2008 PGA Championship
2008 PGA Grand Slam of Golf
2009 PGA Championship
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10 Cool Things We Saw at the PGA Show: Saturday
More than 1,200 companies are exhibiting at the PGA Show this week, and PGA.com is busily walking the aisles. Some things, and people, stand out from the crowd, though, and here is our list of noteworthy sightings on Day 3 in Orlando.
By Jack Berry, Special to PGA.com
10. Target acquisition: Bushnell claims that its new Tour V2 rangefinder is the smallest, most advanced rangefinder in the market, and no cooperative target, aka a reflector on the top of the flagpole, is required. It's good "on any course, right out of the box," company officials claim. The MSRP is $349 and the device is correct to plus or minus a yard up to 330 yards from the flag.
9. Feels like the real thing: AboutGolf introduced two new simulators, the SimSurround that surrounds the player on three sides with the hole he is playing. It is 18 by 25 feet and extremely realistic -- One player, hitting on No. 17 (the famous Road Hole) on the Old Course at St. Andrews, overshot the green and hit the road, and there was a sound of the ball hitting macadam and bouncing out of bounds, over the fence. In addition, there's a new TurboSim with a 10 foot wide and 16 foot deep footprint that AboutGolf said is the smallest overall full scale simulator on the market.
8. Not scratching the surface: Live Eyewear's Quattro Collection polarized sunglasses have a one-year warranty on lens scratches on their impact resistant polycarbonate shades, and a lifetime warranty on the ultra lightweight frames. They're available in natural color definition gray and copper lenses. The MSRP is $49.95.
7. Symmetry gets the shaft: From Russia with strength is the e21 scandium alloy shaft. They're almost perfect symmetrically -- 99.5 to 99.9% compared to 85% for steel and 60 to 79% for graphite. Jeff Manore enlisted fellow Toledo native Rick Smith as an endorser and said some PGA TOUR players on the Adams, Callaway, Srixon and Titleist staffs are using the shafts. John Traub, the 1980 Professional National Champion, raved that the shaft "is like swinging through butter."
6. Science for the swing: Science & Motion Sports' representatives wore lab coats at their booth because their system that analyzes putting like a full medical evaluation is the brainchild of a German scientist. President Mike Olsen said the system dispels putting myths, like "straight back and straight through for everyone." Hank Haney was the first instructor to use it and David Leadbetter and Dr. Jim Suttie have adopted it. Tiger Woods, Steve Elkington, Padraig Harrington and Henrik Stenson are among the PGA TOUR stars who also use it.
5. Cool ride around the course: Dubai is growing in golf the way it is in everything else in the Middle East, and Club Car has become a prime supplier for a country where the temperature reaches 125 degrees with 80% humidity. For those extreme conditions, Club Car -- celebrating its 50th anniversary this year -- has developed the Coolwell G2, an air conditioning unit that uses nothing but ice and less than an amp of power. A hose duct behind each seat blows cold air when players are seated.
4. Bucket brigade: Wittek has been in the business of picking up range balls, washing and distributing them for 60 years and, while the mechanics of the pickers hasn't changed, the dispensing of balls has. No longer is someone required to take your money and hand you a bucket of balls. Today's machines take debit cards, range program cards and folding money.
3. Two for the thumb: 2Thumb Putter Grip came to the show from England and was ready to celebrate with some bubbly after selling 100,000 units with a final big order from Japan. The grip comes in three weights: 180 grams, 147 grams and 125 grams. The player's thumbs rest straight down on the wide flat grip with the index fingers also face down. Inventor Phil Gazeley said the grip eliminates yips and reduces wrist break. The MSRP is $20.
2. Stick it to 'em: The Speed Stik booth drew a great deal of traffic and President Juan Elizondo said the brightly colored sticks help everyone hit the ball farther. "The only way you can hit it longer is to swing faster," he said. The Speed Stik is heavier and longer than a golf club -- 48 inches long and 19 ounces in weight -- and also comes in women's and juniors' sizes. Elizondo said Vijay Singh raised his swing speed 12 miles per hour over four years, and both Arnold Palmer and K.J. Choi have been devotees with Choi sending the product back to Korea for juniors. The MSRP is $99.95.
1. Launch time: The TrackMan launch monitor system also has experienced rapid growth after being utilized at the 2007 British Open and then with a Nick Faldo demonstration on Golf Channel during the PGA TOUR's Hawaiian swing. Not only are speciality shops are going for it, but colleges, too -- Stanford purchased it in 2006 and now Illinois, East Tennessee State and LSU are going for it. A half dozen more schools expressed interest at the college coaches convention last week.