Phwew! It was a hectic and exciting week at the 2013 PGA Merch Show, down in Orlando FL. We spent the week hauling around our cameras and pens & pads to make sure we could share as much of the experience as possible– and what an experience it was!
A few guys from the trip thought it would be great to share with you some of our favorite moments from the show. Enjoy!
Also, you can see more pics and videos this week on our Facebook Page
Russ Higgins (President) – Fitting has been a growing trend in golf. At the 2013 PGA Show, fitting is showcased as the premier buying experience. OEM’s are dedicating resources through their retailing partners to ensure golfers can be properly fit. Most of the processes focus on finding the correct head style, length, shaft flex, lie angle, launch and spin. In order to buy the right equipment today, it’s imperative a golfer seeks a specialty retailer or local PGA Professional with fitting expertise. Fitting will not fix your flaws, but properly fit golf equipment will help you play better golf.
Tyler Bauman (Director of Online Ops) – Day 1 at the PGA Show, and for a guy like me I’m a kid in a candy store with all of the equipment manufacturers all in one large (and I mean VERY large) space. Specifically for me though, I always gravitate towards the putters. From the $15k + Scotty Cameron putters at the Tablerock booth to the novelty putters there is a lot to view at the 2013 PGA Merchandise show. For me though there were two manufacturers that have amazing putters in the 2013 season. First from Ping, the Scottsdale TR (True Roll) putters are an amazing achievement in putters. With an insert that is forgiving on off center hits allowing for maximum distance control which enables a user to be much more consistent this is a putter for the every day golfer. Secondly Ping is the first OEM to have adjustable length putters for Long, Belly and now standard length putters. This allows fitters, like 2nd Swing Golf, to properly fit a customer for loft, lie & length on the spot and have a customer have their custom putter on the spot! The second manufacturer that stood out was Piretti Golf. These guys make high end putters that look and feel amazing. A small company out of Texas, Piretti has 8 production models that are sure to catch your eyes. Piretti believes in heavier weight putters (355g, 365g & 375g) which for me allows for much more feel. Looks for Piretti to continue to grow and become a name on Tour as they already have two touring professionals and received their first PGA tour win last year. All and all, there is a putter (probably multiple putters) available for everyone at the PGA Show!
John Fritz (copywriter/ project mngr) – My favorite thing at the show was this automated chipping machine that makes it every time. I don’t know what it was called or if anyone was trying to sell it (that was part of what was great about it – a refreshing change from the constant sales-pitching of the rest of the show), all I know is, it was mesmerizing. Who doesn’t wish they could sink that chip every time, and wouldn’t we all gladly sacrifice our useless human emotions for such a repeatable, consistent stroke?
Brett Green (Online Sales Mngr) – My favorite moment was watching the PGA Award Show on Thursday. Michael Breed, host of “The Golf Fix” on Golf Channel, where he gives lessons and swing tips to callers, won the award for Teacher of the Year, and his high-energy acceptance speech was a great display of how the right coaching style and attitude can help golfers learn and enjoy the game more. ” Thank your students,” he stressed, “because each one of them made a choice to come to you instead of someone else.” It was a great time to reflect on everything the game has given us and how we can pay it forward to the next generation of golfers.
Aaron Roth (Expert Fitter) – The Golf Bike. A bike company by the name of ‘Higher Ground Bicycle Company’ was showcasing this bizarre yet innovative product in the section of the convention aptly named, ‘Inventors’ Spotlight.’ This bicycle replaces both carts and the need to walk at the same time! Though, you should walk when possible.
Scotty Cameron & 2nd Swing founder Simon Kallal
Sam Portz (videographer) – While shooting some footage at the Titleist booth I saw a large group of people gathering around a high top table. When I got closer I saw Scotty Cameron sketching out some putter blueprints on the tabletop. Later I was able to get his autograph as a souvenir for my mother. Super nice guy!
RocketBladez Tent & Demo Day
Thomas Elseberry (Expert Fitter) – Thoughts on the PGA Show. Its a whirlwind 3 days. From rubbing elbows with Roger Cleveland or Bob Vokey, to talking to the creators of the G25(Marty Jertson) and Rocketbladz (Brian Bazzel). Taking in the enormity of the golf industry. Learning that fitting properly is about the knowledge we have, but also the energy that you bring to the table. Overall I would say the conversation I got to have with Brian Bazzel was my highlight. He spent over 20 min talking to me about how he created the RocketBladez Tour irons. The best thing about it wasn’t the How he made them it was the why. Making an iron that would allow even the better players to miss hit and still get performance. I was very impressed with how approachable he was and how enthusiastic he was about his brand.
Mike Oliver (Store Mngr) – The Pill. It looks like a golf ball that’s had both ends cut off, leaving only the center portion of the ball remaining, so that when you putt it, it falls over if you’re swing path isn’t true. This is a great way to get reliable feedback on your swing plane. It’s a simple but powerful training tool you can use in your living room or on the practice green – at the show, we watched it being putt through an 8-foot break and if your stroke is true it will remain upright, which is pretty amazing. This is definitely something we’ll be stocking in our retail locations soon.
Ross Fuchs (Golf Stix Buyer) - There was way too much going on to boil my favorite event down to just one thing, so my personal Top 3 are as follows: 1) Meeting Tour player Chip Beck and discussing the proper grip. 2) Getting a look at the new Bettinardi prototype putters. 3) Watching Mike Schultz of Hazeltine National win the PGA Professional of the Year Award, the 4th winner from Minnesota (must be something in the water up here).
Bob Jordan (Customer Fitting Mngr) – The best part of the show is seeing old friends in the industry and legends of the industry like Lee Trevino and Doug Sanders. Sitting in on the Pellucid “state of the industry” was very interesting and all of us in golf need to figure out ways to grow the business. The demographics are changing and those that succeed will need to embrace the change.