LAS VEGAS – Another PGA Expo began on Monday in beautiful Las Vegas, but this year there is definitely a different vibe. For years, the site of Demo Night was the Callaway Golf Center just down from the famed Las Vegas Strip, but though the location was the same, the name was simply the Las Vegas Golf Center. The significance is that no single manufacturer had a dominant presence, and thus many of them showed up.
The crowd was large and enthusiastic. The weather was warm but otherwise perfect. Here's what was "Scene and Heard" as I walked the venue.
Callaway Golf: Its name might not be on the marquee, but Callaway’s presence was still one of the most popular. The crowd was predominantly PGA Professionals from around the country, and a slew of them were anxious to see what the fuss was about from the company that's made arguable the biggest splash in products this year. The X Hot driver and 3-wood were obvious favorites. www.callawaygolf.com
TaylorMade Golf: The brand-new TaylorMade SLDR driver had plenty of fans, too. TaylorMade, making a return to the PGA Expo after a long absence, had quite the following as golfers lined up to test a few swings with the latest from the company that has dominated the driver market in recent years. www.taylormadegolf.com
Nike Golf: The Swoosh hasn't on hand at the PGA Expo in a long time. But Pete Rericha, a Nike Golf sales rep in the Las Vegas area, had his hands full at the Nike tent as several players came by to check out the bags of VR_S Covert drivers. "I'm pleasantly surprised," Rericha says to me as he tends to another player wanting to take a few rips. "I thought the crowd would be good, but this is more than I thought would show. These guys know golf and the feedback and enthusiasm for our clubs have been tremendous. It's been a great night." www.nikegolf.com
The Laser Putt: Robert Schmok has worked for three years to find a laser training aid for putting. And he may have it. This small device emits three lasers in two colors that will help you with your alignment, calibration of your backstroke and your visualization of the putter head. It's actually a pretty simple concept. But it looks cool and it really seems to work. I gotta get me one. www.laserputt.com
Scan4Beer.com: Every year I give these guys a shoutout (and I don't even drink beer.) And, man, do they have the lines around their tent. Cold beer on a hot night. Pretty girls manning the booth. And an app that seemingly every golf pro looks at and says, "Yeah, we could use something like this on our course." www.scanforbeer.com
Most of the companies left in plenty of time to go get set up at the main convention hall for Tuesday and Wednesday. It should be a GREAT Expo. I'll file some reports on the best items I see each day. Stay tuned.