Review – Loudmouth Golf StretchTech

Over the past several years I’ve had the pleasure to test and review some exciting golf apparel brands. While some of the brands could be defined as a bit more mainstream others have not. One of the brands that I’ve really enjoyed testing and reviewing has been none other than Loudmouth Golf. These fashions are not a part of your grandfather’s wardrobe collection. Then again… maybe they are as I’m a grandfather.

Every year that I’ve attended the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida I always look forward to swinging by their booth to see what new patterns Woody (Owner Scott “Woody” Woodworth) and the crew have come up with. This year was a total surprise and it wasn’t for the patterns that the brand released for 2018. Don’t get me wrong there is a stunning array of new patterns like Castaway, Midnight Lagoon and Flamingo Bay just to name a few. However, what really caught my attention was the development of a new fabric. As much as I loved pants and shorts collections of the past I always felt that there was one flaw. The weight of the fabric. On hot summer days in particular when it came to pants I felt they wore… too hot. This issue has been addressed by Loudmouth Golf with the introduction of a new fabric called StretchTech.

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I had the privilege of discussing the new fabric with Brooke WIndatt (Global Public Relations and Social Media for Loudmouth Golf) at the Loudmouth Golf booth this past January. What I learned about their new fabric was quite significant. Below is a rundown of what I learned about this blend of fabric.

Fabric

The fabric is made from 100% StretchTech Polyester. This blend features great qualities such as being wrinkle free (100%), shrink free and fade free which means that the bold colours used by Loudmouth Golf will not fade. There is a degree of moisture control which ultimately means that the pants won’t cling to you during the dog days of summer thus taking away from your enjoyment on the golf course.

Product Highlights

As most might expect the waistline is detailed by several belt loops ensuring a clean look. The enclosure itself is that of a 2 button-tabbed front closure with zip fly design. Two front pockets and two back pockets make it convenient for sliding a golf glove and scorecard into your back pockets. The right pocket features a “pocket in a pocket” to hold your tee and/or ball marker in between holes. Adding to the comfort is the “Tour Slit” at the bottom hem. Just over the left rear pocket on the hip is the trademark “LM” just for added pop and branding recognition.

I should add that the fit is described as being “modern” and washing in cold water and hanging to dry is highly recommended.

Testing

When I was talking to Brooke at the booth we arranged a review opportunity. I was asked to select any of the new designs. After careful deliberation and narrowing it down to two patterns I opted to go with the new Tahiti StretchTech pants. These pants are bright, bold and 100%… ME! When these pants arrived during the winter I could not wait to put them on. They feature amazing and varying shades of blue, green, pink, orange (coral) and yellow. Flowers and palm fronds are abound. If you want to feel tropical… then these pants are quite simply for you. One thing that I have to add is the ease of scripting an outfit together for your morning round. Because there are so many colours there are always options for a polo to wear just make sure to wear a solid colour with any pants from Loudmouth Golf (or any patterned bottom for that matter).

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The trademarked “LM”.

 

I wore these pants early in the year (first day of Spring) to an appointment with one of my specialists. The nurses loved these pants and they said and I quote “You make it feel like spring”. These pants are eye-catching and the comments that I’ve received about them have been extremely positive. Whether it’s been the GM at the course, the ladies that play in the Scenic Woods Golf Course Ladies league or in one case while shopping at a local grocery store. As a matter of fact, I’ve been asked on several occasions where I got the pants from. Always with a toothy grin I tell people Loudmouth Golf. unfortunately, when you wear fashions from Loudmouth Golf comes pressure. Pressure from a group od ladies that peer over the counter every Monday looking to see what you’re wearing. This week, I wasn’t wearing any Loudmouth Golf and the women walked away disappointed. Apparently, I’ve set the bar too high… too soon. Thanks Woody!!!

Alright so the pants are eye-catching and “aesthetically amazeballs” but how do they perform. Right off of the bat I can tell all of you that these StretchTech Poly pants wear way better than their earlier iterations. This fabric wears “light” and when you get sweaty the new StretchTech fabric does not cling to your body like its predecessor. I think this speaks highly of their moisture management characteristics and I’ve worn these pants in some pretty oppressive heat already this year (33*C or 91*F) plus humidity. Not only are they comfortable to wear but they are also very comfortable to play golf in. Basically, whether you’re going to a social function or the golf course you have a pair of pants that looks great, feels better and performs.

