By Mike Jamison
Day one of the PGA Expo at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas came to a close Tuesday with attendees and exhibitors wearing smiles and tired feet.
The day started with bagpipers kicking off of two-day event, and ended with a networking reception at the Lagasse’s Stadium in the Palazzo Hotel.
In-between, products were sold, relationships were secured and knowledge was passed along during dozens of educational seminars and panels.
One of the panels took place on the show floor and featured four of the leading R&D professionals in golf. Benoit Vincent of TaylorMade Golf, Tom Stites from Nike, Marty Jertson from PING and Austie Rollinson of Callaway/Odyssey fielded questions from moderator Michael Johnson of Golf World magazine about a myriad of golf club technology subjects.
One of the topics touched on just how far technology can go in game improvement equipment, considering most of the USGA limits have been reached. Vincent shared that when the maximum C.O.R. was reached in the sweet spot of drivers, the R&D folks began working on the exterior edges of the face, drawing the maximum performance possible under the rules of golf. All the panelists agreed there is still plenty of room for technology in the golf club and ball segments.
The majority of the exhibits are apparel related, but equipment manufacturers like TaylorMade, Callaway, Tour Edge and PING did have hitting stations for club-testing, and were among dozens of companies who participated in the Monday Night Demo. There were also numerous training aid companies and accessories in the show.
One of the apparel companies had a very special guest on Monday. Liselotte Neumann, captain of the victorious European team in last weekend’s Solheim Cup, made an appearance in the Alp-n-Rock booth. Neumann assisted in the design of recent offerings from Alp-n-Rock.