GolfBlogger’s Holiday Gift Guide: Golf Resort Experiences

GolfBlogger’s Holiday Gift Guide: Golf Resort Experiences

GolfBlogger’s Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: Golf Resort Experiences The older I get, the more … Read more.

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Buyer’s Guide: Personal Launch Monitors

Buyer’s Guide: Personal Launch Monitors

Post image for Buyer’s Guide: Personal Launch Monitors

Ownership of launch monitors (accurate ones) has traditionally been limited to golf teaching professionals, club fitters, and the rich (and potentially famous). That’s understandable given the cost of these systems, but that’s changing…quickly. As the technology to measure ball flight becomes more accessible and more affordable, several manufacturers have entered what we call the personal launch monitor space.

While a professional grade launch monitor can set you back as much as $25,000, the launch monitors we tested start at under $200. It’s absolutely true that none of these budget units can match the professional products feature for feature (none of the units we tested provide clubhead data), each offers the promise of accuracy for substantially less than their professional-grade counterparts.

That sounds great, but a launch monitor is only useful if it really is accurate, and at an absolute minimum, consistent. Can a personal launch monitor offer that?

We put four of the top personal launch monitors to the test to find out which ones actually perform as advertised.

_IMH4982-2

The Contenders

es12Ernest Sports
ES12
es14Ernest Sports
ES14
sc100Voice Caddie
SC100
skytrakSkyTrak Golf
SkyTrak

 

The Comparisons

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.03.02 PM

To establish and quantify accuracy, units were tested alongside a professional-grade launch monitor. Shots were recorded simultaneously and the results were collected from each device for comparison with our control unit. Results are based on a collection of driver, hybrid, 7-iron, and pitching wedge shots. Each unit registered a total of 120 shots.

Accuracy

_IMH5023-10

Each of the units we tested had moments of glory where the numbers it registered were dead-on accurate (in comparison to our control unit), but each suffered from the occasional wild miss as well. Some users will find it easy-enough to discount these shots and be otherwise happy.

One of the toughest measurements for this price range of monitors seems to be the Azimuth. While not reported by any of the monitors in our test, it’s used a basis for some of the reported numbers, but when a ball starts too far right or left, the reliability of the overall numbers negatively impacted. Not surprisingly, straighter shots produce more reliable numbers.

Comparative accuracy was established using all shots registered by each launch monitor. As noted above, this includes shots measured from a driver, hybrid, 7-iron and pitching wedge.

The chart below show the average percent difference from our control launch monitor across all shots.

LaunchMonitorscropped

The chart below shows sample data from a single shot simultaneously captured by all four devices. This is intended to provide you with a visual from a true numbers perspective. These numbers, as they are from a single shot, may not align with the overall averages listed above for each device.

Launch-Swing

 

MYGOLFSPY RECOMMENDED

Best-Overall-2

Good: The overall accuracy variance for this unit in testing was 4.92% from the control, and the numbers were the most consistent of any unit in this test. That borders on excellent when you consider that the cost for some of the big boys run 10 times the price. For those looking for an “affordable” in-home simulator, SkyTrak has announced simulation options (which including putting) coming in the near future. The reported online capabilities will likely add to the value and fun of this unit.

Bad: No built-in display. Requires an iPad.

Notes: Offers a plethora of data, reliability, and consistency at an affordable price. SkyTrak is your most accurate option under $2,000. Upcoming simulator capabilities will make it a no-brainer for those looking for an inexpensive, yet realistic indoor setup. For club fitting, SkyTrak will get you close, but doesn’t offer the exacting accuracy/consistency you’d need to be 100% confident in the finer points.

basics

Good: Distance, Ball Speed, Swing Speed and Smash Factor all represented along with games you can use to practice on the range with accuracy that is surprising at this price point.

Bad: Doesn’t measure spin. Lacks a smart phone/table interface.

Notes: Simple yet extremely well-done. Well-suited for quick range sessions.

The Others

While the Ernest Sports ES12 and ES14 each fills a role, we didn’t find either unit to be consistently accurate-enough to warrant our recommendation.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Buyer’s Guide – Direct To Consumer Golf Balls

Buyer’s Guide – Direct To Consumer Golf Balls

Post image for Buyer’s Guide – Direct To Consumer Golf Balls

Can Smaller Brands Compete?

Lately we’ve been inundated with a rash of direct to consumer golf balls. Each claims to be something extraordinary. They’re  “Tour Level’ or “Really straight”, and each ball pushes some sort of outstanding value.

Each one has some sort of distinct hook; subscription services, charitable donations, eco-frienly packaging (or lack thereof), or a metal core. No doubt some of these value-added features will be of interest to some of you, but at the end of the day it should be about performance and value.

What we really want to know is: Are any among this new wave of direct to consumer golf balls worth putting in your bag?

Using one of the best-selling balls in all of golf as our control sample, we put six of these upstart balls to the test. Our field includes:

ball-align

The Balls

Here’s what you need to know about the balls in this test (click tabs for full info).

FEATURES---BALLS-5

Ball Designer

  • 3UP: Original design with help of manufacturer.
  • Lightning: Original design with help of manufacturer.
  • Monsta: Original design.
  • Nicklaus: Designed, tested and perfected under the active involvement of the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
  • OnCore: Original design.
  • Snell: Dean Snell – Inventor or co-inventor of the Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP, Penta,  Project (a), and Tour Preferred.

Manufacturer/Origin

  • 3UP: “The 2nd largest ball manufacturer in the world behind”
  • Lightning: Taiwan
  • Monsta: Asia.
  • Nicklaus: Bridgestone
  • OnCore: Suppliers are based in both US and Taiwan
  • Snell: Korea

3UP:

  • Tacky cover offers more greenside spin
  • Progressive core helps cover a wider range of swing speeds for compression
  • $3 of every dozen goes directly to golf related charities

Lightning:

  • Long off the tee because of the 3 layer construction
  • Urethane cover gives a very soft feel around the greens to get the ultimate spin
  • Subscription service. No packaging is eco-friendly and provides lower costs to consumers

Monsta:

  • Superb spin off lofted clubs
  • Cover has tacky feel, like the older balata covers but much more durable
  • Our progressive core provides consistent ball flight

Nicklaus:

  • Optimizes feel and distance for players who play from the back tees
  • High Speed Gradient Core for longer distance
  • Tour-caliber Urethane Cover for optimal control

OnCore:

  • Highest initial velocity of any ball
  • Truer line on the putting green
  • High backspin around the greens

Snell:

  • Very soft, fast low compression core to help keep the driver spin low and ball speed high for longer driver shots
  • Mantle layer works with the core to control spin and launch on long and mid irons
  • The soft, cast urethane cover works with the mantle layer to create excellent short game spin, control, feel and durability

Each ball was subjected to Launch Monitor testing as well as on course play by our testers. Our testers were also asked to hit multiple chips and pitches with high lofted clubs to verify durability using the same ball in each instance.

Driver Performance

TEST-DATA---Driver

6 Iron Performance

TEST-DATA---6-iron

Wedge Performance

TEST-DATA---wedges

 

ball-scuffs

MyGolfSpy Recommended

Best-Overall-3

Good: Snell’s My Tour Ball is long off the tee, solid with irons and offers outstanding spin off the wedge. It’s also among the best feeling ball we’ve ever encountered. Trajectory is consistent, and durability is excellent.

Bad: It’s too bad we can’t walk into our local store and purchase it.

Notes: It’s the ball that anyone who hits it says, WOW! We seriously had trouble keeping our testers from sneaking off with our limited samples. One tester described the Snell as “A better Pro V1” and we can’t help but agree.  It’s as if Dean Snell took the very best of his past work and rolled it all into a single ball.

The My Tour Ball is a phenomenal all-around performer from tee to green. Take that performance and combine it with the lowest price of any ball in this tests we can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t try Snell’s My Tour Ball.

The clear best of breed within this field. 

Best-value-2

Good: Long off the tee, good iron performance and outstanding wedge spin always make for a great combination. The Nicklaus Black also displayed good durability and great feel around the greens. Our testers also noted how good a driving ball it is given its low launch and low spin characteristics.

Bad: Mid-iron distance lagged a bit, and the large logo may not be for everyone.

Notes: The ball designed for “those who play from the blacks”, was a collective early favorite with our testers and it never disappointed.  The Nicklaus Black checks all the boxes for those looking for a Pro V1X or Bridgestone B330 alternative. It ties for the cheapest shipped dozen balls in our test at $32 (with $1 going to both Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and St. Jude’s), but becomes an amazing value when you factor in the occasional 3 dz/$75 promotion and their $27 monthly subscription prices.

The best low spin driving ball tested.

The Rest of the Field

The 3up 3F12, Lightning SmackDaddy and Monsta balls all performed admirably and certainly compete with today’s tour balls, but a few attributes such as price, distance and durability put them solidly in the 2nd tier.

honorableMention

Good: Offers the feel of an old balata. Compares favorably to most of today’s tour balls from tee to green. Charitable donations with every purchase.

Bad: Like balata balls, the 3F12 feels a bit heavy off the driver and irons, and is almost sluggish coming off the putter. Average distance when compared to our control sample and the top balls in this test. Cover durability leaves a lot to be desired .

Notes: At under $40/dozen the 3UP 3F12 still passes our “competes for cheaper vs big name balls” test and a $3 charitable donation with each purchase still makes the 3F12 a worth considering.

