Golf Equipment reviews

Course Management – How can you play your best golf if you don’t know your distances?

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Golf is a game where you play to a target. This means that to hit that target you need to know how far away you are from it, right? In this article we discuss a simple way for you to determine how far you hit each club and give you our recommendations of the best golf GPS devices.

First things first, you need to know how far you hit each club in your bag, excluding your putter. Our recommendation is to choose a calm day and take a bucket of balls to the practice tee. Hit ten balls starting with your Sand Wedge and pace out the average distance. Discard the furthest two and shortest two balls and mark that distance in a notebook. If you mishit a shot, shank, duff etc. then simply take another. Remember, you are just trying to find your average distances. Next choose your Pitching Wedge and do the same. Complete this task right the way through your bag, pacing out the average distance for each club. After 60 minutes you should have a clear picture of how far you hit each club. This will not only give you a boost in confidence when you are faced with a shot that you know you can easily achieve. It will also help you avoid certain obstacles on the course if you know you can either lay up short or play over them. This exercise should be done two or three times a year just to ensure that your distances are consistent.

So now you know how far you hit the ball with each club. Next you need to find a simple way to establish the distances to the green. Many courses will have the two hundred, one hundred and fifty and one hundred yards marked out with a coloured disc in the fairway. Others will have a distance marked from each sprinkler head on the fairway. Some, just have a post for one hundred and fifty yards. All of these are better than nothing, however they are assuming you are on the fairway. What happens when you find yourself out of position, maybe on another fairway?

A simple and effective device is the golf GPS. This will give you accurate distances around the course, for example to the green and to hazards. But there are so many to choose from. So which is best for you?

Firstly, lets look at the cheapest method which is simply an app on your phone. We have used many of these over the years and the one we would recommend is Golfshot: Golf GPS this is an extremely accurate application with distances to hazards, front, centre and back of the greens. It can also give you a fly over of the hole in the paid version. Which you may find useful if you are playing a course for the first time. The only downside to these types of applications is the hardware that they are on. Not only do they zap your phone battery but there is also the inconvenience of keep getting your phone out of your bag. When I have used these types of apps I can sometimes start checking messages and get distracted. Overall though they are better than nothing and usually have a lite version for free so worth giving it a try.

Next is the GPS watches. This is now a very popular choice for many golfers. Mainly because of their convenience. You simply charge it up, select your course and you are ready to play. A quick glance at your watch will give you distances to hazards, and as before front, middle and back of the green.
These devices are now very affordable and look stylish too. In fact when we have tested GPS watches we couldn’t really find a downside to them.

Another device that is popular amongst golfers is the Laser Rangefinder . These devices as the name suggests use laser technology to return distances to anything that you aim it at. We have found that for distances of two hundred yards and over you may need a few tries to return the distance. Again, they are extremely accurate, relatively inexpensive and very easy to use. Where these devices have the advantage is on your approach to the green. With a laser you can aim it at the pin and get the precise distance. With all the other devices you are aiming to a part of the green where you think the pin is located.

Finally, there are the new handheld devices that not only give you GPS data for your round but also tracks your shots as you play. You place a small disc that fits into the grip of each golf club. Start the device, and before you play each shot you tap the disc onto the device. This will then register your position on the golf course and the club that you are using. When you are ready to play your next shot you tap the device again with the club that you are about to play. The device then knows that this is a new shot and will mark the distance and whether you hit the fairway or green.
When you have finished your round you upload the data and you now have a statistical representation of your game. Including number of shots, fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts. It will also give you the distances that you hit each club. Overtime this will help you build up a picture of your game and where you can improve. We have used this GPS device and it works very well to identify areas for improvement. Mainly for the GT team missing fairways with the driver.

In summary there are lots of choices on the market to fit all budgets, so really there is no reason why you should be guessing your distance to the green. Get your device now and start lowering your scores and improving your game.

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The Golf Talk team

A simple and effective way to mark your golf ball

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Did you know that according to Rule 15, the penalty for playing the wrong ball in Matchplay is lost of hole and in Strokeplay it is a two shot penalty.

Also If you are playing Stroke play, then you must go back and replay any shots with the correct ball. If you fail to correct your mistake before teeing off on the next hole you could be disqualified from the competition.

In addition the player whose ball was incorrectly played should drop a ball as close to the original spot as can be determined.

