The PGA Merchandise Show, which doubles as the annual launching point for many of the game’s most influential equipment, golf ball and accessory brands, has come and gone. More than 1,000 companies – big and small – showcased their latest and greatest offerings at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
In the interest of making your 2020 Myrtle Beach golf trip the best one yet, I logged countless steps (a fitness tracking watch would’ve been nice) checking out everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Unless you live under a rock, you know what TaylorMade and Titleist are doing, so here are five under-the-radar products you will want to consider checking out.
— If you are serious about improving your swing, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) is a must-have. Rapsodo uses a smartphone camera to record your swing and provides professional accuracy for shot distance, ball speed, club speed, launch angle and direction and shot shape, even allowing you to review shots after the fact. Did I mention the shot tracer technology? It cost $499.99 but if you know how to take advantage of the technology, the Rapsodo MLM is worth the investment.
— Contrary to what Callaway, Ping and the game’s largest equipment manufacturers may have you believe, golfers in search of great clubs have options aplenty. Savvy players have long been flocking to Tour Edge – with good reason. Tour Edge unveiled its EXS 220 and EXS 220h irons ($599.99) at the PGA Show and the primary benefit is easy to identify – increased distance. Featuring a hollow cavity construction in irons 4-7, Tour Edge’s new irons bolster ball speed on shots hit anywhere on the clubface (an important advancement for those of us who occasionally struggle to find the sweet spot). If you haven’t used Tour Edge to date, give them a try.
— The best accessory at the show was the Bushnell Wingman, a speaker that doubles as a GPS yardage device. The Wingman will pause “Welcome to the Jungle” long enough to give you distance to the front, middle and back of the green. The speaker features 10-hour battery life and an input to charge other devices. This is $150 I look forward to spending when the Wingman is available for purchase in April.
— Tiger Woods wore out a piece (or 10) of chewing gum en route to his stunning win at the 2019 Masters, perfect timing for Golf Gum. The upstart company doesn’t claim Tiger was chewing their gum while claiming a fourth Green Jacket, but the spearmint flavored product does have a number of adherents. It’s $4.99 for a five-piece pack and the sugar-free gum contains 80 mg of natural caffeine, boosting memory and enhancing concentration as you get late into a round.
— CBD products are all the rage and if the PGA Show is any indication, they will be in a golf shop near you in 2020. You couldn’t turn a corner without a CBD company offering to ply you with a sample sure to cure your aching back. Because I like to zig when everyone else zags, I was most intrigued by CB5, a doctor formulated alternative to CBD comprised of only FDA compliant (and legal) ingredients.