Salute to Veterans, PGA HOPE Highlight 2019 PGA Merchandise Show Opening Ceremonies

PGA of America President Suzy Whaley and CEO Seth Waugh will welcome PGA Professionals and industry leaders to the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show Wednesday morning with a special tribute to PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) and a salute to military veterans in the central lobby of the Orange County Convention Center.

In a ceremony containing plenty of patriotic pop and pomp, Whaley and Waugh will be joined by 2018 PGA Patriot Award recipient Ken Juhn, PGA; PGA HOPE Lead National Trainer Judy Alvarez, PGA; Retired United States Marine Corps Infantry Corporal Joseph Garrido; Retired U.S. Army 101st Airborne PFC Jack Wiseman; PGA HOPE Military and Veteran Liaison-Retired U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Corporal Chris Nowak, and PGA HOPE National Program Specialist Laura Miller in demonstrating how  PGA HOPE programs can make a profound difference in the lives of military personnel and their families.

PGA HOPE is the flagship military engagement program of PGA REACH. It is a free, adaptive program that introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. PGA HOPE programs are taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf, assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation process for thousands of disabled veterans nationally. Garrido and Wiseman are both veterans who have graduated and benefitted from PGA HOPE programs.

“It’s an honor and privilege to have these veterans, PGA Professionals and PGA HOPE graduates with us to open the 66th PGA Merchandise Show – and we thank all veterans for their selfless service to our country,” says Whaley. “Our veterans have all given so much to our country, and PGA HOPE is a wonderful program that gives back to those veterans through golf.”

With opening ceremony emcee Charlie Rymer, PGA, introducing a fast-paced video showing the positive impact of PGA HOPE programs, Whaley and Waugh will also comment on what lies ahead for the PGA of America – and the golf industry – in 2019 before the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is declared open for business.

“The PGA Merchandise Show truly is the Major of Golf Business,” observes Waugh. “This week not only serves as the industry’s top networking event, but brings us together – including some 7,000 PGA members – to explore how we can all work to advance our sport. It’s a great way to kick off the season in such a high energy and positive environment. We can all be proud to be a part of this amazing industry that goes so much beyond what happens on the course.”

Once the confetti cannons are fired to mark the grand opening of the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show – The Major of Golf Business — Wednesday morning, PGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders will see the latest products from 1,000 leading golf companies and brands over some 12 miles of aisles at the Orange County Convention Center. More than 40,000 industry professionals from around the world will uncover the latest trends, source the newest merchandise, take advantage of an expanded PGA Education Conference that features more than 50 seminars and classes, test the latest equipment, learn proven business best practices, network among peers and advance the business of golf.

PGA Merchandise Show floor hours are 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday.

A full schedule of special presentations are scheduled for the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA on Wednesday’s opening day. Annika Sorenstam, who amassed 93 worldwide wins and 10 major championships before being elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003, will join Whaley and LPGA Chief Teaching Officer Nancy Henderson to present “The Future of Coaching” to lead off the PGA Forum Stage presentations at 10 a.m.

Whaley will join World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona, WE ARE GOLF Women’s Task Force chair Jane Geddes, Founder of Generation W’s Donna Orender, PGA-LPGA Professional Marvol Barnard, who is president of the LPGA T&CP, and Pine Ridge Golf Course (Paris, Texas) Owner Cathy Harbin in a special #inviteHER presentation at 11 a.m. on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA. (See full PGA Forum Stage schedule on Page   ).

More than 75 golf fitness, sports performance and instruction companies are showcasing their newest products and providing a full schedule of complimentary education sessions at the Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction area of the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, presented in partnership with the Titleist Performance Institute, in the #1000 aisle on the PGA Show Floor.

Other can’t-miss stops on the PGA floor – in addition to the 1,000 exhibiting companies and brands – include the Equipment Test Center adjacent to the Equipment Hall; the New Product Zone, where attendees can examine hundreds of new products being introduced at the 2019 PGA Show; the Golf Travel Pavilion in the 3200 to 3600 aisles on the PGA Show floor; the Inventors Spotlight, where new innovations are displayed; and the new Golf Facility Innovation Center, featuring PepsiCo, a 2,500-square-foot simulated golf shop located the main entrance to the PGA Show floor that will host demonstrations each day.

Numerous current and former touring professionals and personalitiesare dschedule to appear at the 2019 PGA Show, including Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson, Chip Beck, Notah Begay, John Daly, Greg Norman, Al Geiberger, Tim Petrovic, Stan Utley, Brad Faxon, Scott McCarron, Bobby Clampett, actor John O’Hurley and many others. Check the PGA Show News daily mobile app for times and booth numbers of each celebrity appearance.