PGA Show-Friday Interviews
Puma/Cobra Breakfast–The PUMA/Cobra team is really set up to do great things in the golfing world. Their brand ambassadors are fun, youthful and doing well on tour. They have a handle on what the next generation of golfers are looking for. Their displays at the show, both the demo day and the indoor show were probably the best. I was surprised at this media breakfast how old most of the writers were. I was one of the few in there without grey hair. Im’ not sure what that means about the golf media, but it probably is an indicator of the golfing population, which I think PUMA/Cobra is trying to address.
Williams Golf--While Williams Golf made big splash last year with their uber-expensive clubs, this year they were not technically at the show, but across the street in a suite. But they still impressed me as much as any company with their passion and their technology. They have more R&D than probably all the other companies combined because of their access to the Williams F1 racing engineers, who literally are rocket sciencetists. They have some new stuff coming to the US in 2011 and are finding retails who are picking up their line. While not cheap, their high-end products are successful and are of the highest quality.
Bushnell–It was really all about their new Hybrid Rangefinder. It was their newest and most exciting product. I spent some time using it as best I could indoors and then talking with one of their managers. While the Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder sounded good on paper I was really disappointed with the execution. It basically looked like a Neo+ GPS taped to a Tour V2 rangefinder. That is what I was told it is. There are so many options, so much technology and it could have been done so well, but it seemed like Bushnell went cheap and easy on this one. Their other products are still top notch and the 1600 Pro is still one of the best on the market.
Dancin Doggs–This smaller company is great for us northern golfers. It is an economical simulator set-up for your house. At $400 retail, you will be hard pressed to find anything like it, or anything as good as it anywhere close to that price. Now that $400 can quickly turn into $2000 if you want the full simulator package, but even just the basic unit is really good. It measures clubhead information as you pass through the ball. Obviously it can’t get ball spin numbers, but does a great job of clubhead speed and club path. This might be something worth looking into on those cold winters in the north. They also have an excellent selection of courses to play on this simulator and the software looked very simple to use.
Boccieri-Heavy Clubs–The Heavy Putter has been around now for a few years now and gained a following each year. Last year the first non-putter came to the market, the Heavy Wedge. I did a review of that and found it to be a really solid club. This year Boccieri introduced a whole bag of heavy clubs, Driver, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons. You could get a whole heavy weight bag if you want. (although it will be more difficult to carry with the extra weight) I took some time to hit the driver and was really impressed. While the static weight is heavier, the swingweight is lighter. I’ll be interested how this works out on the course. But initial finds were pretty good.
UST-Mamiya–While UST has been known for year by the ProForce shaft, the new ATTAS line is really the winner for this company. The orginal ATTAS was one of the smoothest shafts I ever hit. It was incredibly stable, straight and smooth, but it did have a high launch angel. In 2011, the ATTAS T2, will be available and is said to be very similar to the original, but lower launch, lower spin and possibly straighter and smoother. They also introduced their own light weight shaft and some new grips. UST-Mamiya just keeps churning out great products.
Scheyden Precision Eyewear–Here is a company that honestly I had never heard of, but after spending some time with them at their booth I know why. They just starting targeting the golfing market. They are well know by aviators all around the world for their excellent eyewear. I tried a couple of pairs on and was really impressed by the clarity of the lenses and the comfort of the frames. These might just be on my radar for my 2011 shades for golf.
James Patrick Wedges–I have seen wedges by James Patrick on the internet and knew that he was from the Twin Cities MN, but had never seen anything in person. I actually stumble across his booth because he was with Edel Putters. It was a great find, because his new wedge fitting system looks outstanding and his new personal wedge line looks fantastic. In the past he generally work with other companies wedges, but in 2011 he has his own line. I look forward to a more in depth interview this spring, but look for his wedge fitting cart wherever you see Edel putter fitting carts.
TRUELinks Shoes–I had the chance to talk with the owner, Rob Riggs. He is really nice guy that believes in the new product that they are offering to golfers. By the looks of their booth, they were a hit at the show. They sold out of all the products they brought to the show and were busy taking orders the whole time I was there. They are really the first golf shoe company to design a shoe around the foot rather than just using a dress shoe with some spikes on it. The shoes are comfortable when you first slip them on, and the soles are designed in way that you can use them both on and off the course. The addition of having guest PGA Pro Ryan Moore was a big boost too. I can’t wait to do a full review of these in 2011.
Travis Matthews and McKennon Golf Bags–I had already worked with Mike McKennon on a bag review in 2010, but was excited to see what he had brought with him to the show. As always I was impressed with the new bags. The colors and details are just so classy. They fit in nicely at the Travis Matthews booth. This apparel company is finding a nice niche in the golf market. Their California surfer style paired with golf style make for an appealing clothing line. It also helps to have Travis Matthews spokes person Bubba Watson named the best dressed PGA professional too. Their booth was one of the best booths around with the ping-pong table and VW van. They have a new shoe coming out in late summer that blends old school sneaker style with golf course function.