Good: Solid all-around performance. Slightly softer feel than a lot of balls. Good feel of all clubs including the putter. The SmackDaddy may appeal to lower ball hitters as it should launch higher than most. Above-average durability.

Bad: Higher launching, which may not appeal to everyone.

Notes: We were please with the Lightning Hl3 SmackDaddy’s performance overall, but those numbers don’t quite reach that of our top choices. The per dozen price point is decent and with long term subscription pricing of $35.10/dz there’s even more value.

Good: Solid overall performance, but really shines in the wedge spin and control department. Outstanding feel off the putter.

Bad: The Monsta lags behind in the distance category.

Notes: $32.99 per dozen (plus shipping) is reasonable, though not exceptional, given Monsta’s performance.

Good: Decent feel.

Bad: Distance is disappointing. It sounds odd (loud), and it absolutely jumps off the putter. Price point matches that of high-end tour balls.

Notes: Distance is underwhelming, and it sounds terribleYou can spend considerably less, for a significantly better ball.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Understanding The Geography of Augusta National and the Masters – A Listener’s Guide

Understanding The Geography of Augusta National and the Masters – A Listener’s Guide
Listening to a Master’s broadcast is a bit like being a member of a rather chummy club, as the announcers revel in their insider status by dropping cryptic references to…

Golf Blogger

Buyer’s Guide – Best Rain Gloves

Buyer’s Guide – Best Rain Gloves

Post image for Buyer’s Guide – Best Rain Gloves

So you’re headed to Bandon Dunes for the ultimate guys trip – the trip of a lifetime. You’ve got your rain suit, and an umbrella, but I’m guessing you didn’t spend much time researching what rain glove to buy, or even worse, you didn’t even pack a set of rain gloves. You’ll buy some when you get there, right?

You basically just tossed the trip of a lifetime down the drain because you’re probably not going to be able to grip your clubs.

Got your attention? – Good!

Read on to learn which gloves will keep you making contact no matter how wet it gets, and which gloves will have you cursing up a storm when your driver goes flying down the fairway.  We put 8 of the leading rain gloves on the market to the test.  Let’s see which ones came out on top.

all-gloves

The Contenders

   0009-0009-2W2A8103

FootJoy
RainGrip
$22

0014-0014-2W2A8112

Hirzl
TRUST Control
$24.99

0003-0003-2W2A8096

Nike
All-Weather II
$27

0015-0015-2W2A8117

Orlimar
Rain Glove
$16.99

0005-0005-2W2A8098

PowerBilt
Rain Gloves
$12.99

0011-0011-2W2A8106

TaylorMade
Stratus Wet Glove
$21.99

0001-0001-2W2A8094

Wilson
Staff Rain Glove
$14.99

0007-0007-2W2A8100

Zero Restriction
Rain Gloves
$24

 

The Scoring Process

Gloves were tested both Damp and Soaked:

Damp was achieved by applying 5 even sweeping sprays of water using a spray bottle to both the palm and back side of each glove.

damp-swing-test-back-sidedamp-swing-test-palm-side

Soaked was achieved by fully submerging gloved hands into a bucket of water for 10 seconds and then allowing gloves to drip for 10 seconds.

Both Damp and Soaked tests were run for each tester.

  • Immediate feedback was provided for looks, comfort, fit and feel.
  • Each tester was then asked to make 5 swings with the damp gloves before moving to 5 swings with the soaked gloves.
  • Testers swung a 7 iron with a 1-year old GolfPride New Decade grip.
  • Comparison tests were also performed with a rubber/non-cord grip. Those results were consistent with the results achieved with the New Decade grip.

We also utilized testers with two different gripping styles; overlapping and interlocking. Performance differences related to gripping style proved significant in some cases, and are noted under specific gloves where appropriate.

For every glove other than our bottom performers, golfers with the overlapping grip style report better gripping performance than those who use an interlocking grip.

soaked-swing-test

Gloves were scored for grip, feel, comfort and durability and thickness:

Grip – does the club spin in your hands? a lot? (or worse, feel like it’s going to go flying down the fairway)

Comfort – does the stitching rub, do the fingers fit right, is there anything distracting.

Sizing true to size, small, big – as well as fit in the fingers.

Durability – gloves were inspected for any visual ques as to long-term wear – gloves were soaked, dried out and soaked again and dried out again.

Thickness – thin, normal, or thick.

spray-swing-grip-closeupsoaked-grip-close-up

The Reviews

The top three positions in our buyer’s guide were highly contended and required quite a bit of talking through with our testers to reach a final decision. Nike originally was rated the Best Overall score, but after lengthy discussions about how comfort plays into the game, gloves from FootJoy and Hirzl were moved to the top of the list.

FootJoy RainGrip – $22

FJ-best-overall

 

glove-1-features

Good: The FootJoy RainGrip just beat out Nike All-Weather II for over-all comfort which is why it finished ahead of the Nike offering.

Bad: One tester mentioned it would be nice to have more padding in the palm. While the inclusion of a tee/tee holder on the glove is infinitely practical, in practice it’s more of an annoyance as the tee falls out with regularity. Not as much grip as the Nike – but also not lacking in grip.

Worth Noting: If you are an overlap gripping player you might choose these over the Nikes for near equal performance with an edge in comfort. Includes ball marker on cuff as well as a tee that will fall out/get lost within your first round.

Hirzl TRUST Control – $24.99

hirzl-runner-up

glove-2-features

Good: Impressive performance – especially for a glove suitable for everyday wear.  If you use an overlapping grip, the Hirzl TRUST Control performs every bit as well as the FootJoys . Interlocking players may find the FootJoy preferable.

Bad: Runs a bit large and one of our test gloves had the stitching start to come undone within the first 20 minutes of testing (we’ve seen several Trust Control gloves do the same thing in the past outside of our rain test – it’s sad because the leather on these gloves lasts longer than anything else we’ve seen)

Worth Noting: Interlocking players will not be as impressed as overlapping players. Stitching issues are hit and miss with the Hirzl Trust Controls. These gloves also run nearly an entire size too big. One tester who is an overlapper said he would play this glove over any other in the test, but he also has gamed this glove for the past two years.

Nike All-Weather II – $27

nike-runner-up

glove-3-fetaures

Good: The Nike All-Weather II feels like a second skin. They are thin. They fit well and, they simply grip better than any other glove in the lineup.

Bad: The stitching on the top of the index finger at the lower knuckle made all of our testers feel like they were being rubbed raw and/or forming a blister after only a couple of swings. The issue was more pronounced for overlapping grip players. The stitching issue alone was the reason the Nike All-Weather II did not win Best Overall.

Worth Noting: Pure performance. These gloves just flat work, but your index finger will likely pay the price (you’ve been warned). If not for the finger issue, the All-Weather II would be at the top of this list.

Wilson Staff Rain Gloves – $14.99

wilson

glove-4-fetaures

Good: A comfortable gloves that you could wear all day, the Wilson Staff Rain Glove, while not the best overall, provides adequate grip. For less than than $15, they’re arguably the best value in the field.

Bad: The Wilson Staff Rain Gloves run big, but downsizing will likely result in a glove that’s too small. The material is also thicker than most, which can be an issue for golfers who use an interlocking grip. Those players would be better served by the FootJoy RainGrip, Nike All-Weather II, or even Hirzl’s TRUST Control.

As we move down the list, this is the first rain glove that “feels” like a rain glove.

Worth Noting: If you’ve ever used “mechanics” gloves to work on your car, these gloves feel suspiciously similar.

TaylorMade Stratus Wet Glove – $21.99

taylormade

glove-5-fetaures

Good: The TaylorMade Stratus Wet work’s well in damp situations, ie: when it’s not dumping buckets.

Bad: Fits a little big in the fingers. For those with an interlocking grip some traction is lost (not to the point of failure) when the grips were soaked.  Others simply offer better grip in soaked conditions.

Worth Noting: Our overlapping testers found the grip to be “good enough” while our interlocking testers found the gloves provided less grip than others. While not overly thick, the material in the palm, but may be bulkier than some will prefer. Include a ball marker on the cuff.

Zero Restriction Rain Gloves – $12.99

Zero

zero-restrict-icons

Good: The Zero Restriction Rain Gloves are well made, and durability is their strong point. (It’s Zero Restriction, what else would you expect?)

Bad: Grip is lacking by comparison with the competitors, and that can lead to an even greater lack of confidence in one’s ability to hold the club security.

Worth Noting: Spongy feel when gripping the a club.

PowerBilt Rain Gloves – $12.99

powerbilt

powerbilt-glove-icon

Good: Performance is better than expected based on initial inspection.

Bad: We have serious doubts about the durability of the PowerBilt Rain Glove. In our tests, the palm material showed visible pilling after just a few swings.

Worth Noting: The grip of these gloves is nearly a toss up with the Zero Restriction gloves, but the durability is the worst of the bunch. They run a little small/tight and are very difficult to get off your hands. The material is difficult to grasp, making it hard to remove the clubs when worn on both hands. At least one tester had to use his teeth to bite the finger tips to pull the gloves off. A ball marker is included.

Orlimar Rain Glove – $16.99

orlimar

orlimar-glove-icon

Good: Your fingers won’t feel soaking wet in these gloves.

Bad: Poor overall performance due to inadequate traction. The club slips downward in your hand as you swing, and we’re confident that had we had kept pushing these gloves we’d have sent our 7 iron flying down range.

