Today was the first day of the PGA Show in sunny Orlando, Florida. The day was full of great finds and for the most part I focused on health and wellness products. Honestly, it wasn’t the plan.
My day started off with a visit to ARGOLF. Last year, their Mordred putter won the Teezy Award for the “Top Putter”. While they are not offering new putters in 2020 they are offering new irons and wedges and they are sexy. Pictured below are their AR-F15 irons.
Following that appointment I had the privilege of meeting Jason Hiland who is the owner of SUB 70 Golf. It’s always nice to put a face to the name. The passion that Mr. Hiland has for the game and his brand is infectious. There are some pretty cool things in the works.
While I managed to visit booths like Rapsodo, Lynx Golf (I had a fantastic talk with Stephanie Zinser), ONOFF/PRGR/Fourteen, and Bridgestone Golf where I had a nice chat with Adam Rehberg and Elliot Mellow about the new technology packed into the new TOUR B golf balls. These golf balls are definitely worth the hype. I’ll be putting them into play before I head home. Fun fact. Fred Couples is playing the TOUR B RXS.
I uncovered great new products. MNML golf bags are going to change the game and the way that we look at golf bags. USA Grass Golf could potentially bring golfers to golf that wouldn’t play otherwise. Using one ball and on club you can seemingly turn any vacant field into a golf course. Kaddi is a clip designed to carry your glove, tees, glove,and divot tool in one place by virtue of a belt clip. Athalonz golf shoes. Who ever thought that a pair of shoes could be considered golf equipment?
And then there is Fred Smith of Disruptive Drinkware. His story and his products are worth an article entirely on its own.
But the focus was on health and wellness. I uncovered products from Parform which offers golfers CBD gum, tinctures, energy bars and more. X2 makes a variety of refreshing, great tasting beverages. Playmakar (I shared a press release not long ago) has a wide variety of products designed to make you feel better. Boomer Naturals and their CB5 topical pain relief won the day and saved my bacon. It’s a product that I simply believe in after my “live-fire” testing experience on the show floor.
That’s enough writing. Now it’s time for #TeeBoxChatter
Until The Next Tee!!
January 21st was Golfmas for golf fans, aficionados, and gear junkies alike. The reason? That’s because it marked the opening of the PGA Show for 2020. Demo Day took place at a cold, wind-swept Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge and even though the conditions were very attendee-friendly the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I felt really bad for the manufacturers and in particular their reps. Seeing equipment company representatives bundled up in long coats, gloves, scarves, and beanies (or as we call them in Canada… toques) was hard to witness but not one of the representatives that I talked to let it hamper their excitement. After all, Demo Day at the PGA Show is the perfect time to showcase your wares.
It didn’t take me long to find the first terrific product of the day. The new CBX Full Face wedge from Cleveland Golf was very fun to swing. Using a 64* wedge I was able to hit accurate bunker shots and pitches and the best part. The CBX Full Face is a forgiving wedge. If you need help with your short-game… This might be the wedge for you. Staying with the Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO family the new range of XXIO products was exactly as advertised. The more forgiving Eleven range (geared towards the moderate swing-speed golfer) was among the easiest to swing golf clubs that I have made wings this. That said, Eleven’s brethren the XXIO X (geared towards faster swingers) performed as advertised. If you’ve never made swings with XXIO… Do so. I really liked the “Weight Plus” technology in the grips. More on that at a later time.
There were certain brands with products that were on my immediate radar. COBRA Golf and their SPEEDZONE range of products coupled with the Forged Tec irons were everything that I thought that they would be. I had a terrific interview with Tom Olsavsky. Mr. Olsavky is the VP of Research and Development. The interview will be posted here at a later time.
