ORLANDO -- The PGA Merchandise Show is golf's version of prom. Everyone puts forth their best for the golf world to see, from the little guy risking everything in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle to the game's biggest equipment makers using the show to reconnect with customers and demonstrate industry leadership.
Many years ago, this show was where a slew of new products were introduced and the golf year truly began. Today, the product cycle is way less than two years -- sometimes, just a matter of weeks -- so an industry show isn't the place to play a whole lot of new cards on the table. That means the show's fun is in connecting with movers and shakers in the game who come here to talk shop and finding what could be the next great thing.
On Day 1 of the show, we sought out some of the quirky and new...and seem like they have a realistic hope for success.
Here are a few of the products I found that stood out to me:
DST Golf training golf club ($100): You may not realize this, but the shaft in your golf club bends when you swing it. At impact, the shaft bows toward the target line. That feeling is impossible to replicate with any kind of standard design training club, so a British man decided to create a training club that could reproduce the idea shaft position -- bent and all -- at impact. That's DST Golf, which comes in a wedge and 8-iron with the bent shaft. Players figure out the ideal hand position using a white line on the bottom groove of the club face, extending up the hosel. The theory is that if a player can learn to repeat the ideal position, they're more likely to do it with their real clubs. Interesting idea and worth a test.
Aeroe GolfPod travel bag-case ($600): If you like to play golf when you travel, you know the absolute pain that it is to lug golf clubs around in a hard case or risk damaging them in a soft case. A New Zealand-based company called Aeroe is hoping to change that with a hard case, weighing just 6.5 lbs, that offers the benefits of a hard case while doubling as a golf bag with 14 full-length club dividers and two built-in compartments for storing everything you need to play a round of golf, as well umbrella and shoe compartments.
A Day 2 recap is forthcoming, as well more occasional equipment news and info here at Devil Ball Golf. For more coverage, follow me on Twitter.