'I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It' - Eight New Products That Blew Us Away This Year
It’s the time of year where Golf Monthly reveals the products that have been selected for its coveted and highly-contested Editor’s Choice Awards 2023. While the latest drivers and most forgiving irons might steal the headlines, there have been some unexpectedly impressive innovations outside of these categories that have really blown me away.
Some I have personally tested, while other recommendations come from fellow staff members, but all of which are well worth considering if you’re open to an outside-the-box solution to a common problem you face on the course. Or more simply, you might just fancy buying something cool and unique, in which case - check out the eight new products from 2023 that stood out above the crowd higher than the rest.
1. LA Golf Bel-Air Putter
For those of you who didn’t know, SIK Golf is no more after being bought out by LA Golf and one of its most striking new products is the Bel-Air putter. As part of the deal, it also acquired the descending loft technology, which appears on the 303 steel face insert that sits within an all-carbon clubhead. If that isn’t innovative enough for you, there are also tungsten heel and toe weights, a multi-material P-Series 135 putter shaft and the option of the Bel-Air X version milled out of a single block of forged carbon. Visually arresting (and fairly expensive), this is truly a one-of-a-kind and one of the best golf putters we've tried this year.
2. Alphard Club Booster V2
This product bridges the gap for golfers that want some assistance in transporting their push cart but don’t want to stretch financially to an electric cart, which can cost upwards of $1,500. I’ve never seen anything like it and when I first laid eyes on it in action, I was amazed. It is essentially a motorised chassis that clamps on to your push cart, taking the physical stress away from your arms and shoulders. Controlled by a Bluetooth remote, it’s responsive and relatively easy to navigate with practice (this last part is key, especially if your course has plenty of water!).
3. CaddyTalk Cube Rangefinder
This ground-breaking rangefinder might not be a looker but in terms of the experience it provides the golfer, it sets the bar extremely high. It has all the usual features like Slope, although CaddyTalk claims its application of ballistics in its algorithm makes it more accurate, but also a completely new feature called Caddy Mode. This clever function allows you to shoot your ball from far away and then the flag and the Cube will display the distance from your ball to the pin. This can be used in a number of scenarios, which I really enjoyed using on the course and it makes it one of the best golf rangefinders around. There's nothing like this on the market - if you like your gadgets, this is sure to be right up your alley.
4. Edel SMS Pro Iron
Imagine being able to change your ball flight without changing your swing? That's what the Edel SMS Pro iron offers through its Swing Match Weighting system comprising three weights positioned low down at the back of the head. You can move the two 2g weights and one 8g weight around to add draw or fade bias. While the effect is relatively subtle, it's one of the best golf irons for innovation and will compete admirably with the best golf irons for low handicappers.
5. Putt View X
Few products demonstrate more wow factor than PuttView X. With it, golfers can see the line of any putt through special goggles, paired to a sophisticated app. There are plenty of features alongside, like being able to switch on contour lines to really bring the undulations of the green to life, as well as adding a putter face line to assist with aim. It’s very expensive and the practical benefits to the consumer are fairly limited, but in terms of providing an immersive golf simulator experience, none do it better than Putt View X.
6. Zen Swing Stage
At the touch of a button on an iPad, the Zen Swing Stage can replicate subtle or severely sloping lies in any direction by up to 9 percent either above or below your feet and 12 percent uphill or downhill. While it is likely to be used more as a coaching tool, you might see them at some driving ranges in the near future and it certainly makes the practice experience more fun and realistic, better reflecting the different lies golfers will typically face during a round of golf.
7. SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor
Now powered by Rapsodo, the new SkyTrak+ comes nine years after the original SkyTrak launch monitor was released and it looks to build on what made it such a popular, affordable launch monitor. It has added some club data parameters and enhanced the simulator experience while maintaining its compact, portable size and lightweight design. I’m yet to fully test it out but if it improves on weaknesses of the old SkyTrak, like the delay from hitting to the ball flight appearing on the screen, it could be on to a winner.
8. G-Tech Sport 3.0 heated pouch
I was skeptical about how much golfers really needed a product like this but having tested them out for the first time recently, I am fully converted. We’re going through a prolonged cold spell here in the UK right now, which means I’ve called upon this heated pouch more than I would like, but it certainly helps in maintaining that all-important feel in your fingers. It’s like having heated slippers for your hands. It's also practical, premium to the touch, well made and you may well see the European Ryder Cup team using it in Rome in September - I just hope they pack a US plug converter to charge the battery.