Friday, January 28, 2011

PGA Show Day 2 Journal - Part I

Day 2 was the actual first day of the PGA Merchandise Show. I’ll post pictures over the weekend. I’m starting to think the Orange County Convention Center is much bigger than Atlanta’s World Congress Center after getting lost trying to get to the shuttle that would take me back to my car which was parked in Timbuktu.

The plan was to stay until 2 or so and then comeback for Friday and perhaps Saturday. But I soon decided I should just get everything I wanted to get in for the show and take Friday and the weekend off. Lots of similar type of people as with the Demo Day, some friendly, some very aloof. They do jump to the buyers who have an orange card. Not that I blame them, but if you’re a smaller company I would pay attention to somebody like myself who is on an editorial media pass because I’m the type of outlet that helps promote products which helps increase their popularity and net in more customers which will eventually draw in those big buyers. So if I have questions, don’t brush me off.

At the show I got to meet up with John Graham, Lynn Blake, David Edel, Mark Sweeney, David Graham from the Faldo Institute (no, not *that* David Graham), Brian Manzella and Bobby Siravo.

I met with the Bushnell people with their new ‘hybrid’ product. What this is a GPS and a rangefinder combined into one product. So let’s say a golfer is hitting their approach shot to the green, they can get a GPS reading to the middle of the green and then shoot at the flag stick with the rangefinder if they’d like.

The hybrid is *tiny*. I’ll have a pic this week showing it in comparison to their 1600 rangefinder and it’s nearly ½ the size. They plan on adding Pinseeker technology which helps the golfer hit the target with the rangefinder. No slope edition in either, but they are planning on doing that.


Spoke with the Scratch Golf people and the first question I asked them is with Trackman being able to measure attack angle, do they have any set guidelines with regards to measured attack angle and the grinds that a golfer can use. They do not have that and they said there are other variables as well such as what type of surface you play on, like somebody in the Texas hardpan probably will not want much bounce even if they do hit down on it quite a bit. I think it probably wouldn’t be a horrible idea to try and incorporate that grind to attack angle because it would give a ballpark and guideline for people.

Scratch offers *3* different versions of irons…regular retail irons. ‘Tour Department.’ And ‘Flatback.’ I was told that the Retail will be much more customizeable soon because they are in the process of getting their forgings done from Japan to a place in Chicago (about time!) and the Japanese foundry would not allow for the finishes to be done. So once the transition to Chicago is complete, you can order a retail set of irons or wedges and get their ‘antique’ finish or chrome finish you desire. The real interesting irons were the ‘flatback’ irons which offer the ultimate in customization. Basically, for the most part, you can design your very own iron with the flatback. Let’s say you want some 1970 Hogan Bounce Sole 1+ designs, but made by Scratch, you can get exactly that. I asked about the hybrids and putters and they are pretty much getting away from that. Those were done mostly for loyal customers who wanted to ‘finish’ out their set.


This took a long time because everybody and their mother wanted to talk to David Edel and Mark Sweeney. Funny enough, Edel has also come out with wedges and they are in part designed by famous golf instructor Mike Adams (of the LAWS golf instruction theory). Mike came right up to me and wanted to help, but I didn’t even recognize him. I have a lot of respect for Mike because while I have different philosophies on the golf swing, his instruction on the days when TGC used to do guest instructors all of the time, was stuff that I agreed with and I think was headed in the right direction.

Finally I introduced myself to David Edel and explained my problems with my aim. I mentioned how I aimed dead right with most of the putters I had and he explained all of the stuff that goes on with putters and exactly *why* different putter shapes, hosels, alignment markings, loft and putter length effect golfer’s alignments with the putter head. You can find it in a book that both David and Mark Sweeney were in (pic below)

Kind of a quick overview, if you’re a righty and you aim right of the hole, it’s because you are using the front part of the blade to aim the putter with (that’s where your eyes are focused on). And if you aim left of the cup, you are using the back part of the putter to aim the putter. So if you aim too far right, you need to get a putter that gets your eyes to use the back part of the putter to ‘steer’ your aim more to the left and back towards the target.

Eventually I got fitted for my Edel Putter (I purchased it afterwards). I worked with one of Edel’s fitters, Jill, and the first putter from 6 feet or so I was aimed dead right. I was aimed so far right, I joked that I don’t know how I can drive a car 

Eventually we worked and worked and worked to get a putter design that had me aiming correctly. The putter takes about 4 weeks to make and I’ll post up pictures when it’s done. But the head is more like a Ping B60 head, which is funny because when I was 14 years old, I had a Ping B61 that I made a lot of putts with and my dad was upset when I traded it in because he thought I putted great with it. Now we know why.

The putter also has IIRC, 3 alignment lines in the back cavity of the club and an alignment dot on the top line. Edel offers just about every combination of alignment lines and dots possible. And yes, after talking to David I do believe my assertion that right handed golfers who are left eye dominant will likely aim right of the target, which is exactly what I have a problem with.

After that, Edel fits the golfer with the weighting of the putter and the shaft flex as well. So it’s more than just alignment. Because I don’t use much wrist in my putting stroke, I need a softer shaft.

I chose to not get the Vari-Loft because it’s basically set up to change the loft 1* from the golfer’s ‘base loft’ that they are fitted for. So if you are fitted with a loft of 4*, then you can get a Vari-Loft that can have lofts of 3*, 4* and 5*. I was thinking along the lines of a putter that could change from 1 to 6*, although I thought that I would probably stick with my ‘base loft’ most of the time. So I took the basic Edel putter design and got the Pixel insert which is designed so that as long as the ball hits the pixels, the feel of the putter and the roll of the ball will be the same. So you don’t have to hit the sweetspot dead perfect to get the roll and feel you want and it does feel quite nice as well.

Part II coming up.


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