October 25, 2011

My Trip To The PGA Merchandise Show

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in Orlando last week for the Annual PGA Merchandise show.  The first day was billed as demo day and then the next three days were the actual merchandise show.  Friends and golf pros I know tried to tell me how massive this show was, but I evidently didn’t pay attention because both the demo day and then the merchandise show were much grander than I could imagine.

Outdoor PGA Show Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center

The Demo Day was held at the biggest driving range in the round I have ever seen.  I counted 8 teeing areas on 42 acres with each tee probably accommodating at least 25 -50 golfers at a time.  There was another 3 practice putting greens and a chipping area. These teeing and putting areas were then broken up by over a 100 vendor booths with their latest and greatest new equipment for the golf pros and invited guests to try out.

According to the literature there would be over 7000 show attendees at the demo day alone.  I suspect a primary reason for being at demo day is to try out the new equipment, of which they estimated over 100,000 shots would be hit that day alone.  I hit 98 of them.  (I actually only hit one shot with 97 mulligans.)

It is really a thrill to try out the latest equipment, much of it just being introduced at the show.  In fact some of the equipment had only been tested with professional golfers before the PGA show, so demo day allowed the golf equipment companies to see for the first time how the public responds to their new offerings.

Everything from putters, to wedges, to irons, to hybrids to woods were all on display with space age materials or whatever they use to enhance the club’s performance.   Also on display were training aids, club enhancement devices, apparel (sunglasses, shoes, etc.), and other gadgets.

At any point during the day you can find a golf pro celebrity giving demos of the latest equipment from their sponsors and what it has done to help their game.  For example, I watched Suzzanne Pettersen at the Nike Golf booth show off her beautiful swing and tell us she can hit the drive further with the new equipment.  If I had her swing I could hit the ball further with or without new equipment.

Demo Day was a great way to start off the show.  I took lots of video and posted it up on our You Tube channel (https://youtube.com/fitnessforgolftv).

2012 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Convention Center

SwingShot.com - See Your Real Swing

I entered the Orlando convention center 20 minutes before it was due to open just so I wouldn’t miss anything on my only day there.  As I walked in I noticed a stage in the middle atrium so I positioned myself close to that just in case there were festivities.  Jack Nicklaus was supposed to kick things off.  I thought if lucky enough to be close to his greatness, maybe some of it would rub off on me.

Right at the appointed hour, the stage is occupied by a guitar player and a good looking gal who introduces herself as Julie Roberts.  She is a country singer of some renown who kicks off the show with songs to get the crowd going.  Since I was right up front, I took the liberty of capturing her on video singing her hit single “You ain’t down home”.  In the process she saw me and actually sang specifically to me.  In the video I cut away and video’d how big the convention center was.  You can watch the video and see if you catch her reference to me and my cell phone at https://youtube.com/fitnessforgolftv on the video labeled Julie Roberts Opens the PGA Show.

Next up was Jack Nicklaus and PGA dignitaries officially opening the show.  Unfortunately, they were high up on a stage three stories above me so everyone could see them.  My key positioning did not pay off for being close to Jack, but I did get Julie to sing to me.

The common theme from Jack and the PGA is what is being dubbed as Golf 2.0.  They want to make the game of golf much more accessible to all with hopes of broadening the base.  They want to make the game more fun and welcoming.  This will be a major initiative for the PGA professionals going forward so that the popularity of golf can begin to improve.

According to Nicklaus, the golf industry “is at a crossroads.  The Golf 2.0 plan of action promotes out-of-the-box thinking and details how we need to change to grow the game.”  The goal is to grow the game from approximately 27.1 million golfers today to 40 million golfers by 2020.  I videotaped Jack’s address and put it on the fitness for golf tv channel https://youtube.com/fitnessforgolftv.  I was quite a ways away so the quality is not the greatest, but you can still hear his remarks.

What Next Week Will Be About

I realize this week’s edition is getting a little long for a quick review.  Therefore, I will continue the tour inside the PGA Merchandise show in next week’s feature article.

I have posted a couple of videos about inside the show at https://youtube.com/fitnessforgolftv.  This next week I will compile all the videos to give you a complete picture of the experience.

It was an overwhelming trade show.  I had no idea how many different gadgets we golfers put up with in hopes of improving our scores.  Next week, I’ll go inside the trade show and show you what its like.

This article is written by Mike Root owner of Fitness For Golf



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