 

As stated earlier the fit is modern and I would classify the fit as somewhere in between traditional and Euro (Slim Fit). That said, the waist sizing is true and when in doubt err on the side of a size up. I ordered a 34″ and they were absolutely perfect. No discomfort ,tightness or bunching in front. I’ve lost more weight where I’m now somewhere between a 32″ and a 33″ waist. That said… the 34’s are still a really good fit.

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This Skort for the Ladies is called Flamigo Bay. I’d wear this pattern in a “NY Second”.

Loudmouth Golf claims that they are “The most fun you can have with your pants on”. You know what? They are! Even the names are witty like a new pattern called “Bull & Cork” which is a darts pattern. I actually would have used “Cork and Bulls”. Not to mention they look amazing and perform. This new StretchTech fabric is tremendous. Patterns are available in pants and shorts for men and for the ladies there are even more options. Women’s apparel feature Bermuda Shorts, Mini Shorts, Skorts. For more information please visit the Loudmouth Golf website.

Until The Next Tee!!

Review – Ben Hogan Golf VKTR

Three years ago marked the return of a beloved name to the game of golf and in particular golf equipment. Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company launched their initial products at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show – Demo Day under the watchful eye of then CEO Terry Koehler. The launch of the Ft. Worth irons and TK 15 wedges were met by attendees with enthusiasm. For a good reason too… the products were beautiful. I wondered how Ben Hogan would step it up the following year building on the success of their initial entries and golfers in 2016 were met by the classy and lavish PTx irons. I wrote a review at alexandertothgolf.com earlier this year. The irons were stunning only bested by their performance. At the same time, Ben Hogan also released their Ft. Worth hi irons as a more forgiving option to the original lower lofted Ft. Worth irons. The hollow forged design yielded great feel and a pleasantly aggressive ball flight. There was one more void that needed to be filled and that was a club for golfers who thought of long irons as “taboo”. The VKTR Hybrid would be the answer.

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The VKTR Hybrid is designed with aesthetics and performance clearly at the forefront. Mr. Hogan was an innovator and had designs for a “hybrid” (as we now know it) dating back to the 1960’s. Clearly ahead of his time. When the “new” Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company designed their first hybrid they wanted to present golfers a piece of art that would inspire confidence. Part of my problem in the past with hybrids was how they presented a large footprint at address. For this reason I was a long iron guy. The VKTR Hybrids come in five separate profiles and lofts start at 17* and progressing to 27*. Sticking with the theme of footprint size it’s important to note at this time that as the loft increases the volume (club head size) decreases (110 cc to 96 cc). The reason is twofold as the hybrids in the higher lofts are more pleasant to look at and it allowed the engineers at Hogan to move weight forward.

Engineers at Hogan also added a degree of adjustability to the VKTR Hybrids. Although there is no hosel adjustments Hogan through their Perimeter Shot Shape Technology (PSST) allows for 24 grams of movable weights around the perimeter of the head. The head is designed with a neutral bias but you can move the weights around to suit your needs. This means that you can adjust for left to right and high or low trajectories. Through research, Hogan (and other brands) found that most misses with hybrids occur low on the face. Personally speaking, my misses with hybrids are thin and left and Hogan addressed the “thins” by creating a “larger more effective impact zone along the bottom”. Also adding to the forgiveness is their V-SOLE technology found in their irons which improves turf interaction.

