Jan
27
2011
Thursday at the PGA Show: All Abuzz About R11
By Stephanie Wei under General

Um, because there isn't enough white in golf already? (Joking.)

I’m a tad overwhelmed at the PGA Merchandise Show, my first one ever, and apparently, it used to be even larger. Actually, the whole thing is kinda scary. I was told I should have a game plan before heading into the Convention Center. Naturally, I didn’t. Instead I met up with my “Happy Hour” co-host Jess Marksbury (oh, I think there’s a new episode posted over at TourPlayers.com) and let her lead the way…

Jess wanted to check out training aids. I didn’t try anything, but the Momentus Speed Whoosh, which is supposed to increase your club head speed, looked pretty neat. I’m adding that to my “things to do on Friday” list. Same with Swing Advantage, which was getting lots of buzz by teaching pros. There’s a physical training component of the whole thing. From what I saw, you wrap one part of this device around your leg and the other end is attached to the club. There are different strength bands that keep you connected and on path, etc.

We also saw these cool customized Edel Golf finishes:

Edel Golf

And a ginormous softspike!

That's a big spike...

Mind you, the entire time you’re running into people that you’ve met at some point in your life, ranging from friends you played junior golf with to loyal readers. It seemed like Jess knew everyone in the world and was introducing me to a bunch of people. As she was heading out the door, we ran into Golf Digest‘s Matt Ginella. Hooray, just in time! — a familiar face to hang out with. This is Matt’s first show, too, which is surprising since he’s been in the biz for a lot longer…

Matt was looking for the TaylorMade booth. All of the equipment manufacturers are scrunched on one side of the hall. Along the way, we checked out Callaway and the Lamborghini on display (sorry for the terrible picture):

The sign reads: "Please do not touch car or sit/stand on the platform"

We roamed around the area for a good 20 minutes before someone told us it was at the very end of the hall on the other side and we couldn’t miss it.

Entrance to TaylorMade-Adidas section

TaylorMade had an entire section to itself (combined with partners Adidas and Ashworth), totaling 25,000 square feet. This is the first time a company has taken over the entire hall. To display clubs away from the equipment area was new and a little risky, but it seems like it’s working out just fine. There were six hitting bays to try out the latest drivers and woods, including the R11, which perhaps is receiving the most buzz at this year’s show. No, I haven’t had the chance to hit it yet. Another thing on the “to do” on Friday list.

TaylorMade's R11 is a hot item at the PGA Show

And here’s the white Burner Super Fast.

More white!

Here are some putters at the practice green…

The TM ghost putters were the first "all-white" clubs

Where did the white driver idea originate? Well, TM launched the all-white putter and someone thought it’d be cool to do the same with a driver. Half the TM team liked it and the other half thought it was crazy. But they went ahead with it and tested it on Tour. When the players gave the white driver a favorable response, TM was planning to make the drivers in white and black, but the guys in the trailer suggested going all-white (again, as if there isn’t enough “all-white” in golf!).

What are the advantages?

Compare the black and white drivers

TM took the gloss off the white drivers, so it removes the glare and you don’t have to see your reflection anymore. Thank goodness, right?

Okay, now I’m really excited to test an R11 tomorrow. I’ve only heard raving reviews. I’ll be much more prepared for the melee, but probably a bit flustered still. Say hi if you see me.