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The big winners from the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show

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By Zak Kozuchowski

GolfWRX Managing Editor

The 2012 PGA Merchandise Show produced enough story lines to last the rest of the year, but there were a few companies that stepped up their game this year. Here’s the GolfWRX list of the big winners from this year’s event.

TaylorMade-Adidas

TaylorMade was by far the most talked about company at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show. Products like the RocketBallz line (click here for the review) certainly helped make TaylorMade the most crowded exhibit at the show, but it was the company’s impressive show strategies that made it this year’s biggest winner.

TaylorMade’s decision to use FlightScope monitors for all of its hitting bays at demo days was a genius move. When you promise double-digit gains from a new product line, you better be able to prove it. By providing each product tested with a custom fitter, TaylorMade insured that every golfer was seeing the biggest possible distance gains. This testing process produced longer lines that other setups at demo day, but most golfers didn’t seem to mind all that much. TaylorMade offered free hotdogs and beer that made the wait easier to swallow. While golfers refueled, they could sit back on TaylorMade’s stadium bleachers and watch golf teaching legend Jim Flick explain the finer points of the golf swing.

TaylorMade continued its dominance at the Orange County Convention Center, where it had the largest presence of any company. Not only did TaylorMade have its own room at the show, it also had a VIP concert area that treated fans to a surprise Thursday night concert by George Throrogood and the Destroyers. The concert offered free food and drinks in a space that was larger than nearly every other other company’s display. Click here for pictures and discussion.

What impressed me most about TaylorMade at this year’s show, however, had nothing to do with the money the company spent on its exhibits. After a lot of negative feedback on the dull finish of the ATV wedge, TaylorMade decided to replace it with a new satin and chrome finish that is as good looking as the company’s booth babes. Click here for TaylorMade pictures and discussion. Click here for the booth babes contest.

As dominant of a force as TaylorMade is in the industry, the company proved that it’s not too big to admit a mistake, and its quick fix of the ATV wedge is a great example of why TaylorMade is on top of the industry.

Yonex

Armed with 20-year-old superstar Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese giant proved at this year’s show that they’re ready to become a major player in the U.S. The company’s large display located in the center of the show and its beautiful forged iron offerings created serious buzz from consumers. Click here for video, pictures and discussion. 

Yonex’s muscle back irons are the same model played by Ishikawa, and are made of S25 Carbon Steel from the Kyoei forging house in Japan, making it one of the best looking and best feeling blades in the world. The EZONE woods lineup also offers great looks, and Yonex’s in-house designed shafts might be one of the most interesting products this year. While U.S. consumers will likely gravitate to more established shaft companies, it’s a novel idea for Yonex to have control of the entire shaft production process.

Footjoy

Footjoy has dominated golf footwear for decades, and this year hopes to make a big splash with a full line golf apparel. It’s performance apparel collection doesn’t include a stitch of cotton,  a surprising decision from a company with such conservative roots. The company did a wonderful job of maintaining a classic look throughout the line with modern materials.

Footjoy’s XPS-1 was the most talked about golf shoe at the show, and it’s sure to be a hit in 2012.

Gary Woodland wears the shoe, which has a wide TPU designed outsole that delivers extreme stability during the golf swing. It’s offered in a variety of styles and colors, and is available in a traditional lace-up mdel, as well as in Footjoy’s BOA lacing system.

Adams Golf

 

 

The Speedline XTD Super Fairways and Super Hybrids are going to be huge hits for Adams. I didn’t test them on a launch monitor, but I didn’t need to. They’re cannons.

My only concern is the slot on the crown, which I found to be distracting. While I would probably learn to live with the look after a while, I wonder why Adams didn’t choose a matte black finish that could better conceal the slot. On the other hand, the Mercedes silver paint does offer a terrific contrast. And I believe the slot on the crown adds an extra bit of performance and forgiveness that will give the RBZ fairways and hybrids formidable competition. Click here for video and more pictures.

Click here for more discussion in the forums. 

Want to write for GolfWRX? Click here for more information.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Adams Golf Blog » PGA Show – DEMO DAY

  2. roonster

    Jan 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    played the yonex mb

    they are the softest and purest irons in the world
    they are also the most expensive
    the range needs some good wedges with a selection of lofts and bounce
    monty is back with them so that says something

  3. ben peres

    Jan 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    why is yonex not in canada

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Equipment

TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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Equipment

8 interesting putter photos from Bettinardi’s Summer Social

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Bettinardi’s annual Summer Social was held at company HQ in Tinley Park, Illinois, last week. For RJB enthusiasts from as far away as London and Japan, it’s an opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals, shoot the breeze, oh, and check out some of the coolest putters in the world.

