The great thing about golf is, just when you thought you had everything you needed to practice and play to the best of your ability, someone goes and makes something you suddenly can't live without. No matter if you are in the gallery of today's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, watching on TV or perhaps even playing in it (hi, Steve Stricker!), we've found a few new things for duffers to add to their bags.
Uno Alla Volta
A glass putter? Must be an office decoration, right? Actually, this hand-blown, 340-gram putter with 5-degree loft is fully functional and conforms to USGA rules, so you can use it on the green if you like. But as a one-of-a-kind, crafted one-at-a-time (which is what uno alla volta means in Italian), you may want to keep the cushioned head cover on in the cart. In emerald or cobalt blue (a red putter is coming in June). $198; see www.unoallavolta.com (search for "putter"). They also have an elegant silver golf tee, crafted in London ($89), and an Italian leather scorebook-flask combo, also handmade in London ($298).
Golf Pride tour wrap 2G grips
If you haven't changed your grips lately, you've forgotten what good grips feel like -- and what they can do for your score. The industry leader, Golf Pride -- 80 percent of PGA pros use them -- has revisited its popular 2G line and made them tackier and softer. A mere $3.50 per grip; at Edwin Watts Golf, 5805 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; Target Golf, 3465 Blue Bonnet Circle, Fort Worth; the Golf Stop, 3133 Lackland Road, Fort Worth; and Golfsmith, 8701 Airport Freeway, North Richland Hills.
Barth & McCallig accessories
Two designing women (who are golfers, natch) are behind this accessory company for women who love the sport. The PGA Tour's newest licensee has developed a line of scarves -- as well as umbrellas and shoe bags -- that add a touch of class to the round on the course as well as the round at the clubhouse afterward. The 36-by-36-inch scarves, with hand-rolled edges, bear designs that reflect the game's history as well as a bit of whimsy; we particularly like the pen-and-ink renderings of "The Dames" within a border of summer green, red, light blue, salmon or lilac. $125; see www.barthandmccallig.com.
It sounds like a joke -- a contraption for picking up your ball on the fairway without getting out of the cart -- but then we played a best-ball round and realized that we were risking life and limb jumping out of the moving cart to retrieve the less-than-best-ball after each shot. The ScrambleScoop is designed to work IN a moving cart. The makers point out that it is useful for saving back and knee strain and speeds up play as you scoop up balls in the mesh net at the end of a telescoping (up to 35 inches) shaft, but we just like driving up and scooping the ball. It's fun. $19.95; see www.scramblescoop.com.
Piel Golf driving range caddy
You don't hit every club in the bag when you go to the range, so why schlep all those drivers and irons every time you practice? This beautifully constructed leather bag with shoulder strap, carry handle and detachable pouch for three balls can hold up to seven irons, but you can load it with your favorite driver, iron and wedge, perfect for hitting the local par 3 course for a quick nine. Comes in black, chocolate and saddle. $78.99, add $14 for monogram; see www.csnstores.com (type "9806"into the search field).
Johnnie-O golf apparel
Los Angeles designer John O'Donnell (and brother of actor Chris) has combined West Coast surfing motifs with East Coast casual wear to create a preppy look that fits just about everyone in the middle. It's laid-back but capricious, sort of like our short game. And while the look is decidedly casual, it won't make you look bad at the club. The extremely relaxed men's four-button, 100 percent cotton polo ($48, 14 color choices) bears the "surfer dude" and his board logo, as do the other lines of men's, women's and children's shirts and accessories. See www.johnnie-O.com.
Ildikó Gál Antibes custom golf shoe
Oh, my. This one is truly for the golfing guy who has everything and can afford to acquire yet even more fabulous stuff. Third-generation shoe artisans in rural Hungary cobble these exquisite semi-brogue wingtips -- with a shaped counter, a punched tongue and a single welt sole (of course!) -- measured to your exact size based on state-of-the-art scanning. The brand is new to this country this season, and for now, the only way to get the shoes is to fly up to the flagship store that opened just last month at 790 Madison Ave. in New York City and get your feet scanned. Your custom shoes will be shipped in a custom wooden box within six weeks. $3,700 gets you started; see www.ildikogal.com for details.