Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thoughts on the PGA Merchandise Show & FlightScope Mevo


I did not attend this year's PGA Merchandise Show since I just started my new job and could not get the time off.  The overwhelming consensus was that the show was the worst it has been in a long time.  I had seen pictures of the demo day at Orange County National and was surprised to see so much space on the range.  As enormous as that range is, normally the range is jam packed with tents from different companies allowing people to test their product.  

What I have seen from the PGA Merchandise Show is it has become more boutique when it comes to the equipment and many of those boutique companies are charging outrageous prices.  In fact, the Seven Dreamers shaft, sells for $1,800 a piece. 


Yes, that's $1,800 a piece for even iron shafts.  So, get used to ponying up $12,600 just for a set of shafts for a 4-PW set.  Combine that with PXG 0311 heads and you're looking at about $15K just for a set of irons.

We have seen this phenomenon the past few years as Japanese companies like Honma, Epon and Yonex have made it over to the PGA Show and while they provide a quality product (I think Yonex is vastly underrated), their price points are quite high.  And many of these companies are not at demo day and it provides little reason for people to go to the show or if they are at the show, little reason to be excited.

Friends of the blog, MyGolfSpy had some good takes on the show:


Where I really agree with MGS is that the date of the show may need to be changed.  There's little incentive for a company that releases a new product in November to pay that much money in the 3rd week of January when half of the country has already seen and played with that product.  The PGA Merchandise Show in January only helps the small boutique companies possibly get noticed at first and helps the massive OEM's continue to establish brand dominance.

There are a few issues that I feel arise from this:

1.  Once the boutique company gets noticed, the next year they are likely to be in limbo unless they come out with a new product that runs in interest.  If they don't develop another product of interest, the brand is no longer that appealing and they are not getting their return on investment for the show.


2.  The major companies who often release their new products in October or November can afford to participate in the show if it helps sustain their brand dominance.  However, if a company like Titleist does not participate in the show, the people at the show will start to question what is going on with Titleist.  For the companies that are big in the industry like Mizuno, they are in a pickle of there being a question if they are really going to see a return on their investment.  

Everybody views Mizuno as a very strong manufacturer and designer of irons and wedges, but are not that hot on their woods, hybrids and putters (I'm not saying they don't make quality woods, but the perception is not that great).  

Thus, for a company like Mizuno where their latest products have been out for months and they are not likely to change the perception of their brand and to be at the show is expensive, the show is less appealing.

Where I do disagree with MyGolfSpy is moving the show to Vegas.  The Orange County Convention Center is spectacular and there is far more golf available in Orlando than in Vegas. You also have the Orange County National driving range which is the largest driving range in North America that can be used for demo day.  Plus, more PGA Tour players live near the Orlando area than near Vegas, so they are more likely to attend and participate in the show.

I am obviously biased because I live in the Orlando area, but the fact is that it is a golf show attended by golf people who will want to play golf, hold golfing clinics, attend demo day and meeting PGA Tour golfers.  In fact, many people involved in the golf industry from the cold weather states end up living in Florida during the winter months as well.

Orlando has all of those accommodations in spades compared to Las Vegas and Orlando has been running this show for decades.  The real crux of the problem as MGS pointed out is the time the show is help and the expenses the show carries.


***




One of the interesting products of the show is the FlightScope Mevo, a personal launch monitor that will retail for only $499.  It is set to be on sale come March 1st.  GolfWRX had a good article about the Mevo, here:

http://www.golfwrx.com/426162/flightscope-to-sell-mevo-a-500-launch-monitor/

The Mevo won't provide Attack Angle, path or club face.  But, the data it provides at that price could very well make it a tremendous value.

If you're worried about attack angle, you can probably reverse engineer your way into it thru the smash factor, launch angle and spin rates.  Let's say we are hitting a driver, we know that in all likelihood a downward attack angle will promote a lower smash factor, a lower launch and a higher spin rate.

And if you know the correct ball flight laws and spent any time on a Trackman or FlightScope Xi or Foresight, it's not overly difficult to understand what the face and path are doing by looking at your ball flight.

Will you be precise with your attack angle and face/path presumptions?

No.

But, it's good enough.

What I've found over the years of using Trackman is that focusing too much on the numbers is counterproductive to the learning process.  If you want to improve your attack angle from -3 to +2 degrees with the driver, you're better off determining with your instructor what needs to be done in order to accomplish that, work on that diligently and then once in a while get on the Trackman and check your progress.

That beats the 'traditional' method of hitting shot after shot and looking at Trackman each shot to see your progress.  I mistakenly believed that the 'traditional' method was the way to go, but from my experience as well as reading about subjects such as learning new movement patterns...it's actually very counterproductive and will take longer to achieve.

I think the club speed metric is important because it helps a golfer understand how hard they have to swing to achieve certain club speeds.  The launch and spin will help with fitting and the carry yardage will help proper yardage gapping.





3JACK


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