“It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.” Those are the words from a wise former playing partner of mine as he watched me regularly show up to the course with new weapons, certain to shave strokes off my score.
The golf equipment industry is huge, and I mean huge. Each year in January the PGA holds its three-day merchandise show in Orlando, Fla.
This extravaganza of golf equipment attracts over 1,000 exhibitors from 100 countries, along with 40,000 industry leaders that get to see the latest gidgets, gadgets and goodies from the world of golf.
Thousands of pieces of golf equipment take over the one million square feet of exhibition space at the Orange County Convention Center. And if you want to take in everything, you had better have comfortable walking shoes on to cover the 10 miles of aisle space. There is so much to see that the Golf Channel devoted 25 hours of live coverage to the show this year.
So, what’s the deal with my opening sentence? What my friend meant was that it isn’t about the equipment, it’s about the golfer. But don’t tell that to the golf equipment manufacturers.
A good player with sound fundamentals and a well-groomed swing could probably hit a decent shot with a shovel.
I can recall once being on the range, breaking in a new driver. Struggling and becoming somewhat frustrated, I asked the guy warming up next to me, a friend, and also the club champion, to take a few whacks with my new toy. He hit shot after shot the length of the driving range.
“So, what do think?” I asked.
“It’s fine,” he answered, handing me back my club.
Having seen what the club was capable of doing, I went back to work and, you guessed it, one ugly shot after another. Yup, definitely the Indian.
Last year, golfers spent over $3 billion dollars on equipment. That doesn’t include clothing or anything else. We’re talking equipment only. Mainly clubs. So, let me ask you this, what do you think the most important club in your bag is and do you plan on replacing any clubs this season? Here is what a few folks had to say:
Brian Cassidy of Southold: “My favorite club is my putter. It can make or break your round. Every payday I check out new clubs online. I just bought myself a nice birthday present, a TaylorMade SLDR 3 hybrid.”
Eve Glover of Cutchogue: “I love my Rescue Club. It keeps me out of trouble and it goes straight … most of the time. I just purchased a new Ping Driver.”
I asked my friend and sports broadcast personality Ann Liguori to chime in. Here’s what she had to say: “I use a collection of new and old clubs, definitely a mixed bag. I still love my original Callaway Steelhead Woods. I tried out the TaylorMade M2 Irons at the PGA Merchandise Show and I was impressed. I got good distance and accuracy. They have a great feel and are easy to hit.”
A golfer in his mid-50s was playing a course for the first time. He was paired up with an 84-year-old gentleman who played the course regularly. On the first tee the man asked the older gent, “What’s the best part of the fairway to be on?” The older golfer, without hesitation, replied, “The top.”