There’s definitely a different feel to the annual PGA Merchandise Show this year. For one, as you can below my flight to Orlando was pretty much empty except for one other person. I can’t say enough about the quality of service from Pan(Demic) Air. Not to mention, there were no baggage fees and the flight felt like I never even left home.
Of course, I kid. The reality is that due to the pandemic, the only way to have a PGA Merchandise Show in 2021 was to do so virtually. It’s definitely a different feel and if you’re somebody like me, not technologicall savvy, a platform like this can be daunting.
Technically speaking, the PGA Show doesn’t begin until Tuesday, which is usually Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Resort Lodge but I took advantage of Monday to get a few appointments booked, take care of some meetings, and more importantly iron out some kinks. Which I had.
Ironically, there was still a part of me that was excited for the show, regardless of my anxiety. Up until two days ago maybe three, I had never used Zoom or anything. However, after Monday’s meeting I’m comfortable and I find myself all-in with this years iteration of the PGA Show. I’m now looking forward to seeing what this new experience brings.
I had meetings with Bridgestone Golf, Yatta Golf, Roll Ready, Moonshine Golf, and SIK Putters. When the day ended, it actually ended up being a productive day. The video below is a recap of today’s meetings.
In this quick piece, I’m going to take a look back at some of the highlights from the past year in golf. While these might include some TOUR news, most of it as I start writing, will be based on my experiences. Truth be told in the interest of full disclosure, I never ever know how my articles will turn out when I start writing. I just write and let the chips fall as they may.
Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio – Typically, my year really starts in January when I attend the annual PGA Merchandise Show in January. 2020 was no exception. But there was a bonus in 2020. I received my first set of media credentials for a TOUR event. The Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio played its inaugural event at the lovely Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Florida. After a long day of travel and a longer night of getting my rental car I drove through the night to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic and to cover a practice round for the event. The field was stout and the experience was great. I look forward to, one day, covering it again.
The 2020 PGA Show – During the week, I logged a lot of kilometers on my legs and feet to the tune of over 60 km. Walking the grounds at Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge and the floor at the Orange County National Convention Centre is no small task. If you’ve been there, you understand. If you haven’t and you watch the content on the Golf Channel you really have no idea how big it really is. Ironically, it’s thinned out a little bit since I started to attend. I made a ton of contacts and the networking has led to more content and consequent page views. 2021, will be more of the same, although it will have a significantly different feel.
2020 Teezy Awards – Tour Edge Golf and their Exotics EXS 220 product range ran away with many of the awards. As I recollect, they medalled in every category but players irons and wedges. They brought those two categories out later in 2020 and I never made swings with them (Exotics EXS Pro). Because of their success, when the time comes for the next iteration of the Teezy Awards (whenever that is) it almost makes me need to re-evaluate my parameters. Their price point always garners them top marks and seems to catapault them ahead of everybody. Then again, when you have have a premium product without a premium price tag, how do you ignore it?
I Met Legends – I met a lot of great people at the PGA Show and while I was down in Florida back in January. I met golf legends Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer (how fun was he to watch at the 2020 Masters?), Jan Stephenson (I appeared on her podcast too “Jan Stephenson Shout”) and someone who I’ve idolized since I was a kid. NHL Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr. I even wore #31 because he did and I also caught with my right hand like he did. When I played hockey, I was a goalie. I switched positions when our goalie fell ill and volunteered as a 7 year old to go in net. Admittedly, I was small and I wasn’t too crazy about going into the corners.
Japanese Domestic Products (JDM) – This is an area of golf equipment that I’m hoping to cover a little bit more in 2021. The average golfer doesn’t realize how good that this equipment is. In the Asian market it’s different and no surprise. But, here in North America the knowledge and exposure is limited. Factor in the price point for some of the manufacturers and the notoriety becomes more of an issue in North America. While there are mainstream manufacturers like XXIO, Srixon, Mizuno, Miura, Honma and Yonex to name a few, there are others. Brands like Fourteen Golf and ONOFF (and others) that the golfing public has little to no knowledge about. The only thing that kept the ONOFF AKA RD5900 driver off of the podium, was the price.
