The 2010 PGA Show’s Top Ten Products – A Comeback in the making?
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
|The 2010 PGA Show’s Top Ten Products – A Comeback in the making?
In attending a PGA Show and identifying the ten best products there, based on my opinion and those of my colleagues, one faces a major hurdle – having enough 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, reminiscent of the heyday of former PGA Shows. With over 1,000 exhibitors and close to 40,000 attendees, the convention floor was filled for three days solid. The organizers had to literally throw people out of the hall at the 3.00 pm close on Saturday. Vendor’s were writing orders and in great spirits. Hopefully, golf is on the rebound.
Top participating golf manufacturers included: Srixon, Fairway and Greene, Callaway Golf, Club Car, Bridgestone, Nike Golf, Ahead Clothing, Tour Edge, PING, Wilson Golf, Titleist and Yonex, to name just a few.
Club and putter fitting is the hottest trend in the industry right now. Aiding this trend are fitting devices, such as Mizuno’s and Edel Golf’s Putter Fitting Process.
With the technology now available that allows golfers to be fitted with multiple shafts and interchangeable heads, both in putters and clubs, there is absolutely no reason why EVERY golfer should not be custom fitted. Pricing for custom fitting is negligible and in most cases offered free by retailers, however, if you prefer dealing with a specific manufacturer this could entail the purchasing of the company’s clubs or a small fee.
I personally have yet to be convinced that a shaft with an attachment is going to play the same as one without. And, until there is a standard attachment for all manufacturers, I am not convinced that this trend will be around for too long. As I was taught at business school, businesses do not create markets, markets create businesses and there is definitely not a significant market for this product, presently or in the foreseeable future.
Hybrids are still the star of this year’s show in hard goods, as performance fabrics are in the soft goods. In fact, when it comes to individual club sales, hybrids have surpassed putters in many retail stores as top sellers, checking in just behind drivers as the No. 1 revenue producer.
The following products were the 10 best of the Show:
David Edel’s Golf Fitting Technology – It’s all about AIM!
Based on imperfect visual aim, by 99% of individuals, including Tour players, Edel Golf offers a process of carefully fitting each golfer one at a time. Edel has certified fitters throughout the United States. It took Edel just 30 minutes to fit me to a putter that found the hole consistently, after he diagnosed that I was aiming to the left. Most impressive to me was that I finally was able to convey what weight and feel worked well for me and see the results fast.
After the fitting process is complete, with over 30 million permutations available to get your putter fitted perfectly, you will own a truly custom putter ideal for your game and most importantly, your confidence increases and putting statistics improve rapidly.
Edel Golf offers three unique designs that can be built to a golfer’ specific need: Basic, Variable Weight and Variable Loft. All Edel Golf putters are precisely milled from a block of 303 Stainless Steel – available in six head shapes (Columbia, Willamette, McKenzie, Rogue, Umpqua, Deschutes), and handcrafted using a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) vertical milling press.
Edel premium putters are precision milled instruments in all models and styles, whether a mallet or a blade, a center shaft or plumber’s neck. The putters are made from only the best quality materials in the world. Edel custom putters are currently in the hands of top professionals and serious golfers all over the world.
Cost per putter varies from $375 to $800 www.edelgolf.com
Dawgs Golf Spirit Shoes
This was another of the busiest booths at the Show. More importantly, I saw more smiling faces and orders being written at this booth than anywhere else during my 3 days at the Show.
One of the most important pieces of golf equipment is your shoes. Playing a round of golf involves lots of walking and your shoes, if not fitted correctly or are too heavy, can cause issues that affect your game, both short term and long term.
DAWGS has introduced a line of lightweight shoes, including golf shoes, which weigh just 7 ounces. They are extremely stable, stylish and are ideal for moving around dry golf courses. Their only drawback is that they are not waterproof and should not be worn in wet conditions. DAWGS are especially prolific on the LPGA Tour.
Similar to the Crocs that have been on the market for a while, DAWGS has simply made a better product both in support and styling and, of course, comfort.
For “after the round”, walking and driving, there is simply no substitute that I could find in any shoe brand.
