Golf Magazine

What Happens at the 2012 PGA Golf Merchandise Show?

By Golfforbeginners

You've probably heard about the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else on the internet where golf is being spoken and wondered what it was all about and so, as I read this press release, I immediately thought that golf fans would be interested in what happens at the biggest trade-only event of the year. It's a huge party of sorts thrown by the PGA of America. Here is a peek into the first day of the 2012 PGA Golf Merchandise Show...enjoy!



Fun, optimism part of strong opening day for 59th PGA Merchandise Show

What if you threw a party and everybody came? You'd have something like the first day of the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show, where all of golf's biggest companies turned out in full force to show their latest products to thousands of PGA Professionals and golf shop merchandisers at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 26 - 28.

More than 1,000 companies welcomed thousands of PGA Professionals and golf shop buyers from more than 80 countries to the 59th Show. Attendees saw the latest in golf equipment, products and services, and apparel, as well as a number of high-profile guest appearances. Jack Nicklaus and baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. helped open the Show, and the rest of Thursday included appearances by 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III, David Leadbetter, Michael Breed, Greg Norman, Butch Harmon, Natalie Gulbis, Lexi Thompson, Johnny Damon and Win McMurry.

But the real life of the party was the wide variety of new products on display. Product introductions from industry leaders such as Titleist, Callaway Golf, TaylorMade, Ping and Wilson were behind the buzz on the Show floor.

"I think consumers are going to be very excited by the new products for 2012," said Brad Bachand, the PGA head professional at Man O'War Golf in Lexington, Ky., and the 2007 Kentucky PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for public facilities. "All the products we're seeing are so good, you can't really go wrong."

The stage was set for an exciting day when the PGA Merchandise Show opened with a musical performance by country music star Julie Roberts, who sang an emotional rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Attention then shifted to PGA President Allen Wronowski, who introduced Nicklaus and Griffey. The pair then helped two local Boys & Girls Club members hit ceremonial first shots using SNAG Golf equipment, and the 59th PGA Merchandise Show was underway.

The length of the Show floor was filled with attendees who were ready to place orders and learn about the latest golf merchandise.

"The Show is all about who's attending: For golf shops, they want to be able to see everything under one roof; for manufacturers, we want to be in front of all the great retail partners we work with throughout the year," said Bob Philion, president of Cobra Puma Golf. "The more people and companies you can get in one place, the more bang for your buck. It's incredibly important for us to be able to see so many accounts in one place."

"This is the capital of golf this week," agreed Raphael Peck, global vice president of apparel, footwear and accessories for Oakley Golf. "It's critically important to be here if you want to get your message across to your customers."

With the Golf 2.0 initiative placing a focus on making golf fun, many exhibits followed suit. Cobra Puma had an adult-sized ball slide, while Travis Mathew had a blackjack table and the Golf 2.0 booth itself offered attendees a chance to play video golf. The fun activities fit in with the optimistic mood of the Show.

"The Show is amazingly upbeat and optimistic," said Wronowski, presiding over his second PGA Merchandise Show as PGA President. "There's a lot of excitement and buzz. Certainly it feels like there is recovery in the industry."

Nicklaus' love for the game fuels desire to see it prosper

Noting that "golf has given me everything I have," and "I care about the game," legendary champion and course architect Jack Nicklaus spent much of Thursday morning affirming to the industry his belief that aspects of the game need to change in order for it to prosper, and that Golf 2.0 is a major step in the right direction.

Nicklaus began the day with a short speech to open the 59th PGA Merchandise Show, then, along with PGA President Allen Wronowski and PGA CEO Joe Steranka, met with a group of multi-course owners to encourage their support in implementing Golf 2.0 strategies at their facilities. Shortly thereafter, he delivered the keynote address at the PGA Forum Stage, where he and Steranka were joined by host Jimmy Roberts of NBC Sports; Mike Davis, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association; Frank Sanchez, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; and baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr., who sits on the Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Governors.

"I've always been a traditionalist, but I've realized that in order to save the game we need to think outside the box," said Nicklaus. "This plan (Golf 2.0) is the most comprehensive that's ever been put together, it's not a Jack Nicklaus or PGA of America initiative, it's something the whole industry needs to be involved in."

Nicklaus also touched on the need for "golf parks" to capture the attention of kids and their families, and the importance of the Olympics in making the game more relevant around the world. He concluded his morning with a question and answer session with industry media representatives at the PGA of America State of the Industry Roundtable.


Leading apparel brands deliver innovative offerings

The Apparel Hall at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show is flush with the latest fashions, fabrics and styles from the industry's leading companies, as well as special events such as fashion shows and celebrity appearances.

A new Fashion E-Studio will provide an exciting interactive destination showcasing the latest trends from the biggest names in golf apparel and accessories with live presentations throughout Show Week. Many presentations are being streamed to a virtual audience.

The Fashion E-Studio is surrounded by multiple apparel, accessory and footwear companies, making it a comprehensive, one-stop collection of fashion trends from leading brands such as FootJoy, Puma, adidas, Cutter & Buck, Antigua, Fairway & Greene and many more.

Puma's star continues to rise with a youth-driven offering that includes pieces like the Duo-Swing mesh polo, quarter zip pullover and Golf SS Kinetic jacket, all designed with layering in mind so the golfer can adjust to changing weather.

"I think the younger market is really going to love this product," said Brian Short, a PGA Professional at Penn State University Golf Course in State College, Pa. "Puma is going to hit a different market that no one else has really hit before."

FootJoy is introducing its second full apparel collection, which includes four all-new contemporary color collections, exciting performance pieces for all playing conditions, and an expanded Essentials group.

Athletic brands remain dominant in many golf shops, including Under Armour, whose revolutionary new "coldblack" technology reflects the heat of the sun so the athlete feels cooler and sweats less. Callaway offers "core function" features like moisture wicking, strategic breathability and UPF 30-plus protection, while adidas continues to impress for fall by blending performance and innovation with unexpected styling.

For Cutter & Buck, the key to fall 2012 is "Warm Yarn" technology, which uses a lightweight double-faced fabric to create an insulating layer between your body and the garment.

"A lot of the detail and nuances in the line in our fall collection are being received really well," said Stacy Mangum, brand director at Cutter & Buck.

Luxurious cotton remains a strong point for Fairway & Greene, whose sister company EP Pro offers easy-care performance fabrics in four color-driven collections. Greg Norman Collection shows an enhanced sweater presentation for men and a variety of color and pattern work for women.


About the PGA Merchandise Show The PGA Merchandise Show is not open to the public. Organized in partnership with The PGA of America as a trade-only event, the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show will be held in the Orange County Convention Center ~ 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Jan. 26-27; and 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 28


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