This PGA Merchandise Show is a golfer's Valhalla, pure and simple.
It's a day-long venture through the golf industry and it is overwhelming in size and scope.
The biggest buzz of the recently completed three-day blitz came from Taylor Made-Adidas—a company that appears bound and determined to be the big-dog of the industry.
Once again the company put on a splash showing, introducing their new RocketBallz line of clubs. You've seen the ads on television and that's what they do. They create buzz before their product release.
That's one company at the forefront, with more than $1.54 billion in world-wide sales last year.
But what about the little guys, those daring entrepreneurs who step foot into the shark-infested waters of this mammoth industry?
Last year we brought you five new items in the golf market. Today, we're back with five more. So here they are, enjoy.
One of the new trends in golf is minimalist footwear. You've seen the Ecco shoes worn by Fred Couples, Vijay Singh and others. You've seen Ryan Moore wear Tour True shoes. But the exciting newcomer to this minimalist market is a line called Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. What makes these shoes different is that they have actual soft spikes on the sole, not simply nub-style gripping aids.
Company CEO Jeremy Berbert has a great design, they're easy to get on and are the next-best thing to playing barefoot. I tried a pair on myself and they were as comfortable as bedroom slippers, yet had outstanding support and the five soft spikes on the sole are a first in this style of shoe.
You can see them and read more about them at: www.barefootberbs.com
I've never bought into the idea that a tee can give you any extra distance on your drives, but Greg MacKeen spent 10 minutes convincing me otherwise. I thought it would be diligent to listen to his explanation, seeing as he's a nuclear physicist by education and worked for a couple of decades at Bauer, the Canadian giant maker of all things ice hockey.
The top of the tee is coated with Teflon and MacKeen promised me that I could get six extra yards on a tee shot. I have one tee so I guess I better not lose it. You can see them at www.Teftee.com.
I have long been convinced that the key to success in America is to make a widget of some sort for a nickel and sell it for a dollar. No one does that anymore. Things just cost too much, they're too complicated, too confusing. Enter the guys who invented Drtclaw. It's just a divot repair tool but this one clips on to your putter shaft. You place it toward the bottom, just slide it up and it's in place and will stay there even when the putter goes back into your golf bag.
It's made of a really sturdy plastic with the right shape. Great invention. We all should have thought of this one. It will be a low price purchase. There's nothing that makes me roll my eyes more than a $10 divot tool. This is one that makes sense and they probably can tap the market with companies that want to put their logos on it and place it in pro-am and benefit tournament gift bags. You can see it at www.drtclaw.com.
This is a really cool invention by Gretchen Hoffman, who admits she's a newcomer to golf from a playing standpoint but loves the game. Her invention is a colorful grip that fits over your too-worn putter grip and simply zips into place. It reminds you of those koozies that zip in place over a bottle to keep the beverage cold. It fits nicely on the putter grip and gives it a softer feel. Perfect for those who grip their club too tightly (probably 90 percent of the golfing population). Also a blessing for those with arthritis in their hands.
They won't be expensive and come in neat colors. You can visit her site at www.ZipMyGrip.com.
The Little One
Saw this booth with Sean Foley's mug splashed all over it. For those of you who aren't familiar with him, he's the guy who is reconstructing the golf swing of one Eldrick T. Woods, former world's No. 1 and winner of 14 major championships. So I asked the guys in the booth if Sean Foley is "the little one" knowing that he's not the tallest guy on the planet. They laughed and told me they're gonna tell Sean that I said that and I simply told them to feel free to pass that on. Once they stopped laughing, they pulled out a club with a really, really small head. The theory is that if you can learn to hit a ball with this thing, then it's a piece of cake to find the center of the club face on a regular club.
My thoughts are that it would be most valuable around the greens to improve chipping and they're going to come out with a wedge version. The one I saw was the equivalent of a seven-iron.
You can check it out here at: www.tlogolf.com.
There you have it. Five new things.
They are just drops in an ocean of golf stuff.
New ideas, pretty good ideas. And that's what keeps golf going.