The 2007 PGA Show Wrap-Up – Let’s Go Shopping!
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
Twelve hundred and fifty vendors, 500,000 square feet of exhibition space and just 3 days to see it all – a guaranteed mission impossible!
Of all the years I have been attending “The Show”, this was by far the best. There were so many excellent and innovative products, both in hard goods and soft goods, that a whole magazine issue could be devoted to cover all these products. The magnitude of the show and products is simply mind boggling.
TaylorMade, Nike and Callaway took center stage in every category. Their products are so technologically advanced. Yet, there were many of the lesser known companies that also had excellent products.
Technology again was ubiquitous from Ahead clothing to Zelocity Flight monitors and everything else in between, most especially in the use of GPS systems and performance fabrics.
In attending and identifying the best products at a PGA Show, one faces a major hurdle – time to visit and talk with the inventors and sales teams. This year the Show organizers scheduled both a demo day for retailers and club manufacturers, as well as an indoor testing area. Both were extremely well attended.
The Show was alive and the “vibe” was palpable. Top participating golf manufacturers included: adidas, Fairway and Greene, Callaway Golf, Club Car, Full Swing Golf, Nike Golf, Sport-Haley, Orlimar, TaylorMade Golf, Tour Edge, Wilson Golf, Nickent and Yonex, to name just a few.
Upcoming articles will feature specific categories in detail – drivers, irons, shafts, wedges, balls, teaching and training aids, accessories and clothing. This year, to try and present a glimpse of all the fine products exhibited, we have created a Top Ten quintuple matrix that sums up the best of the best.
These were some the Show stoppers
“It’s about the Geometry”, “It’s about MOI”, “Hip to be Square” and “Chiclet” shaped square drivers with flashy color schemes, were the most often used phrases heard at the Show.
In a nutshell, this technology for square shaped drivers works by moving the weight further back on the driver and more towards the heel and toe–hence the square shape. This way, it creates a more forgiving driver. To understand this driver, it’s important to understand Moment of Inertia (MOI). MOI is the term applied to how resistant the clubhead is to twisting when a ball is struck. For example, if your swing is a little off and you hit the ball on the toe of the clubhead, a clubhead with a higher MOI will twist less as a result of the mis-hit. This creates a better chance that the ball will still go where you intended and with less loss of distance. Testing has shown 8-10 percent improvement with regards to accuracy on mis-hit shots.
Though we will cover all the new drivers in our next article, the following is a brief synopsis of the “hot” drivers.
Though these square drivers are the current favored product, there will also be square hybrids and fairway woods hitting the market in the next few months.
The USP (unique selling proposition) for the new square shape is simple – straighter drives, less dispersion rate, but not necessarily longer! All these drivers tend to have closed faces and duplicate a driver with a draw basis. They do look cute though, but they are rather expensive!
TaylorMade’s 460 cc Burner Driver
Already in use on the PGA Tour, TaylorMade’s new Burner driver is engineered to promote greater distance through faster speed. Though not as radical as a square-back driver, the bullet-shaped Burner extreme central back weight redistribution technology is designed to increase forgiveness across the face of the club. Because of this unique forgiveness, the Burner maintains a level of ball speed on mis-hits that most other drivers just cannot match.
TaylorMade uses “eMOI” (effective Moment of Inertia) in its club measurements. This term is used to account for the combined benefits of high MOI and Inverted Cone Technology. Inverted Cone Technology provides a larger area of the clubface to deliver higher ball velocity and greater distance, even on mis-hits. The Burner driver has an eMOI that exceeds 5800 and is very close to the USGA’s limit of 5900.
With its high eMOI, the driver is very responsive, forgiving and is designed for those players that prefer to “grip it and rip it”. Its aesthetics and color scheme are eye-catching, making it a very handsome piece of equipment that performs extremely well.
Adding to Burner’s distance advantage is the fact that it’s also engineered to naturally promote a high and slight penetrating draw, thanks to the combination of its 1° closed clubface and the flex, flex-point and torque of its .350-tip shaft. Additionally, a permanent weight cartridge located in the middle-back of the sole pulls the CG deep and low into the head, making Burner easy to launch high and long. The cartridge also allows TaylorMade to cleanly and precisely adjust the club’s swing weight at the factory.
The Burner ($299.99) is also available in the TP version $399.99
DiXX Digital Instruction/Training Putter.
