#TeeBoxChatter – 2020 PGA Show Demo Day Recap

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.

IMG_20200121_091401811

Demo Day from the perspective of the Cleveland/Srixon/XXIO booth.

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.

IMG_20200121_091613734

Just released on January 21st. The CBX Full Face wedge from Cleveland Golf.

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.

 

IMG_20200121_103122367

COBRA Golf KING Forged Tec ONE Length. Just… WOW!

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).

IMG_20200121_145710184

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!

Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio

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).

IMG_20200120_112437954_HDR

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.

IMG_20200120_110358407_HDR

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.

IMG_20200120_121025262

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!!