67th PGA Merchandise Show Hosts Golf’s Top Brands at the Annual ‘MAJOR of Golf Business’ in Orlando, Jan. 21-24, 2020

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (December 5, 2019) – Golf’s top companies and market-leading brands are making plans to showcase their newest innovations in equipment, technology, fashion, accessories, training aids and golf-related services to PGA Professionals, golf retailers and influential industry leaders from around the world at the 67th PGA Merchandise Show, the MAJOR of Golf Business, in Orlando, Jan. 21-24, 2020.

The 2020 PGA Merchandise Show will host some 1,000 golf companies and brands within 1 million square feet of interactive exhibit, demonstration and meeting space of the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse Exhibit Hall. Nearly 40,000 industry professionals representing all 50 U.S. states and nearly 90 countries typically attend the annual PGA Merchandise Show, creating the world’s largest business-to-business golf event.

Key equipment brands such as Bridgestone, Callaway Golf, Cobra Golf, Mizuno, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, Titleist and Wilson will showcase their newest equipment and technology at the PGA Merchandise Show. Golf lifestyle apparel and accessories are also well represented, with companies such as adidas Golf, AHEAD, Antigua, Bobby Jones Apparel, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Dunning, FootJoy, Greg Norman Collection, Peter Millar, Polo Ralph Lauren, PUMA Golf, Summit Brands (B. Draddy, Fairway & Greene, EP NY, Zero Restriction), Travis Mathew and Under Armour anchoring the PGA Merchandise Show apparel section. A directory of exhibiting companies is updated regularly at PGAShow.com.

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“The PGA Merchandise Show will feature the very best names in golf, from market leaders and established golf manufacturers to service and accessory providers, as well as inventive start-up companies, creating an unparalleled marketplace of the newest innovations to improve the golf experience,” said PGA Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President Marc Simon. “Additionally, a full PGA Show Week of education, merchandising, business and peer networking programs offers numerous opportunities for attendees to advance careers and drive industry business.”

The 2020 PGA Show Week will begin with the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference (Jan. 20–22), the AGM Retail Conference (Jan. 21) and the PGA Show Education Conference (Jan. 21–24) at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). The 18th Annual PGA Show Demo Day will be held Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Orange County National Golf Center. PGA Merchandise Show exhibits, demonstrations, presentations and special events will fill out the industry calendar Wednesday – Friday, Jan. 22–24, at the Convention Center. Additionally, the Racquet and Paddle Sports Show, a trade event for the tennis, racquet and paddle sports industry, will be co-located with the PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 22–24, in the Convention Center (West Halls E/F).

The PGA Merchandise Show, “the MAJOR of Golf Business,” is organized in partnership with the PGA of America and is a trade-only event, not open to the public. Attendance is restricted to PGA Professionals and golf industry personnel. Attendance and registration guidelines are available at PGAShow2020.com/Attendance.

Learn more at PGAShow.com.

The 2nd Annual Teezy Awards – 2019 PGA Show (Equipment Edition)

The time has come! The points have been allocated, the points have been tallied and it’s time to announce the winner’s of the 2nd Annual Teezy Awards – PGA Show (Equipment Edition).

When the show wrapped a thought occurred to me. Actually, my thought was formed as early as the end of Demo Day where I thought “Damn, the 2019 product cycle is strong”. This would be a trend that would last right up until the moment that the Orange County Convention Center staff unceremoniously turn out the lights.

The reality is that there are so many great products that my finalists had to go to a Top 5. I actually couldn’t get the nominees down to a Top 3 and this was really noticeable in a few key categories.  How were the winners decided? I delegated point out of a maximum of 40 points. In the case of equipment, points were allocated like so…

  • Aesthetics (10 points)
  • Performance (10 points)
  • Sound/Feel (10 points)
  • Innovation (5 points)
  • Price point (5 points)

I also feel the need to point out that since products were so strong brand to brand this year an issue became evident. I had to figure out a tie-breaker. This became very obvious when I had ties in the first three categories that I tabulated. So needing help in deciding the first tie-breaker I took to social media with a poll. In what was also a very close race the public decided that the first tie-breaker would be Price-point.

Performance: 48%

Price point: 52%

Poll placed on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all who participated.

