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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.

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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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Whats in the Bag

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

5095fce33e880406a172796becbc64f8 6900daf1b0d2a2751ffa5557ac3865f7 2340677acd0b3c6d0f53ae8fa46c2024 80f602716821fd9518f148951913c9c0 4df372aac347ad61f031f519a1fd1edb 48039d9dfced6272ba047b51e6265d03 6fecf1d551cb1559587f1f17392ba7c8 0519679f5fdaaae2ffbaf2d97c0def72 5445ea5d9987cddfda04efba5d2f1efd

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X

3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Equipment

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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