Every year in the golf world technologies change, trends shift, and new companies are created. There is no better place to showcase all these new and innovative ideas than at the PGA Merchandise Show. Several of the The Hackers Paradise staff members were lucky enough to experience this monumental event. In four days we saw thousands of companies both good and bad and below is a brief overview of everything we encountered.
Since the Outdoor Demo day was the first stop on our journey and it was all equipment companies we will start here. There were so many great companies exhibiting their new goods that it was hard to pick our favorites, but we did. Overall for the outdoor day Nike made the biggest impact. They knew exactly what to do to get the crowd into it by having Suzann Petterson and Trevor Immelman out there hitting balls and talking shop. Nike was not at the indoor exhibition but the other big name companies were. Overall I would say that Callaway and Cleveland had the biggest presence both indoors and outdoors, they had enormous booths and they were always busy. Another very busy booth was Cobra, people were lining up to hit both of their new drivers. I was particularly impressed with all the great Japanese companies. They may have had small tents set up but their clubs delivered big.
I also really enjoyed all the different putter companies. During the outdoor day they had a separate putting green area and the it seems the putter industry has some very exciting new things coming out. For big name companies I was most impressed with Seemore putters both from a technical and social standpoint. The people behind Seemore putters are just incredible, for a company so well known they are incredibly down to earth and you can tell they really love what they do. Of all the new putters coming out this season, here at THP, we were most excited to see the Nickent Tour putters and the new Scotty Cameron mallet putters. Last year we were not impressed with the Nickent putter but this year we were so pleased to see that he new tour putters exceeded our expectations. Many of the staffers at THP are huge Scotty Cameron fans and couldn’t wait for the new mallet putter, however, these were the biggest disappointment of the show. YES! Putters has some really incredible new technologies coming out this year that really blew us away. We will be reviewing YES! very soon so check back here soon to learn about what they having coming out for 2009. Hands down, the brightest booth at the show was Gel putters. Not only do they make a stellar putter but their outfits were amazing. The best part about their booth was if you made two out of three putts on their putting green you got to keep the putter you used. THP was lucky enough to steal a few minutes at the Gel booth with putting coach extraordinaire Dr. Paul Hurrion and he can be summed up in one word; genius. For an overall putter experience Edel Putters takes the cake. Not only do they make a fine piece of equipment but each putter is custom made to fit your game. David Edel, the man behind Edel putters, is a master craftsman and everyone of the THP staffers agreed that we could sit and listen to him talk all day long.
I would like to touch briefly on golf balls and shafts. I went into the show expecting to hear lots of talk about Titleist Pro V1 but instead all the buzz was around Bridgestone, Srixon, and Nike this year. I was overwhelmed with so many amazing shaft companies but the two that made the biggest impact for us were Graphite Design and Oban. THP sat down with the brains behind Graphite Design and all we can say is their vision to standardize shaft fitting is a breath of fresh air. During the outdoor demo day we had a chance to hit the Nickent Evolver and we were so impressed with the shaft we had to ask who made it, to which we were told Oban Shafts.
There were a lot of great mens clubs out there but there were three ladies club and bag set that made a big impression on me. First was Nickent with their light blue, pink and black staff bags filled with the brand new 3DX RC ladies clubs. These are the first ladies clubs by Nickent that were designed by John Hoeflich and it shows. The second company was Cleveland and their new ladies Bloom line. Instead of sticking with the traditional pink this is a seafoam green and white and all I can say is wow! The clubs performed so much better than I ever expected and being the fashion guru that I am the colors really sealed the deal for me. In my opinion, the best club/bag combo at the show was Adams Golf and Keri Golf Bags. We made an announcement late in 2008 that Adams and Keri Golf were going to be partnering up but we weren’t quite sure how that was going to work. Now we know and it’s fabulous.
Seeing as though I am the THP Fashion Guru the apparel section was where it was at for me. There were so many amazing female companies out there it is impossible to pick my favorite. For overall most impressive line for 2009 I would have to say Jofit really has something special going on. They revealed their fitness and tennis lines as well as their always fabulous golf gear. I just loved their use of colors and mixing and matching different items to make several incredible outfits. I am always so impressed with how they are able to combine fit and fashion to flatter any size woman. It is no surprise that the best skorts around are still Golftini. I was also so excited to see the ladies of Pink Tee at the show, I still believe they make the nicest dresses I have seen. I was looking forward to seeing what some of the big name companies had to offer for 2009 and to be honest I was not impressed. Their were only two that stand out in my mind and that is Puma and Nike. They both had some amazing prints and great new tech fabrics, and of course the shoes. There were so many amazing smaller companies at the show and each one impressed me more than the next.
For men’s apparel the shining stars of the show were also the smaller companies. Of those brands Sligo, Capito, Travis Mathews, Quagmire, and Subseventy were at the top of the list. Just like the ladies Puma and Nike were the only big name brands that we really cared for. One of the biggest disappointments was J. Lindeberg, which was a terrible upset because here at THP we have always been huge fans of their clothes. We saw a lot of companies that have both men’s and women’s apparel and still our favorite overall was PAHR. I cannot express enough how much I love their new pinstripe pattern. I tried to find one item at their booth that I did not like but I couldn’t do it, everything just looked so great. I could go on and on for days about all the spectacular apparel we were fortunate enough to see but we still have accessories to cover.
The accessories category is a tough one because there were a ton of great companies at the show. If you are a lady and you like to wear hats, or if you hate to wear hats because they don’t fit then you must check out Gogie Girl. I had the pleasure of reviewing them later in 2008 but when we were able to take some time at their booth and see all the new hats they have for 2009 with their subtle touch of bling I fell in love all over again. If you like things that match then you must check out Glove It. They had such a beautiful booth at the show and there were so many different color and pattern options I could have spent hours looking around. For the golfer looking for that little extra something from their glove I recommend the Bionic Glove. Their classic version was a bit too thick for me but their new pro version is thinner and all the THP staffers liked it very much. The winner of the coolest golf bag around is definitely OGIO. Not only did they name their 2009 women’s bag the Cougar (you can chuckle we did too) but their new travel bag has a detachable hand bag that is futuristic, functional, and fabulous. There were two headcover companies I feel must be mentioned. First is Daphne’s Headcovers with their talking dog headcover. It’s cute, it’s cuddly, and it speaks to you. The other headcover company I was really excited about Winning Edge designs because not only do they make the best headcover ever, Betty Boop, but now they have the matching ball marker. THP will be reviewing their new stuff in the coming year so make sure to check that out.
To conclude the 2009 PGA merchandise show we must thank all the wonderful companies. We especially want to thank everyone who made it to the THP sponsored happy hour and dinner we had an absolute blast! There was so much to see it was overwhelming and wonderful. Because there were so many companies there it is too hard to mention them all but the good news is The Hackers Paradise will have many new and exciting reviews for everyone throughout 2009. We have more pictures and videos in the forum section of the website which can be found here.
Your Fashion Guru and PGA Merchandise Show Corespondent