Aesthetics (10 pts) Performance (10 pts) Feel/Sound (10 pts) Innovation (5 pts) Value/Price Point (5 pts) Total
Top Driver
Callaway Golf Epic Flash 9 10 10 5 3 37/40
Tour Edge EXS 8.5 9 9 5 5 36.5/40
Mizuno ST-190 10 10 10 4 3 37/40**
Cobra Golf KING F9 9 9 9.5 4 4 35.5/40
Wilson Staff D7 8.5 9 8.5 4 5 35/40
Top Fairway Metal
Callaway Golf Epic Flash 9 10 10 5 3 37/40 **
Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR 9 9 10 4 4 37/40
Tour Edge Exotics EXS 9 9 9 5 5 37/40
PING G410 9.5 10 9 5 3 36.5/40
Cobra Golf KING F9 9 9 9 4 4 34/40
Top Hybrid
PING G410 9.5 10 10 5 3 37.5/40**
XXIO Prime 9 9 9 5 2 34/40
Eagle Rebirth Golf 9.5 10 9.5 3 5 37/40
Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR 10 10 10 3 3.5 36.5/40
Wilson Staff D7 9 10 10 4 4 37/40
Top Forged Irons
Srixon Golf Z 585 9 9 9 3 4 34/40
EPON Tour-AF 10 8.5 9 3 4 34.5/40
Bridgestone Golf TOUR B JGR HF2 10 10 10 4 4 38/40 **
Callaway Golf Apex 19 9.5 10 10 5 3.5 38/40
Eagle Rebirth Golf X3 8.5 9 8 3.5 5 34/40
Top Cast Irons
Wilson D7 9.5 9.5 9 4 4.5 36.5/40
Cobra Golf KING F9 9 10 9.5 4.5 4 37/40
TEE EXS 9.5 10 9.5 4.5 5 38.5/40**
Lynx Golf Black Cat 9 9 9 4 4.5 35.5/40
PRGR RS 9 9 8 4 3 33/40
Top Wedge
Cleveland Golf RTX 4 8.5 9 9 4 4 34.5/40
Bridgestone Golf Tour B XW-1 10 10 10 5 4 39/40 **
Indi Golf ATK Grind 9 9.5 9 5 4 36.5/40
Mizuno Golf S18 Blue Ion 10 9 10 4 4 37/40
Eagle Rebirth Golf W5 9 9 9.5 4 5 36.5/40
Top Putter
ARGOLF Mordred 10 10 10 5 4 39/40 **
SP Series 39 Blade 10 10 10 5 3 38/40
SeeMore Platinum M5 HT Mallet 10 10 9.5 4.5 4 38/40
MLA Putters Tour Mallet 9 9.5 9 5 4 36.5/40
EVNROLL MO ER5B 10 10 9.5 4.5 4 38/40

The Teezy Awards aren’t an exact science and there will be readers who will most certainly disagree with the winner and losers. But this is exactly the reason why it’s so important to me to do this. It can start a conversation. Also, bear in mind that the winners are based on my observations and that winner’s and runner-ups are totally unsolicited. So without further delay…

 

The Winners…

 

Top Driver

top driver

 

Mizuno Golf ST-190 (37/40) –  This was a bit of a surprise for me. Maybe it was just my lack of experience swinging the brand. But the Mizuno Golf ST-190 is a driver that has a ton going for it. In the looks department, it scored a perfect 10 as this head is dark! Dark in a way where you could think of a ninja or assassin. It combines solid black at the leading edge and transitions into the carbon composite crown as you look towards the trailing edge. Along with that trailing edge, you have a white accent just to break up the darkness. The RunBird (Mizuno’s logo) serves as an alignment aid. The performance was tremendous as strikes were rewarded with a ballflight that just seemed to “float” and carry downrange. Impressive seeing that the conditions on Demo Day were very windy. No signs of ballooning and what I liked in the brief time was the light feel of the ball coming off of the head. The shaft was the Fujikura Atmos White Tour Spec 6S. There are two models of the ST-190 (Standard) and ST-190G. The latter offers more adjustability and lower spin.

Runner-Up (Callaway Golf Flash Epic 37/40) – The runner-up in the driver category was the Callaway Golf Epic Flash. The CG EF was a very impressive driver. There was nothing that I didn’t like about this driver other than it was perhaps a little too flashy in the graphics area. If the graphics would have been toned down a touch… this was the winning product. But something needs to be said for “shelf appeal” at retail. I sincerely hoped that Callaway Golf would have married the Rogue and Epic. They did!! Make no bones about it the Epic Flash flat out performed.

 

Top Fairway Metal

top fairway

Callaway Golf Epic Flash (37/40): If you were to carry a Callaway Golf Epic Flash fairway metal in your golf bag you just may not need to worry about carrying a driver. This fairway metal was sheer to joy to swing. The Callaway Golf Epic Flash fairway metal boasts “Flash Face Technology” like it’s bigger sibling for higher ball speeds. Based on my observations I think that there may be more to it than just marketing buzzwords. Long (possibly the longest I’ve ever made swings with) the CG FE fairway metal will have you thinking Par 5 holes in two. Shafted with a Project X Even Flow 65 gram shaft and a stock Golf Pride Align grip the overall looks are killer. Admittedly, the only thing that I didn’t really like was that the graphics are a little too flashy (what’s in a name right?). Did I mention that all of my swings were “off the deck”? Easy to elevate.

