Images and notes from Demo Day of PGA Merchandise Show

Titleist’s new M Project shoe was unveiled yesterday.

It was only my second demo day, but I felt a lot more prepared for the ensuing chaos of this one than I did when I lost my demo day virginity last year. I knew the crowds would be crazy, with guys lined 10 deep to pound balls until their hands bleed. I knew there would be tons of media and pros scrambling for whatever free stuff was to be had. I knew the main booths — Titleist, Nike, TaylorMade, would be filled with mad gear hounds. All of that was true.

I still managed to hit some things, including Nike’s new Covert driver. I did that while trying to avoid being struck by a club in the close corridors of Nike’s outdoor facility, which was a little too tight for my liking. Both years I’ve attended I’ve been shocked by the fact someone doesn’t get clipped by a club going back swung by an overly enthusiastic gear fiend. Or hit by a wayward shot on Orange County National’s massive range. It must happen — but no one seems to have ever heard of a case.

So what did I see? TaylorMade was so swamped with people trying to test its clubs that it handed out those little restaurant buzzers letting you know when space was available. I passed on that. Callaway’s new Canadian GM, Bruce Carroll, was introduced to me — he starts running the company’s operations in Canada on Monday. Tour Exotics’ 3-wood, one of a handful of clubs I hit on the day, was great. But the company’s fairways are always top notch. And Titleist unveiled its new M Project shoe, something I saw six months ago when I was at its facility in the U.S. Hunter Mahan first wore the shoe at the British Open, and again at the Canadian Open. They were an interesting mix of sport and style — and certainly a breakaway from the conservative style most affiliated with Titleist, though admittedly they’ve been more progressive when it comes to their Footjoy shoes.

The day was completed by heading to a nearby course to run an instructional shoot with the PGA of Canada’s PGA Championship winner Eric Laporte, decked out in fine yellow Adidas duds. The shoot will appear in a soon to be launched magazine put together by the PGA of Canada and some key partners. It was one of two instruction shoots I’m running while down in Florida.

TaylorMade’s booth was so busy they had to hand out buzzers notifying people that space to hit clubs was available.

Callaway’s new X-Hot driver seemed to be garnering some attention for the company.


Eric Laporte, head pro at Montcalm Golf and winner of last year’s PGA of Canada Championship, looks resplendent in yellow while prepping for an instructional shoot.




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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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