destination course and the clubs will be ready for play. Whenever you want the clubs returned home — and from wherever — the company arranges for that. Next time you see the clubs is back home.

Playing golf more than once or twice on your trip can definitely justify using the service — based on the cost of rentals at most places. And while you can go directly with the likes of FedEx or UPS, those services are more expensive. There’s also a service called Luggage Forward that can do the task. Ship Sticks has its own in with the couriers, so its reps constantly keep track of exactly where your bag is at any time. The company also offers free base insurance of $1,000 on your clubs — included in your cost. But you can buy more.

When you take a golf trip, the courses you play are likely new. So it’s that much more important to have some level of familiarity to help you score well and enjoy the game. Playing your own clubs adds that level of comfort.

 

Scott Kramer is veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.

 

PerryGolf “$10,000 Tour For Two” Sweepstakes

By Leonard Finkel

PerryGolf has redesigned its website, PerryGolf.com, and its new QUICK QUOTESâ online trip calculator. To encourage new visitors to the site, the international golf travel company is holding a sweepstakes, giving away a pair of $10,000 golf vacations.

PerryGolf is a leading provider of golf tours and cruises to dozens of the world’s most memorable destinations. Perry arranges all aspects of travel for groups of men, women and couples including tee times, lodging, local transportation and airfare. The Company offers VIP golf coaches with concierge drivers for groups of 8 and 12 in the British Isles.

PerryGolf’s new website is highlighted by the industry’s only true online trip calculator, featuring dozens of Perry’s most popular custom tours. Each itinerary has been pre-configured needing only your group size and travel dates to produce an instantaneous quote.

From January 15 to February 28, 2018, visitors who generate a QUICK QUOTEâ„ will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes for a $10,000 golf trip to any of eleven destinations where the company offers custom tours. A second $10,000 Tour for Two sweepstakes will follow.

The “$10,000 Tour for Two” prize is a travel credit for a tour booked directly with PerryGolf to any of their eleven destinations. It has no cash value. The trip must be completed by December 31, 2020. One hundred semifinalists will be randomly drawn first on or about March 5, 2018 and posted to PerryGolf – The Blog. The prize winner will be randomly drawn from the semifinalists on or about March 9, 2018. No purchase is necessary to enter or claim prize. The official rules for the “$10,000 Tour for Two” Sweepstakes can be found on the PerryGolf website.

Those interested in international golf travel are encouraged to visit PerryGolf.com.

Supersize Your Photos With This New Epson

By Scott Kramer

People love digital photography. But when they want to print out photos at home, they are generally restricted to print sizes of 8.5” x 11”. After all, that’s the largest print size most everyday inkjet printers can handle. Until now.

 Epson’s new Expression Photo HD XP-15000 wide-format color printer ($350) lets you print images up to 13” x 19”. Saving you the math, that’s well over twice the size of an ordinary 8.5” x 11” sheet. As a result, your photos look relatively poster-size. I’ve been trying it out for over a month, and have made many large-format prints. Some I plan on framing. That’s because the Epson’s color range is brilliant, while the blacks are deep, and rich. The Epson even prints borderless photos, using six color cartridges of the company’s new Claria Photo HD inks — including all-new Red and Gray inks. I can’t get over how realistic and natural the skin tones are on portraits.

Of course, you don’t need to always max out the print size. There are many size options to choose from. A large, 50-sheet rear specialty media tray eases the process of special printing projects, even on cardstock or smaller photo sheets. You can even print directly on blank DVD discs or envelopes. In addition, auto two-sided printing, a 200-sheet front tray and wireless connectivity allow for easy document printing. Within minutes of setting up the printer, I was printing from an Android phone, Chromebook, iPad and Windows laptop. Never a stutter. Epson also has a free printing app for smartphones and tablets that works seamlessly with this printer. And the nice thing is, the physical footprint of the 18.7-pound machine itself is roughly the same size as most standard-size printers — so it easily fits on most desks.

Printing at the largest size, in the best quality mode, was also fairly quick. I didn’t time them, but all of the prints at that size took maybe a minute. Epson claims print documents emerge at 9.2 ISO ppm (black) and 9.0 ISO ppm (color), and 4″ x 6″ borderless photos come out in as fast as 27 seconds in draft mode. And the machine is relatively quiet all along the way.

The printer’s command center is an intuitive, clear, easy-to-navigate 2.4-inch color LCD screen that’s housed in a convenient swivel-up panel. It’s a much better interface than I’ve seen on competitor devices.