Runner-Up (Tour Edge Exotics EXS 37/40) – The TEE EXS fairway metal was only edged out by the winner because I felt that the TEE EXS wasn’t quite as “hot”. That said, in my opinion, the TEE EXS was impressive. So easy to hit repeatable golf shots off of the deck and a ton of technology at a very attractive price point. I loved the acoustics and feel at impact because it sounded sharp… or piercing. I really liked how sleek and clean the EXS fairway metal was in the address position.

 

Top Hybrid

top hybrid

PING G410 (37.5/40) – The PING G410 hybrid was the star of the hybrid category at the 2019 PGA Show. Living up to what PING strives for (forgiveness) the G410 certainly lives up to the PING name. The maraging steel face generated plenty of “pop” off of the face. This is a hybrid that is really easy to launch and it elevates quickly which also contributes to stopping power on the green. The PING G410 is the manufacturers first ever adjustable hybrid and it has one feature in particular that REALLY caught my attention. This hybrid can be adjusted 3* flat effectively eliminating a hook… my miss.

Runner-Up (Eagle Rebirth Golf X1 37/40) – Haven’t heard of ERG? You aren’t alone. I’ll be elaborating on them more in a bit but their X1 hybrid head was really impressive. Another head that was easy to elevate what impressed me was how it held the wind on Demo Day. Swings were met with an acoustically pleasing sound. A straight ball-flight with a nice baby draw that led to me laughing to myself about what I saw and felt. What it lacks in innovation it makes up for simplicity and performance.

 

Top Forged Irons

top forged

Bridgestone Golf TOUR B JGR HF2 (38/40) – The Bridgestone Golf TOUR B JGR HF2 irons were my pick for the Top Forged Iron category. Not only that… they were nearly my favorite iron of the 2019 PGA Show. These are a handsome golf club that offers absolute buttery feel. The forging is soft and the beautiful part about these forged irons is that they are plenty forgiving. The JGR HF2 irons feature a thin face for higher ball speeds and it shows. This was especially noticeable considering where the heavy wind was coming from at Demo Day. Helping with the feel is that Bridgestone Golf added a rubber polymer insert into the head. If you’re looking for a forged iron they should be on your list.

Runner-Up (Callaway Golf Apex 19 38/40) – The Callaway Golf Apex 19 irons were well worth the wait. Three years removed from their prior iteration these irons were terrific. I distinctly recollect my eyes widening with my first strike. These irons are good-looking. They were long, consistent and the ballflight was penetrating. There’s a reason why it was a hard choice.

 

Top Cast Irons (Includes Hollow-Body Construction)

top cast

Tour Edge Exotics EXS (38.5/40) – The first thing that I wanted to point out with the EXS irons from Tour Edge Exotics is that the model I tested was with the graphite Tensei shafts from Mitsubishi Chemical. Something just felt right with these irons in my hands. Maybe it was the look at the address position or maybe it’s just the general look of them. In a way, they look like a “muscle car” or something to that effect. Passes were aggressive and that was a direct by-product from the confidence I felt looking down at address. That said, the top-line isn’t thick and the offset isn’t unattractive. The face is forged and has a hollow body construction… the result is terrific exit velocity out of the hitting area.

Runner-Up (Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK 37/40) – It didn’t take me very long to realize that the KING F9 SPEEDBACK (ONE Length and Variable Length) were dynamos in the 2019 product cycle and a contender for a Teezy Award in the cast category. It took a total of two swings with each model to realize that Cobra Golf had improved on their KING F8 irons. Those irons tested very well last year (the review says as much). The KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons are a very fun iron to swing and they perform as advertised.

 

Top Wedge

topwedge

Bridgestone Golf TOUR B XW-1 (39/40) – The TOUR B XW-1 wedges were the clear winner of the top wedge category. The XW-1 has a buttery soft feel (I know it’s an overused adjective in the industry) but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. I love the feel of this club as the clubhead passes through the hitting area. Forged from 1020 Carbon Steel this wedge features multiple grind options. Also of note is that Bridgestone Golf created what it calls “Biting Rail Milled Groove Design” for more spin. I wasn’t able to test greenside spin with these wedges but I can tell you this much. They provide a ton of spin on 1/4 to full wedge shots based on what I saw as golf balls landed on tightly mowed areas… make-shift greens. The price-point isn’t bad at all.

Runner-Up (Mizuno Golf S18 37/40) – The Mizuno Golf S18 is Mizuno’s latest addition to their performance wedge line-up. Mass is placed higher-up in the head in the higher lofts to allow for a more consistent spin on strikes higher up the face. The S18 is available in several finishes including my favorite (Blue Ion). The head features Mizuno’s renowned Grain Flow Forged feel and is constructed from 1025 Boron. This material equates to more durability for the grooves.

