February 9th. It feels like a “lunch bag letdown”. Having just gotten home from my time in Florida for the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show I am now finally having the time to sit down and do some writing. Or is it more of a time to sit back and digest everything that I took in?As I sit here in my La-Z-Boy recliner with my trusty Labrador at my side I sit here and reflect. I reflect on the trip that was PGA Show 2017.
The trip started out good enough. Surprisingly easy weather to drive through as I made my way through the hills of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The latter being less hilly of course. As I drove through South Carolina and eventually Georgia I learned my first lesson. If you suddenly realize that you’re only driving 35 mph on the I-95 the chances are that you dozed off at the wheel and you need to rest. So I did… in Hardeesville, SC in some BP gas station right off of the interstate. Having fueled up on Dunkin (America runs on that stuff) I made my way into Florida. I wrote an article already but the history that I learned at my stop at the World Golf Hall of Fame about our game was so gratifying. But it was time to move on to family in Plant City, FL.
My learning continued upon my arrival there. There is a “thing” that has been taking place in Plant City and that is something that is on Facebook called “Plant City Rocks”. The premise is that you paint rocks (you don’t have to be good) and you hide them much like the Easter Bunny hides eggs. People go out and walk and find them and re-hide. It’s a cool concept that simply gets people out and about. I also learned that the Hudson Hornet isn’t just in the Disney flick “Cars” and it is a real thing. A stunner of a car that caught my attention at a car show. I also saw a Studebaker pick-up truck and so many other amazing vehicles. But what I also learned (partially from Leah Remini) is that “Scientology” is everywhere. Even in a place like Plant City, FL. Before the show I also took time to go out to Apollo Beach, FL and visited the Manatee Viewing Center. If you’re in the area check it out as it’s a great walk, featuring new trails an observation tower and a cool Stingray exhibit (seasonal). I got to touch and feed some.. so cool. But tourist time came to an end and it was time for the show.
Demo Day as far as I’m concerned is the “Crown Jewel” of PGA Show week. It’s an opportunity to hit the latest and greatest. I learned that the parity in the industry is more tight than ever. Every company makes terrific products and the difference is finite from Company A to Company Z. Honestly, I will maintain what I have said for a while. It boils down to the shafts. That said, Callaway Golf did not disappoint with their new Epic and Epic SubZero range. Nor did TaylorMade Golf with the follow-up to M1 and M2. In my opinion they really improved on the M1 “big time”. The M2 sure as heck was impressive but the new M2 hybrid is light years better than 2016. I learned that I was wrong about my opinion of the Wilson Golf Triton driver as seen on the Golf Channel reality show “Driver vs Driver”. ONE and/or Single Length irons are here. Perhaps to be so bold as to suggest that they are here to stay. Cobra-Puma and Edel Golf both offer models. I admit I struggled with the Cobra ONE PW after cruising through the rest. Their booth was beyond busy and I had no time to swing their products really which was disappointing for me. Edel Golf has a great product that is paired with amazing shafts from Paderson Shafts. Speaking of shafts… who knew that composites from the space and aeronautics industry or Formula 1 racing would find a home in golf? TPT Golf (see the review) and the likes of biomechanist J.J. Rivet and leading golf coach David Leadbetter certainly knew.
As the show moved from the outdoors to indoors I would learn more. Technology is massive in the game and look for a piece on my experience with K Vest in the future. While I’m talking about technology, look for an article/review coming soon from DuoTrac. Their CEO Jason Koo has found a real nice niche market in the launch monitor game with a soon-to-be released product. Not to mention preexisting sensor training system. I learned that Top Golf – Tampa is a lot of fun and that the hot colors of the season are going to be greens, yellows and blues. I learned that Biion Footwear are not just “Crocs in Drag” because they are so much more than that. I learned that a brand like Travis Mathew is not just for the skinny, cool, young and hip crowd. Even a fat, old kid like me can wear the brand and feel good about it. TM is truly a lifestyle. I learned that CHASE 54 is still like family and speaking of family I learned that Tiger Woods signed with TaylorMade. Wish I could have gotten that out as it happened but I was there for the announcement. My stupid cell phone carrier dropped the ball on my data plan. Skechers Golf is also not just shoes any more so I learned that too.
Honestly, I could go on about what I learned but I won’t. All that I can say is that the game is still alive and well with tons of new and exciting products on the way. Stay tuned for articles on all of the brands mentioned and then some. It’s going to be a busy year… and I love it!
Until The Next Tee!