Each year when the annual surveys come out on the U.S.’s best golf courses there are inevitably at least a handful of Long Island courses. Among the most well known are Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links in Southampton and Maidstone Golf Club in East Hampton, so it goes without saying that Hamptonites are particularly golf savvy. In fact, the first U.S. Open was held in 1895 at Shinnecock Hills and to this day no region in the country rivals the Hamptons for the quality and prestige of its private golf clubs.
When it comes to golf gadgets and apparel, however, there’s always something new making it quite the task to sort through the clutter, especially for novice golfers. Standing out from the pack are Adidas’ latest footwear offerings, which include the TOUR 360 4.0 ($180 at www.adidasgolf.com). The shoe combines style, comfort and performance, a rare trifecta for a golf shoe, and like the TOUR 360 styles that have come before it, the shoe has been designed with Adidas Golf’s Advanced THiNTech low-profile technology to bring golfers lower to the ground for improved overall balance, weight transfer, stability, power and consistency. This is particularly impressive given that the shoe isn’t stiff or constricting. Widely accepted as leader in the golf footwear arena, Jim Furyk, Nathan Green and Tim Clark are just a few of the PGA Tour players who are fans of this model.
Breathability, especially in these warm summer months, is the key to selecting golf apparel. To that end New Balance’s Cool as Ice Short Sleeve Polo and their Wild Card Shorts make for welcome options. Designed with Icefil skin cooling technology and ultraviolet protection, the polo is moisture wicking, while the shorts are semi-fitted with mesh ventilation panels for maximum breathability ($45 for the polo and $35 for the shorts at www.shopnewbalance.com.) Best of all, the design is so clean and streamlined you can go straight from the course to a swanky late lunch at Sant Ambroeus. Hampton favorite Brooks Brothers is also in the game with their St. Andrews Links collection. Specifically designed with golfers in mind, the tops have a roomy fit and sleeves allowing for an optimal swing (prices may vary at Brooks Brothers, 50 Main Street in Southampton).
Ladies can find a variety of options at Callaway, including the brand’s newest Sleeveless Tops ($60 at www.callawaygolf.com), which boast an appealing front cutout along with moisture wicking, UPF 15+, and anti-microbial properties. Coordinating with the tops are Callaway’s Women’s Pieced Skorts ($54 at www.callawaygolf.com), which are micro-sanded and offer mechanical stretch.
As for clubs, there’s no trumping Nike (really, what hasn’t Nike perfected?). The Nike VR Pro Driver ($480 atwww.nike.com) gives players an optimal first swing whether they’re a novice or seasoned professional. Boasting the latest in Nike technology, its four-piece titanium forging has a thin crown making it lightweight, a hosel that features 32 adjustable settings, a variable-thickness cup face to improve off-center hits, and the sole has been designed with a compression channel for added ball speed on center and off-center strikes. It only takes one look to know that the folks at Nike have a winner on their hands with their new driver.
Also notable is Nike’s new 20XI golf ball. According to reports the 4-piece ball has a lightweight rubber-less core making the mantle and cover 10% heavier. As such, drives launch with less spin, but maintain spin longer for better carry and control. While only time will tell, as the 20XI has just launched, word has it that this brand new technology and way of manufacturing golf balls will make the rubber core technology obsolete ($45.99 at www.nike.com).
Those new to the game may want to check out Swingyde. Endorsed by Jim Flick, a well-respected coach on the USPGA Tour whose clients include Jack Nicklaus and Tom Lehmann, it’s arguably one of the best training tools to learn a basic swing. When set up directly on top of the club as instructed it provides you with the feedback necessary to hinge the wrists correctly and assure that the face is perfectly square throughout the swing. It also helps maintain a pre-set lag position on the downswing and into impact ($35 at www.swingyde.com). In tandem with that, don’t let blisters impact your swing. Though it has an unfortunate name, the Finger Bra ($10 at www.aerosparkgolftee.com) will improve grip and reduce skin abrasion and blisters when applied to fingers so you can focus on the game and on the East End’s beautiful courses and driving ranges!