When the first PGA Merchandise Show kicked off 64 years ago, the late Arnold Palmer was still an amateur, years away from his first major win and superstar, game-changing status. Ben Hogan was still winning tournaments and effecting another kind of change — the way the swing is studied and taught — even as he continued to seek birdie-seeking salvation “in the dirt.” The clubs these guys played were made of wood and steel, and “hitting it on the screws” actually meant what it said. It was a heady time of growth for golf that didn’t really ebb until the early 21st century.
Still, the game remains a $60 billion-plus industry, and today’s PGA Merchandise Show — which returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 25-27 — is, more than ever, ground zero for everything do with golf. Over 1,000 companies take booth space, ranging from the “big boys” in the golf club space to upstart technology outfits to mom-and-pop inventors hoping to catch on in a big way. Certain themes pop up from year to year; the hot item in 2016, for instance, was definitely the Bluetooth-enabled, grip-mountain swing sensor from such companies as Arccos and GameGolf. And PGA and LPGA Tour players from past and present are always showing up to try out their sponsors’ newest stuff; last year, Bubba Watson, Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman and others appeared at the show or opening Demo Day at nearby Orange County National Golf Center. As Joni Mitchell once wrote, the show’s “miles of aisles” reveal the latest and greatest in merchandise, services, equipment, apparel, accessories, turf management systems as golf course owners and operators from across the country and overseas — including, of course, thousands of PGA teaching professionals — ponder what to put in their pro shops for the coming high seasons.
While the PGA Show isn’t open to the general public, it’s the media’s job to let avid golfers know what new game-improvement or just plain life-enhancing creations are coming their way. So, here are some examples of what the 2017 edition will put into play. And check back all next week as we offer “product of the day” reports right here.
TOUR EDGE EXOTICS XJ1 DRIVER AND FAIRWAY METALS
It’s tough these days to come up with new materials for building distance-seeking sticks, but Tour Edge’s research and development has once again come up with groundbreaking materials that benefits players — but this time, they benefit real-world players with real-world swing speeds. The material behind the new Exotics XJ1 driver and fairway woods is a titanium so powerful that engineers refer to it as “Supermetal.” A groundbreaking combination of a 9-1-1 titanium chassis, Kevlar-Carbon crown and three Tungsten sole weights distinguish Tour Edge’s new XJ1 Driver from its Exotics line predecessors. Its lightweight concept, combined with the most advanced ultra-light Air Speeder shafts, allows players with moderate swing speeds to generate maximum distance off the tee. The XJ1 fairway wood body — available in 3, 4, 5 and 7-wood lofts, is also constructed entirely of the brand new 9-1-1 titanium which is remarkably light, 10 percent lighter than 6A4v titanium, allowing engineers to save significant weight in the body. The unprecedented strength of 9-1-1 enables it to be thinner and more reactive, even at lower swing speeds. No doubt these clubs will get a serious workout on the Demo Day range.
$699.99 for driver | $449.99 for fairway metals | www.touredge.com
WILSON STAFF FG TOUR V6 IRONS
Engineered to enhance the Feel player’s game, the V6 Irons are an evolution of the highly acclaimed V4 Irons, Wilson’s most played iron on the PGA Tour by two-time champion Kevin Streelman, Tour winner Troy Merritt and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington. The newly added 20-gram tungsten insert is built to increase launch angle without increasing spin rate, which adds forgiveness in the long irons. This makes for a well-balanced and consistent iron with accuracy, impact stability, and generous distance. The insert on the split heel and toe on the 3, 4, 5 irons and centered on the 6, 7 irons. Mass concentrated in the impact area delivers a solid, muscle back-like feel and helps players shape their shots. It is also complemented by a back cavity design that provides feedback and some forgiveness on off-center hits. Forged from 8620 carbon steel, the V6 Irons are clad in a nickel-chrome plating, a high-end mirror finish and completed with True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT shafts.
