2009 PGA Show Report
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
2009 PGA Show Report – what’s coming your way that will dramatically improve your golf game – looking great and walking in extremely comfortable shoes.
The annual pilgrimage to the golfer’s Mecca was as exciting as it has been for as long as I can remember. The only noticeable aspect was that the show’s attendance was substantially down over last year – a good 10% both by vendors and attendees.
Facing an uncertain economy in 2009, golf companies are looking to revitalize the market with state-of-the-art technology and performance-focused materials.
As usual, there was the “buzz” about certain products. This year the most talked about hard good products were TaylorMade’s new R9 driver Burner Irons and TP Rescue club, Titleist’s “new” Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls, Nike’s STR8-FIT drivers, Tour Edge XCG-V driver and The Radar – that’s just on the hard goods side of the aisle. Plus four new putters were introduced that had golfers excited – a new Scotty Cameron Kombi, TaylorMade’s Balero, Boccieri Golf’s Mid-Weight and YES! Golf’s Interchangeable Hosel System putters.
On the soft goods side, with more than 200 golf apparel, footwear and accessory companies exhibiting product at Show, there is a lot to see. The items that caught both my eye and had a palpable vibe from attendees visiting their booths, were products from Daphne’s Head Covers, adidas and Mibrella.
One of the two most interesting and useful products introduced at the Show was Callaway’s and Aetrex Worldwide “Callaway-Aetrex “Opti-Fit” scanning system and the Callaway Golf Orthotic” product line. These in-store digital foot-scanning tools provide golfers with comfort, balance and fatigue reduction. Foot scans measure the pressure exerted by the foot, arch type and foot size, then recommend the most appropriate footwear and specific orthotic options. Callaway Golf Orthotics feature “CopperGuard,” a top cover made from advanced Cupron fibers that help prevent bacteria, fungi and odor to keep feet healthy and clean.
The other, The Radar by National Golf Products, is one of those truly useful tools that give the user distinct benefits. In this instance, the ability to know how far you hit your shots with each of your clubs is essential to your distance control.
Priced at just $229, the easy-to-use Radar offers 12 “bands” calibrated to provide accurate feedback on shots with drivers, hybrids, irons and wedges that is crucial in a sport which demands distance control. A user simply sets the unit on the ground, selects the proper band and swings away.
The Radar is accurate on shots from 10 to 400 yards – and suitable for use on the range, on the course or with a hitting net – The Radar records ball velocity and carry distance and offers instantaneous readings by taking 100,000 measurements from the moment of impact.
The Radar is extremely portable, running on one 9V Alkaline or Lithium Ion battery (preferably Duracell or Energizer), weighing 11oz. and measuring 6″ x 4″ x 1″ (H x W x D).
As with each year, golfers are looking for something easy to hit, with respect to drivers and fairway woods – they want to get the ball into the air.
To that end the following products may have all the answers they need;
The leader in the field of drivers, bar none, TaylorMade continues to innovate and bring products to market that both Tour pros and consumers both need and desire. A great combination!
Following the enormous success of the r7 Series and the recent Burner drivers, the newest addition to the best selling line will be the R9 driver, which should probably be another big success, if not the biggest to date for TaylorMade.
Like the R7 and Burner drivers, the R9 is targeted at any player who wants a modern, powerful driver that he can swing fast and launch long, but with one major change and improvement – instantaneous adjustability.
What sets the R9 driver apart from all other drivers is that it incorporates TaylorMade’s new Flight Control Technology, or FCT for short. With a simple twist of a wrench, FCT allows you to change the R9’s face angle, loft and lie angle.
How does FCT work? It starts with a small metallic sleeve positioned over the tip of the shaft. The shaft is secured to the clubhead with a specially made bolt in the bottom of the clubhead. The FCT bolt is designed to be retained in the well to eliminate the chance of losing it. The sleeve, made of high-strength 7075-T6 aluminum alloy, is ringed around the bottom with small teeth, which tightly mesh with a second ring of matching teeth within the hosel. You can change the clubhead’s characteristics (face angle, loft, lie) by loosening the FCT bolt, removing the shaft from the head, rotating the sleeve and shaft into a specified position, then locking them into that position within the head with the FCT bolt.