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At Demo Day, I immediately went for one of their 18* models. This particular club was shafted with a UST Mamiya ReCoil 660 shaft. This shaft was a regular flex and as expected from a shaft like this the result was a smooth-swinging piece of equipment. As much as I loved the clean, classic look at address it was the feel that won me over. The acoustics were crisp and the resulting strikes emitted a sharp sound. A feeling that gave me the impression that the face was very responsive… which it was. I never did adjust the weights but the resulting flights were of a consistent and penetrating trajectory. I think predictable would be a suitable adjective. My focus shifted towards the 23* and it’s hard not to talk about how precise the “gapping” in your set can be with Hogan. The VKTR Hybrids seemingly meld into the iron offerings which creates a “flow” to your set. Designers made the VKTR Hybrids to have a steeper landing angle and when compared to other hybrids I would say that engineers succeeded. However, it would be more telling to see these in action on the course. Going back to the aesthetics the VKTR is a handsome club and I love the red paintfill and ferrules with the red stripes. Also, designers of the VKTR were a little cheeky. If you look closely at the adjustable weight screws you will notice that there is a resemblance to the old Hogan “medallion”. All of it is a retro throwback to yesteryear.

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As the calendar turns to 2017 it’s fun to think about what Ben Hogan will come out with next. One would be led to believe that it would be fairway metals or maybe even a driver. Or will Ben Hogan stick with their bread and butter and stay out of that game? In the interim they have the VKTR Hybrids to compliment the beautiful irons in their stable. Folks… Mr. Hogan would be proud. Check them out at benhogangolf.com

REVIEW – Aftershokz Trekz Air

This past January I came out of Orlando with an idea to do a “sort of” awards presentation based on my findings of various products at the show. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it however. Nonetheless, The Teezy Awards were born and much to my surprise and delight they’ve been well-received.

Emerging the victor in the ‘Top Accessory” category was none other than AfterShokz (Trekz Air). The question is… What is Aftershokz and what makes them so special? Well, in case you aren’t familiar with the brand Aftershokz here is a little bit of a timeline that features some of their accomplishments and who they are.

Aftershokz was founded in 2011 and opened their headquarters in East Syracuse, NY. In 2012, the brand made their official launch at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The brand started initially with wired headphones and later in 2012 they won the “Consumer Electronics category in the 2012 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards, a recognition earned for the company’s potential to widely impact the CE industry and make a difference in people’s lives”. By the time 2013 came around Aftershokz had already introduced the first Bone Conduction Technology headphones at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show which also featured their trademarked Premium Pitch Technology. In November of 2014, “the world learns that AfterShokz bone conduction technology plays a key role in the prototype product Microsoft has been designing as part of their Cities Unlocked project, which aims to make the world’s landscape more accessible to persons with blindness”. In 2015, building on their previous successes and advancements an Indiegogo campaign was started to fund a new project of theirs. That project was Trekz Titanium which ultimately brings us to this review.

 

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Bone Conduction Technology… it sounds fancy and scientific but what is it? In layman’s terms have you ever watched any military films or documentaries where the soldiers are listening and talking through headsets? Have you noticed that their ears were never encroached upon? That’s because, they were using Bone Conduction Technology. Essentially, sound is transmitted as soundwaves or vibrations. The soundwaves or vibrations are picked up by the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Because of this fact bone conduction transmission can be used with individuals with normal or impaired hearing.

Leading up to the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show I was in contact with Jayme Schwartz who handles the PR for AfterShokz. Prior to the show, I shared a press release from them and arranged a meeting. On the floor of the Orlando County Convention Center I met with Mary Garlatti who took the time to show me their two models of headphones. The Trekz Titanium and the Trekz Air. Initially, my main purpose for visiting the booth was primarily just to see what these headphones using Bone Conduction Technology sounded like. As they were placed on my head and music was turned on I was immediately impressed by the tone and all-around sound of these headphones. For those that don’t know, I love music am a musician from a very musically talented family and I’m a real stickler food good sound. These had the sound while allowing me to hear everything around me. Without fully understanding how full of features these headphones were I felt that I had the winner of “Top Accessory” for my Teezy Awards. At any rate, a long-term testing and review was arranged and waiting for me when I got home from Florida was a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones.

The AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones are completely wireless and Bluetooth enabled. Some of the features of the Trekz Air headphones include…

  • 20% lighter than Trekz Titanium
  • Complete wraparound titanium design provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage

Throughout my testing of these Trekz Air  headphones from AfterShokz I’ve used them in every possible scenario. Indoor range sessions, on the golf course while playing, at the gym during my workouts (and tanning), out for long walks with my pup and last but not least while driving. In fact, there is only one place that comes to mind where I haven’t tried them where I would and that’s on an airplane.