$999.99 for 4-GW | www.wilsongolf.com
DIRECTED FORCE PUTTER
Directed Force Putters was established a few years ago by Bill Presse IV and Scott Sulprizio. Scott was one of Bill’s golf students at GolfTech. Scott’s existing company UEM Pistons had the infrastructure, design tools, 3D printer and SolidWorks software. Scott had the design and engineering skills to turn what was in Bill’s head into a reality. The putter’s design concepts incorporate some valuable coaching techniques into the putter. The PressGrip design is revolutionary, allowing an onset hosel location to keep the top line totally clear. Its elliptical shape helps the subconscious brain target the cup. With a round grip there is no face/target awareness. The shaft leans 1.5 degrees forward to get the hands over the club face/top line yet keep the hands in a vertical position to promote a pendulum stroke.
TGA KIDS’ GOLF CLUBS
TGA boxed sets of clubs are offered in seven color-coded sizes based on height with right and left-handed options for both boys and girls making it convenient and affordable for parents to fit their junior golfer. TGA’s equipment is designed with technology that makes it easier for beginning and experienced junior golfers to excel. This is especially true with the driver, which is one of the largest driver heads on the market for juniors. In addition, the technology in the TGA junior irons creates easier and more consistent shots by distributing the weight from the hosel out along the top-line of the club creating a well positioned sweet spot in the center of the clubface. The sets include 3-6 clubs, a stand bag, and head-covers. A percentage of each purchase is also donated to the TGA Sports Foundation.
$89.99 - $149.99 | www.shop.playtga.com
The top expert club fitters on the PGA Tour and around the world use SST PURE Shaft Alignment to analyze and align their custom clubs and more and more are becoming licensed. While this is not a new technology, premium club fitting companies such as Club Champion, Cool Clubs and True Spec all use SST PURE at their fitting locations. Premium club fitting is an expanding niche in the golf retail space. SST PURE is also available to players on-site at each week’s Tour events. The SST PURE Tour staff typically PUREs clubs for more than a dozen players each week. The man responsible for making this technology available is Dick Weiss, a Florida businessman and clubmaker who developed this highly sophisticated, patented process through which a golf shaft can be analyzed and its most stable position identified.
SHOT TRACKING DEVICES
After taking the DIY, app-based shot tracking market by storm with its original Arccos system, this new and improved model boasts new sensors that are 50 percent smaller and lighter than the first generation. Arccos 360 combines Live Shot Tracking, GPS 2.0 and a proprietary Tour Analytics platform to help golfers of all abilities lower their scores and have more fun. It automatically records every shot a golfer makes. It then analyzes a player’s data in real-time, revealing strengths and weaknesses to enhance on-course decision-making. Compatible with iPhone and Android devices, Arccos also provides an industry-leading GPS 2.0 system that includes rangefinder distances to any point on 40,000 courses and one-touch, front/middle/back yardages to the green. Additional features include handicap breakdowns for driving, approach, chipping, sand and putting; precise, smart distance data for every club in the bag; info on club averages, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves, putts and much more; permanent battery that’s guaranteed for a minimum of two years with no charging; fully-automatic, hands-free system with no tagging or extra device; detailed insights into historical performance for every club and round; and web dashboard to fully analyze stats with your coach or on your own.
$249.99 | www.arccosgolf.com
The centerpiece of Game Golf is its iPhone or Android app, which you use to set up an account and match each of 14 included Bluetooth transmitters to the club it’s attached to. Just take the small, red plastic device, screw it into the small hole on the end of the grip, tell the app whether it’s a 9-iron or 3-wood or whatever (even the brand if it’s in their database), and repeat the process until you’re wired for sound … round, rather. After charging the accompanying relay device, attaching it to your belt and activating it, select “Play Golf,” find the course you’re playing and start tracking — not only distances for each shot thanks to a full-fledged built-in GPS rangefinder, but the results of each shot. Here’s the key: You must remember to tap your club on the sensor on the underside of the belt device before each shot, or GAME GOLF obviously won’t pick it up. It takes some getting used to, and using GAME GOLF most likely needs to become part of your pre-shot routine; once it is, it’s is a powerful tool to help you pinpoint what parts of your game need the most attention, showing fairways and greens hit in regulation, number of putts, short game stats, shot dispersion and strokes gained in each key area. It’s also invaluable in helping dial in club selection in subsequent rounds, and the more tracked rounds you rack up (it’s legal in competition, too), the better you’ll get at smoothing out the rough edges with every stick in the bag — and being truthful with yourself regarding how far you actually hit each club on average. You can even compare your scores and performances to others in the “GAME GOLF Live” system.
