The Golf Industry Expo and My Naivety

So yesterday I finally made it to a golf trade show that I’ve been meaning to make it to for some time. That show… “The Golf Industry Expo” as put on in conjunction with the PGA of Ontario (Canada). It’s a golf trade show that brings together members of the golf industry from all aspects of our sport on a much smaller scale than that of the PGA Merchandise Show that’s held every January in Orlando, Florida.

The show took place in Kitchener, Ontario at a place called LOT42. It’s a really cool place as it’s a former industrial complex turned into a convention-type facility 9event venue). Being a first-time to the show I really didn’t know what to expect. After all, when I think of an industry show it’s hard not to think about the PGA Show. But, as I walked in and picked-up my badge I also received a really nice swag bag. It was actually an Adidas backpack. Which coincidentally will be making the trip to Orlando. It wasn’t until I had got home when I realized that there was swag inside. Inside were items like a golf towel by Blank Towel, a pair of sunglasses from Vigor Eyewear (Falcon Lumen+ model) and a couple of other little goodies. I’ll definitely put the sunglasses to good use. I look forward to testing and reviewing them.

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Great venue. LOT42 (Photo Credit: Explore Waterloo Region)

As I walked the floor, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the golf equipment industry’s players were there. Brands like TaylorMade Golf (Canada), Wilson Golf, Mizuno Golf, Cobra Golf, Cleveland/Srixon/XXIO, Tour Edge Golf (Golf Trends is their distributor here in Canada) and EVNROLL Putters (more. What’s different however about this show is that while everybody exhibiting at the PGA Show is for the most part no longer under embargo a lot of the product at this show is in fact under embargo. So in those cases, pictures are not possible.

But this show gave me a chance to see some products in-hand for the first time and it was products that I’ve shared press releases on already. So that makes it pretty darn cool. Here’s what I can tell you about a few of these products in a brief summary…

  • Cleveland Golf – The Launcher HB Turbo range of metalwoods looks really serious and I cannot wait to put swings on with them. They look like they’re going to be all business. They just look mean. The Launcher HALO hybrid has a great profile and if it performs anywhere near it looks (Gliderails to improve turf interaction) it WILL end up in a lot of golfers’ golf bags. The Launcher UHX look like they’re going to be long and may end up as a sleeper this year. Considering that they also will retail at $999.99 CAD makes them a consideration.

 

  • Cobra Golf – I won’t mince words. The KING Forged TEC are way nicer than the press release made them look. They look great in the release. They are stunning and these irons I cannot wait to put swings on and see how they perform. A review of these irons is imminent. However, what really surprised were their new T-Rail irons which is an all-hollow hybrid iron set. I wasn’t sold on their looks in the release and I was concerned about how they’d look at address. I can tell you that they weren’t that bad at all. As a matter of fact, when it came to the PW you could not see the cavity. These are going to worth a swing or three.

 

  • Mizuno Golf – The new MP-20 irons are beautiful. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the hollow-bodied HMB, the MMC, or the MB. Golfers are going to love them. Oh believe the info coming in… the ST200 line of metalwoods is coming. It’s on the USGA Conforming Golf Clubs List.
  • Wilson Golf – I finally saw the Staff Proto Blades in hand and yes they have been out for some time. For the longest time, I felt that the FG Tour 100 were the prettiest irons that I’ve ever seen. They were. The Staff Proto Blades are prettier and dare I say… More pure.

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So it was great to see some of the products that I’ve shared press releases about and have them in-hand for the first time. But what about the stuff that I saw that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of? Products under embargo? All that I will comment on is this. TaylorMade Golf has new golf balls on the way. The new irons from Wilson Staff for 2020 are absolutely going to smash it out of the ballpark. The new range of metalwoods from Cobra Golf reintroduces us to a couple of letters and holy smokes these have my curiosity beyond piqued!!

Oh about the title and my naivety. I rolled a new putter from EVNROLL that’s under embargo. I rolled putts with the new putter (ER10) and while I couldn’t take pics I will say that this putter is already a contender for a Teezy Award in 2020. It’s under embargo until a large golf website/blog leaks pictures of it. I’ll say it… it’s MGS. Hey! Some food for thought. Is it a leak if it’s planned? That’s not a leak. What it is… Is this! It’s actually how a golf blog/website gets a leg up on its competitors. SO, that’s what it takes to get a leg up eh?! Back door channels and discussions no doubt with a price tag attached to it. As much as I knew that this industry is elitist at its roots I didn’t think websites were too. I’ll never be them or the others and I’m okay with that. Don’t worry MGS et al… I’m just one little guy and you needn’t be worried about me. I wish that the rep hadn’t told me that but seeing that he did… It’s my responsibility as a writer to tell you that just because someone says it’s leaked… it’s not. Don’t always believe what you read.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Folks… He Ain’t Done Yet!

