Part of our job is to help the consumer distinguish hype from fact. Sometimes our value for the golfer is found as much in what we don't show as much as what we do.
Annually, the market is flooded with products that are new, yet not always improved. Our PGA SHOW awards are given to products, services, and trends we feel will impact the consumer or the industry in a significant and positive way.
So, what are the winning products, services, and trends golfers should be paying attention to from the 2017 PGA SHOW? Well, this year there weren't many, but those that made the list are more than deserving. Every single one of them.
Arccos Course Analyzer
Think of it as the "World's Smartest Caddie." The Arccos Course Analyzer gets our award for the Best New Product at the 2017 PGA Show. This was by far the best new product we saw during our time walking the aisles at the show. The preliminary data suggests the Arccos Course Analyzer can improve a golfer's handicap by a remarkable 3.52 strokes. Now that is what we call #PowerToThePlayer.
It has been quite some time since golfers have been offered ball technology that provides anything more than evolutionary gains. We all remember how the Pro V impacted the industry. TaylorMade's new ball technology could prove to be a cut above everything that came between the original Pro V1 and the TP5 series. When you see a 7-iron go a full club longer because of a golf ball, it grabs your attention. The TP5 is the ball golfers should be on the look out for in 2017.
Most would guess Trackman, but Foresight is actually the #1 Launch Monitor in the World - and with the introduction of the GCQuad, it just got better. Foresight had one of the most trafficked booths at the show. The buzz for the Quad is only building as rumors that notable Trackman Guys are poised to make the switch to Foresight. The launch monitor market is shifting rapidly. Look for Foresight to make a huge leap this year as word of the new and improved GCQuad gets out.
Cobra One Length Irons
The single length iron concept has been around for years, but Cobra is going to be the brand that puts in back on the map. While smaller companies (Edel Golf, Sterling Golf) are helping power the trend, the other big OEM's are playing the wait-and-see game. Thus far none have shown a willingness to jump in the deep end, but we expect that will change. We're believers in the technology (and how Cobra has implemented it), and given that ONE is selling at 3X initial projections, it sounds like many of you do too. For average golfers looking to improve, we think ONE offers real benefit. Watch this space, as we expect more big companies will jump on board in 2017 and beyond.
Golf Pride Align Grips
Remember reminders on grips? Those ridges you might or might not have been able to feel protruding from the underside of your grips. Think of Golf Pride's Align technology as Reminders 2.0. The idea is to create a more consistent hand placement, which in-turn delivers a more consistent result. It may look simple to do (it's not), and that is exactly why we love it. Golf Pride continues to innovate in the grip space, so it's no wonder why its grips are used by 80% of PGA Tour players. Align Technology will be available on the company's popular MCC and MCC Plus 4 grips.
Lamb Crafted Putters
There was Scotty, then Bettinardi. Now there is Tyson Lamb. The two craftsman that came before him paved the way for Lamb, and we believe Tyson has the chance to take it to a whole new level... if he decides he wants to. Nearly every major OEM would love to have him on their team, so we suspect it's only a matter of time before he settles in as the guy for one of the majors. He could also choose to continue to go it alone, which might be for the best as he continues to grow his brand. No matter what happens next, we guarantee his will be a name that sticks around for as long as he continues to make golf his career.
Maybe it's just the tequila (from G/Fore's booth party) talking, but we continue to be impressed by the G/FORE Brand. From our perspective, G/FORE is one of the few fashion-forward, so-called lifestyle brands that understands that no matter how pretty you make your warez, this is golf, and performance still matters. We also appreciate that the brand has a noticeable edge to it, but that edge isn't honed at the expense of class. It's filthy good stuff. Case in point, the recently announced collaboration with Peter Millar. The Brogue Gallivanter is absolute money. If you're only hearing about G/FORE for the first time, remember the name.
For the last several years Callaway has been in a war with Taylormade, the industry's status quo, and itself. Sufficed to say that not only is Callaway winning that war, but it's losing few, if any, battles along the way. For evidence, look no further than the PGA Show floor where Callaway again had the biggest and most robustly-outfitted booth. All show traffic runs through Callaway; there's almost no way around it. Believe and say whatever you like, but Callaway is the undisputed leader of equipment industry (and the PGA Show) right now. As others around them slow down, Callaway continues to fire on an Epic number of cylinders.