Thursday, January 31, 2013

PGA Merchandise Show - Inventor's Spotlight


The PGA Merchandise Show in general is an amazing venue for finding the newest, most cutting edge products, including everything from innovative golf apparel to the newest technology for golf clubs.  But they also take it a step farther with the Inventors Spotlight, sponsored by InventionHome, which takes a glimps at what the future of golf has in store; this includes everything from the good, the bad and the bizarre.   For the last 3 years, the United Inventors Association of America has teamed up with the PGA Merchandise Show in order to feature products that may have the potential to be the next latest and greatest in golf.

As part of the Inventors Spotlight, along with seminars and guest speakers, a panel of judges evaluated all the new products in attendance in order to find the winners of three main categories: Most Innovative Concept, Best Manufacturing Analysis and the Pinnacle Award.

A product that seemed to be garnering more attention than others (but didn't win an award) was the Golf Bike, a bicycle designed to carry clubs and be used as an alternative to walking the course or using a cart. 

 “We’re a bike company, but we also do golf swing aids and we’re also golfers,” Roger Hawkes of Higher Ground Bicycle Company, said. ” We combined what we do for a living in the cycling world along with our passion for golf. “It’s low impact to the course. Obviously, it’s going to add fitness and speed of play. When we use it it’s about an hour for nine holes.”


But in the end after interviews, evaluations, analysis etc, the judges announced the winners of the three categories as follows:

Most Innovative Concept
This award is designed to accommodate inventors who may not have a retail ready product. From a sketch to a fully developed product, this category looks at the overall innovation of the concept and how it fits into the category. Examples of this may be – Does the product truly represent an innovative approach to the benefit it provides the consumer? Is the product take a novel way to approach its function and design? Does the product solve a true consumer problem in a new and creative way.

Winner: The Golf Square
The Golf Square is a golf training aid to help golfers align themselves in hopes of finding a more accurate golf shot.  Although I've seen several similar concepts on the market, the judges thought this was innovative enough for the award.  More innovative than the golf bike, I'm not sure.
Ken Zuzik and Matt Zuzik demonstrate the use of the golf square in the Inventors Spotlight pavilion at the 60th PGA Merchandise Show on January 24, 2013 at The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Kat Griggs/The PGA of America)


Best Manufacturing Analysis
Manufacturing is a vital part of the commercialization process. however overlooked by most inventors. This award serves to recognize the inventor/product that has completed a comprehensive study of the manufacturing techniques and material required to manufacture their product or design. Considerations for judging this category may be – Has the inventor investigated the different manufacturing processes needed to create the product? Did the inventor develop a matrix of comparable materials needed including an understanding of their limitations? Did the inventor demonstrate an understanding of the cost, design, and function tradeoffs associated with manufacturing their product or concept?

Winner: PushNPutt (www.pushnputt.com)
The PushNPutt is flagstick the eliminates the need to bend over to retrieve your ball from the hole.  With a simple push of the flagpole, balls are automatically returned to the playing surface.
Susan and Jerry Mallonee, Brad Church and Tony Track, PushnPutt, pose with award for "Best Manufacturer Analysis" award at the Inventor's Spotlight Awards during the 60th PGA Merchandise Show on January 24, 2013 at The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Kat Griggs/The PGA of America)

The Pinnacle Award
The Pinnacle Award: The successful development of a product takes talent, knowledge, and tenacity. As such, the Pinnacle Award is designed to recognize the broadest range of efforts by the inventor. From design, market research, sales, fulfillment, manufacturing and quality. This category is judged on everything. Scores in the judging of this award will be given based on the attention paid by the inventor to all phases of ideation, invention, and commercialization.

Winner: PGF Personal Golf Fan (www.pgffan.com)
Just is sounds, the Personal Golf Fan is a portable fan that you can take with you on the golf course.  This innovative, battery operated product is conveniently designed to fit into the standard cup holder in any golf cart.
Rick and Cynthia Wark pose with Russell Williams after being awarded the "Pinnacle Award-Best in Show" for the personal golf fan at the Inventor's Spotlight Awards during the 60th PGA Merchandise Show on January 24, 2013 at The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Kat Griggs/The PGA of America)