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Sun Mountain ClubGlider Tour Series

The Sun Mountain ClubGlider Tour Series is a terrific golf travel bag, slotting in as the second largest offering in the ClubGlider line of four-wheelers (behind the cavernous ClubGlider Pro). The ClubGlider Tour Series is designed to accommodate either cart bags, including the new Sun Mountain Tour Series cart bag, or stand bags. We highly recommend four-wheel golf travel bags with pivoting caster wheels – once you try one, you won’t want to go back to a two-wheeler – and if the price tag doesn’t make you flinch, the ClubGlider Tour Series is one of the best options in the category.

The ClubGlider Tour Series operates in the same way as the favorably reviewed ClubGlider Meridian – as with the Meridian, the Tour Series features retractable legs that extend from a molded tray in one motion. For the sake of expedience, we suggest reading our ClubGlider Meridian review, before coming back here, where we identify the primary distinctions between the two bags. Note that we reviewed the 2012 version of the ClubGlider Meridian, so there may be slight differences between the 2012 Meridian and the one that Sun Mountain currently offers.

SCORE
94
GRADE
A
Design/Construction
94
Travel Impressions
93
Value
90

We found the principal differences between the ClubGlider Tour Series and the 2012 ClubGlider Meridian to be:

  • At 13.5 pounds (as tested), the Tour Series weighs about 0.5 pounds more than the current generation Meridian (which seems to have trimmed down almost 2 pounds from the 2012 Meridian we tested). Weight is an important factor in the choice of a travel bag, as your friendly airline is now aggressively patrolling for bags that exceed the weight limit for oversize bags. If your fully loaded bag exceeds the designated weight limit (50 lbs. on most airlines), the airline will be more than happy to charge you an “overweight bag” fee ($100 on United, Delta or American) EACH WAY (subject to waiver for folks who have elite frequent flier status on that airline). The Tour Series lands right in the middle among travel bags we’ve tested, nowhere near as light as the 8.5 lb. Bag Boy T-2000 but not as portly as the 17 lb. OGIO Mammoth either.
  • The shape of the Tour Series is more rounded than the 2012 Meridian, which had squarer edges, but the bag is a couple of inches taller – they seem to be pretty similar in terms of interior storage capacity. We tested the Tour Series both with a traditional stand bag and with the Clicgear B3 cart bag. With the traditional stand bag there was plenty of capacity for additional clothing and gear – it was the only bag needed for a 4-day trip to a golf resort, while with the larger cart bag, storage space was limited (and an additional bag would likely have been necessary to get everything there for the trip). The Tour Series has internal dimensions of 52″ x 14″ x 14″.
  • The Tour Series utilizes vinyl fabric, while the Meridian uses a 1200 denier polyester fabric. Vinyl fabrics are waterproof and generally more weather resistant than polyester fabrics. There’s a bit more of a gloss/slickness to the fabric, which may or may not appeal to your aesthetic sense.
  • While both bags have two external pockets, the Tour Series pockets are only accessible from the outside, which seems to be a step in the wrong direction from the convenience afforded by the prior generation Meridian (with pockets accessible from either the inside or outside). The pockets sit relatively flush and extend primarily to the interior of the case when filled, so while they may help from an organizational sense, there isn’t any real gain in storage space by packing items here.
  • The Tour Series now only has a single internal strap at the middle with which to secure your bag. The 2012 Meridian had two straps – one at the top and another toward the bottom. The Tour Series adds, however, external straps at the middle and toward the bottom that cinch the bag tighter. We didn’t observe a demonstrable difference in the stability or balance of the bag either way.
  • The Tour Series is only available in either black or black/white. The 2012 ClubGlider Meridian was available in four different color options (the current Meridian only has three options – black, black/red and black/royal blue).
  • Unlike either the 2012 Meridian or the current generation Meridian, the Tour Series comes with a TSA-approved combination padlock.
  • The Tour Series retails for $319.99, down from the 2012 Meridian’s $339, but more than the current Meridian’s $289.99. Based on current MSRPs, this places it as the most expensive golf travel bag we have reviewed.

