E.A. Sports Today

Big crowds, big names meet at The Show

Action moves inside Convention Center as Merchandise Show gets into full swing

Cane Creek pro Kenny Szuch (R) hanging out with former Florida State teammates Tim Allen (L) and Terry Anton, now with SNAG Golf. On the cover, Szuch is with fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli and a sampling of the G-Fore line of shoes of gloves,

Cane Creek pro Kenny Szuch (R) hanging out with former Florida State teammates Tim Allen (L) and Terry Anton, now with SNAG Golf. On the cover, Szuch is with fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli and a sampling of the G-Fore line of shoes of gloves,

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

By Kenny Szuch
For East Alabama Sports Today

ORLANDO, Fla. – A larger crowd than was anticipated by all given the current slow decline in the game nationwide and a slumping sports and recreation economy made it difficult going from aisle to aisle early as the Convention Center looked at capacity.

Day One of the PGA Merchandise Show is suppose to be for PGA Golf Professionals only until noon, but that was abandoned in the early minutes of the Show, probably due to the large crowd wanting in.

I started the day with a visit to a specialty company that has emerged over the past three years. I know of only one person in Calhoun County who uses their product and would recognize the quality – that would be one Al Musky.

The company is G-Fore and they are owned by a fashion guru most probably have heard of. Does the name Mossimo ring a bell? Yes, that Mossimo, who hit the apparel market in the ’80s and is still going strong globally.

Mossimo Giannulli has a high-end, high-fashion, every-color-in-the-rainbow glove line that Mr. Musky is known to display when he participates in a local Major. (In the interest of full disclosure, pastel blue, Masters green, canary and purple are in the collection – ed.) You can see this ultra-fine cabretta leather glove on several Tour players and from the looks of it, the colored glove is about to re-enter the market as a staple.

The glove retails for $35 – yes, $35 for one glove. Their booth was very busy and also on display were the new G-Fore golf shoes and Mossimo’s intro of G-Fore apparel. Not items you will find in Dick’s but more like Trump Doral.

It was also kind of old-home day as I saw a couple of college teammates who are in the golf business. Kenny Knox is trying to enter the putter market and Terry Anton is the main man at SNAG Golf. I remember when Terry and a few others started the SNAG idea some 15 years ago. Many said it would die a quick death as nobody would want to hit a toy club and ball. Wrong. SNAG is in over 30 countries and also the Junior Golf Development vehicle for the Nicklaus Foundation.

Literally millions of kids have made their first swings with the SNAG club and tennis ball into a Velcro target. I am meeting with Terry tomorrow to discuss a couple of ideas I have for junior golf development in the Anniston area.

Our good friend who comes to the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational, Tad Moore, has launched a new custom putter line in association with Straight Down apparel. I saw Tad’s new models and they were as good as it gets. Straight Down has a full sales force in place so I think Tad’s putters will soon be in the marketplace as well as in the bags of several Tour players. Kudos to Tad, making everything down the road in Selma.

Several sightings of favorites such as Butch Harmon in the WINN Grips booth and Hank Haney right next door … Double-A baseball owner Bubba Watson at the Oakley square footage … G-MAC at the SRIXON, ECCO and G-MAC by Kartel booths … Lee Trevino spotted touting Yamaha golf cars … Nancy Lopez still a big draw at her company booth … The Golden Bear was seen speaking some words of wisdom regarding the future of the game … Former Commish Deane Beman was on site showing his new putter that can alter the lie angle in a few seconds.

The day concluded with a nice function hosted by G-MAC at his Nona Blue upscale Irish Pub. As he made his rounds socializing with accounts, who should appear? None other than Dr. Lou. Dr. Lou. Yep, Lou Holtz, in rare form at Nona Blue.

An avid golfer and Lake Nona resident, Holtz had the bar in stomach cramp laughs within minutes. Graeme McDowell is one down-to-earth solid guy and we discussed his looking at opening site No. 2 in the Birmingham area, as he is a UAB golf alum. Specialty is the G-MAC and cheese with lobster and bacon in abundance. What the heck, once a year won’t kill me.

Long day but up and at ‘em early tomorrow for Day Two of the Big Show.

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. He played college golf at Florida State and is most recent claim to fame is scoring a double-eagle 2 on the par-5 ninth at famed Oakmont.

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