Ping's tour pros will be showing their "stripes" this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Puerto Rico Open.
The company has unveiled a limited edition "Racing Stripe" hat that staffers will wear exclusively at this week's two PGA Tour stops. The stripe is designed to promote the "racing-stripe" alignment technology on the Ping's new i25 driver and fairway woods.
The hats will be available in four colors: black, gray, blue and red. They'll then be sold at retail starting next week for $22.
No matter who you are, chances are you've got some gear in your game that could use an update. While we don't advise retooling everything at once, trading up a few staples at a time is the ticket to solid style. Each week we'll pull a dud from the dark depths of every man's collection and suggest a simple substitute. Check your nostalgia at the door -- it's time for your tune up.
One of the most important, yet underappreciated, elements in any man's wardrobe are his socks. Whether you're traipsing to work or strolling down the fairway, keeping your feet warm and dry is a must. Summer or winter, rain or shine, swap out your old cotton socks for good merino wools; they'll wick sweat, dry fast and last longer. Golf may be a good walk spoiled but, that shouldn't because you're wearing the wrong gear.
Toss the tube socks and check out these tour tested woolens from Kent Wool - Low Profile, $19.95. Mid-Calf, $24.95. Available at kentwool.com.
** Styling note -- You can wear the no-shows with pants but, keep the mid-calves under your trousers at all times.
Jimmy Walker has come out of nowhere to win three PGA Tour events already in the 2013-14 season, gaining attention on all aspects of his game -- including his wardrobe.
His success has been a boon for Iliac Golf, the nine-year-old company that has dressed Walker since the start of 2013. Iliac apparel, sporty yet sophisticated, is available in green-grass shops or online (www.iliacgolf.com), and is the creation of Burt LaMar, a former snowboarder who boasts that "apparel design is in my blood." (His mother and grandmother previously in the business.)
"I was drawn to the rich history and classic style of golf," LaMar recently told me. "I want to preserve the rich tradition of style and push the envelope in performance."
So what can we expect LaMar to push the boundaries of Walker's outfits?
"We've been working on some things for Augusta," LaMar said. "I can say that if you see Jimmy during the Par-3 Contest, you should see something cool."
Photo by J.D. Cuban
It's a shirt; no, it's a sweater; no, it's a jacket.
Truth is, it's all of them.
The new Nike Innovation Cover-Up ($120) wears like a sweater and functions like a weather-resistant jacket but is light enough to feel like a shirt. The rib sleeves are something I especially like, and the nylon and spandex fabric not only helps protect you from the elements, they create a trim fit that allows for more flexibility and range of motion when combined with the practicality of the water-resistant body. (Not to mention, it will make you look better.)
It seems as though you're always compromising when you play golf; one item to keep you dry, one to keep you warm, one to keep you comfortable. To combine all of those things is truly innovative. It's also great for everyday use, and for layering with other apparel.
Staying warm and dry in one piece is the new trend; we've seen some similar jackets in the industry but this is taking it to the next level, and I would be surprised if more designers don't follow suit.
By John Strege
Golf is not a benevolent game, to which Paul Stankowski can attest, which explains why he is leaving the tournament golf for business, notwithstanding two PGA Tour victories and more than $7 million in earnings.
"As my career continued to wane and my game got worse and became shorter and crooked, it was time to move on," Stankowski said.
Stankowski, 44, who won the BellSouth Classic in 1996 and the United Airlines Hawaiian Open a year later, has started a business, Francis Edward, that produces exotic leather goods -- belts, accessories and soft-sided luggage -- "made from everything from Italian calf to alligator," he said. Initially it will be sold at high-end golf course pro shops.
He and his business partner, Mike Vicary, began building the company early in 2013. By July, Stankowski knew he had to make a decision.
"I realized I couldn't play and grow a business effectively, so I chose the one I figured would have more longevity," he said. "I'm not retired [from tournament golf], just on pause. At 44, my starts are limited on the big tour and I'm done chasing the web.com Tour around and trying to get my way back."
He said he will play when an opportunity presents itself, but otherwise is done with tournament golf until he reaches 50 and is eligible for the Champions Tour.
"I still love the game deep down inside, but I've got a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old and I would like to see them grow up," he said.
Stankowski's golf history and connections should help on the golf shop front. "That's our hope. That'll help with the introductions. But we still have to deliver quality products. I believe we'll do that. Right now we're small. Once we get a foot in the door, then it's service, service, service."
As for the company name, the story isn't as exotic as some of the leathers it is using. Stankowski's middle name is Francis. Vicary's middle name is Edward. Hence, Francis Edward.