The built in properties of high quality EVA (a.k.a. Closed Cell Resin) absorb shock, protecting your heel and foot. The shoes can be worn without socks, are odor resistant, have great arch support and a wonderful massaging foot bed.
Golfing performance is further enhanced by the Golf Spirit shoe’s 9 strategically placed soft spikes embedded in rubber/EVA out soles, keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground.
Golfers wearing the golf spirit shoe also benefit from a quick adjusting Velcro strap for immediate comfort, and ventilation holes for cool comfort.
The “Spirit” line is available in both men’s (8-17) and women’s sizes from 5-11. It is suggested that you get the size larger as there are currently no half sizes. Their color combinations are terrific.
Visit their web site to see all the different styles, colors and uses for their products. It’s a fun experience.
MSRP: $50 www.usadawgs.com
If you liked Steve Boccieri’s Heavy Putters, this new wedge is quickly going to find a place in your bag. This wedge uses the same counterweight technology that is found in Boccieri’s Heavy Putters. An extra 65 grams of weight is positioned in the butt of the shaft, raising the club’s balance point and, according to Boccieri, promotes better distance control and tighter shot dispersion.
The wedge is extremely easy to hit, the weight seems perfect and it is aesthetically pleasing.
The wedge comes with a Femco FST Hi REV shaft and aggressive square grooves.
MSRP $109.95 Available: Feb 15 www.boccierigolf.com
Tour Edge CB3 Tour Driver
One of the busiest booths at the Show and the Demo Day, Tour Edge’s new CB3 Tour Driver is one of the stars of the Tour Edge line.
The CB3 delivers tour-caliber performance in a traditional-sized head.
Wow! What fabulous irons these J38 Dual Pocket are! Similarly, the new Tour B33o RX ball is a performer “par excellence”.
These are probably the best looking “Players” irons I have ever seen. They look like forged irons and the feel is, basically put – awesome! They are primarily targeted for professionals to mid-handicappers.
The irons are made from premium forged 1020 carbon steel and with a Magnesium composite that enhances perimeter weighting for more forgiveness on off-center hits, which also dampens vibration for better feel.
The club’s trailing and leading edge offers relief for better performance from a variety of lies.
Project X flighted shafts are offered and the set comes in 4-PW.
Also, coming are the J38 Cavity Back irons designed for the lower handicapper and will be available in March.
The B330 RX offers the softest, multi-layer Urethane ball on the market and its large and soft Gradational Core provides a soft feel and added forgiveness.
This ball plays as well, if not better than, as any of the premium balls currently being offered to golfers.
MSRP: $56 per dozen www.bridgestonegolf.com
Nike VR (Victory Red) STR8-FIT Tour Driver
Nike’s best driver to date! It delivers everything a driver should be – distance, great set-up, forgiveness and performance and it is definitely one of the most impressive performers in the premium adjustable golf driver market.
Teasing the golfing public for almost a year, the Tour Proven METHOD putter has finally arrived at retailers.
The multi-material face starts the ball on a positive spin that is faster than both a milled steel putter, as well as putters with a polymer face insert.
All five of the METHOD putters come with a standard 2 degrees of loft and will be available in 33″, 34″, and 35″ lengths.
MSRP: $249.99 www.nikegolf.com
Golf GPS or Laser Rangefinder – Which is Better?
As with getting opinions from lawyers, there are always going to be too many. So it is with yardage finders. Both devices are designed to provide golfers with accurate yardage readings, but they both function quite differently and each has inherent different strengths and weaknesses.
How a Rangefinder Works
A rangefinder is completely different from a GPS device. The rangefinder is an optical device which is somewhere between a pair of binoculars and a laser gun that would be used to measure speeding drivers by a highway patrol officer.
How a Golf GPS Unit Works
To keep it simple, a golf GPS is a satellite based mapping device. It communicates with overhead satellites to pinpoint your exact location on the Earth and then uses previously recorded locations on the golf course to tell you the distance to any important locations near you (front of the green for the hole you are playing, for example).
