Best New Products of the 64th PGA Show
Orlando, Florida – The 64th PGA Show finished up just over a week ago, and as usual we kicked off our show week with the innovative folks from Tour Edge/Exotics at the spectacular Lake Nona Country Club. While other media sources contemplate whether the show is on an incline or is in decline, we celebrate the gathering of golf industry professionals and media. The products featured are those that impressed us the most. This year we covered more companies than ever before, and bring you our most comprehensive coverage ever.
This year’s Tour Edge Media event was held at the magnificent Lake Nona Country Club. There aren’t many days when the golf writers all convene in one place, especially in a setting such as this. Certainly was one of those days that won’t soon be forgotten. Although high winds made scoring tough, Lake Nona shined.
The scene moved from Demo Day at OCN on Tuesday to the Orange County Convention Center on Wednesday. 40,000 industry professionals from 84 countries gathered to see the latest products from over 1,000 companies (including 271 new companies to the show).
Exotics, well known for their exceptional metal woods, introduced the new EX10 line in Orlando. Featuring HT980 steel cup face technology and its newly designed slip-stream sole rails (re-designed to be shallower and more compact for smoother club/turf interaction). Throw in the stock Graphite Design Tour AD shaft and you have a winner. Big thumbs up here. Exotics XJ1 is a lightweight high launching big distance metal woods line for the moderate to slower swing speed player looking to gain some extra length off the tee. Featuring a carbon crown and 9-1-1 titanium chassis which allows the walls of the clubhead to be thinner and more responsive to shots hit by players with less than tour player swing speeds, the XJ1 offers a super-lightweight high-performance product and at a premium price tag – $699
Callaway seems to have the new club with the most buzz at the moment – the EPIC driver. The booth display (shown above) was a celebration of the brand’s recent resurgence. By now you’ve probably seen the chevron’s new EPIC metal woods line featuring “Jailbreak” technology. In fact, Callaway Metalwoods Senior Manager of R&D Evan Griggs told us “The EPIC line was 3 years in the works before being launched this year. Jailbreak technology consists of two titanium rods that connect the crown to the sole, minimizing the amount the club head body flexes at impact – this allows the face to flex more freely. Jailbreak improves the efficiency of the energy transfer between the clubhead and golf ball generating more ball speed.”
The new Odyssey O Works putter was a big hit at the show. O Works features a micro hinge insert that creates friction at impact that lifts and propels the ball forward reducing skid and creating a quicker forward roll. $229
The F7 and F7+ are Cobra’s latest innovation in drivers and fairway metals. According to Jose Miraflor from Cobra Golf: The F7 is the companies largest driver clubhead ever created. F7 features a moveable 12-gram weight for adjustable CG. F7+ is a more compact version for those high skilled players who prefer a deeper face and like to shape their shots. F7 comes in a glossy finish, F7+ satin finish. A serious upgrade included in all Cobra drivers this year is their Connect System (powered by Arccos). The Connect sensor allows you to track all of your drives via the Arccos driver app. For the gearhead concerned about how the Connect sensor affects swing weight – it adds an extra 1/4″ to the grip end, therefore nullifying any swing weight issues by the 4 gram Connect sensor. The Connect sensor has a 10-year battery life in standby mode, 3 years in continuous sunlight. The moment the driver is pulled from the bag during the daytime, it activates and knows it’s time. The app includes 40k golf courses. No more guessing on how far you drive it, instant feedback is here for good! At $349 for the F7 and $399 for F7+ Cobra may have the best new driver value on the market for 2017. Cobra’s new PUR wedges are made from super soft 304 stainless, and the kicker is, it’s a polished satin wedge that doesn’t rust. So no more dirty orange towels after wiping off your tour wedge. All the “Trusty” minus the “Rusty”. $119
The industry leader lit the show on fire with their Wednesday morning announcement of the Tiger Woods signing to an equipment contract. We were on hand as TMAG leader David Abeles grabbed the attention of the entire golf media on hand in Orlando. Despite rumors of TaylorMade being sold in recent months, the company seems to have regained industry momentum after a huge 2016 campaign with the creation of the M Family of metal woods. The 2nd edition of TaylorMade’s M metal woods were launched in West Palm Beach back in early December, but for the rest of the golf world, the PGA Show was the introduction. M1 is back with a refined design and new trim colors. Red trim is out, and lime green is in. More importantly, the M1 features a more aerodynamic T- track and moveable weight that extends all the way to the back end of the club head (for more forgiveness). The new model has 43% more carbon fiber (located on the toe side of the sole) allowing for weight to be moved to the perimeter and thus creating an even higher MOI than the 2016 model. $499 TaylorMade’s new Milled Grind wedges were created to provide precise sole geometry, eschewing the old inconsistent process of hand grinding. The new MG wedges have a deeper hosel bore, inserted is a soft red polymer which is located in the heel portion of each sole . The removed hosel/heel weight has been relocated to a center clubhead location to improve CG. $149
