E.A. Sports Today

‘Szuch’ a good time at The Show

Local pro makes his annual pilgrimage to the PGA Merchandise Show and Demo Day

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kenny Szuch has been going to the PGA Merchandise Show for more than 35 years straight. East Alabama Sports Today is excited to bring his insights every day from this year’s show in a way only he can do it.

By Kenny Szuch
For East Alabama Sports Today

ORLANDO, Fla. – Everything under the sun remotely related to the hard good side of the game is on display at this 375-yard circular state-of-the-art practice facility hosting the 2015 PGA Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center.

In the flesh this morning was Bubba Watson, doing a photo-op for zillions – besides hitting bombs from the Ping site with his pink G-30. Saw Bubba and he said he just bought a major share of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Double-A baseball team.

Dave Pelz was doing a mental and short-game clinic for Cleveland/Srixon and Dave Stockton was seen up close giving comp putting lessons at Nike’s pavilion.

The biggest widget today was every time I turned around there was another counterbalance rod being hyped to slide down the butt end of your putter grip to many any putter an instant counterbalance club. Literally, 25 or 30 vendors had this item on display.

Rather than the norm, I go searching for the unusual. Today was classic. First up was the intro of a “personal ball wipe pad.” In individual packs. I will make no more comments on this gem of an idea.

Slip-on golf shoes from a new Canadian company, Biion, were a big hit. Weighing about an ounce and in 32 styles and colors, I’ll be stopping by to see these hockey boys tomorrow.

Freddie Jac, G-Mac and Keegan Bradley had their new craft brews to sample, but I stuck to the gourmet coffees all morning. We’ll try the G-Mac suds tomorrow evening at his Nona Blue Irish Pub Kartel social gathering.

You know how tough it is to hit drivers from the mats with the big rubber tee, or a standard tee won’t work? Enter the “Tee Claw.” This little plastic gadget screws into the mat and has a hole on top to insert the real tee. Probably cost about 50 centers to make, but now available for $14.99 and they will probably sell a boatload of them this week.

More shaft companies than I knew existed. Made me dizzy going from booth to booth on the range to figure out the hundreds or maybe thousands of shafts that were on display. The game is hard enough as it is. Remember the days of regular or stiff? Long gone. Saw plenty of $500 shafts – yes, $500 per shaft.

FootJoy, which has never been at Demo Day, had a huge display of shoes to try on and hit balls in. The shoes were not for sale; only taking orders. But FootJoy claims these beauties will improve your game. Shoes to make you score lower – whew.

Finally, more loud music than most humans can bear at the Puma/Cobra Big Top courtesy of a Red Bull vehicle that was 20-feet high and also serves as a DJ stand spinning tunes with six-foot speakers. There was so much other activity at the Puma/Cobra set up, you had to look hard to realize it was actually a golf club company. What the heck does Red Bull have to do with Cobra golf clubs? I guess Ricky Fowler drank a lot of it when he rode his bikes. Only at the PGA Demo Day.

This one’s in the books. Tomorrow A.M. we attack the Orange County Convention Center and wall-to-wall golf.

Kenny Szuch is the director of golf operations for the City of Anniston, the pro at Cane Creek Golf Course and a PGA Class A professional. His most recent claim to fame was scoring a double-eagle 2 on the par-5 ninth at famed Oakmont.

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