Orlando, United States: A lengthy list of golf industry leaders and luminaries joined 1,000 leading companies and attendees from all 50 American states and 78 countries at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show.
With Golf Channel providing ‘Morning Drive’ coverage at the Orange County Convention Centre, Bubba Watson opened the PGA Show, while PGA President Derek Sprague – as well as thousands of enthusiastic PGA Show attendees – looked on.
“There has been a lot of buzz and sustained crowds conducting business on the Show floor this week,” said Sprague. “The PGA Show has created an optimistic feel for the golf industry going forward this year.”
Ed Several, General Manager of PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, reported an increase in attendance at the 2015 Outdoor Demo Day, and the momentum carried over to the PGA Merchandise Show as equipment, apparel and accessory manufacturers launched new lines, while the return of live Fashion Shows energised the PGA Show floor.
Sprague gave an upbeat recap of 2014 and joined PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua to share details of the PGA’s Long-Term Strategic Plan and outlined the association’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in golf.
“It took us 18 months to put together our new Strategic Plan, but it boils down to two fundamental principles – to serve our members and to grow the game,” said Bevacqua. “Every decision we make and every action we take goes back to serving our 28,000 PGA professionals.
“Diversity and inclusion are part of our core mission within the Strategic Plan,” said Sprague. “We need to grow all demographics of golf participants and employees in the workplace to better reflect what America looks like. The election of Suzy Whaley as PGA National Secretary is a significant step in the right direction.”
During three days of the PGA Education Conference, dozens of seminars were conducted on leadership, teaching and coaching, retail and merchandising and sales and marketing.
Greg Norman and Lexi Thompson appeared on the PGA Forum Stage, while an update on golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016 was another highlight.
On the panel were Peter Dawson, President of the International Golf Federation (IGF); Vice President of the IGF; LPGA Tour player Suzann Pettersen; PGA Tour player Graeme McDowell; former LPGA Tour player Amy Alcott, who is part of the Rio course design team, and Gil Hanse, President of Hanse Golf Course Design, the architectural firm in charge of course construction.
“Golf in the Olympics is the biggest grow-the-game opportunity we have,” said Dawson, referring to the golf industry as a whole. “The growth of the game is worldwide. Golf in the Olympics will lead to extra exposure and extra government support for the game.”
On the opening afternoon in Orlando, Watson took to the PGA Forum Stage to talk to attendees about how he works the golf ball, his social media usage and what it’s like to win the Masters.
“Whether you’re 92 or 35, like I was, when you have the green jacket on you’re 12 years old,” said Watson, describing the setting of the Champions Dinner at Augusta. “When we wear the green jacket it turns us all into kids. It’s great to see because it reminds me of why I play golf.”
A final day of Education Conference seminars, product presentations, celebrity appearances and networking and merchandising placed an exclamation mark on a highly productive week for the PGA Show, dubbed ‘The Major of Golf Business’.
Birmingham, England: The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland is inviting all those who work or volunteer in golf to join its new membership groups – the Business Management Group and Club Volunteer by PGA.