The 2017 PGA Merchandise Show was busy, as usual, but you can tell that the era of the big trade show is starting to die down. Because we are well established with our vendors, we have seen and tested almost all of the new equipment before the show. But, the equipment vendors still release their equipment to the public right after the show…the Callaway EPIC was in our hands for testing but could not be released to the public until January, 27th. Same with Ping’s new i200 irons…scheduled release today, February 2nd. We still go to the show to see new testing equipment, meet brand new vendors and explore more partnerships.
So what did we see that got us excited? New Shafts: ACCRA Tour ZRPG wood shafts designed with clubfitters in mind to fit literally every style of swing. New high modulus materials and Japanese manufacturing create some of the best shafts in the world. True Temper is re-introducing the Rifle steel shaft in its original taper tip version and upgrading the tolerances of its Rifle parallel steel shafts. As a True Temper Performance Fitting Center and Authorized ACCRA dealer, we have access to these great shafts immediately upon release. The new Project X HZRDUS T1100 wood shaft will also be release in February as the next evolution of the HZRDUS product line with T1100 material. And Fujikura is introducing the ATMOS Tour Spec shafts with varying launch characteristics. And we attended the unveiling of the KBS S-Taper iron shaft which will bring a lower launch, lower spin yet lighter weight shaft to the KBS line. As usual, we will be testing and evaluatingal l of the new shafts as soon as they are available.
Launch Monitors and Simulators: This is starting to get a little crowed in my opinion. Even companies like TrackMan are offering large simulators with the ability play a variety of courses. Price pressure is coming from companies like Ernest Golf with $6,000 combination camera and doppler radar launch monitor. And FlightScope introduced their $500 personal launch monitor that can be used for golf, baseball and soccer. Yes, you heard that right…all of these companies are crossing into other sports like baseball and soccer to leverage their investment. An exciting development from TrackMan is the Putting Analysis which will be delivered in early 2017. We helped beta test a putting analysis system years ago called DV-Putt that was eventually sold to V1. Now, there is a lot more emphasis on improving putting as there are a LOT of strokes to be gained on the putting surface. Look for us to test this new system when it is released
Swing Analysis systems: I accidentally found out about ZEPP Golf and I think this system will be a very cool way for us to enhance the things we use internally to measure tempo, transition and release. These items are critical to determining the proper shaft for our golfers. Others to consider include SkyPro and GameGolf.
Equipment: I am quite abreast of the new players coming to market and it seems like hard goods companies from Japan and Europe are trying to get into the U.S. market. Unless they have a story like PXG, I think this will be difficult. With Miura being purchased by a private equity firm and re-launching its distribution worldwide, companies like EPON, HONMA, and ITOBORI GRIND will have to find a few great dealers to introduce their new lines. With the demise of Nike and Hogan Golf, we are a little skeptical about extending to new companies. But, we always are interested in new stuff…call me an equipment junkie!