$249 | www.gamegolf.com
Japan’s #1 Golf GPS manufacturer, introduce four GPS devices — two wearable GPS devices, one hand held, and the world’s smallest clip-on voice GPS. The W1-GL watch comes preloaded with 30,000 courses in 80 countries worldwide. The energy-efficient design is equipped with a battery that lasts up to eight hours of play with the GPS and four weeks in watch mode. The new HuG is a sleek, stylish watch with the same GPS tracking features as the original W1-GL plus the added benefits of a heart rate monitor and activity tracker all in one convenient device. The lithium-ion battery lasts 10 hours in GPS mode and 90 days in watch mode. The HuG combines fashion with functionality and fitness, offering golfers the total solution in technology tracking. The Neo 2 is a simple, compact and easy-to-use yet powerful handheld GPS unit. The Neo 2 provides Shot Navi’s standard GPS features and multiple view functions along with three bonus features — a large font view, voice navigation and automatic green view. The automatic green view adjusts the distances precisely on the angle of approach to the green taking the guesswork out of a golfer’s short game. The V2 is the world’s smallest and lightest Voice GPS in golf. The simple, hands-free GPS unit conveniently clips on your belt or hat and weighs only .85 ounces. With automatic start and course/hole recognition and standard Shot Navi precision yardages, this tiny yet powerful Voice GPS is a low tech, extremely user-friendly GPS option.
TLINK’s GPS watch is recognized for being comfortable as it is incredibly thin and ergonomically designed unlike its competitors. Its GPS technology allows golfers to determine the front, middle and back portion of the green but NOW with the new upgrade golfers can measure distances to hazard yardages to bunkers, water, layups and more. Live streaming shares your golf round with friends, family and coaches in real time. It creates a completely different golf experience. It can allow coaches to monitor their players progress on the course in real time or just let you brag to your friends about your round that is currently being played at a premier course. You can also stream of their runs, marathons, workouts and more, and view all of your saved fitness activity over time. TLink also will have a new added music control feature while on a run or during a workout.
$99 | www.golftlink.com
BIION LUX SERIES
The LUX Series is a bold step in luxury fashion. The collection embodies sharpness, flair and function. The LUX collection features lush yet bold colors that together make a statement of confidence. These comfortable shoes fit anyone from jetsetters to golfers, and everyone in between. The LUX Series is ideal for traveling because not only is it light weight and easy to clean, but the line is so sleek and fashion forward, that you can wear it for any event, day or night. The signature LUX Series is comprised of seven models; royal blue python with lilac sole, black, yellow leopard with yellow sole, crimson red, black snake with white sole, saddle brown with white sole, charcoal with khaki sole, white with gray sole and the ever-classic black with black sole. The LUX Series is not just a visually striking shoe, it performs. This seemingly weightless precision golf shoe is equipped with an EVA upper that hugs your foot, yet remains flexible, giving you both reassurance and very little resistance in your swing. It's like golfing barefoot.
