2010 PGA Merchandise Show

Merchandise Show a valuable, significant tool for PGA Professionals

Along with showcasing all the latest golf equipment, fashion and accessories, the 2010 PGA merchandise Show in Orlando is tailored to help PGA Professionals build a blueprint for success in challenging economic times.

By Roger Graves, Senior Writer, PGA Magazine

More than a year ago, the pga of America introduced a road map for navigating the challenging economy to PGA members. Called "Your PGA Blueprint for the Changing World," the proactive program provided a compass to help PGA Professionals survive and thrive in a recessionary climate by assisting in career and professional enhancement, facility management, growing the game, cultivating customers, and identifying new revenue streams through creative merchandising, instruction and tournament programs.

Now, The PGA is teaming with PGA Golf Exhibitions, the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) and industry leaders to bring that blueprint for success to PGA Professionals and the entire golf industry during the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 27–30 in Orlando, Fla.

The 57th PGA Merchandise Show will hold true to tradition by uniting nearly 1,000 exhibitors with almost 40,000 PGA Professionals, industry leaders and golf luminaries from 75 countries over 1 million square feet of exhibition space at the Orange County Convention Center. But as the golf industry lays the groundwork for the 2010 business cycle and a new decade of innovation, the spotlight will focus squarely on that "Blueprint for Success" and strategies to accelerate the transition from recession to recovery in golf.

Increasing Value to Employers

Embracing the theme of "Pro to Pro Sharing to Earn, Learn and Grow the Game," the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show will focus on helping PGA Professionals increase their value to employers while enhancing their careers. Through 65-plus Education Conference seminars conducted by PGA, AGM and industry professionals, PGA members have a golden opportunity to complete and execute their "PGA Blueprint" while networking with industry insiders from a veritable Who's Who of golf manufacturers and marketers at the Orange County Convention Center on Jan. 28–30 after the traditional Outdoor Demo Day tees off the Show on Jan. 27 at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge.

"The PGA Merchandise Show is always educational and provides a perfect platform to network with others and discuss trends in the golf industry," says PGA President Jim Remy. "But the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show has been specifically designed to help PGA Professionals increase their value and put together a blueprint to guide us through the economic challenges that face us all.

"As PGA Professionals, we are uniquely positioned to play a leadership role and make a difference in operations at our facilities by finding new ways to generate revenues and manage expenses. That is the focus of the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show -- helping PGA Professionals become more efficient and productive in today's economy."

Outdoor Demo Day Tees Off Show

The 2010 PGA Merchandise Show begins four days of Pro to Pro Sharing, Earning, Learning and Growing the Game with the world's largest Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge on Wednesday, Jan. 27. More than 90 golf companies will introduce their latest products, providing PGA Professionals with a unique try-before-you-buy opportunity on the 42-acre Orange County National practice facility. The Outdoor Demo Day is reserved for PGA Professionals and media from 9 a.m.–noon on Jan. 27, while invited key retailers are invited to join the event from noon to 5 p.m.

The PGA Education Conference, which runs from 8 a.m.–12:45 p.m. on Jan. 28–30 in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show, has been structured to help industry professionals make themselves more valuable amid the challenging economy. PGA Professionals earn one MSR credit for each seminar they attend and can earn up to 30 MSR hours for attending various events, activities and seminars at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show.

"I learn something new every year that I attend the Show," says PGA General Manager Chris McQuatters of Ratliff Ranch Golf Links in Odessa, Texas. "By applying what I need for my facility and my customers, I have always come back with new ideas and new things to try. The education conferences help keep me attuned to what is going on outside of my area, and helps me forecast what I need to do to stay ahead of any problems the future may hold.

"I am at a municipal facility and by applying strategies that I learned from the seminars last year, it definitely helped increase my value to the city I work for. This year's Show will allow me to gain more information on how to become a better PGA Professional in my community. The PGA Merchandise Show is a valued asset that will not only help build your career, but will help make you a better business person and PGA Professional."