The R9 driver also incorporates TaylorMade’s Movable Weight Technology (MWT). The clubhead features three weight ports and comes equipped with one 16-gram and two 1-gram weights. Put the heavy weight in the heel port to promote a draw, in the toe port to promote a fade, and in the middle port to promote a straight flight.
Pat Perez used the R9 to win at the Bob Hope. His driver is an 8.5° with the clubface set at one degree open and the lie angle set between neutral and right, thanks to FCT. In terms of MWT he has 5-gram weights in both front MWT ports and an 8-gram weight in the back port. 13 other players also had the R9 in their bags and you can bet TaylorMade will again be the #1 driver both on Tour and at retail.
As with the driver and rescue club (following), TaylorMade has developed a new set of irons, the Burner 09 irons, which represent an improvement on their SuperFast Technology, and which incorporates progressive COR, progressive MOI, and progressive shaft-length, starting from the short-irons up through the long-irons. The goal is to promote faster ball speed and more forgiveness as the set progresses from a lot of loft (short-irons) to a little loft (long-irons), and is designed to enable the longer irons to deliver the type of ball flight and distance that they’re intended to.
The new Burner irons are available in full sets that include 4-iron through attack wedge. Burner 3-iron, sand wedge and lob wedge are also available. All clubs are offered in left-handed with the exception of the lob wedge.
MSRP: $840 – Steel shafts and $1,080.00 for graphite.
The MSRP for individual clubs is $105 with steel shaft and $135 with graphite shaft. Flexes are available in Stiff and Regular in steel and Stiff, Regular and M (senior) in graphite.
Available March 20, 2009.
TaylorMade Rescue TP Hybrid
Right away you notice that the new Rescue hybrid’s clubhead is refreshingly compact, which unlike the previous Rescue models, improves its playability significantly, especially out of trouble spots like the rough.
Despite its smaller size, it still looks substantial and easy to launch, its appealing shape is more refined, and its two-tiered, monochromatic crown and silver clubface are a distinct improvement over the Rescue Mid’s appearance. A crown decal is strategically positioned to make it easier to align the clubface properly to the target-line, promoting increased accuracy.
Although the Rescue hybrid’s size is similar to the original Rescue Mid, the new club has the benefit of Ultra-Thin Wall technology in the crown, which saves enough weight to significantly lower the CG location.
Meanwhile, the sole has been redesigned with substantial areas at the toe and heel significantly recessed, so that a much smaller percentage of the sole area comes in contact with the turf.
The Rescue TP hybrid is also equipped with an Aldila® Voodoo VS8 graphite shaft with S-core technology, which is the No. 1 hybrid shaft on the PGA Tour.
Two versions are available, the standard Rescue and the Rescue TP, the key difference being that the Rescue TP hybrid features the same TaylorMade Flight Control Technology (FCT) that’s in the R9™ driver and fairway woods, while the standard Rescue hybrid does not. FCT gives the player the ability to change the Rescue TP’s face angle, loft and lie angle, which has never before been possible with a hybrid of any kind.
Additionally, the Rescue TP hybrid is available in two custom shaft options, the Fujikura® Motore 85 graphite hybrid shaft and the Matrix Ozik Altus Hybrid graphite shaft; both in X, S and R flexes.
The standard Rescue hybrid is equipped with an Aldila RE*AX® 65-gram graphite shaft, designed to promote greater distance, accuracy and control to the average golfer and is available in 2, 3, 4 and 5 right-handed and 3, 4 and 5 left-handed.
Availability begins on May 1st at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199. S, R and M flexes. The Rescue TP hybrid is offered in 2, 3 and 4 right-handed and 2, 3, and 4 left-handed; the MSRP is $249 and it becomes available at retail on May 1st.
