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Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Top Five from the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show

Golf Board
This product actually won "Best in Show" and the honor was well deserved for a product conceived, designed and brought to market by surfers. I met with one of the owners, Star Faraon and he has never played golf, clearly never worn a blue blazer and is a cool west coast dude. He is also a smart guy and introducing the Golf Board at the show, he had few pre-conceived ideas about how it would be received by the traditionalists who frequent the massive convention center. When I met with him he was in shock, as his booth was swarming with golfers intrigued by the prospect of a new form of golf course transportation. The Golf Board is well engineered, looks like great fun and should be embraced by clubs as a new way to promote the game and perhaps even speed up play. www.golfboard.com

Callaway Apex irons
Callaway seem to have incurred the wrath of some people by using the Hogan Apex name on golf clubs. Who knows why that would be? And frankly who cares, especially when the clubs look and feel as good as they do. The top line on these irons is as good as I have seen since Callaway introduced the forged irons in 2007 and they are still in my bag! Callaway designer and all round good guy, Dr. Alan Hocknell talked me through the features of the clubs and they are a technological marvel as well as looking like the next set in my bag! www.callawaygolf.com

Tin Cup 
As some of you may know, I am closely involved with Tin Cup, but that doesn't stop me from telling you about the most amazing viral tweeting I have ever experienced. We introduced a new cup called "Incognito" a couple weeks ago. Both golf.com and Golf Channel picked up on the cup as resembling Walter White from Breaking Bad and tweeted it accordingly to their thousands of followers. And within 24 hours the image had been retweeted hundreds of times. Go take a look! www.tin-cup.com

Golfers Skin
Having had a couple of sun related questionable bits chopped off, I am now more wary of the damage the sun can do than ever. Golfers Skin has quickly become the skin protection chosen by players on the professional tours. And for good reason, it has a UV factor of 30, which studies show is about as high as protection goes, plus you put it on without the need to wash your hands to remove the slimy and sticky residue left by other brands. One more thing I like - the packaging is simple, clean and contemporary. www.golfersskin.com

G-Fore Shoes
Owned by fashion guru, Mossimo Giannulli, this company once again features in my faves. In previous years this was for their colored gloves, that have now been blatantly copied by Footjoy! This time they make the Top 5 for their new shoe that is available in July. You can see it below - a killer wool covered grey and purple shoe that will be my shoe of choice on sunny days. I'm not sure how they will do in the rain, but who cares when you look this good! www.gfore.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top 10 Do and Don'ts for the PGA Merchandise Show

I have been going to "the Show", as everyone calls it, since 1989 and yes, it is golf's Groundhog Day but I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's an opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones and see the latest and greatest equipment from the big manufacturers and from those one-man bands that just might strike gold with their latest product. This piece appeared last year, but I have added a few new thoughts here to round out the Top 10 Do and Don'ts for the PGA Merchandise Show. I'll be based on
Booth #2208, Tin Cup - swing on by and say hello!

1. Don't try and sell on other people's booths. They have spent thousands on the space and months preparing for the show. You would be amazed how many people try and do this - it is just not cool. There are plenty of other spaces and occasions to sell your wares.

2. Don't make meetings just for the sake of it. Everyone is busy and aren't impressed that you have appointments every 15 minutes! Take your time and everyone will benefit.

3. Drink plenty of water. The free Pepsi isn't going to help your hydration! There are water fountains and it may well be the only free thing in the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC)!

4. Wear comfortable shoes...this is no time to break in your FootJoy teaching shoes.

5. If you want to do business, dress appropriately. Smart casual is perfect and don't dress like you are on Tour...you're not, or you would be in California or Abu Dhabi and not schlepping around the OCCC like the rest of us.

6. Eat a good breakfast at your hotel because the food in the OCCC is like a hot dog in a movie theater...overcooked and overpriced. It still beggars belief that there is no recognizable food brand represented.

7. Be very specific about where to meet your appointment. Pick a booth, preferably a small one so you can't miss the person you are meeting. Confirming your 1030 at the TaylorMade booth will almost certainly guarantee you'll still be looking for one another 20 minutes later. And remember there is nowhere to sit down in the Hall, so be prepared to stand and talk. (See no. 4!)

8. Give yourself time to move about the floor. It's a long way from the 1000 aisle to the 6000 aisle so don't make three appointments in 60 minutes in three locations. It's like trying to get from uptown to downtown in Manhattan at 4pm with no cabs - all the stars need to be aligned and it still takes twice as long as you think.

9. Be patient. Everyone is busy and often running a few minutes behind. Whether you are buying or selling they will come.

10. Take some time to wander the floor. Go see the New Products section and marvel at the craziness of this business of ours.