2020 PGA Show LIVE Update: Day 1
21 Jan 2020
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com
AGC's Kyle Rector, with the banners telling the story of the wind
The 2020 PGA Show is underway in Orlando, and AmateurGolf.com is here to experience it all. Day 1 started early with Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Club, with golf companies big and small showing off their latest offerings.
The driving range at Orange County National is a giant 360-degree layout, and the various companies with all of their tents, banners, displays, clubs, and accessories were laid out in a big circle on the range's perimeter.
There was a good vibe about the proceedings -- equipment folks ready to explain why their equipment is the most revolutionary; media taking videos and still shots, interviewing reps, and writing reports; patrons craning their necks for the next celebrity appearance or marveling at players' golf swings (good and bad).
But there was one sensation that all, no matter what role they were playing, felt on day one: cold!
A cold front swept through the Orlando area as the PGA Show was set to begin, and a bone-chilling wind blew across the range at Orange County National all day. That not only brought out the beanies, sweaters, and jackets, but it wreaked havoc on several of the displays. It also prompted the question of whether it was better or worse to demo equipment into the wind (Honma), go downwind (Cobra), or battle a crosswind (Callaway).
As with every PGA Show, there were lots of splashy new releases. Among the top products released were:
Titleist Vokey SM8 Wedges:
Titleist set up an interactive short-game practice demo with three stations, so that players could try a variety of pitching wedge, gap wedge, and lob wedge loft-and-bounce combinations. After tour pro Brad Faxon finished his clinic, players were ushered in four at a time to go through the progression.
Related: Titleist Introduces new Vokey Design SM8 Wedges
Scotty Cameron Special Select Putters:
Eight new blade and mid-mallet setups were released, featuring sleeker putter head profiles with thinner and flatter toplines, refined neck configurations, soft tri-soles and performance balanced weighting.
Related: Titleist unveils new Scotty Cameron Special Select Putters
PING G710 irons:
The sleek, dark finish of the new G710's was on full display, and was the first thing that caught one's eye when they looked into the demo bags at the PING exhibit. They call the finish "Hydropearl Stealth" and that was a pretty apt name for it.
PING releases G710 distance iron with Arccos Caddie Smart Grips
Callaway Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X Golf Balls:
The newest iteration of each of these balls better serves the purpose of each: the Chrome Soft is for the player looking for distance throughout the bag, while the Chrome Soft X is for the player who wants maximum distance off the tee but maximum consistency through the green.
Related: Just released: the Callaway Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X
There were also plenty of celebrities taking part in the proceedings. In addition to Faxon at Titleist, PING brought in Stan Utley for a putting demonstration. Peter Jacobsen, Bob Vokey and Chip Beck were all present. Then, just before one o'clock, a helicopter buzzed overhead before landing behind the Cobra exhibit, delivering Lexi Thompson and Greg Norman to the tee for their demonstration.
There was something for every sense (even taste, if you were up for a free morning beer courtesy of Tour Edge). The prevailing sound was the clicking of balls being struck, overlaid with the hum of the wind, and interspersed with music coming from different directions. The choice of music said something about the each company who played it. There was classic rock at Honma, a folksy live duo (one of whom played a fiddle) at Tour Edge, and a live DJ booming out noise at Cobra.
The products ranged from the traditional to the cutting edge to the head-scratching. Do those camouflage shirts really have four sleeves? Will people really pay six thousand dollars for a three-wheeler to carry them and their clubs? From products promising to cure pains and ailments, to training aids requiring instruction manuals, to a golf game (Fling Golf) that really isn't golf at all, more like a cross between lacrosse, golf and -- since we're in Florida -- jai alai.
In all, Day 1 of the 2020 PGA Show was a whirlwind in more ways than one. The Show moves indoors for tomorrow (where the temperature will be pleasant and the winds calm), and will run through Friday.