To avoid such mistakes why not try the Spider Golf Ball Stamper / Marker a very simple and effective way to mark you golf ball.

Why not give it a try?

What to get your golf obsessed Mother on Mothers Day

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There is no shortage of goodies and gifts for the golf obsessed mum in your life. As a change from the norm for Golf Talk posts. We celebrate the golfing mums in our life with some helpful gift ideas.

Golf socks are always a useful and well received gift for golfers. The Coolmax Golf Socks are high performance Coolmax fibre for added comfort & performance. Ventilated Fabric construction reduces moisture & cools the foot. Made from 70% Polyester (Coolmax) 20% Cotton 10% nylon machine washable. Soft Grip top with Tab to help keep socks in place. High density terry fabric – cushions & helps protect against shock & impact. Elasticated Arch – provides support & minimises sock movement. Ventilated Fabric construction – Reduces moisture & cools the foot. Size: LADIES – to fit UK shoe sizes 4 through to 7 (US 5-8; Euro 36–40)

Next on our list is the Srixon soft feel golf balls. The Soft Feel Lady brings all of the distance technology of Srixon’s success to a golf ball specifically designed for women. The newly developed super-soft Energetic Gradient Growth core allows moderate to low swing-speed golfers the ability to generate impressive ball velocity and excellent feel. The “Hit Straight” alignment aid provides a clear path toward the intended target, putting more fun back into your game. Specifically designed for 70+ mph swings.  They are two-piece golf ball that provides both feel and greater distance. The new dimple pattern equals enhanced aerodynamics and greater distance.

Here is another great gift for the mum in your life the Golf Gift Set With Leather Scorecard Holder . This soft feel leather golfers’ gift set comes in its own presentation box including a leather golf scorecard holder 9.5cm x 15cm x 1cm. Blind embossed with “Golf Score Card” on the front of the holder. Leather pencil holder and has been designed by golfers for golfers.

Now that the spring is here in the northern hemisphere we are looking at kick starting our season. A new pair of golf shoes will make a great present. The Puma Spark Sport 2 Golf Shoe  is made from a combination full grain and synthetic leather for a soft feel and fantastic levels of comfort. This combination also offer you outstanding durability, waterproof protection and breathability so your feet are always dry and comfortable. They look cool too!

Harvey Penick’s Little Blue Golf Book: Lessons & Teachings for Women Golfers – Half of all new golfers are women, and here Harvey Pennick directs his advice to meet the unique needs of the woman golfer. While male golfers generally need to gain more control, women usually need to develop more power. Pennick shows women how they can hit the ball further, choose the right clubs and cope with shots involving trees, water and sand traps. From those wishing to play a few rounds on holiday to the business woman who wants to hold her own on the links with clients and colleagues, this manual covers it all and finally caters for golf’s most overlooked audience.

We hope you have enjoyed this ‘Mother’s Day special article. Have a great Mother’s Day …

The Golf Talk team

I want to start playing golf, what equipment do I need?

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As we approach spring many people want to start playing golf but don’t know where to start. A common question we are asked at Golf Talk is I want to start playing golf, what equipment do I need?Worried female golfer looking for golf ball

In this post we will give you our recommendations of what equipment you need and why.

Let us start with the obvious. You will need a set of clubs. This will usually comprise of a set of irons, three iron to nine iron with a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, a putter, and a set of woods. Driver, three wood and five wood. However if you are just starting out you will probably use only half of these clubs in a round of golf so do not race to get a full set immediately.

Many golf club retailers will sell you a half set of clubs. A three wood, five, seven and nine irons, sand wedge and a putter. This would be a good starter set for the very beginner keeping the cost of taking up the game low and not getting to technical with what each club can do. In fact many new golfers cannot see a vast difference in distances between many of their irons anyway. We recommend using a branded set of clubs and trialling a few different manufacturers clubs on the range before you commit to a purchase. One of the benefits of buying clubs from your local golf professional is that they will usually fit the clubs for you. Which means they can alter the lie and loft of the club to fit your swing. Also if you have purchased a branded set of clubs when you grow out of them, which you will soon enough. They will have some residual value for a trade in or a private sale.

You will also need a golf bag. We recommend a carry bag to start with to keep the cost down. If you have opted for a half set of clubs then they should not be to heavy for you to carry around the course. The TaylorMade Supreme Lite golf bag is an excellent choice we have used here at Golf Talk.

