2013 PGA Merchandise Show – Latest & Greatest From Demo Day
Wednesday could not have been better for the thousands of PGA professionals and retailers who found their way out to the 42-acre Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla., for PGA Merchandise Show‘s Demo Day. It was a day that happily echoed the upbeat mood of all the golf enthusiasts who came to see what was new and hot in golf equipment and accessories.
It was in the air, the lively music, the tantalizing smell of sizzling sausages wafting from the concession stands, the bright colors of everything golf and even a friendly robot, that yes, golf is on the upturn. This year is going to be a good one.
Manufacturers showcased their products in outdoor stands around the perimeter of the giant field where attendees hit balls from the more than 200 hitting bays, testing the latest and greatest in the marketplace.
There were plenty of familiar names on hand: Companies like Oakley, Tour Edge, Cobra, Puma Golf, Nike, TaylorMade, Titleist and Callaway Golf. There were also first-timers debuting everything from funky tees to golf lawn wind spinners.
There seemed to be no lack of new performance-improving products. Several golfers lined up to try out PSP’s pitching wedge, aptly named “The Little One” as the head is about half the size of a normal iron. The whole idea is once you learn to hit a ball successfully with this trainer, you will build and gain better tempo and consistency when you shift to regular-sized clubs.
Raymond Rapcavage, young inventor of The Golf Swing Shirt, had a great time inviting pros to pull on a bright orange garment that looked like a T-shirt but with a single sleeve in the front. You put your arms through this sleeve, swing away, and as your arms are partially restrained by the sleeve, you build muscle memory to hit the ball properly.
The Golf Swing Shirt concept came to Rapcavage three years ago. “I was hitting balls in my back yard,” he said. “After shanking the ball three times I was almost in despair. I knew I needed to feel more in contact with the club. In desperation, I turned my sweater around and put my arms through one sleeve. Then I hit three balls — without shanking.”
Several people wandered the grounds sipping on skinny green and silver cans of GolferAID, while other innovations on display included three-pronged Kiwi Golf Firecracker tees designed for more accurate drives and better distance and ProAdvanced pop-up practice nets that can “pop up” into various sizes and shapes and collapse into a small package in a flash – a very clever idea for those who want to practice their shots in small spaces like an apartment or garage.
All the major equipment companies drew eager-to-try crowds, including TourEdge who debuted their Exotics XCG6 adjustable driver and Xrail hybrid, as well as SNAG (Starting New at Golf), which introduced colorful clubs and balls geared to getting younger players into the game.
Star power was provided by notable pros Nick Faldo, Anna Nordqvist, Ian Poulter and Lexi Thompson, along with top instructors, including Hank Haney and Michael Breed, who treated the crowds with tips on how to teach and coach.
It was a perfect intro to the 60th annual PGA Merchandise Show, and the future of the game looks as bright as the Florida sunshine.