Final Word – The 2021 PGA Show Virtual Experience

For another year, the annual PGA Show has reached its conclusion.

For the months and even days leading up to the virtual iteration of the PGA Show, I have to admit a few things. I was concerned about the technical side of things because, contrary to what you may think, I am so far from being a technical savvy individual that it is truly hard to comprehend. I had never used outlets like Zoom or Teams up until about 2 weeks ago. My experience was a total of three calls.

Secondly, I wasn’t into it. Period! I wasn’t feeling the whole virtual “thing” because my inner childish mentality came out, pacifier and all. There was no in-person attendance and I just didn’t want to accept the fact that it’d be okay. The lack of meetings, the absence of handshakes, and really my lack of technical prowess spooked me. I had a difficult time grappling with “the how”. Really, in retrospect, it was more about the fear of the unknown. Granted, media consultant for the PGA Show (Sherry Major) did settle me down… a lot.

I think my biggest concern heading into the show this year was losing content. Content like the annual Teezy Awards from Demo Day, which has gained in popularity. Also, the fact that a large bulk of my content comes from the PGA Show demo day and floor. Especially, when it comes to the equipment side of things. Reviews ARE the “bread and butter” of Until The Next Tee, a fact that became really obvious in my record-setting 2020.

But, it didn’t take too long for my sentiments to change. As the media registration finally opened and the exhibitor directory was launched, I started to go through my usual routine. Scouting exhibitors for anyone that caught my eye, with hopes of setting up meetings. With all of the media resources available and the exhibitor showrooms, the material is there to provide plenty of information to keep me going.

It’s sort of funny how the week progressed. It was almost like I was in Orlando for the “real” thing. I was waking up early, showering, doing my hair, shaving (that’s a stretch), having coffee, and going for the morning walk like I customarily do while attending the show. The only difference was that my pup, Muskoka, was with me. My “golffice” which I referred to as the “nervecentre” was a warm 80*F, I was sweating in there. There was some tropical foliage present – okay it was one small plant – but it was “Florida-like”. I even had a quasi ETC (Equipment Test Center) like we see at the end of the convention centre.

For the most part, my meetings went off without a hitch, other than a couple of time zone issues and one case where I was in the meeting room, my expected appointment was in there too. But, neither one of us saw that we were in the room. Managing some of the meetings was difficult too because, there was a total of three methods of meeting being used. Zoom, Teams, and the Online Rooms set-up by Reed Exhibitions were all utilized.

Overall, while the platform wasn’t perfect it was very well done. I applaud all that were involved. Thank you Reed Exhibitions for making this happen.

I had many great meetings and it ended up being a busy show. It wasn’t typical by any means but has anything been typical in the last 10 months? Nothing beats being in-person, but if I have to be totally frank, the virtual show was a great stop-gap. Ironically, the show being virtual and me not traveling to Florida was a blessing in disguise. Having been taken to the hospital by ambulance at 5 am EST on Tuesday morning, it was better that it happened here and not in Florida.

Hey Florida, see you in 2022.

I don’t know what 2022 holds, but I can almost envision a hybrid show next year. Sure, we hope to be in-person and I’ll be there, if allowed. But, I can see some virtual options being part of the equation too, although that might mean more manpower for the exhibitors. It might just be too difficult from a logistics standpoint.

There were all kinds of products discovered. What’s really exciting are the smaller, independent brands with great backstories. The number of fantastic products under $100 or even $50. Even virtually, the PGA Show was a cornucopia of quality products and hidden gems.

Per a press release from the PGA Show, the show was quite the success. “11,000 attendees from 78 countries, including some 6,500 PGA Professionals, connected online to source thousands of products from nearly 400 participating golf brands” and “virtual presentations hosted nearly 25,000 participants, with numerous single presentations exceeding 400 participants. The virtual platform facilitated nearly 5,000 attendee-exhibitor meetings and logged nearly 300,000 interactions, views and connections by PGA Professionals and industry attendees”. To everybody involved, congratulations!

