Player’s or Game-Improvement Irons

This article may not head in a direction as you might expect from the title. As my departure for the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is a week away I wanted to see where I should focus my energy on. Especially, when it comes to the subject of irons. Did golfers on social media want to learn more about “Player’s” irons or “Game-Improvement” irons.? According to the poll there was more interest in “Player’s” irons. A result that I found a little surprising.

logo-pgamerch-2019

The sampling was relatively small but it still shed light on the subject. Thanks to those who participated.

Which irons can you relate to more? Which would you prefer to learn about? Asking for a friend LOL Please RT

Game-Improvement Irons – 41%

Player’s Irons – 59%

51 Votes

Personally speaking, it is my opinion that any golfer has the right to pick and choose whatever iron type that he or she wants to play. After all, it is their money. Say there’s a 25-handicap non-gender specific golfer that wants to play a set of Titleist 718 MB irons. I have no issue with that but is said golfer doing themselves a disservice? I definitely think so and you may think that I’m wrong. Conversely, is there anything wrong with a single-digit golfer playing a set of “GI” irons? On this occasion my opinion is no. Here’s some food for thought. Maybe he or she is a single digit handicap because of the GI characteristics. The thing is… with GI irons you can still work and flight a golf ball. It may not be as easy as with a blade but it can be done. Last year after the show I was in a Tampa area Edwin Watts and I was swinging Wilson Golf D300 irons. I was calling out my shots… fade, draw etc and I was getting the results as called out.

d7 cav

My thought for a long time was that if I had a chance to win a tournament and I have to pick between vanity or function… function wins. I could be wrong but it is my opinion. Under pressure, there’s always a chance that a swing could be less than optimal and having the chance to rely on a little forgiveness isn’t a bad thing. Of course, I realize that even the player’s irons on the market have forgiveness built into them. A few years ago Tungsten was the “sudden innovation” that golf equipment manufacturers were incorporating into their iron design… player’s forged irons.

top iron

It’s sort of funny in a way. I used to be all about blades or muscle-cavity irons. As the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day has approached I find myself leaning towards GI irons. Maybe it’s a side effect of testing GI irons the past year, the fact that most recent press releases have been about GI irons and maybe it’s the fact that I’m playing a set of forged GI irons. Or maybe… just maybe it’s the fact that I’m not getting any younger (Yikes… I’m gonna be 47 next week). Either way, that’s where my head is at.

With a bevy of appointments on Demo Day I’ll be swinging as many irons that I can. Below is a brief list of what’s on my “hit list”.

  • Tour Edge Golf – EXS irons
  • Callaway Golf Apex 19 and Apex Pro 19
  • Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK
  • Wilson Golf D7
  • Srixon Z 585 and Z 785
  • New Level 623-M
  • Mizuno Golf JPX 919
  • PING Blueprint
  • Epon Golf
  • Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR
  • XXIO Forged

I cannot wait to get down there and put these irons through their paces. It’s all about first impressions. Stay tuned!!

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

Odds ‘n’ Ends

Sitting here.. I’m reflecting on several things from the last week in golf. Some of my thoughts are about the upcoming 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, some of it is about the recent equipment releases while some of it is about what we witnessed this past week in professional golf. Much like when you go out to the grocery store with no list you’re merely picking up odds ‘n’ ends. So that’s what this article is going to be titled. It might even turn into a regular piece. Who knows?!

The Sentry Tournament of Champions was a fun event to watch. Yes, it left me dreaming of going to the Hawaiian Islands as it’s always been on my “Bucket List”. Since I was 10 years old. I’ve always dreamed of seeing sea turtles, volcanoes, visiting Pearl Harbor and since I started my foray into golf.. playing Hawaiian courses and experiencing the “Tradewinds”. In a script perfect for a product launch Xander Schauffele won with the new Epic Flash and Apex Pro 19 irons in the bag. His closing round (62) was remarkable but I want to look at a couple of other things. Bryson DeChambeau proclaimed the new knee height drop to be “a bit absurd”. No arguments here. I’ve mocked it enough recently. But it’s as stupid an amendment to the rules of golf as an amendment can be. While it isn’t hard to bend over at the waist to execute the drop (Bryson was a bit over the top) what are the benefits? In one video I made demonstrating my need for “muscle memory” the ball rolled forward from knee height and rolled back into a divot. Does it really make a difference? If anything, nothing has changed. Am I missing something? Heck, why don’t we just place the ball. Screw integrity.