Just to finish off the writing of this article (it is #TeeBoxChatter) I just wanted to touch on a couple of surprises. Pictures didn’t wow me in the leading up to the PGA Show of the LaunchPad metalwoods from Wilson Golf. They impressed! High Heat 257+ metalwoods with TGS (Turf Glide Sole) were a pleasant surprise. Hitting the hybrid out of a literal hole (massive divot) was easy. It might be the most forgiving golf club in the industry. Drivers from Yonex and ONOFF late in the day could factor in on Teezy Awards nominations. Speaking of which, the Prowler VT driver from Lynx Golf featuring “SwitchFace Technology” was a Demo Day “sleeper”. And then there was Honma Golf. I have no words other than to say “look out”!. That is one seriously impressive range of products. I didn’t even know that they were attending. Tour Edge Golf released a new putter (The Wingman) and the Exotics EXS 220 product range was improved “big time” over 2019’s uber-impressive Exotics EXS range. Mizuno Golf added a whole bunch of new technology with their new ST200 metalwoods. The range has three different heads (ST200, ST200G, and ST200X).
There were a couple of golf clubs that I was lukewarm towards and among them was the MAVRIK from Callaway Golf. I really was perplexed with it until I mistakenly put a 70-gram X-flex shaft into my hands. Overall, it didn’t give me “awe factor” like the Epic Flash did in 2019.
Well, I think that’s enough reading. So how about some “chatter”?
Until The Next Tee!
This week marks the first full-field event for the LPGA. Being played in Boca Raton, Florida at the Robert Von Hagge-designed Boca Rio Golf Club. The member-owned golf club is all set to host the inaugural playing of this LPGA event. A new event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the LPGA.
I visited the venue on Monday to get a feel for the golf course and to take in some of the practice rounds being played. The course itself is being set up to play as a Par 72 golf course (36-36–72) that’s going to measure approximately 6,701 yards (par and yardage are subject to change through the start of the tournament).
Some of the stars playing in this event are the likes of Charley Hull, Lexi Thompson, Gaby Lopez, Nasa Hataoka, Inbee Park, Mi Jung Hur, Brooke Henderson, Annie Park, Sei Young Kim, Celine Boutier, and Nelly Korda to name a few. The field is playing for a total purse of $2M USD.
The driving range was packed first thing Monday and there was some noticeable excitement in the air. The superintendent of Boca Rio Golf Club and the greenskeeping team has done a terrific job in prepping the golf course for the event. The greens are rolling nicely and the fairways are meticulous. The golf course is going to be ripe for the proverbial picking as there is no serious rough to contend with. For those that are unfamiliar with the golf course, the fairways are relatively wide and misses won’t be severely punished. I really liked the bunker complexes around the golf course and the lovely mix of water hazards will give the player’s something to think about as they navigate their way around Boca Rio.
I anticipate the ladies to go low because of the fantastic conditions of the golf course. Quite honestly, I see a -23 winning the event. My pick to win the inaugural Gainbridge LPGA is Florida native Lexi Thompson. She looked great Monday and out of the groups that I took in she was the only one to hit the Par 5 first hole in two. Charley Hull, Brooke Henderson, and Nelly Korda will be in contention.
Until The Next Tee!!
Getting all set for the 2020 PGA Show. Any requests for products that you “must-see”? Leave a comment below.
Until The Next Tee!!
In this episode of #TeeBoxChatter I come to you from the Wehrle Golf Dome in Cheektowaga, NY.
On a day were i was just planning n getting in a few swings in preparation for the 2020 PGA Show I had an expected yet unexpected parcel arrive. In for review is a putter from AXIS 1 Golf. Also in this episode I discuss the apprehension of wondering what the new Exotics EXS 220 metalwoods from Tour Edge Golf will be like. The Exotics EXS of 2019 WILL be a tough act to follow. Ongoing testing of the 699 Pro irons from SUB 70 Golf, Cameron Smith and more.
Until The Next Tee!!
Four of Five Majors, Summer Olympics in Tokyo and UL International Crown Contribute to Most Number of Events and Hours of Women’s Golf in a Single Year Ever
Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin Returns for 10th Season as GOLF Channel’s LPGA Tour Lead Analyst, 36th Overall
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 15, 2020 – 2020 will feature the most number of hours and events ever dedicated to women’s golf across NBC Sports, headlined by a global schedule of 33 LPGA Tour events that includes live coverage of four of five major championships and the biennial UL International Crown team competition.
