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Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category


Time to Get Back to the Pack

Back-to-school often means choosing a new backpack.
 
By Sara Arthurs -The Courier Newspaper
 
The end of summer means it’s almost time to head back to school, which means it’s time to buy backpacks. What kids and parents look for when shopping for a new backpack changes each year.
 
Take, for example, a pocket for an iPod. 
 
“Ten years ago, that was unheard of,” said Ken McCartan, backpack buyer for Dunham’s corporate office. “This day and age, that is a given.”
 
At Kohl’s, the character backpacks, those with characters from movies or television, are popular for the younger children, said Steve Brunner, one of the store managers at Kohl’s in Findlay. Characters from “Toy Story,” “Spider-Man” and “Dora the Explorer” are among the popular ones, he said.
 
Jansport backpacks are popular for the older children and college age. Many have pockets for things like iPods and water bottles, Brunner said. 
 
A recent trend is the “Yak Pak,” a brand which offers bags in colorful patterns and a variety of styles.
 
Bright colors are always popular and high school students tend to favor school colors, Brunner said.
 
“It’s definitely a lot of color… It’s not just the traditional black or navy,” McCartan said. “There’s a color pop.”
 
Kids like patterns such as leopard or zebra, he said. Another trend is a bag that is mostly black but has colorful trim.
 
“Black is still very dominant because it doesn’t show dirt,” McCartan said. “It kind of goes with anything that the child might be wearing.”
 
McCartan said Dunham’s backpack season runs from Aug. 1 until mid-September.
 
“If mom’s making the purchase, they’re probably going to go for something small and inexpensive,” McCartan said.
 
But, he said, sometimes the child can convince the parent he or she wants a trademark. The Nike swoosh is popular, and Adidas is another brand that sells well, McCartan said.
 
McCartan said that backpacks are designed these days to hold up pretty well, which means people need to purchase them less frequently. But this time of year there is always a spike in sales.
 
McCartan said when his son was in elementary school he would bring home a lot of items in his backpack such as books, his lunch and a towel for “quiet time” at school.
 
“He stuffed a lot of stuff in there,” McCartan said.
 
But, he said, backpacks are fashion statements as much as they are utilitarian items.
 
“They see the cool factor, even at a young age,” McCartan said.
 
The proliferation of technology has changed the design of backpacks. Nearly every backpack Dunham’s carries has an iPod port so the child can put his or her iPod in the backpack and feed the earbuds through an outlet. A mesh pocket for a water bottle is also standard. As for computers, McCartan said just about every backpack has a padded separate sleeve for a laptop or netbook, and some have a bag within a bag. 
 
McCartan said backpacks are like clothes or shoes. Children look for different patterns.
 
“Kids can individualize themselves,” he said.
 
For some children, this may mean different backpacks to wear with different clothing. Perhaps it might be a neon backpack to go with certain outfits, he said.
 
McCartan, as an adult, said it’s easy to speculate on what a 12-year-old boy or girl might want to carry to school but it can be a challenge to get it right. As a backpack buyer, he relies on demographic research done by the companies that make backpacks for Adidas or Nike. He said these companies will put different designs in front of children and do blind studies to see what tests well.
 
Similar research is done for clothing and McCartan said they’re finding a similar trend.
 
“Individuality really is what’s doing well,” he said.
 
Whatever backpack a child chooses, schools usually don’t allow him or her to carry it around all day.
 
Barb Schick, community relations coordinator for Findlay City Schools, said children must store their backpacks in their locker or elsewhere and cannot take them to class.
 
“Nobody carries them in,” she said.
 
She said this has been a policy in place since at least the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 and possibly longer. “Nothing that can conceal anything” is permitted, she said.
 
Van Buren High School principal Michael Brand said that there, too, students can carry their backpacks to and from school but cannot carry them around during the school day.
 
Brand said students often bring electronics such as laptop computers and iPods to school. Van Buren issues netbooks to all students in grades six through 10, which they carry from school to home each day. 
 
Think back-to-school shopping is expensive? Things could be worse. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen introduced a croc backpack that costs $39,000, according to a July article on Slate.com.
 
Arthurs: 419-427-8494 saraarthurs@thecourier.com
Photo Caption: RANDY ROBERTS / The Courier KATHERINE BLUM, a sales associate/cashier at Dunham’s, takes down one of the backpacks on display at the store. Kids can be picky when it comes time to choose a new backpack. Parents don’t want to spend too much and want something that’s sturdy and will last a year or two. Almost all backpacks now feature special pockets for laptop computers and music devices.
 
