News and Notes From the PGA Merchandise Show

The 2006 PGA Merchandise Show closed Sunday, leaving behind plenty of equipment news and notes.

Bag DropWe’re just back from Orlando, site of the 2006 PGA Merchandise Show. I’m still sorting through a notebook full of scribbles and a briefcase full of press kits and catalogs (and maybe just a bit of swag).

While I gather all the information, I’ve pulled together a few quick thoughts and notes from the Show to satisfy your Monday equipment jones.

The equipment category that seemed the most active to me was putters. The ongoing success of the Odyssey 2-Ball and its many offspring and imitators has blown the lid off any design constraints on putters. As a result, there are tons of fresh ideas and designs out there if you’re looking for a new flatstick.

Companies like Pinfire Golf and Q-Roll Golf are two of the newer outfits that caught my attention. Pinfire had a nice variety of milled aluminum putters with adjustable weights. I liked their Freedom model, which is a deep-faced mallet with four weight ports. And Pinfire also offers mod colors, like red, blue and silver. A splash of color might liven up your golf bag, eh?

Q-Roll also offers some large mallets in a variety of colors, as well as some sleeker blades. The company’s tech hook is what it calls radius face technology. The Q-Roll putters have negative loft and a slightly rolled face to impart overspin instead of backspin at impact. This is similar to what the old Teardrop putter company tried a few years ago. I’m not going to argue about the science, but the Q-Roll putters do put a nice roll on the ball.

Of course, big companies made some waves in Orlando as well. Callaway Golf brought plenty of new product to market, and one of those new products has already found its way into the bag of Olin Browne. I had a chance to talk with Olin for a few minutes last week, and he gave me the rundown on what’s in his bag to start the 2006 season. He’s sticking with the Fusion FT-3 Tour 10.5° neutral model he used last year, as well as his trusty Steelhead III 7-wood. But Browne has put a new X Series 3-wood in his bag. After hitting one last Wednesday, I can see why.

Working down the bag, Browne is using X-Tour irons, 3 through pitching wedge. He has two Callaway Golf forged wedges in his bag: a 52° bent to 54° and a 58° bent to 60°. Olin obviously likes a little extra bounce. He said he was going to work with some new X-Tour forged wedges in the coming weeks. And he’s using a custom Odyssey putter to roll his rock.

And to wrap up this odd grab bag of a Bag Drop, I’ll switch from Browne to pink. The cool thing about the PGA Show is that you always run across fun little companies that are a breath of fresh air. This year, an apparel company called pinkcaddi was that cool breeze. The company had funky, cool clothes for women, and a fun tagline: For golf, or for goofing off. I like that attitude. I also liked the garter they had on display that had room to store tees. And I like the way they shrugged off the cease-and-decist order from an older, similarly named company (starts with P-I-N, ends with a G). So the company formerly known as pinqcaddi dropped the q, added a k and took a Sharpie to all their marketing materials to get their new name out there. Because, as you know, the Show must go on.

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