New and Notable at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - opening ceremony

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - opening ceremony

Hotel reservations; check. Pen and paper; check. Comfortable shoes; Check.

I attended the 59th PGA Merchandise  Show last week in Orlando, and after thinking I had everything on my checklist, I realized I was lacking the most important thing – time. To see as much as possible, I mapped out a plan of attack , because with 1000 companies taking up 22 acres of floor space, time was at a premium. You can’t see it all. Everything related to golf was represented; clubs, tees, balls, simulators, GPS gadgets, hats, shirts, shoes – you name it. 

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - Cobra Puma party

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - Cobra Puma party

The youth movement was led by (orange) Cobra Puma, busy with its new (orange) line of golf equipment and clothing. We attended a party at the Cobra Puma booth Thursday evening and were treated to free (orange) beer and drinks.  Very refreshing. We left thinking that these kids probably golf in the summer and snowboard in the winter.

We visited other club manufacturers and were overwhelmed by the many different clubs, shafts and grips available.  There were forty booths alone for indoor equipment testing. This is where I was told that my Mizuno clubs of 3 years are now considered old. Luke Donald has moved on. That was a downer.

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - i'm Caddie

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - i'm Caddie

After making our way through the equipment booths, there was still so much more to see. There are tees that promise to add yardage to your game, or stop your slice or hook. There are training aids both virtual and not, to help better your game. There are over fifteen different yardage devices, from the laser rangefinder to the hand-held GPS, and now there are ones that you can clip to your hat and tell you the yardage. One of the more stylish versions is called i’m Caddie (www.iamcaddie.com) launching in March and retailing for between $120 and $170. I didn’t know I needed that.

 

In the Inventor’s  Spotlight, we found Golf-Link Travel Clubs (www.golflinktravelclubs.com). Perfect for travel, the set consists of one shaft with a quick release mechanism that accepts the heads for 14 clubs. It comes in a light

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - Golf-Link Travel Clubs

PGA Merchandise Show 2012 - Golf-Link Travel Clubs

weight carrying case with its own stand. The set isn’t in production yet, but the company is thinking of a price tag between $900 and $1,200.  Interesting product, but I hope they come down on the price.

Some products were just practical.  My favorite in this category also won Best New Product, and is the Golf Rules Quick Reference.  This small, durable, easy to use rules book, is tabbed, color coded, and illustrated. Very handy when you need a quick ruling and don’t want to wade through the 180 page rules book. These books are available for $12.95 at some retail outlets, and you can order them off their website at www.golfrulesmadeeasy.com.  They also have an iPhone app that retails for $10.00.

An honorable mention should go to Club Mate (www.clubmatepro.com). This small family company has produced a sturdy, ergonomic, non-invasive club stand.  Powder coated to prevent damage to bags, this stand handily holds your clubs off the ground, dry and in your sight. In addition to being useful, $1.00 of each $19.99 purchase price goes to a charity that you choose by the color of your stand.  A pink stand sends your donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, green to the ASPCA, yellow contributes to St. Jude and white dollars go to the Sunshine Foundation. Practical and philanthropic. Perfect.

There is so much to talk about, I’ll be posting more information about the show and its products over the next few weeks.

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