By Steve Czaban Special to Published Aug 17, 2005 at 5:02 AM

{image1} The summer is getting late, and I am afraid that I am running out of warm weather and golf infomercials for 2005. Ever the sucker for gadgets that promise to add yards, take strokes off of your game, or hole more putts, I have ordered just about everything out there.

Most of it works. For like, a day. Max.

Here's what I don't recommend. "The Groove Tube," "Kalassy's Swing Magic," "Chip and Pitch" or the "Swingyde." For my sake, none of them was worth the compression molded plastic they were made out of.

That is not to say that such items might not work for you. In fact, they may. I am just giving you some actual feedback on my own experience.

What has worked for me this summer?

Without further ado, let me take you on a tour of my musty, grass-stained trunk full of useful golf stuff that I do highly recommend. These things will in fact make your feet feel better, your eyes see sharper, your loins feel smoother and your wedges stop quicker. But that's not a guarantee. Here we go ...

  • First, throw away all of your underwear. OK, men, just the underwear you used to golf with. As any man knows, the dog days of summer mean a high potential for... ahem, "chafing"... if you know what I mean. (Wink.) Never fear. Go get yourself some UnderArmour boxer briefs ($18 each, and you'll never walk home gingerly again after a round. Trust me, they aren't cheap, but they are worth their weight in hi-tech breathable fiber.

  • Did somebody say "Hi-Tec?" I got a free pair of Hi-Tec CDT Power golf shoes ($129, at an event in April. And always having been a Foot Joy devotee for my spikes, I thought that surely these dogs would not supplant my DryGel Fusions. Wrong! Put simply, the shoe is the most well-constructed, stable-feeling, comfortable shoe I've ever worn. Plus, traction is fantastic, thanks to a spike system that can be "tuned" specifically to what type of course you play. (No kidding, the shoes come with all kinds of charts showing you how. Yikes.)

  • Was that "yikes" or "yips?" If you have the latter, I recommend the "Putting Arc" ($89 Basically, it's a finely crafted hunk of wood, that lets you feel exactly what a smooth inside-square-inside stroke feels like. After just a few days, I enjoyed a putting round so good, it was spooky. But beware, your old bad habits don't die easy, so continued practice will yield more consistent results.

  • Looking for more power? Here, have some steroids. Kidding. A better bet is the Speed Stik ($89, endorsed by Vijay Singh. Nobody was more skeptical of this device than me at first. I thought, "Oh sure, swing this pole around like a cornered gorilla. That'll do wonders for my game." Turns out, the Speed Stik is a fantastic way to understand and feel the concept of a "late release" and a truly powerful move. A small speed meter in the tip of the pole, measures your swing speed to monitor improvement. Device also does wonders for helping eliminate a too-quick transition at the top.

  • If you need help cashing in on your new long drives with birdie putts, try the "Dual Zone" sunglasses from Peak Vision Sports ($129, These shades are specifically tuned for golf, in that the upper half of the lens is a darker gray to shield you from the sun, while the lower half is lighter so you can see subtle breaks in greens. I'd explain all the technical mumbo-jumbo, but they lost me at the word "Ultraviolet." Suffice to say, they work. They make the break, grain, and loose impediments crystal clear when you line up a putt. I like to call them "HDTV for your face."

  • My guys at Titleist have designed two new lovelies that have me prancing around in glee like Judge Smails in Caddyshack kissing his putter. They are a hybrid iron (The 503-H, $199) and their new line of Bob Vokey "Spin Milled" wedges (SM56.10, $124). The hybrid craze is hardly new, but I had never found one I liked, mainly because most hybrids look like small woods, instead of beefy irons. Not so with the 503-H. It's like a hi-flying 3-iron on steroids. Two lofts (19 and 22 degrees) help you fill that nagging 200-220 range between your 3-iron and 3-wood. The "Spin Milled" wedges are another Vokey masterpiece, only with nasty teeth. The face of the wedge is finely milled, for stopping power that could make an Italian sports car envious. Throwing 50 yard darts at tucked pins has never been more fun.

Oh sure, there have been plenty of things I've bought and ordered that didn't quite work out. They include various contraptions with enough PVC pipe to rough out the plumbing in a single family house. There's even a device you wear on your face that defies simple explanation, and could even embarrass Paris Hilton if somebody sees you practicing with it.

As always keep your receipts, and read the vendor's return policy carefully.

Just remember when sitting on the couch late at night watching infomercials on the Golf Channel that you are in a highly vulnerable emotional state. It all just looks so good. It makes so much sense.

And then the next thing you know, you are crawling across the floor muttering: "Must ... get ... to ... telephone ... now ... Scratch golf ... just ... one ... call ... away."

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.