Before I came across this printer, I had been enhancing my garage man cave walls with sports photography. But to get larger-sized images, I was using the website blockposters.com — where you can take any image and print it off huge using however many sheets of paper you need. Thus, I was making posters several feet long for the walls, via the website. But of course after printing off each panel of the photo, I had to tape them together from the back so that all the edges lined up. Now with the Epson printer, I have a much more convenient, reasonable and better-looking solution.

To be honest, since getting a taste of printing larger photos like this, it will be hard returning to my conventional desktop printer.

 

Scott Kramer is veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.

GX-7 Metal Golf Club

By Barry Lotz

 

A high-density tungsten bar around the trailing edge: One of the GX-7’s coolest features – this wrap-around GX-7 Metal Golf Club

This highly touted conforming club is ubiquitous on the Golf Channel and plugged by Denis Paulson as ”Average Distance shot of a High-Performance Driver & the Accuracy of a Fairway Wood. All this is achieved through the use of this high quality 7-Iron Swing”. It truly performs exceptionally well.

 

Our testing group was so enamored by the clubs, raving “So much easier to hit than my driver and just as long, maybe even longer”, that many of them are now playing with at least two GX-7s.

The general assessment was that the ball flight was consistent, the ball went straighter and it was definitely easy to hit.

We concur with Paulson, that the GX-7’s design, which features extreme perimeter weighting and a hot stainless steel face, is much more forgiving when you fail to connect with the sweet spot. The Opti-Launch shaft performs exceptionally well.

The heart of the GX-7 lies in its sole and by checking out the GX-7’s underside, you’ll find a wealth of beneficial features.

Including:

bar serves two purposes:

1) It pulls the club head’s mass back and down, creating a super-low CG for ideal launch angle and spin rate from tee or turf, and…

2) Moves more mass to the perimeter, raising the GX-7’s moment of inertia (MOI) for archer-like accuracy – and outstanding forgiveness on miss-hits.

 

A leading edge like an iron: Softly curved at the front and from heel to toe, the GX-7 literally glides across the surface when hit from the fairway or rough.

Some of the features include a non-adjustable head, which for many golfers is more suitable based on many factors, including COG (center of gravity), so the club is therefore pre-adjusted. Also, the club’s multi-functional face progression helps players close the club face and catch the ball squarely. The base sole mimics that of a 7-iron.

Therefore, the key to getting the results you seek is to strike the ball with a slightly descending blow, just like your irons and hybrids.

The 14 degree driver sells for $199.00   with a 60-day money back guarantee.

Also available are two fairway woods (18 and 21 degrees) that are combined together for $199.00.

www.gx7golf.com

 

Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. Visit www/facebook.com/PGTAA to see all the latest mental strategies and equipment reviews. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, is now in its 7th reprint is available on Amazon and at the Torrey Pines golf course.

Capturing Action With Sony’s New Camera

 

By Scott Kramer

Playing sports aside, my favorite hobby as a kid was photographing them. My father even converted our laundry room into a darkroom. We would go to hockey games, football games or golf tournaments, use up a roll of film, and then come back home and develop it. The next night, we would review the negatives on the enlarger and see what gems we captured. My only problem was that our old Konica camera was never fast enough to really freeze fast action from close in.

 

If only I’d had Sony’s α9 CMOS sensor full frame mirrorless digital camera back then. Perhaps I could have been a professional sports photographer. Seriously. I recently had the opportunity to test out this new camera for two weeks. It’s billed as being ideal for sports and wildlife photography. And it has a silent shutter on it, so I could be on the golf course and not disturb golfers while capturing their swings.

 

In my testing, I took it to some local kids’ football games as well as to the tennis court. I was armed with the body, as well as a professional grade telephoto lens. The football games were at night, and I set up my tripod up above the field and at a distance — simulating the view and proximity a fan might shoot a game from the upper deck of a stadium. At 20 frames per second of continuous shooting — thanks to the high-speed BIONZ X image processing engine — the images I got were nothing short of spectacular. Everything crystal clear. I was able to read the writing on the ball while it was in mid-air — again taken at night in a poorly lit park. What impressed me most was how fast the auto-focus was — no matter how I panned the camera, focus seemed intuitive and instantaneous. The company claims the auto-focus system provides a focus point coverage over 93 percent of the image area.

 

On the tennis court, I was able to photograph my daughter smashing serve after serve. When I showed the photos to people, many of them instantly assumed I had hired a professional to take the pictures. As expected, she and her grimace at the point of impact showed up perfectly crisp in the foreground while the background was gracefully blurred — it was perfect depth of field to make a strong impact on a sports photo. Shutter speed can operate at up to 1/32,000 of a second. Color was vibrant, as well.