I found it so odd that the show ended up feeling like a simulation of actually being there. Early mornings, anticipation, the excitement, the rush of meetings, the full days (even though I didn’t have nearly as many meetings as when I’m in attendance), and falling asleep after I ate upon the conclusion of each day. It was different, but was it really that different? I even had the same letdown feeling when it was over after my final meeting.

I’m already looking forward to the possibility of traveling to Florida Jan. 25-28, 2022 for the 2022 PGA Merchandise Show. If it’s virtual, I’m ready for it as well.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind

2021 PGA Show (Virtual) – Friday Recap

Well, the final day of the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show is in the books.

Typically, my final day of the show when we’re in-person is usually very quiet. I might have one scheduled meeting and the rest of the day is all about “running and gunning” seeing as many exhibitors as possible in an impromptu form. 2021 was no different.

I only had a few meetings on Friday and took in a couple of sessions as well. The latter is something that I’ve never done until this year. As far as meetings go, I took in the end part of a session with the Founder/President of World Ranked Golfers with a Disability Adaptive Golfers Gianna Rojas. Even virtually, Ms. Rojas strikes me as such an engaging person. I was captivated by listening to her speak.

Other sessions that I took part in were the “Mid-Day Stretch” put on by TPI and I watched a session from Golf Ireland. As if I need more prompting to get over to Ireland.

Skin care is so important to all of us. Whether you’re a golfer or not. With this in mind, I had a meeting with the President of BloqUV, Corina Biton. We had a very nice chance and I learned about an initiative that occurs in May. “Melanoma May”. Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans dies from Skin Cancer annually? Alarming.

I spoke with James Lin of Altaz Inc, and they are going to be producing a rangefinder that’s just a hair different than what is currently out there in the marketplace.

RypStyck wants you to “Reach Your Potential” by gaining more speed with their speed swing trainer. You may think it’s the same as other product(s) out there, but I assure you that it’s different. Speaking of training aids, keep an eye on this space for more information on the brainchild of David Bareno. The training aid is called “Scratch Stick” and it truly wears several hats.

Lastly, I had a nice chat with Rob Lang of Indi Golf. New wedges are coming from this brand, a brand that I’ve been watching since 2017-18. In the words of Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld. Remember him? In the lawsuit against the tobacco company he clearly says to Kramer, “your face is my case”. Well, the face of their new wedges could be defined as exquisite. The entire face has CNC milling over the entire face so even a shot off of the toe will produce spin.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind

2021 PGA Show (Virtual) – Thursday Recap

I am so sorry. My plan was to put this all together last night. But, in typical PGA Show week, I ate dinner and fell asleep. Hmm, in a lot of ways this has been like the usual PGA Show for me.

So, yesterday I had a number of meetings and it was a real mixed bag of products. I had the opportunity to meet with Callaway Golf (Tyler Shean) and Cobra Golf (Tom Olsavsky). Their products are on fire and I cannot wait until I get the chance to make swings with them. I met with Skechers Golf (Taylor Cooney) talked me through their range and they have some dynamite products coming out. Jen Saxton from ShotScope Golf talked me through their ShotScope V3 wearable technology and they have made major upgrades from the V2 which I tested and reviewed. Gary Austin from Playmakar, a brand of recovery products like percussion massagers and much more.

I also had a telephone conversation with Douglas Herman of EndSwate. A training aid that is so obvious that it hurts and a phone call with Holly Geoghegan from The Golf Insiders. We recorded an episode for her podcast. Poor Holly!

It reall was a full day. Later on today (Friday) the show reaches its conclusion.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind

2021 PGA Merchandise Show – Tuesday and Wednesday Recap

Hey everyone!!! Greetings from a very tropical Until The Next Tee “nervecentre”. My “golffice” is running at a steady 80+ Fahrenheit and is complete with native flora, like you’d see in Orlando. Not to mention, I do have a ETC here too! If you haven’t been to the PGA Show, the ETC or Equipment Test Centre is located at one end of the Orange County Convention Center on the show floor. A place to test new equipment or make putts in the case of their putting green.

