In attending a PGA Show and identifying the best products at, one faces a major hurdle – having enough time to visit and talk with the inventors and sales teams. This year the Show organizers scheduled both a demo day for retailers and Callaway Diablo Edge Irons , as well as an indoor testing area. Both were extremely well attended.
Top participating golf manufacturers included: adidas, Fairway and Greene, Callaway Golf, Club Car, Full Swing Golf, Nike Golf, Sport-Haley, Tour Edge, Wilson Golf, Nickent and Yonex, to name just a few. Both Titleist and PING had a presence this year though on a much smaller scale, with Titleist having their Performance Lab and PING a fitting truck, both were extremely busy.
The hottest trend in the industry right now, allows golfers to be fitted with multiple shafts and interchangeable heads. While this allows the retailer and club fitter tremendous savings in demo club costs by being able to swap shafts in an instant, the result is information overload for the consumer. Callaway X-20 NG Iron Set 2010 is simply a tool to help in custom fitting that has existed previously, except now the USGA allows these shafts to be used in play. And, both Nickent and Callaway are using their standard heads rather than specifically designed heads to match these shafts, which makes no sense whatsoever.
This new system is geared mainly for tinkerers and savvy technically orientated golfers who have mucho disposable dollars, as these new sets are expensive! Rest assured, Tour players are not using this system.
I personally have yet to be convinced that a shaft with an attachment is going to play the Titleist ZM Irons 2008 as one without. And, until there is a standard attachment for all manufacturers, I am not convinced that this trend will be around for too long. As I was taught at business school, businesses do not create markets, markets create businesses and there is definitely not a significant market for this product presently or in the foreseeable future.
Technology continues to thrive in the golf domain. Whether it is drivers, putters, irons, balls or shoes, advances in designs and materials continue and new products are being introduced almost monthly. The inaugural Golf in China Forum gave the Show a global flavor, while numerous fashion shows added pizzazz to the proceedings.
Mizuno MP-58 Irons are still the star of this year’s show in hard goods, as performance fabrics are in the soft goods. As easy-to-hit hybrids have replaced hard-to-hit long irons in the bags of many golfers, retail golf shops have been the big beneficiaries. The hybrid revolution has given birth to an entirely new category of individual-club sales, producing lucrative revenue streams for on-course and off-course retailers from coast to coast, as golfers replace an $ 80 to $ 100 long iron with a $ 150–$ 250 utility club or two.
In fact, when it comes to individual club sales, hybrids have surpassed putters in many retail stores as top sellers, checking in just behind drivers as the No. 1 revenue producer.
It can safely be said that Tour Edge, Nickent and Wilson simply are making the best of all the hybrids currently available and tested. Titleist CB 710 Forged Irons, Callaway and PING closely follow them.
A strong statement indeed, yet undoubtedly the feel and distance of the Exotics are second-to-none in this product category. Plus, with their moveable weight technology, dialing in your desired trajectory is a cinch and as close to a custom made hybrid as there is on the market.