After years of hoofing it around the massive PGA Merchandise Show, after hours of wearing through perfectly good shoe leather and putting Dr. Scholls kids through college and medical school, I have rolled into the 21st century.
For the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando this week, Ill have a Segway.
Actually, I wont be using the ingenious, powered personal transporter for the entire show, but I will get to try one. And thats fitting, because at the ever-enormous PGA Show, you need to move. A lot.
Whatever you may think of the state of the golf business, however you may wish participation were more robust, no matter how golf stands in your region, the PGA Show always puts its best clubhead forward. The lure of shiny and innovative new gear is strong every year. This year, the 54th version of golfs biggest annual meeting, promises to be a top contender on the all-time list. More than 1,250 companies will exhibit over nearly a million square feet of space in the Orange County Convention Center. Heres a brief ' and because of the breadth of whats on offer at the Show, far from complete ' look at what you can expect in reports on Golf Central and in our special highlight show in February.
Drivers. Take a moment. Of inertia, that is. This moment (MOI for short) has nothing to do with time, but rather with the way scientists measure resistance to twisting. All kinds of new driver head shapes designed to keep your drives on line ' including square models from Callaway and Nike ' will have their formal coming-out parties. Also, TaylorMade plans a new introduction of an MOI driver, as well as the latest r7, the Superquad. It will be TaylorMades first 460 cc driver with four moveable weights (you might have seen it on Golf Central when I was reporting from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic).
Also, speaking of drivers and other long clubs, look for a new shaft thats not steel and not graphite, but rather combines the best of both ' as a matter of fact, its a material that until recently didnt even exist. Thats all I can say for now.
Irons & Hybrids: Look for a lot of introductions featuring fine-tuned sole geometry and improved weighting. The result? Higher flight, softer landings, and help for people who have a tough time getting sufficient yardage gaps between clubs, especially the longer ones. Oh, and there will be a new addition to TaylorMades Rescue sub-brand.
Putters: Adams Golf will be getting into the putter biz, showing off a recent acquisition that has planted putters firmly in their popular product line. Beyond that, we expect to see a lot of innovative shapes. Imagination is the only limit, and if you can make a new shape, you can distribute weight to its edges. Straighter putts for all.
Shoes & Clothing: Adidas will show off a new shoe that plays off last years success with the Tour 360. This one also provides a lot of mid-foot stability, the company says. In clothing, tech apparel continues to be the big story as golfers discover that comfort can be had in all kinds of conditions.
Fitness: The Titleist Performance Institute, riding the crest of the wave of interest created by its redesigned Web site, will be at the Show for those interested in optimizing the most fundamental piece of equipment ' the body. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips, Titleists two chief fitness gurus, expect to get a lot of questions. Likely overall message: Whatever your age or condition, attention to golf fitness pays off. Rose and Phillips are Golf Channel alumni, too.
As I said, thats just a taste of the huge smorgasbord we expect to enjoy ' and well mostly enjoy telling you all about it on Golf Central on Wednesday through Saturday, Jan. 24-27. Dont miss it, and dont miss Casey Bierer, Matt Adams and me on our Segways.
Because thats how we roll.