PGA Show 2014: Live Blog, Day 1
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
2014 PGA Merchandise Show (Celebrities)
Take in the images of celebrities in the golf world making an appearance at the PGA Merchandise Show.
ORLANDO, Fla. – If you can't be at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, don't fret - we've got a team of experts that will bring you the latest and greatest from the floor of the Orange County Convention Center all day on Wednesday.
You'll get short blogs, photos, videos, social media - the whole nine yards.
Senior writers David Dusek and James Achenbach will be filing updates all day long, as well as other digital and senior staffers on the ground in central Florida. Follow Dusek on Twitter here.
Also, keep scrolling down to see more coverage this week from the equipment world and beyond:
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Boccieri Secret Grip
Last year at the PGA Merchandise Show, Stephen Boccieri introduced the Secret Grip, a back-weighted grip that raises the balance point of a club for improved consistency, control, and distance.
To create product awareness, Boccieri gave away 100,000 free grips through retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods. This year? He’s putting his money where his mouth is with a money-back guarantee.
Any customer who buys six or more grips will have 30 days to return the product if not satisfied. Boccieri will replace the grips with the brand of the customer’s choice.
If bought at a participating retailer, the retailer will provide a gift card. If bought online at SecretGrip.com, Boccieri will prepay for return shipping and provide the replacement product. It’s a bold statement that Boccieri expects will bolster unit sales. Why is Boccieri willing to offer such a guarantee? “We’ve found nine out of 10 golfers prefer our grip,” he explained.
Boccieri also shot a TV commercial, with the tagline “It’s not in your clubs; it’s in the hands.” He heads into year two of a three-year relationship with company spokesman Jack Nicklaus.
“This is going to be a make-or-break year for us,” Boccieri said.
– Adam Schupak
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Trevino gets behind Yamaha
Lee Trevino has one golden rule when it comes to pitching a product: “I have to believe in it,” he said.
Given his personal experience with the Yamaha brand, that was never in doubt. As Trevino tells the story, he bought a Yamaha G1 model for his Dallas ranch fresh off his victory in the 1990 U.S. Senior Open. Over the years, he hauled everything in it, from fence posts, to rocks, to his clubs and shag bag.
“I never changed a spark plug; I never changed the oil. All I did was air up the tires in it,” he said. “That baby never let me down.”
That’s why it took only a matter of days after their initial discussion for Trevino to become the first company spokesman for Yamaha Golf Company.
Trevino bought a new Yamaha golf car last spring, one with the company’s new electronic fuel injection. “No choke, no smoke,” Trevino said in one of Yamaha’s three new television commercials that will begin airing later this year.
Credit Bridgestone Golf, which counts Trevino among its brand ambassadors, for the assist in bringing Trevino and Yamaha together.
“One day we were talking with Bridgestone, our Atlanta neighbor, about their relationship with Lee and they made the introduction,” said Tom McDonald, Yamaha’s president.
Trevino was formally introduced today at Yamaha’s booth at the PGA Merchandise Show.
“I’ve been a loyal customer of Yamaha for years,” Trevino said. “Come to think of it, I’m surprised it took us so long to get together like this.”
– Adam Schupak
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Matrix OZIK TPHDe shaft
The PGA Merchandise Show is a great place to see how the other half lives and catch a glimpse of some exotic goodies. Case in point, the Matrix OZIK TPHDe graphite shaft.
The TPHDe is Matrix's new flagship golf shaft. Inside the shaft, a 16-sided chassis extends from the butt-section through the entire mid-section and into the tip area. According to Chris Elson, the company's executive vice president of business development and marketing, this greatly enhances feel and durability. In addition, the TPHDe features Interply, a method of incorporating exotic materials – like boron, zylon and tungsten – to enhance feel. So while the TPHDe shaft will provide high-torque performance, it won't feel like a 2x4. Available in 60-, 70- and 80-gram versions, the TPHDe features a PVD finish that has a crystalline pattern, so every shaft will look slightly different.
The price of all this performance: $1,200. "We tend not to use these as tomato stakes," Elson joked.
– David Dusek
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• Sun Mountain H2NO Ultra Lite: Sun Mountain’s newest waterproof bag has integrated handles, a top-molded stand attachment for stability, the Roller-Bottom stand mechanism, and the company’s E-Z Fit Dual Strap System. Straps lock in the legs for use on carts. The waterproof pockets and rainhood use the same waterproof construction as the company’s rainwear, including its YKK waterproof zippers. MSRP: $229.
• Bag Boy Hybrid Pivot-Grip: Designed with the traveler in mind, the Hybrid Pivot-Grip is a combination golf bag and hard travel case. The Pivot-Grip rotates 360 degrees to ease arm and wrist strain. The travel case can accommodate a 50-inch driver, and the top is secured with Duraflex clips. Remove the top and the 600D polyester bag has eight pockets, including a removable garment pocket. MSRP: $219.95.
• Jones Player Series: Jones puts its old-school spin on the new Players Series, a one-strap model made of MTL nylon for players committed to walking the course. This 3-pound model has a two-zippered ball pouch, outerwear pocket and two-way club divider. A spine provides added support. MSRP: $159.95.
• Ogio Gotham: Light in weight, but heavy in features. It has a 15-way top with space in the putter pit for an oversized grip. There are five exterior pockets and two interior zippered pockets. It’s outfitted with a four-point shoulder strap, and has a pass-through for ease of use when strapping it onto a cart. MSRP: $199.
– Marty Kaufmann
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Vibram FiveFingers golf shoes
Vibram introduced four golf-specific FiveFingers models at last year's PGA Merchandise Show. A year later, the company has two more models of the barefoot-style shoes to share with golfers.
