Day Two of the 66th PGA Merchandise Show – The MAJOR of Golf Business – began amid rain, wind and a tornado watch Thursday morning. But the inclement weather outside didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of PGA Professionals, retail buyers and golf industry leaders inside the Orange County Convention Center.
For the second consecutive day, the PGA Show was bustling with business, celebrity appearances, highly informative PGA Education Conference seminars and presentations on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA. At times Thursday, attendees needed a GPS system and road map to attend all of the special events, presentations, award ceremonies, seminars and clinics.
“It was like 15 little shows within the main PGA Show,” observed Aaron Fusier, PGA Teaching Professional at Cheval Golf & Athletic Club in Tampa, Florida. “We were constantly hustling from point A to point B, just to take advantage of all the great opportunities.”
Indeed, Thursday’s PGA Merchandise Show schedule featured a long leaderboard of events, culminating with a fast-paced fashion show early Thursday evening on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA.
Teaching guru Hank Haney, for example, participated in a SiriusXM Teachers Town Hall on the PGA Forum Stage and then gave a Pickleball exhibition on a multi-use court in Hall E, fitting since the USTA Racquet & Padel Conference is co-located with the PGA Show for the first time.
The PGA of America and seven of its brightest PGA Professionals unveiled the “My PGA Journey” platform that will allow PGA Members to track the traits that made the seven “models” successful to serve as an online mentoring channel. A Town Hall meeting in the PGA Member Business Center Thursday was a lively interactive session between PGA Members and PGA President Suzy Whaley and CEO Seth Waugh.
“There seems to be a lot of energy and enthusiasm this year on the PGA Show floor – and so many different functions and educational seminars to attend,” said Ben Kent, PGA Director of Golf and General Manager at Persimmon Woods Golf Club in Wildwood, Missouri. “I’ve been doing a little business and a lot of networking. This is still the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.”
While former World No. 1 player Luke Donald signed autographs at the Mizuno booth, 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer was doing the same in the SkyiGolf booth and World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez was talking golf in the Nancy Lopez Golf booth.
The Fitness, Wellness & Instruction area was crowded with PGA Show attendees, who enjoyed Greg Johnson’s Life Fitness Demonstration Series throughout the day and saw exercise guru Katherine Roberts present “Driving Efficient Power in Golfers through Proper Foot Function, Ground Reaction Forces and the Kinematic Sequence. The Travel Pavilion and Performance Textile Fair on the PGA Show floor also were popular stops Thursday.
The PGA Merchandise Show is a central gathering place for the world golf every year, and 2019 is no exception. Several associations, organizations and business collectives use the PGA Show to organize events for the coming year – and to present awards of excellence from the previous year. The LPGA T&CP Rolex Awards, the PGA of Canada, the Women In Golf Industry Reception, European Night Reception hosted by the PGAs of Europe, and the International Network of Golf (ING) were among organizations that conducted receptions and awards presentations on Thursday. Winners of the Best New Product Awards were also crowned at the New Product Zone Thursday in a special presentation.
“The PGA Merchandise Show unites the golf industry each year and provides a platform for collaboration as the industry continues to work together to grow the game and the business of golf,” noted PGA of America President Suzy Whaley. “There are a lot of special events and meetings that take place in conjunction with the PGA Show every year that most people never hear about.”
While the 2019 PGA Merchandise concludes on Friday (8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.), exhibitors and attendees were impressed by the high energy and traffic during the initial two days of the PGA Show.
“The first day was so crowded we couldn’t get a parking spot 75 minutes before the Show opened, and the second day has been almost as busy,” said Tom Davidson, national sales manager for Ecco. “I don’t remember being as busy as we were the first two days for past 10 years I’ve been here.”
“The PGA Show Merchandise Show seems to get better every year, especially on the apparel side,” said Marc Kimminau, PGA Head Professional at Talbot Country Club in Easton, New York. “One of the biggest benefits is the networking, in addition to the presentations and education seminars. The biggest challenge is fitting everything into your schedule each day.”