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By Tony Leodora

For years golfers have been crying out in anguish – from the desolate stretches of the waste areas, from the swamp-like muck of the wetlands, from the dark recesses of the woods and the opposite side of the OB stakes.

They battle the frustrations of the world’s most difficult sport. They try all of the new swing techniques. They listen to all of the mumbo-jumbo from the mental gurus. They try to buy a game at the golf shop.

Occasionally – very occasionally – there comes a light at the end of the tunnel. The invention of the metal wood was one of them. The average golfer quickly embraced that new bit of technology. The introduction and quick proliferation of the hybrid was another.

These inventions all started new trends on the equipment side of the golf industry.

Often, these new trends make their debut at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. This year’s 65th PGA Merchandise Show was no exception. More than 1,000 exhibitors greeted visitors from all 50 states and from 90 countries around the world. While the show is put on by the professional golfers who make up the PGA of America, the latest trend seemed to be increased attention on the average golfer – the ones who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s 60 million golfers.

A number of the products that caught the eye of our roving research team serve the specific purpose of making the very difficult game of golf a bit easier for the average player. And easier is a good thing.

Of special note this year was the Busiest Booth at the Show designation, which went to Cleveland/Srixon. The biggest crowds seemed to be around the new Cleveland CBX wedge.

Cleveland’s John Rey explained, “Our new CBX wedge is really the first wedge designed for game improvement golfers, who are buying game improvement irons. In the past they were forced to buy either a blade wedge, which didn’t match the weight and feel of his irons or a set-matching wedge, which was basically a 10-, 11- or 12-iron.

“Now, with our CBX wedge, golfers can get all of the spin performance of a tour caliber wedge, due to our Rotex face and dual V-sole design, but they also can get the feel and forgiveness of game improvement irons due to the cavity back shape and some of the weighting features we put into it.”

Other noteworthy products merely attracted attention because of their amazing style. Even if your score on the golf course is not good … at least you can look good.

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