The 62nd PGA Merchandise Show – “The Major of Golf Business” – concluded in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, bringing together more than 1,000 companies and brands introducing new and innovative golf equipment, apparel, accessories and services to more than 41,000 attending PGA Professionals, buyers and industry leaders from 79 countries.
The 2015 edition of the PGA Merchandise Show saw exciting product introductions in every sector of the business, with over 6,600 PGA of America Professionals in attendance (a six percent increase over 2014) and an additional 1,000 International PGA Professionals, some 12 hours of live television coverage by the Golf Channel, the highest attended PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day, strong participation in educational sessions and compelling industry presentations to grow the business of golf and participation in the game.
“The PGA Merchandise Show creates an extensive array of opportunities for a growing number of PGA Professionals, golf buyers and industry leaders,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “The PGA Show’s continued growth and support from all of the major brands, coupled with the energy and enthusiasm we saw throughout the week, is a terrific start to 2015.”
The PGA Merchandise Show covered one million square feet of interactive exhibit and demonstration space in the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse Exhibit Hall.
More than 200 exhibitors were new to the PGA Merchandise Show in 2015. “This is the place to be, isn’t it?” said Adam Heindorff, founder of Links & Kings, an accessories company specializing in high-end leather headcovers and bags for the past four years. “I can see how being here is key for building relationships, finding new customers and establishing your branding. I can show people our entire collection in person, in a way you can’t do over the Internet or out of your trunk.”
PGA of America Professional attendance grew by six percent, while overall industry attendance increased by one percent to total more than 41,000 PGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders from all 50 U.S. states and 79 countries. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and Sweden. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were Florida, California, New York, Georgia and North Carolina. A focused marketing campaign to grow the number of PGA Professionals and key buyers attending the PGA Show, created a more valuable business-to-business environment with more qualified buyers on the floor to impact exhibitor business.
“We are pleased to have welcomed even more PGA Professionals to the PGA Merchandise Show as they are important influencers to the business of our exhibiting companies,” said PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Senior Vice President and General Manager Ed Several. “As ‘The ‘Major of Golf Business’ for our global golf industry, the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show was a tremendous start to the new year and a valuable way for our community to meet face-to-face to be inspired by each other and make a positive impact on the growth of the game and the industry.”
In total, Golf Channel’s news franchises broadcast 12 hours of live coverage over four days from an expanded set located in the heart of the PGA Show floor and incorporating new production elements like the overhead “Fly Cam,” a unique camera technology made popular in televising football and other sports. Suspended above the PGA Show floor, the Fly Cam spanned 1,200 feet giving viewers an aerial viewpoint of all of the excitement inside the Orange County Convention Center. Golf Channel’s PGA Show Fly Cam set a record for the longest span of any camera of its type used for indoor events. The Fly Cam is widely known for its use in televising action sports and downhill skiing.
Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s morning news and lifestyle show, covered the PGA Merchandise Show Tuesday-Friday, kicking off with live reports from the PGA Show’s Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge on Tuesday and from the PGA Show floor Wednesday-Friday. Golf Central, the network’s evening news show, also reported live throughout the week and featured interviews and segments.
Additionally, more than 1,400 media representatives from 29 countries came to the PGA Merchandise Show to cover the newest golf products, trends, industry announcements and newsmakers of the game.
PGA Show Week kicked off with a veritable Hall of Fame of golf instructors, teachers and mentors sharing their expertise with a capacity crowd of 900-plus PGA Professionals during the 14th PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit presented by OMEGA, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 18-19, at the Linda Chapin Theater of the Orange County Convention Center. The Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers Hall of Fame inductees were celebrated at a reception following the first day of the Summit.
The PGA Merchandise Show began with an exciting opening as two-time Masters Champion and three-time Ryder Cup team member Bubba Watson joined PGA President Derek Sprague for the televised Opening Ceremony on Wednesday morning, Jan. 21. Additionally, Watson made several special appearances at the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day and during PGA Show Week.
The PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA offered a compelling program of diverse industry presentations. Programs featuring top instructors, new equipment and technology, golf in the Olympics, women’s initiatives, youth programming and player development complemented three busy days of the newest golf merchandise, product testing, demonstrations, fashion shows, education sessions and professional networking events at the annual PGA Merchandise Show.
The Olympic Golf Forum attracted a standing-room only audience to learn the latest news on the return of golf to the Olympics after 111 years to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. On the panel were Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation (IGF); Ty Votaw, vice president of the IGF, LPGA Tour player Suzann Pettersen; PGA Tour player Graeme McDowell; former LPGA Tour player Amy Alcott and Gil Hanse, president of Hanse Golf Course Design, the architectural firm in charge of course construction.
“The growth of the game is worldwide,” said Dawson. “Golf in the Olympics will lead to extra exposure and extra government support for the game.”
PGA Show Week also featured a strong line-up of outdoor instructional workshops, daily keynote sessions, certification programs and classroom seminars which created a comprehensive educational calendar at the 62nd PGA Merchandise Show. The daily keynote education sessions, Jan. 21-23, began each conference day and featured presentations by Jeff Fromm, a millennial marketing expert; Todd Anderson, renowned PGA Golf Instructor; and Dr. Paul Schempp, a well-regarded authority on achieving excellence. The keynote sessions led a schedule of more than 40 classroom seminars during PGA Show days at the Orange County Convention Center. Additionally, PGA Professionals Mike Malaska and Stan Utley, along with PGA/LPGA Professional Nancy Quarcelino, renowned instructor Dr. Jim Suttie and sports medicine expert, Dr. Tom LaFountain presented one-hour outdoor golf instructional workshops during the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day, Jan. 20, at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. Also on Jan. 20, the PGA of America offered a jump start session for the CPP Player Development certification and FlightScope presented a condensed FlightScope® Academy program.
The PGA Merchandise Show traditionally attracts international industry leaders, top CEOs, influential retailers and scores of celebrity endorsers from the realms of professional golf, golf instruction and entertainment. In 2015, two-time Masters Champion and three-time Ryder Cup team member Bubba Watson, joined PGA of America President Derek Sprague in the grand opening and was among a long list of participating celebrities including Jordan Spieth, Graeme McDowell, Annika Sorenstam, Jesper Parnevik, Natalie Gulbis, Greg Norman, Lexi Thompson, Paula Creamer, Blair O’Neal, Ken Griffey Sr., Ken Griffey Jr., Sterling Sharpe, Anfernee Hardaway, plus top teachers such as Butch Harmon, Michael Breed, Hank Haney, Stan Utley, David Leadbetter, Mike Malaska, Jim Mclean and many more.
In addition to the busy marketplace among nearly 10 miles of aisles, PGA Show days were full of professional learning opportunities during industry presentations at the PGA Forum Stage, in the PGA Education Conference and at daily presentations on the FIT to W.I.N. (wellness- instruction- nutrition) stage, sponsored by the Titleist Performance Institute.
Attendees also enjoyed an energetic PGA Show floor featuring interactive exhibits, hundreds of vendor specials and promotions; plus some 47 equipment testing bays at the Indoor Demo Days; daily fashion shows, the FIT to W.I.N. sports performance pavilion, a centralized New Product Zone for a one-stop shopping of the newest golf merchandise; numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions including the Golf Travel Pavilion, women’s accessories pavilion, PGA Partners Pavilion, New Exhibitor Discovery Zone, and several international exhibitor pavilions, plus an Inventor’s Spotlight Pavilion for patented products not yet available at retail.
On Tuesday, Jan. 20, more than 7,000 PGA Professionals, invited golf retailers and media – an event record attendance and increase of nine percent over last year – previewed the newest equipment, training aids and accessories from more than 100 top golf companies to create the world’s largest professional demo event at the 2015 PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. Additionally, renowned PGA Professionals Mike Malaska and Stan Utley, PGA/LPGA Professional Nancy Quarcelino, instructor Dr. Jim Suttie and sports medicine expert Dr. Tom LaFountain presented one-hour outdoor golf instructional workshops directly on the range of OCN.