After record attendance at the PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit and PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day, plus heavy PGA Show floor traffic on Wednesday and Thursday, the final day of PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., is upon us.
A final day of Education Conference seminars, product presentations, celebrity appearances, and networking and merchandising with 1,000-plus leading companies is on the agenda Friday to place an exclamation mark on a highly productive week for the PGA Show – The Major of Golf Business.
“There has been a lot of buzz and sustained crowds conducting business on the Show floor this week,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “The PGA Show has created an optimistic feel for the golf industry going forward this year.”
Ed Several, general manager of PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, reported an increase in attendance at the 2015 Outdoor Demo Day, and the momentum carried over to the PGA Merchandise Show the past two days as equipment, apparel and accessory manufacturers launched new lines, while the return of live Fashion Shows energized the PGA Show floor.
“The excitement and new products seen at the PGA Show will create a buzz in our golf shop this spring,” said Eric Sandstrum, PGA head professional at Brattleboro Country Club in Brattleboro, Vermont. “I come here every year, and it sets the tone and gives us new ideas for the season ahead.”
Today’s closing-day schedule (PGA Show hours are 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) includes a PGA Section Teachers of the Year panel discussion at 9 a.m.; The Body Swing Connection presented by the Titleist Performance Institute on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA at 10 a.m.; live Fashion Shows in the Apparel Hall at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; and a variety of PGA Education Conference seminars in rooms W101-W103 between 8-11:45 a.m.
PGA President, CEO Recap, Preview Year to Come
PGA of America President Derek Sprague and CEO Pete Bevacqua provided the national media with a special review and preview of Association initiatives, programs, tournaments and special events during the PGA Show.
Sprague, the PGA general manager at Malone (New York) Golf Club, gave an upbeat recap of 2014 and joined Bevacqua to share details of the PGA’s Long-Term Strategic Plan; an update on the U.S. Ryder Cup Team’s first task force meeting; a look at the inaugural KPMG Women’s Championship in conjunction with the LPGA in June; a briefing on the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin; and outlined the Association’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in golf.
“It took us 18 months to put together our new Strategic Plan, but it boils down to two fundamental principles – to serve our members and to grow the game,” noted Bevacqua. “Every decision we make and every action we take goes back to serving our 28,000 PGA Professionals.
“Diversity and inclusion are part of our core mission within the Strategic Plan,” said Sprague. “We need to grow all demographics of golf participants and employees in the workplace to better reflect what America looks like. The election of Suzy Whaley as PGA national secretary is a significant step in the right direction.”
Famous Teachers Share Views on Technology at Sirius XM Town Hall Presentation
Four of the most recognized and respected instructors in golf – David Leadbetter, Hank Haney, Jim McLean and Michael Breed – talked about technology’s impact on teaching and other instruction-related topics on Thursday during the Sirius XM Teachers Town Hall on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA.
The panel discussion, moderated by Claude Harmon III, touched on a variety of issues regarding contemporary teaching, but focused on technology.
“Technology helps us quantify what we observe in a student’s swing, but we still need an experienced, professional teacher to interpret the numbers and communicate the message simply to the student,” said Leadbetter.
“Technology helps teachers more than it helps students,” agreed Haney. “It helps teachers diagnose (swing faults) properly. For me, teaching comes down to ball flight. If you can help a student find the proper ball flight, they will become better players. Technology, of course, helps us identify proper ball flight and helps us communicate what we see to the student.”
“That’s right – technology is just a validation of what we see in a student’s swing. It validates our observations and assumptions with technical information,” said Breed, the 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year.
McLean was asked a hypothetical question about whether Ben Hogan would have changed his swing if he had the video and technology teachers enjoy today.
“The consensus among older players such as Jack Nicklaus is that Hogan was the best ball striker of all time, so I believe if he had the technology we have today, he would just have gotten better faster,” surmised McLean, the 1994 PGA Teacher of the Year.