PGA Merchandise Show: A little of this a little of that

By Jon LevyJanuary 29, 2011, 6:00 am

2011 PGA Merchandise ShowSaw just about everything on Friday inside the endless miles of merchandise aisles at the Orange County Convention Center. Here are a few odds and ends from day two of golf industry mega-week, circa 2011:

Sexiest Women in Golf Magazine

Sexiest Women in Golf Magazine: What better way to tout a soon-to-be-released magazine than employing a pair of Bond-girl meets Lara Croft: Tomb Raider young ladies posing graciously, while holding a pair of existing publications – Colorado Golf and Desert Golf – that precede publisher Timothy Pade’s newest venture: Sexiest Women in Golf.

Yes, sex sells. And set to debut sometime in 2011, Pade is hoping this is still the case for his latest venture. Even though the magazine isn’t up and running quite yet, his website, sexiestwomeningolf.com – where you can log on and vote from a list of female golfers all facets of women’s game – is already in full swing. On this site you can peruse virtually every female golfer in the game and vote for your favorites, as well as sign up for monthly drawings to win various golf-related prizes.

But who are we kidding – prizes aside, you know you’re just curious to look.


Boccieri GolfBoccieri Golf: Stephen Boccieri, president and CEO of Boccieri Golf – the makers of The Heavy Putter – talked about his radical, and not-so trend-setting views on the technology of golf equipment. Boccieri was a former nuclear engineer for 25 years with a background in seismic analysis.

As a long-time golfer, Boccieri's curiosity of the how and why golf equipment was made the way it was for so many years, was primarily the brainchild for Boccieri Golf. In essence, Boccieri surmises the industry had gone about it all wrong, considering advances in other realms of science and innovation golf manufacturers could pull from. So, in 2004 Boccieri introduced the Heavy Putter, with the Heavy Wedge soon following and, just this week, has introduced the full matching set of woods and irons to complement. His “backweighting” technology, Boccieri said, helps a player hold the “angle of retention” longer before impact, as well as creating a more consistent square club face at impact, which should ultimately help you hit better and more consistent golf shots.

The technology in the Heavy Driver (pictured) features a unique dimple pattern, called “dimple face technology” that, along with the counter-balanced weighting, explained Boccieri, provides a higher velocity of ball speed at impact than many of his bigger and more well-known competitors.


OptishotDancin’ Dogg Golf’s Optishot: You’ve seen it advertised all over Golf Channel and right smack in the middle of the OCCC floor, we got the lowdown on this $399 home version of a golf simulator normally costing in the thousands.

The verdict? It’s Golden Tee meets your real golf swing, which of course is great, unless your golf swing would be better served on Golden Tee. The graphics on the Optishot are amazing and, while president and CEO Brandon Theophilus knows more advanced simulators may provide slightly more accurate feedback when it comes down to the most technical aspects, his mission with the Optishot was to “make something realistic, accurate and bottom line, make something that was fun. And we wanted all of those things, but wanted to make it affordable to the average golfer. And I think we have done that,” Theophilus said.

The Optishot currently offers nine different courses and Theophilus says they will continually add more to the arsenal, as well as software improvements as more become available in the future.

 


ECCOECCO: If they’re cool enough for Fred Couples then they’re cool enough for anyone. The ECCO shoe Couples debuted on Tour last year – the Golf Street Premiere – created quite the buzz in the golfing community because of their unique, street-meets-golf-course appearance.

“Our idea was to create a shoe that could perform well on the golf course, as well as something that you’d want to wear casually,” explained Todd Davidson, product and sales manager of ECCO’s golf division. “Part of our vision is to continue with this hybrid type of shoe and to create a shoe that has the feeling like you’re not really even wearing anything.”

Davidson said their new style for 2011, the “biom,” has a design that better follows with the natural motion of the foot. That technology, says Davidson, along with the cool, casual design, is how he sees ECCO continuing to move forward in the future.

Of course with “Boom Boom” Couples, the king of cool on your staff, the 2011 Presidents Cup captain could play in ski boots, for that matter, and people would probably follow suit.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.