Adams Golf has teamed up with the Korean inventor, Dr. Ci Moo Song of Seoul, South Korea, whose company, Infinics, Inc., initially introduced the putter in Japan, to become the North American distributor for the DiXX Digital Instruction putter. People were lining up to gawk and test this VERY EXPENSIVE high tech marvel.
The DiXX is a putter with a unique patented motion sensor called an “Inertial Navigation System” and a color LCD screen built into a module that fits in its mallet-shaped head.
What’s remarkable is that the sensor provides feedback data on the five key factors of the putting stroke – swing path, impact position, tempo, face angle, and speed balance. It also allows a golfer to choose either a straight-line putting path or arc path.
Not only does it give you instant feedback on a stroke, it also compiles data on a number of putts to give you a statistical profile, so you can identify your tendencies, and eventually, your progress toward improving your action. Available in lengths of 33, 34 and 35 inches for $1,000.00 – rather expensive but there are those that just need to have the latest and greatest!
Callaway FT-i 460 cc Driver
Of the square faced drivers arriving weekly on the market, Callaway’s FT-I has great lines and colors, making it definitely the best looking driver available.
Aside from its good looks, the driver performs admirably and was favored by our testing group as their favorite of the “square-faced” drivers tested (Orlimar, Nike SUMO², Hippo HEX2, Integra’s SooLong, Perfect Club Squared and Simpac Golf).
The Callaway FT-i driver features a square head employing full carbon body technology resulting in extra weight savings over that of a titanium head. By using a lightweight carbon body that weighs only 42g, Callaway has been able to push as much weight as possible into the far corners of the head, thereby dramatically increasing the club’s ability to resist twisting on off-centre hits, thus increasing MOI for straighter drives.
The sound of the club upon ball striking is somewhat louder than the normal 460 cc driver, but not ear-splitting, as some of the other square shaped drivers tested. It has great feel and its looks at address are not overly disturbing. $499.99
Nike Storm – FIT (Functional Innovative Technology) Soft Shell Pullover Jacket
This is a marvelous jacket to fight off the elements. It is seamed sealed, unlined, waterproof, windproof and breathable. The jacket comes with a rain-off collar for a comfortable fit and additional weather protection.
There’s no over the shoulder seam allowing you to carry your bag without the shoulder seam rubbing. The 3-layer soft shell comfort technology eliminates bulk, weight and provides maximum weather protection.
The four-way stretch material allows for a greater range of motion. Articulated seams in the elbow provide more freedom of movement where it’s most needed. An open hem gives you more ease of movement.
Tour Edge Bazooka GeoMax Driver
Long recognized as one of golf’s better manufacturers offering excellent value, Tour Edge has introduced the GeoMax driver. As with the Burner, the GeoMax offers a superb level of control through its design. A fixed 20-gram tungsten rear sole weight repositions the GeoMax’s center of gravity deeper and lower in the head raising the club’s MOI to 5,000.
The GeoMax’s center of gravity is lower and deeper by pushing the legal limits of the breadth-to-face-length ratio to .974. Superior to traditional design specifications, this ratio delivers beefed up accuracy and forgiveness for heart-pounding drives.
The addition of a 20-gram tungsten sole weight places the center of gravity low and deep into the driver’s head for a higher launch and an unprecedented level of control.
The GeoMax has also followed with a color scheme designed to appeal to golfers. On top of this, its price of $199.99, makes it one of golf’s best driver buys available.
Nike SUMO² 460 cc Driver
The first of the square drivers to appear on the market, Nike’s SUMO² offers a MOI of 5300.
This extremely eye-catching designed driver is flying off retailers’ shelves since its introduction last month, and is offered at a price of $399.99.
Our testers and many other golfers at the demo day at the Show, all had similar responses and comments – “weird shape, weird sound, but the ball definitely goes straighter.
Nike utilizes a multi-material construction with a composite crown to save weight vs. a conventional titanium crown. The SUMO² driver is also the widest driver on the field for early 2007 at 4.9 inches in front-to-back depth (US Golf Association’s limit is 5 inches).
Nikon 500G Laser Caddy
This small and compact hand-held range finder has terrific optics (6×20) and ranges targets as small as the pin stick out to 500 yards with ½ yard accuracy. It is definitely the leader in range finders surpassing other brands such as Bushnell, TourTrek and Gear for Golf.
The Caddy is water resistant, fits very comfortably in one’s hand and offers a scan mode as well.