Many golfers play with a golf glove on their left hand. This is to help grip the club with a light grip and helps the club not to slip in your hands. We would suggest you try playing with and then without a glove and see what works best for you. Personally I play with a glove on my left hand for the driver only. I prefer to play without a glove for all other shots.

Some other accessories you will also need is a bag of tees. We recommend wooden tees with depth markers on them to help you consistently tee the ball at the same height. Also wooden tees will not damage your clubface if you miss hit the shot. You will also need a pitch-mark repairer and flat ball marker to repair any pitch-marks on the green. The flat ball marker is to mark your ball when on the green so you can clean your ball and line up your putt. For advice on how to repair a pitch mark on the green please look in the back catalogue for the post  – (keeping the green in good shape how to repair a pitch-mark and more).

There is a wide selection of golf balls to choose from with a wide range of prices. Our advice is to play with as many types of balls as you can at the beginning of your golfing journey. You will soon find a golf ball that feels right for you and is at the right price point. Golf ball selection is a balance between the harder distance balls and the softer, better feel balls. We use Titleist NXT Tour  and cannot recommend them highly enough. A scorecard and a pencil and you are now good to go …

There are of course many other golf gadgets that you may want to invest in like a GPS watch or a golf trolly, swing trainers and much much more. Our advice is to start with the minimum and build up your kit slowly to avoid any wasted purchases.

Just a final point, golf attire is very important. Many golf course will not let you play without the correct clothing. This differs from course to course but usually the club do not allow jeans, and golf shoes need to be worn. Our advice is to check with the course beforehand as ask what their local rules are. You do not want to arrive at the course all ready to go to be told that you either need to buy some golf trousers or you will not be allowed on the course.

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The Golf Talk team



Our top 5 golf gadgets to help you play better golf

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We all love our golf gadgets, especially when they can help us play the game better and lower our scores. In this article we give you our top five gadgets that will help do just that.

Our first gadget is the Garmin Approach S3 GPS watch. Knowing your distances is vital to playing your very best. In fact some golf coaches estimate that a GPS device can take off as much as five strokes off your round. We know that there are many devices on the market now however we like the S3 for its style and touch screen (with gloves) functionality. The green view and digital scorecard is also pretty cool. Packed with 38,000 course, if you are looking for a GPS device then the S3 is a must.

Next is the LineFix360 .This is a tool to help you line up your putts. We know that over a third of the average mid-handicapper’s shots are played on the green. So a small improvement here can make a very dramatic difference to your overall score. The LineFix360 is a simple yet brilliant way to mark your golf ball with a line around it so that you can then position your ball and line up the hole and putter. This will give you confidence to strike the putt and concentrate on a good, true swing.

Working to get a great golf swing can seem like a never ending journey. Having the ability to see your swing is a real advantage and can speed up your progress. The Zepp Golf 3D Swing Analyser is a small device that clip onto your golf glove and connects with your iPhone or iPad. Here are just a few of the features –

  • Track club head speed, tempo, club plane, hand path, backswing position and more
  • Review and replay your swing in 360 degrees
  • Compare and share your swings with others
  • Get personalised tips, drills and coaching

When we tried this at the GT headquarters we could immediately see how this would be useful to the golfers who are working on specific aspects of their swing. For example if you are trying to keep a good tempo throughout your swing (something that we have discussed a lot recently) then the Zepp can give you the necessary feedback you need. Also the tips and drills are also very helpful.

We now seem to be taking more and more electronic devices out on the course with us, GPS devices, mobile phones etc. All of which need an emergency battery charger just in case they run out of power. We have tried many of these devices and the one that makes our list is the PowerGen 12000mAh External Battery Pack . This device will charge almost anything from an iPhone to an iPad and will extend an average mobile phone (iPhone 4 tested) for up to 70 hours. It has three USB outlets so you can charge more than one item at a time. We found this very useful for charging the Garmin S3 when we had forgotten to charge it.

Number five golf gadget is one that will help you out on the practice tee. The Voice Caddie SC100 portable golf launch monitor swing trainer. This is a small, simple and portable
device that allows you to monitor your swing speed, ball speed and distance. Here’s how it works. You simply stand the SC100 behind you on the practice tee and swing through the ball. The device will will then record your swing statistics. This is great device for managing the best use of your practice time and gaining consistency. Another cool feature is Target Mode this feature allows you to set a distance and for you to try and hit that distance consistently. Or on random the device will give you random target distances to achieve.

