PGA.com's John Kim loves to roam the Show floor in search of hidden gems. After two long days of looking, here's his list of top 10 golf products you don't know but likely will soon.
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Coming out of the PGA Merchadise Show, golfers are going to hear/read many things about Titleist, Nike, TaylorMade, Cobra, Callaway, etc. I can save you a little bit of time. They are awesome. Tremendous. Their products are innovative and cool and will help your game. All of them.
But to me, the best part of coming to the PGA Show (this is my seventh) are the hidden gems. The products you don't see advertised 24x7 or branded onto your favorite player's bag or hat. I've got a pretty good track record of finding some of the smaller but up-and-coming stars of the show. Will it hold true again?
Let's see. Once again, I spent a large amount of time scannning the show floor like it was my job. Of course, it actually is. A pretty good one I might add.
So here are my "Top 10 things (in no particular order) you haven't heard of...but will soon" from the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show.
10. Shipsticks: Ship Sticks is a company that aims to make golf travel easier and club shipping more affordable. They tell me that golfers typically touch their clubs 20 times throughout the course of a golf trip – from home to the airport to the final destination. With Ship Sticks, that number goes to zero. Through its easy-to-use website, Ship Sticks ensures a seamless pickup and delivery of golf clubs from your home or club directly to a hotel or golf course. They even offer on every order baseline insurance of $1,000 and offer a $200 credit if your shipment doesn't arrive before your tee time. For those who like to travel to great courses but find the lugging of clubs to be a bit burdensome, this is pretty cool. https://www.shipsticks.com/
9. Oxford Golf: Clothing companies take up half of the massive show floor and all of them have great products. I'd wear any of them. Well, men's apparel. Anyways … One company that seemed to be doing brisk business without big name fanfare was Oxford Golf. In an era in which loud and flashy are becoming the standard, Oxford Golf clothes offer high-tech performance with a more classic and traditional (though still colorful) design. In a cliched but true sense, you look like a golfer in these clothes. In a market where big names with high profile celebrities often drive the eyeballs, don't be surprised to see Oxford Golf make a significant presence this year. I don't mind saying – I like. http://www.oxfordgolf.com/
8. PURE Grips: These ultra-tacky gribs are made from 100 percent EPDM rubber, making them naturally tacky in either wet or dry conditions. They are durable, as colorful (or not) as you want and a good price point. But their biggest advantage is their tapeless installation – where changing the grips and having them ready to play takes a few minutes (for the entire set) as opposed to several hours of changing and waiting for them to dry. Love these. http://www.puregrips.com/
7. Transitions lenses: I'd venture to say that 95 percent of golfers are brand loyal when it comes to sunglasses. But have you thought about how your vision changes, depending on the light conditions, throughout the day? Transitions lenses, which can be found in various brands including Nike, Oakley and Callaway, adjust to the light around you and gradually adjust so your vision is as clear at sunrise as it is at high noon or dusk. Also great for driving. These are awesome. http://en-us.transitions.com/
6. Fore!! Axel and Hudson: Kids' clothing is such a personal choice, but there was some good buzz for Fore!! Axel and Hudson. They aren't strictly golf clothes for kids – but a more golf-inspired theme which gives the line a very trendy but still conservative, stylish look. They claim it’s country club meets California cool. I can't put it much better than that. Check them out at: http://www.foreaxelandhudson.com/
5. Polar Basics: One of the coolest things to come into golf in the last few years has been the cooling towel. (Thank you, thank you very much). In all seriousness, these towels, made of Polyvinyl Alcohol, are simply fantastic for the warm-weather months. Imagine a towel that stays cool regardless of the weather. There are few companies out there that have this technology. Even more impressive is that Polar Basics has a patent pending to put this material into headgear (golf caps, chef hats, fishing hats, etc.) as well as the ability to embroider their towels for complete customization and personalization. http://polarbasics.com/
4. Big Wigz Driver skins: What Loudmouth Golf has done for pants, Big Wigz may do for drivers. For those who want to add a little flair and panache to their golf equipment, these wraps for the driver give you the ability to personalize your club in the most unique and fun way – from photos of your kids to tributes to your favorite sports team to simply outrageous color patterns. So many folks stopped by their booth out of curiousity and left with an excited determination to have a more exciting presence on the tee in 2013. http://www.bigwigzskins.com/bigwigz/
3.The Goal: There are soooo many instruction aids – and really, all of them offer something of value. But sometimes, the simplest makes the biggest difference. The Goal is a putting alignment tool. Your putting plane is so dependent on your set-up – something most golfers don’t consider. The basic premise is, the better your set-up the easier for your putter to stay on the correct path. The Goal uses an 'H' shaped device along with two alignment sticks that extend upward, similar to a football goalpost, positioned about six feet in front of the golfer. Once you position yourself over the ball, you will look through the extended uprights to find the hole. Once the hole is centered between the sticks, you have your head in an optimal position to make a straight-line putting stroke. It's that simple and easy. Oh, and I – a notoriously spotty putter – tried a few putts from 15 feet using it. It was scary how effective the results were. http://www.thegoalofputting.com
2. Sun Mountain Zero-G golf bags: Sun Mountain has long been known for great golf accessories. Their bags are light, durable and full of utility. But their latest line adds one small feature that could make a world of difference. If you are a golfer who likes to walk, you may find your performance fades as the round goes on. It would make sense tht your back and your shoulders carry a large burden, even with the lightest bags. But with a new belt clip, the weight is distributed more to your hip area, making the bag feel virtually weightless. You will walk with a straighter posture and in a more upright position. I love this. You will too. You can see them at: http://www.sunmountain.com/2013-zero-g-1482-detail.html
1.Scan4Beer.com: Let me say up front, I don't drink beer. This either makes me a great playing partner … or the worst. But I love this company and its idea. In truth, the name of the company is a bit deceiving – this is a personal courier service, an electronic butler if you will, that gives you a chance to scan a code provided by the course and then use that app to look over the restaurant/beverage cart menu and place an order: Food, Gatorade, soft drinks … and yes, beer. It will then direct the beverage cart to you and give you an estimated wait time before your food or drink arrives. One of the most often asked questions among golfers is, "where is that cart girl?" Well, now you never have to worry if you're using this app. Do you need a link to check them out? Oh, ok: http://scan4beer.com/
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