Of all the coolest gear I saw and tried at the 2023 PGA Show in Orlando, I probably spent the most time browsing the new golf carts. I’m hardly in the market for one of my own but seeing the evolution of these seemingly simple vehicles and how companies keep making them better and smarter is nothing short of impressive. And all the while I’m seeing more and more families zipping around the neighborhood in their custom carts, so we have to admit this is far more than a one-trick pony.
But the model that stole my heart is the INNO F-1 Golf Car, a solo-player’s dream ride conceived by Innodesign Inc. in California. Sleek and stylish, looking like something Kevin Flynn would drive if Tron’s MCP had a golf course. There’s just something cool about the idea of waking up early and quietly driving out to the first tee in bright red electric cart.
Hopefully, it will still have enough room for all the new gear golfers will be rocking this spring, including my top picks.
SoundExtreme by Ecoxgear
No golf cart is complete without a proper sound system because music always makes a round better—when enjoyed at a considerate volume. From the moment I set up my SoundExtreme-SEB26 Wireless Electric Soundbar, I was blown away, not only by the clarity and crispness of the sound and volume, but by the design, durability, and especially the ease of assembly. Obviously, I don’t have the cart yet, but there’s also incredible versatility in this device despite its size.
For the sake of testing the sound quality and capabilities, I have used it in my garage space for yard projects, connected it via Bluetooth to my poolside TV to considerably enhance the sound on weekend PGA tournaments, and even provided a soundtrack for the neighborhood kids as they played in the street.
But this is still primarily a golf cart boombox, so naturally I had to test the installation process on a friend’s cart. It’ll take a few minutes, but setup is as easy as it gets, thanks to a quick and concise cable connection and mounting design. From there, golfers will never have to worry about anything but choosing the right playlist, because this bad boy was built to withstand it all—rain, wind, sand, and probably even your friend’s errant approach shot that rattles around your cart like a pinball machine.
Carl’s Place Train and Entertain Home Golf Package
Many golfers have probably dreamed of setting up their own home simulator so they can tee off on Pebble Beach anytime they like, but there’s always that one nagging problem: space. As in, where the heck are we going to put this thing? Carl’s Place is already well-known for developing premium home simulators, but now the Train and Entertain Home Golf Package helps solve the space issue by turning it into something the whole family can enjoy, even if you’re the only one who cares about golf.
Carl’s Place turned to expert YouTuber DJ (@GolfRnD) to create this concept that is equal parts simulator and movie theater. So, when you’re not hitting off the divot strip and living out your wildest golf dreams, the entire squad can make plenty of popcorn and gather to watch Tin Cup and Happy Gilmore. Or, you know, movies that don’t involve golf if that’s what they’re into.
Safeplay Golf Monster Mat
For those of us who simply don’t have the space for a simulator or prefer to work on our swings outdoors, the Monster Mat from Safeplay Golf is simply as good as it gets. I have purchased plenty of hitting turf pads in the past, and not one of them can hold a candle to this 5’ x 5’ turf platform. Forget the thin pieces of foam covered with fake grass and miss me with the plastic carpet that comes with most affordable chipping practice sets.
My biggest problem with the thinner, cheap mats has always been the pain and discomfort that comes with hitting a bad shot, and I’ve injured my wrist several times because of this. The Monster Mat will make an inexperienced golfer feel like there’s no bad shot, as it doesn’t punish you for chunking the iron. In fact, it has helped me build shot confidence so well that I want to bring it to the driving range, which isn’t that difficult, so long as the attendant is cool with it.
Shot Scope X5 GPS Golf Watch
One of the most convenient things about golf clothing and accessories is how so much of what we wear is being designed for everyday use. Shoes can be worn on or off the courses, while performance polos and shorts have become every minimalist traveler’s best friends. I’ve always felt the same way about my Apple Watch, too, but as I have incorporated more golf into my vacations, the need for a convenient GPS device has become a priority, and so the Shot Scope X5 GPS Golf Watch has entered the chat.
The sleek design is ideal for myriad situations, especially all things travel, but golfers will love having access to front, middle, and back distances for more than 36,000 courses around the world, as well as an AI performance tracker that provides 100 statistics. There’s also a step-counter for general fitness use, and the customizable faces and various colored straps make this a fantastic all-around fashion accessory.