SUB 70 Golf and Tour Edge Golf– While Tour Edge Golf has already been mentioned, I figured that this was the time to mention SUB 70 Golf as well. Tour Edge Golf has proven that you can produce premium golf equipment without a premium price tag. More of the same can be said of Sycamore, Il based SUB 70 Golf. Their direct to consumer (DTC) business model aids in keeping their price tag down. In an era in golf when we’re looking at growing costs for the consumer across the board, SUB 70 Golf gets it right. A set of irons like the astounding 699 Pro irons (which would have won a Gold Teezy Award if there was a year-end version and a Gold if they were at Demo Day in the Player’s/Player’s Distance Category) you can purchase for $445 USD (5-PW). Their products are so affordable and are also premium products. Then, if you factor in the best customer service (in my opinion) in the industry, Jason Hiland’s company was a highlight of 2020. SUB 70 will have staying power and based on sneak peeks of their products for 2021. They look to be “on fire”. I hope that they stay true to who they are and don’t get too big for their britches.
Sophia Popov –How great of a story was Sophia Popov winning the AIG Women’s Open? A proverbial “rags to riches Cinderella story”. The unlikely Women’s Open Champion held only Symetra Tour status prior to the victory. A life-altering win for the native of Germany. But, this story also features a lowlight or two as well. Mostly because, the victory did not give her LPGA TOUR status (it really should have) and she also did not qualify for the year end CME Group Tour Championship. Not even on a sponsor’s exemption. Natalie Gulbis received one. The policy on the LPGA TOUR needs to be re-evaluated. As far as I’m concerned, these were “black eye” moments for that tour.
Rounds Played – Not from a quantity standpoint, but from a quality point of view. I played golf on some courses that I had not previously played until this season. Ironically enough, all of these courses were in my area and no more than 30 minutes away. Each round, consequently resulted in articles/reviews which has led me to focus a little bit more on golf course reviews. I played rounds at Peninsula Lakes Golf Club (“Niagara’s Hidden Gem” a title that I wouldn’t give them albeit their conditions are fantastic), Bridgewater Country Club (in my eyes, “Niagara’s Hidden Gem”), Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club (North America’s Oldest Golf Course), and last but certainly not least, Cherry Hill Club. The latter was in thanks to a golf day set-up by the Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC) and that round was worth the 48 year wait. It was magical. Other than a U.S. Open Local Qualifier in Mendon, NY (Mendon Country Club) a few years ago, this was the first private golf course that I’ve played. Cherry Hill Club was designed by Walter J. Travis and it also hosted the 1972 Canadian Open. I actually don’t know how many rounds of golf that I played in 2020. But the quality of golf courses that I played was quite good.
I’m looking forward to seeing what highlights emerge in 2021.
Have you ever just sat back in your chair, minding your own business and just suddenly think to yourself “What the Hell?” I’ve done it and more often than not, it happens in an unprovoked way. Admittedly, I’ve done this more often than I care to say, but it happens.
Now, in a similar situation, while sipping on your morning “Cup ‘o’ Joe” you find yourself immersed in the internet. You’re going through golf websites (and I hope that I’m one of your stops) or through golf social media channels and you see things from the world of golf that make you mildly outraged? Honestly, this happened to me this past weekend. But, not in the way that you might think. I’m actually outraged at some outrage.
2020 has been a strange year as we all know. In a way, I think that it’s messed with our heads, and in a way, for some people, it’s made some of us lose our minds or lost touch with reality. Issues that shouldn’t matter or should be a big deal suddenly are. In my opinion, golf media, or particularly golf social media channels haven’t helped.
Hoodies. Now here was something that caused outrage, or as I worded it over social media “Faux Outrage”. It’s funny, I never thought that in my lifetime hoodies and golf would be the focal point of so much malcontent. Yet, here we are.
This weeks winner on the European Tour (Tyrell Hatton) caused a stir over golf social media because he was wearing a hoodie. Is this really something to be upset over? I mean, have a look around. This is a year where millions have been sick and over a million have died from the pandemic, worldwide.
