Cool Stuff At The 2016 PGA Merchandise Show


Cool Stuff At The 2016 PGA Merchandise Show

January 27, 2016

Indigo polos

You can’t re-invent the polo each season, nor should you for that matter, but a couple of brands have made some interesting updates to classic golf styles by using indigo dyes on their shirts. Indigo is special for a number of reasons but its mostly recognizable for incredible color saturation as well as very distinctive wear patterns. Indigo can range in shades but on the color's darkest spectrum the navy is so rich it almost looks like wet ink! Secondly indigo literally wears with you. Think about your favorite pair of jeans that have the whiskers where you sit and perfect creases behind the knees. Well, these indigo polos will show the same wear marks the longer you live in these looks. Keep your eye out for two fresh indigo styles from State Apparel and AG Green Label next fall. -- Alex Holmes

Self-V Fairway Headcover

Want to videotape your swing on the golf course, but have no one to capture your movement? This product from Swing Snap Golf has a phone placeholder in its headcover. Set your bag at the angle you want to tape your swing, press play on your phone's camera and voilà. -- JB

Bushnell Tour V4/Tour V4 Slope Rangefinders

The newest editions of the company’s rangefinder line are smaller, lighter and easier to hold than previous models. Both have the company’s “Jolt” technology that vibrates the device when a distance is locked in. The Tour V4 Slope model measures elevation changes to give more detailed distance information, and can be used in competition under USGA rules when the slope feature is turned off. SRP: Tour V4, $299; Tour V4 Slope, $399. Available in April. -- Ryan Herrington

The Putting Stroke

If the genius of a training aid lies in its effectiveness and its simplicity, the Putting Stroke ($30) deserves a gold medal. It’s light and easy to use, and it offers instant and valuable feedback. Once I strapped it to the grip of a putter and set up to the ball, I was told to adjust the top rod so that it gently rested on my forearms. That quickly told me that my right forearm was set slightly higher than my left, so I made the fix and leveled them out. And when I made a stroke, the training aid helped the putter stay on the proper path (one that feels straight back and straight through, but actually curves ever so slightly on an arc). Also, if your wrists tend to be too active during your putting stroke, this training aid will help them stay quiet. -- Ashley Mayo

Golf Pride Tour SNSR grips

To help golfers keep their hands from shaking on the putter, this wrap's contour, pistol-like shape keeps the grip firm and sound through the stroke. Additionally, a soft rubber material prevents the user from holding the putter too tightly, ensuring good tempo. -- Joel Beall


A lot of us are guilty of fixing punch marks on greens incorrectly. Sticking in a tee or ball mark tool at the side and popping it up in the middle rips the roots underneath, making it hard for the grass to grow back. The retracting three prongs on the Pitchfix slide into the middle of the punch mark, and then when you pull straight up, the teardrop shape of the prongs pull the grass back up with minimal root damage. -- Keely Levins

Champ Pivix Spikes

Champ has a new low-profile spike out, and it’s already found its way into Jordan Spieth’s shoes. The Pivix clear is compatible with all spike systems, so no matter what shoes you have, you can have the same lightweight, flexible spikes as Jordan. Well, almost the same. His are, obviously, Texas orange. Pivix will be available in February. -- KL

The Swing Wizard

Wizard Golf has a new swing aid: the Swing Wizard. Taking practice swings with this long, two-headed club improves your swing plane, forces you to hinge your wrists at the right spot, and teaches you to have your hands forward at impact. It’s $100 on their website. Just make sure you don’t try and hit any balls with it – it’s for practice swings only. -- KL

Big Max Autofold FF

Push carts are becoming the smarter, healthier way to walk your next round, but the wheeled bag carriers still struggle with two nagging problems: getting the things to fit neatly in the back of your car, and well folding and unfolding them without using a screwdriver and an instruction guide. Big Max, the dominant push cart in Europe, offers its new Autofold FF with solutions to both problems. The Autofold FF retracts from full size in just a push of a single lever. Like its predecessor, the Blade+, the Autofold FF folds flat enough to fit in the space between the front and back seat of your car. Due out later this spring, it will retail for $270. -- Mike Stachura

Popticals Foldable Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a near-must for anyone who plays golf, if for nothing else than to protect the eyes. But many players eschew wearing them due to the inconvenience of their bulk. One first-time exhibitor at the PGA Merchandise Show is attempting to solve that issue. Popticals are high-quality sunglasses that features a patented system that allows the frame to collapse and the lenses to slide together for compact storage. Powerful magnets guides the connecting pieces in the center of the frames for ease of connection and folding (the folded glasses can easily fit in your pocket). The polarized lenses eliminate glare and the Grilmede frame is heat and cold resistant—which is important for outdoor wear as no one needs their frames burning their skin. The glasses range from $169 to $249. -- E. Michael Johnson

