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A feel-good event

With more than a million square feet to cover, the 40,000 attendees here this week are using more energy, strength and stamina than many are prepared for. So, says John Kim, the demand for quick refresher massages is bigger than ever.

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The later in the day, the longer the line for a precious few minutes in a relaxing massage chair. (John Kim/PGA.com)

By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The PGA Merchandise Show is billed as the world’s largest golf industry event. And it is. But there’s a few other industries being served here.  And as golf continues to grow, so does the need for … massages?

With 40,000 attendees covering more than 1,000 exhibits and booths and over one million square feet, standing, talking, trying out products and taking golf swings can take a little more energy, strength and stamina than many are prepared for. And hence, the dozens of massage therapists lined up just outside the convention floor, the long lines waiting for a session in the deluxe massage chairs and the entrepreneurial impressiveness of the shoe insert/sole cushion companies grow larger every year as well.

“It takes a lot out of you,” said one exhibitor who asked not to be named since he took a “break” from his booth to pay $15 for a 10-minute massage in the hallway. “I had no idea that I’d walk this much. I was supposed to work the booth, but wanted to see what was here. Just went down to see the clubs, and going there and back killed my legs.”

One person who felt fine being named was Theron Alex, a representative of Infinite Therapeutics, a high-end line of electric massage chairs. 

The first two hours of the day, I’m not doing a whole lot,” he said. “But then it picks up and gains steam, and by the end of the day, folks are waiting to get a few minutes to recharge. And today was busier than yesterday. As the show goes on, the more sore and tired people are going to be.  Few people know how big this place is.”

Jonathan Curry, manager of USA Event Massage, had more than a dozen therapists who provided hundreds of massages over the first two days.

“It’s a great way to take a break,” he said. “We’re providing a service that not only feels great, but helps people be more productive with their time here.”

Sore feet, cramping calves, and lower back pain, it’s all in a day’s work -- just part of the price that the golf world pays to bring you the latest and greatest from the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show.  But thanks to an army of healthcare providers and companies specializing in pain relief, the people charged with creating, promoting and distributing the best of golf will be able to leave Orlando healthy, happy and ready to make this the best year for golf ever.