So, I guess you could say that I’m simulating the 2021 PGA Show quite well. It’s all about adapting right?

For a Tuesday recap, there really wasn’t much in the way of reporting. Due to unforeseen circumstances and an unexpected trip to the emergency department I wasn’t able to hold meetings. To all of the viewers looking for some content from that day I apologize. To all of the exhibitors that I had appointments with, I ‘m sorry.

Wednesday was a different day. I was still feeling the effects of the night before, but I held meetings and got through them all. Typically, Wednesday is the first day of the show as Demo Day take place Tuesday.

I had several appointments including meetings with apparel companies like Waggle Golf, Original Penguin, and Callaway Golf Apparel. From cool prints involving wildlife (Waggle Golf) to fun prints and bold colour stories. Golf apparel trends for 2021 definitely include fun and bold.

Golf accessories played a part today too. Practical, ease of use, and inexpensive rule the day. I really foresee items like Towel Tag, Clean Flight Golf (a personal golf ball washer) making headway in the industry. Especially when it comes to presents for Mother’s and Father’s Day respectively or Christmas. Handy, practical gifts or items to buy for yourself.

Lastly, golf gifts come in all shapes, size and quality. But, the quality of gifts available from In The Sand Golf are amazing. Licensed gifts from the Open and so much more. The owner (Mary Whitworth) is a great conversation and I look forward to working with her more in the future.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show.

Until The Next Tee!!

Srixon/ASICS Announces New GEL-Course ACE Golf Shoes

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — January 27, 2021 — SRIXON®/ASICS® a worldwide leader in golf equipment design and manufacturing, is proud to introduce a new golf footwear model in partnership with ASICS North America – the GEL-Course ACETM.

“The Srixon/ASICS partnership has been tremendous for both our brands,” said Mike Powell, President of Sales and Marketing at Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO. “ASICS is a huge global sports brand and widely recognized as the leader in performance footwear. We’re excited to launch the new GEL-Course ACETM. This shoe will provide the legendary performance of ASICS running shoes and the waterproof protection you need when conditions on the course aren’t perfect.” ASICS golf shoes are built with inspiration from ASICS legendary running shoes and deliver comfort and flexibility, while providing outstanding traction and stability.

The GEL-Course ACETM provides a waterproof, spikeless golf shoe that will help you walk the course in style. Featuring ASICS Gel, FlyteFoam and comfort padding on the ankle, the GEL-Course ACE shoes were inspired by ASICS running shoes and provide more comfort on every swing.

Key Technologies:

  • Lightweight Frame Work and Flexibility: Air mesh provides flexibility during the swing and while walking the golf course. ASICS FlyteFoam® provides lightweight shock absorption and plenty of durability for golf.
  • Flexible Waterproof Upper: Flexible mesh provides comfort, while the thin PU and waterproof lining keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
  • Supportive Fit: An air mesh at vamp and the integrated quarter panel provide a supportive fit, while internal molded heel counter secures optimal foot support. Additional ankle padding helps ensure a custom fit that adapts to every move.
  • Golf Specific Tooling: The FG traction sole pattern places spikes exactly where they need to be for stability and traction while walking the course. Rearfoot GEL cushioning reduces impact and increases shock absorption, while Toe and Lateral rubber wraps help maintain balance throughout the golf swing.

In addition to the release of the new GEL-Course ACE, Srixon/ASICS announces the introduction of four new color options for the GEL-Course GLIDE: Sheet Rock/White and Peacoat/Glacier Grey for Men’s shoes and Black/Rose Gold and Glacier Grey/Pure Silver for Women’s shoes. The GEL-Course GLIDE shoes will now retail for $99.99.

Retail Information and Pricing

Pricing: $149.99

Sizes: Men’s: 7-12, 13; Women’s: 6-10

Colors: Men’s: White/Pure Silver, White/White, Graphite Grey/Graphite Grey

Women’s: White/Pure Silver, Glacier Grey/Pink Cameo

U.S. Retail Launch Date: January 27, 2021