Retail price: $319.99
Amazon.com: Check price now

And for you, a little marketing:


FootJoy FJ SuperLites CT

The FJ SuperLites CT provide an athletic look in an extremely lightweight package. At a mere 1.15 pounds, these are the lightest spikeless golf shoes that we’ve tested. The SuperLites CT are comfortable, breathe well, and at their reasonable price point ($115 MSRP), have emerged as one of our favorites among athletic-style spikeless golf shoes. The one caveat is that they are not waterproof, so depending on the climate in which you play, they may or may not be feasible.
Retail price: $115
Amazon.com: Check price now


SCORE
93
GRADE
A-
Design
92
Construction
94
Comfort
94
Value
93

The sporty profile of the FJ SuperLites CT looks sharp on the course – but depending on the color, may work better stylistically with shorts, rather than long pants. The FJ SuperLites CT are offered in white/grey (with blue soles), dark grey/black (with red soles), white/black/black (with black soles), and light grey/black (with neon soles). Our test pair in white/grey closely resembled sneakers, while the white/black/black have a saddle shoe look. The mesh uppers add to the athletic look.

FootJoy FJ SuperLites CT

Click for colors

The “CT” in SuperLites CT ostensibly refers to the fact that they are built on FootJoy’s “Competition II” lasts (a “last” is a model of a foot used as part of the shoe manufacturing process, with different lasts used depending on the type of footwear being made). According to FootJoy’s web site, the Competition II last “offers a full rounded toe character, standard fit across forefoot, full instep, with a slightly narrow heel. Athletically sloped from instep to toe.” The SuperLites CT did indeed have a nice athletic feel, positioning weight slightly forward.

Note that the sizing ran large – we found that we were best suited with a pair of FJ SuperLites CT that were a half size smaller than what we normally purchase (i.e. we bought the SuperLites CT in a 9, instead of a 9.5).

We tromped around the hills of Wisconsin in the SuperLites CT over two days and found them to be lightweight and comfortable. After sloshing through some muck and mire left over from a rain shower, we had some fear that they would never be white again, but they cleaned up nicely, shucking off mud and dirt with ease.

The SuperLites CT weighed only 1.15 pounds for the pair, achieving some of this through the use of FootJoy’s “Fine Tuned Foam” in the construction of the outsoles. The foam outsoles are nicely flexible, and we haven’t yet noticed any negative impact on durability from the use of foam. The mesh uppers breathe well, so the shoes don’t become a sauna for your feet in warmer weather. We found the SuperLites CT to be perfectly agreeable with our feet from the moment we took them out of the box.

FootJoy FJ SuperLites CT

Click to enlarge

The FJ SuperLites CT achieve traction through pods of pointy plastic/rubber shapes on the outsole, positioned where you might find traditional spikes. Slipping wasn’t a problem during any of our test rounds, even on a rain-drenched course.

The $115 MSRP of the FJ SuperLites CT places them among the least expensive spikeless golf shoes we’ve tested (with $100 being the lowest end of the spectrum).



TRUE oxford

When you think of Oxford, you might picture well-mannered sophistication – and perhaps soggy feet from the persistent moisture. If so, then you will agree that the TRUE oxford spikeless golf shoes are properly named indeed (if not properly capitalized). We loved the stylish suede uppers (they are also offered in canvas) and the easy cleaning and maintenance. We didn’t like the water that crept in to dampen our socks, feet, and mood. The box indicates a 1-year waterproof warranty, which inspired our purchase. Further review of the TRUE website, however, revealed contradictory information (more on that below). The TRUE oxfords are comfortable, well-priced, and look sharp. But keeping your little piggies warm and dry when it’s wet out will require a different solution.

Retail price: $99.99
Amazon.com: Check price now


SCORE
92
GRADE
A-
Design
93
Construction
90
Comfort
91
Value
94

The TRUE oxfords are fashionable enough to be worn as everyday casual shoes. There is an elegance to the simplicity of the design, and they are equally appropriate on the golf course or in the country club dining room. Mrs. Critical Golf was a big fan. The TRUE oxfords are available in either suede (offered in Light Tan/Salmon, Chocolate/Orange, or Charcoal/Highlighter) or canvas (offered in Olive/Charcoal or Navy/New White). Don’t be scared into thinking that the bright colors of the soles will be too garish – they complement the staid uppers with just a mild dash of pizzazz.

TRUE oxford

Click for color options

We bought the TRUE oxfords because we were heading somewhere with potentially wet weather and the box stated that the shoes came with a 1-year waterproof warranty. It poured rain during the initial testing round and we soon had feet that were completely drenched. We thought, however, that we’d give the shoes a second chance, since we were wearing no-show socks that tend to let water in when your ankles brush against grass that is wet. The follow-up test round a few weeks later was conducted in the absence of any precipitation on a course that had been watered that morning. Sadly, the dew seeped its way into the shoes – they weren’t thoroughly soaked, but our socks were definitely wet.

