The second day of the 2023 PGA Show provided a powerful encore to a busy first day on Thursday, with a fresh schedule of panel discussions and presentations on the PGA Industry Stage Powered by CapTech, an insightful schedule of PGA Education Conference seminars, a lengthy leaderboard of celebrity appearances and a high-energy PGA Professional Reception and Happy Hour at the Orange County Reception Center.
Thousands of golf-industry professionals filled the PGA Show floor aisles for a second day, as some 800 companies showcased their latest products and welcomed celebrities such as 2003 U.S. Open champion and former U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk, World Golf Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam, and two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els.
The 70th edition of the PGA Show concludes Friday, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. and closing at 1 p.m.
“All I can say is the PGA Show is back in a big way after the pandemic,” said Ed Gibson, PGA Head Professional at Makefield Highlands Golf Club in Yardley, Pennsylvania. “The energy and enthusiasm on the PGA Show floor is something I haven’t seen in many years.”
“The PGA Show is great medicine for everyone in the golf industry,” observed Marten Olsson, PGA Director of Golf at the Georgia Southern University Golf Course in Statesboro, Georgia. “The pandemic created a huge surge in golf participation, but that meant more working hours for PGA Professionals. This is finally an opportunity to take a breath and get back to normal business. It’s great to see such energy at the PGA Show.”
Exhibitors were pleased with the heavy, steady traffic on the PGA Show floor Wednesday and Thursday to mark the return to normalcy following the pandemic.
“We were extremely busy on the first day and the momentum carried over to today,” reported Biion Footwear President Mark Everitt. “We have met many people who had never heard of our brand, and we have opened nearly 100 new accounts. We were considering not coming this year, but we are so happy that we decided to make the trip from Canada. It has been well worth our time and investment.”
Added Logan Murphy, PGA Head Professional at St. Clair Country Club in Belleville, Illinois: “It’s great to see all of the big equipment and apparel companies back at the PGA Show. It is much busier than last year, which reflects industry confidence after the pandemic. We have discovered new vendors and new products that we will be working with this year and in the future.”
While PGA Show attendees were able to pose for photos with the Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship trophy and the Senior PGA Championship trophy, several special events marked a busy day of business and networking on the PGA Show floor Thursday.
“I’m very pleased to see all the vendors are back at the PGA Show,” said Marti Longoria-Potts, PGA Head Professional at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle, Texas. “I’m here primarily to network with fellow colleagues and to support the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion movement and booth here at the Show. I love seeing all the new apparel lines and everything that is new. It has been a wonderful Show this year.”
A special Pickleball Exhibition presented by Selkirk Sport drew a large crowd, as did a Women’s Golf Day presentation titled “Perception vs. Reality” that included an announcement that Women’s Golf Day has been expanded to a weeklong celebration and fundraising endeavor this year.
A special presentation honoring World Golf Hall of Famer and the winningest player in LPGA history with 88 victories, Kathy Whitworth, was presented by LPGA Tour Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan and included panelists Nancy Lopez, former PGA President Suzy Whaley and PGA Hall of Famer Renee Powell.
“What I remember most about Kathy is how gracious she was when I first came on tour,” reflected Lopez, who registered 48 LPGA Tour victories during a banner career. Kathy accepted me, guided me and cheered for me. She wanted me to be the best I could be. She really was all about winning and she would always tell me: ‘Go out and win.’ She also had a great sense of humor.”
In the Career Zone (new this year) on Thursday, PGM students and PGA Members looking for employment heard the presentation “Where Should I Start My Golf Career” and then met with representatives from Worldwide Golf Shops, Titleist, Troon, NBC Sports and other companies who are seeking workers at the PGA Show.
“We have been running from booth to booth and from event to event to try to keep up with everything happening at the Show this year,” said Alice Plain, PGA Director of Golf at Vail Golf Club in Vail, Colorado. “Our main objective was to find interns and we found as many as we needed in the Career Zone with all of the PGM universities.”
A number of national and international golf associations conducted meetings Thursday in conjunction with the PGA Show, including the Canadian PGA, the Australian PGA and the European PGA. The LPGA also held its Rolex Awards Presentation and Reception late Thursday afternoon.
On the entertainment side, country music artist Mitch Rossell highlighted a Happy Hour reception at Unknown Golf (booth 3008), while Dennis Quaid was among the stars to appear at a golf industry first look of the new movie “The Long Game.”