These gadgets have been carefully selected to help you play better golf, why not give them a try …

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The Golf Talk team

Hard, soft or no spikes at all, that is the question?

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In this post, Golf Talk is discussing the issue. With most golf clubs requesting the use of soft spikes and banning metal spikes from their greens, which is better?  Are golfers better off using hard, soft or no spike shoes when playing.

Golf shoes have come a long way over the years, originally they had longer metal spikes which allowed good traction and stability whilst swinging the club but as you know, the spikes were the main culprits for spike marks and the damage caused to greens.  Some golf tour players still use this method of spike but as the rules of golf state ‘players cannot repair spike marks on greens’, everyday club players have moved away from metal.

A lot of research and technology has been put into this question, which has allowed the use of plastic or soft spike shoes to become more wide spread, many golf courses now only allow play with this type of shoe as they help keep the fairways and the greens in good condition.  Although golfers say they the metal ones sounded better when walking to the 19th hole!

Another advantage to the soft spike is they are lighter which I’m sure your feet will like better, they also flex and bend whilst walking, which adds to the comfortability.  When purchasing soft spike check how to remove the old spikes and replace with the new ones – you may need tools to do this properly.  These tools can be bought from the same retailers as the spikes.

In recent times, the spike-less shoe has made an appearance, these shoes have dimpled rubber soles and have proven to be good on the driving range and in the summer where the ground is harder.  However, they do not have the same traction as a spike (they have been found to be less helpful when you are trying to play out of the rough) but look like a sports shoe so its down to choice – good looking shoes with less grip or a lightweight shoe with a soft spike that will help not to mark the green.

You have heard our thoughts, we will leave the decision to you …

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The Golf Talk team

Braving the elements, the importance of wearing layers out on the golf course

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An important element to playing golf is wearing the correct attire. The weather is unpredictable and during the summer months you may feel wearing a polo shirt is OK but how many times have you been caught out during a round by a downpour? Similarly, during the colder months you may get warm due to your body temperatures rising through effort or the sun making an appearance.
In this post we will be discussing a clothing layer system and giving some Golftalk recommendations of golf wear that may work for you.

The average round of golf can be 4-5 hours long and the weather can change dramatically during this time, therefore to help give optimum performance a multi-layer system is needed – these being the base layer, warm layer and the top layer, to ensure you are dry and comfortable with the flexibility to swing the club.

The base layers are manufactured using lycra blends which allows the skin to breathe and wicks the sweat away from the body keeping you dry, they are worn under a shirt and allow your muscles to remain warm from the first shot.

The middle layer is usually polo shirts and sweaters, which should be kept light and flexible so they do not disrupt your game but allow the freedom of movement, there is no point wearing a very heavy jumper in the winter when you cannot play properly within it, it would be best to look at other light layers you could wear instead, for example, base layer, t-shirt, polo shirt and then a light sweater – all to be taken off or added as required.

Finally, the top layer is waterproofs – which are nowadays made from light weight Gore-tex materials which again allow the flow of air under them which means you do not sweat and feel uncomfortable during your game. The waterproofs can be an all in one suit or trousers and jacket, which can be easily removed for comfort. You will normally find these pieces of clothing very light and can be folded quite small which allows them to be stored within the pockets of your golf bag ready for use when needed but will not add a lot of weight to be carried.

There are many manufacturers of these types of clothing however, it is important to check the materials before the purchase the items. Some waterproofs are only showerproof which can be a bit of a shock when the rain starts!

Also, some of the materials within the base layers may be made of materials which are not so effective in allowing the skin to breathe and can hold the sweat which can allow you to feel cold and wet – not good when the winds blowing.

It may seem expensive buying the better quality products but they are usually longer lasting and more effective, allowing you to have a more enjoyable round of golf.

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The Golf Talk team

Why you should clean your golf clubs and how to do it

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There are lots of good reasons why you should clean your golf clubs on a regular basis. In this article we will give you our top three reasons and a step by step guide to ensure your clubs stay looking great for longer.