The V-Classic series features a new outsole created solely for golf, as well as a traditional lacing system, to give the shoes a more classic golf-shoe look.
The V-Classic has two color options – black, or white and grey – and features a textile upper while the V-Classic LR is composed of a leather upper with two color options – brown, white and orange, or brown, white and purple.
– Brentley Romine
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Swing-Lube by My-Dab is an all-natural pain relief product designed to relax muscles and reduce fatigue.
Among the items showcased at the PGA Merchandise Show, Swing-Lube is easy to apply and starts to relieve pain within minutes. It's an option for golfers who experience pain to apply before a round, but also can serve the everyday person as well, including those who experience headaches or neck pain.
Swing-Lube is available in 4 oz. and 8 oz. bottles at a retail price of $18.95 and $33.95, respectively.
– Brentley Romine
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The last thing you need is a wet hand when you play golf. But if you reach into your golf bag and pull out a water bottle on a hot, humid day, that's exactly what you'll have. Hydro Flask makes water bottles that keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours thanks to a vacuum designed between its two 18/8 stainless steel walls.
The stainless steel resists holding on to odors, tastes and bacteria. The 21-ounce bottle fits nicely into the cup holder of a cart and most cars.
Best of all, the outside of this bottle won't sweat, so your hands will stay dry. $25; hydroflask.com.
– David Dusek
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PGA Show interviews
Blair O'Neal was among the big names on hand for the PGA Merchandise Show on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. The Cobra/Puma staffer and LPGA Symetra Tour player took some time to sit down with Golfweek before helping demonstrate the Gears System's 3D golf-swing analyzer at the Equipment Test Center.
When Graeme McDowell makes his 2014 debut in a couple weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, it will mark the first time he has competed at Pebble Beach since 2010. Of course, that was the year that McDowell became the first European in 40 years to win the U.S. Open.
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Under Armour introduced the UA Fire Hunter Mahan sunglass frames for golfers on Wednesday at the PGA Show. It uses modern developments in lens and frame technology with a fashionable design for both pros and amateurs that protects against ultra-violet rays.
A year after Rory McIlroy joined the Nike Golf team – and both parties have gotten more acquainted with each other – McIlroy has officially designed his own polo.
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One day after pledging $5 million for programs designed to attract and keep new golfers, TaylorMade CEO Mark King announced the first two programs Wednesday morning. The first – and the centerpiece of initial efforts to grow the game – is a 15-inch cup.
TaylorMade Golf pledged $5 million Tuesday evening to fund the collection and examination of new ideas to foster the growth of the game of golf. This five-year effort will be conducted under the umbrella of something called Hackgolf.
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PHOTOS: 2014 PGA Merchandise Show (Day 1)
View images of pictures taken, showing the first day of the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center.
Equipment releases at PGA Show
Titleist has announced that the Scotty Cameron Select line of putters has been updated, – think refinement, not revolution. Each of the three blade-style putters and two mid-size mallets feature adjustable weights positioned in the toe and heel areas of the sole; golfers can’t adjust them, but fitters can swap out weights.
Scotty Cameron made the original GoLo putter, a mid-size mallet with a rounded shape, available to golfers about three years ago. At the PGA Merchandise Show on Wednesday, Titleist announced GoLo has become its own family of putters. Four GoLo models are going to arrive in pro shops starting April 18, and golfers who like circular shapes and simple alignment systems should find these appealing.
The Dynamic steel golf shaft was introduced in 1942. Today, 72 years later, it is still manufactured by the same company, True Temper, and remains the most popular iron shaft on the PGA Tour.
Fujikura’s MCI (Metal Composite Iron) shaft recently became widely available through the certified network of Fujikura dealers. This iron shaft is a blend of graphite and steel. The objective is better balance, feel and stability.
UST vice president and shaft designer Mike Guerrette says the company has finally mastered the ovaling process – just ask four-time major winner Ernie Els.
With new groove patterns, several sole designs and loads of bounce options, Titleist's Vokey Design Spin Milled 5 wedges are designed for short game versatility.
Adding water to the core mixture via Hydro Core technology helped Bridgestone increase speed and decrease spin on its flagship line of B330 golf balls.
Titleist debuted new versions of its NXT Tour and NXT Tour S balls Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show, with a focus on feel. "Our goal with the NXT Tour was to make a softer golf ball," said Bill Morgan, Titleist's senior vice president of golf ball research and development.
The core material and compression have not been changed in the DT SoLo – which remains the softest, lowest-compression ball that Titleist makes, adding a spherically tiled, 376-dimple cover pattern that is comprised of eight different dimples.
As the name suggests, the two-piece Velocity is designed to deliver maximum distance on all full-swing shots. And after listening to the feedback of golfers, Titleist decided the goal for this updated version would be to maintain the length off the tee but give the updated model a softer feel and a slightly lower ball flight.
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New Golfweek Equipment Hub
• On Wednesday, Golfweek launched a new-look, completely revamped equipment site, dedicated to helping the consumer find more information while shopping or learning about clubs. All of our content over the last two years is now categorized in different ways, either by brand or category (drivers, wedges, shafts, etc.). This is called our Gearcaddie. Along with that new feature, you can find the latest and greatest equipment information in a much easier way. Check it out here!
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PHOTOS: Demo Day, Orange County National
A look at the action at Orange County National on Tuesday for the annual Demo Day.
Demo Day 2014
The PGA Merchandise Show is an equipment writer’s Super Bowl -- less about new equipment introductions, more about generating momentum -- and nothing creates excitement quite like the driver.
Sun. Green grass. An easy breeze. The mood was good early in the media tent for a journalist's first PGA Merchandise Show experience. After all, a desk editor waits for days like this.
We ran down the latest and greatest golf equipment news from Orange County National at the 2014 Demo Day in Orlando, Fla.