 

Top Putter

top putter

ARGOLF Mordred (39/40) – The Arthurian Legend lives on coming to golfers all the way from the Brittany Region in France. Mordred has a “dark story” behind it as Mordred was a treacherous traitor from Arthurian lore. However, this Mordred is no traitor as you’ll sink putts with it in hand. The ARGOLF Mordred is a mallet putter that’s crafted from aerospace grade 7175 Aluminum for a soft feel. Also of note is the fact that Mordred offers a total club weight of 525 grams and has an M.O.I, rating of 9800. Mordred provides a consistent roll whether it’s off of the center of the face or the heel or toe. There is no twisting whatsoever. I love the looks of Mordred as it’s grey with an orange alignment aid. Add in the black PVD shaft with the Grey with Orange trim mid-sized PURE grip and you have a putter that performs great but looks even meaner.

Runner -Up (EVNROLL Murdered Out ER5B 38/40) – If you look at the chart there were three putters that finished with 38/40 points. SeeMore was there with its Platinum M5 HT Mallet and so was the Sacks Parente Series 39 Blade Putter. However, when push came to shove I really liked how the Murdered Out ER5 putter rolled putts. It’s never easy to judge things based on 8 feet in a booth but it just seemed to roll the ball really well. Of note is the inclusion of what EVNROLL calls it’s “Gravity Grip”. The Gravity Grip has a rod that runs through the length of the grip which EVNROLL states that it “eliminates face rotation through impact”.

Hidden Gem Award

Eagle Rebirth Golf – It just seems like every year that I attend the PGA Merchandise Show there’s almost always a “Hidden  Gem” that I uncover. Even though it’s a new category in 2019 this award would have definitely gone to New Level Golf last year. For 2019, that honor goes to Eagle Rebirth Golf. If you haven’t heard of them you aren’t alone. I honestly feel that if I were to survey 100 golfers I’m not certain that 10 would have heard of them before. I’m hoping that changes.

Eagle Rebirth Golf is the manufacturer of several designs of metalwoods, irons, and wedges. Their irons and wedges are forged from either 8620 or 1025 Carbon Steel and they feel great!!! They even have an iron that features a thin 455 maraging steel face and a 1025 steel forged body (X2). Their W5 was a nominee in the Top Wedge Category and this wedge felt great. I loved the meticulous milling of the face… including the toe.

Their metalwoods performed very well from top to bottom. Whether it was their forgiving V1 hybrid (455 maraging steel face) or their X1-Ti fairway metal head (which features a DAT55G forged titanium cup-face insert). Their heads provided plenty of jump off of the face. Their drivers performed very well as well.

I debated back and forth about visiting with Eagle Rebirth Golf prior to the PGA Show. Admittedly, I wasn’t captivated after looking at their website. Let me tell you this… I’m glad that I took the time to make swings with their products.

 

Innovation Award

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Lynx Golf Prowler VT Driver: Another new category to the Teezy Awards in 2019. Lynx Golf has been innovative in the golf industry recently. First, in 2018 Lynx Golf announced that they were going to be going SUP-free (Single Use Plastics) in their packaging. A small yet giant-step towards helping Mother Nature.

It just seems like that when we think of drivers nowadays one of the first things that golfers look for is adjustability. How adjustable is a driver? Golfers like to tinker and finding optimal launch conditions is imperative to maximize distance. Usually, this is achieved by an adjustable hosel. Lynx Golf with the introduction of their Prowler VT driver proves that this doesn’t need to be the case. How? “Switch Face”.

Switch Face allows golfers to have true loft changes and face angles. How does the driver itself perform? In my brief time on the ETC (wasn’t available to swing on Demo Day) this is a driver that looked great in the address position and felt and sounded real solid at impact.

inno2

Until The Next Tee!!

#SeeuOnTheNextTee #FightAndGrind

2019 PGA Merchandise Show – Teezy Award Nominees

It’s that time of the year. With the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show in the rearview mirror I’ve been giving lots of thought to nominees for the 2nd Annual Teezy Awards – PGA Show Edition.

Deciding on nominees and winners for this prestigious title isn’t an exact science however there are certain parameters taken into account. Below are some of the considerations that I look at in deciding who gets the nod (in no particular order).

  • Aesthetics
  • Feel/Sound
  • Performance
  • Innovation
  • Value (Price Point/Consumer “Bang For Buck”)

In some cases there are companies who will not or get consideration. Think of it as a DNQ. An example of this would be in the “Top Driver” category. Unfortunately, I was unable to swing the PING G410 (Plus or SFT) driver. I simply ran out of time. The same goes for Miura golf who was so busy that I never had the opportunity to swing their products. For the irons categories… there is no separation between GI or Player’s clubs.