Tour Spin Club Washer

Using high-water pressure and spinning nozzles, this machine can thorough wash and clean all your sticks in less than one minute. The high-water pressure, unlike brushes or towels, does not scratch the club face, thus saving the spin on your grooves. Better yet, the machine comes equipped with an adjoining ball washer. -- Joel Beall

Full Swing S4 Simulator

If you’re looking for a simulator but the $50,000 price tag has scared you off, Full Swing has a better option. Their new simulator, the S4, starts at $25,000. They got the price down by taking out the wood enclosure they have on their other models, and the noise canceling. Removing intricate and expensive add ons let them push the price down while still keeping their high level of technology. The S4 has up to 93 championship courses pre-loaded in the system, and it also has a lot of gaming capabilities. One of my favorites: the long drive contest pictured here. There’s our office over to the right! Another game is trying to hit through the uprights, while a virtual linebacker is charging at you. If that doesn’t pick up your pace of play, nothing will. -- Keely Levins

Golf Skate Caddy

For golf courses trying to combat slow play, this product is right up their alley. The Golf Skate Caddy, which is a golf cart designed like a surfboard, claims to speed up play by 50 percent. The GSC is equipped with with a cooler, cup-holder, bag holder and smartphone connection, which can allow music to be played through the configuration. -- Joel Beall

Oakley's Lifestyle Golf Frames

If you’ve always wanted golf-specific sunglasses that look like I’m-strolling-around-NYC-on-a-Sunday-afternoon sunglasses, look no further than Oakley’s new line of lifestyle frames ($150-160). The MainLink, ThinLink, Sliver and Turbine frames, new for 2016, have Oakley’s golf-specific “prizm” lenses. These lenses, which used to be available only in the more technical-looking frames like the M2 and Fast Jacket, enhance all the fine details of a golf course (such as the contours on the greens) by controlling light transmission and maximizing contrast. So there you have it: You can now look like a cool New Yorker while playing your favorite course. -- Ashley Mayo

JBA Awards Trophies

Ever dream about hoisting the claret jug? How about capturing the Wanamaker Trophy, or a World Golf Championship? JBA Awards can make that wish come true. No, they can't improve your golf game, but this company has a host of famous replica trophies, as well as original designs, for all your ceremony and award needs. -- Joel Beall

Golf Ireland

Material items aren't the only things on display at the PGA Merchandise Show. Also on exhibit are experiences. The Ireland booth promotes numerous golf-centric trip packages to the country. Given the Emerald Isle's multitude of beautiful links, the consumer has an array of options. -- Joel Beall

Golf Pride Tech Enabled Grip

You’ve probably heard of Golf Pride, but maybe you haven’t heard of Game Golf. Their product lets you track your stats by putting a small circular device into the end of each of your grips. There’s also a larger device that you clip to your belt. Before you hit a shot, tap the end of your club on the device on your belt, it’ll synch with your smart phone and tell you all the stats you could ever want. Game Golf isn’t the only company with technology like this. But, their partnership with Golf Pride that was just announced changes things. Together, the two companies have built a grip that seamlessly integrates Game Golf tech into a Tour Velvet Golf Pride grip. The grip is the same weight as a normal Tour Velvet grip, which was a big deal to the tour players they’re working with. The technology isn’t changing the grip in anything but aesthetics: that small red band at the top is the Game Golf technology. The product is still very new - new enough that it’s not out yet and they aren’t releasing pricing info. More will come out about the new product in March., -- Keely Levins

Arccos Driver Tracking System

The popularity of stat-tracking continues to expand. For those reluctant to pay a larger fee for one of the systems, Arccos has released a driver-only tracking device at an affordable price. The thought? Provide an entry point for golfers who don’t want to pay more than $300 for a 14-club set, Arccos founder Sal Syed said. At $80, the Bluetooth sensor plugs into the butt end of a driver, just as the rest of the system does. Now the same driving distance, driving accuracy and other stats are available for the driver only. The product was introduced Wednesday at the PGA Show and is available for pre-order at on Jan. 27, shipping in April. -- Stephen Hennessey

Biion Golf Shoes

Trying to crack the footwear category is always a difficult task, especially with a dominant market leader in FootJoy and strength from companies such as Nike and Adidas. That didn’t stop Rick Buchanan, a former fashion industry exec who is the founder and CEO of Biion Golf, from giving it a shot. Of course, Buchanan knew his entry into the category needed to be different, and it is. The Biion shoes are made entirely of Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA), resulting in a lightweight shoe that slips on, molds to the foot and is meant to be worn without socks (but don’t worry about your feet stinking them up—the EVA has microbial odor resistance). The spikeless outsole has a hexagon pattern that provides the grip and the show is built low to the ground to promote better balance (think Sam Snead practicing in bare feet). The shoes come in a myriad of styles and colors and patterns ranging from traditional to a little more on the wild side. Plus you can wear them virtually anywhere. Prices are $110 for solid colors and $110 for patterns. -- E. Michael Johnson

