My time at the show started with a trip to Tuesday’s Demo Day. A 360 degree range that featured pretty much every manufacturer, launch monitor, and shaft company with an endless supply of range balls. Technology is incredible and I am very excited to be putting some new equipment in play for 2015.
Wednesday started early to see the opening. I had the opportunity to talk with several PGA Professionals from our section including Jim Antkiewicz, John Klinchock, Chris McKnight, and Chris McGinnis. Bubba Watson joined the team on stage and we began our first day of meetings and seminars. My first stop was to the Titleist kickoff with Jordan Spieth and some very intelligent folks from Titleist. It was a wonderful presentation about the new Pro V1 launch, 915 metals and the partnership we have had as PGA members with the Titleist brand. Next to meetings with Greg Norman and Certifresh Cigars followed by a fantastic seminar about the technology behind the Titleist 915 metals family. After a couple more meetings (Cobra/Puma Golf among others) I had a seminar on developing talent with three of the greatest coaches in the game. Claude Harmon III, Cameron McCormick, and Mark Blackburn. We are definitely beginning to shift gears in the teaching aspect of the golf industry. Moving much more towards coaching and not just instruction. The seminars were almost as much round table discussions as they were presentations. The questions were outstanding and the amount of knowledge held by everyone in the room (not just on stage) was humbling to be a part of. My day finished with a couple short meetings and several miles of walking the show floor before heading back to the hotel to change, dinner with Justin Barroner from California University’s PGM Program and Joe Merlin a Professional from a top 50 facility (not to mention friend, colleague, peer and classmate).
Thursday was light on meetings but heavy on seminars. The three that I attended included a wedge clinic with Bob Vokey and Aaron Dill, Putting with Scotty Cameron, and “In the Lodge” with Butch Harmon. As proficient as I am with wedge fitting, hearing first hand about the design qualities, bounces and grinds from these two gentlemen was enlightening. Scotty Cameron began working with a milling machine in his parents garage at the age of nine and has dedicated his life to creating the finest putting instruments in the game. I don’t have words to describe what it was like to listen to Butch Harmon talk about his experiences and his approach. It was an astonishing day at the show followed up by dinner with a couple very good friends and a few professionals form top 100 courses.
Friday is the short day at the show wrapping up by 3:00 but not before seeing Billy Burke at FootJoy and our new representative Brendan. An hour breeze through the fall lineup then a walk around the show floor. Last stop before lunch came from a meeting with Lou our Adidas representative and a tour of the fall lineup for Ashworth. Lunch and a final walk around the show floor to haggle and talk with vendors before rolling to the hot tub to soak. In the end there were nearly two marathons walked over the 5 day trip and I am definitely a better person and PGA Professional for it.
Thank you for your time.