With the Byron Nelson behind us and the Colonial ahead of us, we've been inspired this golf season to "up" our game like the pros we envy on television. By practicing? Nah, by getting better gear, of course. Naturally, over the years we have acquired just about one of everything, but here are a few things we have encountered that are new or improved to help us lower our score or keep us organized -- and look better while doing it.
On the right track
The new MOTOACTV Golf Edition, a state-of-the-art gadget, is like having a caddie wrapped on your wrist. The built-in GPS technology tracks the front, center and back distances to greens and hazards on 20,000 courses worldwide; it keeps your score, tracks which club you used and offers statistics that elevate your game by illuminating strengths and weaknesses. Track your steps, distance and calories burned; and you can sync your game via computer to see how you compare to the pros playing the same course. $299.99 at Best Buy, Sports Authority and online at www.amazon.com and www.motorola.com.
The always-dependable Ogio has come up with a new line of bags -- the Chamber Bag, and, yes, the bags include the patented Silencer Club Protection System that preserves your precious irons and drivers in 14 membrane-coated compartments. Add to that the cellphone pocket, the insulated cooler pocket, the stashed rain hood, the zipperless ball pocket (for swift mulligans), a fleece-lined valuables pocket and nine other pockets that there aren't even names for, and you've got pretty much everything covered. For men, $300, in black and charcoal; for women, the Majestic bag with similar features, $220, in plaid; at local Dick's Sporting Goods, Edwin Watts Golf Shop and Golfsmith International.
DAWGS Golf Spirit Shoes are light, indestructible and, best of all, fashionable because that counts as several strokes on the scorecard. The DAWG is made of odor-resistant resin so you can wear it without socks on those unbearably hot days on the links. The molded rubber spikes won't leave marks on the green, and you'll feel light on your feet in the clubhouse as you report your round to the LPGA. Available in various bright colors including pink, benefiting the Woman 2 Woman Breast Cancer Foundation. $40; at Gatlin Menagerie in Arlington and Dallas Golf; www.dawgsgolf.com.
Ball has it all
You want distance, but you want control; you want low spin off the tee but high spin upon approach; and then you want to stop dead on the green right where you aimed. Well, we make no promises, but the HEX Black Tour ball has the legacy of Callaway behind it and the best engineering available going for it, and they say it does all of that for Lefty, so it must be good. $45.99 a dozen; at Golfsmith International retail stores in Richland Hills and Dallas and www.callawaygolf.com.
Store your golfing gear in an organized manner with the Proman Eagle Golf Bag Caddy and get on the good side of everyone who has to park in the garage. The symmetrical Proman holds two regulation golf bags, keeping them ready to rock 'n' roll when the call comes; a top drawer holds balls and tees, and adjustable bottom shelves are for your shoes and folded jackets. And it looks good, too: A walnut finish is complemented by chrome hardware. $136.39; from www.wayfair.com.
Save your quarters! This home version of Golden Tee 2012, the popular simulated arcade game -- which actually does help with club selection and reading distances when on a "real" course -- is a 39-inch cabinet with the familiar ball/mouse in the center of the console that hooks up to your flat-screen to play any of the 35 courses programmed into the frighteningly realistic software. And yes, Jim Nance and Peter Jacobsen will narrate your round. Many a heart has been broken by Golden Tee in pubs around the world; now you can do it at home. $3,300, only from www.home.goldentee.com.