ORLANDO -- Today marks the start of golf's version of shopping in a huge, outdoor toy store.
Equipment, grips, shafts and other products are on display from dozens of manufacturers at Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National, the one-day prelude to the 61st PGA Merchandise Show, which runs Jan. 22-25.
Of course, you have traditional the equipment rollouts with every major manufacturer having its latest line of clubs to try out.
Yet in this first hour of the Demo Day, it's hard to miss the enormous
social-media push from many of the major equipment companies hoping to get attendees not only to try their products but help promote them.
Some quick examples:
-- Ping is introducing a new glove, the Sensor Cool, which Bubba Watson will wear on the PGA Tour. There's a cardboard cut-out of Watson at Ping's Demo Day setup, where you can take a photo and use the hashtag #FeelTheGlove to get a Ping T-shirt. It's a great cause, too. Ping will donate a portion of all sales it generates from its three models of the Sensor Glove to the Bubba Watson Foundation, Ping spokesperson Pete Samuels said.
-- Cobra/Puma, like it did last year, has an enormous station with a DJ blasting loud music and drinks started being served at 10 a.m. (You know, because it can.) Jesper Parnevik and Blair O'Neal are slated to mingle with fans, too. By using the #GoLong hashtag on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you're entered into a contest to win a Bio Cell driver.
-- Fujikura has one of the most innovative promotions at Demo Day. Taby and Christine, two Florida natives, are dressed as police officers--complete with handcuffs and Aviator shades. If you take a photo with these girls, and tag it with #Fujikura on Instagram, you're entered to win tickets to all four majors this year. The 10 posts with the most likes are eligible to win, and the Fujikura folks with pick the best photo. You win a free hat by participating.
Other events going on:
-- Peter Jacobson and Dave Pelz are giving a show at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Srixon/Cleveland setup.
-- Former Re/Max World Long-Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski is demonstrating his driving abilities with the new Callaway line of drivers at 11 and 2.
-- TaylorMade's "Loft Up+" campaign features a gigantic leader board onsite. The highest differences in driving distance--from your old loft to a new, higher loft--are featured in an electronic leader board. It's all in an effort to educate golfers on the benefits of playing a high launch, low spin driver like TaylorMade's SLDR line, spokesman Dave Cordero said.
The hardest-working folks on the expansive 360-degree range at Orange County National have to be the team of 20 who are sorting and distributing golf balls from the range. There are 15 volunteers helping a team of five employees from Orange County National. They have an assembly line of loading, sorting and shipping out balls via large garbage cans.
"We'll go through 80,000 golf balls, and that's probably low," said Brian, one of the employees from OCN who deserves a golf clap from everyone demoing the new clubs here.
The Austrian Amateur, Nina Muehl, recently finished T-2 in the Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifying for the 2014 Ladies European Tour season. Congrats Nina! While her post-impact position is obviously something we all aspire to mirror, her attention to the fit, styling and detail of her tournament look exemplifies a casual, athletic aesthetic that women would do well to pay attention to on and off the course.
Nina exemplifies a powerful and feminine look with well-fitting clothes that don't feel like too much of a departure from your normal weekend wardrobe. I don't know when golf adopted the skort but, we need to sell that nonsense back to the USTA and give the trousers a try. Nina's short rise, slim fit cotton chinos do as much to show off her stems as a short tennis skirt would and they'd look just as good if she was wearing them to brunch. Secondly, don't be afraid of the super short sleeve polo. Less fabric around the arms will only free up your takeaway and will create a slimmer silhouette across your torso. I don't mind the post-impact belly shot, either. The proportions of the shirt to the trouser are good and if the shirt were longer it'd bunch at the hips and start to look sloppy. It's not like she's going full Olympic beach volleyball out there! Nina's attention to fit and function gives her a modern look that's as attractive as it is athletic, but her casual attention to detail and styling is what really sets her stuff apart from most of the other top-tier amateurs and LPGA pros out there.
Nina's look is built from pieces in softer tones, which gives her style a lived-in, natural feel, and makes her accessories really pop. Unlike a lot of the high-contrast, high-res looks on the tours, Nina's pants look like they've been worn to the beach a few times and left out on the porch to dry. Her soft, washed red trousers look great with her light blue polo but they'd look great with half the shirts in her closet because soft colors are much easier to work with than solid saturated ones. It's one of the reasons why your old jeans look good with everything you wear. Also, notice how sharp her white hat, blue bracelet and neon laces look against the muted tones in the rest of her setup. The soft pallet turns bright colors up to 11 and pops the details in your entire get-up. Nina's athletic style is fittingly feminine and approachably stylish on and off the course. Follow her cues on fits and fabrics and start owning your own look in every arena.