Worth Noting: These gloves fail as a rain glove. The squared-off fingers are slightly uncomfortable and the material  feel “cheap.”

You’re Welcome

Congratulations, you made it through MyGolfSpy’s Rain Glove Buyer’s Guide, and now have all the information you need to keep a little rain (or a full-on deluge) from spoiling the golf trip of a lifetime (or just 18 holes on your local goat pasture).

The lesson here…don’t be one of those guys who shows up unprepared and buys whatever the proshop happens to have lying around. Be prepared. Use the next 5 minutes of your life to order the right rain gloves. Control the club while your buddies are throwing theirs down the fairway. You’ll thank us for it later.

Beers are on you the next time it rains.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

MyGolfSpy Holiday Buyer’s Guide

MyGolfSpy Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Post image for MyGolfSpy Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Courtesy of: GolfSpy MBP

If you haven’t heard or figured it out by the décor in your local mall yet – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. OK so a lot of you will disagree and say it’s the summer golf season, but you would be wrong. It’s the holiday season, Santa Claus & ho ho ho, mistletoe, and presents for pretty girls. Pretty girls aside though what about the golfer in your life? They need presents and lots of them. OK so maybe that’s just me, but I’m sucker for Christmas and I’m sure there are more than just a few others out there who share the same spirit.

candycanes

“All I want is what I… I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.” – Sally Brown – A Charlie Brown Christmas

I get asked fairly often, “What should I buy my golfer for Christmas?” and all the obvious stuff immediately rushes to mind. Balls, shirts, clubs & putters, but all this is just so common. So it got me to thinkin’, what would a golfer really want that not everyone would think of? So I set out to find gifts actual golfers wanted.

So this holiday season, besides looking deep within myself, I’ve gone out and asked golfers what they want. People in golf stores, guys on the forums, the Spies, hell I even called the boss and asked him too. The gift of pie aside, and oh boy do I love me some Christmas pie, the same toys kept coming up over and over.

 

holiday-headers-easy-stuff

Voice Caddie VC300

voicecaddy

What it is:
Voice guidance, shot distance measuring GPS

Why they want it:
I love my Voice Caddie VC300, absolutely love it (as apparent in my review)! It just clips  to your hat, you start swiping or clicking and it literally SPEAKS to you. Who doesn’t want a clean, sexy and efficient looking GPS that TALKS? It’s overall feature set is a little basic for some – front, middle and back yardages only. But really though, were you listening? It freakin talks!

$

 

Bushnell Tour V3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour V3 Slope Laser-1

What it is:
The latest laser range finder with improved Slope and locking technology.

Why They Want it:
Let’s face it, sometimes you want to measure yardage without a satellite intermediate. You see the target, you laser the target, and you get your number. You don’t need orbiting bodies for that. A lot of golfers are huge fans of the slope feature, because they actually like to hit the target when they play. Think about how nice slope adjusted readings would be  with the Tour V3 the next time you leave that uphill approach ten yards short.

$ $

 

Swing Smart

swing-smart-winner

What it is:
Personal swing analyzer providing instant and easy-to-understand feedback.

Why They Want it:
It’s extremely portable and super simple to use. Clip the SwingSmart onto your shaft, Bluetooth pair it with your smartphone and the app instantly collects all the swing data a golf geek could ever want. This is a fabulous tool for those swing tinkerers looking for help without involving others. Oh and it was the overall winner of the MyGolfSpy Swing Trainers 2013.

$ $ 


 

holiday-headers-RESEARCH

DriverShoes, Fairwayshoes & Puttershoes

drivershoes

What it is:
From BestGrips – Handmade driver, fairway and putter covers made deep in the heart of Texas.

Why They Want it:
Genuine cowhide leather, 100% personalized customization and no set up fees. If you’ve got an idea you want on a cover, BestGrips will turn it into a reality. I myself have a Drivershoe. The quality of leather and the level of craftsmanship are instantly apparent, OK I’ll go out and say it – it’s second to none. One guy I asked said “They smell and feel awesome!” Product aside, people rave about dealing personally with their owner Albert too. This is a gift that says you’re pretty special to me and I put a lot of thought into your present.

 

 

Vessel Bags

new-final-bag-tony

What it is:
Custom designed golf bags ranging from carry to staff bags.

Why They Want it:
Following on the lines of custom covers, you’ll need to pair them with a custom bag. Holy crap that’s an expensive bag you say? Silence! Enough with the OEM bags people put what YOU want on your golf bag. It’s time to represent son! There is nowhere else you can get this kind of quality one off custom bag out there. It’s unique and Vessel’s the best at it because they’ve done it for the biggest brands. Just think about how cool it would be to wake up on Christmas morning and whoa…there’s your own personalized (and yes you can put your own name on it) bag under the tree.

$ $ $

 

Ship Sticks

What it is:
A white glove, door to door shipping solution to the agony of traveling with your golf clubs.

Why They Want it:
I don’t care if you are trying to squeeze some golf in on a business trip, or planning a golf getaway, there is nothing worse than lugging your clubs in a travel case. Think about it for a minute. It’s a pain in the chestnuts to say the least. Into the car, the ticket counter, baggage claim, the car rental shuttle, the rental car, your hotel, on and on. We’re talking 45 pounds of misery only to do it all again on the way home. Sure they’re kinda expensive, but if you got the dough there’s no beating the service they’re supplying.

$-$$

 

Custom MyJoys/Nike TW14

myjoysnikeid

What it is:
Personalized golf shoes from Footjoy and Nike

Why They Want it:
Courtesy of online tools the MyJoys and NIKEid  websites make it easy to mix & match colors and even textures in some cases. Both companies offer some sort of name or custom font personalization and FootJoy has even gone as far as to add custom images. The big thing here to take away from this is golfer’s now have the ability to match their OWN personal style. You’d look like a boss researching their favorite colors and getting them some cool kicks.

$-$$

 

Game Golf

GameYourGame

What it is:
A seamless game tracking system that is pretty much completely hands free.

Why They Want it:
To quote the big boss –“If I was a golfer, and I just happen to be, I’d be stoked to get this as a gift.” This is golf & technology merged at its finest and could very much be THE future of personal game tracking on the course. The Game Your Game system captures all your statistics and trends automatically; letting you focus on your round of golf. There’s no getting the phone out of your bag and fiddling with an application, rather you just focus and play your round of golf. When you get home all your data will have been tracked and uploaded for you for review, allowing you to share your stats with friends via all the latest social media. This is the coolest looking technology to enter into golf in years and looks like it could be a real game changer folks. This is the gift that will really show you did some research this holiday season.

$$

 

 

holiday-headers-serious-tho

Gift Cards/Gift Certificates to Epic Courses

gift-cards

What it is:
It’s gift cards and Gift certificates

Why They Want it:
So your wife’s looking for something to stuff in that stocking? Is there a dream course on your bucket list you just can’t afford and always wanted to play? Think about it, you always wanted to play Pebble Beach but you’re $500 short of the green fees. Well, even if it’s only covers 10%, these will eventually add up and get you closer to living the dream. Check out your favorite. Most of the big names I looked up all offer Gift Cards valid towards golf.

$-$$$

 

Fitting/Performance Center

taylormade-player-center-review-center

What it is:
Getting clubs truly fitted to your swing without the retail philosophy

Why They Want it:
As I’ve learned with my own experiences a performance center makes you feel like a pro. You’re dealing with someone who’s job is to get you the best fit possible, who actually knows the golf swing, and is not out to sell you what their best supplier’s deal is that week. Most centers will carry more custom options than your typical big box, and offer an open air range to judge flight characteristics. This is more of that golf geek fun I spoke of, and will make you feel like a kid again.

$-$$$

 

xBox One with PowerStar Golf

xboxone

What it is:
Microsoft’s latest home entertainment and gaming system.

Why They Want it:
I’m a bit of a tech junkie – home theater, computers and gaming play a big part of my life outside of golf. So when I say the ultimate gift they’d want this season is an xBox One I mean it. The xBox One is toys for big grown up kids and sure to put a smile on faces that special morning. Pair it up with a cool arcade style game like Powerstar Golf and you’ve got a winning combination.

*Note- I would have included the PlayStation 4 as well but currently they do not offer a golf game title.

$$$

 

 

 

holiday-headers-HURRY

3 Up Golf

3up

What it is:
It golf balls – with a charitable twist.

Why They Want it:
I know I wasn’t going to include the obvious but… 3 Up Golf has released a really nice Holiday ball gift bag that would look pretty slick sitting under the tree. It includes 12 3 Up balls, two-sided metal stamped ball markers, 3 Up branded Evolution Golf Tees by Pride Golf, and red, blue, green or black markers. And the best part about dealing with 3 Up is a portion of all ball sales goes to charity.

$

 

 

holiday-headers-mgs2

 

Good luck finding it

 

mgschristmas

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Buyer’s Guide – 2014 Stand and Carry Bags

Buyer’s Guide – 2014 Stand and Carry Bags

Post image for Buyer’s Guide – 2014 Stand and Carry Bags

Buying a new golf bag can be like shopping for a wife – do you go for the eye candy, or do you go for the personality? I suggest reading further to which of these 27 ladies is the best fit for your swagger.