Whether you’re a massive fan of Tiger Woods or a passive fan of his you have got to be impressed with what the man has accomplished. Say what you will about him and his transgressions Tiger Woods has roared back making his fans excited more than ever. If that was even possible. I’ve never been a huge fan of his and that’s a fact that I’ve never hidden behind or tried to mask.

I have my reasons, namely because of his seemingly smug attitude. I know, and before many of you call me a “hater” I’m quick to point out that he’s earned the right in a sense to be that way. No, I’m not talking about his demeanor on the golf course during competition, my issue with him was how he always approached his press conferences or on-camera appearances post-round.

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Tiger at the 2000 PGA Championship. (Photo Credit: Golfweek)

In case you live under a rock you might have missed that Tiger Woods won this week. This time over in Japan at the Zozo Championship. Tiger Woods turned in a great tournament at the rain-soaked event. An event that saw the 376 yard Par 4 10th Hole shortened to 140 yards. for the record, I have no issue with that. You ALWAYS protect the golf course, and it’s something that we’ve had to do where I work on too many occasions this year. Tiger’s turnaround in Japan was impressive considering he started out with three straight bogey’s. Ladies and gents, there’s something to be said for that. If you start your round off in a difficult manner, put your head down and grind it out. You can turn it around.

With the victory, Tiger Woods claimed the 82nd victory of his illustrious career tying the legendary Slammin’ Sam Snead. A feat that whether you’re a fan of his or not you have to admire. Now does this make Tiger the G.O.A.T? The majority of golf fans will say yes. Without a doubt. However, love me or hate me I’m going to say that he’s the greatest of this era/generation. Why?

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Sam Snead (Photo Credit; Golf history Today)

The reason is quite simple. I honestly feel that there can never be a true G.O.A.T. because when you think about it only two names surface for that sort of talk. Ironically, Sam Snead is never in the conversation with his 82 wins. Instead, it’s either Tiger or Mr. Nicklaus. In a debate that’s raged on over the last millennia or so I honestly feel that it’s neither. Instead, I think that we need to look at the greats from a generational or era standpoint. The reasons are many and not limited to better equipment, better agronomy (course conditioning/machinery), more awareness of mental coaching and physical fitness.  Imagine if Snead, Nicklaus, or Bobby Jones had these resources? They won’t obviously, so we’ll never know what they would have accomplished. Which is exactly my point!

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#82 (Photo Credit: Sportsnet)

Even though I’m not a true Tiger fan I will go on the record and make the following statement. Tiger Woods isn’t finished winning golf tournaments yet. He has 82 and if he can remain somewhat healthy and continue to play like “Tiger”I think 90 is NOT out of the question. Whether he wins 83 or 90 nobody will ever touch him. At that point in time, I would resign myself to the fact that he’s the greatest of all time. Oh, by the way, I think two of those wins are Major Championships breaking Mr. Nicklaus’ record.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

Record-Setting Win for Tiger Woods in Japan with TaylorMade M5 Driver

Last night in Japan while some of you were sleeping the ZOZO championship, history was made. Going into the event Tiger Woods had amassed 81 victories during his iconic career. Chasing only Sam Snead who owned the record of having 82-victories, Tiger Woods.

In the press release below shared below by Nick Obritsch who is the Marketing Manager for TaylorMade Golf Canada, we have a closer look at the equipment that was in Tiger’s bag for win #82. Congratulations Tiger!!

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

Tiger captures win no.82 at the ZOZO Championship using 13 TaylorMade clubsTiger captures win no.82 at the ZOZO Championship using 13 TaylorMade cluband ties Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA TOUR career victories.

Carlsbad, Calif. (October 27, 2019) – Team TaylorMade’s Tiger Woods kicked off his 2019-20 PGA TOUR season with a victory at the ZOZO Championship using an M5 driver, P7TW irons and new Milled Grind 2 wedges.

