The 65th PGA Merchandise Show, the industry’s annual “MAJOR of Golf Business,” was in Orlando January 23-26, welcoming nearly 40,000 golf industry professionals from all 50 U.S. states and 87 countries. The Show delivered exciting product and industry announcements that energized the industry for 2018. PGA Professionals and buyers witnessed the newest products, trends and technology from more than 1,000 exhibiting golf companies and brands. This included 225 companies new to the PGA Show, creating the world’s largest business-to-business golf event, within one million square feet of interactive exhibit, demonstration and meeting space of the Orange County Convention Center Exhibit Hall.
As the world’s largest gathering of PGA Professionals, the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show attracted more than 7,500 PGA Professionals from around the world. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, United Kingdom, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were Florida, California, New York, Georgia and North Carolina.
The 2018 PGA Show was marked by significant industry announcements and product introductions including: Callaway’s new line of Rogue drivers and fairway woods with Jailbreak technology; Cobra’s all-new line of F8 drivers with Cobra Connect technology powered by Arccos; TaylorMade’s M3 and M4 drivers with new Twist Face technology to promote straight distance; Titleist’s new Tour Soft and Velocity golf balls, plus their SM7 Vokey Design wedges and Scotty Cameron Select putters; PING’s G400 Max driver, G700 irons, Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges and Vault 2.0 putter; Cleveland Golf’s new CVX wedges and Srixon’s new Q-Star Tour golf balls; among many other product announcements. Apparel companies introduced their newest fashions for the upcoming seasons featuring bursts of color and new styles, sports performance fabrics, classic styles and leisurewear with sporty details. In all, hundreds of thousands of products and services were showcased within nearly 10 miles of Show aisles in the Convention Center.
“The 2018 PGA Merchandise Show kicked off the new season with enormous energy, strong attendance, major product launches and a renewed optimism for the upcoming year,” said PGA Merchandise Show Event Vice President Marc Simon. “In addition to making important purchase decisions for the new season, PGA Professionals and buyers took advantage of multiple business programs to connect personally with manufacturers and industry leaders to drive golf forward in 2018.”
The global golf gathering began on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the PGA Show Demo Day, when thousands of PGA Professionals and invited golf retailers previewed and personally tested the newest equipment, training aids and accessories from more than 100 top golf companies at Orange County National Golf Center. The newest products were tested within 200 hitting bays, multiple putting greens and the vendor village at the 42-acre practice facility, to create the world’s largest professional golf demo event.
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, PGA Champions Dave Stockton, Hal Sutton, John Daly, Steve Elkington and Davis Love III joined PGA President Paul Levy to help open the PGA Merchandise Show, the world’s largest gathering of PGA Professionals, live on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” from the Orange County Convention Center. The PGA Champions were among a long list of celebrities, renowned golf instructors and special guests, such as: Adam Scott, Greg Norman, Jesper Parnevik, Blair O’Neal, Chip Beck, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Michelle McGann, Brad Faxon, David Leadbetter, Hank Haney, Michael Breed, Mike Malaska, Jim McLean, Stan Utley, Claude Harmon, Mike Schy, Lou Holtz, Ron Jaworski and many more who participated in the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show.
In addition to the busy marketplace among nearly 10 miles of exhibit aisles, PGA Show days were full of professional learning opportunities during industry presentations. The PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA, was a popular destination on the PGA Show floor, with a full schedule of compelling speakers and diverse programming for thousands of attending PGA Professionals and industry leaders. Presentations began on Wednesday, Jan. 24, with the event’s keynote program, “100th PGA Championship Celebration” – a panel discussion featuring PGA Champions Davis Love III and John Daly, who shared memorable moments from their major championship victories and announced the PGA’s plans for the upcoming 100th PGA Championship, Aug. 9-12, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. Additional first-day programming highlights included the Sirius XM Teachers Town Hall, hosted by PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley and featuring Michael Breed, Debbie Doniger, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Jim McLean and Larry Rinker; and programming on technology in golf, environmental initiatives and employment opportunities.
Days 2 and 3 presentations on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA, covered a diverse array of topics, including golf facility management, industry diversity, growth-of-the-game programs, employment, technology, teaching and the new PGA Show Live Fashion Show.
PGA Professionals attending the annual PGA Show Education Conference were able to learn from industry experts presenting more than 60 educational seminars and workshops focusing on teaching and coaching, executive management and golf operations. Additional educational programs were offered throughout PGA Show Week at the PGA Global Youth & Family Summit presented by OMEGA; Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction stage, sponsored by TPI and the Club Spa Association; PGA Member Business Center; and during complimentary Performance Textile Fair workshops on the PGA Show Floor.
Attendees experienced a dynamic PGA Show Floor, featuring interactive exhibits; hundreds of vendor show specials and promotions; plus 50 equipment testing bays at the indoor Equipment Test Center; a centralized New Product Zone for a one-stop shopping of the newest golf merchandise; the Inventors Spotlight exhibitor pavilion for patented products not yet available at retail; the Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction area, with a new Adaptive Golf Center; and numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions, concentrating exhibits in the areas of travel, technology, international exhibitors, women’s accessories and new exhibitors.
Golf Channel provided comprehensive live coverage with nearly total 20 hours of Morning Drive, Golf Central and instruction programming delivered to a worldwide audience in more than 36 countries. Complementing the many media outlets providing daily live digital coverage, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio Network broadcast 32 hours live from the PGA Merchandise Show. Golf enthusiasts also followed the latest daily news from the PGA Merchandise Show through multiple online news channels such as PGA.com, CBSSports.com and through #PGAShow on social media.
PGA Merchandise Show Winners
Award-winning PGA Professionals and top golf buyers voted for the three best new products among the merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Zone.
The 2018 New Product Zone winning products were:
Chippo Golf – fun golf game for backyard, beach or tailgate – www.chippogolf.com
Rhineland Cutlery – custom engraved cutlery sets for golf events – www.rhinelandcutlery.com
Tzu Tzu Sport – colorful apparel collection – tzutzusport.com
Organized in partnership with the United Inventors Association (UIA), the Inventor’s Spotlight pavilion showcased golf inventions not yet available at retail.
The 2018 Inventor’s Spotlight winning products were:
Most Innovative Concept – Trans Rover, the all in one golf cart. www.transrover.com
Best Marketing Effort – Mokom Gloves, a sensitive natural touch and improved hi-tech grip glove. www.mokomgloves.com
The Pinnacle Award (Best in Show) – Impact Improver, an indoor training device for finding the sweet spot. www.impactimprover.com
Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers voted two exhibitors new to the PGA Show as recipients of the Top Buyers Choice Awards.
The 2018 Top Buyers Choice winners were:
Belyn Key, LLC – ladies lifestyle inspired apparel – www.belynkey.com
AfterShokz – titanium open-ear, wireless headphones for the golf course – www.aftershokz.com
PGA Shows – Save the Dates 2018 & 2019
The next U.S. PGA Golf Show, the 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience takes place Aug. 13-15 at The Venetian Hotel and Casino during Fashion Week on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The 2019 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 22-25 in Orlando, Fla.