Links & Kings Trunk Caddy

Keeping your gear organized when taking a golf trip can be a challenge, but the folks at Links Kings have things figured out. The two-level suitcase has separate storage areas for shirts, shoes, gloves, hats and golf balls that make finding things simple. But this is no junkie duffle; the all-leather design is available in three colors: black, tan and cafe brown. SRP: $450 -- Ryan Herrington

Tropical Trend (Maide)

Hawaiian prints will continue to be a focus next Fall as several brands are still showing super cool iterations of this theme in a ton of fresh ways. Maide, Bonobos’ dedicated links-wear line, highlighted these three tropical short sleeve tech polos in their Fall collection. -- Alex Holmes

Tropical Trend (RLX Ralph Lauren)

RLX Ralph Lauren also confirmed that they would feature these floral looks (shorts to be subbed for pants, of course) in two of Billy Horschel’s four 2016 Major scripts. These are bold moves that obviously require some level confidence no matter where you wear them but, if you’re looking for a fun print to elevate your game next season, keep your eye out for this motif on everything from hats to headcovers. -- Alex Holmes

Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group

Newsflash: Golf equipment can be really, really expensive. And any market filled with high-priced products is prone to imitation, forged items, seeking to prey on consumers searching for a deal. The Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group -- comprised of manufacturers such as Titleist, Callaway-Odyssey and Ping -- aims to protect consumers by helping educate and inform. Additionally, the group works with law enforcement agencies to smoke out and shutdown counterfeit operations. Before buying a club, check out this association’s website to make sure you aren’t being tricked. -- Joel Beall

Seamus Hand-Forged Ballmarkers

Available in steel, copper and bronze, the latest in Seamus line of modish ball markers is a diamond design that is roughly an 3Ž4-inch tall and wide. The company also offers the same size in a round design complementing its inch markers. SRP: $24-$30 -- Ryan Herrington

Linksoul Trucker Hat

Somebody call Ashton Kutcher, the trucker hat is officially trending on the golf market. While I was never really a fan of this fad the first time around I will say these next gen styles have come a heck of a long way from the OG John Deer ones. After only a few hours at the show I saw tons of sharp lids from brands like GFore, RLX and New Era. Some of the coolest gear I saw came from low key lifestyle brand, Linksoul. I think the key to the Trucker 2.0 is the tonal coloration. All of the best headgear I saw in this style matched the mesh in the back to the business in the front for a subtle and stylish touch. If you were waiting for this revival, trust me, it’ll be open season for these things come next Fall. -- Alex Holmes

BioMech Putting App

Virtual teaching may be all the rage in golf these days thanks to cloud-based data storage and online interconnectivity that allows teacher and student to share video and even Face Time their way through lessons. But this new subscription-based putting sensor and app looks to make the virtual literally hands on. Developed by the team at BioMech Sports, whose ergonomically inspired anchoring alternative putter already is making inroads on the PGA Tour, it features a sensor that clips to the shaft of any putter to measure an array of elements in the putting stroke, including face angle, swing path and acceleration. While those kinds of measurements aren’t revolutionary, what is new is how the app can analyze your flaws in real time and can be programmed to instantly alert you with lights or a tone when you make a wrong move, like decelerating. In the Internet of Things, Big Data is watching you, but in this case it might just be a good thing. -- Mike Stachura

Blast Motion Swing Analyzer

Attached the sensor at the end of the grip on any club and you’ll immediate get bio-metric feedback you can use to help improve the consistency of your stroke, whether it’s full swing, wedges or putting. At the basic level, the device measures the timing of your stroke. It then offers you drills on how to improve the timing to replicate that of tour professionals. But the sensor also captures data on trajectory, speed and velocity that can pinpoint specific areas to focus on. SRP: $150 -- Ryan Herrington

Historic Scottish Golf

You would expect products in the "New Exhibits" row to be, well, new, right? Not the case at Historic Scottish Golf. This group specializes in preserving and selling antiques, including clubs, balls, books, trophies, apparel and other memorabilia. While other entities at the show sport items that are the latest and greatest, Historic Scottish Golf can make a claim no one else can: They're inventory is timeless. -- Joel Beall

Steve Lotus Golf Art

The best endorsement a business can have is the acknowledgment and respect of its competitors. That's the case with the artwork created by Steve Lotus. In talking to dealers on the floor, all would like to sell you their designs, yet most would admit, "While you're here, check out the Lotus collection." And they're right: The attention to detail and sparkle on his art is a visceral experience. The photos pictured are the 2015 major courses. -- Joel Beall

Impactsnap Training Aid

Many amateurs' swing flaws emit from poor wrist and hand technique. The Impactsnap believes it has found the solution to this problem. With a simple "click" sound, the ImpactSnap device -- comprised of a golf grip, small steel attachment and ball -- lets it's user know when proper motion has been attained, and when the hand/wrist ailment is out of whack. It's easy to use, takes up little room, and offers immediate feedback. -- Joel Beall

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