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New for 2016: A Recap from the PGA Merchandise Show

The PGA Show Recap

The annual PGA Merchandise Show is the launching ground for new golf equipment, balls, accessories, apparel and more every year.  With more than 1,000 vendors on the Show floor, it’s hard to cover all the latest offerings, but here are a few to watch for this spring:

EQUIPMENT:

Callaway:  New Women’s XR16 Driver and fairway clubs – designed specifically for women to produce a faster club head speed and ball speed.  The fairway clubs feature larger heads with a sole designed to move quickly through the grass.  Both are designed for more spring and forgiveness.

Cleveland:  While Cleveland is typically most known for their variety of wedges, they launched a new line of putters designed to help you line up correctly and avoid missed putts. 

PING:  New from PING for 2016 is the G Crossover club – a new club that provides the workability and control of an iron with the ball speed and forgiveness of a hybrid.  The club has a higher launch for ball flight and is much more forgiving, making it a great addition to anyone’s bag.

TAYLORMADE:  Due to the success of the TaylorMade M1 clubs, they have added new M2 irons to their list of latest clubs.  These irons have a lower center of gravity and promote a higher ball launch, designed to help golfers get additional distance.

TITLEIST:  Titleist makes enhancements to the Pro V1 golf ball line in odd-number years – so that leaves even-number years for updates to the DT, NXT and Velocity golf ball line.  Titleist also launched the new Vokey SM6 wedges – with a variety of lofts to help produce shots with distance and trajectory control.

GOLF BALLS:  In addition to the new updates from Titleist, look for enhanced golf balls from Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Volvik and Wilson.  Many golf ball manufacturers make golf balls for slower swing speeds that are made to provide extra distance along with soft covers for better feel on short shots. 

APPAREL:  Apparel manufacturers continue to make improvements to clothing worn by golfers on the course.  Look for moisture wicking fabrics, some event with sun protection capabilities for the spring 2016 line.  The bright floral and tropical prints (i.e. Hawaiian prints) are making a come-back this spring as well.  Bright bold colors continue to appear in almost all manufacturers spring and summer apparel lines. 

SHOES:  Spikeless shoes continue to be offered by more shoe manufacturers with additional design and color options.  FootJoy launched the new men’s Freestyle shoe – inspired by a tree frog – to create the shoe with mobility and traction.  On the women’s side, look for new shoes in the Tailored Collection, the Casual Collection and the D.N.A. (DryJoy’s Next Advancement) collection.  All FootJoy shoes provide comfort, enhanced designs, waterproof capabilities and fashion styling.    

#THXPGAPro:  :  PGA Professional Le Ann Finger with Jock Olson, PGA Master Professional who taught Le Ann how to play film a segment for #ThxPGAPro

As a kickoff to the PGA of America Centennial celebration for 2016, the PGA of America unveiled #ThxPGAPro, a special grassroots commemorative program, designed to pay tribute and showcase the extraordinary impact of PGA Professionals. 

The #ThxPGAPro campaign shares stories from golfers – including PGA Tour professionals, amateur golfers, PGA and LPGA Professionals and junior golfers – who have shared how their PGA Professional made a difference in their golf game or in their life. 

Golfers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to upload videos, photos and messages throughout the year to tell their story in support of their favorite PGA Professional at ThxPGAPro.com or via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using #thxpgapro.

The Biggest Week in Golf

PGA Merchandise Show - The Biggest Week in Golf

This is the biggest week for people in the golf industry as thousands of people converge on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for what is referred to as the “Major of the Golf Business” - the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show.

The week begins today with the 14th Annual PGA Show Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Course.  This huge demo day provides a great opportunity to see, feel and test in real conditions, the latest in technology advancements by the leading manufacturers in the golf business.  Golf equipment companies are all in one place; showcasing the newest drivers, woods, irons, wedges, putters, balls, shafts, grips and the latest in club fitting.

During the PGA Merchandise Show days, Jan. 27-29 at the Orange County Convention Center, PGA and LPGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders will discover the latest trends, the newest golf merchandise, test the latest equipment, attend industry presentations, learn proven business best practices, network among peers and move forward the business of the game. The Show welcomes more than 1,000 of the top golf companies and brands along with more than 40,000 industry professionals from around the world to the industry's annual global summit for golf.

Follow us on Twitter live from the Show floor @EWGA and @LFingerPGA for the latest updates.  Check back next week for a full recap of the Show and learn about the newest trends in equipment, training aids, apparel, golf carts, hats, etc. and everything associated with the game of golf.

