The 60th PGA Merchandise Show closed Saturday and celebrated its history while launching what many believed to be the most vibrant PGA Show Week in recent history to begin a strong 2013 for the golf industry. The 2013 PGA Merchandise Show brought together more than 1,000 companies and brands along with more than 43,000 PGA professionals, buyers and industry leaders from 75 countries to introduce the latest in golf equipment, apparel, accessories and services, January 23-26, in Orlando, Fla.
"It's gratifying to see the PGA Merchandise Show back in great form," said Ted Bishop, presiding over his first PGA Merchandise Show as President of The PGA of America. "This is the biggest the PGA Show has been since 2008, and that's a great signal that golf is vibrant again."
Coming off a strong year for business in 2012, a who's who of the game's biggest brands and hottest new companies showcased new products meant to keep the momentum going in 2013. Introductions from industry leaders such as Titleist, Callaway Golf, TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Ping, Nike, Bridgestone and Cobra Puma Golf created strong buzz on the PGA Show floor.
Attending industry professionals came to the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show from all 50 U.S. states and around the world with the top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance being Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Korea. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were Florida, New York, Georgia, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
While the PGA Merchandise Show is not open to the public, golf enthusiasts continue to be able to have an exclusive window into the game's most innovative new equipment, accessories and products, along with leading CEOs and personalities of the game, by reviewing PGA Show Week action at www.PGA.com, www.pgashow.com, www.golfchannel.com.
Industry Leaders Remark on the PGA Show
Golf business leaders, manufacturers and PGA Professionals alike lauded the annual industry gathering for helping to move forward the business of the game in 2013.
"This is my 33rd Show and our 20th year as an exhibitor," said Harris MacNeill, president of Champ and MacNeill Engineering Worldwide. "For us, the PGA Merchandise Show has helped us establish our brand and establish relationships with national and international customers. It's the single most important thing we do all year."
"The buzz from Demo Day carried over to the Show floor, where there was exceptional traffic and energy from the opening of the Show right up to Saturday afternoon. For us, as a brand, FootJoy would have to give the Show an A grade from start to finish," said Chris Garrett, senior manager, FJ Consumer marketing.
"The PGA Merchandise Show is fantastic this year," noted PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Now, if we can transfer this positive energy to the year ahead, it promises to be another productive year. The industry is moving in a positive direction."
"For us, it was definitely an A Show. The quality of the attendees was extremely high and we had appointments from the opening bell Thursday until the closing Saturday. The fact that we are able to invite people to come and design their own headwear has been beneficial. The PGA Merchandise Show has helped Pukka build its brand over the past several years, and the momentum at the Show this year was extraordinary," said John Bond, vice president of sales, Pukka Headwear.
"There seems to be more energy and enthusiasm at the Show this year, and there seems to be a lot more new product introductions than I remember in a long time," said Becky Iverson, PGA director of golf at The Bridges Golf Course in Madison, Wis. "The cool factor is higher than in many years. The most difficult thing is separating what I want to buy for myself from what I need to buy for our members. This is also the best organized Show I've seen in a long time. It seems similar products are near each other so you don't have to walk the entire exhibition hall to see similar companies."
"We were slammed the first two days, which is a very positive sign for a new company. The real surprise was the quality and quantity of international buyers who stopped by our booth. We had people from South Africa, France, Germany and the United Kingdom who saw our Black Clover hats, belts and hat caddies for the first time and loved them," said Black Clover president Michael Henry.
"There is a sense of excitement with all of the new equipment introductions, and a lot of positive vibes at the Show this year," explained Scott Glass, PGA head professional at Rolling Rock Club in Laughlintown, Pa. "The thing I like about the Show is you always find something unique and different."
"You can't beat the efficiency of the PGA Merchandise Show, as far as being able to meet with more than 1,000 buyers in a single setting," said Jeff Herold, founder and president of Club Glove. "Judging by the traffic and the interest, there are positive signs that the economy has turned and there are better times ahead."
"It's amazing how many companies are introducing new products at the Show this year," said Mark Parisi, PGA Professional at Hudson National Golf Club in Newark, Delaware. "There seems to be a lot more electricity and optimism on the Show floor this year, too."
