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Here to Stay: 5 Top Trends from the PGA Merchandise Show



The GolfWRX team was in Orlando for the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show to bring you live coverage of the event. Now that we’re back in Detroit, it’s time to make sense of it all.

It’s always fun to see the latest golf equipment, apparel and gadgets, but it’s even more fun to predict what products have the potential to change the way golfers play the game.

Goofy training aids and novelty items will always have their place at the PGA Merchandise show — it’s actually part of the charm — but they aren’t likely to revolutionize golf or the industry.

On the other hand, there were products that were truly innovative, and will help golfers improve their games, have more fun, or both. Here are five top trends we think will have a positive impact on golf for years to come.

Launch Monitors and Indoor Golf


Like the introduction of video analysis, launch monitors and swing tracking devices have transformed golf instruction and how the game is understood — and they were everywhere at the Orange County Convention Center.

Doppler Radar launch monitors FlightScope and Trackman have earned their keep as the premier club/ball tracking devices, but we also saw a slew of other options — especially those that are designed to work indoors. Some products cost as much as luxury cars, while others were cheaper than a nice steak dinner for two.

One of our favorite simulators was from Full Swing Golf, which uses a combination of infrared and camera technologies to give users accurate ball and club data. With the addition of Swing Catalyst, golfers can also see how their weight moves during their swing simultaneously with high-speed video.

“We’re a launch monitor first and a simulator second,” said Chad Coleman, vice president of marketing and sales for the company — but that doesn’t mean that the simulator part was a second priority. Golf shots hit on Full Swing Golf systems appear on the screen in real time, and course displays are digital, not photographs, which makes course play more realistic.

After announcing partnerships with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, Full Swing was arguably the hottest simulator at the Show. Units start at $45,900.

Looking for a more affordable fix? Portable devices such as those from Epson and SwingByte, which work with smart devices through Bluetooth, attach to any golf club to offer data on swing speed, path, tempo and a lot more. They also display swings in 3D through their respective apps.

Epson’s M-Tracer will sell for $299 when it is released, while the SwingByte 2 currently sells for $169.

Science and Motion (SAM) PuttLab 5 brings launch and swing analysis into the putter realm. It uses ultrasound and algorithms to track your putting stroke and provides feedback on launch, path, face angle, tempo, impact and more. You can even watch a graphic replay of your swing on TV if you have it connected to a monitor.

As this technology evolves, the most coveted tee times could become those slotted after the sun goes down.

Putter Adjustability and Counterbalancing


Adjustability in golf clubs is hot in the equipment industry and for very good reason. With a few clicks of a wrench, golfers can dial in the loft, lie angle face angle and head weight of their clubs.

Putters, for the most part, have been neglected by the mainstream — but that’s beginning to change.

Happy Putter, invented by Vikash Sanyal, the founder of Never Compromise putters, allows golfers to adjust lie angle, loft, head weight and offset.


The smiley-faced putter has 484 total configurations — making it more adjustable than any club on the market.

Counterbalanced putter grips have caught the attention of golfers — especially with the looming ban on anchored putters in 2016 — because they add more stability to the stroke. But not all new counterbalanced grips are created equal.


Nike’s new CounterFlex putter grips allow golfers to adjust where the counterbalancing weight is located with a sliding 70-gram weight that is secured inside the grip. In our testing, there was a noticeable difference in feel when the weight was located in the bottom of the grip versus the top of the grip. Golfers will get more counterbalancing effect if they locate the weight at the top of the grip, but like all things in golf equipment, results vary.

SuperStroke introduced it’s +Plus Series grips at the show, which allow golfers to turn any putter into a counterbalanced putter.


With SuperStroke’s “CounterCore,” golfers can add a 50-gram weight plug inside the butt end of the grip without removing the grip or adding adhesive, allowing them to switch from a counterbalanced putter to a non-counterbalanced putter with the turn of a wrench.

The +Plus Series grips come in three sizes: 2.0XL (big), 3.0XL (bigger) and Flatso 2.0XL, which has a wide, flat front that offers a different feel.

Club Fitting Made Easier

Isn’t it frustrating when you want to try a certain shaft with your favorite driver head, but their adjustable tips aren’t compatible with each other?