(Photo Credit: Twitter/@pgaofamerica)

Add this to your Pre-Season Checklist - Get Fit for your Golf ball

Golfball fittingMost of us know it's important to have our golf equipment properly fit - using the correct clubs that are fit for your swing and body type can make a vast improvement in your game.  Do you stop with club fitting or do you continue and ask your local PGA/LPGA Professional for a ball fitting?  Many people don't stop to think that the golf ball you play can help improve your game as well.

If you think about an average round, most scoring opportunities happen around the green.  Many women have difficulty reaching the green in regulation, so when looking for more distance, they select a low spin golf ball that helps with additional distance, but isn't designed to hold shots into the green.  Most golfers can benefit from a softer ball that is designed to land softly and stop on the green rather than hit and skid off the green.  (This also happens since most green complexes are designed to hold a shot from a higher-lofted club, rather than the lower trajectory shot from a longer iron or hybrid).

Many ball manufacturers offer golf ball fittings.  Some may be an online fitting – where you answer questions and the computer determines the best ball “fit” for your golf swing, shots, etc.  You may be lucky to participate in a ball fitting at a local demo day – where you can actually hit and compare golf balls.   

Most companies have moved away from "compression" golf balls and offer two and three-piece golf balls designed to help players score better.  When you are shopping for golf balls, look for a ball with more spin and stopping power.  Go through a golf ball fitting and you will find and be able to tell the softer feel of the ball coming off your clubface. They are designed to offer more stopping power and to help you shoot better scores.  Have your local Professional help you find the best golf ball for your game.

Get Ready for the Golf New Season

New spikes for your shoesIf you are in a part of the country where golf is seasonal, one of the best ways to get ready for the new golf season involves some simple maintenance.  Take a look at your golf grips and your golf shoes – if the grips are worn or haven’t been changed in the past six months, it’s time to get new grips.  The same is true of your golf shoe spikes – if they haven’t been changed in the past six months, it’s time for new spikes as well.

If your grips are slippery or appear worn, you need new grips.  If your grips are slippery, you will hold the club with more pressure and this interferes with making a good golf swing.   A general rule of thumb is to re-grip your clubs once a year, so the beginning of the season is a great time to re-grip.

Visit your LPGA or PGA Professional for help in getting the proper size grip for your hand. Grip manufacturers now offer new grips designed for a number of variables - some with cushion under the grips and some designed to absorb moisture (perspiration, rain, etc.). They also come in a variety of fun colors - which allows you to add some color as well. Once you have new grips, your clubs will feel new again and you will notice an immediate improvement, which leads to better shots and lower scores.

Now look at your golf shoes – most golfers will walk anywhere from three to five miles during an 18-hole round.  So if you are lucky to play two rounds of golf a week, you would walk more than 500 miles a year.  Due to swinging, twisting, torque, balance and walking on all kinds of turf and pavement, the need to replace your soft spikes increases even more.

Here are some helpful hints for taking care of your golf shoes and more importantly, your feet.

  • Keep a minimum of two shoes in your rotation of “favorite” shoes and never wear the same pair back-to-back for consecutive rounds.  That means alternate between a minimum of two pairs to keep your feet comfortable plus it adds to the overall life of the shoe.
  • Change spikes (if wearing shoes with replaceable spikes) after every 10-15 rounds or when they show signs of wear or cause your feet to slip when swinging or walking.
  • Purchase replacement spikes before you need them.  With many manufacturers and shoe varieties, there are multiple types of replacement spikes available and many golf shops have stopped carrying replacement spikes since there isn’t just one uniform replacement spike.  Plan ahead!
  • If you wear spikeless shoes (sometimes referred to as “nubby” shoes) try to resist the urge to wear them to the course, driving the car, going to the grocery store, etc.  While they are marketed to be more versatile, the more you wear them for non-golf activities, the more wear you are putting on the shoes off the course.  If you wear spikeless shoes for every round, make sure you have two pair of these shoes in your rotation as well.

An advantage of two pair of shoes allows you to have waterproof shoes if you tend to play early morning when the dew is still on the ground or to have a “nicer” pair of shoes that you can wear to guest day events or for tournaments.  Plus, most women golfers I know are experts at having multiple pair of shoes that “match every outfit!”  Technology has come to golf shoes as well - designed to keep your feet comfortable and dry - while still looking good. 

