Butch Harmon DVD and Moe Norman Book Should be on your Wish List

As a golf writer/reporter/journalist/blogger/editor/freeloader, I am often sent golf-related products to review. Some don't warrant a whole page to themselves necessarily while others might not fit neatly into a certain section. Yet they are all worthy of attention one way or another, and some of them even your money. If you're tempted to purchase them, it's nice to know if their sticker price represents good value or if what the marketing bods are saying is just shameless flimflam.
Here, then, are some items I've been reading, watching and wearing recently that I think you might like.

harmondvd'Butch Harmon About Golf' DVD
There is very little on this DVD that you haven't heard or seen before. There are no variations or secret little tips on how to grip the club or stand to the ball that you are unaware of. The list of lessons (posture, fixing a slice, ball above feet, buried lie in bunker, etc) is much the same as you'll see on pretty much every other instruction DVD in your collection (though there aren't many others I've seen that include a section on how to hit the 'stinger').
But, and it is a very big 'but', it's Butch Harmon giving the lessons here. When someone with Harmon's knowledge, experience, and credibility is telling you how to play golf, you listen, assuming you want to improve.
I'd happily take a driving (car) lesson from a talented young teacher who's passed all the necessary exams, but I'd rather sit behind the wheel alongside a guy that's steered (pun totally intended) 10,000 other students to success during his career. Harmon isn't re-inventing the wheel, but he is giving you a clear route to success and imparting a wisdom that an impressive list of players (Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Natalie Gulbis, Dustin Johnson, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Nick Watney, and Tiger Woods) has benefited from in the past. It would behoove you to do what the man says.
Price: $79.95 (plus s&h).
Worth it?: It's not the cheapest DVD in the world, but it could very well turn out to be the most useful.
Available here.

moeme 'Moe & Me; Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf's Mysterious Genius' by Lorne Rubenstein
Down the years, I've had the good fortune to interview and spend time with some of the best players in the world. I've followed them from inside the ropes numerous times, and spent hours and hours on practice ranges studying their swings, ball flight, and mannerisms.
Like any golf nut, I've also read countless Q&As and swing analysis articles. It gets to a point where you feel you know the players intimately, and your party trick becomes identifying their swings, or even the way they walk, with their faces blacked out.
I never did have the opportunity to watch Moe Norman play golf, but oh how I wish I had. In 'Moe & Me' by Lorne Rubenstein, there is a photo of Norman hitting balls on the range at a PGA Tour event in Canada being watched by Ben Crenshaw, Nick Faldo, Nick Price and Fred Couples. Some of the finest ball-strikers in the history of the game, they are watching intently.
That this quartet (12 major championship titles between them) should be so obviously impressed tells you everything - Moe Norman was not like other golfers.
Some think it a pity he 'suffered' from a personality disorder (I'm loath to call it mental illness) whose symptoms, or rather manifestations, included a profound shyness. No question, his condition (perhaps autism, perhaps a frontal lobe injury sustained in childhood) led to some strange behaviour like spending most of his life away from the golf course in his Cadillac, becoming strangely 'lost' when called upon for victory speeches, and barely taking the time to read or line up putts in important tournaments (one friend said he 'pissed strokes away'). But, as Rubenstein so ably explains, Norman's condition made him the unique character he was and, quite probably, enabled him to become perhaps the most consistent striker of a golf ball ever.
Norman was an intriguing individual. No one ever did, or ever will, get to the bottom of why he was who he was or how he was able to do what he did. But Rubenstein who, over the course of four decades, got to know him as a friend as well as a journalist and keen golf observer, probably comes as close as anybody could to explaining the legend of Moe Norman. It's not as good as watching him hit balls certainly, but it's fascinating stuff nonetheless.
List price: $19.95 ($13.43 on Amazon)
Worth it?: If you're as interested in who Moe Norman was as I am, this book is worth every penny.
Available here.

linksoulLinksoul Innosoft Polo
From the makers:
The LINKSOUL Summer 2012 collection is now available exclusively at discerning specialty golf merchandisers throughout North America. It features a carefully curated selection of polos, shorts, lightweight jackets and sweaters built from natural performance materials such as innosoft cotton, micro merino wool and linen. These easy-to-care-for garments cater specifically to the needs of style-conscious men seeking a comfortable alternative to "golf uniform" technical pieces.
From the wearer: I used to wear a lot of Ashworth back when Fred Couples made it a cool brand. Those were the days of voluminous sleeves that came down midway between the elbow and wrist and made a skinny (I prefer lean) guy like me look like he was wearing a poncho. Ashworth has moved with the times of course and its current range is as cool as its predecessor.
John Ashworth, the man behind the Ashworth brand is also the man behind Linksoul, so the background check is sound. And it's no surprise, therefore, that Linksoul shirts are as cool, comfortable, and pleasantly unassuming as you could want a golf shirt to be. And perhaps best of all, you could fold it a hundred different ways and never need to iron it. 
Price: $75
Worth it?: If 75 bucks is what you pay nowadays for a high-quality golf shirt in which you feel comfortable and look good then, yes, it is worth the money.
Available at:
Puetz Golf (on Aurora Ave in Seattle)
Broadmoor Golf Club, Seattle
Rainier Golf & Country Club Golf, Seattle
Overlake Golf and Country Club, Medina
Meridian Valley Country Club, Kent

energy tshirtEnergy Athletic Ionized Golf Shirt
From the makers:
Energy Athletic Ionized Golf shirts, powered by IonX, have been designed and manufactured to be the best golf shirts you have ever worn. The Energy Athletic golf shirt is not only beautiful, it feels incredibly comfortable.
The impeccable fabric in these golf shirts is made from a wrinkle resistant, 95% Polyester and 5% Spandex blend with odor preventing, anti-microbial properties as well as moisture wicking which helps keep you cool.
The unique advantage of Energy Athletic golf shirts is the exclusive IonX Ionized treatment that embeds negative ions into the structure of the fabric during manufacturing giving you increased power.
From the wearer: My idea of stylish clothing is something that doesn't make my wife, kids, and playing partners laugh. I basically wear black, navy, white, or grey shirts and would rather they didn't have any conspicuous logos. The shirt Enery Athletic sent was grey (not the bright green in the picture thank goodness) which was good, but there was a problem - the promo material said that, thanks to this IonX ionized treatment, the shirt's fabric would be full of negative ions and consequently make me feel full of energy and able to hit longer drives.
I didn't even want to try to explain that to anyone, and I must admit to feeling more than a little cynical when I first saw Paul Azinger in the Energy Athletic commericals.
The flyer in the box also said this would be my favorite golf shirt ever, which I knew would be a challenge as I still have a couple of treasured shirts from a trip I took to Scottsdale about ten years ago.
What can I say? I didn't notice a discernible increase in yardage off the tee, and it isn't quite my favorite shirt ever. But that is definitely not to say it isn't a great shirt. It is. It's extremely comfortable and I've only had compliments from my wife and kids (playing partners don't comment unless it's bad and easy to make fun of).
Price: $59.90
Worth it: Yes. $59.90 is a good price for a good-looking, comfortable shirt. And if, in time, you do start noticing a few extra yards off the tee, then that's just gravy.
Available here.

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