 

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Since joining Team TaylorMade in 2017, Woods has further elevated his legacy by winning the 2018 Tour Championship, the 2019 Masters (his 15th major championship) and the inaugural ZOZO Championship – the first ever PGA TOUR event to be held in Japan.

After opening on Thursday with three bogeys, Woods went on to rattle off nine birdies in R1 and then never looked back as he carded a 6-under-par round of 64.  Finishing on Monday at -19 following a closing 69 and 3 shot victory, Tiger shot four rounds in the 60s around the Accordia course.

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© Getty Images

NEED TO KNOW

  • Tiger switched into a new 60° Milled Grind wedge this week
  • Tiger joins Sam Snead in the record books with 82 PGA TOUR wins
  • Tiger has a 23% win rate on the PGA TOUR (82 wins / 359 starts)
  • TaylorMade’s M5 drivers were used by the Top 3 players at ZOZO Championship
  • Moves up to no.6 in the OWGR
  • 261 is Tiger’s 3rd lowest 72 hole total score on the PGA TOUR
  • Tiger had 27 birdies this week, just 1 off his lowest ever total on the PGA TOUR
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© Getty Images

TIGER WITB

  • M5 10.5° driver
  • M5 15.0° fairway
  • M3 19.0° fairway
  • P7TW 3-PW irons
  • Milled Grind 2 wedges 56° & 60° (added the 60° degree wedge this week at ZOZO)
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My Love and Appreciation of Golf is Because…

Recently, I wrote an article that was a somewhat scathing account of my season working in a pro shop (that article is here). While it seemed like I was complaining or talking very negatively about working in the golf industry I wasn’t.

The reality is that while there might be a few negatives about working the counter in a pro shop and yes you do see and hear a lot of questionable things (or complaints) there is a lot that I love about it. Before I get into that, however, I just want to point out that at the root of my issues with working at a golf course in a pro shop is that my issues are mostly internal. Namely, my jealousy. I actually get jealous that golfers get out the way that they do but especially our starters and marshalls. Believe it or not, there are guys there that have north of 50-100 rounds of golf played. It must be nice!!

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The fall season. I love this time of the year in the golf industry.

So my love of working in the industry. There aren’t too many industry’s that I can think of where you can enjoy everything from seeing the sun rising, the smell in the air, seeing the wildlife, and the daily banter with individuals who are showing up to “your office” to take part in something that they enjoy. I was once told by a member at a course where I was the Director of Golf that “it’s not about the 5% that are assholes… that it’s about the 95% that aren’t”. He was right in that summary. Yes, you always remember the bad ones but that is human psychology too.

As mentioned, in that editorial I have some great members and guests that show up to my work. For the most part, they are always willing to have a laugh. Truth be told I work in a shop where Mike is a very common name. Out of three guys that work there (my GM notwithstanding), I’m the only one not named Mike. So to say that I’ve often been called Mike on more than one occasion isn’t saying much at all. As a matter of fact, while I can remember the names of 300 members, another 150 league player names and some green fee players I find it humorous that I get called Mike. I’m one person and yes I do wear a name tag that says “Alex”. But that’s okay, they’re excited to be there and maybe a tad distracted. So one day one of my members (Andy) heard this happen no less than 5 times in a short period of time as we were talking. As he walked out he says “Have a great day George” I laughed so hard. Ever since then, it’s been a running joke where we call each other the wrong name. My favourite so far is him calling me “Octavius”. Like I said, banter I love it and welcome it with open arms.

As much as I love the banter what I really look forward to (believe it or not) is Ladies League. After the rush of the weekend, our Ladies League takes place on Monday during the day and evening. It’s a terrific bunch of ladies that play and to be totally honest I look forward to them coming to the course. It’s not just about Blanche who supplies us in the Pro Shop with her jam but it’s the overall vibe of the group. Especially the ladies in the afternoon. They are such a fun group that while they banter they just love being at the course to play some golf. You talk about “growing the game” this is a large portion that the industry needs to realize. Women’s golf is a vast resource that needs to be tapped more across the entire golf industry. But there they are. They come to the course, play nine holes, and then drink wine and eat until the sun sets to mark the end of another day. For the most part, it truly is a social game and an evening out away from the office. I appreciate that!!

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The sun had set on this Ladies League Night.