The nominees are the Top 5 products in each category that we found at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. Let me just say that the strength of the 2019 product cycle is the strongest that I’ve seen out of the 7 shows that I have been to.

Top Driver

  • Callaway Golf Epic Flash
  • Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK
  • Mizuno Golf ST-190
  • Tour Edge Exotics EXS
  • Wilson Staff D7

epic nominee

Top Fairway Wood

  • Callaway Golf Epic Flash
  • Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR
  • Tour Edge Exotics EXS
  • Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK
  • PING G410

Top Hybrid

  • PING G410
  • Wilson Staff D7
  • Eagle Rebirth Golf X-1
  • Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR
  • XXIO Prime

Top Irons (Forged)

  • Srixon Golf Z 585
  • Epon AF-Tour CB
  • Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR HF2
  • Callaway Golf Apex 19
  • Eagle Rebirth Golf X3

hf2nom

Top Irons (Cast ***includes 2-piece construction heads)

  • Wilson Golf D7
  • Cobra Golf KING F9 ONE Length
  • Tour Edge Exotics EXS
  • Lynx Golf Black Cat
  • PRGR RS

Top Wedges

  • Cleveland Golf RTX 4
  • Bridgestone Golf Tour B XW-1
  • Indi Golf ATK Grind
  • Eagle Rebirth Golf W5
  • Mizuno Golf S18 Blue Ion

Top Putter

  • ARGOLF Mordred
  • EVNROLL Murdered Out ER5
  • Sacks Parente Series 39 Blade
  • SeeMore Putters Platinum M5 HT Mallet
  • MLA Putters Tour Mallet

Top Innovation

  • Lynx Golf Prowler VT driver (Switch Face)
  • Sack Parente (ULBP)
  • XXIO Prime (Harmony in head, shaft and grip)
  • Tour Edge Exotics EXS (Changing the industry)
  • PING Fetch putter (Adjustable from the inside)

mordrednom

Top Men’s Apparel

  • Greg Norman Collection
  • CHASE 54
  • Original Penguin
  • Bald Head Blues
  • Callaway Apparel

Top Women’s Apparel

  • MotherPutter
  • Golftini
  • Jane 1530
  • Katherine Way
  • CHASE 54

Top Footwear

  • TRUE Linkswear
  • Skechers Performance
  • Jack Grace USA
  • New Balance Golf
  • PUMA Golf

truenom

Top Accessories

  • Zero Friction (Gloves and Tees)
  • Nexbelt (Belts and Caps)
  • Oliver Thomas (Hand Bags)
  • Evolve Golf (Tees, markers)
  • C4 Belts

Top Health And Wellness

  • Iso-Sport (CBD lotion, tincture)
  • HempME (CBD Lotion)
  • First Tee (Cereal Bars)
  • Gelliflex (Self-Massaging Device)
  • Bobo’s (Gluten-free, Certified Vegan bars)

 

Time to deliberate… so stay tuned right here to see who gets the honors.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

Plans… Travel and Show Coverage

Alright… I’m officially excited. I admit that I’ve been excited for some time about attending the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show but now that it’s this close I can taste it. For a while, it really looked like I wouldn’t be going. From health to other unforeseen circumstances (money).

But, it all worked out and travel plans have been made. Actually, it wasn’t until I sold off a few clubs and managed to get things worked out yesterday. So… how about the plans?

In an attempt to get some semblance of a golf swing going I’ve been working nearly daily on it. In my backyard, I have a hitting net that’s been instrumental in getting me back into golf. It’s where initial testing has been done involving the Tour Edge Golf Exotics EXS hybrid, R-Motion and most recently Ben Hogan Golf Equalizer wedges. Quite honestly, I don’t remember what MY swing is supposed to feel like or the swing keys. I mean, I’ve worked on so much over the last 5 years and my memory now stinks. Muscle memory seems to be even more important now.

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Pretty consistent striking today.

Over the last couple of days I think that I feel something that’s carrying over day to day. From what I think I recollect… this latest dramatic recreation of my former swing is nothing like my old swing or the swing that I had 4 days ago. All in all I’m pretty happy.

For the first time since the Stroke and resuming golf activity I felt my left side fire through the ball. More importantly, it was leading the downswing. I was at a dome today with my coach and he said that it’s looking good and that there’s power at the bottom. I sold my TaylorMade Golf M2 (2016) yesterday to raise funds for the trip down so I went back to a driver that I bought two years ago for $40 CAD. It’s a Cleveland Golf Classics XL Custom with an X-Flex Miyazaki JDL 7 shaft in 7.5* of loft. I don’t have a wrench so it’s stuck there. In the past, the results have been okay with it… but today’s session was very good. Launch was terrific and there was a lot of “stank” on it.

