PGA Show Returns in Scaled-Down Form, 2022 Best New Products

The 69th PGA Merchandise Show took place January 24th – 27th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, returning after a year away due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We all know what the virus has done to normalcy, and with so many companies still operating virtually through Zoom, it seemed unlikely that many of the industry behemoths would assemble their teams of employees and trucks of equipment to display, risking the health of those traveling to Orlando (many of which would be coming cross-country from Carlsbad, California). Major OEM companies such as Titleist, Ping, Callaway, Cobra, TaylorMade and Cleveland/Srixon all decided to punt on this year’s event – leaving the future of the show in doubt. Golf is booming around the world, but with everything globally in flux, it’s probably a toss-up whether these industry giants return to the show in the near future. This year’s show was about the little guys.

The smaller companies that did make the trip, voiced their satisfaction over the attention and focus they received from both customers and media coverage. Companies like TRUE Linkswear, Zero-Friction, Skechers, Ecco, Stix, Lyle & Scott and Dunning apparel all expressed to us how successful their show was from both a business perspective and relationship-building experience. The lone biggie in Orlando was ball titan – Bridgestone, who seemed more than happy to get all of the love from club professionals and media who attended the show.

So what will happen in the future? Have the giants of the industry realized they can save a decent chunk of their budget and remain docked in Carlsbad in late January and suffer no loss of sales and popularity? Perhaps, but as many who were in attendance pointed out, couldn’t these companies just bring a smaller set-up moving forward, does Callaway really need a NYC city block of displays? And, perhaps more importantly but less easy to quantify is the show’s many intangible effects on the industry and its professionals. Each new year brings genuine excitement with seeing the new product launches and getting to know the people you’re doing business with. It’s not on a spreadsheet but isn’t everything that’s meaningful in business and in life associated with relationships. Although there were things beneficial about the smaller gathering, I’m one who hopes the circus comes back to town in 2023…

PGA Show attendees gather before the show begins on Wednesday
The PGA Show is a PGA of America event, so of course, they’re going to show their prize trophy – Samuel Ryder’s Cup
Streamsong Resort held a press conference introducing plans for their new Coore Crenshaw short course
Wednesday afternoon Matt Ginella resided over a packed house for the Golf Ireland press conference
Golf Ireland’s booth was among the most popular at the show

2022 PGA SHOW – Best New Products

Footwear

TRUE Linkswear

TRUE Linkswear impressed as usual with their casual style of links walkers, including their latest – Ripstop (third from left – solid blue ) made to be their most rugged all-weather shoe to date and Lux Sport (far right – grey) featuring TRUE’s new Adaptive Sport Knit Technology. Look for more on these in our “Best Links Footwear” review this spring. https://truelinkswear.com/

SQAIRZ

SQAIRZ footwear, which promotes greater distance through better balance and stability (wider toe box area), has a few new models including their latest power-enhancing shoe – SPEED and a spikeless model (that is popular also in the Pickleball market). They also are introducing a new line for women called FREEDOM. A bunch of new colorways in a reimagined upper is available in a classic theme and a new modern sleeker style. Also, a limited Sir Nick Augusta model is on the way just in time for spring – https://sqairz.com/

ECCO

ECCO took their COOL category (moisture management) and blended it with their BIOM category (Best Fit) to create the Biom C4, which features their 360 degree GoreTex surround weather-proofing and their MTM traction control outsole. Biom C4 is available in four colorways in March 2022. – https://us.ecco.com/golf/

Duca Del Cosma

Duca Del Cosma has come a long way since their earliest models launched onto the golf scene a few years back. Tour player Joost Luiten has been integral in the design of their new model – JL1, giving Duca tour validation. JL-1 comes in two coloways, Black Camo w/orange accent and White w/Orange accent. https://ducadelcosma.us/

PAYNTR

Last year, we introduced PAYNTR to the masses in our “Best Links Footwear” review with their X001-F (where they crushed in the spikeless category). This year they introduce their PAYNTR X 002 LE, same great comfort and performance but featuring an all-new Weatherproof (Water impermeable) upper – full-grain leather, all treated with a superhydrophobic NeverWet solution. Also a X 003 F – Water impermeable, breathable Clarino microfiber upper, all treated with a superhydrophobic NeverWet solution. Both models available this spring. https://www.payntrgolf.com/

SKECHERS

Skechers GO GOLF Pro 5 Hyper 

Improve your game with dynamic comfort and style wearing Skechers GO GOLF Pro 5 Hyper™. This lace-up golf design features a waterproof synthetic upper, a removable Arch Fit® comfort insole with high-performance Resamax® cushioning, ultra lightweight HYPER BURST® cushioned midsole and replaceable Softspikes®. Waterproof protection with two-year warranty.

