November 18, 2022
Athletic shoes are the 21st Century’s footwear of choice for almost any outdoor activity. That’s certainly true when it comes to golf in the Cape Region.
Skechers enjoys a nice market share among golfers and its status as one of the largest footwear brands in the United States.
At the 2022 PGA Show in Orlando, FL I interviewed Keith Shelton, Senior Director of Merchandising and Product Development for Skechers Performance. He discussed three new models that the company hopes will build upon past successes.
Shelton said Skechers is the “Comfort Technology Company,” which he defined as placing a premium on comfort and performance. Technical innovations their designers develop are also assessed for how the product will feel.
Frankly, if they didn’t take both goals into consideration the company would not last.
We first looked at the Go Golf Pro 5 Hyper, which at $160 SRP is at the high end of its golf shoe range. Featuring a sporty upper design, the shoe comes with a 2-year waterproof guarantee.
“Hyper” refers to the hyperburst molding for its midsoles. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are placed into a pressurized vessel with the midsole mold material. At sufficient pressure, the gases liquify and enter the molds, much like water in a sponge.
When the pressure is relieved, the carbon dioxide and nitrogen return to gas, expanding in place and creating foam voids. The voids reduce the amount of solid material otherwise needed. The result is a lighter shoe and what Skechers claims is a much more comfortable walking experience.
Shelton said Skechers is the first shoe company to use the hyperburst method, previously used in the packaging industry. It appeared in Skechers’ golf models this year.
The Pro 5 continues the use of Archfit insoles. Shelton said these removable insoles mold to the foot for shock absorption and weight distribution. A deep heel cut also helps maintain stability.
We then looked at the spikeless Go Golf Elite 5, at $100 SRP. The uppers use a mix of fabric and leather panel and use a foam insole layer for cushioning. These also come with a two-year waterproof warranty.
Shelton also showed me the entry-level Max 2 for women, priced at $90.95 SRP. This spikeless model uses fully synthetic materials for its uppers. He said the uppers’ panels are fused to create waterproof protection with a one-year warranty.
As for sizing, Shelton mentioned the company’s Relaxed Fit option for several models. Without altering the medium and wide width designs at the heel or middle of the foot, the Relaxed Fit versions increase the toe box dimensions in height and width.
Skechers golf shoes are sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, World Wide Golf stores, Carlsgolfland.com, and PGA Tour Superstores as well as online retailers such as Amazon.
Skechers own stores, such as the one at the Tanger Outlets on Route 1, may not carry the golf lines. However, Shelton said those stores work with customers seeking to order them.
During the pandemic, golf courses restricted or stopped completely the rental of two-seater electric or gas-powered golf carts. This wasn’t the course owners’ idea – it usually came from local or state government edicts.
These limitations created a mad dash for push or pull carts of any age or quality. I saw twenty-year old two-wheel pull carts selling for over $250 on ebay. Cart manufacturers such as Sun Mountain saw its inventories disappear in no time.
Paul Guzman, Director of Corporate Marketing and Distribution for BatCaddy, said his company benefited from this regulatory boost as much as anyone. It is building on that recent success with new products and options.
The electric motorized golf pushcart maker began operations in 2004. It offers over seven models with three battery options for each at prices from $449.95 to over $1,049.95 – and that is before adding a variety of options such as seats, covers, and phone holders.
The simplest model is the X3 Classic, a non-remote type. A single button controls up to 9 forward speeds and offers cruise control with speed recall.
At the other end, the X8R model provides fully directional remote control, reverse speeds, auto-timed distance control, a USB port, and a 700-watt microwave.
Just kidding about the microwave.
Battery choices affect final cost. The base line is a lead-acid type, with a standard lithium replacement an additional $150 and the advanced lithium model an additional $300 over lead-acid. The advanced model runs up to 72 holes with a single motor or 36 holes with models using dual motors, with a life cycle of up to 1,500 recharges.
For additional costs that could bring the total up to $2,099.95, buyers can select among 2,000 colors for a fully customized appearance for the X4 and X8 models. These are created as ordered and production is limited to about 100 carts annually. If you really want your own custom cart, on the other hand, BatCaddy is happy to oblige.
There are over 250 retail outlets for the carts, with Patriots Glen Golf Club in Elkton, MD the closest to the Cape Region without crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Online sellers include TGW.com and rockbottomgolf.com.