The event this year, again, was an ode to the creativity and innovation of those who love golf, are continually searching for the perfect club, and for the best way to become a scratch golfer.
Adjustability was the key word this year, from drivers to fairway woods to hybrids.
At every PGA Show I attend, the hardest part is identifying the best products at the Show. This year was no exception. 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.
Below are twelve of the best products I saw, but trust me when I tell you, it was like Noah’s Ark – there were at least two products in each and every category. In upcoming articles, we will take a look at all the major categories of hard goods and soft goods.
Bobby Jones Men’s Clothing Line
Usually, when visiting the Show or even the golf course, I always look forward to seeing the latest clothing being worn by either sex. Normally, it is the cookie cutter polo shirts, hi tech fabrics, striped shirts, same old shoes and pants that dominate the scene.
For a quarter century, Bobby Jones has provided luxury men’s and women’s sportswear, including polo shirts, button downs, shorts, slacks and sweaters/knits to demanding consumers looking to exude a classy, cool confidence on and off the course. The Bobby Jones brand can be found at the finest golf clubs, resorts and haberdasheries in the world. But I was blown away at the Show by the Bobby Jones 1930 Collection. This is a luxury sportswear collection more so than a golf collection, to celebrate Bobby Jones the man and celebrate his 1930 Grand Slam. This is the epitome of luxury, class, cache and any other adjective relating to the word upscale.
Prices range from $145.00 to $2495.00 for a Shearling Duffel made from Spanish Lamb with Icelandic Reindeer horns for toggles. www.bobbyjones.com.
Heaven Golf Shoes
The innovation in the Heaven Golf shoe is the Dynamic Balance Technology, a rounded outsole with an open chassis in place of the padded foam midsole and outsole found in conventional golf footwear. The unique outsole can help provide the golfer with a better awareness of balance and also promote a more fluid, natural walking motion that contributes to better overall health.
Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Fairway Wood
XCG7 fairway wood continues the Exotics tradition of excellence. The Exotics XCG7 model is designed with greater forgiveness in mind. It features a lower profile and larger club head. The XCG7 has a custom 465 forged maraging steel cup face to produce massive launch speed and reach a very high USGA CT level for superior length. 5 lofts are available from 13- 21 degrees.
Also available is the XCG7 Beta model which is highlighted by a deeper face and a smaller clubhead promoting a more boring trajectory. A callout to its name, the XCG7 Beta features a forged beta titanium cup face for supreme COR (Coefficient of Restitution) . The face is combo-brazed to the hyper-steel body.
The Tour Edge Exotics products feature a lifetime warranty and 30-day play guarantee.
$249.99. The Beta version is $299.99 www.touredge.com.
Callaway Alpha and Big Bertha Drivers
These two Big Bertha drivers, the X2 Hot driver plus the Apex irons were the “Show Stealers”, making the Callaway booth the busiest booth throughout the Show. With victories on Tour already, the Big Bertha name is standing the test of time in a fickle golf industry
The Callaway Alpha is fully adjustable and features a revolutionary new technology – the Gravity Core and Hyper Speed Face.
The gravity core allows you to adjust unwanted spin independently of launch angle. Use the included wrench to change the gravity core whether you are looking for a lower spinning head or more of a total performance mid-spin design. The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver has everything you need in one head design.
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha drivers also allow you to increase or decrease the loft and Draw/Neural bias of the club quickly and easily for your preferred shot shape.
The Big Bertha is fully adjustable, the Hyper Speed face is 10% lighter than the original version. The new Adjustable Perimeter Weighting slides toward the rear of the club has an infinite number of draw and fade options. This means you can really dial in the accuracy off the tee.
Callaway Big Bertha drivers, being fully adjustable, allow players to increase or decrease loft and draw/fade bias quickly and easily with a few clicks.
$499.00 for the Alpha model and $399.00 for the Big Bertha.
The Callaway X2 Hot Drivers
The X Hot line was very successful with their drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. Now there are two new X2 Hot drivers: the 440cc X2 Hot Pro driver which features a slightly smaller 440cc clubhead that is optimal for mid to low handicap players. The extremely popular Aldila Tour Green graphite shaft is available as standard or this head. This driver features the Advanced Adjustable Hosel technology that allows you to change your loft -1º thru +2º in a neutral or draw setting independent of each other. Lofts Available: 8.5° fully adjustable.
The other driver in the series is the 460cc X2-Hot driver and is available in lofts of 9° • 10.5° • HT (13.5°). The standard shaft is the Aldila Tour Blue shaft, so expect outstanding feel, forgiveness, control and, of course, distance. The driver also features a new adjustment system that can be changed from -1º thru +2º in a neutral or draw setting independent of each other.