Timely Education Conference seminar topics for 2010 include "Pricing -- Rounds & Lessons;" "Growing Your Business through Social Media;" "Creating Five-Star Customer Service;" "Where is the Golf Property Market Now? What is the Future?" "Retail Best Practices by the 2009 PGA Merchandisers of the Year;" "Building the Team to Deliver Bottom-Line Results;" "Market Research — Plan to Compete;" "Exhibit Your Instructional Skills With Creativity;" "Environmental Issues: A Green Initiative;" "E-Marketing: The Secret Tool of Golf Course Marketing;" "Create Programs that Fill White Spaces on Your Tee Sheet;" and many others.

"One of the most anticipated PGA Show values for attending PGA Professionals and industry executives is the content delivered during the PGA Merchandise Show Education Conference," emphasizes PGA Golf Exhibitions Group Vice President and General Manager Ed Several. "In a challenging economy, those who succeed are the professionals who learn to conduct business smarter and more efficiently.

"We have invited the most respected and experienced industry experts, as well as successful grassroots PGA Professionals, to share their strategies and best practices with us during the PGA Merchandise Show Education Conference to help everyone build that blueprint for success."

Presentations on the PGA Equipment Forum Stage

Several also explains that many presentations conducted on the PGA Equipment Forum Stage on the Show floor at the Orange County Convention Center will provide an "inside look" at the business of golf. Program topics on the PGA Equipment Forum Stage are designed to assist PGA Professionals in "Building a Blueprint for Success" through presentations on new equipment introductions, teaching best practices, merchandising ideas and contemporary issues impacting the golf industry.

"The pro to pro sharing of best practices and business ideas will be more prominent at this PGA Merchandise Show than ever before," says Several. "We want PGA Professionals to learn new ways to sell in traditional categories, but we also want PGA Professionals to discover what other PGA Professionals are doing to market and promote sales in nontraditional categories.

"We will have multiple areas set up on the Show floor for PGA Professionals to share ideas. How are PGA Professionals using social media to draw new customers to the lesson tee? How are PGA Professionals generating more rounds and more retail sales by tying a rewards program to rounds played? How are PGA Professionals at private clubs marketing memberships in this economy?

"Just when you think you've seen it all, or heard every idea, I guarantee you'll pick up some fresh ideas at the PGA Merchandise Show this year," continues Several. "We are really emphasizing the exchange of information and ideas among PGA Professionals and industry leaders."

While the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show will focus on how to increase your value as a PGA Professional, thousands of PGA members recognize the value of the Show as a one-stop opportunity to preview and test the latest equipment, network with industry insiders and fellow professionals, learn the latest merchandising and marketing techniques, negotiate special terms and place orders for 2010 and beyond with nearly 1,000 golf-specific companies, and discuss the latest trends and industry issues on a formal and informal basis.

To help PGA Professionals enhance their careers and complete their blueprints for success, a litany of free programs will be held in the PGA Member Business Center (fourth floor in the Orange County Convention Center) for PGA Professionals and apprentices. The courses, most taught by PGA Employment Consultants or by PGA staff members, include topics such as "Golf Retirement Plus -- A Key to Help You Retire," "Tools for Building a Stronger Relationship with Your Employer," "PGA Advanced Education," "Proactive PGA Professionals -- Prepare for Your Next Step," "Utilizing Your Employment Resources," "People Skills in Golf Operations: Your Edge in a Challenging Marketplace," and "Player Development Programs to Increase Rounds, Revenue and Retention." Participants earn one MSR credit per each hour of participation.

An Important 2010 Show

For many PGA Professionals, the PGA Merchandise Show takes on greater significance amid the worldwide economic downturn.

"I use the Show to find products we can sell that will provide profit without a lot of inventory expenses," says PGA Professional Kevin Beard, manager of Otter Creek Golf Club in Ankeny, Iowa. "The Show is the ideal place to find products that will sell in these tougher economic times, generally less expensive items that still appeal to the golfer. It helps our travel budget by making so many education seminars available at the Show. We feel like we can accomplish a lot of things and take care of our continuing-education requirements all in one place.