 

I admit that being used to Canon cameras, I experienced a small learning curve in using the Sony. But nothing that I couldn’t reference on the company website, see in a YouTube video, or figure out on my own.

Photos come out at 24.2 megapixels, and the camera of course lets you choose between various formats and resolution. It features a 5-axis image stabilization with an effectiveness equivalent to 5.0-stop slower shutter speed. I also tried the video mode in high-resolution 4K mode, and the results looked great.

This camera has reinvigorated the hobby for me. At $4,500, it is an investment no doubt. But the joy it will return may be priceless.

 

 

Scott Kramer is veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.

EVNroll ER5 Hatchback Putter

By Barry Lotz

 

Good old Guerin Rife is back with a vengeance! This man knows how to make putters. To keep it short and sweet, I believe his new EVNroll ER5 Hatchback has to be one of the very best putters EVER manufactured.

The way the ball rolls, the feel and the aesthetics are top notch. When I went to visit EVNroll’s offices in Vista, CA, Guerin showed me how and why his EVNroll technology simply outperforms any other groove technology on the market (TR Groove Technology). We compared my gamer, the PING Ketsch against the two EVNroll putters in his office. To get more acquainted with Guerin’s technology visit https://evnroll.com/technology/.

Bottom line, using the two putters with Guerin’s groove technology was eye-opening, especially when you see it on his track board, but more importantly was the fact that even on mishits, the ball not only traveled the same distance but ended up in the same spot! This equals more putts made. My PING putter, however, produced shorter shots/rolls with various dispersion angles.

This past October while at the Shriner’s Tournament at TPC Summerlin, I acquired the EVNroll ER5 putter, put on the new Garsen Quad Tour grip, and under the watchful eye of both Retief Goosen and EVNroll’s Tour rep, proceeded to drain 9 out of 10 putts.

For 2018, Guerin has also introduced the ER1.1, redesigned ER3, ER2CS (Center Shaft), ER7CS (Center Shaft), and the ER9 (available February 1) versions, which can be found on his web site.

$359.00                         www.evnroll.com

 

Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. Visit www/facebook.com/PGTAA to see all the latest mental strategies and equipment reviews. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, is now in its 7th reprint is available on Amazon and at the Torrey Pines golf course.

 

Xander Schauffele Joins Callaway Golf Tour Staff

By Leonard Finkel

Xander Schauffele, a rising star on the PGA Tour, has joined Callaway Golf’s professional staff. He will play Callaway woods, irons and wedges, an Odyssey Putter and a Callaway Chrome Soft ball.

 

“I’m honored to be a part of the Callaway team,” said Schauffele. “I’m focused on taking my game to a new level, and having the right equipment plays a big part in that. I’ve been so impressed with how Callaway clubs have performed for me, from the first time I started testing them during the offseason, and I’ve been using an Odyssey putter for years. So this really was a natural transition, and I’m really confident in how their equipment will help improve every part of my game.”

 

The 24-year-old Schauffele took home PGA Rookie of The Year honors last season, highlighted by his victories at the Tour Championship and Greenbrier Classic plus his T5 finish at the U.S. Open. He also finished 3rd in the FedExCup Playoff standings while averaging 306.8 yards per drive on the year. He’s already moved up to 25th in the world golf rankings.

 

Schauffele turned professional in 2015 and earned his 2016-17 PGA Tour card through the Web.com Finals. Prior to turning pro, he won 3 collegiate events while attending San Diego State, as well as the 2014 California State Amateur Championship, and was ranked in the top-10 of the world amateur rankings.

 

“Xander is one of the most exciting young players in the game,” said Callaway SVP of Global Sports Marketing Tim Reed. ” We know he’s going to do great things with our equipment, and we look forward to being there with him every step of the way.”

 

Schauffele joins an impressive class of new Callaway signings that already includes 2017 Masters Champion Sergio Garcia. He also joins a roster that features major champions like Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson, and a stable of exciting young Tour professionals including Daniel Berger, Adam Hadwin, Wesley Bryan, Ollie Schniederjans, Aaron Wise, Branden Grace, Thomas Pieters, Michelle Wie, Patrick Rodgers, Emiliano Grillo, Lee McCoy, Sam Burns, Curtis Luck and Maverick McNealy.

 

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

WIN GOLF WITH STEWART CINK AT REYNOLDS LAKE OCONEE

By Leonard Finkel

A round with Stewart Cink— PGA Tour star, British Open Champion and five-time U.S. Ryder Cup team member, is one part of a dream golf contest offered by Reynolds Lake Oconee.

The winner of the “Reynolds 360 with Stewart Cink,” which begins today and continues through March 8, 2018, receives a complete immersion experience for two at Reynolds Lake Oconee, an award-winning golf and lakefront destination between Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia.

