Lisa Longball – Motivational Speaker & Golf Entertainer

Lisa "Longball" Vlooswyk
E: lisalongball@shaw.ca
T: (403) 804-4739

Lisa Longball

ORLANDO, Florida (Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk/iG) — The 2016 PGA Merchandise Show was recently held in Orlando, Florida, on January 26-28, 2016. It is the World’s Largest Golf Show and referred to as the industry’s annual “MAJOR of Golf Business.”

There were 42,000 golf industry professionals from 91 countries, 7,000 PGA Professionals from around the world, which was up from 2015 and more than 1,000 media representatives from 23 countries. I have been covering the PGA Show for Inside Golf Magazine for the last 8 years and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

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The atmosphere of the PGA Show was exciting. It kick started on Tuesday, January 26, at the 42 acre facility at Orange County National. There was a centennial tee shot struck to celebrate the 100 day Kick Off honoring 100 years of the PGA.

The driving range was bustling all day. Over 100 top golf companies were situated on the massive circular driving range. Attendees went from booth to booth testing all of the new 2016 product from the major manufactures. It was the place to be to try new putters, shafts, launch monitors, woods, hybrids and of course drivers, to name a few.

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There were special appearances from many golf celebrities including bunker lessons from Annika Sorenstam, teaching lessons from Golf Channel’s Michael Breed and appearances at sponsors’ booths including 2-time Masters winner Bubba Watson who put on a fun and entertaining clinic. I was thrilled to run into friend and fellow Canadian 2-Time World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski.

On Wednesday, January 27, the Show moved to Orange County Convention Center where it was spread out over 1 million square feet of interactive exhibit, demonstration and meeting space. I learned after the first year to wear comfortable shoes! PGA of America Hall of Famer Lee Trevino was part of the celebration of Day 1 and talked about the impact PGA Professionals have had on the game and the growth of the game over the last 100 years.

There were 284 new companies to the PGA Merchandise Show and booths ranging from speciality tee markers, golf socks, head covers, lawn mowers, golf travel destinations, range finders, teaching aides, apparel, sunglasses, ball markers, golf carts, golf fitness goodies, shafts and everything golf, could be found walking the 10 miles of exhibit aisles. It is also commonplace to run into golf legends as you walk the halls. I was over the moon to bump into and chat with the effervescent Chi Chi Rodriguez.

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Other celebrities on hand for meet and greets included Lexi Thompson, Bubba Watson, Jesper Parnevik, Lydia Ko, Blair O’Neal, Ian Poulter, Greg Norman, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Annika Sorenstam, Johnny Miller, Hal Sutton, Nancy Lopez, David Leadbetter, Hank Haney, Michael Breed and Jim McLean.

Other popular aspects of the show included the PGA Forum Stage which hosted many educational and entertaining presentations, the PGA Education Conference, PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit, Outdoor Instructional Workshops, the FIT to W.I.N. stage and the new Textile Sourcing Pavilion. All created added value for the participants on hand and truly had something for everyone.

One of my highlights each year is going to Canada Night, the PGA of Canada Awards Night. Top Professionals and Humanitarians are presented with Awards. Everyone wants to come to this party including international delegates. It is a fabulous mingling event amongst those involved in the Canadian Golf industry in any capacity.

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Award winners this year were Danny King (The Performance Academy at Magna), Mike Weir Player of the Year, Dean Manz (Wascana Country Club), Pat Fletcher Retailer of the Year, Cory Southon (Henry Brunton Golf), Moe Norman Candidate for Membership of the Year, Adam Werbicki (The Derrick Golf & Winter Club), George Knudson Teacher of the Year, Adam Boge (Golf Mentor), Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year, Tristan Mullally (Golf Canada), Ben Kern Coach of the Year, Judy Forshner (Glencoe Golf & Country Club), Murray Tucker Golf Professional of the Year, Liam Mucklow (The Golf Lab), Tex Noble Award for Professional Development, Daryl MacLean (Cherry Hill Club) and Stan Leonard Class “A” Professional of the Year.