kapalua_1920_toc18_18th_green_grandstand
Photo Credit: Golf Channel

Sticking with the Sentry Tournament of Champions we saw a first. Under the new rules of golf we had our first penalty assessed. Dustin Johnson has the “dubious” distinction. DJ was assessed a two-stroke penalty when a pulled tee shot went into the long grass… where the wild things are. A marshal on the course had marked the area that they had believed DJ’s golf ball had come to rest. Locating a golf ball with a (TaylorMade Golf logo on it) Johnson promptly chopped it out. After hitting his shot he continued his walk and found HIS ball. There’s a lesson here folks. Stay loose for that knee height drop. Bend over and move the grass and identify your golf ball. Besides, there’s no penalty for the moved ball. Or at least that’s the way that I translate it.

This past week we saw plenty of product launches. In particular, those from the “marketing mammoths” of the industry. During these launches there was no shortage of marketing buzzwords. TBRAR, Speed Bridge, Triple Track, “our longest golf ball”, AI, Flash Face Technology and so on. They do marketing and they do it well.

TaylorMade Golf announced their 2019 range of products. From the newly designed TP5 and TP5x golf balls to their new M5 and M6 range of products. The irons have incorporated “Speed Bridge Technology”. There is something there that sort of reminds me of the Nike SlingShot irons. I know… it was horizontal as opposed to vertical. Upon posting pics on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) my “Tweeps” were definitely not sold on the looks. Nor was I. After all… how can you kiss a girl (or guy) if you can’t look at them? Maybe their performance outweighs the aesthetics.

299871-299800-2019_tp5_3_4-962118-original-1546440303-f173c4-original-1546454114

I beat the tar out of the pricing in articles so we will not beat that “dead horse” again. Or at least for now.

Callaway Golf also announced their product range. Featuring the Epic Flash metal woods, Big Bertha 19, Apex 19 and Apex Pro 19 irons and lastly the ERC Soft golf ball featuring “Triple Track Technology”. I’ve seen this sort of thing before and I commented on it back around 2015. Kick X Golf has/had their Tour-Z golf ball (who consequently got sued by Acushnet and I’ve held a secret for a long time about that) and while technically different the alignment aid on those golf balls were the same as the newly introduced Triple Track Technology. I said then that it was the best alignment aid on the market for putting and now that distinction clearly goes to Callaway Golf. The three lines do significantly improve alignment on putts as Callaway Golf demonstrated during the launch. With that said, I am very intrigued by many things about the ERC Soft golf ball. In particular, their hybrid cover which takes the feel of urethane and combines it with the durability of surlyn. Consider the cover a “love child” of the two materials. For $39.99 USD this sounds like a decent offering. Color me intrigued.

balls-2019-erc-soft-triple-track_2___1

The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is coming up quick and my booked appointment schedules are full. Demo Day is crammed full of interviews with the likes of Wilson Golf at 9 am and a company called Eagle Rebirth at 3. In between are appointments with Callaway Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO, Cobra Puma Golf, Jack Grace USA and many others. The mix is absolutely eclectic. I’m also going to be visiting with others that are unplanned. Epon, Miura, Knuth Golf, Fourteen and Lynx Golf are high on that list. I have no doubt that there will be some surprises and hidden gems. There always is.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

The PGA Merchandise Show

For everyone that doesn’t know the annual PGA Merchandise Show that takes place in Orlando, FL every January is a “Mecca” for everything in the golf industry.

img_20160201_012821

Buyers, Exhibitors, Media, Industry and PGA Professionals from all over the globe invade the Orange County Convention Center (and Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge). The show is dubbed as the “Major of Golf Business” and it truly is. If you’re involved in the golf industry you almost need to attend.  know that the case for me. It gives me a chance to network and arrange for articles and reviews for you my viewers.

Reed Worldwide Exhibitions is the organizing body that puts on the annual show. The logistics of the PGA Show is hard to fathom. I’ve attended the show over the last several years as I treat it as a sort of “pilgrimage”. Without it… I have no doubt that my blog and website doesn’t exist. Have I seen changes during the last several years at the show? Yes.. I have. Other attendees have seen it saying that it’s “shell of its former self”. Many feel that there is a lot less equipment and way too much apparel. I’ve personally seen changes at the show and definitely trends in the industry. The latter being a big reason why I attend. Yes, there is the coming and going of big names.

