Seemed to draw a good crowd. My wife Shirley and I drove in from Illinois side as a day trip. We arrived a little after 11 a.m.
I had looked at a hotel reservation about 10 days ago, and the only thing left were a couple of $700 a night suites. Turns out the Convention Center was also hosting a dance team competition for middle school girls. We had to drive around the Convention Center 1.5 times to find a parking space.
Anyway, plenty of people visited the main hall during the afternoon. In certain areas like the club testing line, it was almost shoulder to shoulder. Areas of interest:
- Merchandise: The "garage sale" of used clubs at one end of the hall had lots of people, but the selection wasn't as good as the past. Quite a few recent woods and drivers from TM and Callaway. Remaining mainline OEM stuff was quite a few years old for the most part; most wedges at least three years old, most of which were used. Goof variety of newer second- and third-tier clubs. For golf shoes lots of men's Footjoys for well under $100. In women's golf shoes, several shelves of the spikeless, riffle sole shoes. // Sponsor ProAm Golf had their usual in-hall golf shop. Good variety of items + friendly staff.
- Presenters: Wash U featured physical therapist and trainer Christine Meier. She had a med-school grade plastic model of the human spine, and showed the flex points and stress points as she showed how the vertebrae torque during a golf swing. She also compared the Classic golf swing (lots of hip pivot and arm firing) with the newer X-Factor golf swing (more focus on shoulder rotation, minimize hip turn on backswing).Others in play:
- Golf events guru David Brinker
- Other presenters from Washington University Orthopedics
- Swing-the-club philosophy from Ed LeBeau of Heartland Gold Schools
- Norwood Hills golf pro Jo D. Armstrong on putting
- Food: You could grab lunch in the mosh-pit snack bar along the back wall, have some really good brisket out in the very chilly hallway, or eat at the nice -but somewhat pricey - Cyprus Grille.
- Exhibitors: the usual group.
- Club Testing Line: All the big players were there. Some tidbits.
- Bridgestone was hawking their revised line of balls. Some TST volunteers did emergency testing in January.
- For women, Callaway offers the 14-piece Solaire women's set in petite - for women 5-foot-2 and under. And, the set can be fitted and the shafts trimmed even shorter in need be (up to 2"). People should realize that shorter women - my wife is 4-foot-10 - have hard time finding clubs without going into children's clubs, most of which are too short.
- In April, Cleveland will have a price cut in its 588 family of golf irons.
- Caution on irons with lightweight shafts. Certain iron models have lengthened shafts to increase distance and keep swingweight up. This could be 1/2" or more by the time you get down to 6i. If you're spraying a lightweight shaft, go with a face decal and see where you're hitting it. It your shots are scattered around the clubface, the shaft may be a too long for you. (Or, if you haven't hit a golf ball since Oct. 15, your swing may be out of groove.)
- I've been testing out some possible new irons, but that could fill up a post on its own.
- Sand Trap Dinner: teamroper60 and his wife joined Shirley and me at the Cypress Grille for supper. I had reserved a table for 8, hoping others might show up, but none did. So they moved us to a smaller table.
Next year I will probably do Friday, spend the night, and go back Saturday. If you want to test our some clubs and see other things, one day isn't enough.
If you can arrive Friday mornings, there's less of a crowd at the club testing line. About 1 PM the surge starts to arrive.