For those of us not lucky enough to join Bob, Sam, and the 60-plus collectors in attendance, Bettinardi was kind enough to furnish us with a few photos of the one-off and limited-edition flatsticks featured at the 10th edition of the gathering.

DASS BBZero Sound Slot Wizard Ghost Face

DASS 3 Step Jam Fancy Neck Tie Dye

DASS SS38 Fancy Face

DASS BB8 Mid Sound Slot

Carbon Fred Couples Blade Fancy Neck

Raw Fred Couples Blade

DASS QB6 Mid-Slant Chitown Dog

DASS QB6 Gold Flame

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Argolf Mordred putter

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Product: Argolf Mordred putter

Pitch: From Argolf: “…each ARGOLF putter is named after an Arthurian legend.”

“Mordred was known as a notorious traitor who fought King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, where he was killed, and Arthur was fatally wounded. The images depicting Mordred are reflected in the winged design of the putter which aids in stabilization and alignment, as well as its coloring.”

“With a lower center of gravity that surpasses all mallet putters in the ARGOLF collection, Mordred boasts one of the highest MOIs available on the market. Precisely milled from a solid block of aeronautical-grade 7175 Aluminum, Mordred appeals to the eye with its clean and sophisticated look. Using the most advanced technology, Mordred is shaped through a 5-axis milling process that differentiates itself from its competitors in design and performance due to its aerodynamic features.”

Our take on the Argolf Mordred putter

When you are dreaming of your next high-end milled putter, Argolf might not be the first name that pops into your head. Argolf is a French company founded in 2010 by a couple of aeronautical industrialists and a golf professional. By combining the expertise from both sites, Argolf has created a line of milled putters that not only look like art but with performance that rivals more well-known brands.

Mordred is a large mallet that boasts a very low center of gravity and super high MOI. Milled out of a solid block of aerospace-grade 7175 aluminum, the design is influenced by the aerodynamic lines from F1 race cars. The face features Argolf’s C-Claw technology that produces a more consistent forward roll without skidding. The Mordred is finished off with a single orange site line, a black PVD shaft, and a Pure midsize grip.

When you open the box, you are greeted with a nice grey and orange head cover that feels high quality and durable. Headcover removed, you will say hello to one of the larger mallet putters you have ever tried. The finish is a matte dark gray that eliminates glare and contrasts well with the orange paint fill. Traditionally high end milled putters have milling lines on most of the head and ARGOLF hid most of those in this head. The milling lines and marks are still visible on the rounded sections, but any flat surface is perfectly smooth. From what I have been told by machinists, it is more expensive to remove those lines and marks.

Any mallet putter that boasts high MOI, the style is going to be love or hate. At first, I was taken back by how busy the Mordred is, but out on the course, those flowing lines melt away. Not once was I distracted by them while lining up a putt. Size is going to take some getting used to as it just frames the ball different than any other mallet I have tried.

Feel and sound is where Mordred really shines. I have putted with aluminum putters before, and depending on the design they can have a different sound or feel. The C-Claw face really offers a softer feel and sound with just a slight click at impact. Not as crisp as carbon steel, just a little more muted and I enjoyed the sounds and feel with the Titleist AVX.

ARGOLF’s C-Claw technology does what it says and gets the ball rolling with zero skidding, even on long uphill putts. Putting side-by-side with a standard faced putter you could easily see tell the difference in the first foot of roll. Some face technologies can cause issues with distance control, but every putt rolled out to the expected distance. Compared to a traditionally milled face the Mordred will roll a fraction farther, but something that is easy to adjust to with a handful of putts on the practice green.

Shots off center go almost exactly where you aimed; the toe miss leaks just a touch right. Putts struck on the heel go straight and lose minimal distance while feeling still very solid. Toe strikes leak a hair right and are met with a small amount of vibration letting you know you missed the center of the putter.

Overall, Argolf’s Mordred putter is a great option for someone who is looking for a super forgiving putter. A minor complaint is no grip options for a putter at this price. I like a standard size, firmer grip and there are no other options to select from. The other thing that could become an issue is how well the finish holds up. I always use the headcover when I am not using my putter and the finish still has a few minor marks on it. If you are anti-headcover you might notice faster wear. Those are pretty small issues, and I think that ARGOLF has a really solid putter here.

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