The PGA Merchandise Show held in late January in Orlando is wall-to-wall (and sometimes off-the-wall) golf.
Everyone with golf-related products -- from clubs and clothes to reservation software and range mats -- comes to hawk their wares to the trade.
We saw some very cool things we're going to tell you about in the coming weeks.
But before we get to the best, we thought we’d have a little fun and look at some products and pitches that struck us as some of the worst.
Note: The following are simply our initial (and admittedly snarky) reactions to these products. They may be the best golf products in the world, so if you’re interested in learning more about (or buying) them, we have included each firm’s website address.
As always, let us know what you think in the comments.
Now, without further ado...
Shoe Tips (shoetipsgolf.com)
It's pretty widely accepted that if you have tons of swing thoughts banging around in your head simultaneously, you're probably not going to play well.
The makers of ShoeTips aim to reduce those thoughts to one or two, max (they give you 18 tags to choose from). Not a bad idea, but whatever clarity you might get from walking around with these things on your laces is bound to be offset by the ridicule from your golf buddies.
That said, we actually thought the bag tag option wasn't bad, as it's a less obnoxious reminder.
Fatt Matt Swing Trainer (fattmatt.com)
Golf feels like this some days, doesn't it?
This little beauty is a training aid that claims to help you, "focus on your body movements and stop trying to hit the ball."
$125 to whiff? I can do that with my own clubs.
Flat Tee (flat-tee.com)
The first question we had about this range mat tee was how to keep it from flying away when hit.
The inventor "reassured" us by showing how it doesn't go very far if you hit the ball well every time...and thus how it doesn't make sense for anyone who actually needs practice at the practice range.
Golf Shoe Grabber (golfshoegrabber.com)
Are your golf shoes so disgusting even you can't bring yourself to touch the inside of them?
The Golf Shoe Grabber goes where your delicate fingers won't dare to tread.
The only people we wouldn't make fun of for using this would be locker room attendants, but most of them don't have the luxury of being grossed out.
X Marks The Putt (xmarkstheputt.com)
Here's another solution looking for a problem: it's a golf ball marker marker -- meaning you can place a "temporary" spot of ink on the green to mark your ball (similar to a bingo card marker).
The website says it, "Eliminates the need for coins or ball markers."
Yeah, because who ever has those lying around and the additional 5 grams is a real killer after 18 holes.
The Greens Wizard (greenswizard.com)
This mini carpenters level screws into the side of your shoe and shows you which way your putt will break.
Of course, if you want to know the break beyond the immediate spot where you're standing, you'll need to walk off your entire putt and stop to take measurements every few feet.
Don't worry, the group behind you won't care.
We will never understand the niche industry that is "premium" golf tees, especially when they are available at practically every golf course on the planet, either for free in those little bins, on golf carts or just lying neglected on the practice range and tee boxes.
FootWedge Pro (footwedgepro.com)
This thing is so creepy looking that it might not even be worthy of gag-gift status. The website features fake testimonial quotes from the likes of "Jack Nicklass" and "Phil Mickelsonn," further adding to the terrible schlock-factor.
Cirrus Wind Indicator (cirrusoutdoors.com)
Who knew the "wind indicator" market was so competitive? Maybe the same six people who use wind indicators.
A while ago we told you about Windage, which emits a visible puff of “environmentally friendly” powder you can use to judge wind speed and direction.
Now there's this, which looks like the same thing, but I have just one question...
You want us to pay $35 for something a few well tossed blades of grass can do?
Are you Cirrus?
United States Postal Service (usps.com)
If Donald Trump wants to "drain the swamp," he could start by cutting the United States Postal Service's trade show budget.
Why are taxpayers footing the bill (likely upwards of $25K) for the USPS to exhibit to (mainly) PGA golf professionals? The booth was empty (except for the employees "working" it) every time we walked passed it...and we see the same thing year after year.
Want to get really angry? Think about how many other irrelevant trade shows at which the USPS is exhibiting.
I heard it spent a bundle on its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Easy Pitch (easy-pitch.at)
This doohickey is practically the Holy Grail of PGA Show follies. Not only did they have an excessively large booth to promote this cheap-looking plastic grip-mounted pitch mark fixer - which is bound to scrape against your stomach while you're putting and annoy the heck out of you - their marketing materials were hilariously slick-looking and poorly translated.
So there's the goofier side of what we saw at this year's PGA Show.
What do you think? Products that will revolutionize the game...or not?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.
X marks the putt actually sounds like a great idea. Having no protrusions on the ground (like a coin marker) would allow for easier play throughs
Not a single penny of taxpayer dollars?" More like $100 million PER YEAR. That's what the US Government pays the USPS to mail voter materials to blind/disabled and overseas Americans. A needed service? Yes, but a private (i.e., efficient) organization could do it for a LOT less.
Yes, the mandate to pre-fund the USPS's retirement system has led to its financial woes, but to solve them it is borrowing money from the U.S. Treasury Department. Guess who loses if they can't pay it back?
Finally, if the USPS is bleeding red ink ($5.5 billion loss last year alone) why is it spending millions exhibiting (empty booths) at trade shows?
Just another drop in the bucket? Maybe. But if you plug enough leaks a bucket will hold its own water.
Hmmmm, the USPS was profitable until the past 10 years or so? I wonder what changed? Oh, I remember now ! That's when George W (not Obama) signed legislation to make USPS the ONLY gov't agency to OVERLY PRE-fund its retirement system. Coincidental? Nah.
Curious what pure, unadulterated government efficiency in practice, if not in theory, looks like? Then the following chart of USPS operating profits, pardon, losses over the past decade should be sufficient. The punchline: having generated revenues of nearly $700 billion in the past 40 quarters, the USPS has been bleeding red ink more or less consistently since 2006, and has now generated just over $47 billion in operating losses over the past ten years.
For general information for those that are not aware, the USPS is a government agency only in the fact of being controlled by the government. For example, congress gets to determine ow much a stamp can cost, when people can be hired, etc. The taxpayer does not pay a single penny to the postal service, except for when they use the service to ship something. It is a not for profit, self containing organization. So, if there isnt a problem with the footwedge people making thier product and having a booth, why shouldn't the postal service? its not your money, your time, or your anything. Well, it is your miguided uninformed thoughts regarding something you know nothing of, but hey, its America isnt it?
Wait til your hero reads all your mail.
All very amusing except the USPS booth, which is epidemic in all government levels!
Yes Obama may have been robbing Peter to pay Paul (or maybe just using it for a pallet of cash to Iran) who knows, but I bet it isn't reducing your personal retirement account value, is it?
The postage stamp IS a tax paid to fund the USPS.
Like most US golf accessories not needed. That which may be good doesn't justify postage let alone cost.