This European shoe has been a Golf Tips favorite for years — the fit is phenomenal, the craftsmanship excellent from year to year. The upper of the latest Casual Hybrid mode is made from luxurious Fornello leather — a trendy, classic finish suitable for both on and off the course. And it’s Hydromax treated for superb weather resistance. The TPU outsole features E-DTS technology for excellent grip and traction, and the removable leather inlay sole allows for width customization. Colors include Whiskey and Moonles$170 | www.eccousa.com
Carnoustie’s collection of performance knits for '17 continues to expand based upon the tremendous reception this segment of our collection has received since its introduction in 2014. They’ve introduced a beautiful mélange solid for Spring and for Fall '17 — colors like amethyst, melon, spearmint and sky. The use of the finest micro fiber polyester blended with generous amounts of lycra ensure a luxurious hand and comfort. New for '17 is modern color block style that combines this mélange fabric with an awning stripe fabric to create a fresh new look. Meanwhile, new for Carnoustie’s performance outerwear is a chest stripe vest and a shoulder stripe 1/4 zip pullover. Finally, the collection of light weight woven waterproof outerwear features taped seams and Carnoustie styling— an alternative to the heavier , often drab styles in the market place. They are lightweight and colorful to create a very handsome ensemble when paired with knits, bottoms and other poly or cotton outerwear styles.
As usual, Antigua has both men and women covered in great, affordable style. For men, the new stripe collection offers fresh vitality in contrasting colors. Incorporating spandex yarns into a fine jersey knit gives the simplest of stripe patterns a charged appeal. A solid-and-heather tonal feed stripe combined with heather overdyed insets — as seen on the self collar style Orbit — demonstrates this with sophisticated, simplistic appeal. The solid quarter-inch, all-over repeat of style Strand dyed together with a complementing tonal pinstripe and finished with a matching flat knit collar is a fresh take on the classic golf feed stripe. And style Domain’s use of tonal and contrasting accent stripes in a light-to-dark ombre pattern makes this polo a centerpiece garment for the collection. For ladies, Antigua’s outerwear grouping continues to grow each season, as it has now become one of Antigua’s best and easiest-selling items. And the 2017 Collection features some truly inviting styles including Boost, Curio and Heiress. Boost, for instance, features a fleeced back jacquard fabric with a flat face. The face of the fabric mixes color with black heather, giving the garment a more sophisticated feel and tones down the bright primary color. A reflective zipper detail keeps with the athletic trend in the marketplace.
GALVIN GREEN RAINSUITS
The official team supplier of outerwear to the 2016 and 2018 European Ryder Cup Teams, Galvin Green is the world’s leading maker of functional golf clothing and No. 1 global golf partner of GORE-TEX. Crafted by golfers for golfers, the Arrow jacket and August pant are completely waterproof and exceptionally breathable to provide the highest level of comfort, freedom of movement and protection from the elements while on the course. Featuring waterproof zippers, adjustable width tabs and water channels on sleeve ends, every detail of the garments exists because the game demands it.
$395 for pants, $560 for jacket | www.trendygolfusa.com
Some of the new belt and buckle design series for 2017 include: Premium Pebble Grain,
Hamption II, Newport II, Apollo, Vintage and Faith. Nexbelt is known for their innovative technology and providing golfers with the maximum comfort and minimal adjusting. The unique ratcheting system called PreciseFit allows the wearer to adjust the belt in quarter-inch increments, providing the golfer with the best fit, feel, and fashion available.
This relatively new bag manufacturer’s flagship line is called the Python Collection, a and that’s fitting because it’s pliable yet powerful. In fact, this collection establishes a new weight category called “Super Light Stand.” These bags weigh in at 2.7lbs, a walker's dream and lighter than any competitor. The handcrafted bag features incredible, unique styling, too — a python print that the industry hasn't see yet. It features a 9.5-inch five-way top with a multi-handle design. Three pockets surround the bag and one features a beverage sleeve. A four-point lightweight dual strap makes transporting this bag or walking comfortable as well easy. A flex foot base keeps this bag steady on the ground regardless of the terrain.
