The big story this week has been the interchangeable shafts, but in Gary Van Sickle's final report he takes a look at what was the second-biggest innovation at the show -- and his choice may surprise you. He also reveals the best bags, putters, drivers and more that he came across during the 2008 PGA Merchandise show.
Archive: January 2008
Gary Van Sickle has an up-close look at the new adjustable and interchangeable shafts. The good news is you don't have to be Bob the Builder, a member of Jeff Gordon's pit crew or a golf professional to swap shafts in your new adjustable driver.
Yankees centerfielder Johnny Damon, below right, was on hand Thursday in the PUMA booth to greet fans and help support the launch of the company's newest golf shoe, the Swing GTX.
Instead of spikes, the Swing GTX has 38 molded "quills" that are strategically placed to provide traction. According to the company, the shoes are easier on greens but still provide a very solid grip during full swings.
Damon did not model the shoes, but he played his role as spokesman perfectly, sipping a beer and chatting up visitors while decked out in PUMA gear.
There's nothing flashy about the look of the new Callaway Hyper X driver, and that's the point. It's what's inside that makes this driver stand out. Behind the face of the club is an internal weight shaped like an "X."
The purpose of the weight is to create a high moment of inertia and help generate "higher ball speeds across the entire face" of the club. The club also features a special clubface, which the company has given the hyperbolic name of Hyperbolic Face Technology. So if you miss it off the toe or heel, the ball should still travel nearly as far as a solid shot. Callaway says it is the largest hitting area on any titanium driver the company has ever made.
Greg Norman wears many hats: golf legend, course designer, apparel and wine entrepreneur, future husband to a former tennis legend. He added another title to his resume in October when he was named chairman of MacGregor Golf. On Thursday, Norman held a press conference to announce a new line of clubs from MacGregor.
The "MT" line replaces the MACTEC brand that was launched in 2005, and it covers all product lines, including new putters from Bobby Grace.
"(MacGregor) is an iconic brand that has been around a long time," Norman said. "We love where we can take this company." For more photos and information, go to macgregorgolf.com.
It seems like everyone has the head of a tiger, lion or university mascot poking out of the bag these days. But you can stand out in your foursome by featuring the other end of the acritter in question with a Butthead Cover. From horses to sharks (who knew they had butts?) to mermaids, the company has a full line of creatures with rears in the air.
Super Stroke Putter Grip
K.J. Choi won the Memorial and the AT&T in 2007 using a super-oversized putter grip. After winning the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii last week, Choi has climbed to No. 7 in the world, and he's still using that massive grip.
It's the SuperStroke Classic, and the company's booth at the PGA Show has been very busy. The grip's designers claim that it requires 32% less hand pressure than traditional grips, which is supposed to enhance your sense of touch. The size also helps you lock your wrists in place during your stroke, which increases your chances of squaring the face properly.
The grip has certainly help Choi--he went from averaging 29.51 putts per round in 2006 (ranking 151st on Tour) to 28.84 (39th). -- David Dusek
Flying with your clubs usually involves praying for two things. First, that they reach your destination. Second, that they aren't dinged, bent or broken in half after bouncing around at 35,000 feet. At the PGA Show, Ogio is showcasing one of the sturdiest, most well-thought-out travel bags you'll ever see, the Mammoth.
Large enough to easily handle a Tour player's bag, or even two stand bags, the Mammoth is surprisingly maneuverable. Four extra wheels on the bottom of the bag make it easy to push and spin the Mammoth, even when it’s upright.
The entire bag is fully padded, but the lower third features a reinforced plastic guard to protect your clubs as they roll over curbs or rough terrain. The zip-off shoe compartment is washable and features an antimicrobial treatment to help reduce odor, and there is even a crush-resistant pocket that holds several baseball caps.
The bag weighs 18 pounds, is made from a tough nylon and comes with a lifetime warranty. -- David Dusek
Demo Day is held each year on the Wednesday before the official start of festivities. GOLF.com's Dave Dusek was there, and instead of focusing on the manufacturers set up around the enormous circular range at Orange County National, he hit the short game area to bring you this gallery of four innovative new putters -- the SeeMore m2w, the Zen RDE Mallet Putter (right), the Mizuno Black Carbon 2 and the Nike IC 20-15 Mid Mallet. Go to gallery
The Bobby Jones company made headlines in 2007 with its award-winning hybrid clubs. Today, the company unveiled its new triangular driver, designed by Jesse Ortiz. Ortiz also introduced the company's first line of wedges, which he co-designed with GOLF Magazine's short-game guru, Dave Pelz.
The 460cc driver will be available in March for $500. Ortiz said the unique triangular head allows for maximum correction of off-center hits while improving trajectory and reducing spin.
Pelz said the wedges stand out because of their sturdy face, which is made from a high-tech alloy. Most wedges need to be replaced often, Pelz said, as the grooves wear down. But Pelz said amateurs will be able to use these wedges for several seasons without losing spin.
Iomic Grips come in a wide array of colors to match any player's style or outfit. But the company says they aren't just fashion statements: they're waterproof, shock-absorbent and have a soft feel.
Of all the bags here in Orlando, this one from the Belding Golf Bag Company certainly stood out. If Liberace were still alive, this might motivate him to take up the game.
Alan Kaufman, inventor of The Nubrella, demonstrated his updated take on the umbrella today. His product wraps around the upper body and sits on the golfer's shoulders. Since it's hands-free, you can swing away. But would you be able to see the ball as the water poured over the plastic in front of your eyes? No word yet on whether future models will feature windshield wipers.
Sure, The Show is chockablock with "practical" items that "golfers" might actually "buy" and "use," but one of the great things about this event is the over-the-top merchandise. Like the diamond putter, you have to ask yourself: Who would really want or need carts like these?
Polyester, nylon, spandex and… coconut? The IZOD Carbon uses technology created by Cocona Fabrics, which uses activated carbon from coconut shells to create fibers and yarns. According to the manufacturers, this lightweight natural fabric is "green," provides UV protection and has an anti-bacterial finish. It is also static and odor resistant, and features a vent technology that allows the shirt to breathe and dry quickly.
The IZOD Carbon line features shirts, skirts, pants and outerwear, and is available for both men and women.