My week at the PGA Merchandise Show has come to a close. What is always one of the best weeks of the year was every bit that this year. I spent the past six days with my colleagues in Orlando covering the show, playing golf, eating a few nice meals, seeing old friends and testing out new golf clubs and accessories.
I always travel to the show with two of my closest friends and media colleagues, Dan Shube and Mike Murphy. We spend our days chasing stories and checking out the latest in golf. Our evenings are filled with a bit of fun, including a tour of the Golf Channel.
Our host was James Murphy, Mike's son, who works in production at the Golf Channel. We got a special treat when we became the first people outside of Golf Channel employees to see the newest sets.
As in many years past, we licked off our week with the Tour Edge multi-manufacturer media golf outing. This event has become a great start to our week.
Held at the Legacy at Alaqua Lakes, the event lets us kick off the week with a chance to hit all of the latest clubs from Tour Edge (www.TourEdge.com) and its Exotics line, along with testing new golf balls designed specifically to help you hit the ball straight from Polara Golf (www.polaragolf.com), checking out the newest bags and weather apparel from Sun Mountain (www.sunmountain.com), slipping into the new Swing Jacket (www.swingjacket.com) to see if it really does help train your swing and more.
I'm here to tell you that the latest equipment from Tour Edge and Exotics can improve anyone's game.
The new XCG6 driver is hot, hitting the ball very long and pretty straight. The company's fairway woods have, for years, been the best and hottest on the market. They are used by many touring professionals without any financial backing by the company. In fact, the new Exotics 3-wood is so hot that Maurice Allen set a new world record for ball speed with one. The ball-speed on his shot was clocked at 211 mph, resulting in a 347-yard drive with a 3-wood!
Tour Edge's best selling JMAX Iron Wood continues to impress. You can pick up a 6-iron wood from $39.99, hit it for 30 days and then decide if it's earned a spot in your bag. If not, send it back for a refund. If it has, and likely it will, you can fill out the rest of your set as you choose. Every club Tour Edge has ever made also comes with a life-time warranty.
Without accuracy, distance means little more than a deeper trip into the woods to find your ball. Not so with the new Polara lineup. Using a unique dimple pattern, the Polara is guaranteed to reduce slices and hooks by 50 to 75 percent. The ball has shallow dimples around its equator that reduce drag and help establish a preferred spin axis. The sides have progressively deeper dimples that reduce drag and enhance weight distribution.
At the event, we were encouraged to play the front nine using our regular ball then play the back nine using the Polara.
We were amazed time and time again as shots that I know would have normally spun into the trees or worse, stopped slicing and simply straightened out and instead found the rough.
While my score for the back nine was three shots higher, it would have been far worse had the Polara not saved some of my bad shots from being truly ugly shots.
The second day of our adventure took us to Orange County National and the PGA Merchandise Show demo day. Here we spent the entire morning walking the perimeter of the 1-mile-in-circumference practice range. We tried out new swing aids, new equipment from all the big names and a few small ones, as well as looked at new tee designs and sunglass technology.
One thing I know is the need to get the younger generation excited about golf and to find it "hip" is here to stay. Puma Golf is all about them and it's "in your face" look had young people flocking to its station at the range. The look is fresh, young, colorful and very loud.
All this happened before the actual trade show began on Thursday. Over the next several weeks, with a break thrown in every once in a while, I'll try to let you know all about the new and the intriguing in our sport. The show was upbeat. People were buying and people were filling orders. It was a good sign and marked the second year in a row that things were much brighter than the year before.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday night golf show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.