The World of Golf Came Together to Drive Business Forward at the 66th PGA Merchandise Show
The 66th PGA Merchandise Show, the industry’s annual “MAJOR of Golf Business,” came to a close Jan. 25, in Orlando, as it welcomed nearly 40,000 golf industry professionals from all 50 U.S. states and 89 countries. The 2019 edition delivered exciting product and industry announcements that energized the industry for the New Year. PGA Professionals and buyers uncovered the newest products, trends and technology from more than 1,000 exhibiting golf companies and brands. This included more than 200 companies new to the PGA Show, creating the world’s largest business-to-business golf event, within 1 million square feet of interactive exhibit, demonstration and meeting space of the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) West Concourse Exhibit Hall.
As the world’s largest gathering of PGA Professionals, the 2019 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 China. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were Florida, California, New York, Georgia and North Carolina.
The 2019 PGA Show was marked by significant industry announcements and product introductions including Titleist’s new ProV1 golf balls, Cameron putters and Vokey wedges; PING’s G410 drivers/woods; Callaway’s Epic Flash Driver; Cobra’s Speedback Driver; Odyssey’s Stroke Lab putters; Bridgestone’s E12 golf balls; and Mizuno’s new ST190 woods and JPX919 Hot Metal Pro irons, among many others.
Golf lifestyle apparel and accessories are also well represented, with companies such as adidas Golf, AHEAD, Antigua, Bobby Jones Apparel, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Dunning, FootJoy, Greg Norman Collection, Peter Millar, Polo/Ralph Lauren, PUMA Golf, Summit Brands (B. Draddy, Fairway & Greene, EP NY, Zero Restriction), Travis Mathew, Under Armour and Vineyard Vines anchoring the PGA Merchandise Show apparel section. The newest fashions for upcoming seasons featured bursts of colour 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 Orange County Convention Center.
“The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show kicked off the new season with enormous energy, strong attendance, major product launches and exciting industry and manufacturer activations 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 2019.”
PGA Show Week began with the announcement by the National Golf Course Owners Association, the PGA of America and PGA Golf Exhibitions of a multi-year, strategic alliance to co-locate the annual Golf Business Conference with the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, beginning in 2020. “We are pleased to work with the NGCOA on this valuable opportunity to further collaborate with owners and operators during PGA Show Week,” said Simon. “And, we look forward to the opportunity to welcome even more NGCOA members to connect face-to-face with leaders from all aspects of the industry to drive forward the business of golf and grow the sport.”
The global golf gathering began on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 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, a golf cart track and the vendor village at the 42-acre practice facility, to create the world’s largest professional golf demo event.
The first Global Golf Innovation Competition, a new “Shark Tank”-style competition for golf startups, showcased ten up-and-coming innovators in golf to a full audience and an esteemed panel of judges on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the OCCC. Spain’s Fabio Peral and his startup company Golf Boo, an online travel platform, was named the winner of the inaugural competition. HYPE Sports Innovation, an established global platform facilitating connections and investments among the sports innovation ecosystem, hosted the competition in cooperation with PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions.
The PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA also was transformed into a catwalk for the popular return of the PGA Show Live Fashion Show, when the newest collections by top apparel companies came to life in a high-energy production.
Many exhibiting companies hosted renowned PGA teachers, PGA and LPGA touring professionals and celebrities at the PGA Show including Greg Norman, Jim Nantz Brad Faxon, Luke Donald, Blair O’Neal, John Daly, Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb, Brooke Henderson, Nancy Lopez, Troy Mullins, and top teachers such as Michael Breed, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Jim McLean, Mike Malaska, Gary Gilchrist, Mike Bender, Mike Schy and Stan Utley.
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 Centre, a new Golf Facility Innovation Centre, a centralized New Product Zone, for a one-stop shopping of the newest golf merchandise; the Inventors Spotlight exhibitor pavilion, in cooperation with the United Inventors Association, for patented products not yet available at retail; the Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction area, with the Adaptive Golf Centre; and numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions, concentrating exhibits in the areas of travel, technology, international exhibitors, women’s accessories and new exhibitors.
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 2019 New Product Zone winning products were:
- Kaeli Smith – timelessly chic women’s apparel
- VESSEL – luxurious golf bags filled with purpose
- Acu-Strike Golf – golf impact mats marking club path in the impact zone
Organised in partnership with the United Inventors Association (UIA), the Inventor’s Spotlight pavilion showcased golf inventions not yet available at retail.
The 2019 Inventor’s Spotlight winning products were:
- The Media Stick (Best Marketing Effort) – handles all media devices so you don’t miss a thing
- Fourball (Most Innovative Concept) – a simple mobile app to meet golfers around you
- Guided Knowledge (The Pinnacle Award – Best in Show) – digital coaching tools providing a brand new view of the player’s unique swing signature
Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers voted two exhibitors new to the PGA Show as recipients of the Top Buyers Choice Awards.
The 2019 Top Buyers Choice winners were:
- SIC Cups (Seriously Ice Cold) – double wall vacuum insulated, stainless steel drinkware with a lifetime warranty
- Oliver Thomas – bags for everyday carry with modern function
2019 Global Golf Innovation Competition, hosted by HYPE Sports Innovation, winners were:
- Golf Boo (First Place) – golf travel platform
- CaddieNow (Second Place) – a service that connects golfers with caddies
- Kinexit (Third Place) – a training system to promote better golf
The next U.S. PGA Golf Show, the 2019 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience takes place Aug. 12-14 at The Venetian Hotel and Casino during Fashion Week on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The 2020 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 21-24 in Orlando, Fla.
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