PGA Show: Reflecting on a week in Orlando

Golf Equipment

NCG equipment editor James Savage looks back on a trip to the PGA Show over in Orlando, Florida.

If you followed our social media channels at the back end of January, you’ll have noticed we were at the PGA Show in Orlando.

It’s a crazy week which involves two long flights, lots of driving, walking, meetings, interviews, new gear and gadgets, a bit of golf and the odd massive steak with onion rings.

We gathered some fantastic content and got to speak with some of the coolest and most influential people in the industry.

Particularly in the winter, working in golf can be a bit of a grind here in the UK.

Routine consists of daily emails letting you know which holes (if any) will be operating on frost greens and a general longing for the clocks to go forward or at least for the mercury to nudge above 3˚C.

PGA Show – day 1 diary

 

But heading to Florida with the rest of the UK golf media to where every golf equipment brand known to man has something to show off and talk about can have a hugely energising effect.

There’s a buzz about the place. Thousands of people descend on the Orange County Convention Centre – which is even bigger than the Tesco Extra in Slough – and they are all there for the same reason.

A couple of show visitors came up to praise the videos on our YouTube channel – telling us to keep up the good work. The Golf Channel are broadcasting live from the show every day.

It makes you glad to be working in golf. As you look around, you feel like it’s a thriving industry.

But there’s one small problem. We live in the UK where the level of enthusiasm just isn’t on the same scale.

PGA Show – day 2 diary

 

We don’t have the climate for all-year round golf but there’s still more that can be done to grow the game outside of the hardcore players who play throughout the winter.

More short courses for beginners, the banning of dress codes, personal parking spaces and jacket-only clubhouses would all be a step in the direction. Believe it or not I’d much rather attend a buzzing PGA Show here in the UK than travel all that way.

Friends reunited..

One of the best moments of the PGA Show for me was catching up with Bob Vokey. We’d met for a wedge fitting about 18 months ago – a highlight for the man who’d fitted Seve, Tiger and Rory – so it was great to catch up. The interview will form part of a new series where I help you get to know guys like ‘Voke’ a bit better.

Warm hospitality..

We were very lucky this year as we had access to the fantastic practice facilities at Reunion Resort, Orlando, to film dozens of equipment and instruction videos. We also had access to the superb Palmer and Watson courses. And thanks to Champions Gate for letting us film on the International Course. Look out for the videos!

PGA Show – day 3 diary

Best in show?

Many people have asked me what I thought was the best piece of new kit at the PGA Show. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot I hadn’t already seen but the Foresight QC Quad launch monitor, Ping Sigma G putters, Callaway Mack Daddy Forged wedges and new Titleist Pro V1 ball all impressed me. Busy year of testing ahead…

What I’ve tested this month..

You can’t survive at the PGA Show without a decent pair of spikeless golf shoes. All-day comfort is essential and there’s opportunities to hit balls at every other stand.

PGA Show – day 4 diary

 

Thankfully Ecco sent me a pair of their new Cage Pro which I have to say were more than up to the job. I was sceptical about how the unusual ‘Spydr-grip’ outsole would perform away from the course but it felt like I was wearing a comfortable pair of trainers while stomping around the Convention Centre.

The soft leather adds comfort and style. They were also fine for driving and offered superb traction when they finally made it to the golf course.

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