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Happy Campers Are Well-Fed Campers

I’ve rafted the Grand Canyon and camped along its banks. I’ve camped on beaches up and down the East Coast. I’ve set up tents in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and have even done the motor home thing in Yellowstone National Park (even though that’s not really considered roughing it). I’ve also camped in the scruffy Florida Keys, plus umpteen parks here in my own camping-friendly state of Michigan.
 
I love It, and there’s a lot to be said about reconnecting with the great outdoors and getting back-to-basics. But when it comes to camping food, I prefer the not-so-basics.
 
Hot Dog! Let’s Cook.
 
If you’re at a campground, you’re either going to be cooking over an open campfire, with a portable propane or charcoal grill, or one of the charcoal grills the campgrounds provides. If you’re cooking with propane, you probably know what you’re doing. Cooking with charcoal or over a wood fire is a little trickier and, if you haven’t done it, you really need to do your homework. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not giving yourself ample lead time in building a good fire. The second thing is you don’t want to cook over shooting flames — you want to cook over hot coals since that’s your even heat source. So if you’re a novice, get some good tips from someone who’s experienced in building fires for cooking.
 
Are You Equipped?
 
Unless your idea of camping is at the local motel, you won’t have a refrigerator, freezer, or oven at your disposal. Still, if you’ve got a few basics, you’re in business. A cooler (or two) is a must. So are the right utensils: aluminum foil, mitts, dishes, knives, spatulas, and plastic storage containers. A cast iron Dutch oven (or kettle) is an indispensable tool for one-pot stews, soups, chilis, and cobblers, and it’ll double as your serving bowl. You can hang the Dutch oven from a tripod over the fire, or set it on a grill or directly in the coals. You might also think about a cast iron skillet for scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, etc. And if you have the room, a grill basket is ideal for vegetables, fruit, and more delicate proteins like fish.
 
Food for Thought: Plan Ahead
 
You can have some wonderful breakfasts, lunches and dinners that are a lot more exciting than cold cereal, or pork and beans and hot dogs. In fact, you can really impress your friends with how great you are at outdoor cooking. Ever think about cooking a frittata for breakfast for your fellow campers? How about whipping up spicy turkey burgers stuffed with blue cheese and onions, served on grilled buns? Or, how about making a delicious berry cobbler? All it takes is a little organization.
 
A week or so before your trip, sit down and design a menu. Being organized is important and if you do your research, planning and shopping ahead of time, the rest is easy. Once you’ve shopped for groceries, measure and separate your ingredients and put them in containers or food storage bags. Want spicy chicken chili some evening? Make it ahead of time and simply reheat it over the campfire or on the grill. Take toppings like shredded cheese, chopped onions, chiles, tomatoes, tortilla strips, and sour cream in containers and let guests help themselves. Served with an ice-cold beer, it’s an impressive meal and your friends will appreciate the fact that you did more than just open a can.
 
Show Off Your Skewer Cooking Skills with Shish Kebabs
 
Kebabs are ideal for a camping trip because they can be assembled a day or two ahead of time, marinated, and then pulled out and put on the grill. They’re delicious and the presentation is impressive. You can use just about any cut of meat — even shrimp and scallops — and any creative combination of vegetables, and fruit like pineapple. I prefer using metal skewers. They’re sturdier and won’t burn. The best part? There’s very little cleanup.
 
Indonesian Chicken Kebabs for Four
8 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
2 red peppers, peeled and quartered
2 green peppers, peeled and quartered
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
 
Marinade:
1 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup of chili sauce
1.2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tblsp garlic, minced
8 green onions, finely chopped
Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the kebabs in a plastic container or glass baking dish. Let marinate for 24 hours before grilling.
 
Holy Smokes: It’s Grilled Fruit
 
Grilled fruit like pineapple, pears, nectarines, peaches or plums is easy and delicious, and the natural sugars will caramelize the fruit. For a light topping, take plain yogurt, and add a couple of tablespoons of honey and a squeeze of lime juice. Stir it together and top your fruit. It’s fresh, healthy, and much more impressive than s’mores.
 
Grilled Pineapple
1 large pineapple, cored and cut into slices
3/4 cup tequila or rum
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix liquor, vanilla and cinnamon together until sugar dissolves. Place pineapple or grill and baste while grilling. Grill about 10 minutes. Serve hot with yogurt topping.
 
Happy Camping!
 