Probably the most important reason to clean your clubs regularly is their playability. Washing the grips with warm water will keep your grips feeling tacky. This will mean you can hold the club with a lighter grip which helps your release during the swing. Also keeping the grooves in the clubhead free from any dirt or debris will enable you to strike the ball well getting the correct amount of spin on the ball.

Keeping your clubs clean also means you can check for defects. When you are cleaning your clubs this can give you a great opportunity to check the club head, ferrel and shaft to ensure they are all in good condition. If you spot any issues you can then take them to your local club pro who i’m sure will be happy to help clubs in bag up close

Finally playing with clean golf clubs seem to have a positive psychological effect on our game, giving it a lift. We seem to play better when we have clean clubs in our hands. Also the time taken to clean our clubs means we can be thinking about the course and visualising our strokes we will soon be playing.

Now you are motivated to clean your clubs whats the best way to do it?.

Carefully take your clubs out of your bag and place them club head down in a bucket of warm soapy water for a few minutes. Leaving your clubs in warm water will soften any dirt in the grooves of the club head. Next use an old toothbrush to scrub the clubface and ensure all the dirt is removed. You can then dry the clubface with a towel.

Clean the grips with warm water only. Do not use any soap as this will leave a residue on your grips that will make them more difficult yo hold. The best way to clean your grips is to wet one end of your golf towel and clean your grips with that. You can then use the dry end to dry them.

On occasion you may want to sharpen the grooves on your irons. this can be done with a simple Groove Sharpener. This tool will help restore you clubhead grooves back to their original condition.

Finally once your clubs are sparkling clean place them back in your bag ready for your next golf outing.

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The Golf Talk team


Will a golf GPS device improve my game?

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If you are striking the ball well and are getting consistent distances with your clubs then it may be worth looking into purchasing a golf GPS device.

The main benefit to a GPS device is they can accurately tell you the distance to the hole or a hazard. This information will give you confidence to strike the ball and not be concerned if you have either enough or to much club in your hands.

These GPS devices come as either handheld or watch format. We at Golf Talk prefer the watch type because in our opinion they are easier to use, with just a quick glance you can see the yardage to the front, middle and back of the green and they can be used as an every day watch as well.

The Garmin Approach S3 (as pictured) also debuts a digital scorecard. You can save, review and print scorecards from your home computer. Plus, when you hit a long drive you can check the distance with the Measure Shot feature.

11EmpmhX3tLOne of the newer features of the Garmin Approach S3  is Green View. This shows you the true shape and layout of the green. You can use the touchscreen to manually move the pin to the day’s location. This is especially helpful on par-3s where you’ll be able to dial in the distance you need, and fire away with confidence. We loved this feature out on the course, it proved much more helpful than we thought it would, providing you have the pin positions.

The only downside to these devices we could find is the battery drain. They are good for at least 18 holes of golf so this should not be a problem to most golfers. However if you are planning more than 18 holes in any one round then be prepared to give an external charge to keep your device going. We recommend the PowerGen External Battery Pack as a charger for your GPS watch and also many other devices if needed.

Overall if you are looking to improve your score out on the course then a golf GPS watch may just be the answer …

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The Golf Talk team

The Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter review

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Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter with SuperStroke Grip 

Golf Talk’s hottest putter review …

The odyssey range of putters have been best sellers since there very first introduction almost twenty years ago. The two ball design help golfers of all levels line up putts better so they can concentrate on the distance control. Now with the Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter the product range just got better.

The actual design of the putter head has not changed much in recent years, however the High Contrast Alignment System now makes it even easier to line up short to mid distance putts. In our hands this did have a positive feel and gave confident that we were lining up correctly. We immediately could see a difference in how many short putts were holed.

The Odyssey Versa also has Counterbalance Stability Weighting Technology. This means the putter has a heavier head (400g) and heavier shaft (150g) this helps to keep your hands quiet during the stroke and prevent wrist break. We felt that this counter balance system was effective at keeping the putter true to the target line.

The addition of the Super Stroke grip helps remove any tension in the wrists and keeps your arms swinging freely. Odyssey have also introduced a new high-tech PU material featuring CrossTraction technology for improved feel and tackiness and 1.30” in diameter weighing 60 grams.

Overall if you feel that you are not making enough putts out on the course and are looking for a new putter to try then the Odyssey Versa is definitely one that Golf Talk would recommend!