TaylorMade Balero Putter
1Following TMAG’s great success with their Spider and Itsy Bitsy Spider putter line, now comes the latest iteration of the series – the Balero. Featuring both a new visual direction and an improved alignment system—wings that echo the diameter of the cup, and a flange with a ball-sized cutout.
The Balero also uses a slightly modified AGSI+ grooved face insert as well as a high MOI design similar to the original Rossa Spider. It appears that TaylorMade potentially has another hit on its hands, as the new alignment system clearly is an improvement over the original Spider.
Though release date and pricing are not set, you can assume that the Balero will be sold for a similar price to that of the Spider.
Boccieri Golf Mid-Weight Putter Series
The sleek and sophisticated Zing-style K4 (shown) is one of five models in the Mid-Weight Series, which is composed of two mallets and three blades. The K4 has a rich matte black finish and slimming ornamental grooves along the sloping rear flange. The Heavy Putter Mid-Weight models are offered in a black “PVD” or silver satin finish. The standard loft is three degrees.
The new Mid-Weight putters weigh a total of 750 grams, inclusive of head, grip and shaft—an average of 150 grams lighter than previous models, but still considerably heavier than conventional putters.
The Mid-Weight putters follow the original Heavy Putter models (both satin and matte) and last year’s Heavy Putter Deep Face series, all of which averaged around 900 grams of total weight. The 750-gram Mid-Weight putters, therefore, represent a nearly 20 percent weight reduction compared to the earlier models (yet still 250+ grams heavier than conventional putters).
YES! Golf Interchangeable Hosel Putters
YES! Golf is the first company to introduce two putters with an interchangeable screw-in hosel system. Golfers will be able to custom fit their putter based on personal preference of the look and style of the hosel.
The interchangeable hosel putters, Tracy III Plus and Lizzy Plus, are precision CNC milled and can accommodate one of four hosel options designed to improve the look and dynamic balance of the putter.
The plumber neck hosel is standard in the Tracy III Plus and the Lizzy Plus. Three other hosel options are sold separately — slant neck, z-bend and pronounced heel-toe hang. The suggested retail for each hosel option is $100.
Tracy III Plus:
This blade putter is designed after the original Tracy putter, one of YES! Golf’s most popular putters to date. The Tracy III Plus head and accompanying hosels are made with CNC milled 303-forged stainless steel precision parts for incredible feel with a head weight of 350 grams that includes the hosel.
The putter has a single sight alignment line in the cavity of the putter head. It also has a loft of 2.5 degrees (2 degrees flat or upright available) and lie of 72 degrees with length options of 32-37 inches.
This mallet-style putter head and hosels are made of CNC milled 303 forged stainless steel with a head weight of 350 grams including the hosel. The back cavity has the look of a blade with an extended cavity to create a mallet design and feel. It features a single sight alignment in the back cavity. The putter has a loft of 2.5 degrees with length options of 32-37 inches.
NIKE SQ Dymo STR8-FIT Driver
The new Nike SQ Dymo (which stands for Dynamic Moment of Inertia) STR8-FIT drivers are more revolutionary than its predecessor, the Nike SUMO, and will replace the SUMO range when it is released this month. It will go directly up against TaylorMade’s R9 driver.
2008 Master’s champion, Trevor Immelman, is a strong proponent of the new Nike Dymo driver which has an adjustable head with eight settings that can change the club to give a choice of up to 2 degrees closed or 2 degrees open, plus different lie angles to offer golfers of different heights a better setup. The shaft adapter is built into the hosel, and adjusts with a torque wrench.
Also winning with STR8-FIT in 2008, were K.J. Choi and Anthony Kim.
For those just wanting a standard head, Nike has non-adjustable versions of the new drivers and these will replace the successful SUMO range. Aesthetically, the Dymo is a little classier than its predecessor (in my opinion), with the coloring somewhat toned down.
There isn’t as much yellow as there was on the Sumo, and the crown of the club looks less two-toned than the previous model.
