Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 PGA Merchandise Show DAY 1 RECAP (Part 2 of 4): Bridgestone, Wilson, FootJoy, and Ping

I'm taking you inside the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show for a look at Bridgestone, Wilson, FootJoy, and Ping in this DAY 1 RECAP: Part 2 (a multi-part series). 


And for  now I'll just say something here definitely finds its way into my Best of Show. 

There's a lot to cover, and similar multi-part recaps for DAY 2 and DAY 3 feature other companies and gear, so you'll want to check that out as well.  I took thousands of pictures and videos while I was in Orlando, and I'm trying to make sure every last one of them is included for you here in my blog.

Bridgestone Golf 
The new Bridgestone JGR line of woods and irons is probably the most underrated line-up of 2016.  I fell in love with the irons, hybrids, and especially the driver on demo day. 


I'm always cautious to say a particular club will improve your game, but the hybrid forged irons were ridiculously easy to hit, and are definitely some of the best irons this year for mid to high handicaps. 


The driver was a flat out beast.  Outstanding for combined distance and forgiveness.  I'm really not sure how this didn't win a Golf Digest gold medal, let alone make their hot list, but that's for another time.


As I left the Bridgestone booth a larger than life Freddie Couples just stared at me as if to ask, "Pete, why don't you have have a Bridgestone club in your bag yet?"  I will Boom Boom... and much sooner than later.


Wilson Golf 
I'll lay money that Wilson gains in iron market share this year.  The FG Tour F5 and C200 irons are absolute treasures, and interest in them was explosive.  I'm playing the F5 irons this year, and the synergy of feel and performance is second to none. 

Here are a few pictures of the C200 irons with their FLX Face technology (slots around perimeter of iron), as well as the new PMP (precision milled performance) wedges, with micro-spin grooves. 

And you know how much I liked the TC wedges the past few years?  Well the PMP wedges have that same consistent feel, but with even more greenside spin.  And if you don't think forgiveness is important in a wedge, the PMPs will make you think again. 


When FootJoy announced the release of their new Freestyle shoes, the Red Eyed Tree Frog (navy, orange, and lime) colorway was either loved or hated.  There was no in-between. 


But colors aside for a moment (and for the record I think the navy, orange, and lime is pretty cool), the real story for me was the fit and feel.  I was fitted at the FJ booth, and knew immediately I'd need a pair of the Freestyle this season.  Along with the HyperFlex, (in my opinion) they're the most comfortable shoes FootJoy has ever designed. 


Now granted, the Freestyle aren't going to be mistaken for shoes Ben Hogan would wear.  But they're not intended to be.  And for those who might find the Red Eyed Tree Frog look a bit too "live with auntie and uncle in Bel-Air," there are plenty of other calmer but still engaging color options. 


Ping Golf 
If you're looking for clubs that consistently improve your confidence standing over the ball, Ping is a company that always seems to rise above the rest.  And this year is no different. 

Ping's G drivers promise faster swing speeds and more carry, and come in G, G LS Tec, and G SF Tec models.  The G woods and hybrids are all about added ball speed and forgiveness. 


The G Crossover was really fun to hit, and combines the control of a game improvement iron with the forgiveness of a hybrid.  While the G irons feature new CORE eye technology, which delivers up to four times the face flex over previous versions. 


And be sure to check out my Demo Day coverage, a four-part series: 2016 PGA Merchandise Show - Demo Day Quick Recap

As always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email here, or DM on twitter @PGAPappas.

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