5 things that caught our eye at Demo Day
ORLANDO, Florida -- Golf Heaven on Earth.
That's the only way to describe PGA Demo Day, which took place on Tuesday at Orange County National Golf Center ahead of Wednesday's start to the PGA Merchandise Show.
Manufacturers big and small made a massive circle around the driving range to unveil all the latest and greatest offerings for 2018.
There were hours-long lines to try the latest drivers and irons sets, but there was just so much to see and take in.
Here's a look at five of the items that really caught our eye.
5. The Vertical Groove driver and fairway wood
When it comes to golf clubs, "drivers" are like the shiny sports car everyone wants to drive. Every year it seems there's a new technology -- a lot of which you can't physically see -- that promises longer and straighter tee shots.
Well, the folks at Vertical Groove have a technology you can very much see on the face of its clubs. Rather than the standard "horizontal" grooves we've come to expect on clubs, Vertical Groove drivers and fairway woods have just that -- vertical grooves.
The driver itself isn't new, but the buzz around it has gone way up in the last 12 months with players like John Daly, Rocco Mediate and Kenny Perry using it on the PGA Tour Champions. Daly and Perry event won with it.
What's new for Vertical Groove in 2018 is the introduction of the company's fairway woods. It's the same technology as the driver and touts longer, straighter shots.
4. Honma Be ZEAL driver and irons
The golf market in the U.S. is an extremely competitive one. It's not often that a new company comes along and makes noise, but that's exactly what Honma is doing.
To call Honma "new" probably isn't quite accurate, or fair to the brand. The company has been well established in Japan for years. But, in the last 12 months, Honma has expanded into the U.S. market.
The clubs are beautiful, but the key selling point -- Honma believes -- is the quality of craftsmanship that goes into its products, which includes hand-rolled graphite shafts.
At Demo Day, Honma gave us a peek at its Be ZEAL line, built to give golfers more swing speed and -- in turn -- generate more power.
The face of the irons features a titanium insert.
3. Bomb-It Mini Driver Swing Trainer by Momentus Sports
This was one of those items at Demo Day that you walk by and audibly ask, "What is that?!"
Glad you asked... It's pretty much a driver with the smallest head you're likely to ever see. While most drivers today are in the 440-460cc range, the Bomb-It offers two sizes -- 37cc and 55cc. In other words, the driver head is slightly bigger than a golf ball.
There's a very specific reason why the head is so small on this training aide. The company's slogan is, "Aim small, miss small."
By using the Bomb-It Mini, there's very little margin for error for the golfer. Therefore, it trains you to hit that tiny sweet spot. If you don't, the ball could go anywhere.
Once you're nice and dialed in, though, you won't believe how easy it is to find the sweet spot on your 460cc driver, which will look like a shoebox compared to the Bomb-It Mini.
2. The Golf Swing Shirt
The Golf Swing Shirt is nothing new. We've all seen the infomercial on Golf Channel late at night with Padraig Harrington in what looks to be an orange straight jacket. You've probably laughed when you saw it.
The truth is, the Golf Swing Shirt is no joke. And, new for 2018, the company has a fresh iteration in case you're not all about that bright orange.
The point of the Golf Swing Shirt is to help consumers groove a reliable and repeatable golf swing. The shirt does this by forcing your upper body to stay connected.
For 2018, the Golf Swing Shirt comes in a few different patterns that are made into a regular golf polo. You can wear the shirt on the course -- just like any polo -- but with a small pouch in the front, you can turn it into a Swing Shirt in seconds to make near-instant corrections on the course.
This is a swing aid you can wear from home to the course and doesn't require lugging anything else along.
1. Chippo Golf
Cornhole has become a favorite game for family barbecues, tailgates and those hot summer days at the beach.
But what about combining cornhole and golf?
That's precisely what the folks at Chippo have done.
With two cornhole-like boards, the Chippo Golf game has three, netted hole cutouts in each board. Along with the boards are two small pieces of turf (great for giving yourself some "fairway" to hit off at the beach).
Playing one-on-one, or with teams, players take turns chipping golf balls back and forth trying to get them in the netted holes.
Styrofoam golf balls come with Chippo -- so you can use it inside as well.