"The Show may also help others build their career by introducing them to potential employers and business acquaintances. Overall, it's a very worthwhile trip."

John Ogden, PGA head professional at Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver, Colo., believes the PGA Merchandise Show has become a "must-attend" business convention that helps PGA Professionals plan and prepare for the season -- and decade -- ahead.

"In today's economy, it is imperative to identify the best products at the best price for my membership," says Ogden. "The PGA Merchandise Show allows you to be first in line to see all the new products, test those products, and to visit individually with those who are developing the products. This type of exposure allows you to be the expert when members start asking you about those products in your shop.

"The Show always gives me an idea of what direction the industry is headed in the next year, which is very important. Many times, I have changed direction in my business strategy for the upcoming year after attending the PGA Merchandise Show. Whether it is new products or the education seminars, you should always be looking to add to your professional knowledge."

Many Ways to Utilize the Show

Eric Williamson, PGA director of golf at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., takes advantage of all the education seminars and special events associated with the PGA Merchandise Show each year to draft a "blueprint for business" for the coming year. Williamson uses the Show for the possible recruitment of new employees, to identify new trends in the market and new business practices, to network with other PGA Professionals and industry leaders, and to exchange new ideas with his peers.

"The value of the PGA Show to me is tremendous," says Williamson. "I see the up and coming trends in the business, whether that is on the teaching side, merchandising side, or business side of the profession. The education seminars are helpful in that they paint a true model of the overall business climate and how it is changing from year to year. "I hear about challenges that other PGA Professionals have and will face, and the seminars provide answers to important questions that face us all as PGA Professionals. The Show is a wonderful place to network, build relationships with other PGA Professionals, obtain quality education ideas, and expand on relationships with vendors that you may or may not see often during the year."

Many PGA Professionals welcome reps from major golf companies at their facilities during the year, but the PGA Merchandise Show may be the only opportunity they have to meet officials from middle-tier and smaller companies while comparing products from five or six manufacturers side-by-side at the Outdoor Demo Day, the Indoor Demo Days at the Equipment Test Center on the Show floor, or during one of several clubfitting sessions scheduled by major manufacturers.

Leading Golf Companies

Despite the challenging economy, a star-studded lineup of leading golf companies will show off their products at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show Jan. 28–30 (show hours are 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. on Jan. 28- –29 and 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30). Callaway Golf, Ping, Titleist, Cleveland/Srixon, Antigua, SkyGolf, Bridgestone, Cutter & Buck, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Cobra and Club Car will anchor the prestigious lineup of exhibitors in 2010, while Fairway & Greene, EP Pro, Zero Restriction, Greg Norman Collection, Under Armour, Gear For Sports, Callaway Apparel, Ahead, Wilson Golf, Mizuno, Adams Golf, Imperial Headwear, Pukka Headwear, Divots Apparel, Yamaha, Peter Millar, Yonex, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Dynamic Brands, Ben Hogan/Sport Haley, Sunice, About Golf, Full Swing, Wittek, E-Z-GO, Tail Activewear and numerous others will be touting the virtues of their 2010 and 2011 lines.

If you think the days of Show Specials are gone, think again. Craig Hunter, PGA director of golf at Sand Point Country Club in Seattle, Wash., continues to use the PGA Merchandise Show as a one-stop shopping center for soft goods, hard goods and accessories.

"I like seeing all my vendors under one roof and getting my buying done for the season, especially soft goods and accessories," says Hunter. "I go to the PGA Merchandise Show with a specific buying plan based on last year's sales. I also check out the best deals and dating companies are offering to stay competitive. There are always some specials to be found at the Show.

"The PGA Show enables me to take care of my pre-books through the end of summer, so when the season starts in the spring, I can focus on my members. The Show gives you the best selection and opportunity for smart buys. Staying up with the latest trends is very valuable to your members, and the PGA Merchandise Show is the best place to see what others are doing in the business."

The exhibitors at the Show this year will be offering hundreds of exclusive PGA Merchandise Show specials that will only be available at the Show. Many of them are listed on www.PGA Show.com, and new specials are being added daily.

