Anything and everything to do with the game of golf was happening last week in Orlando with the annual PGA Merchandise Show.
The week started with Demo Day on Tuesday. Held at Orange County National Golf Club, you got an opportunity to try all the latest equipment. Orange County’s driving range and practice facility are the largest in America, so this was the perfect place for the event. Everyone was there – Ping, Callaway, Titleist, Mizuno, Cleveland, Srixon, shaft companies, grip companies, range equipment and more.
The Orange County Convention Center was home to the next three days. The PGA and LPGA hold numerous educational workshops for golfers looking to increase their knowledge and possibly get certified in different modalities.
On the Convention Center floor, you find clothing companies, exercise equipment, travel companies, range equipment, and anything else that pertains to the golf business. Of course, local Buffalo companies New Era Cap and Donald Ross Sportswear were represented.
So what is the latest and greatest stuff for 2019? Here is my rundown:
In the new club department, I like the new Callaway Epic Flash. Callaway touts a new technology it calls Flash Face that helps golfers get more ball speed to increase distance. So if you have always wanted to purchase yardage, you can here. Drivers start at $529 and woods start at $299 on the Callaway website.
In junior golf clubs, U.S. Kids Golf has updated its clubs and includes not only an ultra-light version, but also a Tour Series shaft for the child with a faster swing speed.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the first Level 2 Certification in November and, going forward, we are conducting U.S. Kids Golf Player Pathway Training. This specialized program trains children how to enjoy learning to play golf. Each of the five levels requires the student to complete testing to move onto the next level. Once a level is passed, the child receives completion pins. I absolutely love this concept. Making students accountable with shot making and scoring goals is so important.
In the technology department, I like Blast. Blast Motion is an information company using 3D motion sensor and cloud technology to help improve athletic performance and coaching effectiveness. The Blast Golf sensor sits on the butt end of any golf club and sends data wirelessly to a free mobile app, providing instant feedback on the timing, tempo, consistency of your golf swing and putting stroke.
Blast information helps players reduce 3-putts and full swing control through objective swing data, advanced insights and performance tracking. Blast Motion is used by more than 200 Tour players and many of the top 100 golf instructors nationwide. It sells for $150.
Speaking of technology, as Golf Channel Academy Lead Coaches, Allen and I will be taking part in a beta test for K-Motion. It is a 3D Evaluation, coaching and training technology. The system allows your swing to be evaluated. Once you see what is really happening and the cause of your mishits, we can coach you to improve, and you can train to be sure the changes become permanent. We expect to be up and running with this software by March 1.
Some people embrace new technology, while others steer clear of it. Left-brain learners typically enjoy learning with technology. Right-brain players typically do not.
I believe there are times when technology is good. It can help you see deficiencies. It measures facts. Proof. It is the evidence of what you are doing to create the shots you hit.
On the other hand, good golf is always played using your right brain. If you’re able to understand that making changes requires left brain and playing golf requires right brain, you can practice and learn to discern the difference.
One of the most important parts of the whole show has been the LPGA seminar on the new rules. So many changes have taken place. You can leave the flag stick in when you are putting; you now only have three minutes to search for a lost ball instead of five; and there are no more water hazards. They are now called penalty areas. I encourage to get a new rules book to ensure you don’t inadvertently break a new rule. For more information, visit the USGA website by clicking here.
The bottom line always comes down to you knowing how you learn best. Do you want to see it, feel it, or hear it? Once you know your personal learning style, you can decide which training aides work best for you.
Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour player, a current member of the Legends Tour of the LPGA, and a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach. She is a certified behavior, motivation and judgment professional who is sought after as a speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Cindy at https://cindymillerinc.com and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.