By John Holmes, PGA.com Interactive Producer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- More than 1,000 companies have set up shop on the floor of the PGA Merchandise Show, and it’s impossible to even come close to doing justice to everything and everyone who deserves some attention this week. So instead, we’re walking the miles of aisles and focusing on the people and products generating the most buzz on the Show floor. Here's what caught our attention on Thursday:
Cobra Puma Golf. Cobra Puma Golf’s theme this week is “Colorful Bold Fun,” and they’re certainly living up to it. With a rockin’ DJ spinning tunes, a variety of fast-paced table games, a popcorn machine and even visits from Lexi Thompson and Blair O’Neal, Cobra Puma Golf certainly had the most entertaining hangout at Demo Day on Wednesday. They made a big splash Thursday on the Show floor, too.
During a combination fashion show and corporate catch-up, Cobra Puma unveiled its signing of Puma apparel endorser Rickie Fowler as the new face of Cobra and Cobra club endorser Ian Poulter as the latest endorser of Puma footwear and accessories, then unveiled its new sponsorship of the PGA Assistant Championship and the 41 sectional tournaments that lead up to it, and then showed off a new collection of, well, bold and colorful clothes, many of which are tied thematically to specific Cobra clubs. The new line-up of Cobra clubs that Fowler is playing and promoting is called AMP, and Cobra Golf is certainly amping up its presence, especially among golf’s younger generation. Click here for more.
Celebrities Galore. As a big golf fan, it’s impossible not to get excited to see so many of the game’s brightest stars in one place. At various times and places on Thursday, you could meet and greet (or at least catch a glimpse of) everyone from Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III and PGA Tour star Brad Faxon to instructors extraordinaire Michael Breen, Hank Haney and David Leadbetter. And with the LPGA Tour season not yet under way, Anna Nordqvist, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Lexi Thompson, Karen Stupples, Sandra Gal and Brittany Lincicome were signing autographs and posing for photos. One undisputed conclusion from all the stargazing: Getting a photo taken with Gulbis seems to be the male golfer’s holy grail, and she deserves much credit for her unfailingly positive attitude when posing for picture after picture after picture after picture …
Titleist Golf Balls. It’s always news when Titleist unveils a new golf ball, and Thursday morning brought the launch of four new models, including upgraded versions of the DT Solo, NXT Tour and NXT Tour S. The standout of the quartet, however, is the brand-new Velocity ball, whose name reveals its purpose. The Velocity boasts the fastest solid core of any Titleist ball. It works with a new cover blend and dimple pattern that increases speed and reduces spin to generate high initial ball velocity and a soaring ball flight on all full-swing shots. And just to make the Velocity balls, which retail for $35 per dozen, a bit more unusual, they come with double numbers. Click here for more.
Under Armour Apparel. In recent years, Under Armour has branched out into golf with all the enthusiasm they’ve demonstrated in taking on other sports from football to rugby. New in this year’s line-up of warm weather golf shirts is coldblack technology, which is added to the garments during the dye process to reduce heat build-up and provide additional protection from UV rays. That, combined with the breathability and moisture wicking also built into the shirts, makes the wearer feel up to 10 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. None of the Under Armour golf apparel is quite as splashy as, say, those University of Maryland football uniforms that generated so much discussion, but instead fit right into the traditional golf apparel palette. Click here for more.
Nike VR_S clubs. Nike Golf kicked off its PGA Show with a supersonic reception-slash-unveiling on Tuesday night, and the energy was still palpable two days later. The VR_S line is the result of Nike’s commitment to delivering extra distance on every shot, with every full-swing club in the bag. To accomplish that, Nike Golf engineers developed NexCOR technology, a new speed-expanding, multi-face thickness design that facilitates ultra-thin, ultra-hot faces and unmatched ball speed. Golfers don't hit the ball in the same spot on the face every time, so Nike mapped the points where most golfers hit the ball with each club and located the NexCOR technology in the appropriate spot on each face. Over the next few months, Nike will conduct a series of demo days they’re calling Speed Trials nationwide to show the clubs off to the public. Click here for more.
Art of the game. The next best thing to playing golf is spending time in a golf-themed man cave. After a comfy couch and and oversized TV, every man cave – or office or den or clubhouse – needs some one-of-a-kind golf art to make it complete. Gotta Have It Golf offers a terrific selection of custom framed images perfect for golfers of every taste ranging from light-hearted posters of “Happy Gilmore” and the Three Stooges to gorgeous action shots of the Grand Slam winners and swing sequences of all-time greats like Ben Hogan. Also available are autographed pieces, a selection of historic photos and even special memorabilia from big events like the Masters and Ryder Cup. Click here for more.