Five things I NEED from the PGA Show

Bobby Jones 1930
The classic and classy stylings from the 1930 Collection of Bobby Jones apparel
By John Kim

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 | 7:13 p.m.

By nature, I'm a scientist golfer. I tinker, I experiment, I even invent from time to time. I have good days and I still change and tweak.  I have bad days and I alter everything.  I go through clubs, training aids & accessories like some people go through socks.  So this PGA Show is the ultimate fun house for me.  It's also the ultimate torture.  I can't afford everything here.  There's 1000+ exhibitors, each displaying thousands of items - and I NEED all of them to become the ultimate golfer.  I'm almost serious.


So instead of coveting all of them, I'm on mission to narrow the list of "must have's" down to five.  These are five items I will purchase at some point this year to help me either become a better golfer (important) or enjoy the game a little more (more important).  There are some amazing items here - the simulators, the golf board, new drivers, etc...I encourage you to check out the PGA Merchandise Show website to see them all.  But as for me, I'm writing about what I'll be getting and staying within my limited budget.  So, in no particular order:


1.) Bridgestone True Balance putter:  My putting's a mess.  I'm striking the ball pretty well and I'm very impressed with my newest irons (Callaway Apex - great birthday gift), but my putting is horrendous.  My last round (this week in fact), I had a 20 foot birdie putt on the first hole. I three-putted.  Same at No. 3.  Almost did it at No. 2.  I needed real change - not cosmetic, but something very different.  The idea behind the True Balance putter is that the grip and shaft are super light, and the weight is virtually all in the head. It's supposed to enhance feel, give a better control of speed.  I took a few practice putts with it.  Got to admit, I'm impressed.  Gotta try one.


2.) The Orange Whip Trainer: Stopped by the very crowded booth today and overheard several PGA Professionals saying they couldn't keep them in stock.  What looks like an actual orange on a black fishing rod is actually one of the most coveted and effective training/fitness tools on the market.  Several Tour and elite players use them to warm up, get in shape and groove their swing.  As much as these are popular with the world's top players, I'd have to think they'd be most effective for the struggling and unfit player (hey, that's me!)


3.) Bobby Jones clubs and apparel:  I am a fan of the brand, the man and the dog (disclaimer, my dog's name is Bobby Jones). But famous club designer Jesse Ortiz showed me their line of clubs today and how can you not be impressed with their look and their innovative design.  I can't get all technical on the specs, but his logic seemed sound and in particular, the women's line of clubs seemed exactly what beginner lady golfers would find appealing (in performance and aesthetics).  But the biggest impression was their apparel - particularly the 1930 Collection.  Classic, classy and really sharp.  Definitely need all the help I can get to be any of those.


4.) Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT range finder: Love my rangefinder, but I think that it's 1.) on it's last legs and 2.) using outdated technology.  So I was definitely in the market for a replacement.  I leaned on a few PGA Professionals to ask what they preferred - considering ease of use, durability and most of all, accuracy.  All three included the Bushnell Tour z6 JOLT among their answers.  Good enough for me.


5.) PROTECT by FusionIonz: This may have been my most interesting find.  It's a small sheet of sorts you put on the back of your smart phone to virtually reduce all radiation emitting from your phone.  They had a radiation/ion detecter there to show the ions that were emitted by a phone and how the readings changed to virtually zero with the use of the sleeve.  If you believe that holding these small computers near your head for hours a day (or in your pocket, etc) could potentially be harmful, this could be a perfect item for you. Is it golf related?  As the owner of the company told me, "All golfers use these phones. That's why we're at a golf show." I can't argue with that.  And now, I'm not taking chances with my phone.