LAS VEGAS – The PGA Expo has been rechristened the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience this year, and the new name better matches the show's focus. After Monday's Demo Experience out at Cascata Golf Club, the action moves indoors for Tuesday and Wednesday, and the hundreds of vendors include some club companies, more accessory firms and a whole lot of apparel vendors.
So what stood out on my first trip around the Show floor? Since we're in Vegas, here's my "Lucky 7" featured products of the day, listed alphabetically:
2014 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
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Callaway V Series clubs
The "V" in Callaway Golf's new V Series stands for velocity, and this brand-new collection of drivers and fairway clubs is designed for golfers who need a little help generating more swing speed. The heads and shafts are extremely light in weight, and are aerodynamically enhanced to move even more efficiently through the air. You might think that older and weaker golfers are the ones who would flock to these clubs, but Callaway notes that several pro tour players already have them in their bags. In fact, Marc Warren won on the European Tour with a V Series driver just last week.
Austin, Texas, is known much more as a hipster haven than a golf community, but the Lone Star State capital is home to a solid collection of pro players – and a hot newcomer to the golf apparel industry. Criquet's offerings definitely have the Austin vibe – slightly retro, definitely casual, very versatile and with a lot of thought put into the final product. These soft, comfy shirts are made of 100 percent organic cotton, have left-breast pockets and removable collar stays, and come in a variety of solids and stripes that are much cooler in tone than many of the eye-popping colors found elsewhere. The company also offers a long-sleeved players' shirt and a selection of long- and short-sleeved button downs.
Francis Edward belts
No trend in golf is hotter than customization, and no category of golf fashion is cooler right now than belts. So how great would it be if you could design your own belt? That's the idea behind Francis Edward, which counts PGA Tour player Paul Stankowski as one of its co-owners (Francis is Stankowski's middle name and Edward is the middle name of his partner Mike Vicary. To make your own belt, you choose the skin or leather you want – such as alligator or crocodile – the color, the length and even the stitching. This is, no doubt, a high-end accessory, but, hey, you can match it to your favorite outfit, your golf bag or even your car seats.
Garmin Approach S6 GPS watch
Garmin remains a leader in GPS technology, but its golf watches have progressed far beyond their roots. The new Approach S6 includes first-of-its-kind Swing Metrics that help golfers synchronize their swing mechanics and fine-tune their tempo, which makes it as useful on the range as on the course. It can also display emails and texts, and includes course mapping and the myriad other features of previous Garmin GPS models.
Kentwool KW Series socks
Golf clubs are getting lighter by the year, as are golf shoes – and, at Kentwool, so are golf socks. The new KW Series blends wool and bamboo to create a line that is thinner than the company's original golf socks but with the strength and durability of those now-famous trailblazers. The KW Series features a couple of men's and women's versions of ankle-height and slow-profile models in light and dark colors.
Missy Maude women's apparel
The people of Atlanta might know Missy Maude as the daughter of Braves CEO Terry McGuirk, but the fashion world is getting to know her as a fast-rising designer. The 20-something Maude broke into the industry with her Lissa Mar line of women's resort clothing, which proved so popular in the Southeast that her customers actively encouraged her to branch out into golf. Her first golf collection is out now, with a family of tops and bottoms in pastels and prints that are as appealing off the course as on.
Seamus headcovers stand out for the elegance in their simplicity. They're handmade – yes, handmade, one at a time – of wool and fleece in Oregon, and come in a wide variety of tartans and other patterns – including some inspired by Oregon's famed Pendleton blankets – that give them a one-of-a-kind look atop your favorite driver, fairway wood or hybrid. They also can be personalized with custom embroidery on the top and/or custom leather tags along the bottom.