I recently returned from the 63rd annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. More than 42,000 golf professionals came from 91 countries to the convention center to see the latest products and attend educational seminars.
There were 284 new companies exhibiting their golf products. It is hopeful that this means that the golf industry is making a comeback.
Several legends of the game made special appearances. Johnny Miller, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam were on hand to sign autographs. Bubba Watson was at the demo day hitting the latest in Ping equipment.
The demo day is a highlight for people who want to try out the newest golf clubs. More than 100 companies were representated at the 42-acre, 360-degree outdoor driving range.
It is fun to hit the latest drivers, irons, wedges and putters. At each company’s station, guests can hit clubs with a variety of shafts and club heads. There were launch monitors that helped match club head speed with the proper shaft.
I noticed more companies with putting grips that are larger than traditional grips. This is probably because Jordan Spieth uses a larger grip on his putter.
Another area that seemed to be on the rise was the push-pull cart. With people more aware of their steps, walking is becoming popular again.
There was even an attachment that can be put on a bike to holds golf clubs.
The golf industry knows that it has to grow the game through junior golf. A new company to the United States is Golphin for Kids clubs.
Founded in Scotland, “The Home of Golf,” these golf clubs are 30 percent lighter and have a 35 percent larger sweet spot on the club head.
They are available online and come in sizes age 3-11.
My favorite area to visit is the training aids. I always buy a number of new teaching aids that will be helpful to my students who need visual or kinesthetic help in improving their golf game.
I purchased the Swing Click, which attaches to your lead forearm and clicks at the top of the backswing, impact and on the follow through. This improves the rhythm, tempo and consistency of your golf swing.
A product that could be helpful to the senior golfer is the Copper Tech Glove. It claims to support circulation and oxygenation of muscles and joints. It provides support for muscle stiffness and pain.
Any golfer with arthritis should give this glove a try.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.golfdoctorjean.com