Special Events at the Show

Kevin Edwards, PGA director of golf at Woodstone Country Club in Danielsville, Pa., is one of scores of PGA Professionals who have discovered the multiple benefits of attending the special events held in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show.

"The best thing about the Show to help build my career is all the networking possibilities. You never know who you will meet at the special events that may be a good connection down the road," observes Edwards. "I have always run into other PGA Professionals who have good ideas. I will look for products that can help me make better margins on the merchandise side, and I also look for suppliers which will help me save money with the bottom line in these economic times."

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, after attending the golf industry's largest Outdoor Demo Day during daytime hours, PGA Professionals are invited to a special sneak preview of products and services offered by prominent companies during the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) Product Preview from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. in Room W330 at the Orange County Convention Center.

PGA Professionals will honor their own on Thursday, Jan. 28, during the annual PGA Awards from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Linda Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center. The festive evening will honor the 2009 PGA Golf Professional of the Year; the PGA Teacher of the Year; the PGA Junior Golf Leader; the Horton Smith Award recipient; the Bill Strausbaugh Award winner; the national President's Plaque recipient; First Lady of Golf; and the national PGA Merchandisers of the Year for public, private and resort courses.

"One of the great things that PGA members should attend is the PGA Awards presentation," says Ogden. "It is always very impressive to see the best of the best at the PGA Awards, and you can also learn a lot about what has made their operations and their careers so successful. It can be a very emotional and moving event. If you have not attended the PGA Awards in the past, I highly recommend it."

Another prime opportunity for networking is the "Elations Rock the Joint" industry concert at the PGA Merchandise Show presented by Elations on Friday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center.

Kansas, one of America's most successful rock bands, will be the featured entertainment and will perform hits such as "Dust in the Wind," "Carry On Wayward Son," and "Point of Know Return." Kansas, which has eight gold albums and two triple platinum albums, recently released their latest DVD titled "There's Know Place Like Home" after the single "Carry on Wayward Son" was the No. 1 most-played track in classic rock radio in 1997.

"We're excited to bring Kansas to the PGA Merchandise Show and make a continued commitment to the sport," says Steve Tebeau of Elations, a drink supplement for golfers with glucosamine and chondroitin that contributes to healthier joints. "We are developing a strong connection with the golf community and we're thrilled about the response we have received from pros and golf enthusiasts alike. Simply put, Elations shares the common goal of playing golf longer and pain-free, and our involvement in the PGA Merchandise Show will help us communicate that message."

New Features at the 2010 Show

To help PGA Professionals build their blueprint for success, a Career Fair (booth 2173) designed to connect industry professionals with employers in the golf industry will be located on the Show floor in the Products & Services Section (booth 2273). A similar Career Fair at the PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas in September allowed PGA members to discuss job opportunities with representatives of golf companies, resulting in the hiring of several PGA Professionals.

Course owners, employers, general managers and PGA head professionals will enjoy a new business and networking area called the Executives Club at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show. The walled-off area will provide privacy for one-on-one or small-group meetings while promoting the exchange of ideas and best practices among Show attendees. A fully staffed concierge desk, the availability of private meeting rooms for preset appointments cultivated at the Show and access to Internet and recharging areas for laptops and mobile communications devices promise to make the new Executives Club a popular stop for doing business during Show hours.

The Indoor Demo Days at the Equipment Test Center, located adjacent to the PGA Equipment Forum, will feature 46 hitting bays, a putting green and the PGA Short Game Challenge Area to provide hands-on testing of the latest equipment at one of the country's largest indoor golf ranges.

New products and exhibitors new to the PGA Merchandise Show also will be easy to find at the 2010 Show. A "New Exhibitor Discovery Zone" located in the Products & Services Section, will feature many of the nearly 200 companies exhibiting at the Show for the first time. The New Product Center, located in front of the Products & Services Section, will showcase a variety of new, innovative products from myriad manufacturers in one place.

This story appears courtesy of PGA Magazine, the official publication of The PGA of America.

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