PREMIUM GOLF BALLS
The new Pro V1 and Pro V1X have been re-engineered and now require some knowledge to select the right ball for your game. The new “V” is significantly longer and has a penetrating trajectory, the new “X” feels softer and spins more around the greens. See the chart below to decide which one is right for your game. $49
Callaway introduced their Chrome Soft X-ball at the show. Jason Finley from Callaway told us “the “X” was created for the higher swing speed player who prefers a slightly firmer feel with a more penetrating ball flight. Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson have already put the Chrome Soft X into play on tour. $39.99
TaylorMade’s new premium ball offering is the TP5 and TP5 (X). A larger Tri-Fast core and Dual Spin cover has more spin off the short irons but less with lower lofted long irons and metal woods. Low compression cores of 16 for TP5 & 25 for TP5X but with a stiffer outer core and an even stiffer mantle layer. 322 dimpled urethane cover on both models $45 per dozen. Available March 1st.
Oakley Prizm is a lens technology that fine tunes your vision for specific activities and their surroundings. According to Oakley, Prizm Golf lenses improve the contrast within the different shades of green in turf to aid in green reading and target clarity.
The clarity you experience wearing Prizm is a serious game changer, especially when playing in direct sunlight when it’s often toughest to distinguish subtle shapes and turf breaks.
UA frames are made from a combination of titanium & Grilamid for superior strength and flexibility. Armour sight lenses deliver 20% more peripheral vision & are 10x stronger than ordinary poly- carbonate lenses. Multiflection lens coating guards against scratches. Adjustable nose pad and AUTOGRIP temples and flexibility create a comfortable fit. All UA performance Eyewear provides 100% protection from UVA, UVB & UVC rays.
Training Aids and Technology
The Voice Caddie SC 200 is a portable launch monitor that gives real-time data on Swing Speed, Ball Speed, and Smash Factor using a built in Barometric Pressure sensor featuring Target, Practice and Approach modes as well as voice distance output, and carry distance. These days, how can any serious golfer go without one of these. Ideal for not only testing swing performance but getting instant data while testing equipment can really help with club fitting. Includes remote and 4 AAA batteries. $349
FX-Sport introduces their VC Golf headphones. A built-in coaching system within a wireless headset that gives you psychological, mental and physical training as well as golf practice drills to sharpen your game.
According to FX-Sport owner Duncan Walsh, the VC headphones have 8GB capacity and MP3 player built in, as well as the personal trainer and coaching function that’s fully programmable. Coaching from some of the industry’s best mentors including Karen Palacios Jansen, Dr. Morris Pickens, David MacKenzie and Dr.Mark Smith can only help you improve your focus and physical strength. Fully sweat proof and rain proof so you can practice or train with little worry or distraction. $199
PowerPlane was created by PGA Pro Jim Tierney, and technology entrepreneur Rich Kosowsky. This new training device is quite simply one the best we’ve ever encountered in all our years attending the PGA Merchandise Show, and it’s a simple way to teach the player to keep their head centered during the swing using technology thru high precision ultra-sonics to help players correct common swing flaws. The device positions a zone with 2 invisible vertical planes around a golfers head. If their head moves out of the zone anytime during their swing until impact, Powerplane alerts the golfer with an instant beep. Within a few swings behavior patterns begin to change, resulting in much better impact, increased distance and better accuracy. Included is (1) PowerPlane & (1) sonic sensor. $189
The Trackman for putting is here and it’s called Hole More Putts. The Hole More Putts tablet measures the 5 different factors of impact and records the data of each putt. After 5 putts the tablet calculates the players Putting index – a weighted average reflecting the relative importance of each impact factor. The website and App will highlight all of the stroke elements that show an opportunity for improvement. Hole More Putts software then identifies the factors where the biggest and quickest improvements can be made. $459
Apparel & Footwear
Long known for the highest standards in outer wear for all types of weather, Galvin Green is a family company based in Sweden that recently was the outerwear supplier of Team Europe for the Ryder Cup in 2016 and will also provide the goods in France for the Euro’s in 2018. If you know anything about what it takes to hold the honor for the boys in Blue & Gold, it’s about as big an honor as a supplier can have in the industry. I won’t bore you with fabric details, just know that no detail is missed here, especially with their layering garments. From a blustery and chilly day on the links, to a “cats n dogs” deluge in Scotland, Galvin Green gets you there dry and in style . . .
