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BW Businessworld

Right On Course

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Corporate life is all about getting an edge over the competition. whether it is the marketplace or the golf course, the cardinal rules are the same — always equip yourself with tools that will keep you ahead of your rivals. Luckily for the serious corporate golfer, there is now a plethora of equipment designed to do just that. Shop smartly and you will find yourself able to get over your handicap, navigate the toughest courses more easily, strike and putt better and, above all, leave your opponents wondering what exactly they need to catch up with you.

Technology To The Tee
Only the most expert caddies can match the precision of nextgen golf GPS units that provide instantaneous and accurate guidance from anywhere on the course. Apart from the golfer's current location as well as different distances — to the centre of the green or pin, to hazards, or to the pin from any point the player touches on the screen — many devices, such as Garmin's rugged touch-enabled Approach G5 Golf GPS, record the length of the player's last shot, and store it for further analyses. Among the most useful features are colour over-views of each hole to help identify trouble spots and plan strategy in advance. August-end will see the India launch of the Inforemer HDX Hand-Held GPS (Rs 60,000), a combination of GPS navigation and Wi-Fi connectivity. An HDX cart-mounted GPS variant (Rs 1.5 lakh), which will allow two-way messaging between players and the clubhouse, will also be available by the end of the month.

Room For More
Truth is, at least technically, there is little to distinguish between the best golf bags other than their construction and looks. Differentiation is generally based on the number of pockets, ergonomy in storage, support or pop-out stands and, of course, the colours. Also, customisation comes into play as to whether you want to have individual slots for each of your clubs or compartments that can be inter-changeably used, whether you would prefer DuPont's Teflon coating (Callaway; Rs 8,900 upwards) or would the more commonly available weatherproof nylon do, size and weight — the last is particularly important if you expect to be hauling your own bag (check out Nike Xtreme Lite Stand Bag or TaylorMade Tour Stand 2.5 that features comfortable dual shoulder straps). It is difficult to go wrong with any of the top-notch golf bag manufacturers — TaylorMade, Nike, Ping, Callaway, Ogio and Datrek — but if you would rather distract your opponent into missing his cue, trust Burton's ‘most revered golf bag' in luxuriously hand-crafted leather.

Sole Importance
A must for enabling better balance and grip, the traction in good golf shoes (Nike Air Zoom TW, Footjoy Contour and Classics Dry Premiere, Adidas' Golf-Lite and Tour 360 II Wide) comes from spikes soft enough not to damage the green, but hard enough to ensure the player does not slide on grass when his weight shifts during a swing. Breathability and waterproofing are also important — Gore-tex, invented in 1976, is still rated the best material for all-weather footwear, although polyester lining is used to waterproof the cheaper golf shoes.

Hand And Glove
Look Sharp: Oakley's golf-specific sunglasses fine-tune green light to reveal the subtleties of the courseA golf glove, which comes in different textures and sizes, is not only a godsend for better grip, it helps avoid blisters caused by sweating. Whether you choose cabretta (natural leather and, therefore, more expensive and more comfortable) or synthetic leather, ensure the glove lets your skin breathe and allows moisture to evaporate. A mix of cabretta (for the side facing the palm and insides of fingers) and synthetic leather (suited for all-weather gear) is really the best option. A TaylorMade Burner (Rs 800), for example, is a synthetic glove with a leather palm while Ping's Mfit (Rs 875) is solid cabretta and the Footjoy GTX (Rs 695) is a synthetic all-weather accessory. Cleveland and Wilson also offer a dependable range of gloves.

Perfect Vision
Sunglasses made specifically for golfing adapt the player's vision to the golf course by fine-tuning green light to reveal the subtleties of the course, and by enhancing depth perception and contrast. Oakley dominates this market with its light-weight, smudge-resistant G30 iridium lenses for improved depth perception, particularly in hazy or cloudy weather. Look for two popular models: Radar (Rs 14,300) and Flak-Jacket (Rs 10,335). Callaway's glare-reduction golf sunglasses have also been received well — they come with patented Neox lenses, which counteract the displacement generally caused by wrap-around models such as their Sports Series S205.
BW Pics By Tribhuwan Sharma

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