Gifts Well Worth Giving—and Getting
Chambers Bay Golf Course’s improbable mutation from an ugly, abandoned gravel mine to the site of the 2015 U.S. Open expresses itself gorgeously in America’s St. Andrews (pictured above). This visually and journalistically lush paean exalts the vision of those who created a spectacular public space along Puget Sound that welcomes all forms of community activity—including championship-caliber golf on its dramatic Robert Trent Jones II links layout. $40. americasstandrews.com
For most amateurs, it’s drive for show and putt for…d’oh! That’s usually because putts, which make up at least 42 percent of your total score, don’t comprise nearly the same percentage of your practice routine.
Arvada’s Anthony Aguilar wants to make the most of your putting practice. His Flex Putter Trainer is a flatstick with a flexible shaft that promotes “feel” by instantly magnifying the flaws in your stroke. Supple as a high-end fishing rod, the tapered shaft promotes better rhythm, pace, tempo and speed—as well as balance, timing, precise grip pressure, proper release and green speed. It immediately tells you if you’re pushing it, pulling it, coming out of it or getting too handsy. “You don’t want that shaft to bend,” he says.
A former touring pro who has qualified for the U. S. Open, Aguilar took his creation to the PGA Tour. Charlie Beljan, Richard Lee and Boo Weekley all saw immediate benefits. At last year’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, J.J. Henry shot a course-record 60 (with only 24 putts) after working with one; he and Mark Brooks now appear in Flex Putter’s YouTube video. Aguilar put his product in the hands of numerous players at this September’s BMW Championship, including winner Billy Horschel.
By creating a product that could help a professional putter, Aguilar believes he can help the player who shoots 80, 90 or 100. So does nationally known Craig “The Putt Doctor” Farnsworth, who finds the Flex Putter “a great way to get students to quiet their hands and use their bigger muscles.” Available with both Anser ($90) and traditional blade ($80) heads and varying shaft lengths. flexputter.com; 844-353-9788
Message in a Bunker
“Hell Bunker.” “Church Pews.” “Big Nellie.” “Himalayas.” Golfers name bunkers, why can’t bunkers return the favor? Pilot and golfer Mary Whitworth noticed while flying that the shape of many golf course bunkers often suggested letters of the alphabet. She began photographing them. Spelling golfer’s names, words and sayings, she launched In The Sand Golf, which creates mugs, totes, prints and dozens of other cool items. inthesandgolf.com
A Balling Idea
Why buy new golf balls when you can give a second life to the thousands orphaned in woods, lakes and streams? Recognizing the consistency and durability of today’s products, lostgolfballs.com culls abandoned Titleists, Bridgestones, Callaways, and other namebrand orbs from courses around the country, independently tests them to ensure integrity, washes them with an environmentally friendly cleaner and rates them according to a proprietary grading scale (A up to AAAAA). This can result in a dozen AAAAA Pro V1xs for as little as $24. lostgolfballs.com; 866-639-4819
Dress Is More
Breckenridge’s Traci O’Connor says she “always had a thing for fashion and design.” But it wasn’t until a few years ago, when the software executive found herself living in Abu Dhabi, that her creativity found a sartorial expression.
“I became addicted to golf,” she says, “and I created clothing pieces just for me.” The pieces were dresses, not the skirts she hated having to adjust on every hole. “And I loved moving about through the rest of my day without people thinking I’d just come off the golf course.” Encouraged by positive feedback and inspired by the diminutive sand gazelles called dhabi that often accompanied her rounds, O’Connor launched Roaming Dhabi Designs in 2013.
Made of moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, machine-washable fabric, her debut line—which also included tights, tops and skirts—confected a classic, streamlined style with a vibrant palette. Europeans in Emirati golf shops snapped them up. As she moves into the U.S. market, O’Connor says this year’s line reflects more of a functional fit. “It’s slightly looser, more forgiving in the hips and waist,” she explains. “It features clean, classic, simple lines. The main colors are periwinkle and black, and the designs are meant to slim and look elegant and draw the eyes up.”
Not only can they transition from course to conference room to cocktail party, O’Connor adds, “you can wear them into the next season.” $125-$150. Available in select pro shops and online orders via RoamingDhabiDesigns.com. (Five percent of net online sales goes to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf programs.)
Swingin’ in the Rain
Into each life some rain must fall—even with 300 days of sunshine. Stay dry with Sun Mountain’s new Tour Series golf rainwear. It’s waterproof, breathable, durable, lightweight and quiet. The Tour Series collection is available now as a full-zip jacket ($199), long-sleeve pullover ($179) and pants ($199). The Tour Series full-zip jacket is available in black, navy and titanium/ steel/citron. The long-sleeve pullover is offered in gray, black, or royal, and the pants in black. sunmountain.com; 800-227-9224