Bruno's Blog


Impressions of the 62nd PGA Merchandise Show PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno


Once again the industry gathered forty thousand strong for the annual PGA Merchandise Show,

but the media always arrives early in the week for various outings and get togethers. This year

our week started at the Tour Edge Media Day at Alaqua Lakes Golf Club. Companies like Golf

Pride, Golf Buddy, Cure Putters, Rukket Sports, Vice Golf Balls, Tifosi Eyewear, Green Sleeve and

Tour Edge/Exotics were on hand to showcase their new product line. Perfect weather, great company

and the fine layout at Alaqua were a great start to the week. Running into some media friends

(like Fernando from S.Florida Golf Magazine & freelancer David Cornwell) is always a good thing.

 

Alaqua Lakes

 

 

 

Demo day at Orange County National was next up, and my first and only appointment of the day

(I prefer to stroll around and check out the vibe on Demo Day) was a sit down with Nike's Golf ball

creator - Rock Ishi. I picked his brain on the new product line, and everything Tiger & Rory.

 

Bubba put on a show for the crowd at Demo Day.

 



Demo day is a great spot to catch up with far away friends, because once the actual show

starts it's literally a blur. I managed to find a few of my favorite people: Ray Rapcavage of the

GolfSwing Shirt (who I later found out is from my hometown in N.Y), Tony Starks formerly of

TMAG P.R (The Brand Amp), now with PGA Magazine and GRAA. Next we ran into longtime friend

Bobby Brown - Director of Golf at Tashua Knolls in Connecticut, and his Head Professional Jon Janik.


 

 

 

Day one of the PGA Merchandise Show was organized mayhem as Bubba Watson kicked off

the show. The Adidas Boost (Golf Shoe) Media event was taking place just as Bubba was ringing

the opening bell, so I slid into the Adi booth to not only check out the new shoe line, but also to

salute longtime P.R Director Dave Cordero (who announced his exit just days before...he's heading

to Saint Augustine to take over as Director of Communications at the World Golf Hall Of Fame).

Jory Mendes and the crew at TMAG/ADi have big shoes to fill . . . good luck to D.C as he moves

across the country to take on a new adventure in his career.


The show for me has become non-stop interview after interview with P.R reps, product creators

and company CEO's... but there's nothing I'd rather be doing the third week in January. There were

many great new innovative products at the 62nd PGA Merchandise Show... and after all, that is why

we're all there. In this years "Best Of" feature, you'll see the products that caught our eye (in the

Product Review section).

 

Seeing Megan Godfrey from Kemper Lesnik will brighten up anyboy's day, one of the best P.R people

in the Links world. As a matter of fact my friends at Kemper Lesnik announced Gil Hanse as the designer

of the new Black Course at Streamsong - construction will begin this summer . . . another brilliant stroke

by Rich Mack of Mosiac company.

 

 

 

Thursday night was the annual Folds of Honor celebration at the House of Blues. It was my first time

attending the event put on by Michael Breed and Major Dan Rooney that supports the children of our

fallen veterans. I won't miss it again. It's a night that puts things into perspective, and as the slogan

says: "Freedom Isn't Free". Good food, good music and a patriotic pride that is hard to deny. Great to

see the golf community band together for another worthy cause.

 

Catching up with Rick Young (my pal from Score Magazine in Canada) was an absolute must, kudos to

him for reaching out to share some time during breakfast on Friday. He's one of the most connected

when it comes to the business end of the game, and perhaps the nicest guy in the biz. For me, the

week starts out about the products, but always ends up being about the people. The 62nd edition

thankfully was no different...

 

To see what products we singled out as the Best at this year's show, check out our product review

section.





 
Our Year in Review - Images of 2014 PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

 

2014 wasn't much different than most, in fact we traveled on over 20 separate occasions - covering

different golf events, but unlike the past 5 years, we were so busy in our home state of Florida, that

we didn't need to venture outside the state line very often to cover our schedule. 2015 will surely be

different (we're already scheduled for a Midwest trip this spring, and out to the West Coast during June).

Below are some of my favorite images from our travels in 2014...


 

In January we experienced the newly re-designed Country Club of Winter Haven, an "Old Florida"

style Rees Jones gem in Central Florida





Just weeks later we were on hand for the Grand Opening/Media Day at Gil Hanse's redesign

at Trump Doral's Blue Monster

 




The most unique experience of 2014, might have been participating at the U.S Hickory

Championships at Temple Terrace. Vintage sticks, classic attire and an appreciation for

proper form and tempo is the theme.





Perhaps the most underrated layout we've reviewed in recent memory is the Ranch Course at Black

Diamond. Many of the members combine the front nine on the Ranch with the back nine on the Quarry.





The second annual LinksNation Cup matches were held at LPGA International & Mission Inn during

the spring.

 

 

 


We were on hand to cover the first ever Concession Cup (a field of Great Britain/Ireland's best

Mid-Amateurs versus their U.S counterparts) that took place in late April in Bradenton.


 


 

We sat down for a brief Q&A with Jack Nicklaus, interviewing the Golden Bear was a highlight

for sure.

 

 

 

The Players is a great event for the media to cover, everything is first class, (above) the first hole

at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday evening before round 1.

 

 

 


The par-4 fifth at Cuscowilla, this is one of my favorite golf images of 2014.


 



Crenshaw and Coore's Cuscowilla is routed through the rolling terrain of Eatonton - 70 miles southeast

of Atlanta. (above) The par-4 ninth is a championship hole that requires your two best, and it's

beauty is deserving of praise.


 

 

 

We've been fortunate to interview many of Golf's most influential people, in 2014 I sat down with Dave

Pelz, Jack Nicklaus and Paul Azinger. Pelz is always informative, Jack is an American icon and is one of

my childhood sports heroes. Azinger is flat out the best guy to sit down and talk golf with . . . engaging,

honest and extremely insightful.

 

 

Isleworth hosted the Hero World Challenge in December, but back in September during Media Day the

scribes took to the course after Tiger's press conference. The sixth (pictured above) plays to an

elevated green guarded by copious amounts of sand.

 

 


The Preserve at Verdae, set within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Greenville, South

Carolina was our stop in early September.

 

 


While covering the Tour Championship, I took an evening stroll on the Tuesday before play began.

East Lake's sixth (above) is a setting that provides beauty and a tough challenge.





Bobby Jones' memory is kept alive everywhere around East Lake, these personal trinkets are on

display inside the clubhouse.





In September, we returned to Streamsong to experience the resort and all that it offers. Hands

down our favorite resort experience of 2014.

 

 

 

The Biarritz 16th on the Red Course at Streamsong still gets my vote as a contender for the best

par 3 in Florida.

 

 

 

 

The view from the second tee at Eagle Dunes in Sorrento.

 




Our Final course review of 2014 (will post early 2015), was the Diplomat, one of Joe Lee's last creations.

 

 

2015 will start off as usual with the PGA Merchandise Show in January, then we'll be covering the tour

as it arrives for the Florida swing, followed by the LinksNation Cup Matches and then a trip to Michigan.

Then it's off to the west coast, specifically the Pacific Northwest to be part of Josh Lewis' grounds staff

for the U.S Open at Chambers Bay, a trip to Bandon (around Solstice time) to feature the Punchbowl

putting course and to review David McKlay Kidd's - Gamble Sands in Brewster, Washington. After that

is anyone's guess. Stay tuned . . .

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 
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