Adidas ClimaCool Motion Color Block Polo
This rib-knit collar and open hem mesh sleeve shirt featuring UV protection with an anti-microbial finish are indicative of the new rage in golf shirts.
adidas is one of the forerunners in this field of performance fabrics and has introduced lines of shirts and pants for ladies and men, as well as a youth line targeted at eight- to 14-year-olds.
adidas Golf Kids is a performance-based line of polo shirts and outerwear. These shirts and pants are wonderfully comfortable and color combinations are readily available.
(MSRP $75.00 www.adidas.com)
Adidas ClimaCool Pant
Unquestionably one of the most comfortable pants available on the market today, these pants make playing golf thoroughly enjoyable. As with the Climacool shirts, UV protection and an anti-microbial finish are offered.
In addition, the pants feature two back welt pockets, concealed back and calf mesh gussets and constructed belt loops. There are six colors available: navy, arctic, white, ecru, black and graphite.
(MSRP $75.00 www.adidas.com
Daphne’s Head Covers
Head covers are in and Daphne’s Head Covers make the best ones on the market. Every conceivable and imaginable cover, from “Be the Ball” to “Two Ball Putter” are available. There are over 175 animal covers alone.
The quality is superb as is the company’s eye on quality, function, form and attention to minute detail and warranty policy. My favorite is the Black Panther.
(Various prices. www.daphnesheadcovers.com)
TMAX Gear MAG F1 Golf Bag
Revolutionary! Beautiful! Ugly! Wow! These were many of the adjectives overheard at TaylorMade’s licensing partner’s booth, TMAX Gear, headed by Jim Stutz, former TMAG CEO, about the MAG F1 Cart Bag.
As cart bag design goes these days, unless you have a branded golf cart bag, every standard cart bag looks the same – bland.
The MAG F1 is radical and is the embodiment of style and pioneering design components. Its 840 Denier Military Grade Ballistic Nylon design is defiantly avante garde, very contemporary, sleek and elegant. Aside from the sonic weld logos which add to the great look, what one notices immediately is the zipper less configuration and the 14 way, full length spoke and rim club organizer. The integrated polyurethane front lift handle is truly useful and well positioned.
The slotted sidewall ball silos, the two full length zippered LS side panels, the wire mesh front and side panel venting system and the racing harness strap system with its TaylorMade metal medallion, accentuate the racy look of the bag.
Accessing the pockets is extremely user-friendly, plus features vertical quick access versus slant zippered access. There are six Cargo Storage pockets, a full length side access pocket and a velour lined valuables pocket. Logo’d silicone pull tabs, E2 neoprene panel gussets, a Velcro strapped umbrella holder and parachute clips just perfectly complete a slim-looking and upscale pride-of-ownership cart bag.
Great color combinations are available such as sun/fire, midnight/titanium and jet black/titanium.
The Free Release Shoe
This shoe caused quite a stir both at the Demo day and at the booth. For approximately 20% of those golfers who suffer from arthritis and synovitis, this shoe could be a Godsend. This “wonder” shoe not only protects against arthritis- related disorders, but also reduces the strain on ligaments, tendons and nerve tracts. Using this shoe, the golfer will maintain a stable position during the entire swing compared to conventional shoe- soles. This balance of the vertical and horizontal body-axis is a basic element of a healthy swing.
Problems during the swing arise from the fact that the knee-joint is unable to rotate under strain for biomechanical reasons. Thus, a weight-shift had so far been necessary for the back-swing. The shoe supersedes this motional task because the biomechanical function of the knee-joint is transferred to the mechanical swivel joint on the sole. Apart from that, the swing with the Free- Release.com golf shoe is no different than the swing made with conventional golf shoes.
The Nike One Black & Nike One Platinum Balls.
Holding the position of the most wins currently on the PGA Tour, Nike has introduced new versions of their premium ball line.
The major revisions to both balls are the new dimple count and pattern of 336 and their improved feel.
The Nike One Black is designed for distance and uses a firmer mantle and progressive density core to help reduce spin off the tee. Compression factor is 88.
The Nike One Platinum employs a softer outer mantle to promote optimal spin and control especially around the green. Additionally, the ball has an inner mantle that maximizes energy transfer to the core for high velocity shots. This is the preferred Nike One ball on the Tours.
Compression factor is 84.
(MSRP $54 per dozen www.nikegolf.com)
Following their successful introduction of their F2 wedges, Face Forward Technologies have now brought the NEW F2 Plus Series Irons to market.