Scratching our heads, we went to the TRUE web site, and found this in the TRUE oxford product description: “These shoes have been treated by a protectant spray that will do its best to protect your shoes from exterior water and dirt. However, due to the absorbent nature of these materials, water and dirt will still work its way into the exterior surface of the material with persistent contact. Please buy according to your intended usage: i.e. if you live in a wetter, muddier climate and intend to wear our shoes to play golf in those conditions, we recommend our leather upper shoes as an alternative. We recommend following traditional suede and canvas cleaning and treatment procedures to keep them looking their best. We also recommend treating with any addition waterproofing sprays that will help them hold up against the elements. ”

We’re not sure how to reconcile that cautionary text with the 1-year waterproof warranty, so we can only go with our practical experience, which tells us that you probably shouldn’t expect the TRUE oxfords to keep you dry.

TRUE oxford

Click for details

As we’ve described in earlier TRUE reviews, the company touts its “natural motion golf shoe” design, which seems to be part of the broader minimalist shoe movement (i.e. Vibram Five Finger running shoes). You may not feel as if you’re completely barefoot, but you will definitely feel closer to the ground. The toe box is also noticeably wider, which gives your feet more room to spread out. It’s easy to amble along comfortably in the TRUE oxfords – you won’t feel inspired to run any 100-yard dashes, but they make for a pleasant stroll.

Our rounds in the wet of Erin Hills sloshed a fair amount of mud on the TRUE oxfords, which led to some consternation about whether the suede would ever look the same. To our surprise, they wiped clean in a jiffy and looked as good as new.

In our testing, the TRUE oxfords tipped the scales at 1.58 pounds for the pair, which placed them right at the median among the shoes we have reviewed. The outsoles are made of rubber, which means they’re extremely flexible. The suede uppers don’t breathe that much and thus your feet will be warmer (for good and for bad) – we haven’t tested a pair with canvas uppers, but would presume that they would be cooler. There was no need to break in the TRUE oxfords – they were extremely easygoing from the moment they were first laced up.

A number of strategically placed rubber stubs on the outsole provide traction. The stubs don’t look particularly grippy, but we were pleasantly surprised at the stability provided by the shoes even during an extremely rainy round. TRUE would tell you that the minimalist soles enable a lower center of gravity that helps keep you in place – sounds reasonable to us.

At $99.99 for a pair in suede, the TRUE oxfords just nudged under the adidas Crossflex by a penny to win the title of “least expensive spikeless golf shoes we’ve tested.” If you’re willing to go with the TRUE oxfords in canvas, you can save another ten dollars.


Scotty Cameron Gallery

As Scotty Cameron and Titleist are both a part of the Acushnet family of companies, we were disappointed to find a lack of putter fitting as a part of our visit to the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). Before now, if you wanted a Scotty Cameron putter fitting there were two ways: be a Tour player and get an invite to the Scotty Cameron Putter Studio, or go to Japan or Korea to one of Scotty’s two public fitting centers. But now there is an easier way for those of us in the States: head to Encinitas, California.

Scotty Cameron Gallery

Click for images

Hey, just one more reason along with The Lodge at Torrey Pines to head to Southern California, right?

The Scotty Cameron Gallery is offering a limited number of 2-hour putter fitting appointments though at a price of $350, it isn’t cheap. And no, the fitting doesn’t include a putter 🙂 . But of course you do have the ability to purchase one-of-a-kind Scotty Cameron putters at the Gallery. The Gallery will let the players learn more about their putter as well the their relationship to it and the ball through the use of Cameron’s proprietary high-speed stroke analysis tools and the trained team. And no, you won’t be fit by Scotty. You can arrange a fitting by giving John Pinney, Gallery Fitting Coordinator, a call at 760-591-9720 to set up the details.

Scotty Cameron Gallery

Click for images

Like some of the other Golf Performance and Fitting Centers we have visited, the Scotty Cameron Gallery is designed not just as a fitting facility, but also a retail venture, their first, where visitors can purchase one-of-a-kind Scotty Cameron putters, hand-crafted metalwork, apparel and more. So not only can you get fit, but you can also get something unique to you. For the true Scotty Cameron fanatics out there (and why wouldn’t you be? Scotty Cameron by Titleist putters have been used by more players on the tour since 1997), there will also be rare tour putters and apparel on display that you won’t see anywhere else.

Scotty Cameron Gallery

Click for images

Price: $350.00
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00AM to 5:00PM
Location: 927 S. Coast Highway 101, Suite E-100, Encinitas, CA 92024
To arrange a fitting, contact John Pinney, Fitting Coordinator at 760-591-9720
Oh, and tell him you heard about the fitting through Critical Golf, of course!

For those who can’t make it to Southern California, a selection of Scotty Cameron Gallery putters and other items are available for purchase on the Scotty Cameron Gallery website.