Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 PGA Merchandise Show and Demo Day

2016 PGA Merchandise Show and Outdoor Demo Day
January 26 - 29, 2016

      #ThxPGAPro - the phrase means Thank Your PGA Pro - and beginning with Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge and throughout the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show it was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the PGA of America.

     Some of our most memorable moments this year were spent meeting, visiting with and listening to an incredible array of PGA Professionals.  Lee Trevino who opened the show and spoke of hard work, dedication and the long-lasting relationship of a student and a teacher, who signed our 1968 issue of Golf Magazine with his picture on the cover- then the newly crowned US Open Champion! - serious on that cover - all smiles ever since.  Bob Toski, age 89, instructor and member of the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame, author of The Touch System For Better Golf, "the best book I ever wrote" he told us as he signed our dog-eared copy we had brought to show him, laughing and joking and playing to the crowd around us.  Lexi Thompson at Demo Day, just recently turned 21, so generous with her time and so kind to her fans.  The Shark, Greg Norman, with a lineup to meet him, forearms still as strong as timber even while just holding a pen.  And Nancy Lopez - Nancy Lopez is certainly special.  One of the greatest ambassadors that golf has, people flock to her and she has all the time in the world for them. 

Lee Trevino crediting Bill Eschenbrenner,
Friend, Mentor & PGA Master Professional

Nancy Lopez gives all the time in the world to a
Garden Variety Golfer
     The PGA Show is a finely-tuned machine, providing for everything and that includes transportation for participants from the vast number of hotels back and forth to the venues.  Our last day was cold and wet, people huddled from the rain as they hurried to their rooms.  We followed an older gentleman out of the coach - he clipped along despite a limp.  We asked if he enjoyed the show and yes, he had.  Was he a vendor?  No.  He was a teaching professional.  We never got his name but before he ducked into his room we shook his hand and he enchanted us with a smile.  He reminded us so very much of Mr. Bill Morgan who taught generations of golfers at Southridge Golf Course in Deland, Florida from 1968 into the new millennium.  He was the first teaching pro we ever knew, one of the most generous men we've had the pleasure to meet.  Thank you, Bill Morgan.  We hope we've done you proud.

Products and People that caught our attention -

Clubs and Shafts

Amazing Cre      We were introduced to this company last year.  Club designer Dono Kim continuously works on reducing drag with these beautiful clubs.



         Fujikura Composites America Inc. has a new speeder shaft that we liked very much.

DV8 Sports - all you need to practice
fitted into a backpack
The new Wilson Staff C200 irons 
have nice weighting

Compact and portable clubs included the Rival and Revel handheld shag bag and the DV8 Sports interchangeable head practice set in a backpack carry case.  Wilson Staff irons come in a variety of weighting options and the new Duo urethane ball has remarkably soft feel.

 just plain gorgeous!

     Ping was celebrating 50 years since founder Karsten Solheim invented the revolutionary Ping Anser putter.  Like most great inventions, it was created in a garage!  And like all great golf companies, Ping has been dedicated to contributing to the good of the game, creating the Solheim Cup in 1990 to celebrate Women's Golf and inspire girls to take up our sport.

  And we always return to Ben Hogan Golf.  This year hybrids have been added to their stable.  Their irons have expanded, too.  Higher handicappers are going to appreciate their PTx irons and low handicappers are going to love the Ft. Worth hi's.

Golf Aids, Toys and Accessories

     One of the first inventors we met this year was Dr. Dan Schummer who was so nice to give us a sample of his patented Tee Correct which aligns the ball height perfectly for your club.  Very simple, affordable and made in the USA!

     Night Eagle Golf/ Premier Glow Golf Balls puts the tech in glow-in-the-dark with their light-activated LED golf balls.  No excuse now for lost balls after dark!

Popticals folding eyewear
carried on a great campaign - classy glasses made in Italy have a unique disappearing hinge and flat arm design when closed.

                      John Mason, USGTF Golf Professional and developer of the ForeMat Habit Golf Training Mat, has given thoughtful consideration to posture, alignment and routine when designing his training surface, surely gleaned from his many years of teaching.  Friend, fellow golf instructor and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer Bob Toski joined him at his booth for great conversation and autographs.

New Helix bag designs by Coastal Shine Golf Trading Inc. include built-on wheels and a retractable hard shell sleeve that protects clubs during travel or shipping.

KLVN has developed a dual-bag system for quick release of your short irons when heading to the green or practice area.  Made in Chicago of injection-molded plastics, this was the newest looking product we came across at the show.

Two of our favorite products are on polar ends of the price scale
but could provide hours of enjoyment to any golfer- Chilly Cheeks, portable seat cushions that cool when it's hot and warm when it's not

and E6 Cloud by Trugolf, Inc golf simulation that is setting the bar.  Look for it soon in your favorite game room - even truck stop!

A shout out to the golf cart accessory companies who carry just about anything you can think of:  Stenton's Golf Cart Accessories Inc. and Nivel Parts & Mfg. Co., both of which could surely update our 1975 EZ Go!

                     And here's to Leighton Golf Umbrellas - putting a bright spot on a rainy day!


Apparel & Fabrics

     Sports fabrics and designs are synonymous with innovation, always striving for comfort, strength and style.  This year's show included a Textile Sourcing Pavillion which introduced international and domestic manufacturers to brands and buyers, showcasing the newest materials and opportunities. 

     Skechers has stepped into the apparel arena with a secret recipe for water resistance that somehow includes a ceramic on the fabric!


Foot Joys displayed a veritable candy store of shoes.

Nancy Lopez Golf designs take women from the last putt of the day to dinner at the clubhouse without breaking stride. 

      Antigua was showing off the Solheim Cup uniforms for 2017 - we're looking forward to seeing
what the Des Moines Country Club will have in store for that rivalry!  See our post on Greenskeepers for a look into what it takes to get a mid-western golf course ready for international competition!

Two very entertaining displays were Tilley Endurables who produce the indestructible Tilley Hat, tested by a zoo-keeper and a hungry pachyderm

                                       and Tabasco Apparel that will spice up your golfwear!

     A special mention here of Peax Power Shorts - a concept that no doubt evolved from the years that Jeff Booher PT, ATC has spent as a physical therapist.  Woven into the fabric of these compression shorts are diagonal energy-transfer bands that help those in rotational sports like golf improve their lower body transition for more power and distance in their swing.


     We would like to thank several groups who were representing golfers near and dear to our hearts. 
Veteran Golfers Association swappin' stories with a young golfer
Veteran Golfers Association, promoting the game of golf to veterans and their family members
National Alliance for Accessible Golf, Stephen C. Jubb, PGA, Executive Director
World's Largest Golf Outing, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project
Salute Military Golf Association, providing rehabilitative golf programs and opportunities to post
9/11 wounded war veterans
Folds of Honor, special events include The Memorial Day Patriot Cup and Patriot Golf Day, providing scholarships and assistance to the spouses and children of those wounded or killed in service to America
     Generous with their time and information, these advocates for veterans and those with physical challenges understand the incredible role that golf can play as therapeutic sport.  Consider the gift that golf gives any of us and then consider the contribution it can make in the lives of those trying to come back to life.  Golf - it's a very, very special sport.
Folds of Honor, Flags Flying at the Outdoor Demo Day