DOCTOR DIVOT PUBLISHING, INC - Widespread recognition of golf’s truly athletic nature has been accompanied by the spreading realization that the game also results in injury – something that Dr. Divot, aka Larry Foster, M.D., a long-practicing orthopedic surgeon has known for some time. In his book, Dr. Divot’s Guide to Golf Injuries, A Handbook for Golf Injury Prevention and Treatment, in fact, he estimates that 60 percent of amateur players will suffer golf-related injuries.
Sounds dire, but Foster, a self-described “golf nut,” treats the subject with a good deal of humor, as befits most topics related to the game. An orthopedist before he took up golf, however, it is a thorough treatment, with insights into the hacker’s “recipe for injury”; the consequences of poor conditioning, faulty swing mechanics, and improper warm-up; a discussion of the most common golf-generated afflictions; recovering from surgery; and the special injury concerns of older golfers.
Foster also provides seminars to the golf industry on the subject. Seldom has a discussion of pain been more agreeable.
BEST FRIENDS -
The Championship of Best Friends was conceived to incorporate several of the game of golf’s most appealing virtues – the intense friendships it encourages, the charitable contributions it fosters, and golfers’ fanatic devotion to both their own game and sports generally.
The inaugural event combines a huge, multi-venue amateur golf tournament, a dose of professional-golfer celebrity beginning with national spokesman John Daly, and a trip to the Super Bowl for winning twosomes from eight regional qualifying cities: Jacksonville, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, site of this year’s game. The final round is played with a PGA or LPGA star and his or her best friend.
Entry fee for twosomes is $299, a portion of which goes to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Interested parties can sign up either online or at a local golf course, including both valid handicaps and a brief characterization of the friendship. Visit www.GolfsBestFriends.com VULCAN GOLF -
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Vulcan Golf was founded by a team of industry veterans prescient enough to find a niche that addressed consumer preferences – especially club-fitting and game improvement for high handicappers -- that fully matured during the same decade. The result has been sales performance that surpassed many much larger competitors.
Along the way, Vulcan – whose sales slogan is “leader in hybrid technology” – has done its share of adapting, as well. It added several sets of clubs to the Backfire hybrids that anchor its line. These include the XDC3 Forged Custom Fitted irons, the Z3 and Z3+ Woody hybrids, Hybrid Sand Wedge, Tour Professional Grind Wedges, and the LUV System 54 women’s clubs.
In addition, Vulcan’s Caldera Z440 driver recently won first place in an independent test of 44 driver models. Part of the company’s latest set of woods, the Caldera’s heavy use of Beta titanium in the club’s face, crown, skirt, and sole contribute to an oversize, ultra-thin “hot spot.” Visit www.vulcangolf.com. TOUR EDGE EXOTICS -
Tour Edge Golf spring-boarded into the golf equipment market by recognizing demand for playable hybrid clubs at an affordable price, which could be purchased as an entire set or separately to replace individual irons in the bag. The success of its own line and the steadily increasing acceptance of hybrids generally have led the company to introduce a more upscale model, called Exotics. The same sense of creativity persuaded Tour Edge to produce the Hovercraft putter.
Like the JMAX Bazooka Iron-Wood set, the Exotics feature a slim and pleasing profile and a narrow topline that golfers find easy to adapt to, whether accustomed to conventional irons or traditional fairway woods. And, as always, Tour Edge offers a 30-day trial program with a full refund guarantee if not completely satisfied.
The Hovercraft shows the same flair for innovation. Its 345-gram mallet head, with a face just 5/8” tall, concentrates the putter’s weight exactly at the equator of the ball, thereby reducing twisting of the clubface and eliminating skidding on the ball’s path to the hole. Visit www.touredge.com. EVOLVE GOLF -
Think game-improvement technology is confined to clubs, balls, launch monitors, fitness equipment, and the like? Think again, Einstein. Evolve Golf takes the golf tee to a new level, composition-wise, with the epoch tee.
The brainchild of B.J. Maloy, this tee capitalizes on advanced surface technology, meaning that the four-pronged “pedestal” on which the ball rests reduces the area of ball contact – and therefore friction – to absolute minimum. The result is improved ball launch characteristics.
