LAS VEGAS -- On this closing day of the 2011 PGA Fall Expo, my first stop is at the booth of "The Little One" by PSP Golf (stands for Pure Solid Perfect). It's a training aid with the same length, weight and everything as a regular 7-iron, but with a head about a third the size. Intended to help you hit more shots on the sweetspot, this clubhead is all sweetspot -- or you top, shank or toe every shot with it. Even more, when you put your regular golf club behind the ball, it looks huge –- inspiring more confidence in your swing. A number of professionals here have told me they love it. Learn more here: http://www.pspgolf.net/.
* Coolest thing today is from Quagmire Golf. Loved the ColorFusion technology they showed off back in January, and this week their big unveiling is their new "Arnie" line. They’ve actually worked a deal with THE Arnold Palmer to recreate his most popular styles from the '50s, '60s and '70s –- with a bit of a modern flair. In a word: awesome. In two words: really awesome. Check them out at www.arniewear.com.
* I've probably stopped by the Elations booth more than they'd like. Yes, this juice is good for you, for your joints, etc. ... And I probably should be concerned about that. But at the same time, it tastes pretty darn good. This is a big show at a big convention hall. Lots of talking, meet and greets, shaking hands. A guy gets thirsty, ya know? Check them out here: http://www.elations.com/.
* If you see a headcover that doesn't have a manufacturer brand on it, it most likely came from Daphne's headcovers – perhaps the most well-known headcovers around. But not only do they make great characters, they are involved in great charity causes with funds raised by some of their most popular items. From Caddy for a Cure to Gabriel’s Angels (pet therapy for children) – among many others – these items will not only make your bag look better, you’ll feel better about yourself, too. Hard to beat that. Take a look: http://daphnesheadcovers.com/.
* Dawgs Golf makes the lightest golf shoe on the market. Pretty casual in appearance, not sure you'll see these on Tour anytime soon. However, the various styles and multi-functionality of the shoes make them worth a look. Learn more here: www.dawgsgolf.com.
* One cool booth is Vegas Golf. Why? Because it's so "Vegas." they've got brightly colored golf balls that they claim are as functional as they are decorative. And gambling games (what else?) out the wazoo. Actually, seems like they have poker chips that help you keep track of the games many of you are already playing. So gaudy, over-the-top, souvenir of money you lose ... yep, Vegas Golf is the perfect name. Find them here: www.Vegasgolfthegame.com.
* Sat in on Government Relations in Golf panel discussion with PGA CEO Joe Steranka; Southern California PGA Section CEO and Executive Director Tom Addis; Craig Kessler, the Director of Governmental Affairs at the Southern California Golf Association; and Mick McCullough, Director of Environmental and Water Resources at Northern California Golf Association. Good discussion – some serious thought starters about the perceptions of golf in government and in the public realm vs. the reality of how golf impacts local economics, environments and policies in a tremendously positive way. Discussion was an hour, could have gone longer. Very few people realize what goes on behind the scenes to keep golf accessible and affordable for players.
* Went to lunch with PGA President Allen Wronowski and Brady Wilson, PGA Head Professional of The Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif. No matter how much you think you know about golf and the golf industry, you get around folks like this and you realize you’re a eyedropper of knowledge compared to their oceans of golf understanding. For me, it’s more like a mini-eyedropper. But whatever. Food was good. And I did learn a lot.
* Back to the show floor as vendors and exhibitors are packing up as show is wrapping up. Some horse trading going on as different people are bartering or selling a few show items. Lots of handshakes, smiles, hugs and cards being swapped. I don’t have the final numbers yet but am told this has been the largest and most successful PGA Expo in years. Attendance, transactions and enthusiasm suggest it is – by a lot. I can’t take too much credit for that. Can I?