Club Conex’s new UniFit adapters allow golfers to try just about any shaft with any club head. It works with three pieces — one that replaces the adapter inside an adjustable club head, one that attaches to the shaft and one that sandwiches between. The adapters offer 12 unique settings and 1 degree of adjustment.

It’s idealistic to think that universal adapters could become common place in the industry — different equipment companies use different adapter technologies to further their own designs — but it’s great that gear heads (like us) who like to test multiple club heads from multiple manufacturers now have an inexpensive way to do so.

The target market for UniFit is club fitters looking to reduce shaft inventory, and we anticipate that we’ll see a lot of them make the switch to this technology.

Cool Clubs, a custom club-fitter based in Scottsdale, uses its new S3 Shaft Analyzer to measure every shaft parameter and has compiled a database of over 1,000 shafts. The app, which costs $20 for a year subscription, allows golfers to see the results from every shaft in Cool Clubs’ database.


Comparing shaft parameters has never been easier, and as golfers demand more information before they buy shafts, this trend isn’t going anywhere.

Niche clubs

Most of the GolfWRX Staff originally found the site through their yearning to know more about the clubs tour players were using. For that reason, we’re glad to see major equipment companies releasing more tour-inspired, niche products.

Sure, more frequent releases create year-long interest in golf equipment brands and can possibly boost sales, but what we like is that it gives golfers access to clubs that they otherwise may not have been able to purchase.


Callaway’s new Mack Daddy PM-Grind wedges were designed by Phil Mickelson, and a high-toe design and extended grooves make hitting open-faced shots easier and create more spin.


TaylorMade’s AeroBurner MiniDriver further proves the point that specialty clubs can have staying power.


Its predecessor, the SLDR MiniDriver, was released in 2014 as an oversized fairway wood designed for use off the tee. It was redesigned for 2015 as part of the company’s AeroBurner line, proving that specialty clubs don’t have to be one-hit wonders.

Golf clothes that don’t look like golf clothes

To the chagrin of traditionalists, snapback hats, flat-brim hats and spikeless, sporty shoes are here to stay, and there was a wealth of apparel companies offering products that fit the trend.


We’re not saying Rickie Fowler had everything to do with this, but it’s no coincidence that his big hats and bright-colored outfits have gained traction since his arrival on Tour.

Golf clothes seem to want to look like anything other than golf clothes right now, even on the traditional side. Spikeless shoes may have just been the start.

Full 2015 PGAM Coverage

Show Stoppers: Demo Day
Show Stoppers: Day 2
Show Stoppers: Day 3

Visit our 2015 PGAM forum to see all the photos and discussion.

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  1. Sam

    Jan 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for a good overview but you missed the best putting system- Its way superior to SAM with actual data from cameras not algorithms.

    • MGolfer

      Jan 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      SAM measures the real 3D movement of the putter with 6 degrees of freedom. Cameras can not do this, algorithms are needed to calculate movements out of camera pictures. So it’s the opposite of what Sam is writing.
      Also Quintic mainly focusses on ball roll, for putter movement they use a small sticker for detection. Putter data is only available in the impact zone with Quintic.

  2. Daniel

    Jan 28, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I think the future of golf needs to be an affordable in-home simulation unit. This will allow players from all across the country to play against each other at anytime of the day which would accommodate most people with full-time jobs. The competitive online and high quality simulation would really increase the amount of young people and definitely allow for sustained participation in golf in the future.

    The current trend of building elaborate home simulation systems for 45,000+ Does not allow for the average person to have access to these type of simulators. I think companies like foresight and the like have a correct with affordable, accurate and portable launch monitors. I look forward to playing around of golf with friends after work especially since I live in the Northeast.

    • Jay V.

      Jan 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Great insight here. If you fast forward 20 years, we’ll be able to play in the basement against the wall projection asynchronously or synchronously with our buddies like kids do now with Call of Duty (or whatever the latest one is). Bang a quick nine out on your lunch… save and send it to the boys… and catch up after work for the back nine in the winter.

  3. Jake Anderson

    Jan 28, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Those simulators are awesome. Way too expensive still, but maybe in a few years time…?
    Every golfer needs one of those in his home and they should not cost more than 2000 $.