A bigger factor in the proliferation of the Evolve tee, however, may be its biodegradability. Superintendents like them because they are essentially harmless to mowers and other maintenance equipment. Environmentalists applaud them as a way to spare unnecessary tree cutting. And several clubs – notably Olympia Fields, site of the 2003 U.S. Open – have chosen to distribute them to members because the Evolve tee breaks infrequently and promotes a neater appearance on the tee boxes of the club’s two courses. Visit www.evolvegolf.com. ZELOCITY -
Experts agree that one of the transcendent goals of golf instruction is students’ ability to monitor and address subtle modifications in their own swings. Zelocity offers golf performance monitors – in PureFlight and PureLaunch models -- that are convenient and within the means of the dedicated golfer, as well as teaching pros, club fitters, and driving ranges.
Compact, portable, and operable with either batteries or an AC power connection, Zelocity monitors can be set up in less than a minute and never need recalibration. They measure ball velocity, clubhead speed, carry and total distance, power transfer ratio percentage, and in the PureLaunch model, height of shot and launch angle. They can be used indoors or outdoors, for right- or left-handers, and in varying atmospheric conditions.
Zelocity golf performance monitors can also be integrated with the company’s proprietary software, as well as with swing analyzers from Dartfish, JC Video Systems, and V1 Digital Coaching System. Visit www.zelocity.com. GOLFER’S FOOTPRINT -
The proper swing plane in golf is perhaps the most complex and most analyzed athletic movement in sport – nearly as difficult to explain as it is to execute. The Golfer’s Footprint, Inc. (Gfi) was invented to simplify the development of the right swing plane by greatly facilitating visualization, repetition, and feedback via an easily understood, two-dimensional template.
The concept was developed by Marshall Townsend in the course of trying to teach his four-year-old son to hit a golf ball. Realizing the inadequacy of his verbal instructions in conveying key points, Townsend used a piece of cardboard to diagram the path the clubhead should follow through the hitting area. The immediate success of the crude prototype soon lead to a computer-generated version that he tested on the driving range the next day.
Not only does the Gfi Swing Trainer help golfers grasp the correct swing path, it also promotes an intuitive understanding of alignment, the desirable clubface angle and target line, as well as ball position in the stance.
Visit www.golfersfootprint.com. SUDDEN D’EATH -
Designed by veteran putter maven Roger D’Eath, this line of flat sticks comes in various permutations of lengths and lie angles, but all of them leverage D’Eath’s considerable expertise, gained through years of work with tour players.
In the forefront of a trend toward heavier putters, which generate increased inertia from comparable strokes, Sudden D’Eath putters are notable for a number of other distinctive characteristics. These include “the fairway face,” a rockered configuration to the sole of the putter, which helps eliminate stubbed putts. The center shaft extends all the way through the sole plate, which promotes a “one-piece” fee to the putter and, as a result, greater feedback to the golfer.
Plans are afoot for the latest addition to the Sudden D’Eath stable of products – a driver that incorporates “racecar” technology in its design and construction. Like the company’s line of putters, it is conceived by golfers, for golfers. www.golfbysuddendeath.com. SONARTEC -
If money – or the lack thereof – talks, Sonartec has an intriguing story to tell in this age of huge endorsement deals: Some 125 PGA Tour professionals used the company’s drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids during the 2004 season, and all did so without compensation.
Sonartec attributes the high performance of its product line to “driving cavity” technology – a hollowed-out groove on the sole of each club. This in turn raises the center of gravity leading to a more wind-resistant, penetrating trajectory and helps to avoid the “ballooning” effect generated by other fairway woods and hybrid clubs. This configuration also reduces friction between the ground and the clubhead through the hitting zone, allowing greater swing speed and “cleaner” ball striking.
It also widens the club’s “sweet spot” by effectively redistributing weight to the heel and the toe. This “balanced perimeter weighting” means both enhanced control and forgiveness, leading to a more repeatable swing and more reliable on-course club selection. Visit www.sonartec.com.