With all the latest equipment and gadgets, the way we camp has changed over the years, but the reasons why we do it haven’t. We still want to get out in the fresh air, reconnect with nature, and leave the comforts of home at home even if just for a weekend. There’s something about sleeping in a sleeping bag, building a fire and sitting under the stars with a cold beer and good coversation. And there’s something about food just taking so much better outdoors — even if it’s a gooey s’more.
 
-Happy Camper
 
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Water Sports at Their Slickest

When the air is hot, skin is sticky and kids are whining there’s only one thing to do – take it outside and into the water! Swim, float or get adventurous and take a stab at water sports with a couple of these products for some seriously cool summer fun.
 
Hopping on Water
 
When some think of water sports they imagine tricky back flips on wakeboards and choreographed routines on jet skis – but not all water sports are so elaborate.
 
One of the simplest and most popular products is the water trampoline, a giant inflatable trampoline that rests on the water’s surface. Designed for rest and play, one can lounge on the mat to catch some rays or bounce high to the sky while getting splashed from below.
 
The Arsenal, a popular model by water sports manufacturer Hydroslide can be left inflated all summer of long, or easily deflated and packed up for a weekend trip to the lake. It should be noted that while undeniably fun, water trampolines are not built like ground trampolines, so users are not going to get as much bounce height as they would on the ground – instead they just get wet!
 
Tubular Times
 
Tubing is always a big summertime hit, because almost anyone can do it – no fancy equipment or skills required. “You can pull a tube with just about anything with a motor,” says O’Brien Representative.
 
With a vast selection of tube types available, users are sure to find one to suit their needs. Single and multi-rider tubes with individual seats make for a relaxing journey on the water, whereas extreme tubes are built for fast, exciting rides. One tube that falls between the two categories is the Super Screamer by O’Brien. A two-person lay-on type tube, the device features a flat top with neoprene padding for comfort that tubers can stretch across and still catch air with when hitting the waves.
 
The Bees Knees
 
Another exciting and easy to use water accessory is the kneeboard. Kneeboards can be a great tool for those just starting to get their feet wet in the world of water sports since the learning curve is fairly shallow. “You can start doing tricks like 180s and 360s after just a few tries,” says O’Brien. Designed for kids as young as seven, kneeboards can be a good stepping stone between tubing and more challenging sports like skiing or wakeboarding. The Radica by O’Brien and the Revolution by Hydroslide are both popular basic kneeboards and perfect for beginners.
 
Get Wet
 
With so many exciting activities to choose from, warm weather bashers will have little to complain about this summer – all it takes is a dip in the lake and a something that floats to start having fun with water sports.
 
-Water baby
 
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Don’t Let the Big One Get Away

You don’t have to talk about “the one that got away” after your next fishing trip. Today’s fishing gear makes it easier than ever to reel in that trophy bass.
 
Gone are the days of trolling along the shore, hoping to find the best fishing hole. Today’s fish finders guide you right to the perfect location. Anglers can find just the right model to meet any budget. Even basic models like the Humminbird® Fishin’ Buddy® provide sonar data and water temps. More sophisticated models from Humminbird and Lowrance® have full color displays showing water temperature, depths, shore contours, GPS and more. Fish finders like these are stand alone units that can be added to your current equipment.
 
Finding fish and getting them to bite are two different things. Fortunately, fishing gear tech has stepped up to the challenge of helping you snag the prize.
 
Today’s lures have all the appeal of live bait without the drawbacks. Simulating live bait is more critical than ever. Recent court rulings prohibit transporting fish into and out of lakes to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between fish. The result is that many anglers cannot bring their own minnows and other bait fish into the area.
 
Manufacturers like Berkley® and Rapala® have put their engineers to work in creating life-like lures. The Berkley® PowerBait® 4 Hollow Belly™ swim bait has been field tested and tweaked by the top Berkley Pro’s in order to give themselves a significant competitive advantage on tour. As if the PowerBait® scent and attractant weren’t competitive advantage enough all by itself, this Hollow Belly bait is loaded with other features as well that has made it the “choice of champions” when conditions call for a super swim bait. Unlike most other swim baits on the market, the body is truly hollow from nose to tail, and easily collapses around the hook when bit to insure a solid hookset. The Rapala lineup features lures that are hand-tuned and tested to recreate the swimming actions of a small fish that attracts larger fish.
 
The sophistication of today’s lures doesn’t stop with simulating live bait. Many lures have buoyancy ratings of floating, slow sinking and fast sinking. Getting the most out of your tackle box requires choosing a rate of fall suited for your fishing conditions.
 
