There this week, in the enormous Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, next to a lingerie show and down the hall from a magic convention, sat the 2011 PGA Expo, the west-coast version of the enormous Merchandise Show.
Large, well-known exhibitors like PING and Peter Millar and Ashworth shared space with some of my favorite people, the folks with wide-eyed, wild-haired, holy-moley exuberance for their latest inventions.
It is one of my favorite parts of both shows, the little innocent booths tucked away from the maddening crowds, waiting for some unsuspecting pigeon like me to wander by.
They honestly and fervently believe in what they've created and will spend hours with you demonstrating, if you let them.
My favorite is a regular.
"This will change golf forever," he cries as his wife sits by patiently, nodding in agreement. "Just try it once and see."
"Uh-huh," I nod back, "so where can I find these?"
He grows conspiratorial, his voice lowering to a whisper, his eyebrows arching.
"Well," he says, "I could use some backing first. Know any body who would wanna invest in this? Geez, I could almost guarantee him double his money back."
And I amble on.
They are not hucksters, not a one of them. They all have wonderful, glorious ideas and want so desperately to deliver them to the waiting, breathless, world.
They cure your arthritis and stop what ails your ankles. They hang all sorts of weaponry off your belt and slip hands-free technology onto the bill of your cap.
They protect you from UV rays and mosquito bites and the occasional alligator rant.
Much of the Expo had to do with fashion; what looks best on your head, your back and your feet. One of my all-time favorite side-shows, however, had to do with covering (ahem) other parts of your anatomy. Since it sat there for all to see, a huge sign behind it crying to the masses, I suppose it is okay for me to offer it up to you here:
"Fresh Balls" for, um, men. And of course "Fresh Breasts", for women. A handy-dandy tube of cream or ointment guaranteed to sooth your netherlands. I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that one or two of these will wind up in somebody's Christmas stocking this year. David Feherty, in fact, talks often of his addiction to Gold Bond. I'm thinking he might have a new endorsement.
I love these shows.
My thanks to all of you who respond every week. Your thoughts and concerns and ideas are very much appreciated.
Some of you inquired about my last piece - the PGA Championship from the perspective of a member of host course Atlanta Athletic Club. I'd like to give some thought to a good response to those questions, look for an answer in a column coming soon.
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