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I was thrilled to see Serge Savard at Canada Night. The famed Montreal Canadian Hockey star has won 10 Stanley Cups, 8 as a player and 2 as a General Manager. We met in Calgary at the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament last summer. He is a fantastic golfer and remembered me hitting it over 300 yards for his team! I was tickled! He received the George Cumming Distinguished Service Award at Canada Night and said how honored he was.

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My main focus at the show was looking for the new and neat products offered by Canadian Companies. I met so many amazing people and can’t wait to share all of the new offerings for 2016! Companies I visited include Sunice, 2UNDR, Projeckt, Accra Golf Shafts, Sun Dog Eyewear, Sligo, Nivo and High Definition Simulators. One of my best new surprises was a company out of Halifax, Dormie Workshop. The make handmade leather head covers that can be personally designed, perfect for a special gift or for corporate logoing.

Look for my article on Canadian Golf Companies at the PGA Show coming soon in IG Newsletter and in the Spring issue of IG Magazine.

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ORLANDO, Florida (Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk/iG) — Each year at the PGA Show held in Orlando, Florida, hundreds of golf affiliated manufacturers present their latest and greatest as well as proven products for viewing at this massive trade show that kicks off the new year for golf in grand style.

Far from being left out, several Canadian-based companies use this platform to take centre stage in displaying some outstanding products ranging from clothing to equipment to eyewear and all manner of accessories for golf.

Also each year, Inside Golf’s Lisa ‘Vlooswyk,’ the 7-time Canadian Women’s Long Drive Champion, checks out these companies and reports on them for our information, education and entertainment. Following is her 2016 PGA Show Canadian Company product review.

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Biion Footwear

This Canadian manufacturer of innovative footwear originally launched at the PGA Show in 2014 and since then has exploded across the golf footwear market the last 2 years. CEO & President Rick Buchanan used his 15 years of experience in the fashion industry paired with his knowledge of unique fabrics and sourced out Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) which is an ultra-light, ultra-flexible material to create a shoe that feels uber smooth and comfortable.

The shoe is styled as a slip on shoe and meant to be worn with bare feet. It gives a flexible, form-fitting feel. Biion’s shoes are spikeless and feature a hexagon-patterned cleat with Hextra-grip Technology. In addition to providing stability and traction on the course, the lack of spikes allow the shoe to be worn for leisure and lifestyle and have become popular with the boating community for their grip, wash ability and easy drying capability.

In addition to comfort it offers an extensive array of colours and designs including neon colours, standard shades and patterns entitled Leopard, Anchor, Snake, Luau and Flamingo. There are fun Sponge Bob Square Pants designs for the Biion Kiids shoe line.(www.biionfootwear.com).

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Projekt

This Vancouver based company took standard boring luggage and turned it upside-down. Introduced to the market in 2013 this Canadian company set out to make luggage that was stylish, individualized, fashionable and most importantly functional. Their first luggage collection was named ‘The MileHigh Collection.’ They focused on improving the components of standard luggage to make a superior product. As a result bigger wheels, military grade zippers and an aluminum finished handle all caught the public’s eye.

Each product line includes must have innovations such as the Think Tank messenger bag with recoil handle, seat belt straps for shoulder strap, airline ticket pocket and plush liners for valuables. The golf carry bag the Kozmak, is designed for every convenience for the golfer who actually carries including the angled water bottle holder, range finder pouch, score card sleeve, EVA moulded sunglasses pouch and adjustable foot pads for hills and walking accessible fleece lined phone pouch. New for 2016 is the Carpaccio back pack with hard top sunglass holder, pockets for power cords, business cards and ear buds.

The hip, stylish and well planned luggage comes in everything from duffle bags, suit cases, golf bags, lunch bags, toiletry bags, back packs, carry ons, and travel covers. (www.projektco.com)

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2UNDR

The same Vancouver based owners of Projekt also launched the high performance underwear brand 2UNDR in the same year, 2013. The purpose was to create high performance men’s athletic underwear that could be worn for everyday use as well. The fundamentals of the design were inspired by the Kangaroo-pouch and lead to the now trademarked Joey Pouch Technology that offers a soft and comfortable feel and prevents skin on skin contact.