The F2 Irons are designed with a graduated sole, whereby, the thickness of the sole increases from the 4 iron to the pitching wedges. The weight positioned between the sole and cavity back allows a gap between the club face and rear flange promoting a larger sweet spot and softer feel off the club face.
With the face forward and hosel back, the positioning of your hands is automatically set in the correct face forward position. The F2 irons produce less drag, less shanks, straighter and more consistent shots which are now more the norm than the exception.
The iron set is available in 4-PW with proprietary graphite shafts, regular or stiff flex for only $599.00
AHEAD HYBRIDWEAR Technical Performance Fabrics- EX02
Like the word hybrid suggests, these shirts are a balanced blend of fabrics and style. Ahead’s “Extreme” polos are contemporary in style and fit, but incorporate many of the traditional elements golfers still want in their apparel such as collar and placket treatments.
From a performance and value perspective, AHEAD HYBRIDWEAR gives golfers the best of both worlds; the care, comfort and feel of cotton they prefer, along with the moisture wicking benefits of hi-tech fabrics.
The EX02 is a 55%/45% cotton/poly blend polo whose performance properties are further enhanced with raglan sleeves and a mesh back.
It has a zip- front placket and shoulder piping that adds style to this extreme fit garment.
Callaway X-20 Irons
The X-Series of irons has been the mainstay of Callaway’s line of irons.
Following their X-18 Series, these new irons are all about total performance and enhanced forgiveness.
The irons have that wonderful “buttery” feel when struck flush and good shots exude confidence. Callaway lowered the center of gravity by 6% over the X-18s through their Progressive Wall Reduction System and with their Extreme Notch Weighting design. They were able to redistribute weight to the extreme perimeter of the iron to create a high Moment of Inertia (MOI) for greater forgiveness and more stability.
Available in Steel and graphite shafts – $524.99 – $899.99
Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 Hug Carry System Golf Bag
For those who love to walk, a bag for the ages has been developed by Annika Sorenstam’s caddy, Terry McNamara.
The HUG transfers up to 60% of the weight of the clubs from golfers’ shoulders to their waists. HUG Technology works in conjunction with dual bag straps allowing the bag to be shouldered as usual and then for the HUG Carry System to be simply positioned around the waist. Using the HUG Carry System transfers the majority of the weight off of the shoulders which results in reduced upper body fatigue and more upright posture.
What is remarkable about this bag besides its weight and functionality is the ease in which the golfer can both shoulder and remove the bag and employ the HUG technology. There are no belts, buckles or snaps; the HUG Arm simply fits around your waist in one movement. It can remove 10 – 15 lbs. from your shoulders, which makes a game improving difference.
Golfers can now walk with their heads forward 4% from vertical, while those carrying a bag without HUG Technology walked with their heads forward 25%. The further forward the head tilts the more weight the neck and shoulder muscles have to support. The closer the neck is to straight vertical, the better the weight is dispersed throughout the entire body.
The Superlight 3.5 includes a built-in top collar handle that provides a convenient spot to grab when removing the bag from the shoulder, top-molded stand attachment for stability, and patented Roller-Bottom stand mechanism. The bag includes a six-way top with full-length dividers; seven pockets, including a full-length clothing pocket, velour lined valuables pouch, and water bottle pouch; and Sun Mountain’s Dual X-Strap system for balanced carrying in an easy-on/easy-off design.
Pragma “Associate” Cigar Lighter
What upsets a cigar smoking golfer the most? – A lighter that cannot be found and when found, is not wind resistant, not to mention not having a cutter on the golf bag.
Pragma solved these problems by introducing not only a sleek looking cigar carrying case, but one with a built in lighter and cutter.
Three different models are available, the Duo -$30, Associate -$45 & Companero. $60
The Clicgear Full-Size Three-wheel Cart
Constructed of oversized aircraft grade aluminum tubing, the 18-pound Clicgear Cart is durable and lightweight yet retains sophisticated styling.
Additional features include: easy to use Posi-Lock Handbrake, Umbrella Holder, 12-inch Pneumatic Tires, Beverage Holder and Full-Size Console with ample storage. Precisely engineered, the Clicgear Cart is a truly innovative three-wheel push cart, built to exacting standards of quality and finish.
Probably the best of its many attributes is that the Clicgear Cart folds and unfolds in less than five seconds and can carry any size golf bag.
