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Story by Chris King
A trip to the PGA Merchandise Show is like a tour of Santa’s workshop for golfers. The annual industry gathering is home to more than 1,000,000 square feet of interactive exhibits in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, and everyone from equipment companies to golf ball brands and every accessory imaginable attend. While it was difficult to sift through the more than 1,000 vendors at the show, I committed to paying the price in the interest of providing you a list of five things you might want to bring on your next Myrtle Beach golf trip. (For the record, I purposefully left the Titleists and Callways off the list, because you are likely already aware of their offerings.)
Here are five things from the PGA Merchandise Show that may enhance your next golf trip:
-- How many times have you walked off the course and asked, “What the $*&% happened?” If you have Shot Scope V2, you will never have to wonder again. The game’s greatest GPS watch will track 100 tour-level statistics about your game. Lightweight tags attach to your clubs, automating data collection, so all you have to do is play and interpret the results afterwards. Shot Scope, which retails for $250, claims it will knock 2.7 shots off your handicap, a small price to pay to shave that many strokes.
-- Whether you like to or not (and I do), the smartphone is part of the golf experience for most people, so you might as well maximize it. That’s where the Desert Fox Phone Caddy comes in. The phone holder easily (and securely) fastens to your cart, providing a safe and accessible place to keep your phone during the round. The peace of mind and convenience make the Desert Fox worthwhile.
-- Sunscreen isn’t sexy but it’s an absolute necessity. SKIN Sunscreen, designed specifically for golfers, is as a good a sunscreen as there is on the market. The mineral based product with a SPF of 30, doesn’t run off if you perspire, providing hours of protection from golf’s biggest hazard - the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen needs to be right alongside clubs, balls and tees on your must-pack list and SKIN, which is available in golf shops and online, comes highly recommended.
-- The USGA has declared greens guides legal and all the guys on tour are using them, so it’s time for you to do the same. StrackaLine, maker of the game’s premier greens maps, has books available for some of Myrtle Beach’s best courses, including TPC Myrtle Beach, Grande Dunes, all four courses Barefoot Resort and World Tour, among others. If you want to arrive at the course with an advantage, order StrackaLine greens guides before this year’s trip. They will pay for themselves.
-- If you are all-in on golf and technology, let me recommend the game’s first smart shoe. Salted Shoes Company pairs sensors in its golf shoes with a smartphone app, allowing players to analyze their weight shift during swings. At $360 they aren’t cheap, but balance plate technology is on the rise in golf instruction circles, and Salted Shoes allows you to bring it to the course.