The Contenders

Adidas Samba.jpg_100

Adidas
Samba
$139

Bridgestone

Bridgestone
Stand Bag
$199

Bridgestone Stand Light.jpg_100

Brightstone
Lightweight
$149

ClubGlove Sunday.jpg_100

ClubGlove
Sunday Bag
$99

callawayHL5

Callaway
HL5
$179

callaway-14

Callaway
Fusion 14
$199

Datrek-14

Datrek
Go-Lite 14
$129

Izzo King.jpg_100

Izzo
King
$169

Jones Original.jpg_100

Jones
Original
$139

Jones stand.jpg_100

Jones
Stand Bag
$199

loudmouth.jpg_100

LoudMouth
Lightning Rod
$149

mizuno aerolite 029.jpg_100

Mizuno
Aerolite 29
$199

mizuno aerolite-spr-ii.jpg_100

Mizuno
Sport LITE
$129

nike air sport.jpg_100

Nike
Air Sport
$149

Nike Sport Lite.jpg_100

Nike
Sport LITE
$129

oakley fairway.jpg_100

Oakley
Fairway
$160

Ogio Grom.jpg_100

Ogio
Grom Hybrid
$234

 Orlimar_100

Orlimar
OS 7.8
$139

Ping L8.jpg_100

Ping
L8
$159

Ping Hoofer 14.jpg_100

Ping
Hoofer 14
$219

Sun Mountain three5.jpg_100

SunMountain
Three5
$189

TaylorMade Purelite.jpg_100

TaylorMade
Purelite
$179

TaylorMade MicroLite.jpg_100

TaylorMade
Microlite
$159

Tour Exotics.jpg_100

Tour Exotics
Xtreme Stand II
$109

Travis Mathew.jpg_100

Travis Mathew
Stand
$199

True Tour.jpg_100

TRUE Linkswear
Tour
$149

Wilson Nexus.jpg_100

Wilson
Nexus
$199

The Process

bag-process-1

How They Are Scored

No more buying a bag because some list maker thinks there is demand for it in the market. It’s time to buy a bag based off of performance, and how its features line up with your needs.  We spent time with each bag assessing the following categories and calculating a corresponding grade.  All categories combine for the final grade. Any ties were settled based on price/value.

how-bags-are-scored

We’ve award winners for best:

:: Overall
:: Features
:: Value

The Reviews – In order from highest rated to lowest

Wilson Nexus – $199

best-overall-bag-1

The Wilson Nexus is a hype monster, but in the best possible way. It’s lightweight without sacrificing in performance. This bag also stands without legs better than any other carry bag we tested. My only request would be a bit more storage space, but as a legit carry bag, I’m happy that I can’t over-stuff the bag with more weight.

 

Callaway Fusion 14 – $199

best-features-bag-1

At first I wasn’t sure about the weight, but the Callaway Fusion 14 has everything needed to overcome a little extra poundage. It’s super comfortable, pretty stylish and has all the storage bells and whistles you’d ever want.

My only concern is that I’ll end up overloading the bag with too much junk and carry needless weight. Have some self control and you’ll have a bag that kills it and also does well for those days you decide to ride a cart. Probably the ultimate hybrid for a carry bag that works as a cart bag.

Adidas Samba – $139

best-vlaue-bag-1

The adidas Samba is a looker that packs all the punch you need. It offers plenty of storage space. It’s lightweight, stable, comfy and easily adjusted. The 7 way top makes organizing your clubs a breeze without any sticking.

At $139, we have the hands down value winner – you just can’t go wrong.

 

Mizuno AeroLite 029 – $159

runner-up-overall

The Mizuno AeroLite 029 won me over with its 7 dividers. 7 is really the magic number. Everything else just kind of falls into place. There is absolutely nothing to complain about with this bag. It’s lightweight and has a ton of space for storage. It’s really comfortable from the start and adjusts quickly. This is a bag I can highly suggest you go buy right now.

 

Ogio Grom Hybrid – $234

runnerup-features

The Ogio Grom Hybrid is basically a cart bag that happens to function as a stand bag at the same time. I walked more than 7 miles with this bag attached to me and I always had easy access to the things I needed. I especially like the ball pocket that doesn’t require unzipping to get into.

If you’re a weight weenie, look elsewhere. Otherwise, this is your new bag if you’ve got $200+ in the bag budget.

 

Callaway HL5 – $179

Callaway-HL5

A good all around bag. I would respect anyone’s decision to buy t he Callaway HyperLite 5. There are plenty of useful storage options, and it’s comfortable on the back. My only gripe is that she can be tough to balance when standing without legs.

Ultimately I’d be more inclined to recommend the Callaway Fusion 14 for only $20 more.

 

Orlimar OS 7.8 – $139

runnerup-value

The Orlimar OS 7.8 surprised me. Initially I wanted to dislike it, but in testing it won me over. It’s got a 7 way divider and plenty of storage space. It’s comfortable and, generally speaking, it works well. My only knock is that it doesn’t offer quite as much style as some of the other bags.

For someone wanting a bag without lots of branding, this will help you slip under the radar.

 

Mizuno AeroLite SPR II – $199

Mizuno-Aerolite-SPR-IIAnother situation where a manufacturer made two bags that are fairly similar. The AeroLite SPR II is a great bag, but for $40 less, I think the AeroLite 029 should almost make this bag a non-option. Still… this is a great bag, and at $199 it’s not a horrible buy.

Solid in the looks department, the AeroLite II is like the twin you date in school because your buddy is already dating the other twin.

 

Nike Air Sport – $149

Nike-Air-SportI’m a Nike fan. I wear Nike hats, shoes and underwear (TMI?). I grew up on their shoes, so I totally get it if you want to buy a Nike bag because you’re a fan of the brand. If that’s the case, the Air Sport is your go-to option. This bag carries well, and fits nicely into a cart at the same time carrying all of your goods.

The only gripe is that the hip pad is a bit thicker than I prefer, but it should age well and never flatten out. It’s loud, and it’s clearly trying to be loud, but I can’t help but be drawn to it.

 

Travis Mathew Stand Bag – $199

Travis-Mathew-StandAnother small guy making a solid bag. I’d prefer two more dividers than the Travis Mathew Stand Bag offers, but who’s going complain about a comfy bag that rides well on your back, looks good and has plenty of storage?

This bag stands well on solid ground without the legs out. It’s actually a great little bag, but the price point is higher than other bags of a similar design and quality.

 

Oakley Fairway – $160

Oakley-FairwayIf I had to choose a bag from this lineup to take to a war zone, beat to crap, then come home and keep using as a golf bag, the Oakley Fairway would be the one. The test bag we received is perhaps slightly lacking in style, but when you see all of the color options;  this is a bag that can fill a range of tastes.

If you’re looking for a bag that will last for 3+ years of over-use, look no further.

 

Tour Exotics Xtreme Stand 2 – $109

Tour-Exotics-Xtreme2Give it up to one of the small guys for making a great bag at an amazing price point. The Tour Edge Exotics Xtreme Stand 2 bag has 7 dividers, and put a smile on my face. It has the ability to stand on it’s own fully loaded with or without it’s legs, and just enough storage with all the goodies you’d want.

Two changes that would improve the score; a strap that’s more comfortable where everything connects on your back, and a bit more style (flair baby!) in the design. For $109 this bag almost takes the win for the value category.

 

Jones Stand Bag – $199

Jones-StandThe Jones stand bag feels like it has a lot of storage, but in reality the bag offers less cargo capacity than it appears. I really want to love this bag. The bag has a ton to offer, but is just so small that most will find it less than suitable for regular use.

I can totally see using this bag as my Sunday bag, but for the price, it should be able to handle the demands of the daily carry.

 

Jones Original – $139Jones-Original

The Jones Original is a Sunday bag that you could play every day. The only thing holding it back is a lack of storage and the inability to stand on its own.

I want to say run out and buy this bag today, but too many of you would probably be  buying the wrong bag. If you know what you’re looking at and can appreciate the craftsmanship, this is a great bag, but if you’re looking for a modern stand bag, this one is probably a miss.

 

Sun Mountain Three5 – $184

Sun-Mountain-35It kills me that the Sun Mountain Three5, a bag with so much raw potential lands with a B, but when a bag just can’t stand on its own without its legs, I get sad. Have you see what happens at bag check? Your clubs hit the ground…hard. It can get ugly.

On the plus side, the bag offers plenty of solid storage. It’s lightweight, great looking, and comfortable-enough. Only the inability to stand on its own is holding it back. If a bag being able to stand without using the legs doesn’t matter to you, bump the grade up to an A and go buy it.

 

TRUE linkswear Tour – $149

True-TourI would like the TRUE linkswear Tour bag more if the hip pad actually made contact with my body, but the way the bag adjusts it just doesn’t. It’s lightweight enough that the poorly placed pad barely affects comfort, but the bag is small. It’s a true walkers carry bag that’s probably not  quite as comfortable as it needs to be.

Beyond that, this is a lightweight bag that gets the job done. If we were grading on a curve we could bump up this up a grade. It easily adjusts, stands with or without the legs deployed, and it’s comfortable-enough. There’s not a ton of storage, but it’s a true carry bag that begs to not be overloaded.

 

Bridgestone Lightweight Stand Bag – $149

Bridgestone-lightweightThe Bridgestone Lightweight Stand Bag is plain and unexciting. There’s nothing in this bag to warrant a score any higher, or any lower. It just sort of is what it is. And what it is is a bag I would probably not even notice when shopping.