Golfers are a fickle and funny bunch. Is there a group of hobbyists or sportsmen and women that are more closed-minded than golfers? Just think back to when 460cc drivers came out. Then, white-headed drivers came out. “I’m not hitting those” many would say. If something comes out that doesn’t fit the mold of tradition, many golfers shut it out. If there’s something that I’ve learned during my years of golfing and in particular covering the sport. Golf more than ever needs more open-mindedness. As far as I’m concerned, until this year where golf took an upturn, it’s my opinion that the sport was in a downturn and in need of change, in many facets, to draw more players.
Life is about making choices, and that was something that Tyrell Hatton did. He made a choice to wear an Adidas hoodie, and I have no problem with it, nor do I care. If you as a recreational golfer want to wear one, live your best life. I’ve worn hooded long sleeve t-shirts at the range. They don’t bug me. The hood might get in the way when the wind is to your back, but it’s something that doesn’t affect me.
If hoodies became more prevalent in the golf apparel industry, I couldn’t care less. It’s just another option for when the weather turns cool. Would a golf course operator turn down revenue because a golfer is wearing a hoodie? No way, as long as there aren’t gaudy graphics or suggestive, profanity-laden wording on it. I have a hoodie or two that I would love to wear on the course, one of them being “Mossy Oak” camouflage. I won’t wear it on the course though, because, I feel that the camo is too underdressed, and not to mention that I want to be seen by golfers around me so I don’t blend in and get hit by more errant golf balls.
If there’s an in-person PGA Show in January, any bets that we see golf-specific hoodies on the show floor? Heck, hoodies are youthful, functional, and trendy. But they aren’t for everyone. Say, are you anti-hoodie or anything new? If that’s the case, why don’t we go back to tweed, shirt and ties, and knickerbockers or “Plus Four’s”? Ladies, you aren’t getting away unscathed either. How about dressing like Babe Zaharias did back then from now on? Toss those tights, yoga pants, and short mini-skirts aside. Take that “Golf Babes”.
Well, at least Tyrell Hatton didn’t change his shoes in the parking lot.
Oops… My bad!
When it comes to Bryson DeChambeau, I haven’t been quiet about my opinion of him. I’ve never been shy about saying that I used to like him a lot. His fresh, different, non cookie-cutter approach to the game was great for golf. This year, he’s taken the golf world by storm. He’s pulverizing the golf ball in a way that we’ve never seen on the worldwide tour’s. Driving greens, sometimes at will, like we saw during the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital Open this weekend.
Here’s my final take on Bryson DeChambeau and his distance. Actually, I don’t think that I’ve expressed an opinion on this yet. In general, I find that the PGA TOUR has become boring to watch, Major Championships notwithstanding. There’s really no sense of them working or golfing their golf ball. “Bomb and Gouge” isn’t new. Moreover, it’s here to stay. What I have touched on however is, that the current generation of player is more athletic now than ever, with a plethora of resources at their disposal. Equipment, shafts, balls, launch monitors, agronomy, scientific research have all contributed to the “arms race”.
There’s been a lot of discussion whether or not what Bryson DeChambeau is doing is good for the game. He’s been called out by some of his peers. As far as long-term, overall, the jury is still out. From a viewer standpoint, it might be a hung jury. While some love the “shock and awe” others simply don’t like it. I’m not a fan, but it’s not just solely Bryson, it’s just in general. “Bomb and Gouge”. It’s for this reason why I prefer to watch the LPGA. Yes, the ladies are getting longer too for the same reasons, but they still work the golf ball and manage the game like we’ve customarily seen.
Mathematics, science, and working out has been great for Bryson and no doubt, it’s an approach that not many other’s can take. I appreciate his hard work and the time that he’s put in. The dedication and commitment. Heck, many of us could stand to follow in his footsteps in that regard. As long as the mass/muscle gain was clean, I have no issue with him and his “beefed-up” physicality. However, what I do have an issue with when it comes to Bryson is his pace of play, his antics, and the bad habit of taking it out on cameramen when he’s playing poorly. Quit deflecting Bryson, it’s you and your poor play doesn’t give you the right to be a bully. Which is exactly how you and your caddie come off.
Mathematically and scientifically speaking, Bryson, is there any way that a hoodie could help me or others play better golf, whilst hitting the ball longer? Is there any chance that you’d consider wearing a hoodie? You’d drive the masses off of the edge of a cliff like lemmings.