Advantages of a Golf GPS
You don’t have to aim it at a target to get a yardage reading. This can be an advantage if your target is not in your line of site; an elevated green or you are behind a bush, for example.
Advantages of Laser Rangefinders for Golf
The latest model Range finders have up to 7x magnification. This can be very useful, not only for guiding the laser to get accurate yardage measurements to your target, but also for locating landing areas.
SkyCaddie GPS SGX Range Finder & SGX SmartClub Technology
The leader of the pack in the Golf GPS domain is, without adoubt, SkyCaddie. Their commitment to research is second-to-none, and now they have introduced what is probably the most advanced unit to measure distance for those golfers who love technology.
Not only will you be able to mark your distances, keep a record of your scores, but the SCG will allow you to select which club to use, even let you know if you left it behind.
For the ultimate in convenience and reliability, the SkyCaddie SGX can store up to 30,000 pre-loaded, ground-verified course maps making it ready-to-play out of the box. The SGX boasts a durable, sleek design with a large, easy-to-read, transflective TFT-LCD screen that provides brilliant color images, even in the brightest sunlight.
The SGX uses an innovative dual navigation option to provide golfer friendly one-handed operation and enhanced precision positioning. An intuitive user interface offers everything found in competitive rangefinders, plus better reliability and several proprietary stroke-saving essentials, like IntelliGreen Pro, TruePoint GPS Precision Positioning and SmartClubTechnology.
Lastly, SGX offers a convenient Digital Scorecard and Stat Tracking option to track key game statistics, including: greens in regulation, fairways hit, driving accuracy and distance, plus total putts. Golfers can auto sync their scores and stats to SkyGolf’s newly created and quickly evolving online community, ClubSG, for comprehensive game tracking and analysis.
SGX Enabled With SmartClub Technology
This revolutionary connectivity adds new functionality and opens a huge portal to expand the game beyond the 18th green and to golf’s future. For example, SGX Club Reminder utilizes SmartClub technology to alert a golfer if a wedge or other club is left behind, before the player advances to the next hole. SGX Game Tracker can also utilize the same technology to capture the club used, the geo-location and distances of each shot, while eliminating most of the effort and distraction of manual entry. Captured round data and personal performance data are synced to ClubSG for unparalleled post-game analytics or sharing with friends, teachers and fitters.
SkyCaddie SGX will be available at most golf shops nationwide in April, 2010. SmartClub Technology with SGX SmartClub Tags is expected to be available by June, 2010. Pricing for SmartClub Technology with SGX SmartClub Tags will be released at a later date.
Laser Link Red Hot Range Finder
The best in the range finder domain for ease of use, accuracy and style. If your course has the Laser Link Reflector System, you will be thrilled by this latest unit from Laser Link Golf. If your course is still in the 18th century, demand that they get the FREE reflector system.
I personally like to play fast and dealing with a GPS unit is not my preference. I want to know how far it is to the pin without having to get involved in calculations and pressing more than one button to get my information.
This 8 ounce unit with a laser link reflector will give you a distance of 5 – 800 yards (5 -731 meters), while a course without a reflector gives you a range of 5 – 400 yards (5 – 366 meters).
This is a Class One laser and requires a 9-volt alkaline battery, as opposed to charging a GPS. It has an accuracy factor of +/- 1%! – Very different from a GPS unit.
The unit‘s many other features include the ability to measure landmarks, such as trees and bunkers up to 400 yards away. It has both a vibrate mode for silent use and an easy-to-use mode button.
You will be thrilled with this unit – you focus on your game without being distracted.
MSRP: $389.00 www.laserlinkgolf.com
This Swedish clothing company made its first appearance at the PGA Show and to describe their product line in one word, “stunning”.
Their styles for both men and women bring excitement to fashion on and off the golf course. They make wearing golf clothes exciting!
Please note that MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) may be different from the Street Price (as sold by retailers).
There were many other noteworthy products available at the Show and these will be covered in our Show Wrap-Up article next month.
Rest assured that there are many great and exiting products coming out this year that will improve all aspects of your game from shoes to balls to books and training aids that really work.
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 April 2010.