With the addition of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, NBC Sports will produce more than 500 tournament hours of women’s golf coverage in 2020, the most hours and events ever dedicated to the women’s game in a single year.
“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the LPGA Tour, I can’t help but wonder what our 13 Founders would think to hear that women’s golf will see more than 500 hours of television coverage, distributed to over 160 countries,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “Without GOLF Channel and NBC, our long-time and trusted partners, we would not have the opportunity to share the inspiring stories of our athletes. 2020 is going to be a record-setting year from the LPGA Tour in terms of purse, TV and Members connected to our brand. I can’t wait for our fans around the world to see it all unfold.”
“With the LPGA Tour, four of five majors, Tokyo Olympics and the UL International Crown airing across NBC Sports, we are the television home for women’s golf,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer, GOLF Channel and NBC Olympics. “In 2020, we’ll deliver our most hours ever dedicated to the women’s game and elevate the LPGA Tour’s stars as they travel the globe on this international tour.”
DIAMOND RESORTS TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS KICKS OFF 2020 SEASON
The 2020 LPGA Tour season kicks off Thursday in Orlando, Fla., with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America. The winner’s-only event features 26 LPGA Tour winners from the past two seasons, joined by 49 celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment. GOLF Channel will air live coverage Thursday and Friday (Noon-3 p.m. ET). Weekend coverage will air on GOLF Channel from 2-3 p.m. ET, continuing on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET.
For the second consecutive year, NBC will bookend the LPGA Tour season, beginning this week with coverage from the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and concluding in November with live coverage of the CME Group Tour Championship.
Paige Mackenzie will serve as lead analyst for live tournament coverage of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, joined by Grant Boone as play-by-play host. Tom Abbott will serve as a hole announcer with Jerry Foltz and Karen Stupples reporting from the course. Damon Hack will conduct interviews with celebrities and players during the tournament telecasts.
FOUR OF FIVE MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, 2020 SUMMER OLYMPICS AND UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN HEADLINE SUMMER STRETCH
NBC Sports Group will air coverage from 33 LPGA Tour events in 2020, headlined by live coverage of four of the five major championships: the ANA Inspiration (March 30-April 5); the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 25-28); The Evian Championship (July 22-26); and the AIG Women’s British Open (Aug. 20-23).
In August, women’s golf will take center stage across NBC Sports during a four-week stretch featuring the Summer Olympics, AIG Women’s British Open and UL International Crown. Kicking off August will be the return of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The world’s top players will convene upon Kasumigaseki Country Club, with GOLF Channel and NBC airing comprehensive coverage of the women’s golf competition, Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 5-8. The LPGA Tour will then head to Scotland for two weeks, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s British Open – the latter taking place at historic Royal Troon Golf Club – culminating with the biennial UL International Crown team competition taking place in England.
HALL-OF-FAMER JUDY RANKIN RETURNS FOR 10TH SEASON AS GOLF CHANNEL ANALYST; 36TH YEAR IN TELEVISION
Hall-of-Famer and 26-time LPGA Tour winner Judy Rankin returns for her 10th season as GOLF Channel’s lead LPGA Tour analyst, and 36th season overall in television. Rankin will join play-by-play host Grant Boone at the newly minted Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio (Jan. 23-26), taking place in Boca Raton, Fla., her first of 13 events in the broadcast booth.
Stupples and Mackenzie will rotate with Rankin as lead LPGA Tour analysts in 2020. Boone, Terry Gannon and Whit Watson will serve as play-by-play hosts, joined by Tom Abbott, Kay Cockerill, Foltz, and Jim Gallagher, Jr as hole announcers and course reporters throughout the season.
NCAA WOMEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS AND AUGUSTA NATIONAL WOMEN’S AMATEUR SHOWCASE FUTURE STARS OF WOMEN’S GOLF
Also in 2020, GOLF Channel and NBC will shine a spotlight on women’s golf future stars with live coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships (May 25-28) from Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the second- annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur, taking place at historic Augusta National Golf Club (April 1-4).