The new Hyper Speed Face is lighter and faster for more forgiveness and control on all shots on both the Pro and Regular models.
Both drivers retail for $329.99.
The 1020 forged carbon steel body is combined with an ultra-hot carpenter steel face for faster ball speeds and more distance not usually seen in traditional forged irons. The re-designed undercut cavity and tungsten weights are added to improve launch conditions and overall performance. Set Options: 3-PW • 4-PW & AW • 4-PW • 5-PW.
The Pro Forged version is a premium set used mainly by Tour players and low handicappers who look for more control and consistency.
From $1099.00 to $1200.00 www.callawaygolf.com
Versa Jailbird Putte
Once again Odyssey has a winner on their hands with the Jailbird. Aside from the insert which is Odyssey’s bread and butter and USP (Unique Selling Proposition), it has been upgraded to give the golfer more consistent sound, feel and performance.
The Versa technology adapted by so many Tour players has also been improved by adding an additional high contrast alignment stripe, enhancing alignment through your stroke to accentuate the face angle and improve your concentration.
The head weighs 355grams, the loft is 3º, the lie angle is 70º and is available in 33″,34″ and 35″ lengths .
With these new grips, Golf Pride Brings Comfort and Control with Softest Performance Grips Ever.
The CP2 line will be available in two models, CP2 Pro™ (Red) and CP2 Wrap™ (Blue), to accommodate players with two distinctly different texture preferences. The CP2 Pro offers a straight, texture grip pattern, while the CP2 Wrap is designed for those golfers who appreciate the softness of a comfort grip delivered in a classic wrap design.
Both CP2 models are 31% softer than any other grip in the Golf Pride line and feature the company’s proprietary new Control Core technology; a 2.5” inner control core stabilizer. Located at the top of the grip where the greatest amount of swing pressure is received, the Control Core reduces torque by 41% compared to the same grip without the core. A straighter taper in the lower section encourages even hand pressure for a more stable and consistent swing.
Feel and control are the hallmarks of these grips and they look great!
The CP2 line features three sizes: standard, midsize and jumbo, with a street price of $6.99, $7.49 and $7.99, respectively, and will be available through golf specialty stores and green-grass retailers beginning March 2014.
Vokey SM5 Wedges
A series of circular micro-edges are milled into the empty face of each wedge to increase friction, which Titleist says increase spin consistency on partial shots.
Seventeen grooves are then individually machine-milled into the face. Finally, the wedges are given a heat treatment that helps the grooves maintain their sharpness longer.
New Balance Golf
Minimus Sport (Athletic Design – Performance Spikeless)
The ultra-lightweight athletic styled Minimus Sport features a water resistant, breathable air-mesh upper with a stability cage for cool, comfortable support.
The shoe is built on New Balance’s Minimus last which has a wider forefoot for a spacious and comfortable fit. The REVlite™ 4 mm drop midsole and lower heel stack height provides light weight cushioning, sensory feedback and dynamic stability. The Minimus has an Ortholite® moisture wicking comfort insole with antimicrobial fabric treatment to reduce odor and fungus. The dual density molded outsole provides excellent stability and traction in all conditions
Men’s Styles: Grey with Green Accents; Black with Royal Accents and Black
Sizes: 7-12, 13, 14, 15. Widths: D & 2E (select styles).
Weight: 7.3 oz.
Suggested Retail: $99.95
New Balance is offering 4 additional styles which can all be seen at www.newbalance.
Bridgestone 2014 Tour B330 golf balls with Hydro Core Technology
Whether you are in 110 degree weather or 75 degree weather , staying cool simply makes a round of golf more pleasurable. The PGF fan WILL make you feel cooler , refreshed and to back up its capabilities take note of the following:
The battery runs for 6 ½ – 8 hours at regular speed. At high speed all the time, 3.5 – 4 hours.
Charging takes about 3 hours.
The fan will fit in the majority of available carts being used today.
The PGF was designed to fit into the cup holder of a golf cart and has an angle adjustment so that the fan can be directed in the proper direction. It was also designed with quality in mind, including a lithium-ion battery that can be charged up to 2,000 times, the company claims. It features a brushless ball-bearing motor that the company says will last for more than 10,000 hours.
Next month will be the Show wrap up and will include teaching and training aids, measurement devices and clubs.
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”, now in its fifth printing, is used by many PGA Tour members. He can be reached at email@example.com