Show points to a buoyant year ahead

The first economic indicator of the year for the golf business concluded on Saturday January 27 2007 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Centre having been well received by exhibitors and visitors alike.

Conducted under the theme of “Earn, Learn and Grow the Game,” if the 54th PGA Merchandise Show is anything to go by, the industry should enjoy a buoyant 2007.

“All indicators point to a highly successful 2007 PGA Merchandise Show, which sets a positive tone for the rest of the year in the golf industry,” Ed Several, PGA Golf Exhibitions vice president and show manager told press at the show. “We are extremely pleased with the quality and number of PGA Professionals and key buyers on the show floor this week. And the exhibitors are having highly productive meetings with buyers and industry leaders. That’s what this show is all about.”

Preliminary reports show that overall attendance increased by more than 3% to 45,019 – compared to 43,549 in 2006. Meanwhile, influential PGA Professional and buyer attendance figures have increased as well – by a projected 14% year-over-year. Final independent audited reports will be available in six weeks.

Callaway Golf, TaylorMade Golf, the Titleist Performance Institute, Srixon, Nike Golf, adidas, Cutter & Buck, MacGregor, Ahead, Ashworth, Tehama, Gear For Sports, Bridgestone, and Greg Norman Collection were among 1,250 exhibitors within 520,000 net square- feet of interactive exhibit space.

If the TaylorMade-adidas experience is an accurate barometer, the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show was an unqualified success said reports. TaylorMade Golf, returning to the show after a four-year absence, was an anchor tenant in the PGA Equipment Forum, focusing on an information campaign, after launching its new SuperQuad and Burner drivers. Meanwhile, adidas-Golf was writing brisk business on the apparel side, after enjoying a fruitful show last year.

“Our goal at TaylorMade Golf in the PGA Equipment Forum was to educate and demonstrate our products, while the adidas booth in the apparel section was extremely busy selling product,” emphasised John Steinbach, director of public relations for Taylormade-adidas Golf. “Our involvement in the PGA Equipment Forum met or exceeded all of our expectations, in conjunction with our successful product launch of the drivers.”

With an emphasis on growing the business and the game of golf worldwide, the 54th PGA Merchandise Show was redesigned to offer a full calendar of education, career and game-development programmes organised into daily industry business themes.

“Emerging Global trends & New Product Introductions” was highlighted by the inaugural PGA Global economic Summit on Day One, and featured PGA of America chief executive officer Joe Steranka, PGA of Great Britain chief executive officer Sandy Jones and PGA of Australia chief executive officer Max Garske addressing global trends and the economic significance of the game.

The PGA Merchandisers of the Year Roundtable was the featured presentation of Day Two – “Merchandising, Retail Sell-Through & Career Advancement,” while the 2nd Annual PGA Play Golf America Conference focused on growth of the game initiatives during Day Three’s “PGA Play Golf America & Growing Your Teaching Business” theme. All PGA featured events were held at the new PGA Equipment Forum, which drew standing-room attendance for PGA of America, exhibitor and special guest presentations.

PGA Professional Greg Fish, of South Toledo (Ohio) Golf club, captured the allurement of the show. “I come to the Show every year with one simple question: ‘What’s new?’ I’m always looking for new products and new opportunities, and I always find them here. There is great energy at the Show this year, and it’s always the best place in the world for networking. It sets up the rest of the year from a business perspective.”

Judging by the activity at the PGA Merchandise Show, the golf industry in 2007 should be brisk, bustling and booming with business.

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