Next year, The Sand Trap should be well-represented at the PGA Merchandise Show. This year we must suffice with linking to another site for coverage. For more images than you can shake a stick at, check out equip2golf's 2005 report.
Just because we weren't there, though, doesn't mean we don't have some thoughts.
Several of the big names, including Titleist, TaylorMade, and Ping, were absent as usual. These companies tend to release products when they're ready (Titleist) or every other week (TaylorMade), and are not pressured into releasing a barrage of new products at or slightly before the yearly merchandise show. Besides, does Ping really want to be 30 feet away from a company that sells nothing but ball mark repair tools?
Putters continue to get weirder and weirder looking, with several new(ish) companies bidding for a piece of dance floor pie, including Aserta, Yes!, and Heavy Putter. Word to the wise: don't buy a Heavy Putter if you usually carry your bag.
The ongoing rage in drivers: composite materials that allow for more weight to be moved low and back, and oversize heads that are more forgiving and inspire confidence. The craze may have started with the Callaway ERC Fusion, but companies like Wilson, Nike (two kinds of titanium), and Cleveland have picked up the gauntlet and run with it. It's like running with scissors, only cooler.
Fashion can be summed up in one word: color, and lots of it. From shoes to shirts, slacks to socks, color is in. Bright, vivid color in stripes and solids are in. Marty Hackel, regrettably, is very much "out."
There weren't any major introductions in the golf ball arena, what with the new Pro V1 still a ways off and the Bridgestone B330 already out. The Callaway HX Hot was introduced, but c'mon, what single-digit golfer is gonna be caught with those in his bag?
Surprise hits of the show included Bridgestone with their irons and their J33R and J33P drivers, Ben Hogan with the new fairway metals and driver, and MacGregor with the MacTec driver (Greg Norman's new sweetheart). <sarcasm>We hear that there are some awesome ball mark repair tools coming soon too!</sarcasm>
The 3-iron and now the 4-iron may be on the way out (of your bag), replaced by the hybrid clubs we keep hearing about. Every major manufacturer, from Callaway to Cleveland and TaylorMade to Titleist has introduced hybrid clubs to the market. They're not just for the high-handicappers anymore, either.
Next year, well, we'll have more information. For now, just check out the pictures and try to keep the drool off of your keyboard.