Even colors are a big factor in selecting the right lure for the right day and the right water conditions. Pradco® lures cover the color spectrum with dark hues for dark days and light colors for light days. Picking the right color is just as important when selecting your fishing line. Manufacturers offer a variety of fishing line colors to blend in with the water so fish cannot detect the attachment to a lure.
 
Landing a trophy bass also requires having the right rod and reel. No two anglers are the same so one type of rod and reel won’t work for everyone.
 
Daiwa’s® D-Shock Rod/Reel Combo offers different lengths and actions to meet individual needs. The D-Shock combo features a bearing reel with aluminum spool. The rod is a fiberglass blank with cork grips. These features combine to make this the perfect choice for inland lake fishing.
 
Other manufacturers are introducing rods with adjustable lengths and high strength titanium. Pair one of these rods up with a new reel designed to reduce friction for further casting and you can stay on the water all day without getting tired or having to worry about your tackle handling the challenge of reeling in a bass.
 
The days of tying a string to a pole and hoping to catch a fish are gone . . . and with the latest technology, so are the days of talking about the one that got away.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Disc Jockey?

Remember all that fun you had throwing the Frisbee® around campus or at a picnic?  Well, the Frisbee is still a staple of casual recreation, but throwing a disc has become a whole lot more sophisticated thanks to the explosive growth of disc golf.
 
The Disc Golf Association estimates that between 8 and 12 million people have participated in the sport, with 500,000 regular players. And these aren’t all just weekend enthusiasts. A man by the name of Nikko LoCastro made just under $43,000 in 2009 on the Professional Disc Golf Association Tour. That tour features almost 1,000 events with total prize money of more than $2,000,000. Now do we have your attention?
 
Besides being a lot of fun, disc golf is a whole lot less expensive than “real” golf. There are no clubs to buy, no need to rent a cart (not even a pull cart) and there usually aren’t greens fees. (Though some municipalities, recognizing the growing popularity of the game, have created “pay-to-play” courses with highly sophisticated layouts).  The game is very easy to learn, takes less time than regular golf and still lets you exercise in the great outdoors.
 
Disc Golf – A Little History
 
The increasing popularity of disc golf isn’t surprising. Throwing a disc and watching it sail into the horizon seems to satisfy some sort of basic human desire of flight. Cavemen probably would have done it had someone invented plastic.
 
Human nature being what it is, most any popular activity will soon prompt competition. There is no definitive history of disc golf, but there are stories of “Tin Lid Golf” in Canada in the 1920’s that pre-date the Frisbee. In the mid 1960s a recreational counselor in California (isn’t that where everything starts?) set out a crude golf course for Frisbees with hula hoops as “holes.” Not long after Ed Headrick, who worked for Wham-O, the manufacturer of the Frisbee, invented the disc pole hole, still used today in competitive play. Headrick is known as the father of disc golf, and helped establish the Disc Golf Association and the Professional Disc Golf Association.
 
Just Like Golf – Mostly
 
Disc golf is just like regular golf — players see who can take the fewest throws to get their disc in the hole, which is a set of chains hanging from a holder that surrounds the center pole. At the bottom is a circular basket that serves to catch the disc. Disc courses don’t have hazards, at least not like sand traps, but there are out-of-bounds areas, as well as mandatories, or “mandies.” For example, a hole might have a “tree right mandatory” requiring the disc to pass on the right of the tree, or a one-throw penalty is assessed.
 
Disc courses take a lot less property than a normal golf course. A championship course requires about an acre per hole, with typical fairways 20-40 feet wide. Different tee placements can accommodate various skill levels. A recreational course can afford 2-3 holes per acre, depending on terrain.
 
Faster, Straighter, Longer
 
Nowhere is the sophistication of modern disc golf more apparent than in the disc itself.  Where the original recreational disc had to be slow enough to be caught, modern competitive discs are designed for speed and distance. Innova Disc Golf got its start in the 1980s when it patented a beveled edge design. “The old fashioned disc was designed to float through the air and be caught,” says Innova East Coast Sales Manager Ryan Baker. “Our designs are more aerodynamic so the disc penetrates the air and goes farther and faster.” A top professional disc golfer can throw a disc well over 400 feet (at a speed of 60 mph).
 