Greg Norman Collection seems to cover all bases when it comes to what golfers are looking for (above). We’re looking forward in 2017 to reviewing their sporty casual new Attack Life line.
It’s not always golf with the Shark, his brand and style extend to cultures far beyond the fairways. This jacket from Greg Norman totally had me at hello. This piece alone almost made me wish I didn’t live in the warm climate of West Palm Beach . . . almost. I might have to get it for the 10 days a year that it drops below 50 degrees here. $150
The new ECCO COOL golf shoe features GORE-TEX® SURROUND™ technology, it’s an air channeling system within the sole structure, that allows 360° breathability and channels out unwanted moisture created by your feet each day while walking and playing golf. $280
I snapped this as we gave the new Ecco Cool shoes the plunge in the water test. The shoe has a HYDROMAX® treated leather and sock liner to increase comfort and give a seamless feel. A polyurethane midsole provides cushioning, and ECCO COOL comes with a removable inlay sole that offers extra width in the toe box area for those who require it.
New Balance Golf 3001 features a waterproof microfiber upper and REVlite midsole for comfort and responsiveness, traction comes from Champ Spikes SlimLok Zarma Tour cleats. The 574 LX spikeless was inspired by the popular 574 NB sneaker, full grain leather upper featuring semi-translucent NDurance outsole provides the traction. REVlite midsole provides the comfort. Both models retail $189
The Bishop Brothers from Nova Scotia are a great group of guys that founded Dormie Workshop and create the impressive premium leather headcovers and accessories. From aiming sticks covers, putter covers, hybrids, fwys and drivers covers the possibilities are endless.
Creativity and style have no limits at the Dormie Workshop. If you have a design or an idea for something unique, they can create it for you, custom works are their specialty. Order your very own Dormie Workshop headcover today.
Zero Friction’s John Iacono may have created the absolute best new tech product at this year’s show. Not a fan of wearing a GPS watch while playing golf, John sought out to create a GPS device that would be a part of his already successful one size fits all compression glove line and the Tour Quality Cabretta Leather Motion-Fit glove line as well. Iacono had the device built so his glove line didn’t even need modifying. Using the already existing elastic sleeve that was previously a tee holder and also the magnetic ball marker tab, he was able to create the first GPS glove system in golf – DistancePro. Loaded with nearly 40k golf courses, the DistancePro pairs up to your smart phone thru the Zero Friction App providing real-time course info while on the links. Genius! each box contains 2 gloves and a DistancePro GPS – $139 Compression, $159 for Motion Fit model.
The Frogger Catch Latch is a really useful magnetic fastening system to help manage your golf accessories. Cell phone, GPS, keys etc. are all secure with Frogger’s new Catch Latch system. $12.95
- Catch Latch Bag C-Clamp securely attaches to the top of your golf bag
- Catch Latch Belt Clip slides easily over your belt
- Attach your favorite accessories via the dongle ring
- Magnets in dongle and receiver attract and self-align to connect
- Dongle pulls straight out to easily disconnect from receiver
- Receiver has a dynamic internal lock to secure product while in motion
- Receiver rotates to a fully locked position when orange indicator visible
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com