As you prepare for a bucket-list golf trip or your annual golf getaway, you’ll need to pack more than just your clubs. Here’s a look at seven must-have golf accessories and travel gear necessities, some of which will enhance your everyday rounds at home, too.
At their core, all laser-guided range finders are the same. When set to their most basic (tournament-legal) modes, they’ll all measure distances to within a yard of each other. Where these devices begin to separate themselves is when their other algorithm-based measurement modes and sensors are toggled on. And when all of those features and capabilities are utilized, nothing measures up to the Bushnell Pro XE ($549.99).
The Pro XE not only uses Bushnell’s most advanced slope algorithm, but it also features technology that can adjust for altitude and ambient temperature. The difference that those metrics can make is staggering. When tested in the field, adjusted distance measurements provided by the Pro XE differed by as much as 11 yards when compared with other leading range finders that factored in only elevation change.
Shoes for a Walking Round
A good pair of golf shoes that effectively uses the BOA Fit System will have you considering never buying a pair of shoes with traditional laces again. In simplest terms, the BOA Fit System features a micro-adjustable dial, ultra-strong textile laces, and low-friction lace guides. To use it, depress the dial and rotate it clockwise to gradually tighten the shoe around the foot. Each brand that incorporates the BOA system does so slightly differently, and Adidas shines brightest for its ability to create a foot-wrapping upper that distributes the pressure across the entire top of the foot while still promoting freedom in the toe box. The brand’s latest offering, ZG21 Motion Primegreen BOA Mid Golf Shoes ($230), features an outsole equipped with six Thintech spikes, which offer plenty of grip and stability through the swing.
The “Primegreen” in the shoe’s name could easily be construed as a reference to the primary colorway option — a motif that Adidas calls “core black and screaming green”— but it really pertains to the eco-friendly aspect of the shoe’s construction. Primegreen is the company’s code word for the use of a series of high-performance recycled materials.
The bane of any golf traveler’s existence is schlepping a bulky, oversized travel bag through a crowded airport. With only two wheels at their base, those vinyl and canvas equipment duffels often feel like mobile obstacles. They may succeed in getting your everyday golf bag and clubs to and from the resort, but that success goes hand-in-hand with the struggle of transporting them almost everywhere.
The ClubGlider Meridian ($319.99) can’t solve all of those problems. The bag is still almost 4.5 feet long, but it features a retractable stand with pivoting wheels, which makes for much more agile maneuvering as you push or pull the bag through airport terminals and hotel lobbies. What’s more, that retractable stand also eliminates those moments when you’ve previously held your breath as you pulled your traditional travel bag upright and hoped it would balance hands-free in a vertical position. Best of all, the ClubGlider Meridian is made of ballistic-quality nylon, it’s reinforced in key areas, and it features dense foam padding at the top to better protect the clubs inside.
In recent years, a number of new golf outerwear companies have entered the market with effective and stylish garments. However, none has overtaken Galvin Green as the leader in inclement-weather golf apparel. The Swedish company’s Armstrong Jacket ($369) represents the brand’s latest and most effective waterproof and windproof topper. Constructed from Gore-Tex Paclite technology (92% polyamide and 8% elastane), this regular-fit jacket is remarkably lightweight—a size medium weighs only 303 grams (just over half a pound). Furthermore, the Armstrong jacket is designed specifically for golf; uniquely shaped sleeves and the presence of stretch technology provide golfers with full range of movement during the swing.
Similarly, the brand’s Alpha Pants ($599) are made from the same Gore-Tex C-knit fabric and are 100% waterproof and windproof. Notably, the fabric itself is made up of three distinct layers: a tight-knitted polyester exterior, a Gore-Tex membrane in the center, and a soft mesh inner lining with a smooth surface that makes it easy to slide the pants over other garments.
A lightweight stand bag is a must for a number of reasons. Not only will it be easier to transport when you travel, but it’ll make your caddy happy if/when you have one during those bucket-list rounds. (And if you don’t have a caddy, the bag will make you happy if you wind up playing a walking-only course at one of the best golf resorts in the U.S., such as Whistling Straits, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, or any of the tracks at Bandon Dunes.)
When it comes to these types of bags, it’s not hyperbole to say that golfers literally have hundreds of options; yet the Player III Stand Bag by Vessel ($395) is arguably the best. Proof rests in the fact that Vessel crafts golf bags for more than 100 PGA and LPGA Tour players. This particular stand bag weighs only six pounds, which doesn’t make it the lightest on the market, but it’s crafted from a durable, tour-grade synthetic leather that is weather-resistant and easy to clean. The bag offers plenty of storage, including a thermal-lined side water bottle sleeve with magnetic closure and an interior valuables pocket outfitted with a combination lock. Plus, its patented rotator stand system is equipped with carbon-fiber legs.
For golf enthusiasts who love to travel, the thrill of packing a set of clubs into a travel bag is mitigated only by the lingering fear that those clubs may be damaged by cavalier airport employees who carelessly load and unload luggage from a plane’s cargo hold. While not a guaranteed deterrence from such reckless handling, the Bag Boy Backbone ($39.95) is a solid first line of defense.
This telescoping accessory slides into golf bags like a traditional club and can be extended up to 54 inches, which allows the durable polypropylene cap to stand just above the tallest club in the bag. When utilized, that cap absorbs the impact of any head-on trauma, giving drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids the best odds of emerging from those travel bags unscathed.
Playing golf when the mercury plummets comes with one primary challenge — keeping your hands warm. Golfers who have mishit an iron in the cold, especially when their hands were freezing, are likely to remember the uncomfortable tingling sensation that ran through their fingers and lingered there. It’s hard to play golf well when you don’t have complete feeling in your fingers, and, frustratingly, winter golf gloves are often more cumbersome and awkward than they are advantageous. That’s where G-Tech Apparel’s Heated Pouches (starting at $120) come in as one of the best golf accessories you need to pack for cold-weather rounds.
Sporting outer shells constructed from water-resistant material and interior linings made from a down-alternative, polyfill material, these pouches feature rod-shaped heating devices powered by lithium polymer batteries. When the device is turned on, it can quickly warm players’ hands once they grip the rod, which, according to G-Tech’s president and CEO, is the best motion to deliver the most concentrated amount of heat to the hands. If you question the effectiveness of these pouches, consider that many players on both Ryder Cup teams used them throughout their matches in 2021.