Just as a golfer needs different clubs for different shots, a disc golfer uses different discs depending on distance from the hole. Driving discs have the sharpest edge and will go farthest, but they are most difficult to control. Mid-range discs have a slightly sharp edge for better control, while putter discs are straight and slow. The number of discs available is mind-boggling to the neophyte, and Baker recommends a starter set of a putter, mid-range and fairway driver, with a typical retail price under $30.
 
Baker says one of the biggest reasons for the growing popularity of disc golf is that the learning curve is very short. Because you are holding the disc itself (unlike golf where there is a club in between you and the ball), you have a greater ability to correct your mistakes.  Plus, putting is much easier than regular golf. So, who doesn’t like a sport where after a couple of hours you can say ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this!’
 
Question: Have you ever tried Disc Golf?  Would you recommend it to others?
 
-The Friz Whiz
 
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PUT A SATELLITE IN YOUR GOLF BAG

The high technology revolution in golf has been concentrated in the manufacturing of clubs and balls. Titanium shafts, acrylate centers, four-layer ball designs — terms that have moved from the physics lab to the pro shop. But now, the ultimate for the golf geek — global positioning systems for the golf course.
 
Just as GPS technology has exploded in the general consumer market so that stopping for directions out of town is a thing of the past, now it is revolutionizing the game of golf. Gone are the days of, “I guess I’m 20 yards from the 150 yard marker” to, “It’s 163 yards to the front of the green.” Global positioning technology connects to orbiting satellites to tell you precisely (plus-or-minus one yard) exactly how far you are to the front, middle and back of a green, as well as the distance to bunkers, water and other hazards.
 
The systems are pre-programmed with information on various courses or they include subscription services to download thousands of courses worldwide.
 
More Than One Number
 
Knowing the distance to the green (actually three distances to the green — front/middle/back) is obviously a big help. But getting maximum use from GPS technology means using more than just your approach distance. Because the devices are programmed for individual courses, you also have distances to things you want to avoid — bunkers, water, etc.
 
For example, on your second shot on a par five, the yard marker may put you at 240 yards from the green. But GPS will add information such as those bunkers 210 yards away, so your best strategy may be to play short of the bunkers and then hit a wedge close for a possible birdie.
 
Different Approaches
 
One of the most popular GPS golf devices is the GolfBuddy® World Platinum. Featuring:  30,000+ preloaded courses, high resolution full color screen, full layout mode, full statistical analysis module, automatic course and hole recognition and includes rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and swivel holster.
 
Of course, no piece of golf equipment would be complete without a full range of accessories. Cart mounts, clamps, suction cups, leather cases and belt clips – low tech support for high tech golf.
 
GPS systems bring absolute precision to golf strategy. When you know you are exactly 187 yards from the green, you know exactly which club to use. Now, if you could just hit the ball exactly 187 yards!
 
-Par Shooter
 
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Put Some Spring in Your Step With Trampolines

Who knew that a piece of fabric stretched over a few hunks of metal could be so much fun? Kids, of course! A widely popular backyard pastime, bouncing on a trampoline has provided children, teens and even adults with endless hours of pure, aerial fun. Though in addition to recreational fun, trampolines are known to serve other purposes as well.

Bouncing for Sport

The first trampoline came to fruition as the brainchild of George Neilson, a student at the University of Iowa. After observing the way trapeze artists bounced onto the safety net after performing, he figured out that trampolines would make a good training tool for athletes.

In the years following, trampoline jumping gained popularity and, eventually, sporting credibility, culminating in the debut of Trampoline as an official sport in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.  The sport has been played in each summer Olympics since.

Those looking to tone up and lose weight have also turned to the trampoline for exercise.  Jumping on a trampoline (typically a mini trampoline) is known to burn calories and tone leg and core muscles, as well as improve balance and agility.

How it Works

The material that one bounces on, known as the bounce mat, is made from woven canvas or polypropylene material. The elasticity of the trampoline comes from the coiled springs that are strategically placed around the edge of the trampoline’s steel frame; they provide the rebounding force that creates the jump. The Propel 15’ Trampoline, one of the genre’s best sellers, has 108 springs on its trampoline, 20% more than other leading brands.

Safety Tips

The safest trampolines have a net surrounding the outside of the frame known as an enclosure, which protects jumpers from potential falls. At peak bounce, a fall could mean coming down from as high as 12 feet. All Propel Trampolines come with enclosures, as well as an anchor kit, which holds the trampoline in place no matter the intensity of the bounce or weather. Propel Trampolines, also recommends that all bouncers have a spotter nearby and that only one person jump at a time.