I guess the last part that I love about working in the golf industry is the education part of it. From a teaching standpoint it’s always great to see the look in a student’s eyes when “they get it”, they make a swing and the ball comes off like it never had for them prior. It’s the part of the education when you break through to a new golfer when you explain why you park the golf cart parallel to the pin. Education, when you get a message through to golfers that there is a business side and why things have to be a certain way and there’s more involved than cutting grass and for them to just simply show up without a tee time… And they get “it”. Lastly, there’s the reason why I write in the first place and have this blog. Whether it’s sharing my opinion through editorials or writing reviews. I love educating people on what’s out there and that there’s another opinion that may not be as popular or the same as their own.

This is why I love and appreciate golf.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

Cannabis vs The PGA TOUR

Alright, the news of the respective suspensions for Matt Every and Robert Garrigus is a few news cycles old. That fact, however, will not stop me from sharing my opinion on the topic.

In case you were unaware, the aforementioned golfers from the PGA TOUR (Robert Garrigus and Matt Every) both received 12-week suspensions for violating the TOUR’s drug policy or shall I say it’s policy on “drugs of abuse”. While the policy is in place and the golfers breached the policy I really feel that the suspension or the reason for such is a bit antiquated and perhaps a little misguided.

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Busted. Matt Every seen here at the 2018 RBC Canadian Open. (Photo Credit: Until The Next Tee)

Before continuing, I’m going to share the “Cole’s Notes” version on THC and CBD. When we talk about Cannabis, THC is the “chemical” that essentially makes you feel high and might produce the “munchies”. Yes, it is effective in taking away pain. I’m not going to lie. On the odd occasion, I have partaken in using the “Devil’s Lettuce” since it became legal to us in Canada. It has given me 12 hours of pain-free living when I have used it and I can’t tell you how great it is when I have that kind of “freedom”. While the THC gives you the high, CBD, on the other hand, helps with pain and inflammation like THC does except that you don’t get high from it.

Both players had their medical marijuana prescriptions given to them in states where they reside and where medical marijuana is legal. Where Garrigus uses it for pain, Every uses it to help with mental health. Marijuana is a proven clinical treatment for treating depression and anxiety. Quite honestly, if Every, Garrigus or any other player on the PGA TOUR wants to use it I simply don’t blame them. Heck, the game is hard on the body.

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Robert Garrigus (Photo Credit: USA Today)

If you haven’t been to the PGA Show you need to know that there is one niche industry on the rise there amongst exhibitors on the show floor. That industry is CBD. Not long ago there were none. In 2019, that was hardly the case at all. The reality is that CBD (at least) is here to stay. Ask companies like Medterra, Panacea, and HempMe to name a few. They’ll tell you.

In a statement, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan released the following statement.

“Ultimately, we don’t determine what is a banned substance and what’s not, we rely on WADA for doing that,” Monahan said. “We’ll continue to stay very close not only to that substance but any potential substance that would come on or come off the list.” – Jay Monahan PGA TOUR Commissioner

In 2017-18 the PGA TOUR revamped it’s drug/anti-doping policy. However what hasn’t truly come out is how many players in the upper echelon have tested positive. Mr. Monahan, if you’re going to single out Matt Every and Robert Garrigus you might really want to look closer at some “A-Listers”. Who remembers this scene from the 2019 Masters Tournament? If this wasn’t a CBD tincture that Phil Mickelson was using then I don’t know what is. He even looked sketchy. Was he tested and if so did he miraculously test negative? Or was he tested and after testing positive it was simply swept under the rug? It could very well be a case of all players not being treated equally on the PGA TOUR.

While Monahan could be applauded for disciplining the players in question I think there are more serious infractions that could be viewed as detrimental to the game that needs to be addressed. The pace of play and malicious intent in damaging golf courses to name two.

However, getting back to the topic at hand, it might also be time for the policy to be both revisited and possibly revised. As I stated, medical marijuana is being legalized and more acceptable in society. I admit that I was once a prude and dead set against it. If you’re a believer in how things trend (think like stocks) you can believe that more and more player’s on TOUR are going to be turning towards CBD and medical marijuana. It’s inevitable. If it’s legalized and prescribed by a doctor then I say “go for it”. But who am I?

At the end of the day, if player’s like Every and Garrigus can be suspended than Mr. Monahan better make damn sure that all players are treated equally. Imagine if it was Tiger. Would he be suspended? Would it even make the news?

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind