Something is up when an e-mail arrives every five minutes with news of a golf product. That's happening now, because the annual PGA Merchandise Show is around the corner. The gigantic merchandise feast will be held Jan. 27-29 at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando.
Here's a representative sampling of the merchandise, so to speak, from today's e-mails.
There's Equmen's "revolutionary line of high-performance undershirts," which supposedly helps golfers improve. Its "helix-mapping technology" is such that it "builds physio taping techniques into every garment, reinforcing and supporting the body's natural structures from the core."
Then there's PowerBilt's "nitrogen-charged technology," used in its new Air Force One-Air Foil 2" driver. There's nitrogen inside the titanium clubhead, which is supposed to be the thinnest in the game. The late, great Canadian golfer used to say "thin can win," by which he meant that hitting a shot thin is better than hitting it fat.
Knudson would be interested to learn that "thin can win" has a new meaning today.
Finally, "the ball of steel" from EyeLine Golf is worth a look. This practice putting ball is five times the weight of a normal ball. Deliberate practice that focuses on impact with the ball of steel is supposed to help the golfer when he putts with a normal ball. The heavy practice is meant to lead to a lighter, better feel.
EyeLine's idea of working on one's game is based on The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance (2006). The specific research paper is called Deliberate Practice and Acquisition of Expert Performance: A General Overview, by K. Anders Ericsson. Dr. Ericsson is the Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
I don't know if Dr. Ericsson will attend the PGA Merchandise Show, but I'll find out. I'd enjoy a chat with him. He's a leader in the study of expertise, and of becoming better at a motor skill. I know that I'll need all the motor skills I have, and plenty of speed and time, to get around the massive floor at the PGA Show.
ALSO FROM LORNE RUBENSTEIN:
Lorne Rubenstein has written a golf column for The Globe and Mail since 1980. He has played golf since the early 1960s and was the Royal Canadian Golf Association's first curator of its museum and library at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario and the first editor of Score, Canada's Golf Magazine, where he continues to write a column and features. He has won four first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, one National Magazine Award in Canada, and, most recently, he won the award for the best feature in 2009 from the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. Lorne has written 11 books, including The Natural Golf Swing, with George Knudson (1988); Links: An Insider's Tour Through the World of Golf (1990); The Swing, with Nick Price (1997); The Fundamentals of Hogan, with David Leadbetter (2000); A Season in Dornoch: Golf and Life in the Scottish Highlands (2001); Mike Weir: The Road to the Masters (2003); A Disorderly Compendium of Golf, with Jeff Neuman (2006); and his latest, This Round's on Me (2009). He is a member of the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Lorne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .