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Back and broke from the PGA Merchandise Show: Sometimes having the best isn't good enough

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

(ORLANDO, FL.) - You got home yesterday from the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show, where you maxed out your credit card, emptied your wallet, your checking and savings accounts and your IRA.

2007 PGA Merchandise Show
The 2007 PGA Merchandise Show had all the latest high-tech gizmos in golf.
2007 PGA Merchandise ShowColin Montgomerie

No matter. You're loaded with the latest golf technology and you're headed out to your home course. You're going to tear your golf buddies a new one.

You put on your new J. Lindberg line of golf apparel (approximately $400), so you're looking stylishly Euro. True, your golf buddies are falling all over themselves laughing when you get out of the car, but are they laughing when the bag boys pull around with your Hummer H3 ($38,000) golf car?

Besides, you've taken both your five-hour energy drink ($5.95) and Mind Drive, performance enhancing pills ($4.59), and you're both calm as Buddha and energetic as a young Puma. Let them scoff, you're going low today, lower than you've ever been. You are the Golfer of the Future.

It's early, so you turn on the Hummer's fog lights. Ooh and aahs from your primitive mates. When you get to the first tee, you slip on your MP3 player and the playing lessons you downloaded the night before, to help you focus even more. Besides, they drown out your buddies' wisecracks.

You stick your biodegradable tee ($6.99) in the ground, and take a few practice swings with your new, MacGregor MacTec NVG2 ($300). You see the bunker down the left side. You say out loud, "How far to that bunker on the left?"

"You've played here 200 times, you know how far the damn bunker is," says the most irritating of your buddies.

But, even he shuts his mouth when a soothing voice comes out of nowhere and says "197 yards to the bunker on the left."

Finally, someone says: "Who the hell is that?"

You doff your cap and point to the bill, where a GPS-capable Advisor computer is embedded. You don't show it, but you're loving the stunned silence.

You know the entire face on your new MacTec is the "sweet spot," so the bunker won't even begin to come into play. You set up and take a mighty swing. The ball dribbles 10 yards to your left.

"187 yards to the bunker on the left," the voice says, and those gales of laughter from your partners are jealousy, pure and simple.

No problem. You have your set of integrated hybrid irons from Adams ($600). You set up, remembering all the simulators you went through at the PGA Show. Now is the time to put all that techno-knowledge to use. Another swing, another 10 yards.

"177 yards to the bunker on the left," your hat says.

Your friends are already hoarse from laughing, so when you slam your computer-hat into the back seat of your Hummer with an expletive, all you can hear is a voice insanely repeating "207 yards to the bunker on the left, 207 yards to the bunker on the left..."

You've made it to the green, finally. This is where it will all come together. The short game is where you really score. Last night, you practiced with your laser-guided putter ($180) on your new, portable, automatic-return putting green, as well as with your new P-3 Perfect Pendulum ($102) and now you're toting your "Heavy Putter" ($200) which, of course, takes the little muscles out of your putting stroke, forcing you to use your shoulders, like the pros do.

When you take the putter back, though, you feel something in your shoulder give. Christ, it's like swinging a jack-hammer. Your putt comes up 15 feet short and you're hopping around the green, holding your wounded shoulder.

By now, your so-called friends aren't laughing. They're avoiding your eyes. They look concerned. You take out your Ultimate Golf Tool ($30). Surely, there must be something in there that can help. It has nine different functions, but nothing for a pulled shoulder muscle.

However, it can keep a cigar dry, so you light up a Cuban Cohiba ($112 for box of five), thinking the pleasure of smoking it will ease the pain. You stick the Ultimate Golf Tool in the ground, take one toke, and place the cigar in the Ultimate Golf Tool, as per the instructions.

But, when you look up, your buddies have left in your Hummer for the next hole. You trudge onward, only to find the Hummer, abandoned. Not only has it lost its charge, your golf bag is beeping - your "lost-club" sensor has become disabled in the drizzle that's begun.

You can see your friends on the next tee, teeing off and laughing, having a high old time. You limp slowly, in the drizzle, to the clubhouse, where you order three beers, line them up on the bar and drink them down.

In your hand, you have your scorecard. It only has the score for the first hole, but why compound the embarrassment, after all the suffering you've experienced?

You ask the bartender for a pencil. He gives one to you, and you erase the "8" from the card. The eraser - still the golfer's best friend.

"Oh, by the way, Sergio" the bartender says, glancing down at your loud, orange pants. "That will be 10 cents for the pencil."

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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