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This was the first time that I used this club. It still looks like this.

All in all, I feel like whatever swing this is it’s trending the right way which means I should be able to provide my planned coverage. Coverage will be often and early. I’ll be aggressively posting “First Impression Reviews” as early as Tuesday night. Coverage will be “in print”, video and some audio too. To say that coverage will be plentiful is a huge understatement. I’m excited to be hitting everything that I can but after today that excitement really built. I’m really amp’d to swing Mizuno Golf (ST190) and my appointment is at 2 pm. Everything begins with Wilson Golf at 9 am and even though I am interested in the Cortex the new D7 metalwoods have my attention. It just looks right! The simplicity is the genius of the design. I really hope that Callaway Golf got the Epic Flash right. It’s one thing to be Phil or Xander Schauffele but it’s another to be a 10+ handicap. Lynx Golf seems to be real proud of their product this year. What they have said about their launch is that it’s “never been seen in the industry”. I’m intrigued but I no longer look at them as an “underdog” type. OMG… I cannot wait!!! I’m going nuts inside as I type this.

***I will be posting a schedule of my Demo Day itinerary at a later time

2019_d7_driver_face

The genius here is the simplicity. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

Travel Itinerary  January 19th

The travel day is going to be a long day. First the first time in a few years I’m not driving down as I still haven’t medical clearance to drive. So… into the wild blue yonder we go. Oh and busses. Lots of busses.

  • 0530 – Wake-up
  • 0700 – Catch Thorold South bus.
  • 0715 – Transfer onto Pen Center/ Downtown Bus
  • 0730 – Arrive St. Catharines Bus Terminal
  • 0815 – Depart St. Catharines via Megabus (no golf clubs allowed)
  • 1000 – Arrive Buffalo/Niagara International Airport
  • 1723 – Depart Buffalo via Frontier Airlines
  • 2040 – Arrive Orlando International

Ouch… 7 hrs in the Buffalo airport. That’s the drive from here to Morgantown. Oh well at least I can drink if I want. Bottoms up… Wheels up!

Time to pack!!!

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.

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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.

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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

 

2019 PGA Merchandise Show Prep

Can you believe it? It’s nearly 2019 and in a few short weeks UTNT will be heading down to Orlando, Florida for the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. Honestly, it’s this event that gets me excited in a way that Christmas does for children around the world. For this event… truly makes me feel like a child.

As the show closes in my appointment book is starting to fill up. It’s a good thing because it will give me content for the year. This year though, is going to be different as far as distributing stories for the year. Look for a ton of video and “First Look” reviews while I’m still in Orlando. It’s a perk of writing for yourself I suppose.

Crystal and I are covering it all this year. Apparel, accessories, gift ideas, training aids and of course golf balls and golf equipment. I’m going to be trying to swing as many products as I can from as many manufacturers as possible instead of having tunnel vision and being very selective. However, there are certain companies that I definitely want to visit on Demo Day.

Here is my proposed list thus far for the Driver/Metalwood Category.

Bridgestone Golf – They’re back for the first time in a few years. Not only are they unveiling a new Ball Fitting 2.0 system but perhaps they will have the Tour B JGR there to swing among their new offering…the Tour B J819. The original JGR was a sleeper in 2016.

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Callaway Golf – The scuttlebutt surrounding the Epic Flash is pretty crazy. If this driver somehow marries the Epic and the Rogue the hype will be worth it. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re doing for irons this year.

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Cobra Golf  – You’ve seen my press release regarding the KING F9 SPEEDBACK range. With professional victories already this year by Lexi Thompson and Bryson DeChambeau it’s a must swing. Besides… the KING F8/F8+ was the best driver that I made swings with last year. Will the KING F9 live up to it?

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Fourteen Golf – This JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) is the first brand that’s a little obscure on the list. At the moment, they have two driver offerings the CT 518 and the DT 112. I made swings with their drivers in maybe 2014 and I remember the crisp feel at impact. Their irons are typically very good.

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Lynx Golf – Last year their #BB driver was the biggest surprise for me at the Demo Day. It was a nice looking driver and it performed very well. Maybe my expectations were set very low prior to hitting it and maybe that’s why I thought it “over-achieved”. Their new Black Cat woods and irons sound and look intriguing. Lynx Golf you’re no longer under my radar. The image was too small for me to share.

Mizuno Golf – The last time that I made a swing with a Mizuno Golf driver/metalwood was the JPX EZ. Before that, it was the Blue Rage. Yes… I kid you not. So I’m anticipating swinging whatever they bring to Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge. Is it the ST190? Or is it a Prototype that I’ve seen on the internet. After all… if it’s on the internet it has to be true.