And in terms of technology, the Dymo is packed full of goodness! For instance, the SQ Dymo2 (square version) has weight placed deep into the corners off the head to offer great stability and forgiveness, while the round version of the club provides more precise feel, control and workability!
Tour Edge Exotics XCG-V Driver
The XCG-V features a “v-shaped” titanium cup face, ultra light magnesium crown and a heavier high-density steel sole plate, which are brazed together for permanent bonding, without welding.
According to Tour Edge, that combination moves more weight lower and to the rear of the sole than is possible from any current driver on the market. The result, XCG-V, produces very little spin and a high moment of inertia for longer drives.
For greater power and distance, the cup-face is 125-percent larger than previous Exotics models and features a 30-percent larger hot zone.
The XCG-V has the fastest ball speed and lowest spin rates I’ve seen in awhile. Not to mention, phenomenal feel, performance and distance. It’s just a fantastic product.
The material’s flexibility allows the XCG-V crown and neck to absorb more shock on contact, producing a smooth, powerful feeling at impact.
The club’s hyper steel sole creates a super-high moment of inertia, reducing club head twisting on even the most off-center hits. This high MOI can make the difference between the first cut of rough and the fairway, or even between being OB and in play.
The XCG-V delivers with an X-Quad ultra-light shaft from Graphite Design. The X-Quad’s four-way interweave technology creates a responsive tip, improved stability, and precise control.
The combination of magnesium, steel, and titanium will help vault the Exotic’s XCG-V driver to the forefront of the golf industry.
Also available from Tour Edge’s gifted owner and designer, David Glod, is his
The Exotics putters, which will retail for $299, are shaped entirely from a solid block of SUS303 stainless steel, and each of the three designs — blade, offset blade and mallet — features a proprietary “X-grip face pattern,” which helps hold the ball on the face a fraction longer at impact, which promotes better feel, control and a smoother roll.
Titleist’s New Pro V1 Balls
The Titleist Pro V1 – the world’s most popular premium golf ball – has been reinvented as the all new Titleist Pro V1 2009 and Pro V1x. This is the fifth version of the Pro V1 and the fourth version of the Pro V1x.
Identifying the new versus the old is simply done – the new balls have two dots next to the arrows on the side stamp (also known as the alignment system). The previous version of each ball had a straight-line side stamp with arrows on each end, but no dots. Each box and individual sleeve of the new balls will contain a chart comparing the new version to the previous version.
A brand new cover and a host of clever new touches have been added to the Titleist Pro V1 2009 and Titleist Pro V1x 2009 to optimize golf ball flight.
Both of the new 2009 golf balls are said to be longer than the older version of the Pro V1 and X versions and Titleist has spent hours with their Tour Pros to really polish the already popular Titleist Pro V1 for 2009.
Specifically, the Pro V1 has a new and larger core to provide a soft feel while contributing to longer distance, while its redesigned thinner lanomeric casing helps create spin.
As for the Pro V1x, it has a soft centre dual core that delivers increased velocity plus low spin.
And for real golfers, one major new change to the golf ball is that it is now more durable than before, which means your Titleist Pro V1 and Titleist Pro V1X will last longer. Aligning the new golf ball will be easier thanks to a new alignment line on the ball.
Also new from Titleist – is the Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi putter, a high performance line of mallet putters.
The Studio Select Kombi line is available in standard, mid and long length models – Kombi (33”, 34”, 35”), Kombi Mid (43”) and Kombi Long (50”). Each Kombi is precision milled from lightweight 6061 Aircraft Aluminum and features Studio Select weighting technology. Kombi putters incorporate a thick face and three-point weighting, that is, weights in the heel, toe and back. The result is unmatched solid feel and sound in a mallet putter. The combination of the three-point weighting technology and a deep CG produce a balanced putter that is stable throughout the stroke for forgiveness and great roll.
The putter is aesthetically pleasing, has a great set-up and the ball comes off the face with an exceptionally good feel.