Skechers GO GOLF Elite 5 Range 

Support your swing with long-lasting comfort in Skechers Relaxed Fit®: GO GOLF Elite 5 Range™. This lace-up golf design features a breathable knit and synthetic upper with a removable Arch Fit® insole, lightweight ULTRA FLIGHT® cushioning, and GRIPFLEX spikeless traction outsole. Waterproof protection with two-year warranty. https://www.skechers.com/men/shop-by-activity/golf/

AIRfeet

AIRfeet is the creation of two Aussie bros – Neil and Wayne Purcell, transplanted in Indianapolis after a career in the Auto Racing industry. They created a thin insole pad that slips over the top of your existing insole pad, Air Feet stimulates the 20 muscles along the bottom of the footbed that lie dormant inside your footwear each day. As you step, the air concealed within the insole moves across those muscles to enhance your daily walking experience and provide relief to several common foot issues, including – fatigue, hip & back pain, plantar fasciitis, etc. – https://myairfeet.com/

TECHNOLOGY –

Shot Scope

Shot Scope introduced two new laser rangefinders at the show, but it’s the PRO LX+ that caught our eye – ideal for golfers that want it all, a super fast-firing laser optimized for stability and accuracy, along with a small GPS loaded with 36,000 courses and built-in performance tracking.

PRO LX+ features x7 magnification, a 900-yard range, and Rapid-Fire detection. The PRO LX+ gives golfers unrivaled freedom – the GPS can be detached from the laser, allowing each to be used independently. The handheld can be attached to your golf bag, stuck to your cart with the powerful magnet, or clipped on your belt for easy carrying. About the only thing it doesn’t have is a magnet. https://shotscope.com/us/

TecTecTec

TecTecTec introduced two laser rangefinders in orlando, ULT-S their new flagship model featuring OIS (“Optical Image Stabilization”) for those with shaky hands or other environmental factors such as wind. Red LED display for easy display in low light conditions, as well as Slope and a new Fog Mode to take measurements through dense condensation. Target Lock with Vibration at the point you lock onto your target. About the only thing the ULT-S Pro doesn’t have is a magnet (see KLYR) . . .

KLYR is their compact model that features Slope, Target Lock, and a Magnet that easily attaches to a belt clip that’s included with this pocket-sized device. We tested out KLYR the Friday afternoon of the show at WinterPark 9, and the size and features make it the ideal walking laser rangefinder. https://us.tectectec.com/

ECHO ROBOTICS

Echo Robotics RP-1200 Rangepicker is a quiet battery-operated machine (that works in tandem with TM-200 Robotic Mower – background) – reduces ground compaction for healthier turf and eliminates range balls being pressed into the turf by vehicles. Picking up 300 balls per run and up to 12,500 per day., without ever having to close the range. The machines performance can be monitored and controlled from anywhere using an app on your smartphone – allowing golf courses to allocate resources in different ways. Autonomous – operates 24/7, rain or shine, day or night. https://echorobotics.com/

Equipment

STIX

STIX Golf was the exact type of company we were hoping to see at this year’s show. Think TRUE Linkswear and Blue Tees rangefinders type of inclusive community vibe. They figured out how to offer a set of worthy sticks as a complete set –but at an affordable price. Stix offers several different golf club sets with options starting at $949 for an 11 piece set that includes graphite shafts through the set, Titanium driver and includes the golf bag. The minimalist black finish on all of the clubs is a cool vibe. We tested several clubs from their setup inside the hitting bay at the show, and would recommend checking them out for anyone who wants to get started in the game without breaking the bank. https://stix.golf/

Bridgestone Tour Series -B Golf Balls

Bridgestone Golf continues to push the envelope for players like Tiger and Bryson, so it might be wise to give their new Tour Series B golf balls a try. If you’re not sure which one is for you, check online where to get fitted by their new OTTO ball fitting machine (below) – it’s free.

