Every year there are a handful of fantastically fun and sometimes practical products at the PGA Show. This year was no exception. From Golfdotz, which are like decals for your golf ball, to Big Wigz, which are like decals for your driver, there were plenty of surprises. Want your own mini golf set up? You can have it. New, lower-priced GPS? It’s yours. Slipcovers for your cart? It’s available, and you can have it monogrammed.
If you ever wanted a driver that wasn’t black or metallic or looked like everybody else’s golf club, you’ll love Big Wigz. Not a paint, not a decal, but a "skin" made by 3M, Big Wigz come in a variety of standard designs, some of which are hysterical: beer with foam, palm tree, a danger sign, Groucho Marx, dice, three 7s, sheriff’s star badge, eight ball and smiley face. And there are plenty that you might really like: baseball, laces of a football, autumn leaves—for when your ball slices into the woods in October, giant ladybug, Earth, from space, donut with sprinkles, strawberries, tie-dye, flags of more than a dozen countries and more. You can even send in your own photo or art and they will make you your own custom driver "skin." $13.00 for the standard designs and extra charge for custom. www.bigwigzskins.com
From Callaway Golf, the UPro is preloaded with 25,000 golf courses. It has big numbers, great graphics, finger navigation, flyovers of each hole and, for a one-time upcharge of about $60, actual aerials and more courses. You do not have to pay the upcharge to get the basics in graphic form, but the aerials, which are spectacular, are the reason for the cost. In GreenView, UPro shows distances front, middle and back of the green. In HazardView, it shows distance to front and back of hazards. There are no annual fees for the UPro. And if that is not enough of a surprise, the price will knock you over, just $199—about the size of a cell phone. www.uprogps.com
Ever feel like if the grip of the club was a little larger you could control the ball a little better? Or—ladies—that your nails are digging into your palms when you take your grip? Problem finally solved with JumboMax Grips that actually come in three sizes: + 5/16, +11/32 and +3/8. Now that may not sound like a lot, but wait until you pick up the club. Long hitter Lon Hinkle loves them. Chris Plummer, at The Villages Custom Club Shop, says they are a game-changer. Invented by a scratch player, Mike Kachlik. $10.99. Slightly less for more than one. Available at Cog Hill GC and The White Pines Golf Dome in the Chicago area or online. www.jumbomax.com
If you have your own golf cart, maybe you want to customize relatively inexpensively with Cart Chic slipcovers. Or take them with you in their own carry pouch and use on carts wherever you play. Slipcovers come in 19 different designs Amy Archer is the entrepreneur behind what she calls the “cartbellini,” although slipcovers seems to be a faster description. Covers come in two pieces, one for the back and one for the seat, and they fit in the tote. $120 for the set. Personalize with monogramming, $30 for the back rest and $15 for the tote. Fits Club Car, EZGO and Yamahas, but check the back sizes for your cart. www.cartchic.com
They’re fun, flashy, cheap and you can customize them as gifts for your pro-am or golf event, just as the Farmers Insurance Open did this year. They are Deuce Brand watches. Comfortable, casual and waterproof to 150 feet, in case you fall into a really deep hazard. $19.99
Whether you use it to teach putting skills or just for fun, Omyminigolf can be used indoors or out. (Sorry moms!) You can purchase individual ramps and bridges or the entire set which includes a child-sized putter, two balls, an Acapulco (like a cutaway snail), a tower, a volcano, a bridge, a maze, a putting disc, a warm up and two Daytonas (curved ramps). You supply the windmill and the clown’s mouth. $299 for the set. $169 for a front or back nine. www.startingtimegolf.com
They look like decals, but they aren’t. Decals are illegal on golf balls, and so whatever these are, transfer images of some kind, even the professionals like them. Natalie Gulbis designed her own. (Is it a yellow heart with two Gs, or kissing swans, or a Rorschach test?) So did Rory Sabbatini. (See the red, snakey dragon creature.) $5.99 for a two pack of images. If you get crowns, there are a dozen on each sheet, while the pink martinis are nine to a sheet. My fav right now, the duck. You gotta see it. www.golfdotz.com The unanswered question is, will they also work on fingernails?