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The headphones themselves come in a very neat package. Inside of the packaging you will find everything that you need to make the Trekz Air headphones work. Inside is an easy to understand instruction manual, a black pouch (rubberized), a USB charging cable and last but not least a tiny case that houses to earplugs. When it’s safe to cut out all of the ambient noise in the background stick in the earplugs which in turn makes Trekz Air headphones “nearly noise-cancelling”.

To say that I’m impressed with the Trekz Air headphones is a huge understatement. There are noticeable advantages that these headphones have over earbuds or headphones f other designs. The first is pure practicality. Unlike earbuds, the Trekz Air don’t fall out of your ears. It’s a chronic problem that I have with earbuds. Secondly, because of their open frame construction the impact of the Trekz Air headphones from a safety standpoint is staggering. An example of this was my very first use. I was walking my dog at night and it was a night where there was a fog lingering. I was walking down the one street (on the sidewalk) and there are literally no street lights present. As we were about to leave that street I heard a car approach from behind. The car didn’t have any headlights on and as I stopped Muskoka he pulled in right in front of us. Had I been wearing earbuds… one of us likely gets hit. The driver got out of his vehicle and apologized for not seeing us. These headphones are safe… period!! In case you like to listen to music on the golf course but don’t want to have a Bluetooth speaker that disturbs others these headphones are perfect. You can both hear the music and continue conversations with your playing partners with Trekz Air.

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The author wearing his Trekz Air headphones during an indoors practice session.

Because the Trekz Air headphones feature a wraparound design… the headphones are always secured onto your head. Throughout the course of the golf swing the Trekz Air headphones do not become dislodged from your person. These headphones are simply there just for the ride so swing away. Or in the case of working out not only is there no wire hanging there but again the Trekz Air remain in place. Whether you’re doing abdominal crunches, rowing, spinning or any sort of lifting the Trekz Air do not fall off. Is there a little slippage where you might have to readjust a little bit? Yes, after all they aren’t duct-taped onto you. And they are light… to the point where you don’t realize that you’re wearing them.

I’ve worn the Trekz Air in a number of climate scenarios. I’ve worn them in a light rain, snow flurries and of course the gym and that’s a place that could simulate a jungle with my perspiration. Because the Trekz Air features an IP55 certification it’s sweat and dust repellent. This doesn’t mean that you could wear them during a monsoon. I’m not suggesting that you can’t. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t. That said, the repellent qualities certainly live up to their billing.

 

The Trekz Air headphones have multi-point pairing. In fact, up to 5 devices can be paired at one time. As it stands I’m currently running my cell phone and laptop as paired devices with my Trekz Air headphones. You can be totally hands-free using Trekz Air. For answering calls you click the Multi-Function Button once. If you’re listening to music or a movie and you want to change the Equalizer setting you can do that as well by simply holding down the +/- volume buttons at the same time for 3 seconds and presto… the sound has been changed. Speaking of the sound. The trademarked PremiumPitch+ sounds great. The tones are rich, crisp and pure. I found that the bass was even more impressive when the earplugs were in.

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I love the “Audrey says” voice prompts which only brings out more of the user-friendly qualities of these headphones. In the past I’ve reviewed technological pieces that boasted a certain battery life which would later be heavily debunked. This is NOT the case with Trekz Air. AfterShokz says that you get 6 hours of continuous music and calls on a single charge. It delivers that 6 hours!!!

In closing, I feel like a genius for giving the AfterShokz Trekz Air the nod for the Teezy Award. I honestly, had no clue how good they truly were but I do now. The Trekz Air headphones retail for $179.95 USD. Before I drop money on a pair of Beats By Dre (or similar) I would save the money and purchase these Trekz Air. Safety, performance, sound and practicality that you can count on. The Trekz Air headphones are offered in three colors. Slate Grey, Forest Green and Midnight Blue. For more information please visit www.aftershokz.com

#ShokzSquad

Until The Next Tee!!