The Grand Prize also features two rounds of golf, luxury accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee from April 7 -11, complimentary dinners, airfare, ground transportation and more, including a shooting experience at the resort’s new Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds.

The contest is open to all current subscribers of the personalized Reynolds Insider e-newsletter as well as new subscribers who sign up for the newsletter by March 8. Newsletter sign-up and entry forms are at www.reynoldslakeoconee.com/reynolds-insider. The winner will be randomly selected on or about March 9.

Cink, the popular six-time winner on the PGA Tour, is a resident of Duluth, Ga. An outdoors enthusiast, he enjoys boating and water sports, which makes him an ideal partner during a trip to the luxury golf community located on 19,000-acre Lake Oconee.

“This is an amazing opportunity to play golf and explore the many outdoor options at Reynolds Lake Oconee,” Cink said. “This incredible vacation is going to be a lot of fun.”

Reynolds Lake Oconee is one of only 11 golf resorts in the US to earn the prestigious Platinum Medal from GOLF Magazine. Six distinctive designs, fantastic lodging and dining options and its lakefront location have firmly established Reynolds Lake Oconee as one of the nation’s premier golf destinations.

The “Reynolds 360 with Stewart Cink” provides the winner and one guest:

  • 5 days and 4 nights at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee (arrival Saturday, April 7; departure Wednesday, April 11)
  • Domestic round-trip coach airfare
  • Ground transportation to and from Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport and Reynolds Lake Oconee
  • Meet and greet and golf with Stewart Cink on The Oconee course at Reynolds Lake Oconee
  • Full club fitting at the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade, including a new set of golf clubs and select accessories
  • Peter Millar wardrobe for winner including shirts, shorts, pants, and shoes
  • A cross section of unique dining experiences each night of stay
  • “Sporting Clays Adventure” at Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds
  • One round of golf at The Jack Nicklaus designed Great Waters course
  • Two spa treatments at The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

For additional information about the “Reynolds 360 with Stewart Cink,” as well as Reynolds Lake Oconee, access www.reynoldslakeoconee.com .

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

Axis1 Tour – The Perfectly Balanced Putter

By Barry Lotz

 

In 2006, Luis Pedraza, an internationally-acclaimed industrial designer with over 20 patents and an avid golfer, founded Axis Putters. His USP (Ultimate Selling Proposition) was how he figured out how to design and produce a putter with no Torque! Simply put, zero torque means there is no twisting, aka “opening of the putter head” of the putter at all! This, in turn, will produce a ”sweet spot” that will be much easier to strike on each putt more consistently.

Additionally, Luis’s patented heel counterweight places the center of gravity in line with the shaft and right on the center of the putter face – the “sweet spot”.

Another design innovation is the bent neck of the putter. This improves alignment. So when you set up and look down, your golf ball appears to be “slotted” in a “pocket” and coupled with the existing black aiming line on the putter – – you feel you can’t miss!

I love the balance of the putter most. I also like the distance control and clean roll offered by using this model, as well as the blue Lamkin pistol grip.

Do not judge a book by its cover. This putter almost putts itself.

$399.00                                    http://www.axis1golf.com

 

 

Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. Visit www/facebook.com/PGTAA to see all the latest mental strategies and equipment reviews. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, is now in its 7th reprint is available on Amazon and at the Torrey Pines golf course.

Garsen Golf Quad Tour Proto Grips

By Barry Lotz

 

Garsen grips are fast gaining popularity, with 10 wins on the PGA Tour. Major Champion winners, such as Retief Goosen and Henrik Stenson and Geoff Olgilvy are devotees of the Garsen grips. I personally have become a better putter since installing the grips.

The Garsen Golf “Quad Tour Proto” putter grip was designed with direct input from PGA tour players and the top putting coaches on tour and are currently in play by over a dozen PGA tour players.

Garsen has taken the same technology which has led to the success of the EDGE and MAX putter grips. The QUAD grip was designed with a more traditional hand placement, but with the benefits of the original grips which help turn your elbows into your body and sets your shoulders back.

This relieves arm and shoulder tension, inhibits wrist action, which takes “the hands out of the putting” and promotes proper shoulder rotation, creating a solid putting stroke, which will give you a one-piece feel, leading to a more consistent stroke.

They are available in non-tapered $28.95 and full taper $24.95 in a (red/blu) (blu/red) color combination. www.garsengolf.com

 

Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. Visit www/facebook.com/PGTAA to see all the latest mental strategies and equipment reviews. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, is now in its 7th reprint is available on Amazon and at the Torrey Pines golf course.

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