Once again it is that time of year. The moment that we writers wait for all year long is upon us. Yes, I know it's only the third week of January, but I've been waiting since January of last year!
While you're enjoying that steaming cup of Joe this morning, I am off in Orlando toiling away at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show. As you relax in the comfort of your own home, or the 19th hole after a pleasant round, I am working. I'm marching up and down aisles of golf equipment, accessories, balls, apparel and much more. I'm hitting and testing all kinds of clubs and teaching aides in a tiring effort to find the best of these items and report my findings to you.
Held in the Orange County Convention Center each January, the show takes up nearly every square inch of the center's 1 million square feet of floor space. More than 10 miles of carpet are laid out to form the aisles between exhibitors.
Last year the best news was that many manufacturers and smaller companies returned to the show after being away for several years. Attendance was up and many of us writers felt a bit of optimism in the air.
In years past, our week kicked off with the Tour Edge multi-manufacturers media golf outing. Last year the event returned after a couple years of being put on hold. Just attending that event may have been enough to put us in a great frame of mind. Getting to hit the newest equipment from Tour Edge and its Exotics line, along with trying new golf balls, the latest weather gear and more has a way of getting the juices flowing. Throw in a fun round of golf, great food and the chance to see old friends, and we are ready to go.
Fortunately, my colleagues and I have a nice condo to stay in. We'll need the whirlpool tub, the kitchen and ample space to relax, stretch out and recharge ourselves after a tough day.
Our Wednesday will consist of many hours at the demo day. Here we will be hitting and testing the latest equipment so that we can give our readers and radio audiences a first-hand account on what to look into further and what is nothing more than snake oil.
Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday we will be hitting those aisles I spoke of at the convention center. We will be on the lookout for new exciting items that you may not otherwise hear about.
Not every course or shop sends someone to the show. Many depend on company reps to show them all the latest technology and steer them in the right direction for their customers. I'm convinced that every year I find many items that our local shops or golfers wouldn't even hear of, much less consider for their game. I consider it my calling and duty to find those and report back to you.
In addition, we will be playing a couple courses while in the Orlando area. We'll let you know the skinny on those, as well. Everyone needs a good place to play golf and when in Orlando, there are certainly many choices. This also gives us a chance to test out some of the new balls, swing aids and maybe even a club or three on the course and then report back to you.
Over the next few weeks you'll hear about everything we found of interest at the show. I'll fill you in on the new equipment, new grips, new swing aids and even energy drinks. So fill up your coffee cup and get ready.
Please, hold the applause. There is no need to thank me. I do all of this because of the deep love in my heart for our game. Sometimes one must make sacrifices for the good of the sport and the needs of his fans. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I fill you in on all the latest and greatest in the world of golf for 2013.
Now if you'll excuse me, I really must to get back to work. Can someone relight my cigar? Where did I set my ice cold beer? Hey, who turned down the thermostat on the hot tub? Is it just me or is the picture on that 50-inch LCD television a little too sharp? Hello, room service?
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday night golf show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.