TecTecTec Team8 Golf GPS Speaker
Another important accessory for a lot of us is a Bluetooth speaker for enjoying our favorite golf playlists (again, at a responsible volume), and for those times when we don’t have a massive boombox in our own golf carts, the TecTecTec Team8 Golf GPS Speaker is a remarkable alternative.
First and foremost, for a speaker that fits in the palm of your hand, the sound is exceptional. I assumed the role of DJ on a recent round at the Ocean Club Golf Course in the Bahamas, and the random golfers I was paired with were quite impressed by the clarity and volume. But what blew them away is the fact that this is also a convenient GPS device that can tell you all the distances of each hole you’re playing at the touch of a button. And, best of all, the magnetized bottom makes it simple to attach to the cart frame.
Con.Struct Green Collection
Minimalist travelers yearn for gear that can go anywhere and clothing that can be worn in any scenario. Give us a polo that can go from golf to brunch to the boat, and that’s two less pieces of clothing to be packed. Make it with recycled materials and you’re really scratching all our itches, and that’s exactly why we’re head over heels for the Con.Struct Green Collection right now.
Produced with renewable solar energy and recycled polyester, the goal with this line is to reduce pollution without affecting comfort. All the while, the polos, short-sleeve button downs, windbreakers, vests, and performance shorts and pants maintain a traditional sense of versatile golf and travel fashion while adding some elements that are a little fun and quirky.
Waggle Pargarita Golf Polo
A fun game to play while watching any PGA tournament is “Spot the Waggle gear.” As this fun, creative brand rises in popularity, the colorful polos and hats are popping up all over the place and judging by the reaction to the 2023 Azalea Collection, it’s only a matter of time before Waggle Golf is one of the biggest names in the sport’s apparel business.
My personal favorite from this year’s new drop is the Pargarita golf polo because it’s just about the most tropical design imaginable. There are plenty of “fun” brands popping up in the golf space lately, but what sets Waggle apart is the quality of the on-course apparel. These shirts are as comfortable as they are clever, and they’re almost always the talk of the clubhouse.
Bearbottom Rapids Dry Bag 10L
Big adventures require bigger bags, but when we’re hitting the links in paradise, a smaller dry bag can be a very important accessory. We already love the Bearbottom Rapids 30L backpack, so it’s a no-brainer to add the Rapids Dry Bag 10L to the cart bag.
Small enough to not be a burden for keeping the travel load light, this 500D PVC pack can be sealed watertight so crucial accessories like a wallet and smartphone don’t get wet at the beach or when that random afternoon storm picks up.
Rip It Grips
Of all the new gear I’ve tested and added to my bag in recent months, nothing has had other golfers talking like my new set of Rip It Grips for my irons. Sure, the creative designs of the Uncle Sam and Bloody Ripper are conversation starters, but it’s all about the feel. A lot of golfers aren’t keen to letting other people touch their clubs, but I’m here to spread the gospel and so I want people to know that these grips are as soft to the touch as any others.
Durability and performance always remain the biggest factors and so I was elated when I made it through my round at the Ocean Club, not only with no sign of wear on any of my new grips, but also no blisters on my hands. Those of us with delicate paws know how bad a round can go when the grips are ruthless on our skin, so I’ve never been happier to not have to immediately reach for the golf tape to make it through 18.
Save the best for last. While my new golf friends all spent several holes getting used to the rentals at the Ocean Club, I couldn’t have been happier to have my Takomo 101 Irons for the first time in paradise. With each round, I just can’t imagine swinging another club because these are so clean and forgiving, and the design always makes other golfers ask about them as well. (Between these and the grips, I’m having a lot of golf conversations lately.)
Playing in the Bahamas was a great test for the Skyforger Wedges, too, because it was very windy the morning I played, and so I relied heavily on low runner shots, which can really screw with accuracy. I’ve never been great with wedges, but sometimes you just need a crash course and I’m already way more confident with them. Of course, we’ll circle back and see how I feel again after I play Teeth of the Dog next month.