Rather than subject you to yet another list of “best new products” from the recent PGA Merchandise Show, I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing some products and pitches that struck me as some of the worst.
As a reminder, “The Show” is the annual, Orlando, Fla., circus, er, event where everyone with golf-related products comes to hawk their wares to the trade.
And I do mean everyone: from the big boys like Callaway and Nike to hopeful (and sometimes delusional) mom-n-pop inventors.
For the past 18 years I’ve left the Show saying, “now I’ve seen everything.” And every year later I’m happily proven wrong.
So, without further ado…
Swing Trust Oil
There are a lot of figurative “snake oil salesmen” at the Show, but these guys win for the most literal interpretation of it.
Yes, they’re literally selling tiny flasks of oil (for thirty bucks) that they say will help you play better golf.
The flasks clip to your bag. Then, you “simply unscrew the cap and waft under your nose as desired.”
What, aromatherapy isn’t already part of your pre-shot routine?
The scent is supposed to promote calmness, focus, confidence, trust, and therefore, a better game.
Wait, it gets crazier: this stuff is endorsed by PGA Tour player Mark Wilson, who has played in four tour events this year and missed the cut in three of them.
Maybe he needs to start wearing it as aftershave…or drinking it.
The theory behind this product is actually pretty good; it’s the pitch that’s terrible.
Nexbelt uses a ratcheting system instead of holes so you can more precisely tighten or loosen it as needed. And retailers should like it because its one-size-fits-all approach simplifies inventory.
Problem is, Nexbelt is pushing a video for how much “faster” it is to put on than conventional belts — a whopping four seconds faster.
And here I thought traffic was the reason I’m late for work.
The Golf Bike
Some things can be good ideas, but bad businesses.
Take the Golf Bike, an off-road bicycle with a rack on the back for holding a set of clubs.
Exercise is great and golf carts are bad. I get it.
But how many people can really use this?
There are a ton of golfers (including me) for whom biking to golf courses isn’t feasible. I can just see myself peddling this thing down the New York State Thruway alongside tractor trailers.
Sure, you could tote the Golf Bike to the course with your car (it doesn’t fold up), but the biggest problem still remains: finding courses that will allow the bikes on their fairways. Most are ultra-protective of their turf and their cart revenue.
The only thing that makes sense about this product is the company’s name — Higher Ground Bicycle Co. — because you’d definitely need to be pretty high to think this is not a risky business proposition at $700-$800 per bike.
What do you think about the products and pitches above? Was I too harsh? What golf gimmickry have you come across?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.