I could see my dad buying this bag and being totally content though. The style isn’t bold, and it offers just enough in the way of storage and other features that if he walked, he’d have no issues with whatsoever.

 

Nike Sport Lite – $129

Nike-Sport-LITEThe Nike Sport Lite, as the name suggests is lightweight, but lacks any real wow factor. There’s nothing wrong with buying this bag. In fact it’s almost right. Unfortunately it lacks the storage to be a fully functional stand bag, and as a lightweight bag it’s not quite as adept as some of its competitors.

$129 means this bag is priced right and you would be a happy camper sporting her around the playground.

 

Datrek Go-Lite 14 – $129

Datrek-Go-Lite-14At $129 it’s tough to find fault with the Datrek Go-Lite 14. Even a near total lack of style is almost tolerable when considering the price.

If this bag is only going in a cart and may only ever see one round on your back, it’s probably fine; especially if you want a bag that flies under the radar. At the same time, this bag doesn’t have enough storage to be a cart bag.

 

Bridgestone Stand Bag – $199

Bridgestone-standThe Bridgestone Stand Bag offers another example of a hip pad that doesn’t work because it’s placed poorly. Instead the branding on the bag rubs your hip. At more than 5 pounds, I need more storage and style. If this bag floated under 4 pounds, we’d be onto something.

For $199 there are several options you might prefer is you scroll up.

 

LoudMouth Lightning Rod – $149

Loud-Mouth-Lightning-RodIn the style department the LoudMouth Lightning Rod is what it is. Take it or leave it, this is exactly what you should expect from LoudMouth. Personally, I like the disco balls a little better. This bag is purely about being loud. If you don’t have a linebacker’s shoulders the straps feel like they are going to slip off. If LoudMouth stepped it up and worked more on the features, they might have a true winner, but I can’t, in good faith, recommend this year’s bag. There are better options.

 

Ping Hoofer 14 – $219

Ping-Hoofer-14For the comfort alone the PING Hoofer 14 bag made Santa’s naughty list this year. At $219, everything should be near perfect and storage space should be limitless. Neither is true of the Hoofer 14.

On the positive side, if you are looking for a bag that has 14 dividers, this bag has the best 14 dividers of any bag in this lineup.

 

Club Glove Sunday Bag – $99

Club-Glove-SundayJust add a pocket for valuables and I might give the Club Glove Sunday Bag more love.

Most of us don’t bother with Sunday bags because a stand bag gets the job done just fine, but for those who are actually looking for a Sunday bag, this one admittedly does everything you’d need it. It’s not going to turn any heads. It’s not ugly in the conventional sense, but it’s definitely lacking for style.

 

TaylorMade MicroLite – $159

TaylorMade-MicroliteThe TaylorMade MicroLite is uncomfortable. That’s really all that needs to be said. The square design causes the upper collar of the bag dig into your hip as you walk. This design flaw is so significant (given that we’re talking about a carry bag) that I can’t believe it actually made it into production.

My recommendation is that you keep walking past this bag. Hopefully TaylorMade will update this bag for next season, and turn it into a real contender able to stand on its own (it doesn’t),  and that you could walk more than 1 hole without digging a hole in your hip.

 

TaylorMade PureLite – $179

TaylorMade-PureliteThe TaylorMade PureLite hits the weight and size that would make it competitive as a crossover to a cart bag. Unfortunately, like the MicroLite, the PureLite doesn’t work well as a carry bag. It tries to dig into your hip (not as bad as the MicroLite, but bad enough), and it doesn’t stand on its own without its legs.

While it’s easy to adjust, it’s not a bag I’d want on my back for 8 holes.

 

Izzo King – $169

Izzo-KingThe Izzo King Bag refuses to stand on its own without the legs deployed, it’s next to impossible to adjust the bag correctly to ride with the foot lower than the club heads (watch out for spilling clubs) The shoulder strap’s plastic Y rubs on your back and would annoy the crap out of me by the end of the first hole.

My recommendation is to spend your money elsewhere. Sure, if you bought it, you’d have a bag to carry your stuff, but the value isn’t there.

 

Ping L8 – $159

Ping-L8I really like the concept of the PING L8, but it’s the execution of that concept that falls short. It’s a small bag with just enough features to get you by, but it falls short due to the lack of  hip pad, and difficult adjustability.

The bag doesn’t want to stand without using its legs, and when it comes down to it, For those who like the the concept, we think the Jones is a better bag. We’re hoping to see this bag’s kinks worked out next year as we think there’s some real potential here.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Buyer’s Guide – Best Golf Shoe Under $100

Buyer’s Guide – Best Golf Shoe Under $100

Post image for Buyer’s Guide – Best Golf Shoe Under $100

This is the first of many MyGolfSpy golf shoe-related buyer’s guides we will be bringing you in the coming months.  Today we take a look at a variety of golf shoes that have a suggested retail price under $100.

The sub-$100 market is a tough one for golf shoes. We’re seeing more and more shoes come in at higher price points while also seeing an increase in the quality of the shoes. Buying a budget-level golf shoe can be tough and we’re here to help you find a pair of golf shoes that are worthy of their price and will perform well.

The Reviews

All of the shoes have been judged on the same scale for (Comfort, Performance, Durability, and Style). In addition to the individual scales, a final letter grade is given for an overall score for each shoe.

The individual scales for the characteristics of the shoes are judged on a qualitative scale and are based on observations of putting the shoes to multiple rounds of golf and range sessions.  While the bars show relative performance between an arbitrary minimum and maximum range, the letter grade is an overall score independent of the individual scales.

shoe-100-score-system

The Contenders

 

Adicross-III-Small

Adidas
Adicross III
$90

Air-Rival-Small

Nike
Nike Air Rival 2.5
$95

Sensei-Small

TRUE Linkswear
Sensei
$99

Ripcord-Small

Oakley
Ripcord
$80

Druskin-Small

Travis Mathew
Druskin
$84

Slyder-Premium-Small

Kikkor
Slyder Premium
$79

Chev-Aero-Small

Callaway
Chev Aero
$79

 

TRUE Linkswear Sensei

best-golf-shoe

TRUE Linkswear has put out some great shoes in the past few years and the Sensei is one of the best all-around values of their line-up.

The zero-drop nature of these shoes makes them perfect if you frequently walk the course and it’s hard to imagine any shoe being much more comfortable. The mesh uppers won’t mix well with cold temperatures or rain, but these shoes perform great in normal conditions and are a pleasure to wear on the course.

The Sensei is a great choice for the fair-weather golfer.

 

Adidas Adicross III

Adicross-III-Score

The Adicross III has respectable all-around performance for an entry-level shoe.

While the shoe initially felt narrow and stiff, it became much more comfortable after a short break-in period that took less than a full round of golf. The styling is great for a progressive golf shoe and it looks great during play as well as on your way to and from the course.

The Adicross has become a great alternative to traditional golf shoes. This is a great looking shoe with good all-around performance.

 

Oakley Ripcord

Ripcord-Score-2

Oakley has recently stepped up to a full line of golf shoes and the company has a variety of shoes to meet a variety of budgets.

The Oakley Ripcords were surprisingly comfortable. These shoes are great for grinding it out on the range for hours or spending time walking the course. While the grip on these shoes is good enough, the bottoms of the shoes wear quickly – especially when they’re worn to and from the course or worn heavily on concrete. The Ripcords come with two-year waterproof warranty – which is a welcome addition to a budget-level shoe.

The Ripcords scored well, but the lack of traction on the shoes might send you back to purchase a new pair after only moderate play.

 

Callaway Chev Aero

Chev-Aero-Score

Callaway has a nice line of new shoes this year and regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s likely a Callaway shoe that meets your needs.

The Callaway Chev Aeros stood out as the biggest surprise of the shoes tested. The Chev Aeros had solid grounding with their traditional spike system and the shoes were very comfortable. The mesh in these shoes very flexible and allowed for excellent freedom of movement. The added padding to the insole results in a noticeable amount of cushioning that makes these shoes easy to wear for extended periods.

While these weren’t the most stylish shoes of the bunch, the performance characteristics were solid.

 

Nike Air Rival 2.5

Air-Rival-Score

The Nike Air Rival 2.5 is a nice looking shoe with a low-budget feel.

The base of the Air Rival is solid and the shoe has a traditional spike system. The uppers of the shoe are mostly uncomfortable and they tended to crease at the toes while walking – resulting in a low comfort score. The shoes look and perform well, but chances are that they’re not going to be the shoes that bring a smile every time you slide them on.

Although Nike has introduced some great golf shoes, this one doesn’t measure up as a true contender.

 

Travis Mathew Druskin

Druskin-Score

Travis Mathew continues to bring us great looking shoes that blur the lines between casual wear and the golf course.

The Travis Mathew Druskin is best suited as a low-key casual shoe that you can use while golfing. The shoes perform ok on the golf course, but they’re not likely to be a full-time golf shoe. These shoes look great and serve their purpose well as a shoe that you can have as an everyday shoe that won’t let you down when you happen to head to the range or fit in a round at the last second.

These shoes look great, but they’re not likely to keep you happy as a full-time shoe for the course.

 

Kikkor Slyder Premium

Slyder-Premium-Score

Kikkor has done a commendable job over the past few years by releasing some great alternative shoes at reasonable prices.

