OK, I’m done preaching the gospel of walking the golf course vs. riding a cart. If your soul’s not saved by now, may you be condemned to an eternity of playing uphill holes with a giant leather tour bag strapped to your back.
For those who have seen the light, bless you. Following is a list of items that will make your walk a heavenly experience.
Golf shoes by TRUE Linkswear
Street-style golf shoes are all the rage these days, and the coolest walkers are wearing TRUEs. I am, too, and I can tell you they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned – golf or otherwise. It’s like wearing a thick pair of socks, they’re so light and well-cushioned.
If you think TRUEs are a little… non-traditional for your taste, my college-age daughter told me they look fashionable. (I thanked her profusely once I came to.) Plus, PGA Tour trendsetter Ryan Moore is a TRUE believer, further proof of their style bona fides.
Here’s one more reason to give TRUEs a try. The small, Scottsdale-based company requires employees to play 18 holes every week “because consistently and repeatedly testing product is the only way to find out how it performs in all conditions so it can be improved.”
Who says the American work ethic is dead?
A sturdy, foldable push cart
Repeat after me: There’s no shame in using a push cart. Even if you feel like a dork, you’ll be fresher for the home stretch – and there’s nothing dorky about finishing strong.
Sun Mountain makes several push carts that match the excellent reputation of its golf bags. Clicgear is another popular brand. Both companies offer models that fold neatly into trunk-fitting modules, plus smart accessories like sand bottles and cup holders.
A GPS unit or laser rangefinder
Stepping off yardages is inaccurate and inconvenient. A handheld GPS unit tells you the yardage from your ball to the front, middle and back of greens, as well as bunkers, water hazards and other landmarks. SkyCaddie has the best rep of the many GPS makers and recently introduced a wireless model, but there are lots of good ones on the market.
If you like to know your exact distance to the pin, a laser rangefinder is your best friend. You can zero in on the flag from hundreds of yards away, and get pinpoint yardages to trees, bunkers etc. Bushnell is the leading brand, and actually offers a hybrid GPS-rangefinder for the best of both worlds.
Clothing made with performance fabrics
The term “clothing technology” sounds like a marketing ploy, until you put on a shirt made from newfangled performance fabrics. Incredibly lightweight, breathable and stretchable, today’s golf shirts are a far cry from what we were wearing just a few years back.
Walkers work up a good sweat, so moisture wicking is a necessity. That means cotton — like the number 5 in Monty Python’s immortal “holy hand grenade” bit – is right out. And polyester, that all-purpose ’70’s punchline, is in.
Lots of companies make super-comfortable shirts, shorts and pants using performance fabrics. You can’t go wrong with Nike or Ashworth, while socks by Kentwool come highly recommended.
Reliable rain gear
I admit, riding does offer one advantage over walking: a quicker getaway when it starts raining. Every walkers needs a top-and-bottom rain gear set to stuff in the bag when the wet stuff threatens. The companies above, as well as FootJoy and most of the major equipment brands, make suitable outfits.
Now that you’ve imbibed the Kool-Aid and decided that hoofing it is the best way to experience golf, go join the Walking Golfers Society. Membership is free, and you’ll be one step closer to walking the walk of real golfers everywhere.