LAS VEGAS -- Today's "Scene and Heard" from the PGA Expo in Las Vegas is created under the premise, "Stuff I Want." There are more than 200 exhibitors here and, quite honestly, they've all got great products – but I'm writing today strictly from the perspective of what I want/need for my golf game.
1.) Ship Sticks: The truth is, I play more golf outside of my home area than I do locally. Baggage fees are increasing and I don't love lugging my bag around airports, to the rental car, etc. But they're my clubs – more valuable than life itself. (Okay, a bit melodramatic but you get the point.) I have friends that have used Ship Sticks. They love it. After talking with them and getting a good overview, I'm ready to take the leap. You should check them out. www.shipsticks.com
2.) Golf Traction Aid: So I see this rubber band-looking item with golf spikes attached and I think, "What's the point of this? My golf shoes already have spikes, right?" So I ask Jay Feist of Golf Traction Aid and he breaks into a big smile. "You go on vacation or a trip and get a chance to play golf – you can rent clubs, but you can't rent shoes. These go right over your tennis shoes and there you have it, golf shoes. Even more, they're great for kids because they can grow/stretch with your kids’ shoe size as they are growing bigger." In 30 seconds, he turns me from a cynic to a believer. Yep, I want a pair. www.gta-golftraction.com
3.) Haute Shot Golf: Okay, this isn't really for me because I don't wear skirts/skorts (insert your smart aleck comment here.) But this new apparel company is making quite a splash with Expo visitors for its colorful, stylish and still very functional apparel for women. The two ladies who run the company are proud Idahoans (don't believe I've ever typed "Idahoans" before) and make it a hallmark of the company to note that all of their clothing is "Made in the U.S.A." They also love the tagline "Not tacky, not khaki." So you ought to check them out. www.hauteshotgolf.com
4.) Gold Flex: This all-purpose training aid from SKLZ is so simple and yet, so effective. Basically, it’s a weighted ball on the end of a long stick. Simple, right? But using it will increase your swing speed, flexibility and strength, and give you a better swing tempo. That's hard to beat. I definitely want one of these. www.sklz.com/sports-training/golf/distance/gold-flex
5.) X Golf simulators: We've all seen the super-cool golf simulators for home or office. In truth, I wouldn't turn down any of them. But the latest from X Golf simulators incorporates lasers, infrared and, of course, amazingly realistic graphics to provide one of the most incredible golf simulations/instruction analysis that you could hope to find. Furthermore, this is the first that I've seen that simulates the stance you would have for any particular shot on a course (downhill lie, side slope, etc.) and an automatic tee that not only places the ball on a tee for your drive, but remembers tee height preference for each golfer in the system. www.xgolfsimulator.com
6.) TaylorMade SLDR driver: I took a few minutes to try out the new SLDR driver from TaylorMade. I was hitting indoors into a net, so it was hard to see how the ball flew. But the feedback from the Trackman says it flew pretty good. What I was really impressed by was the ease of adjusting the club to change its impact characteristics. No more "I hope I don't screw up my club" changing weights and losing pieces. Just loosen the screw and slide the weight. It took about 10 seconds to change my club from a slight fade to a hard draw. www.taylormadegolf.com
7.) Golf League Genius: If you are part of a regular group outing – whether in an organized league or just among friends – you'll love the simplicity and functionality of Golf League Genius. Make pairings, create a league website, try new formats, enter and track scores and even have real-time leaderboards with this app. How did we ever do golf leagues without this stuff? www.golfleaguegenius.com
8.) Creative Covers: I love the traditional headcovers that are now coming back into vogue – and the very standard manufacturer headcover, well, you can't really go wrong with that. But why wouldn't you want an Alice Cooper or KISS headcover to really make a statement? For the more unique and colorful styles, no one has a better selection than Creative Covers for golf. www.creativecoversforgolf.com
On Wednesday, I'm going to scour the show floor for the eight "most unique/unusual" items being displayed here at the PGA Expo. So come back and see golf from a whole new perspective.