As spring begins to slowly sneak up on us, golf is once again on our minds. The Tinley Park Golf Expo, held February 7-9, 2014, allowed the greater Chicago area an opportunity to break a little cabin fever and see the latest in golf and golf equipment. The annual event drew 100 vendors and over 7,000 attendees according to Mr. Daniel Fitzgerald, Director of Sales & Marketing, Tinley Park Convention Center. The Expo included major golf manufacturers: Taylor Made®, Cleveland®, Mizuno®, Wilson®, Nike® and many others. Attendees showed up in large numbers all three days to enjoy the beautiful indoor facility despite the cold temperatures and intermittent snow over the weekend.
There was genuine excitement in the air as golfers happily stepped forward to shop, explore, and demo the newest in drivers, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters from the world’s major manufacturers. At the demo area, golfers stood in lines to hit golf balls into an open net with the latest 2014 lines of clubs. Some of the most excited, even took their best shot at the daily Taylor Made® Long Drive challenge on the Trackman™ Fitting System. Swings were rusty and good sweats were broken by some who understood “demo” to mean “you’ll have to drag me off this golf mat” when hitting golf balls.
EQUIPMENT & PRODUCT OFFERINGS
As you would expect, golf equipment in all forms was the big seller. Customers left the expo with new drivers, irons, and bags full of the latest and greatest in balls, grips, tees, and the newest in golf clothing and footwear. Golf Resorts and Golf Courses were also well represented in the Expo with many substantial savings and offers available to the consumer to entice visits to their courses in 2014.
BEST OF THE BEST
While in the midst of my own cabin fever, I visited all vendor areas and even took a demo swing or two myself. I liked many of the products at the expo, but really felt two products should be highlighted as the “best of the best.” Before I reveal my two “best of the best” products, I’ll note that I don’t have a 15-step criteria process, a group of testers, or anything close. I just know what I like and what I find as inventive, exciting, and a product I would put into my bag. The two best golf expo products, in my opinion, were the RadiusRoll™ line of putters and the JumboMax® line of Golf Grips.
The RadiusRoll™ putter with PureStrike Instant Roll Technology™ feels solid in your hands. It is a very balanced putter and when struck, the ball comes off the face very smoothly with no hopping or skidding. Most importantly, it stays on line and falls into the hole – which, of course, is the name of the game in putting. The company says, “With a RadiusRoll™ Putter, there is no friction as the ball leaves the putter face which eliminates vibration and makes for a very solid, yet super-soft feel at impact. The RadiusRoll™ face itself is what produces the smooth, instant roll.” Adding to the value of the putter, in my opinion, is the very clean look at address, the easy aiming lines, and the high quality of the materials. However, the secret is out and RadiusRoll™ is already gathering an impressive number of professional players from the LPGA, Champions, and Canadian tours who have all added the RadiusRoll™ putter to their bags. RadiusRoll™ putters are proudly manufactured and assembled in the USA in Lockport, Illinois. The putter comes in three models: High Five, F/P Tour, and Money. Website: www.radiusroll.com.
The JumboMax® line of Golf Grips might take you by surprise. I know it did me and I’ll say I was skeptical at first. However, when I first held the JumboMax® grip in my hand, my doubts began to fade. But, when I hit an iron, a wedge, and a driver on the Trackman™ with the JumboMax® grip installed; my doubts disappeared and were replaced with genuine excitement. The grips come in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and are USGA conforming. The differences in grip size show a commitment to the company’s belief in the “superior Finger-Palm™ grip that is revolutionizing golf.” The product is backed by real statistics through independent testing conducted by GolfTest USA. The testing found “Driver carry increased 6.2% and Wedge accuracy improved 22.8%.” In my own experience, not only did my accuracy increase with the JumboMax® grip, but I also had an increase in distance of 14-yards over the standard sized grip. This result proved to me the company’s claim of “super-oversized grips that fit your hands better for increased power and more solid ball striking.” Website: www.JumboMax.com.
When looking at all the snow on the ground, spring still seems a long way away. But for the folks of the greater Chicago area, there is now a little bit more excitement in the air for the golf season ahead of us. The annual Tinley Park Golf Expo was once again an outstanding event leaving us longing for the sight of green grass and the first sound of a pure strike off the club face in 2014.
Editor’s Note: Have you attended a golf show or expo in your area? Share a comment in the comments section, or write about your own experience. We would love to hear from you. Please submit stories to email@example.com
BIO: Keith Cook is a contributing editor for localgolfer.com. His career highlights include rounds in nearly every US state and numerous countries throughout the world. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumni living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.
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