CBD products. It’s amazing how massive this industry is. As a whole, the CBD industry in United States alone (according to The 2019 Hemp & CBD Industry Factbook) was expected to surpass $1 billion in 2019 – a 133% increase over 2018 sales – and may eclipse $10 billion by 2024. So, it isn’t surprising to see the CBD industry enter the golf industry.
It’s sort of funny. Not too long ago, say 4 years ago, there wasn’t a CBD company in attendance at the annual PGA Show. That started to change slowly 3 years ago when there was one o two. At the 2019 PGA Show there were a few more and then in 2020 there were 18 in attendance. Among them was Hempcy Active. I was fortunate to talk to Codi Cox at the Hempcy Active booth on the final day of the show. Ms. Cox is a sales representative for the brand and we talked at length about CBD products and my myriad of health problems.
Hempcy Active produces a variety of CBD wellness products. These include everything from tinctures (the focus of this review), gelcaps, soft chews, and cooling pain gel (pictured below).
With a wealth of potential health benefits that stem from CBD products, for those like myself might benefit from trying CD products. CBD has been proven to relieve ailments listed below such as…
There’s a ton of information on the internet regarding CBD so I won’t really elaborate n it to in-depth. In short, CBD or Cannabidiol is the part from the hemp plant that can relieve pain without the effects of getting high as that is the THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol part of the plant.
Hempcy Active’s Blueberry-Lemonade “Relief” CBD oil is made from a couple of ingredients. These ingredients include Medium-Chain Triglyceride MCT Oil (Coconut derived)*, Hemp Extract, Natural Terpenes, and Flavoring. This product is what’s called a “Broad Spectrum” CBD meaning that there is NO THC in the product. This means that this product can be shipped internationally and within all 50 states in the United States.
The Hempcy Active “Relief” CBD Oil is a tincture. Applying it is as simple as using a dropper that is clearly marked with a dose. These dose lines are measured in .25, .50, .75, and 1 ml respectively. A 1 ml dosage contains 49mg of CBD so a dosage of .50 ml contains approximately 24.5 mg. You place the oil under your tongue (or sublingually) and hold it there for 30 seconds and swallow.
I’ll let the video do the talking.
I am a firm believer in this Hempcy Active “Relief” Blueberry-Lemonade CBD Oil. It works and it’s as simple as that. Days that I never took it were awful. I was riddled with pain. Taking it at night gave me a good night’s sleep because it managed my pain. Hempcy Active’s “Relief” Blueberry-Lemonade CBD product gave me about 5 solid hours of pain management. The best results definitely were when I used it twice a day. Of course, I need to make the following disclaimer. Results may vary.
A 30 ml bottle costs $49.99 USD. Please visit Hempcy Active for more details.
Practice?! We’re talking about practice? Who remembers former NBA-superstar Allen Iverson’s famous rant? Practice, it’s essential for us golfers. But what happens when we cannot get to a golf course or a driving range to work on our game. What if, we were in isolation? Too soon? One way or another, we need to work on our game. So we might set up an area in our backyard… If we have one.
I’m fortunate to currently have a backyard and I have a lavish set-up. It’s a place that I use during the season when I don’t feel up to going out to a range. I use it to just unwind and decompress when I’m feeling “off”. Heck, I’ll use it in the dead of winter too in weather that is -15*C. I did this past winter before leaving for the PGA Show.
So, here’s my set-up. “The UTNT Practice Centre For Deprived Golfers” and the cost.
Callaway Golf Practice Net ($25 CAD)
Folded up carpet remnant (free)
Balls (Free. I’ve found them walking along creek beds while fly fishing)
Turf “mat” ($19 CAD. It was an actual practice mat that fell apart after 20 swings)
Tiki Torch holder ($4 CAD)
Not seen though is the Big Moss Putting “Augusta” Putting mat. That’s kept indoors. I admit that I received that item for review a long time ago. Maybe 5 years ago or so.
In total, I am in for $48 CAD. It’s modest, not fancy, and borders on embarrassing. But, it’s what I can have within my means. It’s mine, bought and paid for, and it’s effective.