Showstoppers

February 14, 2000

The annual PGA Merchandise Show is like the big attraction in
Orlando, Disney World, in that it's all about the latest
technology, stylish design and glitzy marketing, with a few
Mickey Mouse ideas mixed in. Here are some of the things that
caught our eye at last week's PGA show. --Gary Van Sickle

BEST IMPERSONATION OF A LEATHER WRAP

We noticed awhile back that a lot of Tour pros are using Winn
grips ($5.99 each). Here's why: They're remarkably soft, slip
resistant and, well, the brown ones look really cool. We know,
we know, they're grips--the socks and underwear of golf
equipment--but everyone needs 14 of them, right?

THE ONLY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT FIT FOR HANGING FROM A REFRIGERATOR
DOOR

Exploiting the mysterious healing powers of two trendy metal
products, the MagneFlex ($19.95) by USGlove has two magnets sewn
in near the bottom of the wrist and four copper disks positioned
above the knuckles. Next year: tiny pyramids on the fingertips.

BEST-KEPT SECRET

Three years in the making, Callaway's $150 million baby finally
arrived last week, and it's twins. The Rule 35 ball ($22 for a
sleeve of five) comes in a firm version and a soft one.

BIGGEST TOTAL ZIP-OFF

Remember how Payne Stewart used scissors to turn his rain jacket
into a vest before the final round of last year's U.S. Open?
Foot-Joy came up with a more elegant solution, substituting
zippers for snippers to get the arms off its DryJoy Performance
rain jacket ($240).

CLOTHES MOST LIKELY TO GET YOU BEAT UP IN A BIKER BAR

Tundra, a Canadian company, loves wild colors and patterns,
hence the cotton Etcetera sweater ($200). This stuff may be big
in Moose Jaw, but are you man enough to wear it at the club?

BEST IRONS TO POSE WITH AT PINE VALLEY

Throwbacks to the pre-Karsten days when all golfers played
forged irons, the lean and clean Cleveland Tour Action blades
($799 for eight) are form-forged, precision-milled and so darn
pretty that it's almost a shame to set 'em in the dirt.

BEST TEST TO SEE HOW MUCH YOU'RE WILLING TO SPEND FOR THE
LATEST, GREATEST CLUB

Iron woods--a.k.a. driving irons--are half iron, half fairway
wood and so hot that long irons may soon become an endangered
species. The PRGR 200i (opposite, left) is the runaway favorite
among Tour players, and at $369 is the Lexus of iron woods. You
can get the Tour Edge (center) version of the club for a
Honda-like $200, or pick up the Orbiter Savior for $70 and off
Yugo.

SEVEN COLOR PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)