The Slyders are the easy-on / easy-off offering from Kikkor for those that are looking for a laid-back and informal golf shoe. The premium version of the Slyders offers a synthetic leather that is quite a bit more durable than the canvas models and provides a nice alternative if you’re looking for a relaxed golf shoe.

The Slyders are an interesting concept, but just didn’t match up to the higher-performing shoes on the list.

 

Summary

Although the sub-$100 market is a tough one, there are a variety of golf shoes that can keep you happy on the course and not put a dent in your wallet.

All of the manufacturers reviewed offer shoes in a variety of styles and prices, but it’s clear that you don’t have to settle for budget quality on a low-dollar budget.

Do you have other shoes that you would recommend that come in under $100? If so, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Buyers Guide – Winter 2013 Golf Apparel

Buyers Guide – Winter 2013 Golf Apparel

Post image for Buyers Guide – Winter 2013 Golf Apparel

MyGolfSpy’s 1st Seasonal Golf Apparel Buyer’s Guide

In case you missed the introduction to this new exciting feature, my name is KaraKoo.  Each season, I will be Your Personal Golf Apparel Stylist”, and will present 10 complete great looking golf outfits to prepare you for yet another season of golf with your buddies.

I will share two choices each, for 5 different styles of golfers: Bold, Classic, Trendy, Athletic and Traditional.  Or, for those of you ready to jump out of your comfort zone and be a little more versatile, which I strongly recommend, there will be several options to consider.  You will be able to preview images of these options on a model from every angle so you don’t have to try it on.  Plus, you can click to immediately buy these entire outfits from our online retail partner FairwayStyles.com, without ever having to go out and shop.

Entire fabulous outfit choices to fit your style, handed to you each season, and the ability to purchase these outfits from home.  I know…it seems too good to be true…but it’s not.  It is officially time to stock up on some fresh, new winter golf apparel.  Let’s start scrolling…

Solving A Simple Problem:

Shopping for golf clothes in stores or online simply doesn’t work for most guys. It simply takes too much time, too much energy and there are too many choices. It’s overwhelming.  Now, we will do the work, we will find your style and we will make it easy! 

Bold

You don’t have to wear crazy in-your-face color all the time, but a little color in the closet should be considered necessary.  Not every guy can pull off a bold look, but if you have a confident and fun personality, and you are not afraid to try something daring and different, this is your zone.  Be prepared to be noticed.

Bold Look 1

Bold Look 1 pairs a basic Travis Mathew polo with a dynamic pair of Abacus plaid paints and an Abacus vest that screams, “Caution, I might be too much to handle, or I might be just the excitement you are looking for!”

Bold1-1

Bold1-2Bold1-3

Bold1-4Bold1-Outerwear

Puma-Faas

 

Bold Look 2

Bold Look 2 is a mix of Puma and Sligo Wear, worn by two of the most noteworthy guys on the PGA Tour when it comes to style and fashion, Rickie Fowler and Graham DeLaet.  Their golf game isn’t too shabby either, so you might take note. 

Bold2-1

Bold2-2Bold2-3

Bold2-4Bold2-Outerwear

Puma-Faas

 

Classic

Not to be confused with traditional looks, the classic style consists of elements that continue to remind us of the country club lifestyle.  Kelly green & navy, rich colors such as burgundy and the everlasting argyle print.  Anyone can pull off a classic look.  Fashion labels that like to push the bar to increasingly new heights will question our loyalty to heritage pieces, but, why fix what will never be broken?

Billy Horschel was one of the best dressed golfers on the PGA Tour in 2013, representing the Ralph Lauren RLX line in perfectly classic style.  Horschel demonstrated that primary colors look fantastic with a nice pair of brown golf shoes and matching brown belt.

Classic Look 1

Classic Look 1 showcases a top and matching sweater by A|U|R and Nike Golf pants.

Classic1-1

Classic1-2Classic1-3

Classic1-4Classic1-Outerwear

Oakley-Enduro

 

Classic Look 2

Classic Look 2 also includes a smooth argyle sweater by A|U|R and a Travis Matthew polo, paired with pants and belt by the Travis Mathew counterpart of Matte Grey.

Classic2-1

Classic2-2Classic2-3

Classic2-4Classic2-Outerwear

Adidas-Adizero

 

Athletic

Was your first thought when you saw the outfits for the athletic look below, “Umm are we sure these are sporty and athletic?  Aren’t they more bold?”  Good.  I am pushing your comfort level here.  Typically guys that go for the standard adidas or Nike polo and tech fabric pants, are actually falling into the new “traditional” or as I like to refer to it, “plain” category.  Hey athletic guy!  I know you can step it up another notch.

Add a bit of fresh, sporty color and a touch (I said a touch) of a well-designed pattern to your polo, but feel free to still grab for those high-performance pants.

Athletic Look 1

Athletic Look 1 may at first seem more like spring with the neon green Abacus polo and gray Nike golf tech pants.  However, when topped off with one of my favorite jackets of the season, the Abacus Tiverton Wind Jacket, it is a fun fall/winter look!

Sporty1-1

Sporty1-2Sporty1-3

Sporty1-4Sporty1-Outerwear

Puma-Faas

 

Athletic Look 2

Athletic Look 2 is one of the best Oakley combos I have seen from them in 2013.  Bubba Watson had to wear some pretty awful shirts on the course this year, so I started to think Oakley was not capable of greatness.  Yet, this unique wine colored polo with complimentary jacket won me over.

Sporty2-1

Sporty2-2Sporty2-3

Sporty2-4Sporty2-Outerwear

Puma-Faas

 

Trendy

I say trendy, you say “Travis Mathew.”  Look, I don’t decide what is trendy, I just sit back and observe.  Truth be told, I am not a huge Travis Mathew fan.  However, when athletes and other celebrities hit the golf course in Travis Mathew,  the weekend golfer seems to follow along.  That’s just how it works.  To be fair, the label has an incredible marketing plan (note to all you entrepreneurs out there) and it is working.

I will also use this category to feature designers and pieces you might not consider, or see in your local golf retailer.  If anyone is willing to try something new and hot it is you trendy fellows right?  Good for you!

Trendy Look 1

Trendy Look 1 is so smooth.  I have to be totally transparent and give this look my vote for “Oh yeah, if I saw a guy wearing this on the golf course I would totally look twice!”  Everyone’s favorite Travis Mathew,  paired with the ever fabulous J. Lindeberg and topped off with a sharp Hollas jacket.  Do not overlook the statement this Matte Grey belt makes.  It is a must buy for this look.

FashionElite1-1

FashionElite1-2FashionElite1-3

FashionElite1-4FashionElite1-Outerwear

Adidas-Adizero

 

Trendy Look 2

Trendy Look 2 hails from the collection of not only one of my favorite golfers, but also one of the most striking dressers on tour, Graeme McDowell.  G-Mac by Kartel had me turning my head more times this season than any other label.  Give it a try.

FashionElite2-1

FashionElite2-2FashionElite2-3

FashionElite2-4FashionElite2-Outerwear

Adidas-Adicross

 

Traditional

Here is where we really begin to develop our trust, because I am going tell you flat out that this is my least favorite category of golf apparel.  It almost pained me (ok it pained me) to make these selections for you.  However, I do realize that it may take a while for me to convince you to experiment with your style and try something new.  That’s ok, I will be here to keep encouraging you.  The fact is, you are not alone.  The market shows that traditional brands more than dominate.  All that means to me is that I have a LOT of you to convince to step out of your comfort zone.  These options are honestly not super by-the-book traditional, but they were as far as I was willing to compromise.

Traditional Look 1

Traditional Look 1 comes from the Nike Tiger Woods collection.  Nice shade of blue paired with gray pants to pick up on the gray accents in the polo.  Grab a simple Nike TW pullover and head to the golf course.  This selection is for all you WWTD (What Would Tiger Do) guys.  Though, I will never condone you wearing a white belt.

Traditional1-1

Traditional1-2Traditional1-3

Traditional1-4Traditional1-Outerwear

Puma-Faas

 

Traditional Look 2

Traditional Look 2 finally offers you a pair of khaki pants and a basic cotton polo.  Navy is safe and looks nice on everyone so try this Linksoul version with flat-front adidas khaki pants and a nice Oakley jacket that doubles as a vest for a warmer day.

Traditional2-1

Traditional2-2Traditional2-3

Traditional2-Outerwear2Traditional2-Outerwear

Adidas-Adicross

See You In January

Look for our Spring Golf Apparel Buyers Guide in January! Until then, please join the conversation on MyGolfSpy or by following @KaraKoo on Twitter.

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2013 Swing Trainers – {Buyer’s Guide}

2013 Swing Trainers – {Buyer’s Guide}

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Intro

By: Matt Saternus

Last year I said that the Swing Trainer Shootout was The #1 Most Requested Review, even more than Rocketballz, and that may have been a stretch.  This year, it is not a stretch to say that the Swing Trainer Buyer’s Guide is the single most in-demand review that MyGolfSpy has done.  Since the PGA Show in January, not a week has gone by that I haven’t gotten a comment, email, forum post, or tweet asking when it would be done.  And now, it’s finally here.