The Standard Kombi putter comes with circular weights in the heel and toe that allow for a variety of length and weight combinations to fit any putting stroke or style. This flexibility makes it easy for golfers to choose a Kombi putter with the length and weight they require. On the Kombi Mid and Long putters, the rear circular weight is replaced with a central bar weight to create the optimum head weight and balance for the longer lengths.
All Kombi putters feature a clean, double-bend stepless shaft with a full shaft of offset that provides an unobstructed look at address, while T-shaped, red ink sight lines provide precise alignment references on the topline and body. A misted topline with a sight line along the rear edge reduces visual thickness and makes face alignment easy. The Kombi offers a player-preferred shape and body size that flows into the ground from topline to rear.
MSRP: $325.00 Available April 1, 2009
Daphne’s Head Covers
This 26-year-old family business is doing a rip-roaring business in the custom head cover arena. These head covers are not only well designed, but also their quality and attention to detail is superb.
Each animal is fully lined and elasticized to ensure a secure fit on your clubs and is guaranteed for life. Inside the label you will find their factory phone number. Rest assured that if you have any problems with your head cover, the manufacturer will fix it pronto.
The latest models are the pink poodle, inspired by Jo Head on the LPGA Tour which has a rich pink coat that would be the envy of all the poodles on Rodeo Drive, and hybrid club fit which makes it the ideal companion for your favorite rescue club. The udderly perfect cow cover will securely protect your driver with the realistic portrayal of American’s favorite farm animal. I love Daphne’s head covers!
Another truly useful product debuted this year – the Mibrella. As the name connotes, this is a personal use umbrella both for walking with your push cart and for your motorized golf cart. Mibrella is also ideal for hot, sunny days. Its UV barrier protects against the sun’s rays, reduces glare and provides shade.
Mibrella is not round. It is asymmetrical – the shaft is placed forward, putting the golfer in the center for maximum coverage that is the equivalent of a 72” umbrella rather than the standard 62” wide umbrella!
One of the attributes of Mibrella is that it is designed to work exclusively with the company’s proprietary and revolutionary load-n-go holder, which attaches to power carts, allowing Mibrella to stay open while the cart is in motion. There is simply no need to open, close and store!
Mibrella is a “comfort” accessory that all golfers will appreciate, and is an excellent tee gift for charity and corporate golf tournaments, and a great revenue generator, exclusively for golf course pro shops!
Devolver Cart Bag
Ogio’s new three-in-one Devolver is a cart bag, lightweight caddie bag, and super-light carry bag – all in one. It features a 10-inch Uniter 15-club top and custom ergonomic three-point carry handle and weighs in at just 9.6lbs. A removable, oversized accessory pocket wraps around the bag for ample storage and attaches magnetically, then can be separated from the main compartment. As a stand-alone carry bag, an extending flap hidden in its base unzips to reveal grip protection, while conversion is completed with the attachment of the base bag’s carry strap. Once its outer pocket is removed, the “stripped down” bag that remains is 36.5 inches high and delivers additional storage through four remaining pockets.
adidas Golf’s Formotion
A golf shirt is pulled and stretched, twisted and stressed with every swing, often to the detriment of the golfer’s comfort and performance. Recognizing this, adidas Golf created Formotion, a complete upper-body system with raglan sleeve construction and ClimaCool technology designed to promote a smoother, more fluid and more dynamic swing without restriction or irritation.
adidas Tour360 Sport
THiNTech low-profile technology brings the athlete closer to the course, promoting consistent ball-striking through stability and footwork. 50/50 Protect technology features a water-resistant TPU shield that surrounds the lower-half of the shoe, while the top half utilizes air-mesh for temperature management, flexibility and comfort. Split outsole technology with 360WRAP support system allows the upper to surround the mid-foot completely, delivering stability and a glove-like fit.
