Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019 PGA Merchandise Show - Demo Day Recap (Part 1 of 2): Wilson Staff, Aldila, Mitsubishi Golf, KBS, Mizuno Golf, and Bridgestone Golf

Demo Day of the PGA Merchandise Show is always my favorite day of the Show.  I run around from area to area and try to hit as many clubs as I can, take as many notes as I can, and share as many pictures, videos, and first impressions with you as I can.  And honestly when the day is over I'm completely exhausted, but also completely ready to do it all over again. 


After making my rounds at Orange County Convention Center I can tell you there are going to be products that stand out above the rest like any given year.  But in 2019 we're also going to see some of the best equipment ever produced from a larger number of companies.  There will be more good drivers, woods, irons, wedges, and putters on the market today than ever before. 

I'll share more comparative impressions and opinions in my PGA Show Best of Show article(s) of all the clubs I hit at Demo Day, but for these daily recaps we're just going to let the pictures and videos do most of the talking, with a little color commentary when it seems helpful or fun.  Let's roll! 

I hit the new Wilson Cortex driver and loved it.  Hard to say after just one day if it's my favorite Wilson driver I've ever hit, but that I'm even thinking that means it's a possibility. 


The new D7 line of woods and irons however might have stolen the show for Wilson today.  Waves of golfers lined up to hit the new clubs, and looked pretty excited launching balls down range.  It's going to be a strong year for Wilson, and that's not even mentioning their new staff blades. 


I reviewed the new 2019 Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI for you back in December, so you already know this is one of the best shafts out there right now if you fit the profile.  But even if the Rogue isn't for you, Aldila still has a shaft for you that's going to add yards to your drives and keep more of them in play.  Say hello to the new NVS Orange, Pink, and NV Green shafts.  Aldila made subtle tweaks to iconic classics, and they're better than ever. 


The shafts use next-gen MLT technology, which basically enhances the same feel profile, but also maximized performance and accuracy by removing inconsistency.  Aldila hasn't reinvented the wheel here, they've just made it better. 

You've probably already read some of my reviews on the new Diamana line of shafts.  The RF, BF, and DF-Series offer something for everyone.  And now the new Tensei line offers an AV Blue option and CK White option. 


If you can't find a Mitsubishi shaft that improves your game off the tee or from the fairway, you're simply not looking hard enough. 

KBS is making its first splash into into the putter shaft market with it's new line of CT Tour putter shafts.  They're available in three different models (straight, single-bend, and double-bend), and four different finishes (chrome, brushed chrome, matte black, and gloss black). 


KBS also launched two new iron shafts.  The $-Taper Lite offers a lightweight Tour feel with less spin and lower launch than the previous $-Taper.  And the KBS Max is a 45-gram graphite shaft designed for the everyday player who just wants a low-weight graphite shaft that makes it easier to get the ball up in the air. 

Some of the largest crowds of the day were at the Mizuno tent, and after hitting the new ST 190 drivers and Hot Metal Pro irons I knew why. 


The ST 190 and ST 190G drivers just murdered the ball, and delivered great distance even on misses low on the face.  Both ST 190 models were among the longest I hit all day in their respective categories, and honestly if distance is your main goal off the tee, you need to check them out.  They're just monsters.  

The entire line of woods was soul satisfying, but with the driver especially I found myself swinging harder and harder (almost like a heat check) trying to hit the next shot farther than the one before.  Huge fan of the ST 190 series and a few bombs I couldn't help but strut like a peacock. 


I wouldn't realize until it Demo Day was over, but hitting the Hot Metal Pro irons was one of my favorite parts of the day.  They're just insanely good irons that do it all -and I mean ALL.  The Hot Metal Pro are very long, but they're also consistent in distance gapping.  They're incredibly forgiving for an iron that looks like a players iron, but exceptionally controllable in ball-flight. 


If we're going to be real about this I'll just tell you - the Hot Metal Pro irons are one of the best irons for the widest range of skill levels on the market today.  They're as easy to hit as they are deadly. 


In the hands of a low-handicap player they're going to track flag sticks with infrared homing precision.  In the hands of a higher-handicap player they're going to hit greens all day long.  The Hot Metal Pro irons are a queen on the chessboard kinds of irons. 

Known predominantly for making award-winning golf balls, Bridgestone stepped up their equipment game in a big way this year.  And in the process they showed me they're just as committed to delivering premium performance in the equipment we use as they are in the balls we play. 


The big golf ball story was Bridgestone's new e-12 golf balls.  The e12 name is a tip of the cap to the 12 years Bridgestone has been making golf balls.  But some over at Bridgestone will also tell you it means these new e12 balls are twice as good as the e6 they replace (6 X 2 = 12). 


The e12 uses premium technology specifically designed for these balls (as opposed to technology that trickles down from Tour level balls).  At the heart of this new technology is the "Active Acceleration Mantle," which produces better energy transfer and more speed via a tighter layer between the golf ball core and cover.  This eliminates inconsistencies and air bubbles that can rob us of speed. 


Bridgestone also unveiled their new Tour B XW-1 wedges, which feature three different and intelligent sole grinds.  An F sole is for full shots, an A sole is the traditional grind, an M Sole is the versatile grind for higher lofts.  The wedges also feature "Biting Rails" which are almost like mini-grooves between each normal groove to increase spin. 


The Bridgestone Tour B JGR driver was high launching and easy to hit, and would be a great option for those of you who want ruler straight drives.  Meanwhile the Tour B JGR Forged HF2 irons were extremely forgiving, with a smaller sole size that encourages shot-making, and a thinner face that delivers added ball speed. 


Although @bridgestonegolf is known primarily for its award winning golf balls, the new Tour B JGR driver and Tour B JGR Forged HF2 irons showed me this is a company aimed at improving every aspect of our game. _____ Driver is low spin and high launch and really easy to hit - not what I expected considering Kuchar and Snedeker bagged it and won with it. _____ The irons produced a great combination of distance and forgiveness, and after one session with them can tell you with certainty these would help a lot of average golfers play better and hit better shots. They were fun to hit. _____ #pgashow #bridgestonegolf #alwaysbegolfing #pgatour #golfer #golf #golfers #pga #pgapappas #golfing #golfshot #golfpro #golfswing #golfaddict #golfporn #pgamerchandiseshow #golfirons #lovegolf #golflife #golfreview #golfislife #golfclubs #golfequipment #golfgods #golfswag #golfballs #golfcourse #golfcoursephotos #teetime #bridgestonetourb
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You can read about the rest of Demo Day in my part 2 recap next, and then we'll move onto PGA Show coverage from floor for three days.  After that, I'll wrap it all up for you with my 2019 Best of Show, where you'll find the clubs and gear that stood a cut above the rest, and why I thought they deserved being called the best of the best. 

READ MORE: 2019 PGA Merchandise Show - Demo Day Recap (Part 2 of 2)

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