Sunday. A day of rest, reflection and football. The perfect day to sit back and think about golf and golf equipment especially with all of the releases coming out over the next little while.
Admittedly, I also got thinking about golf equipment because I’m in the process of getting ready for the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show. I’ve been planning for some time now getting my new business cards ordered (they arrived and look great), booked my hotel room and determined that as much as I want to fly down I’ll likely drive instead. Yeah, I’m a masochist. Me, the lonely highway and my 2003 Ford F-159 that has 318,000 km on it. In hindsight, maybe that isn’t a wise choice. Nobody ever accused me of being smart.
So as all of the equipment gets released and some of it already has my attention namely the Cobra Golf Forged Tec ONE Length irons and the Cleveland Launcher Turbo HB driver I also sit back and think about the current product cycle that’s inevitably winding itself down. So many products got their fanfare from the golfing public which I suppose was earned. You heard the love for Callaway Golf’s Epic Flash driver. You heard the love for TaylorMade’s P-760 irons. But what about the clubs that went seemingly unnoticed?
For me, one of those golf clubs from the 2019 product cycle was that of the ST190 and ST190 G respectively from Mizuno Golf. The ST190 was the Teezy Award winner in the “Top Driver” category from the 2019 PGA Show Demo Day. It narrowly beat out the runner-up (Epic Flash) after multiple tie-breaks. It has a menacing look, adjustability like the majority of drivers do (ST190 G offers more adjustability), the ball rockets off of the face and it sounds great thanks in part to the composite crown. I just don’t understand why this driver never received the hoopla that it deserved from the consumer masses. Perhaps, it’s a matter of Mizuno Golf having a stigma that it’s an “irons-first” company. What do you think?
In the above video, I was swinging the ST190 at the PGA Show. Now keep a couple of things in mind. please don’t judge the action. This was only about 4 months after my Stroke that forced me to learn how to walk again. I made the most of what I had to work with. More notable however note the acoustics. Crisp!
All of this is why the ST190 is 2019’s Most Under-Appreciated driver.
Until The Next Tee!!
The sun shone on the 22nd edition of International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) taking place this week (14th – 17th October 2019) organized by Reed Travel Exhibitions. The host city of Marrakech provided the backdrop for the perfect blend of climate, culture, and golf, welcoming more than 1,300 industry professionals from around the world to do business to help build international golf tourism.
Initiatives organized included golf tournaments and FAM tours pre and post-show for participants at some of the region’s best golf courses. The Welcome Address had headline speakers covering subjects as diverse as women in golf from Broadcaster Naga Munchetty and sustainability from R&A’s Steve Isaac. More than 70 international golf travel writers, publications and contributors registered to attend, and the exhibitors were given opportunities to network with them to extend their marketing activity.
477 exhibitors in total attended IGTM this week, with new exhibitors showcasing destinations such as Japan, Russia, and Azerbaijan.
Commenting on their participation at IGTM 2019, Ian Knox, Director of Operations, European Tour talked of the importance of the show to his brand. “This is our 10th year attending IGTM – and it’s been the biggest yet. Twenty-three of our European tour destinations are on the stand so this is a key highlight of the year for us. The feedback we’ve had is that the quality of buyers has been better this year than ever.”
David Ashington, Director of Sales & hospitality, Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, Portugal
“It’s been an excellent show, very well attended by tour operators from all over the world and the reason we’ve had two stands here this year with two full agendas of appointments. and 84 meetings scheduled. 70 of the appointments we’ve had have already been producing business for us We’ve already contracted a lot of business on-site this year including 2 pro-AMs bringing back a good return on our participation immediately.”
First-time exhibitor, Anton Samsonov, Golf Operations Manager, Dreamland Golf Club, Azerbaijan was pleased to reconnect with buyers in person.
“It’s our first year at IGTM and we are very happy to make sure people know about the gem that is Azerbaijan as the new golf adventure destination. We have had many different meetings with buyers as well as media and we are very excited to meet the buyers in person who we have already been working.”
Buyers attending IGTM included Richelle Nemeth, Vice President Marketing & Administration, Pacific Links International:
“I have discovered many interesting contacts at IGTM this year that we are planning to do more business within the future. A lot of surprising appointments with enthusiastic people and enjoyed the presentations in the IGTM theatre. Morocco has been a great host for the event, and we’ve been pleased to explore the destination and its golf courses.”
Also commenting on the success of the show was Alicia Ristori, Manager of Italia Golf & More:
“This is my first IGTM and it has so far already proved to be one of the biggest prospecting tools we have. IGTM is so well suited for building our business. Both North and South Africa have become so important to our clients, therefore it was been brilliant to meet with businesses in these destinations. As a result of this event, we will build a good network and create itineraries for our clients to bring golf travelers to Africa.”
David Todd, IGTM Event Manager focused this year on ensuring the business platform was right. Every hosted buyer had to be pre-qualified with proof of their business commitment to the sector. “We have built a sustainable business model for IGTM by developing a hosted buyer program that delivers tour operators, and travel agents from around the world, 382 in total from 46 countries and increasing the numbers from the US (200%) and Europe (4%). At the same time, Morocco has been the perfect host. Not only have they brought elements of their countries culture to this year’s event, but they have worked tirelessly to provide IGTM with the right blend of networking and business. We always consider success by the feedback from our exhibitors and buyers – from day one we have learned that the business of golf tourism is very much growing, and we will now build on this for 2020.”
Adel El Fakir, CEO Moroccan National Tourist Office welcomes IGTM to Marrakech:
“Wonderful event! Morocco and Marrakech were delighted to host all those major actors of the golf tourism industry. Let them share that experience with their network and get more golfers to enjoy this exceptional Moroccan experience.”
The 20th edition of IAGTO’s annual golf tourism awards also took place on the final day of the IGTM – with Portugal’s Algarve scooping the top prize. To celebrate the occasion, IAGTO revealed the top 15 golf destinations as voted for by its member golf tour operators and has announced just one overall Golf Destination of the Year, instead of one for each of five geographical regions.
You can read more about the IAGTO award winners here.
The awards were followed by a ceremony with a handover to the host city for 2020, Wales ICC and Celtic Manor Resort. IGTM 2020 will take place from 26-29 October 2020 and is the first time the event will take place in the UK. ICC Chief Executive Ian Edwards said, “We are absolutely delighted at the prospect of hosting IGTM at the Celtic Manor Resort and the newly opened ICC Wales.”