Shaking hands with golfers and vendors from England, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Japan, Korea and the USA created two things, one, a sore hand and two, a cold. I call it the Air conditioning cold. You need it in the day and wake up in the middle of the night freezing.
Needless to say our walk through the main floor was cut short. However, from the visiting and viewing of the show I will give you a few thoughts.
1) People are saying that the golf industry is on a decline yet there were approximately 150 new golf vendors at the show. I wonder what the new companies see in the golf world that some do not.
2) Most golf equipment companies are now figuring out that releasing a new driver or set of irons every 6 months in not in the best interests of the golf pro or the golf enthusiast. It would be my opinion and mine alone that the slowdown of releases will actually make the quality of the equipment go up. The companies can take the time to really invest into a truly unique and inventive change of the equipment. It would seem the OEM companies are taking a page from the component company’s playbook. Coming up with a design, doing testing to prove the product and then tweaking it based on the feedback from the clubfitters and Clubmakers.
3) Last year the golf board was released. It is a hybrid of a very wide skateboard and the battery powered single person cart. This year, there were no less than four companies sporting a similar concept. One looked like a cross between a single person carrier you see at Walmart and an Army Humvee. Although the pace of play could be increased and there certainly are more fun and you are more alive when driving the board. I think we might lose the comradery of golf. Let’s face it, you go golfing with buddies, friends and significant others. This does not promote the bonding that riding in the cart does. If you are a zen golfer (golfing by yourself) then this is a must have.
4) Certainly not last on the list but thanks to PAT and Charlie Evans and my dad Larry for visiting us at the show. These are the people I want to be like when I grow up. I know they can truly appreciate the extent we go through to get you to the info on the product we carry.
Favorites at the show:
1) OEMs, Callaway, I know we carry them and this is self-promoting but this year they certainly shored up the lines. The APEX forged iron is a winner that is not changing this year. They added the Big Bertha iron which is a great iron for the golfer looking for forgiveness and distance in the same package. The Xr line (replacing the X2hot) is improved and should be better than the original. The bertha line of fairway woods and hybrids should be looked over particularly if you are better player. The Chrome Soft will be a ball to check out. Finally for you short game guru’s the PM wedge is a special wedge for the player not afraid to throw the ball to the hole.
2) 2nd in OEM is Wilson. Write it down remember where you heard it. Wilson will be a brand to deal with in the coming years. They are showing improvement immediately after Wilson acquired a new designer. The M4 line is a result of that. This year the, the D200 line is vastly better. The irons are clean and stylish, the driver, with the UST Chrome shaft as a stock model is truly a great performer. The irons are for the golfer needing some help but the driver could be found in a bag for any golfer.
3) Components clubs, ORKA, again we are carrying them and they have been silent for a year but this year looks to be a break out. ORKA has released not one but three new Japanese quadruple forged irons. To my surprise one model is a lefty! A milled anser styled putter has entered the lineup. Combine this with a strong game improver with the CTI iron, a strong players iron in the RS1 and RS3 and ST tour. One thing to mention about ORKA. This company is very much faith based and gives a portion of the company profits to local charities. We had some great meetings with Stu and Alex. We hope to get the word out about this company and spread good golf and the good word to the US.
4) Components 2nd, Big fish golf had introduced a new line of forged irons and wedges to the golf industry. I talked with Eric Ng the owner and looked over the line. Very clean, Very stylish and should perform well.
5) Shafts: Accra has modified its line up to include a new shaft the FX line. A variable weight and variable tip shaft. This line and the “I” line of shafts are Dymatched. Meaning the performance (the profile) of the shaft is matched through the fairway wood and hybrid shafts. You receive the best performance and feel through the entire set. Expect more from us and ACCRA.
6) Shafts 2nd: The KBS line is improved to include a new wedge shaft. You now have an option to flight it high with increased spin to launch it a bit lower with less spin.
7) Accessories: In my opinion accessories need to be functional and fun. That immediately removes a lot of the products. However, I am still impressed with the Snaphookz bag accessory, it provides organization with style and it works.
8) Accessories 2nd: Club covers, Club glove has made an old model better with the premier head cover line and for a fun factor and to show off my trekkie, is the uss enterprise putter cover.
9) Shirts: I have two to pick. The first is Page and Tuttle. The company provides ton of styles and fits. For guys my size it’s a no brainer. Another is 2nd guy golf/ 2nd girl golf. This company is a product of Russ Ortiz from the San Francisco Giants. His company gives their profits to charities like the wounded warrior; feed the kids and a housing charity in South America.
Overall, another great time, except for the cold. We meet some new people and some new companies that will improve the quality of golf by lowering scores or making the time spent with your friends better.