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Posted this Saturday in another thread, but wanted to give it its own thread.  This was my first PGA show - and I hope it won't be my last!  Here's a quick rundown on the product experience highlights...


 


1. Talking with Jesse Ortiz -- the man is a legend in golf club design and is one of the nicest gentlemen I've met in a long time. That he spent about 20 minutes talking with a nobody like me was very flattering.  He has some strong opinions about the state of golf equipment and how equipment is sold and marketed -- and he's funny as hell.  Best of many gems he shared - he sees the equipment industry morphing into something similar to the beer industry - there's growing room for the micro-brews or regional brews, as well at the Buds, Coors and Millers.  He sees the golf industry moving in the same direction.  Oh, and the new Bobby Jones putters look awesome!


jesse ortiz.jpg


 


2. Hitting the Hogans -- hit a crap-ton of irons during demo day and the show, and the Hogan irons were certainly the "buzz" of the show.  Their booth was an homage to the Hogan tradition, and the business cards they were handing out were badass -- with the iconic Hogan 1-iron from the US Open on the back.  The irons? Nothing short of outstanding in my opinion.  Not sure how the loft-idea is going to work out, but I like the fact that they're going to work through pros and fitters -- so you CAN try them through those channels. And the products will all be custom ordered - so the pro won't have to stock much of anything. They'll build them to spec every time.  These are going to be interesting to keep an eye on.  


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3. Irons in general - it's a great time to be an iron buyer.  Of all the irons I had the chance to try, my faves were - in no particular order - Hogan, Wilson FG 100 Blade, Wilson FG Tour V4, Srixon 545 and 745, all of the Bridgestones and Epon from Japan.  If you're "into" forged feeling irons, these are as clean, crisp and smooth as they come.  Would game any of them in a heartbeat.


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4. Vega --- Vega irons were also up there, and I gotta say, I really liked their driver. You don't hear much about Vega, but they have some pretty nice equipment.  It's not inexpensive, but it's very, very good.


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5. Big Max push carts --- got the full demo on their entire line.  Big Max is the number one line of "trolleys" in Europe, and you can see why.  Versatile, easy to set up and take down, easy to store with lots - and I mean LOTS - of really cool and well thought out features.  Keep an eye on them - you'll be seeing more of them in the coming months.  Best push cart that I saw....


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6. DST Training Clubs -- these suckers have bent shafts. It's a training aid designed to force you to keep your hands in front of the club face at impact, so you're leveraging all your power and hitting down on the ball.  It's a weird feel at first, but it's one of those training aids that will find a permanent home in my bag, seeing as how I'm a chronic flipper.


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7. Royal Albatross Shoes -- Winner of the MGS Most Wanted Shoe challenge - these things are gorgeous, comfortable and gorgeous.  Not to mention comfortable.  Pricey, but good footwear may be the most underrated item in the game.


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8. ECCO - speaking of footwear, these guys are playing chess while most of the rest of the industry (Royal Albatross excluded) is playing checkers.  The new lines - especially the spikeless street shoes - are nothing short of spectacular.


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9. Biion -- another shoe company.  We've had reviews by GolfSpy MPB here, and quite frankly, I didn't get his enthusiasm.  I do now.  You really have to see them in person to get the full color pop, and they are "slip-on" comfy.  I see them in my future, too.  


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10. MLA Putters -- from Switzerland - the aiming mechanism is really unique and effective.  If you have an issue with squaring up the putter face, one of these will help you with your alignment.  Again, it looks a little weird, but sometime weird gets it done.


mla1.jpgmla2.jpg


 


11. Zepp -- had never tried one before, but boy are they helpful little devices. Was worried I'd be distracted by having the little sensor device on my glove hand, but once it was on I never noticed it once.  And I absolutely loved the feedback and swing information it gave you.  Can see this as being a huge tool for instructors and for swing-junkies.  The hands don't lie.


