JANUARY 26, 2017

By Adam Schupak

A year ago at the PGA Merchandise Show, Sean Toulon introduced five putters under the brand Toulon Design from a hotel suite across the street from the Orange County Convention Center. The former TaylorMade executive was starting small with a dream of competing with the major manufacturers in the one category in which the little guy still believes he can succeed. Still, a writer deigned to ask, "Does the world really need another putter company?" 

Toulon replied with a witty riposte: "Does the world really need another Italian restaurant? No, but if they make a really good meatball and sauce, they seem to stay in business." 

One year later, Toulon's namesake putters are displayed in one of the largest exhibits on the floor. In late August, Callaway Golf acquired Toulon Design and installed Toulon as general manager of the Odyssey brand. 

By Ted Bishop

Tim Finchem had been only a casual acquaintance before I, as the 38th president of the PGA of America, served on the PGA Tour’s Policy Board. Past PGA leaders had cautioned me that Finchem, who retired last month after 22 years as Tour commissioner, was a tough negotiator concerned only about the Tour’s interests. He could be ruthless at times, I was warned, and would use the PGA of America to get what he needed. 

I was told that Finchem wanted The Players Championship to replace the PGA Championship as one of golf’s four majors and that he sought to make the Presidents Cup more prestigious than the Ryder Cup in international golf competition. Such a move would threaten the PGA’s biggest financial resources.  

By Steve Harmon

Walking the sprawling floor of the PGA Merchandise Show on Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center, I felt a bit like my 9-month-old grandson.

Charlie gravitates toward shiny objects: jewelry, glasses or any tchotchke. He sees it, wants it and, like the tyke that he is, reaches for it.

The annual three-day golf fest can tug at any visitor’s inner kid. Here are some of those bright and shiny objects that caught my eye.

From the industry

A record-setting 36,000 participants across 2,900 teams helped PGA Junior League Golf post record numbers, the organization said. The numbers represent a 300-percent growth in three years.

Blast Motion has partnered with Golf Channel Academy and Proponent Group to develop the GCA Game Tracker mobile app and web portal. The GCA Game Tracker affords players access to their activity timeline, video library and more.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation will commit $500,000 to scholarships for underprivileged youth to PGA Junior League Golf in a partnership with the PGA of America. Youngsters at the Boys & Girls Clubs, The First Tee and other groups will be introduced to the game.

Golf 20/20, a consortium of leading golf organizations, announced details of the game’s $3.9 billion annual charitable impact. A record number of golf facilities (12,700, or 84 percent of U.S. facilities, with 12 million participants) hosted an event in 2016.

Titleist touts its 2017 Pro V1 and Pro V1x lines of golf balls as the best-performing balls in the company’s history and deliver unmatched quality and consistency.

With the ubiquitous ownership of mobile phones and increasing use of apps, a new study suggests that golf course operators should embrace the digital economy.

January 22-25 Tour: The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic
The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas
January 24
PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day
Orange County National Golf Center, Winter Garden, Fla.
January 26-29
LPGA: Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas
European Tour: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Doha (Qatar) Golf Club
PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines GC (South), La Jolla, Calif.
February 2-5
European Tour: Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.
February 3-5
Amateur: Jones Cup
Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga.
February 4-9
Golf Industry Show
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
February 7-11
Club Managers Association of America World Conference on Club Management and Club Business Expo
Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fla.
February 9-12
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links
European Tour: Maybank Championship
Saujana Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tour: Club Colombia Championship
Bogota (Colombia) Country Club
February 10-12
West Michigan Golf Show
DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Champions Tour: Allianz Championship
The Old Course at Broken Sound, Boca Raton, Fla.
February 16-19
LPGA: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Royal Adelaide Golf Club, Grange, Australia
European Tour: ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth
Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth, Australia
PGA Tour: Genesis Open
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif. Tour: Panama Claro Championship
Panama Golf Club, Panama City, Panama
February 17-19
Champions Tour: Chubb Classic
TwinEagles Golf Club (Talon), Naples. Fla.
February 23-26
European Tour: Joburg Open
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
PGA Tour: The Honda Classic
PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
LPGA: Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club (Pattaya Old), Chonburi, Thailand
February 24-26
Toronto Golf And Travel Show
The International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario
February 27-28
Northern California Golf Rep Show
Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Pano Hall Lincoln, Calif.

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