"We're seeing customers who are ready to buy," said Jake Rawson, Cutter & Buck's global golf sales director. "2012 was a strong year with great sell-through in a lot of golf shops, and people look like they're trying to build on that momentum. There are a lot of great activities going on all around the Show, and you can really feel the energy in the building."
PGA Show Week Recap
PGA Show Week began on Wednesday, Jan. 23, with the 11th anniversary of the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. More than 7,000 PGA Professionals and invited retailers tested the latest products from 100-plus golf equipment, training aids, performance wear and golf accessory companies. The outdoor event also featured for the first time new Instructional Workshops presented by leading PGA instructors Hank Haney, Michael Breed and Mike Malaska, who provided insight into becoming a world class teacher, instructor, and coach to today's golfers.
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. Davis Love III, the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain and winner of the 1997 PGA Championship, joined PGA of America Officials in the grand opening and was among a long list of participating celebrities at this year's industry-only PGA Merchandise Show including Annika Sorenstam, Ian Poulter, Dottie Pepper, Jesper Parnevik, Luke Donald, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Lexi Thompson, Blair O'Neal, Anna Nordqvist, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Lee Trevino, Nancy Lopez, Meg Mallon, Stacy Lewis, Butch Harmon, David Toms, Hank Haney, Michael Breed, Suzann Pettersen and more.
In addition to the busy marketplace among nearly 10 miles of Show aisles in the Orange County Convention Center, Show days were full of professional learning opportunities during industry presentations at the PGA Forum Stage, in the new PGA Education Conference and at daily presentations on the FIT to W.I.N. 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; a centralized New Product Zone for a one-stop shopping of the newest golf merchandise; a new Fashion Showcase and Lounge; an Inventor's Spotlight Pavilion for patented products not yet available at retail and numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions including a new PGA Golf Travel Pavilion, PGA Partners Pavilion, New Exhibitor Discovery Zone, and several international exhibitor pavilions.
PGA Merchandise Show Winners
Award-winning PGA Professionals and top golf buyers voted three new products as the top new products among new merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Zone. 2013 winning products were:
• CamCaddy Pro, smart phone stand to record your golf swing, www.camcaddypro.com
• Pukka, custom mobile case for the iPhone 5, www.pukkainc.com
• Vibram Five Fingers, innovators in the toe shoe category, www.vibramfivefingers.com
Organized in partnership with the United Inventors Association (UIA) and InventionHome, the Inventor's Spotlight pavilion on the Show floor showcased golf inventions not yet available at retail. During the PGA Merchandise Show Week, UIA and InventionHome awarded top inventors.
• Best Manufacturing Analysis ~ PushNPutt, Booth IS7, www.pushnputt.com
• The Pinnacle Award ~ PGF Personal Golf Fan, Booth IS2, www.PGFfan.com
• Most Innovative Concept ~The Golf Square, Booth IS5
2014 PGA Show to Have New Tuesday- Friday Format
The PGA of America and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions announced a new day schedule for the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show. Following feedback from exhibitors and attendees regarding shifting PGA Show days away from the weekend, the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show will run Tuesday through Friday, Jan. 21-24. The 2014 PGA Show will tee off with the traditional Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center on Tuesday, Jan. 21 (rather than on Wednesday of PGA Show Week). The 2014 PGA Show continues at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 22-24.
"With overwhelming support from exhibitors, PGA Professionals and golf industry members, we're pleased to announce this new day pattern for the PGA Merchandise Show after extensive research and following a course of due diligence with our partners in the industry and in Orlando," said PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Senior Vice President Ed Several. "The new weekday dates of the PGA Show allow PGA Professionals to return to their facilities as needed and our attending industry members to return home for valuable weekend time spent with family and friends."
The next U.S. PGA Golf Show, the 2013 PGA Expo is scheduled for the week of August 19th at The Venetian Hotel and Casino during Fashion Week on the famous Las Vegas Strip. On the international scene, two other major golf shows will address the global business of golf. The PGA Merchandise Show-China is scheduled for March 22-24 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. The PGA Merchandise Show-Asia, the sister show to the China Golf Show, is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Shenzen, China.
For more information on the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show and upcoming PGA Golf Exhibitions events, visit www.pgashow.com