It’s been 10 years since I’ve attended the PGA Merchandise Show. Last time I was there, I had appointments with vendors for three days, seminars, and a focused vision of what I was looking for. Pro shop planning, teaching aids, software solutions, fixtures for a new shop layout, tournament prizes, apparel, equipment…..the list was long.
My visit in 2013 was not only quick, but fairly leisurely at the same time. I attended just as a PGA Member. No club affiliation. No buying commitments. Instead, I went to get a little education, pick up a few PGA Member Service Requirements (CE credits) and just to see what was new.
32 hours after arriving in 70 degree Orlando, FL I was back on a plane to Philly. Here’s a quick, random recap of what I saw:
First up on Wednesday was the PGA Demo Day at Orange County National. This facility is crazy amazing and the largest public driving range in America. Nice facility with 36 holes of championship golf. Expansive grass practice areas, as well as short game areas, tons of targets, several practice greens. For the Demo Day, the entire range was ringed by the top manufacturers. You can see the scope of the range in the picture below. I was looking from one side to the other.
Titleist was well represented with a huge layout on the range, packed with several hundred people wailing away in the new Titleist drivers, as were Ping, TaylorMade, Nike and many others. While I didn’t hit any clubs, I enjoyed the people watching for several hours while wandering around.
I chatted with Jim, Dan and Mike from the Orange Whip. I’ve written about this training aid before and my love of its simplicity and effectiveness. I highly recommend it. Plus, these guys are just super nice and their customer service is great. A combination in a business I respect a ton. Did you know you can save $10 on each Orange Whip item you order online using promo code RICHARD P WILLIAMS?
After walking what seemed to be several miles, and being awake since 3:45am, I headed back to my hotel and had an early dinner. Time to get ready for the opening of the Show early the next morning.
Wednesday is the opening day of the Show and the crowds were there. 25,000 PGA Professionals and tons of media. Saw Chi Chi Rodriguez walking around, Davis Love III, Natalie Gulbis. Met Brittany Lincicome on a concourse, had a quick chat with her. Very nice young LPGA player and ranked 18th in the world. And a 25′ tall Ricky Fowler:
I’ve known long time Philadelphia Titleist sales representative Tom Craig since 1996. He’s awesome and I got a chance to chat with him for a few minutes at the massive Titleist exhibit. I’m 5’11”. Tom is a big dude….
Oddly enough, the best part of the trip was a 90 minute seminar presented by Ian James and Alan Crossan from RetailTribe. If you’re a PGA Professional and looking to increase your business at your facility, I suggest you check these guys out. Ask yourself, “What is my value as a PGA Pro?” And figure out why your customers play at your course. What motivates them to choose you? You might surprise yourself if you dig into these questions.
I spoke to a few folks about Social Media and the golf industry, where sales/marketing falls into all of these new channels of information. Mobile solutions present so many opportunities to put you and your facility in front of your audience. How are you accomplishing this? I welcome questions from you, and keep Appitise in mind when thinking of what you want to do from a mobile perspective.
I then hopped on a plane and came back to 19 degree Philly. Jolt to the system for sure and had me dreaming of warmth and golf. A quick respite from winter, a re-connection to the game I love and a bit of learning. Always a good thing.
Now, go practice your short game.