The Line Up

Last year we tested Golf Sense, Swing Byte, and Swing Smart.  This year, the field has more than doubled:

:: Swing ByteEmpower Your Golf Game with Real-Time Swing Data
:: Golf SenseAnalyze Your Stats. Get Real-Time Feedback. Improve Your Game
:: Swing Smart – Swing It, See It, Fix It
:: SwingTIP – The Shape of Swings to Come
:: Noitom MySwing – Your Personal Digital Swing
:: SkyPro – See, Groove, Improve
:: 3Bays GSA PUTTUltra Light & Ultra Small

An Important Note

Something that I came to appreciate only as I spent more and more time with these devices is that comparing them is not apples to apples.  To steal T’s line, it’s more like apples to Cheetos.  While all of these devices are small, digitial, and cool, they are not the same.  They don’t have the same features and don’t have similar user experiences.  On one hand, I wish they did: testing would be roughly 434,857 times easier.  On the other hand, the wide variety is really good for the consumer: you can find the device that delivers the kind of experience you want.

Ultimately, it was decided that declaring a “winner” was important, so we did, but just like with our Most Wanted Driver Test or Most Wanted Mallet Test, it is not necessarily true that the winner will be the best device for you.  I strongly encourage you to take a careful look at the all the information and ask yourself what you’re looking for in a swing trainer before making your purchase.

How We Tested

All of the devices were tested by up to five different MyGolfSpy writers.  In addition to this field testing, I tested each device against FlightScope to judge the accuracy of the data that was produced.

Similar to last year, we have produced two charts.  The first gives some broad information about features, price, and compatibility.  The second gives you letter grades in each of four categories, plus an overall score.  Below, you will see full explanations of each grade for each device.

One area that I intentionally ignored was Price/Value.  Price may be a determining factor for some people, but I came to the conclusion that it was best to judge each device purely on what it does and let the individual consumer decide what was the best bang for their buck.

*Note: The overall score is not an average, simply a reflection of the overall quality of the device.

 

Physical Device: As far as the on-shaft devices, Swing Smart is the best.  It attaches under the shaft, so it’s barely noticeable at address, it’s tiny and lightweight, and it doesn’t twist.  The only real negative about it applies to all of the on-club devices: you need to move the device (or at least the sensor) when you change clubs.

App: The Swing Smart app hasn’t really changed since last year.  The layout is very simple and shows all you need to know on one screen.  The 3D image is still good.  Customizing your clubs and changing clubs during a session are both very easy.  It’s still the fastest app in terms of how quickly it puts numbers on the screen.  My one complaint is that the device times out very fast: I had to put the phone down and swing quickly or else the screen would shut off.  There may be a way to adjust this, but I didn’t find it.

Data: One of the things I like best about Swing Smart is that it doesn’t overwhelm the user with numbers.  Instead, it provides four easy to understand, actionable data points that are consistent and good.  Face to Path was consistently within 2-3 degrees of FlightScope and swing speed was consistently 2-3 MPH below what FlightScope reported.  The one thing that keeps the Data grade from being an “A” is the lack of a “Club Path” number.

Instruction: The app includes videos of Peter Kostis explaining the different numbers and offering some tips on how to change them.  While it’s a little light, the presentation is good and the information is pretty solid.  Most importantly, it’s integrated into the app for easy access.

What’s Unique: Training Mode – use the device without hitting a ball

What’s Great: The most accurate 3D image.  The best on-club sensor.

What’s Not: The look of the app.  Lack of club path number.

Overall: Swing Smart is the most refined device in this category.  Where others have added new features, Swing Smart has opted for perfecting the motion capture that powers the whole thing.  Swing Smart still has virtues that set it apart, training mode and ease of use to name two, but its competitors have cut that list down.  While Swing Smart is still in the discussion for the best device in this segment, it is not the first and last word in that discussion like it was last year.

Matt’s Take: Swing Smart is a better-looking app and a Club Path number away from being a clear winner.  Everything that it does, it does very well.  I just want it to do a little more.  Regardless, if I had to make a blind recommendation of which device to buy, this would be it.

 

Physical Device: Swing Byte 2 is a major step forward from the original Swing Byte.  It is more secure on the club, doesn’t twist as easily, and is easier to align.  The only major negative about the physical device is that the lights which indicate on/off and Bluetooth connectivity are nearly invisible in the sunlight.

App: Swing Byte’s new app is, hands down, the class of the field.  It is the most feature-rich and the easiest to use.  There is never a time in using the app that you have to think, “How do I make it do ____?”  The video integration makes sense and doesn’t feel like an add-on.  The “Compare Swings” feature is the best in the field.

Note: I evaluated the new iPad app which differs from the app available for iPhone and Android at the time of publication.  I was told the Android tablet update is coming next, followed by iPhone and Android phone.

Data: While Swing Byte is up front about the fact that their device is not a mini-FlightScope, their device has improved immeasurably in terms of producing numbers that correlate with radar data.  Angle of Attack will always be steep because it is measured at a different point in the swing, but it’s now consistently within a 6* of FlightScope (not the case last year).  Club head speed was consistently within 3 MPH.  The Club Path and Face Angle to Path numbers were consistent, but they did show a draw bias of 2-3 degrees.  All in all, the data was consistent and very useable.

Instruction: At this time, Swing Byte doesn’t offer instruction.

What’s Unique: Truly integrated video.

What’s Great: The best “Compare Swings” feature on the market.  Lots of numbers.

What’s Not: Nearly-invisible on/off lights.  Updated app not available on all platforms yet.  Lots of numbers.

Overall: Swing Byte 2 and the new iPad app are a giant leap forward, right into the first tier of digital swing trainers.  Between the improvements that I have already seen and the improvements that are on the way (using video to create a target-line reference for the data, essentially making it like FlightScope), I think that Swing Byte is one of the devices that you should consider purchasing.

Matt’s Take: If you read last year’s Swing Trainer review, you know that this is a complete 180 for me: I hated the original Swing Byte, I love Swing Byte 2.0.  From what I’ve seen, Swing Byte has the most potential of any device.  If the target-line feature is well implemented, it could revolutionize this product segment.  Swing Byte already has the best sizzle (presentation); if they get the steak (data) to match this device could be the undisputed champ.

 

Physical Device: This device is a close second to Swing Smart among on-club sensors.  It’s very small, attaches easily, and stays put.  Aligning it on top of the club is recommended, but not required, though the white and orange are still plenty visible under the shaft.  I do have two complaints about the sensor: 1) it has to be re-calibrated every time you switch clubs (the process takes about 10-15 seconds) and 2) the range of the device (how close it must be to your phone) is not very good.  One interesting note: SkyPro does not have an on/off switch; it senses when a Bluetooth device is in range and powers itself on. 

App: For ease of use, this app is as good as any in the field.  It’s intuitive and works easily.  It also has the single best new feature in this category: Groove.  This practice mode lets the user choose one metric (tempo or backswing length, for example), choose their target value (3:1 tempo, backswing that stops at parallel), and then try to “groove” that over 10 swings.  The golfer can win gold, silver, or bronze depending on how well they do.  The basic swing mode is good and golfers can set the device to give “Alerts” when it detects certain swing flaws.  I think the Plane mode is borderline pointless, but it doesn’t hurt anything.

Data: Similar to Golf Sense, SkyPro does not produce many FlightScope-comparable numbers.  Club head speed is fairly accurate (lack of club customization hurts it in this respect) and shaft lean at impact (correlated to dynamic loft) is consistently good.  The other numbers that it produces are very consistent over time and were consistent with things I know that I do in my swing.  

Instruction: There are two ways to look at SkyPro’s Instruction: on one hand, there is no information about how to, for example, create more shaft lean at impact.  From that perspective, it has no Instruction.  The other view is that SkyPro, through all of its various checkpoints and recommended values, has a lot of Instruction (all of the recommended values can be edited, but I don’t anticipate many users doing so).  I take the second view.  While I am skeptical about a device prescribing how to swing, the values that are given are fairly middle-of-the-road and the ranges are wide enough to accommodate differing styles (and, again, they can be changed).  While I think the addition of a little “How To” would be good, I think that what SkyPro does offer is very useful.

What’s Unique: Groove mode.

What’s Great: Groove mode.  Very good sensor.

What’s Not: Changing clubs is time consuming.  Plane Mode.

Overall: SkyPro is going to be the device that the average golfer connects with most easily.  Most golfers want to be told how to swing and SkyPro does that.  SkyPro also makes practice fun with Groove mode.  It’s not a perfect device, nor a complete one, but what it does, it does very well, and it makes practice more fun.

Matt’s Take: SkyPro has the single best feature (Groove Mode) and some of the worst (Plane Mode, Pro Data screen).  If it included some of the FlightScope-type numbers that Swing Smart and Swing Byte have, it could be a clear favorite in this category.  As it is, it ends up being a niche product for guys who want to be told how to swing.  Yes, there are ways to customize the swing so that it’s not “one size fits all,” but the average golfer does not have the knowledge to do that well.  Much like Swing Byte, SkyPro has huge upside and I’m excited to see how they improve going forward.

 

Physical Device: Hands down, the group’s favorite sensor.  Attach it to your glove and go; don’t worry about alignment or moving the sensor from club to club.  The only possible gripe is from people who don’t wear a glove, but I think that’s a fairly small minority.

App: The Golf Sense app just got a little nip and tuck for 2013, but it was an important one: all of the swing data is now seen on the main screen.  Additionally, the basic functionality of Golf Sense has improved: the connection is extremely stable and it displays swing data almost immediately after contact.  The 3D image is good, though I think many people might like it to be larger.