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PING Golf – I have never made a swing with a PING product at the PGA Show Demo Day. A few years ago I snuck onto the ETC and made swings there where I was fit into a 8* G 30 LST and an X-Stiff shaft to get my spin down. It felt hot but I would have loved to see it on the Demo Day range. This year that changes one way or another.

Srixon Golf – Srixon Golf has two drivers in their stable for the 2019 product cycle. The Z 585 and the Z 785. I’ve heard conflicting reports about these drivers. Everything from they’re amazing and long to a few sales people at a large golf box store saying that they can’t hit them for the life of them. I’ll put them through their paces in Orlando.

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Titleist – I haven’t made a swing with a Titleist driver since the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show. Funny story, the 917 D2 and D3 review that I did based on those swings at that Demo Day was one of my most read posts of 2018. I’m going to try to get a hold of the TS2 and TS3 at Demo Day. Titleist uses a two-year product cycle which is something that I’ve always admired about them. When Titleist releases new clubs… they’re fantastic.

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Tour Edge Golf – I made a claim today. Tour Edge isn’t a game-changer in 2019… they’re an industry changer. The EXS line is promising and based on my findings while testing the EXS Hybrid was that they have a real winner. The driver and metalwood will be the same. Loaded with technology and an attractive price point at $299 USD. Tour Edge shows us that you can have premium products without having to sell off one of your organs to purchase them. I cannot wait to swing the EXS driver.

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Wilson GolfThe winner of Driver vs Driver 2 was introduced to the golfing public. It was fun watching the Cortex through all of the phases. I’ve been a little critical of the Cortex because I thought it looked “too safe” and “too familiar”. But, they know what they’re talking about (Tim Clarke and the rest of the team at Wilson Golf). I saw it in hand and it really is their best looking driver yet. What I heard from reps about Srixon (above) was not how they felt about Cortex. Apparently, it’s the real deal.

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Stay tuned for another piece leading up to the PGA Show. I have a list of “must try” irons and I’m surprised where that focus actually is.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

GOING SUP-FREE IN THE GOLF INDUSTRY: BRITISH COMPANY LYNX LEADS THE WAY

Nature and the environment. It goes without saying that if it weren’t for Mother Nature… golf architects wouldn’t have the “blank canvas” needed to paint their masterpieces. For that and many other reasons it’s why we (not just golfers) need to take better care of her.

It’s been well-documented. The after-effects of plastics after entering valuable natural resources is as maddening as it is shocking. Dolphins, Sea Turtles and hundreds maybe thousands of species whether they’re aquatic or live on land is of no consequence. Because they’re all affected by it. Well one golf company has seen enough.

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Lynx Golf a golf equipment manufacturer from the United Kingdom is doing their part to decrease their plastic footprint on the world.  As of August 1st the company ceased the use of SUP’s (Single Use Plastics). From plastic wrap, to bubble wrap and even the plastic parcel tape to seal boxes it’s all been removed opting for more environmentally friendly methods.

Also, in an effort to further help the environment Lynx Golf is also sending out packets of bee-friendly seeds to all of their customers who buy boxed products from Lynx. This includes golf bags, drivers, irons etc. For those that are unaware the honey bee population is on a massive decline worldwide. The reason for this is everything from insecticides to habitat loss and even parasites. Without the pollination that honey bees provide the world would see it’s agricultural produce would be reduced to near-catastrophic levels.

Lynx Golf I applaud you. For more details please see the full release as shared below.

 

“It’s not just about golf: it’s about the planet we play it on.”

 

A BRITISH golf equipment company will become the first in the world to rid itself of Single-Use Plastics (SUPs) with a 1st August deadline to complete major changes to its supply chain.

Lynx Golf, based in Weybridge, Surrey, is a global sports manufacturing company, exporting its golf clubs, bags and other products all around the world, including the USA.

Owned by husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Steve Elford and Stephanie Zinser, Lynx Golf has committed to spending over £30,000 this year on alternatives for SUPs and to increase plastics recycling resources in its business, which employs just over 20 people.

Their aim is to be fully rid of SUPs by August 1st, with Stephanie Zinser, CFO, pledging: “Among our staff, we have over 42 children and a few grandchildren. We want them to have a world in which they can live safely, healthily and happily.

Steve Elford Stephanie Zinser Lynx Golf_preview

“There is no doubt that Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ TV series really made the world sit up and think long and hard about our use of plastics and the damage they are having on the environment.

“The golf equipment business is not unique. Although its use of single-use plastics might not be as obvious as in other industries, there are SUPs all along the supply chain. At Lynx Golf we are determined to remove them.”

Lynx Golf has made several key changes to reduce its impact on the environment.