Other favorite features include The Fly that provides increased air flow, the No-Drip-Tip that wicks away moisture, the flat locked stitching and construction seams designed to avoid potential rub zones and the Swass Patch the top of the back of the underwear to prevent a sweaty buttocks region.

New and popular for 2016 are camo styles, stripes, and new colours and patterns like Anchors Away and Boat Drinks. The Euro fit with a 3 inch inseam was also introduced this year. It has been popular with businessmen as the Euro style prevents lines showing under suits and have become a hot item for women to wear to bed. (www.2UNDR.com).

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SUNICE

Started in 1976, in Calgary, Alberta, the skiwear company SUNICE began its journey to be heralded as the leader of technical outerwear in Canada. In 1992 SUNICE made their foray into the golf outwear market and since then has developed its line to include shirts, pullovers, socks, pants, skorts and shorts for both men and women.

The SUNICE performance system offers base layers, mid layers and outer layers all with varying degrees of waterproof, wind proof and breathability. SUNICE has helped golfers realize to trust the fabric and that lined jackets don’t mean warmer. They are a performance company that is focused on creating product that will not impede the swing.

An improved fabric for 2016 is Zephal, a propriety fabric to SUNICE that is a tour favourite offering one of the lightest woven stretch fabrics in rainwear.

Popular colors this year for men are vibrant blues and deep red (Merlot) for the fall and for the women Iris (light purple) with lavender and navy (www.sunice.com).

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ACCRA Golf Shafts

ACCRA has long been known as a premium shaft company based in Kingston, Ontario. Their company philosophy has always been that all golfers are better served when properly fit by a professional club fitter. ACCRA focuses on creating products with cutting edge technology and style that has made it popular from consumers to professional golfers.

ACCRA offers shafts for all clubs from putter to driver. It now offers the first premium shaft for Junior golfers in their SRT line. Two of the most popular new additions for 2016 is the 400 series of the Concept line for golfers and the Tour Zx400 series which is ideal for golfers looking for lower launch and spin.

The surprise announcement at the at the PGA Show was that ACCRA has created a business partnership with True Temper Sports where ACCRA will be responsible for distribution and sales of all aftermarket True Temper shafts in North America and Europe (www.accragolf.com).

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NIVO Sport and SLIGO Wear

Lanctôt Ltée is a family run business, based out of Montreal and is the parent company of women’s golf brand NIVO since 2007, and as of August 2015, men’s golf apparel company, SLIGO. Nivo Sport is directed at active women looking for a stylish brand both on and off the course. It is youthful but not young. They pride themselves on being style driven with “design inspirations drawn from today’s fashion runways, not yesterday’s golf fairways.” Their collection offers solids, vibrant colors and unique patterns along with wind proof and water proof pieces (www.nivosport.com).

Sligo Wear combines North American and European fashion with technical fabrics. It is cool, fun and edgy and is meant to look like an outfit. Stripes and bold colors are used to help set their outfits apart and the Sligo belt is a large part of their branding. There is also a kid’s line for young boys that want to look and play like dad (www.sligowear.com)

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Dormie Workshop

This was one of the best new products at the PGA Show this year. Dormie Workshop started in October of 2014 and is based out of Dartmouth, NS. It was co-founded by two brothers Jeff and Todd Bishop both who are PGA of Canada members and former mini tour players. While playing professional golf the brothers saw an increasing trend and opportunity to create genuine leather products for head covers for drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and putters. They are Canada’s only head cover company.

Their head covers come in a variety of colours and can be personalized in any way imaginable. Much like a tattoo, if you can think it up they can create it. Their head covers are sold in pro shops across Canada including Cabot Links, The National, Victoria Golf and Country Club and Nicklaus North. Canadian PGA Tour players Graham DeLaet and David Hearn use their product on their 3 woods (www.dormieworkshop.com).

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Sundog Eyewear

This high performance vision company has been in business over 30 years and is based in Calgary, AB. Their product it always cutting edge and offers consumers style and value. They have had a long lasting partnership with LPGA star Paula Creamer who not only wears Sundogs but also designs her own line.

New for 2016 is the ground breaking technology TrueBlue® MOLP Lens Technology (Melanin plus Ocular Lens Pigment) founded by Dr. James Gallas. He has created the ability to incorporate Melanin with Ocular Lens Pigment to help protect the eye from High Energy Visible light (blue light) that is harmful to the eye lens, retina and macula.

The combination of the two natural substances Melanin and OLP now protect the eye from invisible and visible light and is the only non-prescription sunglass lens in the world to incorporate both.

FlingStickSundog Eyewear is now worn for Golf, Running, Cycling, Fishing, Hunting, the Beach, and for fashion and are available at golf courses, Golf Town, Sport Chek, Running Room and shops across Canada (www.sundogeyewear.ca).

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Fling Golf (Honorary Mention)

This is not a Canadian company but combines Canada’s national sport of Lacrosse and golf in one. It is played on a regular golf course with a golf ball and special FlingStick for every shot. It is a lightweight, carbon fiber stick with a high tech cradle for the ball at the end. The player hurls the golf ball like a lacrosse ball and counts the number of throws made until the ball is holed out. It is either pushed or rolled with the FlingStick on the green. It is played at hundreds of courses across USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Mexico. (www.flinggolf.com)

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Change Your Putting Swing Thought.

Often when I play with golfers that roll their putt way past the hole they say, “I hit it too hard.” If the putt stops way too short, in addition to major ribbing from their playing partners I hear “I hit it too soft.”

This is a terrible putting stroke swing thought. It is very subjective to judge how much “harder” or how much “softer” you need to roll a putt.

Start thinking you need to make a LONGER stroke for long putts and SHORTER stroke for closer putts. This will help keep your tempo the same and avoid hitting or stabbing at the ball, both which make it very difficult to control distance.

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Great Drill: Set up 5 balls each the same distance apart. Pull the middle ball out a foot away from the line of balls. Putt the middle ball, only allowing your putter head to go as far back and as far through as the closest ball on either side. This simulates what your short putt stroke will look like.

Then replace the middle ball and repeat the drill this time allowing your club to go as far back and through as the two end balls to simulate your long putts. Ensure your tempo (speed of stroke) does not change.

Use Your Hybrid Around the Green.

When you are around the green and have a tight lie, why risk chunking or blading a wedge? Instead, pull out your hybrid. Set up to the ball as if you were going to putt it. Choke down on your shaft and make a putting stroke.

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Use the Toe of Your Putter Against the Collar of the Green.

If your ball has come to rest against the collar of the green a great escape is to use the toe of your putter. Using your whole putter or a wedge creates more surface area and increases the chances of your putter head or wedge getting caught in the thick grass.

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Turn your putter 90 degrees so that the toe of the putter is the only part of the club that will contact the ball. The heel of the putter is naturally raised and the toe will act like a hammer and penetrate thought he grass. You want to strike the top half of the ball only, this will allow it to roll out smoothly. This tip works best with blade putters but you can use other putter styles as well.

Using the simple elements of aim, grip, posture and ball position you too can actually have a pretty good idea of where your golf ball should go when you set up to send it flying. Here is Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk’s straightforward explanation of how to make that happen.

Your pre-shot routine should include these 4 aspects of the setup to improve ball striking.

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Imagine walking up to a rubble stone clubhouse that looks like a large impressive version of a Scottish country home with a long string of caddies dressed in pristine white coveralls milling about.

Surrounding the clubhouse are two rugged, windswept courses, one perched on the edge of an expansive coast. Fescue flows in the ever present wind and the bountiful, natural and daunting bunkers haunt your swing thoughts.

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