Ashworth AM3570 EZ Tech 100% Cotton Pique
A fabric category Ashworth is continuing from prior seasons and improving on is its EZ tech Hi-Def 100-percent luxury cotton.
|EZ Tech is a dipping process which gives cotton such performance characteristics as shrink-resistance (less than 2%), color retention, breathability, moisture wicking, wrinkle and pill resistance, soft hand and easy care. Totally Wash, Dry & Wear! They have also added a specialized “innosoft” finish that gives the fabric a lustrous and luxurious feel and does not wrinkle. This lightweight cotton has a special no-roll collar and is comfortable to wear. This area of the Ashworth line is geared for a more classic and refined look.MSRP $49.50|
The new CB DryTec Edge from Cutter & Buck for men and women, combines performance fabric with sporty styling, making it great for wear both on and off the course. Its Active knits offer break-through moisture control for comfort and performance. Available in a full-zip style for ladies, this layering piece is sure to be a year-round favorite.
$64 – $72
Nike Golf Air Zoom Vapor
Nike Golf has introduced the lightest performance golf shoe to date with the Nike Air Zoom Vapor, which weighs just 13.8 oz*. With Nike’s new lightweight golf shoe, golfers will discover that they possess more stamina and less fatigue during their round through the benefit of carrying less weight on their feet.
Inspired by the Mercurial Vapor Soccer boot, Nike Golf’s Air Zoom Vapor is made with a one piece microfiber upper that is lightweight, strong, waterproof and breathable. This high-performance upper is coupled with a full-length chassis that together provide the ultimate in stability and comfort. The high-end synthetic upper material is more durable than leather, more form-fitting to the foot and will not stretch over time.
Also highlighting Nike’s lightweight innovative technology found in the Nike Air Zoom Vapor is Nike’s Power Platform Ultra, which provides the ultimate in weight transfer and balance control for maximum power conversion to a golfer’s swing. To make the shoe more lightweight, the middle section of the sole is taken out for added comfort without jeopardizing stability.
Located in the heel of the shoe is Nike’s Zoom Air unit, which provides the most responsive low-profile cushioning and the best lateral stability of all of Nike’s technologies.
Nike Golf athletes, Stephen Ames, Stewart Cink, David Duval, Lucas Glover, Carl Pettersson and Bo Van Pelt are devotees of the Air Zoom Vapor.
In addition to the enhanced features noted above, Nike Air Zoom Vapor also offers the following technical benefits such as a Full-length contoured sockliner – Full-length and contoured for instant comfort for the life of the shoe, an Articulated Phylon midsole/outsole with Scorpion Stinger Spikes and Q-Lok system – Dual durometer TPU for optimal traction, comfort and durability and a 2-Year Limited Waterproof Warranty- Watershield Plus keeps water out while the foot stays dry and cool.
Colors: Black/Metallic Silver; White/Black; Tour Yellow/Black; Metallic Pro
* 13.8 oz pertains to a Men’s size 9
Glove It, the leading manufacturer of women’s fashion golf accessories, was one of the busiest booths at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
The Nicole Miller collection by Glove It expanded its line for 2009 with the addition of a golf cart bag. The golf cart bag, which comes in three patterns with matching head covers and accessories, was named by the industry’s Apparel Wire as a “Show Stopper”. The 9-inch lightweight golf cart bag, which weighs in at just seven pounds, is designed to be used on a golf cart or push cart. It offers plenty of storage space along with easy access to all the pockets.
The 2009 Glove It collection features five new collections with a mixture of vibrant colors in fun prints to more traditional colors in classic prints. Each collection features 10 accessory pieces consisting of a golf glove with valuables’- pouch, visors, caps, accessory and tote bags, water bottle covers, shoe bags, towels, club covers and three-interchangeable belt combinations.
The suggested retail for the accessory collection ranges from $14.95 – $49.95. The entire line comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
All in all, the Show still retains its magic and is an event that thousands of golfers look forward to each year and are rarely disappointed. I have already booked my return visit and look forward to seeing what creativity and technology have in store for 2010.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf” is to be released in January 2009.