The Clicgear Cart is available at golf pro shops, golf specialty retailers, sporting goods retailers as well as online golf retailers nationwide. Clicgear Cart is available in five colors – Black, Blue, Silver, White and Orange.
MSRP: $229 www.clicgearusa.com
Need to reduce your stress levels? Q-Link, the innovators of the original Q-Link pendant, introduced their new bracelets as an alternative for golfers who prefer bracelets over pendants. Sleek and stylish, its benefits remain in effect beyond the golf course, in everyday life. The bracelets are very stylish as they are elegant. More importantly, in the area that counts most – stress reduction – the bracelet offers the same unmatched performance as Q-Links earlier product line.
Each Q-Link bracelet features SRT-3 programming, which enables it to more efficiently resonate life-supporting frequency in a person’s energy field. The result is a more effective response to stress. With the Q-Link bracelet and pendant, athletes and non-athletes realize heightened energy, and a quicker stress-reducing effect, thus experiencing a more rapid return to centered emotional states. PGA Tour players who used Q-Link products in ’06 include Chris DiMarco, Charles Howell III, Justin Rose, Brian Gay, Tom Pernice Jr. , Marco Dawson, Greg Chalmers, Ted Purdy, Lee Janzen, Camillo Vargas, Jeff Brehaut, Tim Petrovic, and many more.
The new Q-Link bracelet is available in two models: the Performance and the Cuff. The Q-Link Performance Bracelet features an SRT-3 Technology logo bar on a durable and sporty, adjustable rubber band. The logo bar is available in four finishes – silver or gold, brushed or polished.
The MSRP for the Q-Link Performance Bracelet is $79.95 for silver and $99.95 for gold.
Overall, two definitive conclusions can be derived from the Show experience. Golf is alive and well and poised to improve over the next few years. The golfer has numerous options in every golf product category and one needs to take the opportunity to explore, test, and take advantage of the technology now available – it will enhance your enjoyment and skill level in the game of golf.
In next month’s issue we will cover the latest and greatest in drivers where “buzz words”; anti- slice, MOI, Effective MOI, geometry, moveable weight technology, dispersion rates and draw technology are the rage.
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” and his current book, “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf” is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list.
|Adams Golf www.adamsgolf.com||Adam’s DIXX Putter – www.adamsgolf.com|
|adidas Climacool & Climalite – www.adidasgolf.com||Ahead Apparel www.aheadweb.com|
|Aline’s Shoe Inserts – www.aline.com||About Golf Simulator – www.aboutgolf.com|
|Argon Laser Putter – www.argonputter.com||Balance-Certified – www.balance-certified.com|
|Bettinardi’s C06 HX – www.bettinardi.com||Paula Creamer Glasses – www.sundogeyewear.com|
|Callaway – www.callawaygolf.com||Daphne’s Head Covers – www.daphnesheadcovers.com|
|Free Release Shoe – www.free-release.com||Golf Furniture – www.distinctivegolf.com|
|Guerin Rife – www.rifeputters.com||The F2 Hamilton Putter – www.f2golf.com|
|Heavy Putter – www.heavyputter.com||Jim Hardy’s Plane Truth Videos- www.jimhardygolf.com|
|Kerri Golf – www.kerigolf.com||Lija Ladies Apparel – www.lijastyle.com|
|Maximus Weighted Swing Trainer – www.medicus.com||Nike – www.nikegolf.com|
|Nikon – www.nikonsportoptics.com||Nickent – www.nickentgolf.com|
|Odyssey – www.odysseygolf.com||Peak Vision – www.peakvisionsports.com|
|Perfect Club – www.theperfectclub.com||P3Pro Swing – www.p3proswing.com|
|Pragma “Associate” Cigar Lighter – www.pragma-accessories.com||Q-Link – www.qlinkgolf.com|
|SeeMore Putters – www.seemore.com||SkyGolf’s SG4 – www.skygolfgps.com|
|Sunderland’s – www.dwhbrands.com||Sun Mountain – www.sunmountain.com|
|TaylorMade – www.taylormadegolf.com||TaylorMade’s TMAX Golf Bags – www.tmaxgear.com|
|Tour Edge – www.touredge.com||True Temper’s Epic Golf Shaft – www.epicshaft.com|
|Vic Vegas Cigars – www.vicvegacigars.com||Whackidoo Tees – www.whackidoo.com|
|Yonex – www.yonex.com||Yes! Golf – www.yesgolf.com|
|Zero Restriction – www.zerorestriction.com|