    • Billy

      Jan 28, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      I think that SkyTrak from SkyGolf has come up with a launch monitor in the price range you are talking about. Apparently they are going to partner with WGC for simulation purposes. Right now I think they have a promotion for $300 off of a unit through Facebook, using SKYTRAK300 through January 31, 2015. Hopefully, they will continue to run the promotion after the 31st. Hope this is helpful.

  4. setter02

    Jan 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Counter balanced putters are a fade that just hasn’t run its course yet, it will in a few seasons. Only reason stuff like this is coming to market i for consumers to think that there is real inovation being done to get more money out of your wallets. A bad putter will still be abad putter regardless of whats in their hands. Where are all the wedges above 60* now? Same with the ‘min i drivers’ I game one because I like it, but also have the club head speed to use it. But I don’t doubt for a second that a 983K couldn’t do exactly the same thing at the shorter length off the tee.

    We all like new toys, but the hype surrounding things is grose, the constant marketing is too much. Not many clubs of today can honesly out perform the best of 10 years ago.

    • Ben

      Jan 28, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Counter balanced clubs have been around for decades. This is not a new idea or technology.

      • setter02

        Jan 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        Agreed, not new ‘technology’ to wrx members, but for the VAST majority of weekend warriors it is. You can’t take stuff from this site and translate it to the other 99% out there that play this game. That 99% is what keeps golf alive and what OEM’s are catering towards in their marketing schemes. Why else do you think TM sells so many drivers with crap stock shafts, certainly not based on lack of competition and superior performance.

    • Joe Duffer

      Jan 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      +1 Well said

  5. Shallowface

    Jan 27, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I screwed up watching Golf Channel’s coverage of the show.
    I took a drink every time I heard the word technology. I was blitzed in 30 minutes.

  6. ABgolfer2

    Jan 27, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Nobody is dressing like Ricky Fowler off the course,

  7. Merty Huckle

    Jan 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    ok, where are the show pics showing products?

  8. Rich

    Jan 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    All well and good to have the universal fittings for heads and shafts but the additional adapters are going to add weight to the club head and totally change the balance of the club. Good idea but will need to improve before they will be truely revolutionary.

  9. Baltazar

    Jan 27, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Most golfers are dressing like little boys instead of gentleman. Whatever happened to clean leather shoes nice slacks and a solid color polo. Phills doing it right.

    • R

      Jan 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      It’s because we lost a lot of golfers and need a way to bring new, young kids into it to maintain the growth of the sport. At least the men are still wearing pants/slacks instead of shorts and polos instead of t-shirts or cut-offs, unlike the women who are dressed like clowns going to the stripper proms. There’s no respect in the women’s game’s images, and we’re all supposed to succumb to the argument that it’s sexist if we don’t let them play dress up? Pathetic.

    • Rich

      Jan 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm


    • Anders

      Jan 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      You don’t know the answer to your own question? Sad.

  10. Jeremy

    Jan 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    But… the Golf Board. That’s the only trend that matters.

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Whats in the Bag

Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2021 Fortinet Championship



Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 130 MSI 60 TX

3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI 80 TX

5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX

Irons: Titleist 620MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X (46-56), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (60)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Putter: Scotty Cameron T5.5 Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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Whats in the Bag

Maverick McNealy WITB 2021 (September)



  • Maverick McNealy WITB accurate as of the Fortinet Championship.

Driver: Callaway Epic Speed (10 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX

4-wood: Callaway Epic Speed (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (22 degrees), Nike VR Pro MB (4-9)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 105 X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway MD Forged (48 @47, 52-10 @51, 56-12 @55).25, Callaway MD4 (58 @60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Toulon Stanford MM Custom

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft**

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Whats in the Bag

Kristoffer Broberg’s winning WITB: 2021 Dutch Open



  • Kristoffer Broberg what’s in the bag accurate as of the Dutch Open

Driver: Callaway Epic Speed (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 60 TX

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana TB 70 TX

5-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 2019 (4-6), Callaway Apex MB (7-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks Design Proto (52-M), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (56-08M, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless T2 SSS

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

Thanks to SMS_on_Tour for the photos.

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