RECAP: 2017 PGA Show Las Vegas

Every year the PGA puts on 2 merchandise shows which give companies the opportunity to reach large portions of the golfing industry.  It is aimed at PGA professionals, buyers and golf media.  The January show in Orlando is the biggest and best show bringing virtually anyone who is anyone in the golf world to the Orange County Convention Center.  The August show in Vegas is much less.  There are no equipment companies to speak of and there are few “new” products to check out.  It feels more like a regional golf show, than a true PGA show.  The apparel focus is nice of the spring and summer line buyers for the next season, but that is about it.

Vegas Baby

There is just something about being in Vegas; the bright lights, huge hotels, casino atmosphere and a billion things to spend your money on make this a cool location.  It is fairly convenient for the golf industry since most companies are out of California.    If the show bores you, (which it probably will) leave and explore the Strip.

Clothes, Clothes and More Clothes
This is really a golf apparel show.  Of the 10 aisles, 9 of them are golf apparel.  I like a golf polo as much as the next guy, but just about every apparel company makes the same thing with their own slight twist on it.  The trend in 2018 is certainly blended fabrics and muted tones.  No fancy prints and moving away from 100% tech fabrics.  The blends are what is coming in the next season.

Top Golf Las Vegas
Top Golf is a fantastic idea for the game.  It introduces 1,000s of people to the game that don’t have the time, resources or interest in spending 4 hours on the course, but don’t mind hanging out at the bar for a few hours and swinging clubs while they are there.  The “demo” day was held at Top Golf Las Vegas for the first time this year and it seemed to go over well.  Even though the space was crowded, people enjoyed walking, talking, and hitting a few balls with the manufactures that were there.  For the true golf junkie, it is disappointing since the golf balls are so hard and limited flight and most of the rep there knew minimal information about their clubs.  Still the location and atmosphere are fun and surprisingly the sliders was delicious!!

Show Stoppers
While I wasn’t wowed by much of anything at the show, ECCO and Dormie had the best booths.  ECCO is always a favorite of mine at any PGA show because they always bring something unseen.  Their 2 new shoes debuting; S-Drive and Biom 3 looks amazing.  Even though they can be weird about taking photos, their shoes look great.  Dormie is a custom headcover and accessory company out of Canada.  They brought some of the sickest and most creative things I’ve seen.  If you’ve got a crazy headcover idea, they can probably make it come to life.

Good Friends and Good Times
The real joy of the show is hanging out with SPYZINGER.  Since moving to AZ, I miss my MN golfing competitor.  It was great to catch up with him on and off the course.  Our round at Southern Highland was a real treat.  Walking the show floor was certainly more interesting with someone to talk to.  The ever enjoyable golf show after party also makes for a memorable trip. Thank you Greg Norman Golf Apparel for the great night of food and drinks.

How to Fix the Show
This show needs help.  It’s hard to call it a PGA show when, most of the PGA doesn’t show up.  Let’s be honest, if the companies don’t send their best, then why bother.  The local reps are cheaper, but they are so far down the totem-pole, they know less than the PGA professionals they are talking to.  Without any equipment, the show is missing a big draw as well.  I have some ideas to fix it: 

  1. Bring in the Tour Vans!  Logistically, Las Vegas isn’t too far from California and this could be a huge draw since so few get to see them up close.  Add a couple tour player appearances and you have a hit!
  2. Make it worth while for the equipment companies to show up, many of them are introducing new product around this time of year.
  3. Entice new products to debut at the show with cheap booths. Its simply too expensive to  get a booth when so few attend.
  4. Rent out all of Top Golf and really make it a party with space.   The lower level was too crowded for most equipment companies.  Give people a reason to hang out and hit clubs.   Spread things out so they can explore and meet with the companies
  5. Give the show some Vegas flair.  It was so stale and boring, that even the “fashion show” barely felt like Vegas.

I was glad to see my friends and hang out around “golf” stuff, but it isn’t anywhere close to the PGA show Orlando.  There is potential to turn it into a fun show, but I doubt the PGA show will take any of my ideas.  I probably won’t go back, even though it is super close and convenient.