The golf industry is so huge that every year at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Florida, the industry fills up most of the exhibition and meeting space in the Orange County Convention Center. That’s almost 14 million square feet of golf clubs, apparel, accessories, trinkets and gadgets. More than 1000 companies come to show off their stuff to over 40,000 golf industry professionals from 75 countries. It’s all quite overwhelming. Every year we do our best to see everything, and every year we fail miserably. So I thought I would take a little time to introduce you to a few companies that most casual golfers may not know about. (Click on the photos to zoom in)
Putter Lounge – Based in Colorado, these folks perform small miracles with putters. Want to refinish an old Scotty Cameron or Bettinardi? They offer seven different options, from the classic black oxide to midnight oil and the super popular candy white finish. Their new “element 29” finish (See photo above) is also sure to turn heads. These guys will make an old putter look brand new, and even fit your flat stick with a new shaft and grip if you want. I sent my Bettinardi BB8 to them to have the candy white finish applied and the results were stunning. Check out the photos here. Prices hover around $100 for refinishing. Very reasonable! Check them out at www.putterlounge.com
Kikkor Golf – Kikkor makes golf shoes that your dad wouldn’t wear. The casual, skater inspired styles are very popular with the younger generation of golfers and are designed to be an alternative to the standard golf shoes we all grew up with. They are very comfortable, supportive and reasonably priced. With many different styles and colors available, there is something for everyone. I love them because I can wear them out of the house and to the bar after golf! They just look like a pair of sneaks. Check out our full review here and use our special promo code “intothegrain” at checkout to save 10% for yourself!
Energy Athletic – Ever spend $30 for a little rubber ionic bracelet? Oh yeah, I’m sure it really works… Seriously though, for those who tout the benefits of these bracelets, wouldn’t you like to enjoy the benefits of that ionic material all over your body, rather than just on your wrist? Energy Athletic Golf Apparel has the solution. The IonX Ionized Energy Fabric, exclusive to Energy Athletic Golf, delivers ionized energy to the entire upper body through a negatively charged electromagnetic field built into the molecular structure of the fabric. This is supposed to increase your energy, focus and performance. The shirts look good and cost about $70, which is a way better deal than a stupid looking rubber bracelet. www.wearenergy.com
Piretti Golf – Piretti makes putters. Lots of companies make putters, but the smaller guys seem to do a better job at it than the big companies. Piretti is no exception. Their flat sticks are made with more weight and less loft than most, and they use soft metals and CNC milling to get the specs perfect. At the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show I saw and rolled putts with dozens and dozens of putters, but the Piretti Cortino LN that I tried was the best. With the added weight and slightly less loft, the ball seems to roll off the face especially well on faster greens. Piretti’s prices are also excellent. Unlike some of the bigger guys who charge almost as much for so-called “limited edition” head covers, for just under $300 you’ll get a custom built, ultra premium putter that will have your playing partners wishing they heard of them first. View the full line at www.pirettigolf.com
Royal Collection – Remember Sonartec, the popular fairway woods that took the PGA Tour by storm and were endorsed by Nick Price? If not, you need to get out more! The parent company of the now defunct Sonartec is Royal Collection. Based in Japan, they have been the #1 fairway woods and hybrid on the Japan PGA Tours for 7 years in a row. Known for the familiar “driving cavity” feature, they produce the best feeling and performing fairway woods on the planet. Not sure how they do it, but if you want to find out they will now be available in the U.S. through select dealers. Save your pennies though, because the best fairways in the world don’t come cheap. Expect to pay over $300 per club. I think they are worth it. Check out the whole line of fantastic drivers, woods, irons and wedges at www.royalcollectionusa.com. You can thank me later.
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