Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day

January 22, 2018

Orange County National Golf Center
Winter Garden, Florida

Just a fifth of the 360 degree Practice Center

David Leadbetter, 2017 PGA Teacher 
of the Year
     Being recently retired from long-standing careers in outdoor recreation, we have discovered both more time for golf and new requirements in our equipment.  A better short game can help make up for that ever-shortening drive and so wedges were high on our agenda at the 42-acre practice facility that encompasses the PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day.  With over 100 companies across the hitting stations, practice greens, a vendor village and numerous vehicle test tracks, Demo Day provides a unique opportunity for PGA members, conference attendees and invited media to test equipment and engage with professionals.

     We spent some time at the Epon booth with Trevor Sauntry, a Master Custom Fitter with Impact Precision Golf, who pointed out that Epon utilizes steel forged by Endo, one of the oldest foundries in Japan, creating excellent weight distribution and momentum in their quality wedge.
     The new Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedges go through a spin milled process producing sharp, consistent grooves that are distinct between lofts and are available in 6 different grinds.
     The Cleveland CBX with laser and micromilling has channel grooves to clear debris away through the swing and a microcavity in the hosel that moves the center of gravity closer to the center of the face, adding more feel to that Cleveland bounce.

     The Cat is back!  Lynx Golf returns to the U.S. market this year and we enjoyed testing the new Prowler wedge and the Ladies Tigress irons while their ambassador Paul Eales gave us some generous practice pointers that he acquired during his career on the European Tour.

Paul Eales, a veteran of the Challenge, European and Senior Tours
with victories on all three,
steps forward with some helpful advice, starting with
"Relax - you can do this!"

     We couldn't pass by the new drivers without giving them a look.  The forgiveness of the Callaway Rogue is absolutely true and is at your favorite retailer in time for spring training.

     Honma's BeZeal is absolutely beautiful.

Aerotech Steel Fiber Shafts have a good feel with an interesting technology that blends flexibility with rigidity, vibration dampening with control.  

     Sensitive or older hands?  Oversize putter grips now come in a variety of shapes and textures.  Superstroke's "No Taper" design promotes even grip pressure for a consistent and repeatable stroke.  And if you like to tinker, its CounterCore Series allows a golfer to fine-tune the feel with adjustable weighting.

     Flat Cat by Lamkin is designed to quiet and relax the hands while directing superior feel to the fingers.  A weighted cone on the Flat Cat Solution promotes a pendulum-like, more consistent stroke.

     And speaking of relaxed, FootJoy offered hitting opportunities while trying on their Sport SL Golf Shoes with Boa-Lace Technology that included a new pair of TechSof Tour socks and a glove!  FootJoy's "Comfort Never Quits!"

     It seems that several products at this year's Vendor Village caught the eyes of many attendees of the show.  Chippo will probably be the next tailgate or backyard BBQ craze and was selected a 2018 New Product Zone Winner.

The Weatherman Umbrella with smart technology withstands winds of up to 55 mph and has instant NOAA updates to track inclement weather to your precise location.              

     AfterShokz headphones, voted a 2018 Top Buyer's Choice Award winner, are remarkable in their clarity, comfort and practicality.  By positioning them on the cheekbones, ambient noise can be heard as well the playing media and we can see valuable applications that provide personal entertainment with safety in mind.

      Electric golf vehicles with small carbon footprints are becoming ever more popular and fun to drive.  Low impact and easy to maintain, Caruca offers a "Hop on and Go" single rider electric cart that is a light-weight, easy-to-use American-made experience.  


     The Swedish Ellwee is a stylish, single-seated electric golf cart that includes a smart tablet dash with advertising software applications, modular components and accessories, and has a range of approximately 4 rounds per charge.  

     A final few minutes test-driving the Ellwee convinced us that golf keeps moving into the future!