  • Polyethylene (PE) plastic, used to wrap and protect its golf bags before they are packed in boxes, is being abandoned altogether or being replaced with paper. Longer-term, the company is investing in reusable and useful cotton drawstring bag covers on their golf bags.
  • PE bubble plastic – used to pad out golf bag pockets so they keep their shape on display as well as bubble wrap packaging to protect shipping – is also being replaced with recycled paper wadding.
  • Plastic parcel tape – used on cartons and boxes when importing equipment to the UK, then distributing it to retailers – is being phased out in favour of reinforced gummed paper tape.
  • Plastic shrink wrapping, currently used on every golf club head component, will be removed altogether.

Added Stephanie Zinser: “Lynx Golf will be the first global sports equipment manufacturing company to rid itself of SUPs, but that is not without its challenges.

“For example, when trying to replace the cellophane shrink-wrap we use on our golf club heads to protect them, we had sourced a Viskring/Celon alternative which is made purely from cellulose and which is quickly and completely biodegradable into harmless elements.

“However, in its current form it’s not quite there. We will keep working on the best alternatives, but we’d rather have nothing than something that is either not really biodegradable, or that is, but doesn’t quite look good enough.

“We are therefore using other – greener – methods to hold the golf club heads in place during transit and shipping and this comes at additional cost to the business.”

Where SUPs simply cannot currently be avoided – mainly due to product protection during shipping or deliveries of supplies from companies who don’t have an ethical plastics policy in place – Lynx is actively working on careful recycling and disposal plans, although this is also challenging.

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Most industrial recyclers the company has spoken to will only accept a minimum weight of 1-tonne. This means Lynx is investing in special recycling bins and a baler, so it can store its waste plastics ready for recycling.

And while plastics can be recycled into many things, Lynx has been trying to find a recycler that can utilise its waste into something that will not end up polluting the environment.

Added Stephanie Zinser: “We felt that fuel pellets, while worthy on one level, also produce pollutants, and that is why we hope to be able to work with a company who uses waste plastics to produce plastic lumber, which is both useful and inertly non-polluting of the environment.

“Plastic, and it is a very important point to understand, will continue to be used and is a fundamental part of everyone’s lifestyle. Multi-use plastics are not going to go away, at least not for a very long time into the future. But what we can and need to get rid of NOW are the single-use plastic products used for packaging and delivery of products to consumers. These are really clogging up the blood vessels of the earth – our oceans, seas and rivers.

“We have also investigated several products that claim to be ‘biodegradable’, but these are also made from petroleum-based products, as per normal plastic. And in order to degrade they use chemical additives in their formulation which require heat, light and oxygen – which they simply do not get when buried deep in landfill.

“Similarly, when they do degrade they often only break down into micro-plastics and shreds and also contaminate our environment with harmful by-products. Even then, this process can take a very long time, assuming it even does work.

“The term ‘biodegradable’ can be a bit of a greenwash, as it’s not as simple as you’d think it was when you start digging into the subject. The only truly biodegradable plastic alternatives are bioplastics which are made entirely from plant-based materials, but their permeation into the wider packaging market has a long way to go still.

“So, there are challenges all the time, but we are determined to overcome them.”

REASONS TO BEE CONCERNED

Not content with ridding the company and its products of SUPs, Lynx Golf are tackling another urgent ecological challenge: the decimation of the natural bee population due to loss of natural habitats, pesticide use and parasitic infection.

This small creature has such a massive impact on nature as 70 of the 100-crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide are pollinated by bees (Source: DEFRA, Bees’ Needs: Food and a home, 8 July 2016).

In 2013, pesticide manufacturer Syngenta described bee health decline as among the biggest challenges facing agriculture (Source: House of Commons Debate Pack, 2017/0226) and the National Pollinator Strategy was set up to expand the public’s dedication to increasing food, shelter and nest sites across all types of land.

Said Stephanie Zinser: “Some have stated that the human population would starve within four years if bees were extinct – certainly, we do know that we would lose many of our fruits and vegetables and that supermarket offerings would be slashed by at least 50% without bees. Almonds, which rely entirely on bees for pollination, would cease to be a viable crop; the many knock-on effects would be invasive and more massive than you might at first think.

“We believe that everyone can help, and this is why we are also sending out packets of bee-friendly seeds to all our customers who buy boxed products from Lynx – golf bags, irons etc – so they can be part of the challenge to see just how much of an impact we golfers can make in halting the decline of these fuzzy winged ‘farmers’ who do such an important job in agriculture.

“Our eco-friendly strategies are all about bringing like-minded people along with us on this journey, and we very much hope that our actions by going SUP-Free will encourage everyone who knows us, partners with us, and plays with us, to come along and join in the adventure.

For more information visit www.lynxgolf.co.uk/, or follow @LynxGolfUK on Twitter.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee