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Golf: Best golf gadgets and why you need them now

There is no shortage of new technology flooding the golf markets these days. Many are useless, but some are definite game-changers.

2015_0607_curtin_brian_hedHere is a list of my picks for best gadgets and why you need to get them now.

Bushnell Tour X Jolt laser guided distance finder. This neat little handheld range finder may be pricey ($499) but if you’re in need of spot-on accuracy and elevation readings, this little guy is for you. USGA competition has prohibited the elevation readings, but you can still use this on a normal day of play-to-work on distance control. Playing in a tournament? No problem. It comes with an adjustable slide piece that eliminates the elevation option. Best feature: It vibrates when locked on to the target and has multiple lens choices pending the time of day and available daylight.

Nike Golf 360. This free and very easy to use smartphone app will be your new best friend. Speaking of best friends, it lets you share your amazing rounds with all your buddies. This simple scoring app keeps track of fairways made, greens in regulation and putt totals. Once completed, it tallies up your stats and keeps a running total for the season. Add your friends to your list and you can compare yourself with them in a standings-like layout that you might see in a box score.  Download ng360 on your smartphone’s App Store today.

Training aids. Very little has been introduced thus far to replace an actual lesson with a golf professional, but perhaps the next best things are The Orange Whip and the The Orange Peel.  The Orange Whip ($109) is essentially a driver, complete with grip and shaft, that instead of a club head has a orange ball attached to the end.  Its whippiness (yes, I just made that word up) and specific training modules allow for any golfer to learn proper tempo, swing speeds, balance and rotation. Its sister product, The Orange Peel ($179), looks like a mini-surf board that you stand on when taking swings. It helps promote balanced swings and can replicate any type of lie typically found on the course. Both products have been endorsed by the PGA as the 2015 #1 Training Aid.

Golf bags. Perhaps the most difficult piece of equipment to improve upon each year is the golf bag.  Sunday bags are those super lightweight bags that you would stick a few clubs in to walk three or four holes while practicing. Since walking is becoming more and popular, the folks at Sun Mountain took the feel of the Sunday bag to the next level by introducing the kickstand feet and calling it the Sun Mountain Two 5 ($229).  Weighing in at 2.5 lbs (without your clubs dummy) it is sure to be your back’s best friend while out for a good walk spoiled.

Brian Curtin has been an avid golfer for 32 years. He’s been the club manager at Great Rock Golf Club since 2008 and is the current president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Manorville with his wife Kerrilyn and their daughter Raegan.