  • The NEW TOUR B with REACTIV iQ is THE SMARTER TOUR BALL
  • Proprietary NEW REACTIV iQ is a SMART cover technology that reacts to the force of impact
  • MORE DISTANCE: REACTIV iQ rebounds quickly on tee shots, delivering explosive velocity and increased distance
  • MORE CONTROL: REACTIV iQ stays on the face longer on approach shots, providing more spin and soft feel around the green
  • Dual Dimple technology provides efficient trajectory and reduced drag through enhanced aerodynamics

OTTO – Bridgestone’s new Autonomous Ball Fitting Cart, makes golf ball fitting about as simple as possible. According to Adam Rehberg, the man who works with 15-time major champion Tiger Woods on dialing him into his golf ball – “Bridgestone Golf took the lead in ball fitting many years ago and has consistently focused on developing processes to help all levels of golfer find the right ball for their game. We offer in-person fittings, online fittings, video fittings, and now OTTO. With so many options we feel confident we can fit anyone and do so in a way that is comfortable, convenient, and effective.” https://www.bridgestonegolf.com/en-us/index

Accessories/Soft Goods/Training Aids

Zero Friction – Wheel Pro

Zero Friction‘s Wheel Pro pushcart bag (Available Spring 2022) has a revolutionary 3 in 1 design:

1) push or pull cart, 2) a carry stand bag, 3) with use on a golf cart.

Wheel Pro features removable wheels with a nylon bag included for easy storage before or after play. Other features include:

  • weighs only 10lbs and is available in three colors; Black/Grey, Navy/White, Grey/Black
  • soft and durable handle with a comfortable hip pad
  • 6 way full length, bottom of bag dividers with 7 zipper pockets for versatile storage, apparel compartment, lined valuables pocket and insulated water bottle poket.
  • essential accessories holders; includes glove and towel holder, scorecard and pen holders, and a pop up umbrella stand
  • saves trunk space from cart
  • includes rain hood

Zero Friction – Gloves

Nobody in the industry has more varieties of golf gloves than John Iacono’s team from Chicago, Zero Friction’s synthetic and cabretta leather golf gloves take the guesswork out of finding the perfect size with their patented compression-fit technology. ZF’s line features outstanding precision, flexibility and comfort mold and stretch to fit with each individual’s hand. Offered in a variety of cool colors for Men, Ladies and Youth. Look for their new line of Thertec gloves to help those with hand and wrist injuries, available this spring – https://zerofriction.com/

LagShot

This might be our favorite golf training aid we’ve seen in a while, LAGSHOT has similarities to the Orange Whip swing trainer but is an actual club you can hit golf shots with. Groove a swing that’s on plane with superb tempo & timing. LAGSHOT is available in driver, 7 iron and wedge or can be purchased as a set. https://lagshotgolf.com/

GolfForever

GOLFFOREVER prepares your body to play great golf by helping you build flexibility, mobility, and rotational power. All essential, especially as we age. You’ll follow new, expert-recommended routines daily that are based on your personal self-assessment, with access to an extensive library of golf fitness videos, pre-round warmups, an ongoing course management series, and more. Like most things, you get out it what you put into it, better golf comes with commitment. https://golfforever.com/

2THUMB

There weren’t many grip companies on hand in Orlando, but the relaunched 2THUMB grip brand made a solid impression with their array of different sizes, shapes and lengths to accommodate any type of putting style. Our fave was their Snug2 -30 that is 12.8″ in length and 60 grams in weight. https://twothumbgrip.com/

TALON GOLF

Golf enthusiast Spencer Hadelman recently walked into a pro shop on a trip to purchase a glove before a round of golf, and upon being charged $35 for a premium leather glove, he decided to start his own golf accessory company with the ethos of – quality merch at a fair price. He created the Direct to Consumer brand Talon Golf. Today, you can purchase 3 leather Talon gloves for less than what he paid at that resort pro shop. Talon Golf also offers some really cool hats, hoodies, towels, slides and t-shirts. https://talongolfco.com/

APPAREL

LYLE & SCOTT

Lyle & Scott may not be known by many in the states, but this Scottish apparel brand has created some of the most iconic garments worn in major championship golf history, including Jack Nicklaus’ iconic argyle worn in the final round of the ’78 Open Championship at St.Andrews. Today the brand still produces several of the classics, but also has an edgier line that incorporates modern performance threads. Their new layering and all-weather gear are off the charts brilliant. https://www.lyleandscott.com/

DUNNING

Dunning continues to impress each year, and even with a scaled-down booth, they showed off some worthy new links threads – especially their all-weather garments. A solid tour presence keeps the brand on the forefront of innovation and style. Their ladies’ line is always top-shelf. https://www.dunninggolf.com/

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Fantastic to able to support ⁦@McConaughey⁩ & ⁦@MJMempowerkids⁩ for their MJM 2022 Charity Gala auction. Thanks to our trade partners for their support, ... and wonderful to see such a huge amount raised. #linksofireland

I know golf is on TV but Pasatiempo *formally* announced Jim Urbina will restore course's greens and bunkers in two 9-hole spurts across 2023-'24 (during which the ... course will play as 9 holes). Emphasis will be on restoring push-up nature of MacKenzie's original putting surfaces.

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