Bounce On

The most important thing to remember about trampolines is that they were built for fun! As long as precautions are taken and safety guidelines heeded, trampoline users can bounce to their heart’s desire, be it for exercise, sport or pure recreational joy. Be safe and bounce on!

-Jumping Jack

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Draw… Fade… Straight…

p>Most golfers naturally hit the ball right or left. A high handicapper might have a vicious slice right while the better golfer might only hit a fade to the right side. Same for those who hit left — a duck hook for high handicapper, a slight draw for the better golfer. Very few of us naturally hit the ball straight. That’s why it’s so important to concentrate on swing fundamentals —  grip, stance, follow-through and the like.

Except now, technology can have as much of an impact on the direction your ball goes off the tee as how you swing the club. Adjustable drivers will alter the face of the club and the weighting to help you correct natural flaws in how you hit the ball. You can adjust your driver so the ball flies right, left or straight.

Adjustable Drivers

The mechanics of adjustable drivers are deceptively simple. You can adjust the face of the club. Open the face and the ball will move right and at a higher trajectory. Close the face and the ball will tend left at a lower trajectory. Keep the face neutral and the ball will go straight (at least in theory). You can also adjust weighting on the club. This alters the all important center of gravity (CG) when the club strikes the ball. Adding weight to the heel of the club will enhance a draw, while weight added to the toe will tend to move the ball right.  Putting the extra weight in the center promotes a straight trajectory (again, in theory).

It’s been known for a long time that adjusting weight on the clubhead will affect direction of the ball. What’s made the new adjustable technology possible is advancements in materials. High strength titanium allows for placement of small weights without making the clubhead too large to be practical.

Making the adjustments is easy. Clubs come with a small tool (think miniature torque wrench) that loosens the hosel and lets you slide the shaft. TaylorMade has advanced the adjustable playing field with its R11 Driver that lets you adjust the loft angle and club face independently of each other. A third adjustment of the weights on the clubhead will move the flight path left or right.

Are Adjustable Drivers Right For You?

Adjustable drivers can help correct a natural fade or draw and they really do work. But they are no substitute for good swing mechanics. One other thing. You can’t make adjustments to a club during a round. USGA golf rules don’t allow that.

-Par Shooter

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Put Some Color in Your Game

Golf has always been a colorful activity. Since the first Scotsman put on a pair of knickers at St. Andrews the sport has allowed people to express themselves with colorful clothing. Yes, we’ve all seen those neon rainbows that take it to the extreme.

Now the style element in golf goes well beyond what you wear. You can make a fashion statement with the clubs you use. While golf equipment manufacturers have always emphasized a distinctive look for their clubs to enhance the brand image, they are now giving you a lot more choices in colors.

Get a Grip on Color

By far the easiest and cheapest way to color up your game is with your grips.  “We never realized how many different sports teams there are and how many different colors they represent,” says Golf Pride, a leading manufacturer of grips.  “We’ve got colors for just about every team, and they all sell like crazy.”

Of course, color will always be secondary to how well a piece of golf equipment works, and Golf Pride emphasizes that Golf Pride grips work well whether they are orange, purple or basic black. They are partially cord, which puts woven material over the palm of the upper hand to improve wear characteristics.

The explosion of color in golf grips began a few years ago, and Golf Pride expects the trend to continue. “As club manufacturers continue to bring out new colors in their products, we can match whatever they do.”

Pretty in Pink

Wilson Sporting Goods has a complete set of ladies clubs in pink, but the primary motivation isn’t really color.  Their Lady Hope Pink set recognizes the fight against breast cancer and the company has contributed more than $2 million from sales of the set to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The pink set is complete, with clubs, putter and wedge, cart bag, balls and glove. While colorful, this is a very serious set of golf clubs. “The Hope line provides our customers with premium women’s golf products and a way that they too can support breast cancer research,” says Wilson Golf .

New Technology, New Color

Golf technology is highly competitive and manufacturers constantly look for new methods to add just a little more distance and a little more accuracy to their clubs. Now, they’re also paying more attention to the look of those clubs, adding color to make them more distinctive. A perfect example is the new TaylorMade R11 adjustable driver, with the technology to independently adjust the face angle and loft, is breakthrough.  But the first thing you’ll notice about the R11 is the dramatic white color of the clubhead. Not only is it distinctive visually, but the surface is specially formulated with a non-glare finish.

Now that is a two-stroke advantage.  Improve your game and look better doing it.

-Par Shooter

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