$209.99 | www.ouulgolf.com
HOLE MORE PUTTS
This is the ultimate high tech, portable solution to one of the most difficult parts in the game of golf – getting the ball in the hole. Featuring an iPad style tablet and patented infrared technology, Home More Putts measures the five key elements of the putting stroke as defined by the PGA – face angle, impact point, path, angle of attack and speed – providing instant analysis of the stroke on a hi visibility screen. Hole More Putts technology analyses the putting stroke and after just five putts calculates a player’s “Putting Index” – their putting performance score. When synchronized with the tablet, the app and web site give a visualisation of each putt, detailed analysis of the putting stroke and personalised video instruction in an easy-to-follow format, guaranteed to improve your game Hole More Putts instantly provides golfers with this information and instruction based on what they see on screen. The golfer can now see what to focus on to get the greatest improvements — quickly. Requiring no set up, and very little space, it can be used indoors and outdoors, at home or in the office, to improve putting performance. Ongoing use will help golfers of all standards to build a clear picture of their putting strengths and weaknesses, to develop a stroke that is effective time after time.
The new MySwing Trainer is an affordable 3D golf training tool that helps teaching professionals instruct multiple students simultaneously. The MySwing Trainer can set to any angle, tilt or rotation and operate with two or five sensors capturing specific movement with the pelvis and ribcage, left arm, and right arm. “The goal with MySwing Trainer is to provide teaching pros with a rapid ROI and a system that pays for itself in a short time frame through player self-training,” says Curt Wieden, director of marketing at MySwing Golf. “Students will enjoy the challenge of achieving specific training goals and will experience faster improvement through repetition of correct motions. Pros can set the system to specific ranges to train anyone from the weekend warrior to the tour professional.”
$999 | www.myswing.com
Tour Pro Tech’s PowerPlane is a revolutionary new training device that uses high precision ultrasonics and patent-pending technology to help golfers correct the majority of common swing flaws. Designed by an MIT engineer and top PGA teaching professional, PowerPlane automatically positions a PowerPlane Zone, two invisible vertical planes, around a golfer’s head. If their head moves out of the zone anytime during their swing until impact, PowerPlane alerts them with a beep at that moment. This real-time feedback changes their behavior from the very first swing, resulting in centered contact, more distance and better accuracy. PowerPlane has gone through extensive beta testing by hundreds of golfers and top teaching professionals. It has proven to be highly effective for golfers of all handicaps, resulting in centered contact almost instantly. It’s also been embraced by top instructors as a powerful and effective tool to correct swings flaws and change student behavior quickly. PowerPlane weighs about a pound, easily fits into the side pocket of a golf bag, and operates for 300 hours on standard batteries. Simply slide it open to turn on. Grab the Sonic Sensor from the back and clip it to a hat. Set up over the ball, look at the target, look back at the ball, and swing. That’s it. Golfers know immediately whether they stayed in the zone during the swing and at impact. The result is centered contact from the first few swings. PowerPlane covers all aspects of the game: drives, long irons, short game, and putting.
$189.00 | www.powerplanegolf.net
WELLNESS AND PAIN MANAGEMENT
MedZone’s new Activity PAK includes travel size bottles of MedZone’s family of products, including its latest product BlisterZone as well as BurnZone, ChafeZone and PainZone. Founded in 2001, by a certified athletic trainer, MedZone was originally made for the military, but is now used widely by professional/collegiate athletes and fitness enthusiasts at all levels. For the last 15 years, MedZone has specialized in developing topical OTC products for the prevention, treatment and management of chafing, aches, pains, minor burns, blisters and other minor ailments related to daily activity, work, sports, and exercise. MedZone’s four products, ChafeZone, PainZone, BurnZone and BlisterZone, are all manufactured in a FDA regulated facility to insure the highest quality. Each product in the Activity PAK serves a specific purpose in order to help relieve common discomforts that come with an active lifestyle. With nearly two decades of researching, testing and formulating, the following products are currently being used at a professional, collegiate and Olympic caliber levels.
$24.95 | www.amazon.com/medzone