GOLF EQUIPMENT

Equipment Roundup:
Grip Golf Shoes
and Pelz Wedges

By Shane Sharp,
Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 28, 2002) -- The evolution of golf shoes has moved from metal spikes to soft spikes and now, no spikes at all. At least, that is the direction Grip Golf Shoe Company President Jeff Sink hopes the industry is taking. Sink's Menlo, California-based company started manufacturing spikeless golf shoes four years ago and has developed quite a following on the West Coast.

"We have a great following out here," Sink said, "but we are pretty much unknown on the East Coast."

Too bad, because it sure seems like golfers in Pinehurst, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando would relish the prospect of not having to pick mud and grass from their soft spikes. But just how well do these low maintenance kicks stack up to their more traditional siblings?

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In the comfort department, Grip Golf Shoes go toe to toe (pun intended) with any of the major brand names. The shoes come with molded footbed inserts and a "single plane" outsole that eliminates the void between the heel and forefoot found in dress heel designs. What that means for you, oh recreational golfer, is 25 percent more ground contact during your swing.

In the traction department, there's a slight drop off from "traditional" soft spiked shoes to the Grip Golf Shoes' Turf-Lok Ridge technology. But as Sink points out, most golfers don't realize that their soft spikes are choked with mud and grass until after they lose traction during their swings. In other words, the consistent level of traction provided by the Grip Golf Shoes is as good, if not better, than the on-again and off-again traction of a soft spike.

While that point is debatable, one thing is for sure - golf course superintendents love them. The Turf-Lok's low-profile ridges distribute weight more evenly over a larger area, resulting in much shallower indentations on greens. That "larger" area is close to 61 linear inches per shoe, courtesy of the 90-degree/45 degree Turf-Lok ridges that effectively play off of each other during the swing.

The Grip Golf Shoe is available in eight different men's models ranging in price from $71.95 to $89.95, and four women's models priced at $80.95. The saddled shoe look is Grip Golf Shoe's most popular seller, but all black and all white are also available. To order, log on to www.gripgolf.com, or call toll free at 888.887.4711.

Short Game Guru Dave Pelz Enters the Wedge War

Dave Pelz, a former NASA scientist turned short game guru, has long had chipping and pitching down to a science. Perhaps it was only a question of time until the Indiana University alumnus developed his own line of wedges. Pelz actually holds numerous patents on golf equipment and has compiled the world's most extensive body of research on putting and the wedge game.

Pelz's revolutionary clubs combine his patent pending "Progressive Groove Geometry", DuraSteel and ten years of research and development. The wedges are being marketed in sets for four, ranging from the 49 degree pitching to the 64 degree X-Wedge. Pelz's rationale for the four wedges is much the same as it has been for years: 60 percent of all golf strokes occur from 100 yards and in, as do 80 percent of strokes lost to par. Thus, replacing a long iron with a wedge improves the short game without hurting the long game.

The Pelz wedges also come with frequency-matched shafts that decrease in length as the club gains loft, and patented Pelz ShortGame Grips. The ShortGame grips are less tapered and longer than traditional grips to allow for better feel when gripping down on the club for short shots.

"Research shows us that eight out of ten shots lost to par occur within 100 yards, yet wedge groove and face technology hasn't changed in 50 years," Pelz says. "Our wedges are designed specifically to enhance golfers' scoring abilities inside of 100 yards by providing more backspin on their short shots, and better, more consistent spin control throughout their short games."

The way the Progressive Groove Geometry works is impressive. As the lofts of the wedges change from 49 through 64, the face grooves get progressively more aggressive, to enhance backspin on shorter shots. The wedges retail for $130 per club; the whole-set price is $520. To order, call 800.833.7370 or log on to www.pelzgolf.com.

Shane Sharp covers equipment for WorldGolf.com. Reach him at sharp@travelgolf.com

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