Manufacturers don’t pause, it appears, when it comes to golf equipment and accessories. Every season must yield new innovations, and 2010 is no different. Anand Sankar does the rounds and comes up with what’s on offer.
LOOKING THE PART Golfing apparel is a perennial revolving door. The most sought after (till recently) are Nike’s Tiger Woods branded range. You could also check out the independent Greg Norman apparel line, with its famous shark logo. The sweaters in the Norman line (Rs 2,000 onwards) are recommended. For the odd rainy or windy day on the greens, a Zero Restriction jacket (Rs 8,000), which basically does what the name suggests, could come in handy. Brands and prices: Caps — Callaway Golf (Rs 1,125-1,295), Cobra (Rs 625-1,100), Nike Golf (Rs 1,099-2,499), Ping (Rs 875) and Titleist (Rs 550-750). Glasses — Oakley (Rs 6,435-18,785) T-shirts — Fairway & Greene (Rs 2,790-3,590), Greg Norman (Rs 1,200-2,000), Nike Golf (Rs 1,499-3,599) and Puma (Rs 599-1,899)
A TIGHT HOLD Golf gloves play an important role in your grip and thus the swing. Footjoy’s premium offering is the StaSof (priced at Rs 1,395), an all-leather glove, which as the name suggests, is designed to stay soft always. It is made from Cabretta leather which is said to resist moisture, and the glove has lycra inserts for knuckle padding. All golf apparel manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, Ping and Callaway, have a range of gloves with prices starting from Rs 600
HAVE A BALL The manufacturers of Titleist Pro V1(priced at Rs 3,240 for a dozen) say it is designed for golfers seeking long distance, consistent ball flight and soft feel. Yes, it does come at a price, but manufacturers promise that it is “the most durable of all golf balls used on the professional circuit”. That is, unless you lose the ball. All major golf equipment manufacturers have a range of golf balls, with prices starting from Rs 700
THE HUMBLE TEE A pack of 100 regular tees should set you back by Rs 690, but give the Brush-T (priced at Rs 990 for a set of three) a try. A traditional tee’s life is one good whack but the Brush-T can potentially last forever. Based on a unique nylon bristle “cup” that supports the golf ball, the bristles just bend and bounce back when struck. Manufacturers claim that the bristles ensure that all energy from the club is transferred to the ball and is not wasted in breaking as in the case of the traditional tee. Thus you get a longer and straighter shot. The Brush-T is available in four heights, enabling you to choose the right tee height for a shot. The Brush-T should save you a bit of money and if you are into aesthetics, it is goodbye to tee marks on your expensive club. But a note of caution, the Brush-T is for those who have a predictable stroke, as an undisciplined swing can break it.
STEP ON IT There’s plenty of choice in shoes. Footjoy’s Reel Fit (pictured at right, priced at Rs 16,900) has a unique mechanism for fitting the shoe to the foot. It has a knob on the rear which when twisted, tightens the shoe around your foot. Manufacturers say the system saves you the bother of tying laces that frequently come undone while on the greens and is designed to allow the feet to flex comfortably. The sole has rubber spikes that grip the greens. All major golf apparel manufacturers have a range of golf shoes, with prices starting from Rs 1,500
THE RIGHT CLUB The process that goes into the design of golf clubs today can comfortably compete with the aircraft industry.
Clubs use metals such as titanium, carbon fibre composites and are tested in wind tunnels.
It is very difficult to pick one from the plethora of golf clubs available, but if you are aiming for the perfect hole-in-one, try Callaway’s X22. Meant for players who have a handicap of five and below, Callaway claims the X22 series has a “tour-inspired head shape”. The clubs are supposed to maximise ball speed and dampen vibration. Competing with the Callaway X22 is the Ping i15 series. The i15 is an improvement on the i10 and the club heads have a titanium-carbon finish.
For players with handicaps of 10 and above, Callaway has the fusion technology (FT), and Ping, the G15. The FT series is unique as it incorporates carbon composites and titanium into the head for better positioning. The G15 series has an all-titanium larger clubface to give stability for occasional off-centre hits. You can also try Ping’s Rapture series, which is similar to the Callaway FT, in that it blends titanium with carbon composites.
You can choose from an array of putters and wedges made by different manufacturers. One option is a Scotty Cameron putter and a Bob Vokey wedge. Owned by golf equipment major Titleist, each Scotty Cameron putter is hand-crafted and intricately finished in stainless steel and has options to adjust weights. Scotty Cameron’s current series, Studio Select, is on sale. Vokey wedges, also from the Titleist stable, are used for “long pitches, short chips, high lob shots and blast out of traps”. Vokey’s Spin Milled series is available in a number of choices to meet every shot requirement, swing-style, course condition and rules governing tournament play.
Brands and prices (for a set of14 clubs and one putter) Callaway — X22 (Rs 68,990), FT (Rs 88,990) Ping — i15 (Rs 48,560 to Rs 67,500), G15 (Rs 52,500 to Rs 62,500), Rapture (Rs 85,500) Separate buys: Scotty Cameron putter (Rs 16,800 onwards), Vokey wedge (Rs 6,500 onwards) All manufacturers offer golf bags and carts customised to their range of clubs. Prices start from a low Rs 2,500 and go up to Rs 30,000.
ON HOME TURF
Two of the country’s leading golfers, Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar, talk about their favourite golf courses in India.
GAGANJEET BHULLAR Favourite course The Eagleton golf course, Bangalore.
What makes it special It’s extremely well designed and the bunkers are quite unique.
The landscaping and brilliant facilities make it one of the best in the country. Play there once and you will know that it is special. The fact that I have won many tournaments there may also be a factor!
GREEN FEE: Rs 800 on weekdays and Rs 1,500 on weekends, excluding additional costs of caddie or golf cart. CONTACT: 080-22632222 or email@example.com
SHIV KAPUR Favourite course The Delhi Golf Club.
What makes it special The greens roll well here and the holes and bunkers are designed in such a manner that they provide a different playing experience. In fact, I think I know almost every blade of grass on the course. This is a course where you can play all day long and not get bored.
GREEN FEE: Rs 2,000 on weekdays and Rs 3,000 on weekends, excluding additional costs. CONTACT: 011-24307100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|LEARNING TO PLAY |
Golf may look like an easy sport but is actually one of the toughest. Golf lessons, surprisingly, come cheaper than expected. Most golf courses have coaching sessions for beginners and those who want to brush up their skills. Here are a few which you can check out:
Jaypee Greens Noida (www.jaypeegreens.com) Fees: Rs 20,000 for a 6-month course
Royal Calcutta Golf Club (www.rcgc.in) Fees: Rs 250-Rs 1500 per day.
Bombay Presidency Golf Club For info email: email@example.com
At Golfworx, India’s first golf simulator in Gurgaon, you can practice your swing without visiting a golf course. For info call 0124-6467000