I had the opportunity to visit and walk the floors of the 61st anniversary of the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. I was able to walk and talk with David Pearce at the Nike booth, and he took me to each area of the Nike products. We started off at the new Method putters, and personally I like the new grip by Winn on the putter line. David mentioned that you can of course purchase the normal Winn grip, but the Nike Method logoed grip should be available March 1st for ordering.
Then we moved over to the Covert 2.0 line of products. The new technology has been updated for 2014, and the launch dates for the products have also been moved up. Again, I really like the Golf Pride grips, which gives a “tackier” feel. Also, to see the new grinds on the wedges in person makes sense what they are trying to accomplish. They were really redesigned with the player’s suggestions in mind over the past year.
David then took me around to see the new golf balls. He told me that the lifespan of the 20Xi was supposed to be another year, but with the response from the players during testing it was pushed up. David told me that he hears people are calling it the “Nike” Rzn, but people at Nike felt that this technology made such an impact that it earned the right to be called SWOOSH RZN. That is why on the box, it leads with the Swoosh. The models of the ball are the Platinum and Black, which is a four piece ball. For me, Nike has the Red and White Swoosh RZN which is a three piece ball. David said that a lot of time and thought was actually put into the packaging. They wanted to make it easier for the average or new golfer to distinguish which ball best suited them. There are two distinct new formulas for the balls, which will make the cores harder or softer depending on the ball used. Tiger used the Platinum in the fall event against Rory in the China exhibition, and is still experimenting to hopefully put it into play.
We then went to see some of the apparel, and they had on display Tiger’s U.S. Open script, as well as Rory’s Masters scripting. They also had on display the update to some of their layering pieces including the HyperAdapt jacket. It comes in two models, a wind and a storm fit comparable version. The Hyperadapt is a third layer piece, to go over a polo and a pull over. It was inspired by Nike’s latest running wear. It is very lightweight and moves with the natural motion of the body with 360 degree stretching. David told me this jacket has already been used this year, but NOT by the players. It was used at one of the west coast tournaments by the crews in charge of the signage. The manager of the crew had two people wearing the jacket, and they were the only two who were dry and warm. The manager of the signs crew came to Nike to fit his entire team with the jacket.
Also, I was seeing some color in the women’s golf gloves, and there’s the possibility we may see that in men’s later in the year. One thing that really stood out amongst most of the apparel is more color. Expect to see the tour a bit brighter this year, along with some great things to match up accessory-wise in belts and vision. The inspiration for all the color came from Jelly beans. Spirit Leatherworks did well displaying its products with FREE jellybeans. I loved the colors and also some new belt buckle designs.
My personal favorite was the shoes! I am a sneaker head, even in golf shoes. A big call out to me is the update to the Lunar Swingtip and Women’s Duet. In last year’s model the outsole had the pods indented into the shoe, but this year’s model has them extended past the outsole. This gives help to being engaged with the ground, and being sturdier with the platform. Also, the men’s Swingtip was redesigned with input from some of Nike’s SB or skateboarding designers. The model shown will also include a Cork insole. It is slated for a July release, along with a few more color schemes and shoes as well.
At the end I asked David with new apparel and new shoes being launch mid year, was there anything in the works equipment-wise we can expect to see. David’s quote to me was, “Though I cannot officially comment on anything new, there might be a surprise coming before the U.S. Open.” So, we might have something special to look forward to later this year!