Six hours, 15,000 steps, two shuttle rides, and one blister later, the 2013 Demo Day is in the books! I had a great time (how could I not have?) and I want to share my impressions of the day with you.
But, before I get started, I heard an interesting rumor about Demo Day on the shuttle ride to Orange County National - an industry professional, credentials unverified, said Demo Day maybe going away in the near future. I'm going to try and verify the rumor if possible tomorrow or Friday.
Onto the highlights.
- Crown designs are in. Traditionally, the crown of every driver, fairway wood, and hybrid was sacred. OEMs would paint it one color and one color only. Well, that was so 2012! TaylorMade, Adams, Nike, and Callaway are all launching new clubs in 2013 with graphics on the crown. The TaylorMade R1 and RocketBallz Stage 2, the Adams Super L and LS, and the Nike VRS Covert all have unique designs on top. If you were like me, you probably thought adding a graphic to the crown would distract golfers. Surprisingly, the designs aren’t distracting. Once you get used to them you hardly notice them. I wouldn't be surprised to see more companies add designs to the crown, and dare I say it, one day we may see designs on the club face!
TaylorMade R1 Driver
TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2
Adams Super LS
- The Nike VRS Covert was the talk of Demo Day. Upon first glance, you wouldn’t know the Covert driver (or matching fairway wood or hybrid) was any different than any other club on the market. It features a deep red, C-shaped crown with a metallic finish and a small white swoosh on the heel. But, the moment you turn it over you’ll see why it’s different. The “cavity” in “cavity back” driver refers to the mass missing on the bottom of the club. I call it the “hole in the sole”. The new design allowed Nike engineers to move some of the weight to the perimeter and move the CoG toward the face, which gives it the extra forgiveness. I’m not sure if other OEMs will follow suit, but the VRS Covert series of clubs is a game changer.
- Cobra-Puma knows how to party! The TaylorMade tent was bigger, but the Cobra-Puma tent was more fun! If someone asked me how to setup a tent or a booth at the PGA Show for success, I’d tell them to model it after Cobra-Puma. They had all of the ingredients - live music, adult beverages, and celebrities. Ian Poulter, Jesper Parnevik, and Blair O’Neal were there to participate in a golf game, which drew a lot of attention to the colorful company. Cobra-Puma is trying to create a “golf doesn’t have to be a stuffy game” perception and it’s working. If the company can continue to grow it’s reputation as a legitimate OEM, it may one day become the most popular brand in golf.
- There seemed to be a lot of consumers at Demo Day. The PGA Show isn't a consumer expo. It's designed to be a B-to-B expo where companies can show off their latest and greatest products to potential buyers. But there seemed to be a lot more non-golf industry people in attendance this year. If the rumor I heard on the bus ride over that Demo Day might be going away in the near future is true, I hope it's for other reasons than the fact more and more consumers are finding a way into the events.
Orange County National
I want to thank everyone who tuned into and interacted with the live blog. It makes my job more fun when you ask questions and provide commentary in real-time. If you missed the Demo Day Live Blog, you can replay it here
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the PGA Merchandise Show Day 1 Live Blog. The action will get started around 9:00a.m. EST. See you then!
Speaking of consumers, I know at least one non-industry person who is attending the show. He is a very good golfer but ultimately he sells insurance, not golf, for a living. He probably got one of the assistant pros at his club to arrange an entry ticket. I can certainly picture him being one of the many people clogging up the hitting bays at Demo Day
Great recap, and thanks for all the effort. Makes the work day go by much faster.