Data: As was discussed last year, Golf Sense measures very  different things than other devices.  The only FlightScope-comparable number that you get from Golf Sense is club head speed (consistently good, though it trends about 2 MPH slower than FlightScope).  The other data that is produced is consistent from device to device and over time, but is otherwise unverifiable.  That is not to say that it’s not useful: the speed graphs (club and hand) are very useful as is the backswing-length measurement.  Ultimately, it’s up to the individual golfer to decide if Golf Sense’s data will help them more than the FlightScope-like data from other devices.

Instruction: Golf Sense has started to introduce instructional pieces via their website.  So far, what they have created has been of very high quality.  My main complaint is that it’s not accessible via the app, and it’s buried on the website.  My hope is that more content will be created soon and that it will be featured in a more prominent location on the site and in the app.

What’s Unique: On-glove sensor.  “Hand Path” 3D image.  Hip rotation measurement.

What’s Great: Fast readings.  Easy to use.

What’s Not: Lack of club data (face angle, path, etc).

Overall: Golf Sense is the most unique device in the field both for its sensor and the information it produces.  I think that some golfers will absolutely love the information Golf Sense produces, others will find it lacking compared to Swing Smart, Swing Byte, etc.  My advice is to look carefully at what Golf Sense has to offer and decide if its data points are the ones that you want.

Matt’s Take: If you’re someone who is already deeply involved in the FlightScope/Trackman world of club numbers, Golf Sense probably isn’t going to be your device of choice.  However, for your average golfer who doesn’t know, need, or want 53 numbers on their screen, Golf Sense’s common sense metrics are a great alternative.

 

Physical Device: SwingTIP is the worst physical device in the field.  The locking mechanism, though sturdy looking, is prone to popping open on thin shots (to be clear, the device doesn’t fly away, it just springs open).  Additionally, it is one of the largest, most visible sensors at address.  On the positive, the on/off light is easy to read and the mounting clip includes a bar to aid in alignment.

App: SwingTIP has one of the easiest apps to use.  The menu choices are pared down and simple, much like the data that’s given.  All of the information is presented on one screen, and the analysis of each swing is easily accessed.  The 3D image is good, though some people will take issue with the image of the golfer that is presented since SwingTIP has no way to know what your body is doing on a given swing.  The swing analysis is decent, though occasionally you do get contradictory comments.  On the negative side, SwingTIP is the slowest device in terms of reporting swing data.  Additionally, the video integration feels like an afterthought: it doesn’t work together with any other elements of the app.

Data: Instead of giving players numbers, SwingTIP tells golfers if their club face was open, closed, or square and if their path was inside-out or outside-in (it does give numbers for tempo and club head speed).  Unfortunately, even with these “dumbed down” measures, SwingTIP misses the mark.  Club head speed, though spot on at times, was off by as much as 7 MPH on some swings.  I think a lot of this is can be attributed to the fact that the club cannot be “customized” in the app (i.e. the user cannot tell the app the club’s length, shaft material, etc).  Club path was similarly erratic.  Face angle was simply inaccurate much of the time as was the “sweet spot” indicator.

Instruction: SwingTIP has the largest library of in-app instruction: 40 tips ranging from takeaway to generating more power.  Each tip consists of text and a video.  Overall, it’s a mixed bag: some of the tips are really good, some are weak.  Some of the videos are quite good (the ones by Jeff Ritter tend to be strong), some are not.  A lot of the tips tend to be more explanations of the “Analysis” than instruction, but that may be just as useful for golfers trying to dig their way out of the swing jargon.

What’s Unique: Simplified data.  Loads of instructional material.

What’s Great: Instruction is well integrated.  Easy to use app.

What’s Not: Poor physical device.  Erratic data.

Overall: I appreciate the different approach that SwingTIP takes, eschewing numbers in favor of easier to understand terminology, but I found the accuracy lacking.  The amount of instruction, and the way it’s integrated, is something other devices should look to emulate, but ultimately SwingTIP is a second tier device.

Matt’s Take: If the data were better, I could see myself recommending SwingTIP to lots of golfers who don’t want to be “bogged down” by all the numbers.  Unfortunately, at this time, the data is so inconsistent that I can’t suggest purchasing it.

 

Physical Device: 3Bays has one of the more unique approaches to this category: they plug their sensor into the butt of the grip.  I’m not sure if it twists on full swings (I don’t hit many 100 yard putts), but for putting this method was great.  The indicator light is super bright and the button is nice and sturdy.  Bonus: the device comes with a dedicated charger so you don’t have to plug it into your computer to power it up.  The only negative is that you need to hold the club perfectly still for a second before each stroke, something that may disrupt the rhythm of some golfers.

App: This app leaves me torn: I really like the look, the layout, the numbers, and some of the features, but I don’t find it particularly easy to use.  I kept asking myself, “How do I do ___ again?”.  I’m sure that feeling would go away over time, but, after seeing how intuitive other apps are, it’s a definite negative.  One of the best things in the app is the graph of each data point: in one graph you can see, for each stroke you made in a practice session, what your tempo was (or club face, speed, etc).  This gives you a window into your overall consistency and miss patterns, which is really important information.

Data: While I wasn’t able to confirm the numbers with a SAM Puttlab, the data that 3Bays produced was consistent with what I have seen from Puttlab in the past.  Additionally, the data was consistent from device to device and over time.  Like all of these devices, the reference point for everything is the club face, so alignment correctly is critical.

Instruction: None at this time.

What’s Unique: Some of the best data presentation graphics.

What’s Great: Good numbers and graphic presentation.

What’s Not: Putting and full swing in separate devices.  Being forced to stay perfectly still before your shot.

Overall: The 3Bays GSA PUTT is a really strong device in many ways: the sensor is small and light, the data is good and presented well.  As such, it earns its B+, as high a grade as any device in the field.  The app could be more intuitive, but that’s not a major issue.  For some, the need to keep the sensor still before your stroke could be a deal breaker.

Matt’s Take: Ultimately, 3Bays is just a little out of step with the rest of the market.  To get putting and full swing training, a 3Bays customer would have to spend $400 on two devices.  Swing Smart and Swing Byte offer full swing and putting in one device for $250 and $150, respectively.  There’s nothing significant the 3Bays does better to justify that price and convenience difference.

 

Physical Device: Despite looking like a high school science fair project, the mySwing device is fairly good.  The combination of rubber shaft band and Velcro, while a pain to put on, holds the device in place quite well.  It’s very light weight, but it is a little bulky looking on top of the shaft.

App: Again, not the best looking, but it does the job.  The main display screen is crowded, but it does have all the things you need to see.  One feature I particularly like is the bar graph in the session review that shows how frequently you created various numbers (example: Face Angle was open 2* 4 times, open 1* 5 times, square 2 times).  The 3D image is very average.

Data: mySwing produced a mixed bag of data.  Club path was 3-4 degrees off, consistently.  Swing speed jumped from being within 2-3MPH to being off as much as 6MPH for stretches.  Dynamic loft and face angle were typically within 3 degrees.  Ultimately, the numbers produced were good, but not the best.

Instruction: The mySwing app provides three pages of suggestions/instruction.  The first is a chart with mySwing numbers for average, Tour, and Long Drive golfers.  This is helpful, and I would suggest all apps provide this.  The third page shows a few different 3D golf swing images and diagnoses what’s good or bad about them.  Again, very helpful.  The top half of the second page suggests that golfers aim for a 3:1 tempo (Tour Tempo), which I agree with.  You may be asking, “Why did they get a D- for instruction if all of this is ok?”  The problem lies on the bottom half of the second page (and elsewhere in the mySwing packaging/website) where they have a chart with the “old” (read: WRONG) Ballflight Laws.  In 2013, this is totally unacceptable.

What’s Unique: Nothing.

What’s Great: Nothing.

What’s Not: The look of the app and the sensor.

Overall: mySwing is a device that I think 99% of golfers would dismiss because of the website, packaging, and look of the device…and that would be a shame because it’s actually quite decent.  It’s not among the best, but it’s not as bad as appearances would indicate.  It’s firmly in the second tier.

Matt’s Take: I don’t dislike mySwing, but it doesn’t do anything unique or uniquely well.  If it cost $99, I would say that it’s not a bad alternative for someone who’s really price conscious.  Unfortunately, it carries the same price tag as Swing Byte which makes it very hard to recommend.

 

Conclusion

If you were too lazy to read everything I just wrote, here’s the short version: there is a clear line between the Haves and Have-Nots in this category.  SwingByte, Swing Smart, SkyPro, and Golf Sense are the former, SwingTIP, mySwing, and 3Bays GSA Putt are the latter (in fairness, 3Bays GSA Putt is a good device, but it does half of what Swing Byte and Swing Smart do without being half the price).

In deciding between Swing Smart, Swing Byte, SkyPro, andGolf Sense, it comes down to what the user wants.  Each device offers something very different from the others.  Instructors and people who love Flightscope-esque number will gravitate towards Swing Byte.  People who want some numbers, but not too many will like Swing Smart or Golf Sense.  Golfers looking for specific swing instruction will want Sky Pro.

Just as with buying clubs, I would strongly recommend a trip to your local golf store to demo these devices before you buy.  Pro tip: Bring your own phone/tablet with the apps installed in advance (they’re all free).

If you have any questions about any of these devices, please post a comment below, and I will do my best to answer it.  I will also be encouraging all of the manufacturers to keep an eye on the comments section, so feel free to direct questions to them as well.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)