DSC_0027
The Wilson Golf booth at Demo Day. Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge is the venue.

A couple of years ago everyone that attended the show saw that Nike Golf was a no show. When that happened I reported that something had (in all likelihood) gone “wrong”. It just felt like they were going out of  the golf equipment business (which we now know was the case). A little quieter we saw the likes of Bridgestone Golf and Mizuno Golf disappear from the show’s landscape. Why?

Well, when these things happen there’s always a lot of speculation. From soaring costs for space on the floor or a shift in the direction of a company… it happens. Honestly, the cost of having a booth on the floor (or a slot at Demo Day) is the largest complaint that I’ve heard from exhibitors. While I’ve never been told exact figures the show isn’t cheap for them to attend. I heard a rumor about how much it cost TaylorMade Golf to have their lavish set-up a few years ago but I never confirmed it.

It’s no secret that the aforementioned TaylorMade Golf is not attending the show this year. A story that I covered yesterday. While it’s unfortunate that they will not be in attendance this year and some view this as a “black eye” I am WAY more excited about who is attending. Bridgestone Golf is returning (last seen in 2015… their booth was really good then). Also returning to the show in 2019 is Mizuno Golf. Mizuno Golf will be on the floor for the first time since 2005. They were in attendance at one of the first show’s that I attended but they just had a tiny set-up in a meeting room in the OCCC’s concourse.

DSC_0013

For those that think the quality of the PGA Merchandise Show has slipped there are others that don’t view it the same way. 2018 saw record numbers of attendees and was named “the “Greatest Show of 2017″ at the 2018 Trade Show Executive (TSE) Gold 100 Awards Gala, Oct. 11, 2018”. Below is the full press release from Sherry Major who takes care of PR for PGA Shows Media.

PGA Merchandise Show Wins Trade Show Executive (TSE)
Gold 100 “Greatest Show of 2017” Award
 
NORWALK, Conn. (October 18, 2018) — The PGA Merchandise Show was named the “Greatest Show of 2017” at the 2018 Trade Show Executive (TSE) Gold 100 Awards Gala, Oct. 11, 2018, at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif.

The TSE Gold 100 Awards & Summit annually salutes the largest and most accomplished trade shows of the previous year, and the 2018 event drew a large crowd of show organizers for the celebration and a full schedule of educational sessions and networking opportunities, Oct. 10-12.

“The PGA Merchandise Show has evolved to serve the industry through the ups and downs of the golf market,” said PGA Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President Marc Simon. “Through this period, the PGA Show team has stayed even closer to its customers, and worked side-by-side with the PGA of America to anticipate market changes, adapt to industry developments and create new resources to help PGA Professionals, exhibitors and the golf industry prosper.”

“We are very honored, humbled and excited to be named the ‘Greatest Show of 2017’ by Trade Show Executive and will continue to work diligently to improve the PGA Merchandise Show each year.”

The PGA Merchandise Show, first established in 1954, is organized in partnership with the PGA of America.

“We are pleased with this important industry recognition for the PGA Merchandise Show and are proud of the strong partnership between the PGA of America and Reed Exhibitions,” said PGA of America Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Price. “Each year the PGA Merchandise Show is the largest gathering of PGA Professionals and an important opportunity for the global golf industry to connect face-to-face. Together, we strive to deliver tremendous value to PGA Professionals, manufacturers and industry leaders to drive the business of the game and to help the sport evolve.”

Full details of all award winners are available at TSEGold100.com.

Plans are well underway for the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-25, in Orlando. The 66th edition of the event will welcome some 1,000 top golf companies and brands and more than 40,000 industry professionals from around the world to the industry’s annual global summit for the business of golf. The PGA Show Demo Day, the world’s largest professional golf testing event, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Orange County National Golf Center. During PGA Show days, Jan. 23-25, at the Orange County Convention Center, PGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders will uncover the latest trends, source the newest golf merchandise, test the latest equipment, learn proven business best practices, network among peers and move forward the business of the game. The PGA Merchandise Show, “the MAJOR of Golf Business,” is a trade-only event, not open to the public. Additional details are available at www.PGAShow.com.

I felt that 2017 was a good show and 2018 for me personally was even better. All that I know is that I cannot wait for January 2019.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee