Best New Products of the 63rd PGA Show - Part 1 Print

 

By Jason Bruno

The 63rd edition of the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando had a bit of everything.

The annual get together of 42,000 golf industry professionals from around the globe

converging into Central Florida (for Demo Day, new product launches, filling orders,

charitable causes, and even and some time on the golf course) for a week that I

always look forward to. It's a celebration of the game unlike any other in the world.

Over 1000 companies (284 new) were on hand to show their wares.

 

Truthfully, there are some really nice new clubs coming out in 2016, most notably

from Cobra, Exotics, TaylorMade, Nike (who wasn't present at this years show) and

Sentio Putters, but the biggest leap in the industry continues to come from the Tech

sector. Companies like VPAR, GAMEgolf, GolfBuddy, SkyGolf, Zepp and Blast are

advancing the ways you can analyze and improve your game in every way. Great,

we'll finally have all of the latest gadgets . . . now all we need is to find the time put

them to good use. Because the show has become so large in terms of product

launches, we've decided that in order to give you comprehensive coverage

of everything - we will break the feature into two parts. In Part 1 of our

"Best New Products" we'll focus on clubs, balls and GPS/Tech devices. Part

2, (coming soon) will feature Apparel/Belts/Shoes and accessories such as

grips, gloves, eyewear etc.

 

 


TaylorMade kicked off their own event days before the show by introducing their

new M2 line, essentially a max distance oriented product line that will sit beside

M1 (essentially replacing the AeroBurner).

 

Tour Edge/Exotics annually hosts their own Media pre-show event, and did so this

year at the Golden Bear Club at Keene's Pointe in Windermere (just a stones throw

or so from Isleworth and Bayhill). This is Perhaps the best pre-show media event

each year. They gather a group of other OEMs to present their new product lines -

this year on hand were Bridgestone, GolfBuddy, Golf Pride, Kentwool, Sketchers,

Chase 54 Apparel, Sun Mountain and more.

 


 

 

Tuesday at Dubsdread Golf Course we were introduced to an innovative app called

VPAR by two of the company's finest - Charlie Cooke and Rowan Northcott, both

brilliant lads from the UK. VPAR is a live scoring system that keeps tabs on the

group or groups that you are competing against in any type of format. In our two

foursome competition, our team was behind the entire match as we kept track hole

by hole on the VPAR mobile app. By the time we reached the 18th tee (a reachable

par 5), we checked the VPAR app and saw that we trailed by just a stroke.

 

What followed was tons of excitement and energy in our group knowing that we

still had a chance. I was fortunate enough to hit my best two of the day to reach the

green in two. The tap in birdie tied the match, and now we had two other putts in our

group for the win. Neither dropped, leaving us in a tie, but the real story was the buzz

the VPAR app created down the stretch - by simply giving us the knowledge of our

position. The tournament like excitement for us on the 18th was a feeling that most

amateurs rarely get to experience.

 

It's not only a real time leaderboard, there's also GPS feature, a course planner and

performance tracking. Check out VPAR, it's available on Apple or Android devices.

https://www.vpar.com/home

 

 

In the equipment/ball category these products were our picks as the best at the show:

 

Titleist

Vokey's SM6 wedges available in vitually every loft, bounce, grind and finish. The

fine tradition of the master wedge creator keeps rolling on.

http://www.vokey.com/nav/wedge-selection.aspx

 

 

Scotty Cameron's new M2 Select Newport. There are new sole plates and different

face millings, but the quality craftmanship still remains. Flatstick eye candy is how

they roll at Scotty. http://www.scottycameron.com/putters/

 

 


Cobra

Cobra's entire new line is moving up the ladder in both innovation and appearance.

The King LTD (shown above) and King F6 drives are worthy. According to Mike

Yagley Director of R&D for Cobra "The spaceport in the LTD is 16 grams and is

strategically located just below the CG and back slightly, the poly-carbonate window

was a joint idea from both marketing and R&D. Combined with an internal weight

that's positioned all the way in the back, this creates an incredibly high MOI and

Zero CG (or neutral)." LTD is adjustable from in 9-12 degrees, Pro version 7-10

degrees.


 

 

 

The new Cobra King forged Cavityback and Muscleback irons are as impressive as

any of the new sticks we saw at the show. Available also as a combo set, tungsten

weight ports in the toe moves CG and in turn gets the sweetspot away from the

hosel. The satin black finish looks sharp. Cobra's King Forged Tec model offers a

combination of feel and forgiveness in a slightly larger head. I'm really looking

forward to testing both of these models in 2016. http://www.cobragolf.com/

 

 

 

Taylormade M2 - Naming

the new line M2 creates the

perception that it replaces

M1, it doesn't. M2 was

created with less adjust-

ability and max HP. Think of

the M1 as the 4 door

touring sedan with 320 hp

and all of the bells and

whistles . . . M2 as the

roadster with 400 hp and

with no AC or power

accessories. One gives

you best of everything,

the other just goes fast,

real fast. The M2 fairway is

a club that I'm eagerly

looking forward to testing

in 2016.

 

 

 

 

M2 irons, say hello to crazy trampoline like trajectory and distance. Check the

fluted hosel (engineers will do anything to save a gram or two, they salivate

anytime they can move weight for performance gain). Also available in a leaner

Tour version.

 

 

 

TaylorMade's new OS CB Daytona Putter is an oversized anser style blade that

features a red anodized aluminum site line and trailing edge that also acts as a

sealer for the foam filled cavity. The face insert is milled vertically to create a

pure roll. Designed by the famed clubmaker - Clay Long (who created the

McGregor Response putter that helped the Golden Bear win his sixth Green Jacket

30 yrs ago this spring). The OS series comes in two sizes and three styles.

http://taylormadegolf.com/


 

 


 

Exotics, Long known by serious golfers for their fairway woods and hybrids, the EX9

hybrid (shown below) features a maraging steel cup face and slipstream sole. The EX9

hybrid comes stock with a UST recoil graphite shaft. The EX9 driver and fairways will

make noise this year, David Glod's standard of innovation and performance can't stay

underrated for much longer. http://www.touredge.com/

 

 

Callaway

For Callaway loyalists, the new XR16 Driver driver features aerodynamics in a joint

venture with Boeing Aerospace engineers. http://cmp.callawaygolf.com/

 

 

 

Bridgestone

If you haven't noticed recently, Brandt Snedeker is "En Fuego" at start of 2016 and

his new driver certainly has to get a bit of the credit. After playing his old trusty 2007

Burner TP for the last decade, Bridgestone finally was able to get him into one of their

own - JGR Driver.

 

 

The JGR features F.A.S.T (Flex Action Speed Technology) Crown design for increased

ball speed & higher launch angles and a power milled face design. Available in 9.5,

10.5, & 12 degrees. Aldila NV 2KXV Orange is the stock shaft.

 

http://www.bridgestonegolf.com/


 

 

Hogan

The Hogan company has been

reborn and is starting to get

noticed in the premium forged

iron marketplace. The PTx

(shown to the right) gives a bit

more forgivness than the

typical Hogan blade in a

moderately sized cavityback

forging.


The Hawk might have played

blades throughout his career

but he would be proud of these

 

AlsoLook for the new sleek

VKTR hybrids, they come in

every loft - so you get the

exact club gapping for your

set.

 

http://www.benhogangolf.com/

 

 

 

Sentio

As far as innovation goes, it's been forever since we've seen anything significant

since the face insert was created eons ago - until now. Enter the guys at Sentio.

This two piece flatstick design features a third element that is the game changer -

a polymer core between each component of stainless. There are three variances of

polymer, which dictates feel. Each is color coded and delivers a significant change

in the feel. If you know what a hard cast iron feels like at impact, as opposed to soft

premium forging - this is just as big a difference in feel. Green is buttery soft for

players who prefer the feel of an insert and/or usually putt on superfast greens, Red

is medium feel and is the most versatile of the three models, the Blue polymer model

is firm and has the feel of your typical milled putter.

I was so impressed with the feel and performance (just rolling 10 footers

in the booth), that Sentio President Jim Varney had to issue me a citation

for loitering. Just kidding, but quite honestly this was our favorite new

product of the entire show. The only question is do I want the 33" Green or Red

model? Look for a Full review of Sentio Putters coming soon.

 

http://www.sentiogolf.com/


 

 

L2 Putters

 

Many industry folks walked past the L2 display all week at the show probably

because it's way outside the box. Yes it's way too big. Yes it's way too heavy.

Yes it doesn't look like a Scotty, a Bettinardi, or even an Odyssey for that matter,

but for those who are searching for an answer to the new USGA anchoring ban,

or are just struggling to make a consistent stroke, John Ambrose might have

created your solution. The L2 has a 600 gram head and 200 gram 16" elongated

grip that creates incredible stability. The enormous sweetspot is enhanced by a 4"

acrylic face insert that provides soft feel. http://www.l2traditionalputter.com/

 

 

 

PING Anser

 

 

 

Ping celebrates the

50th anniversary of

the original Anser

putter. Today it's still

the most played and

copied putter style in

the world. Today

there are hundreds

of different versions

of the Anser style.

Ping put up this Ode

to their founder

Karsten, and the

design that changed

golf forever.

http://www.ping.com/

 

 

 

 

Tech items:

 


GAMEGolf

GAMEGolf the original shot tracking device and data system for consumers that

launched two years ago, now raises the bar with their collaboration with Golf Pride.

Game tags will soon be incorporated into your tour velvet grips. A really cool feature

will be a sensor within the tag that will alert the golfer to when his or her grips are

due to be changed. An "oil change" like reminder for your clubs . . . you say who needs

to be told when they need new grips? Believe it or not, this could benefit many golfers

who discount the significance of a fresh set of grips. The new Golf Pride grips will be

available to GAME users this spring. https://www.gamegolf.com/home/en-us/

 

 

 

GolfBuddy

GolfBuddy's compact LR5 laser with its 1 click scan feature and 6x magnification

got our attention. Although it's been on the market for months now, it's our first

glimpse. At only 4" in total length and less than 8oz, ($249) this unit will fit in the

hands and budgets of all. http://www.golfbuddyglobal.com/

 


 

SkyGolf

 

SkyGolf's

SkyCaddie

LINX GT GPS

watch

features

Bluetooth with

their mobile

interactive

HoleVue tech -

in conjunction

with SkyGolf

Smart Tags

you can track all

of your shots.

The LINX GT also

functions as a

watch and fitness

device.

 

https://www.skygolf.com/

 


 


Blast Motion

Blast Motion Golf Swing analyzer was created by golf professionals for players of all

ability levels, focusing on the mechanics and performance of your full swing all the

way thru your bag to the putting stroke. The device easily attaches to the end of the

grip and instantly sends data to your device on the last shot played. After witnessing

the live putting demo We're excited to review Blast Motion, look for our feature this

Spring $149. https://blastmotion.com/products/golf/

 

 

 

 

Ojee Golf

The best teachers all agree that a proper setup is essential to any level of

consistency. Ojee Golf was created by Matt Hulbert from the Uk, as a device

that monitors all of your set up poitions - including face angle, address lie

angle and posture angle . . . and gives that data to you instantly via the Talon

digital display at the end of the grip. The more often you can get setup with

the proper angles, the more consistent your swing will be.

 

The Ojee system includes clubface angle sensors , grip caps and the digital Talon

read out screen. The adjustable belt is designed to fit comfortably and securely

around the waist to accurately measure spine angle. Many great instructors agree

that most golf swings go wrong before the club ever moves, if this is true than

probably every teaching professional should have an Ojee system for their students.

http://ojeegolf.com/

 

 

 

Bridgestone

When it comes to new golf balls, the industry leader (Titlist PoV1) is in the middle

of a two year cycle, so we'll have to wait till next year . . . but there are three other

brands whose premium urethane ball gained our attention, and the first of those is

Bridgestone who introduced their new B-Series ball with SlipRes cover at the show.

According to Adam Rehberg with Bridgestone, the new balls were over 4 years in

the making, and are so different that the company considered changing the name,

but after some research they found that brand loyalty was strong and identifiable

with the "B330" nameplate.

 

The new RX versions which are for players who swing under 105 mph (Testing has

shown that 75% of all players fit into this category) have a 28% softer core. The

new SlipRes cover reduces driver spin, and increases spin around the greens - all

while providing superior durabilty. Bridgestone is calling this ball "The Best Ball

Ever". Sounds like somebody is challenging the script over there in Fairhaven,

Mass. http://www.bridgestonegolf.com/


 

 

Medicus/KickX

The original Kick X Tour Z ball has been a huge success for Medicus Golf. The new

version called A.i.1 is softer and features the SmartMap putting system sidestamp.

SmartMap is a group of angled lines to aide golfers on where they should aim after

accounting for the slope of that particular green . . . interesting idea. Also keep an

eye out for the new Kick X Blackout wedge, also available this spring.

http://www.medicuskickx.com/index.php

 

 

The other brand mentioned is Nike, (who wasn't at the PGA Show - but they were nice

enough to send us the new RZN Tour Platinum & Black before we even left for Orlando)

to read our review of Nike's new premium models just click the link below:

http://linksnation.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=9

 

 

 

Coming soon as mentioned - Part 2 of our "Best New Products" from the

63rd PGA Show. Apparel, shoes and accessories (such as belts, gloves,

grips, tees etc.)

 

This feature like many others works by Jason Bruno can also be found on our affiliate site - Golf Life

(A division of Action Media): http://www.golflife.com/