NBC Sports Group 2020 LPGA Tour Schedule
|Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions||Jan. 16-19||GOLF/NBC|
|Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio||Jan. 23-26||GOLF|
|ISPS Handa Vic Open||Feb. 5-8||GOLF|
|ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open||Feb. 12-15||GOLF|
|Honda LPGA Thailand||Feb. 19-22||GOLF|
|HSBC Women’s World Championship||Feb. 26-29||GOLF|
|Blue Bay LPGA||March 4-8||GOLF|
|Founders Cup||March 19-22||GOLF|
|Kia Classic||March 26-29||GOLF|
|ANA Inspiration||April 2-5||GOLF|
|LOTTE Championship||April 15-18||GOLF|
|HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open||April 23-26||GOLF|
|LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship||April 30-May 3||GOLF|
|Pelican Women’s Championship||May 14-17||GOLF|
|Pure Silk Championship||May 21-24||GOLF|
|ShopRite LPGA Classic||May 29-31||GOLF|
|Meijer LPGA Classic||June 11-14||GOLF|
|Walmart NW Arkansas Championship||June 19-21||GOLF|
|KPMG Women’s PGA Championship||June 25-28||GOLF/NBC|
|Marathon Classic||July 9-11||GOLF|
|Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational||July 15-17||GOLF|
|Evian Championship||July 23-26||GOLF/CNBC|
|Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open||Aug. 13-16||GOLF|
|AIG Women’s British Open||Aug. 20-23||GOLF/NBC|
|UL International Crown||Aug. 27-30||GOLF|
|CP Women’s Open||Sept. 3-6||GOLF|
|Cambia Portland Classic||Sept. 10-13||GOLF|
|Volunteers of America Classic||Oct. 1-4||GOLF|
|Buick LPGA Shanghai||Oct. 15-18||GOLF|
|BMW Ladies Championship||Oct. 22-25||GOLF|
|Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA||Oct. 29-Nov. 1||GOLF|
|TOTO Japan Classic||Nov. 5-7||GOLF|
|CME Group Tour Championship||Nov. 19-22||GOLF/NBC|
ABOUT THE LPGA
The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 countries. With a vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while the Symetra Tour, the official development and qualifying tour of the LPGA, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. Additionally, LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.
The LPGA demonstrates its dedication to the development of the game through The LPGA Foundation. Since 1991, this charitable organization has been committed to empowering and supporting girls and women through developmental, humanitarian and golf community initiatives, including LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, the LPGA Women’s Network and the LPGA Amateur Golf Association.
Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via www.LPGA.com. Join the social conversation at www.facebook.com/lpga, www.twitter.com/lpga and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo, and on Instagram and Snapchat at @lpga_tour.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP’S GOLF DIVISION
NBC Sports Group’s GOLF division delivers multimedia golf content, technology and services. Anchored by GOLF Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 – GOLF content is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nine languages across more than 70 countries around the world. GOLF features more live coverage of the sport than all other U.S. networks combined, including global tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, NCAA, THE PLAYERS, The Open, Olympics, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage from the world of golf via GOLF Digital, fans can access 24/7 live streaming through the NBC Sports App, as well as complementary coverage via PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. In addition to these all-encompassing media platforms, NBC Sports connects the world to golf through a wide array of technology and lifestyle services, including: GOLFNOW, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform; GOLF Business Solutions, solving business needs through leading technology, marketing and services; GOLFPASS, an all-in-one digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle; Revolution GOLF, the world’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform in golf, offering best-in-class video instruction and game improvement products; GOLF Advisor, the ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring the largest number of user-generated golf course ratings and reviews in the industry; GOLF Academy, a North American network of instructional facilities; and GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour. GOLF’s global reach originates from its world headquarters in Orlando, Fla., and extends to its international office in Belfast, Northern Ireland; regional offices across North America, Europe and Australia; and also includes collaborations with Sky Sports and serving as the Official Media Partner of St Andrews Links.