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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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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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

Chief Engineer Chris Voshall on Mizuno’s approach to the Tour and some of the most insightful pros

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Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall chatted with Johnny Wunder on the latest episode of the Gear Dive.

Voshall offers innumerable interesting anecdotes–particularly interesting is the development of the JPX 900 iron for Brooks Koepka and Voshall’s discussion of his work with other Tour talents.

In the excerpt below, however, Voshall discusses Mizuno’s approach to Tour players and further, whose feedback has proven particularly valuable.

“We’re not making them something special. If they’re coming to us, it’s because the product is that good…They come to us instead of us having to go to them…that’s one of the really exciting things.”

Voshall indicated that players on Tour play essentially the same Mizuno products that are available at retail.

“If the Tour van is out of inventory, they can reach out to us…and we’ll get them more heads. There’s nothing unique about what they’re playing, which I think speaks to the customer…you can almost not trust marketing around the whole world these days, but for us to say ‘there’s nothing different’…that’s something we really hang our hat on.”

With respect to excellent testers on Tour, Voshall sang Luke Donald’s praises, as well as Jhonny Vegas and Brian Gay.

“I love working with Luke. Luke, especially when you’re talking irons…turf interaction, that’s the thing he’s looking for. So with Luke, you’ve really got to speak to him about how it feels, how it enter, how it exits [the turf] and how that’s causing the ball to launch. You could give him the exact same head with a slightly different sole grind, and he will love or hate one versus the other. He’s really cool to work with on that front.”

“Jhonny Vegas…he’s raw power. He goes at it. He wants to slam the club into the ground as hard as he can and see where it goes. He very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as Luke, who’s very much an artist out there, trying to work it, trying to do different things.”

“One of my favorite guys to work with, even though he’s not on staff anymore, is Brian Gay. He knows his game. He knows equipment. Speaking to the fact that he’s been out on Tour as long as he has and has the wins he has with the length he hits the ball, it shows that he does not miss a shot. And he knows everything…when he makes a comment on a club, that’s the one that I take most serious.”

For the rest of Voshall’s insights and perspective, give the full podcast a listen below.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: Srixon Z-785 driver, Z-U85 utility irons

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We recently spotted new Srixon Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons, which are likely future replacements for Srixon’s Z-765 driver and Z-U65 utility irons. Srixon is staying hush on the tech details at the moment but did allow us to take photos of the new equipment.

Released in 2016, the Z-765 driver was a smaller-profile, lower-launching counterpart offering to the Z-565 driver, so it could be possible that there is also a Z-585 driver, counter to the Z-785 driver that we spotted. Also, it appears the Z-U85 utility irons come in at least 5 different lofts: 2-6 irons.

See more photos below, and check out discussion on the Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons.

Srixon Z-785

See more photos and discussion about the driver

Srixon Z-U85

 

See more photos and discussion about the irons

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Apparel Reviews

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit: 2018 U.S. Open

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Brooks Koepka played like he dressed on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills for the final round of the U.S. Open; his outfit was athletic, well put together, boring with a bit of flash (those shoes!!), and most importantly, it got the job done.

See the golf clubs and shafts Brooks used to win.

A great representative of the new age of golf, Koepka has the frame of a baseball player, and he’s not afraid to accentuate it with tight-fitting polos and an athletic look. For Sunday, he chose a white-on-gray-on-gray look that was understated, but clean — just like his scorecard. He really made the Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE shoes, with hits of electric orange, the star. Check out the details on his full outfit below.

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit

  • Hat: Nike AeroBill Classic99
  • Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling polo
  • Belt: Nike Stretch Woven
  • Pants: Nike Flex
  • Shoes: Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE
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