The bain of a non tour player. Carrying enough water to last 4-5 hours in a 90 degree heat feels like training to be a commando. A neat solition can be electrolyte solitions. Rather than expensive energy drinks these hydration tablets from Nuun are popular for tour players. Despite having access to a drinks cooler on every tee they would prefer to consume less water where possible. Its just one less thing to worry about when $1million is on the line.
When preparing for a weeks golf on tour you must think ahead. Having an on course food plan is key to maintaining your energy and focus. A sugary chocolate bar after 9 holes? Only if your diabetic. Why not buy a multi-pack of foodstuffs for the course? (Check out our experts article on nutrition here). This saves time and prevents you from running out of gas at a crucial point in your round. When has there ever been an unimportant shot?
Prominently poking out of most tour bags these sticks serve a rather simple yet essential purpose. There are a multitude of ways to employ them but alignment is the key. Used in a train track fashion for face aim and body alignment, a ‘T’ setup is another popular option which focusses on ball position. If your working on a grass range you can stick one into the ground beside you as a guide for your swing plane.
Although not allowed for use during PGA and European Tour events the majority of smaller tours allow for their use as they tend to speed up play. Their accuracy and ability to pick up trees and other hazards make them a no brainer. If you don’t have access to a pin sheet like a tour player then this prevents you from guessing if the pin is at the front or back of that slightly raised green in the monthly medal. There is no loading of courses as in some GPS devices and a laser can be useful on a driving range also.
PENS, PENCILS AND ALIGNMENT AIDS
Sharpies are essential for the tour player – how else are they to satisfy that long line of autograph seekers? Another little tool that hides out in those large tour bags is an alignment aid. It helps the pro put a perfectly straight line on his ball for putting alignment – not always an easy with those first tee nerves and jitters. Proponents of this aiming line say that it frees them up to think of speed – they dont doubt their aim or second guess themselves nearly as much.
PITCHFORK AND MARKERS
A lot of pro’s tend not to bother with clunky pitchforks in their pockets simply breaking tee after tee. Others like to do a really good job after their 190 yard seven iron leaves a crater of a mark following a rain delay! What players will take great care in and place superstition in is their marker choice. A lucky coin has a place in everyones bag.
There are a few top manufacturers of sport orientated sunglasses in the market but currently Oakley leads the way. The combination of quality, durability and style make them very desirable. Many players including Adam Scott have changed to protect themselves from the harsh sunlight they face for up to six hours a day. Many players report a greater ability to perceive the slope of the greens, and a general increased focus that a reduced glare provides. If you needed one more reason to make this an essential in your bag, just think of the style points you will receive from playing partners!
More and more amateurs are now familiar with AIMPOINT, the system that involves measuring exactly how a putt will break. The new express method of reading putts doesn’t require the use of the chart but it is still used for backup reference, a form of double checking a complex read. Learning the gradient of a particular difficult slope at your home course can help you aim better through using the aim point chart. Not for everyone, aimpoint does remove a lot of guesswork that is currently used in reading greens.
YARDAGE BOOK HOLDER
Want to avoid destroying your yardage chart? Then try one of these. Phil Mickelson uses alligator skin, traditional leather may be a little more understated.
They tend to have a habit of dislodging themselves, so its good to always keep a few spare in the bag. Quite a few players are comfortable on the new spikeless shoes like Fred Couples and his Eccos while most remain on the soft spikes. It is interesting to note that a couple of the games longest hitters still use metal hybrid spikes, the stingers. Woods and Mcilroy create so much force in their swings this must aid their stability, especially in softer conditions.
Yes, yes, they are supposed to know it all but the game is a complex. With so much at stake they would rather be safe than sorry and who could blame them. Only at major’s does a referee accompany every group so an ability to reference a rule book at a lonely part of the course is a time saver that everybody appreciates.
Pobably not an essential throughout the ‘Florida Swing’ but those in more northern areas of the hemisphere should all carry these. The winter hat or beanie is a popular look in the Dunhill Links (St Andrews, October) whilst Martin Kaymer’s use of a ‘snood’ drew plenty of attention. More stylish than a neckerchief though? The final accessory is the arm warmers commonly seen in running and cycling. Great when playing in the low sun of an early morning or late evening tee time.
Idolized Miguel Angel Jimenez? Enjoy a cigar on the course like him? This is his essential accessory!