Golf Resolution Goals for the New Year

We are already five days into 2016 and with each New Year usually comes the list of New Year’s Resolutions.  Common resolutions include the typical things like exercising more, eating smarter, losing weight, etc. and can sometimes be golf specific like playing more, practicing a specific part of your game (short game or putting), taking additional lessons or maybe shooting a specific score or achieving a certain handicap.

Golf, unlike most sports, involves a new start and reset at the beginning of every year.  The professional Tours reset with the official money earnings starting over and the golf manufacturers launch new equipment, new golf balls, new apparel, etc. all designed to help golfers improve.  

While many golfers like to wish they will play more golf, a better golf resolution for a new year should focus on game improvement.  Start with a realistic goal of practicing your short game or even practicing once a week.  Many golfers prefer to play vs. practicing – when in fact, the best way to lower your score is to actually practice.  Establish a one-hour time frame to practice your short game – spend half an hour chipping, pitching and practicing shots from the bunker, then practice putting for half an hour.  You will gain confidence in your short game as well as save a few strokes each round.

Other common golf resolutions include working on your game by taking additional golf instruction from your local PGA/LPGA Professional.  You may have specific things you want to work on with your Professional (not hitting a slice, gaining more distance, hitting hybrids better, etc.) so be sure to explain your goals and have them incorporated in your lesson plan from your Professional.  By seeking additional golf instruction, practicing and playing, you will be on your way to lower scores and meeting those 2016 golf resolutions.

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Female Golfers

Give the Gift of GreenThis month I have shared various golf gift ideas for the golfer on your list that included golf balls, distance measuring devices, travel bags, sunglasses, grips, push carts, tickets to USGA, PGA and LPGA Tour events, golf instruction and stay and play packages.  Remember, the gift of an EWGA Membership is a great way to bring a friend into the game. 

EWGA Membership – Give the gift of fun for the entire year!  Introduce a friend to EWGA golf events and programs.  In celebration of our 25th anniversary all new members you recruit can save $25 off the Classic Membership by entering the discount code 2015-EWGA25 when they join online.  Plus you will be entered to win a complimentary registration for the EWGA Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia next April.

Thanks to our friends at GolfForHer.com, here’s a list of gifts any female golfer would love.  Use it as a guide to shop for your friends, or better yet, pass it along as a hint to those people shopping for you!

THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR FEMALE GOLFERS

Have a great holiday season!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Golfer on Your List (part 2)

Last week I shared golf accessory gift ideas for the golfer on your list that included golf balls, distance measuring devices, travel bags, sunglasses, grips and push carts.  The gift ideas continue this week with great stocking stuffer ideas:

Golf Gifts for the HolidaysEWGA Membership – Give the gift of fun for the entire year!  Introduce a friend to EWGA golf events and programs.  In celebration of our 25th anniversary all new members you recruit can save $25 off the Classic Membership by entering the discount code 2015-EWGA25 when they join online.  Plus you will be entered to win a complimentary registration for the EWGA Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia next April.    

Golf Instruction – Grab a friend and register for golf instruction together.  Your local PGA or LPGA Professional may offer Get Golf Ready (designed to welcome new golfers to the game) or other small group instruction.  Some Professionals will let you even set up your own group of golfers – so get some friends together and have fun working on your game.

Tickets to PGA or LPGA TOUR events – Since your EWGA membership card grants you complimentary admission to domestic LPGA Tour events, you may consider purchasing tickets for friends.  Tickets to golf events fit nicely in stockings!  To purchase tickets to PGA TOUR events if they play in or near your hometown, visit PGA TOUR.  For information on tickets to the U.S. Open or U.S. Women’s Open, visit USGA.org.  If the golfer on your list would like to attend the Sr. PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, 2016 PGA Championship or 2016 Ryder Cup, visit PGA.com.

Stay and Play Packages – This is the time of year many golf resorts nationwide are offering attractive stay and play packages.  You may have a bucket list item of visiting Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straits, Pinehurst, the Greenbriar, Reynolds Plantation or destination golf meccas like Scottsdale, Arizona, Palm Springs, California, Orlando, Florida or Maui, Hawaii.  If you live in the part of the country that has seasonal golf, planning a warm weather golf trip is always fun. 

Additional items that make great stocking stuffers include golf belts, golf gloves, golf towels, rain gloves, golf tees, sunscreen, ball markers, hat clips with magnetic ball markers, divot repair tools, head covers and putter covers.