Photo: Courtesy of LET
By Marty Hackel
From the Dec. 11 edition of Golf Digest Stix:
Holiday gifts can be tricky in my household. We don't give a lot of presents, so the ones we select need to be special. Here are some of the items I've come across lately -- with the help of my colleague, assistant editor Stephen Hennessey -- that you might want to consider. Most of what we've compiled is directly connected to golf, though a few are just things that I think most golfers would like. What they all share is a commitment to high quality. Here's to that!
G/Fore Gallivanter: Lightweight and stylish, they're perfect on and off the course ($225, more info).
House of Fleming belt and buckle: PGA Tour pros might play a bit better than you, but you can be their equal around the waist ($450, more info).
Ralph Lauren RLX Wool Hybrid jacket (left): Merino wool, Elastene sleeves and a coated Teflon body to keep you extra warm ($225, more info). J. McLaughlin Jonah Cashmere sweater (right): Indoors or out, it feels "like butter." I love the suede detailing on the half zipper ($378, more info).
Peter Millar Napoli Wool Reversible vest (left): Wear it like this for windproof water resistance or flip it for a tailored wool look. How cool is that? ($395, more info). Dunning Merino wool turtleneck (right): Ralph Dunning is from Canada, so he understands staying warm. This real turtleneck will not disappoint ($99, more info).
Citizen Eco-Drive World Time watch (top left): Solar-powered, it never needs a battery, covers 26 time zones and comes with a perpetual calendar ($575, more info). Rose & Fire puttercover (top right): This California company makes gifts in authentic camo and denim ($60, more info). Personalized balls (lower left): Titleist.com allows three lines and your choice of number on any dozen ($28 and up). Other brands are available at TGW.com. Customized ball markers (right): Upload any photo at photoballmarker.com and choose from combination packs ($25 and up).
Jan Craig headcover: Design your gift at jancraigheadcovers.com. These handsome accessories make a colorful statement ($30 to $57 each).
Tivoli Albergo clock radio: Connect it to any Bluetooth-enabled device and stream your playlists to a beautiful AM/FM radio with great sound ($300, more info).
Bushnell's Tour Z6 Wingman pack(left): The range finder has Pinseeker technology and 6x magnification and comes with a Folds of Honor towel ($400, more info). Play Nine (right): The card game, great for families, is based on golf's scoring principles ($15, more info).
SuperFlex for Golf kit: A lightweight and durable way to work out on the road or at home ($80, more info).
By Alex Holmes
eBay, the interweb's premier market place, is an absolute gold mine for golf gear. I've scored everything from vintage visors to mint condition 3-woods on the site and I'd like to start sharing the fruits of my foraging with the Golf Digest community. "Up For Auction" is my periodic installment of whacky to worthwhile golf auctions that may just pique your interest. However, like the amateur golf swing, reliable and repeatable eBay is not. The electronic bazaar is often flush with quantity, but short on quality. As such, I endeavor to comb the crap so you won't have to. Check in early and often to see what's trading.
Photo courtesy of eBay
If you've got advanced style and a flair for headgear, this vintage '90s brim is right up your alley. I could tell you that prints have been on trend in designer fashion for the past few seasons and that you could actually, if styled correctly, roll with some pretty "hip crews" with this cap. But let's be honest, that's not the reason to cast your bid here. If you were a '90s kid, this hat could be one of the coolest accessories to ever be associated with the game of golf ... in a ridiculous, semi-ironic "Saved by The Bell" kinda way. It's got great colors, that fisherman's rope across the front (the functionality of which I have absolutely no idea about), and it doesn't look like any other golf hat on the market.
If nothing else, it'll certainly break the ice in a new game and get your group talking off the first tee. So, as the weather gets cold and your game tightens up, think about throwing a style a curve ball with this rad '90s helmet.
By Marty Hackel
From the Nov. 13 edition of Golf Digest Stix:
The classic golfer's response to colder weather is layering. But wouldn't it be great to leave all those extra swing-inhibiting shirts and sweaters at home? That's the idea behind Ahead Thermal Regulation technology. The fabric stores heat from your body and releases it as you start to get cold. It really works. Squeeze the fabric on these polo shirts ($69) and right away you'll feel the temperature of the fabric start to change.
Obviously if it drops below 30 degrees outdoors, a single polo won't keep you warm, but you'll stay a lot warmer in this than in an ordinary polo shirt. Experiment with it a bit. I think we're going to see this technology in a variety of lines soon.
[Photo courtesy: Ahead]