I am happy to report Day 1 of the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show was a success! The Orange County Convention Center was full of energy today - even more so than the two previous Shows I've attended. I could spend hours recapping my day but like yesterday
I'll just give you the highlights.
- 2013 is going to be a good year for golf. I spoke to countless exhibitors - both large and small - and industry contacts today and they all said the same thing - business was good. I’m not naive enough to think everyone at the Show sold a bunch of product, however, there was a different energy in the aisles of the convention center this year. Despite recent struggles, the industry seemed to be more excited about 2013 than it was last year or the year before. I read a press release following the Show that supports that idea. According to the PGA of America, the number of rounds played in 2012 was up 6.4% compared to 2011, which is a positive sign for golf.
- TaylorMade is #1, and they want everyone to know it. The perk of being the most popular golf brand is you can do whatever you want - like ostracize yourself from every other equipment company at the Show. The “Golf Equipment” section is located on the south side of the convention center. That’s where all of the big brands - everyone from Titleist to Nike to Cobra-Puma - are located. Where is TaylorMade? On the completely other side of the expo. No joke, it’s probably a one-mile walk from the equipment section to the TaylorMade booth. And that’s exactly how they want it. They’ve separated themselves from the other major OEMs in recent year and their booth location is designed to physically reinforce that idea. Walking into the TaylorMade booth, which included Adams, adidas and Ashworth, you felt like you were in an expo with an expo. I can’t even begin to describe how big their booth was. They had everything from their own hitting bays to a catwalk to a private refreshments area. If I had to pick one booth to hang out in all day, I’d pick TaylorMade no question.
The TayorMade booth was secluded.
I felt like I was in a different zip code inside the TaylorMade booth!
Adams area inside the TaylorMade booth
- Seeing the Presidents Cup trophy at the Bridgestone booth was sweet! Since Fred Couples, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker are all staffers, Bridgestone was afforded the luxury of displaying the Presidents Cup trophy along with the Players trophy and the Tour Championship and FedExCup trophies in their booth. I don't normally get giddy around silly things like gold and crystal trophies but I was excited to see them in person. I wanted to take a picture holding the trophies but the guys in the booth were not about to let that happen!
Presidents Cup Trophy
- Mobile Warming Gear was the most interesting soft good product I saw. There were several products that caught my eye today (and I’m going to feature them in my “Best Of” story following the Show) but there was one in particular that stood out to me. If you spend anytime outside in the cold then you need to know about Mobile Warming Gear. It's a line of outerwear products that feature a battery powered warming system. It's a really unique, but practical idea. Instead of wearing multiple layers on the golf course, which would restrict your swing, you can wear the Mobile Warming Gear Jacket. Plus, the name is a clever (it’s a play on Global Warming).
It looks like a normal jacket but it's not!
- Yani Tseng was the coolest celebrity I saw today. I saw several golf celebrities walking around the expo including Natalie Gulbis, Hank Haney, Jonathan Byrd, Lexi Thompson to name a few, but I was most excited to run into Yani. She's the best female golfer on the planet (and maybe ever)! When I saw her she was at the Titleist booth. New contract anyone? You heard it here first!
The #1 female golfer in the world!
- There weren't many booth babes at the Show. I'm sure some of you were tuned into the live blog just to see booth babes (right?) and you were probably disappointed that I didn't post any pictures. Well, it's not my fault. The Show, in terms of booth babes, is much different than it was three years ago. Alas, I did see a few as the day went on.
Thanks to everyone who tuned into the live blog today. If you missed it, you can replay it here
. We're doing one more live blog tomorrow
so be sure to tune in. I'll see you bright and early in the morning from Day 2 of the PGA Show!
Volvik?? I occasionally find a "Volvik" brand golf ball. I always assumed it was a German or Scandanavian company. Finally Googled the name and lo and behold, it is a Korean product. Makes some sense. While they are sold in the USA, they can't be that popular. We do, however, have a large contingent of Korean and Korean-American golfers in the Ann Arbor area because of Hyundai/Kia and the University of Michigan. They may be more familiar with the brand.