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12. Kentwool Socks - have your say, Furu!  Actually, I've been a fan of Kentwool for a long time, and at this very moment wearing a pair of their compression socks on the plane.  Bought these over a month ago and always wear them when flying - they are the cat's behind!  Got to meet the owner of Kentwool at the show and - like Jesse Ortiz - was very friendly, frank and giving of his time to a no one like me.  We had a great chat and he made me an even bigger fan of his company.


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13. Golf Knickers.com -- Another product that looks way better in person than in pictures.  I see an MGS Golf Knicker Invitational in our future -- great colors and styles.  You want to stand out on a course?  These will do it, but when you dress like that you better bring your A-game!


 


14. Lambda Golf Shoes -- all leather from Portugal. Great designs - awesome looking shoe. Didn't get to try them on, so can't speak to their comfort, but Golly Moses they're purdy.


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15. Renegar Wedges -- liked the new forged design with the notched sole.  Hope we see more of these - good looking and produced by another industry maverick.  Pay attention to them.


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16. iZulu Golf - from South Africa.  A custom fitting system to be sold through golf pros.  Irons with interchangeable faces (for fitting purposes), driver with low CG pods (not unlike NIke's, but not similar, either), and some of the nicest hybrids I hit at the show.  Their mallet putter looked like a Transformer - you can move the weight back for fast greens and up for slow greens.  They're a ways away from becoming a presence here - if they ever will be, but their stuff is pretty solid.


 


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17.  New Stich headcovers -- no words other than "Bad-Ass-Looking!"  Really cool new designs.


 


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BarbaJo, you're 100% correct about the irons this year!  There is a terrific selection available this year.  Personally, I'm hot for the Stixon Z 545s, but that's just me.  The Hogans, the Wilson Staffs, the Taylormades, etc I hit, were all impressive.  There are quality iron sets out there for all levels of players.

 

The Wilson Staff lineup is extremely good across the board, including their D200 woods.  I mentioned on another thread, I haven't bagged a 15* 3 wood in years but after hitting the Wilson Staff on the range, I carried it in my bag the entire week.

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Nice write-up John! Looks like it was a lot of fun - I'm penciling it in my calendar (with permanent marker) for next year.

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Nice write-up John! Looks like it was a lot of fun - I'm penciling it in my calendar (with permanent marker) for next year.

 

Good news about next year's show -- it's just before the big AHR Expo, which will also be in Orlando - should be able to mix business and business!!!

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Good news about next year's show -- it's just before the big AHR Expo, which will also be in Orlando - should be able to mix business and business!!!

 

Hopefully we can organize an MGS Frat house for the week, and a dandy wee golf outing as well!

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Nice overview! Enjoyed the pics throughout the week. Thanks for the update.

 

I am bummed that I didn't get to go, but my wife and I want to go to the World Golf Hall of Fame next January and we will spend a few days in Orlando. With luck in condo and flight scheduling, I will be there!

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wow hella nice irons! Those Srixon Z's have got me feeling on tingly in the lower abdominal region :blush:  

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wow hella nice irons! Those Srixon Z's have got me feeling on tingly in the lower abdominal region :blush:  

 

Know what you mean!  Toss up between Srixon, Hogan, Bridgestone and Wilson, IMO.  

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I had a chance to put a set of the new Wilson clubs in my hands today while visiting my chiropractor. They do look sharp, but as per your write up last month and quoting me about "yeah but they are still Wilson" I may have to retracted that and say "Wow these are Wilsons!?!?!"

Love the look of the flat black wedges but have to ask a questions. Are the heads on the wedges smaller than other manufacturers out there? I'll give them a try if you're willing to part with them for a round this year.

 

Oh nice write up on the PGA show. Sure wish I could have been there myself but my dang disc had other things in mind.

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Love the look of the flat black wedges but have to ask a questions. Are the heads on the wedges smaller than other manufacturers out there? I'll give them a try if you're willing to part with them for a round this year.

 

 

 

I don't think the heads are any smaller -- may just look that way with the flat black finish.  Also digging the blue finish they have available...supremely sexy.

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I think the heads on SCOR may be a bit smaller, but they seemed to be about the same size as Vokey.

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