After spending more than two decades traveling with my clubs to golf destinations, you would think I'd have this down pat. And for the most part, I do. Except there are always ways to do things better, and in 2017, I've made several changes to my routine.
More specifically, I've changed my packing list to include some products that while they may not necessarily be brand new, they are either new to golf or new to me. Here are six things I'm now packing for my golf trips that I wasn't packing before:
Skechers Go Golf Elite shoes
First off, let me say that I'm still a FootJoy fan. FootJoy has always been solid, and continues to do so in a variety of styles. Those folks know golf shoes probably better than anyone else. But I've been intrigued lately by Skechers. Everyone I know who has a pair loves them (plus I like the TV ads with Matt Kuchar), so I decided to give it a whirl. And yes, these shoes are mega-comfortable. I'm packing the Skecher Go Golf Elite shoes these days. They're light, extremely easy to walk in and very waterproof. Best of all, they perform well in all conditions. Plus, they look good. (skechers.com)
Belts from Beltology
The belt is actually one of the most important pieces of apparel/equipment you wear. So if you have one that's uncomfortable or doesn't fit well, it can be distracting during a round, especially in the summer when it can get a little uncomfortable no matter what. Beltology has been making belts for years, but just recently targeted the golf market, which is a perfect fit for the company. Like Nexbelt, these are belts without holes. Unlike Nexbelt, Beltology products don't work on a ratchet system, but rather use an interwoven light fiber in the belt material that stretches, meaning the adjustments are seemingly infinite. Plus, these well-made high-quality belts have light buckles, which makes them super comfortable on the course. The best part? After the big meal in the clubhouse, you can let them out just a little. (beltology.com, $65)
Magna Ready dress shirt
One of the hassles on a golf trip is packing clothes for nice dinners after golf. I get tired of wearing golf shirts to everything and quite frankly it isn't always appropriate. But the MagnaReady shirt (they offer an easy wear tie, too) solves this problem in more ways than one. First of all, it's pretty much wrinkle-proof, which means if you pack reasonably (and even if you don't), there's no ironing before you go out. Secondly, instead of buttons, it uses small magnets, which means you can get this baby on in no time at all, which is terrific if your round is running long right before a scheduled dinner. (magnaready.com $65)
Healthy golf course snacks
As I continue my quest to live healthier, I'm realizing more and more that it's smart to be prepared. So I'm starting to pack healthier snacks for when I'm on the road, particularly on the golf course. I don't have the willpower, for example, when I'm on the back nine and starving and my only option with the cart girl is a Snickers bar or bag of potato chips. But if I pack my own nutrition bars, I'm good to go and can avoid temptation. One that I've found lately is a brand called Muscle Milk, which comes in a variety of flavors. Some bars only have 1 gram of sugar, but a whopping 15-20 grams of protein on average, which is not only nutritious, but helps keep you satisfied longer. (musclemilk.com)
Another snack I like to pack is Safe Catch Tuna. It's delicious wild-caught, dolphin safe albacore tuna and uses no preservatives. It's about $3 a pouch but well worth it. You can order it online at safecatch.com or find it at select grocery stores.
Voice Caddie VC300SE GPS
When the clip-on Voice Caddie GPS came out a few years ago, I was a little skeptical. Being more visual in nature, I wanted to see a display of some sort, not listen to a voice give me yardage. But lately, I've been giving the Voice Caddie VC300SE GPS another run, and I'm convinced that there's nothing faster when it comes to distance-measuring devices. I like the laser rangefinders, but you have to get it out of its pouch or the cart, catch the flagstick (usually more than once) and put it away before hitting your shot. Voice Caddie is super easy to set up (just turn it on) and then you're good to go. Just clip it to your visor, walk to your ball, and hit the button. It pretty much just gives me center of the green yardages, but that's really all I need most of the time. It definitely speeds up play. (voicecaddie.com $129)
Greg Norman Collection M-75 slacks
In warm climates, I'm usually in shorts on the golf course, but when I take a trip to Canada or Scotland, for example, the golf pants come out. I haven't really found anything more comfortable than the M-75 golf slacks from the Greg Norman Collection (or the Norman M-75 Microlux Shorts, for that matter, but I also like adiddas' Ultimate Short). These slacks fit as good as any I've ever tried, plus they have a waistband that's super flexible (which is great for middle-aged guys like me), and they breathe well, which makes them also ideal for warm weather. Also great if you're one of those guys who likes to dress like a tour player. Best of all, they're perfect for those dinners after golf and go well with the MagnaReady dress shirt. (gregnormancollection.com $69).