LAS VEGAS -- The 2012 PGA Expo began with a ceremonial first swing by Hank Haney to welcome PGA Professionals, buyers and industry leaders at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in the heart of the famed Las Vegas Strip.
The Venetian Ballroom was quickly transformed into a marketplace bustling with business as 200-plus top golf companies and brands showed off their latest apparel, golf equipment and accessory lines. New merchandise, industry presentations, educational seminars and networking events highlighted the first day of the 28th PGA Expo, which continues Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Renowned golf instructor Haney, who has given more than 55,000 golf lessons and has coached more than 200 touring professionals, teed off the show to a standing-room-only crowd on Aug. 21 with an inspiring presentation that explored how to keep golfers playing by injecting fun and simplicity into teaching.
"We all know golf is expensive and it takes a lot of time to play, but the biggest factor that is preventing more people from playing is that it's such an incredibly hard game to play," noted Haney. "As golf instructors, we need to make the game easier. It gets too confusing when we get too technical. I was inspired to become a golf teacher in college when I took lessons from Jim Hardy. He always said, 'Keep it simple.' I've never forgotten that, and we should always keep golf instruction as simple as possible. As golf instructors, that should be our primary objective."
"As Hank Haney pointed out, a good teacher never stops learning, and it was nice to see so many golf-instruction features playing prominent roles in the PGA Expo this year," noted PGA Director of Instruction Ben Alexander of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. "Having Butch Harmon speak last year and Hank Haney this year was a real boon to the Las Vegas show, which seems to be getting better every year."
Several companies including Ahead, PING, Pukka, Tour Edge Golf, Kentwool, Club Glove, Champ/MacNeill, Glove It and the Greg Norman Collection introduced new lines to thousands of attendees at the 2012 PGA Expo.
Glove It unveiled its sporty, colorful chic golf accessories at the PGA Expo, while Club Glove showcased additions to its premium line of TRS Ballistic luggage and a new Digital Camo (a modern camouflage pattern of green, tan and brown) color option to its broad range of Made-in-America travel bags, golf bags, club covers and luggage in Las Vegas.
"We always look forward to spending time at the PGA Expo and sharing our latest innovations with so many key partners from across the country," says Club Glove founder Jeff Herold. "Whether it's our luggage, golf travel bags, Caddy Towels, golf bags, sunglasses or accessories, at this point we're offering superb products for just about everyone."
"The PGA Expo in Las Vegas comes at a key buying time for both our West Coast and international customers to showcase our new line," said Karen Lovcik, CEO of Glove It. "We are excited to introduce our new collections for those who embrace looking stylish on the course and appreciate quality products."
Day 1 closed with the return of the popular PGA Expo Industry Reception, this year at Lagasse's Stadium in Palazzo Hotel. PGA Professionals, buyers, vendors and industry leaders enjoyed the opportunity to network in a relaxing, upbeat atmosphere of the annual reception and happy hour.
Inspired by Fashion ... PGA Expo's Fashion Focus
The 2012 PGA Expo is drawing PGA Professionals, golf retailers and apparel buyers from around the world here to the Venetian Ballroom during Las Vegas Fashion Week.
A new PGA Expo "Fashion Row" displaying the latest golf and resort apparel, is poised at the entrances to the Venetian Ballroom and has attracted many fashion week buyers to walk the aisles of the PGA Expo as they discover new brands and fashions to appeal to their customers back home. Last year, more than 400 apparel buyers from Fashion Week events also explored the vendors of the PGA Expo.
"The PGA Expo remains an ideal time to preview our spring 2013 lines and begin taking orders for the next cycle," said Scott Stone, national sales manager-golf for Ahead. "It is a great platform for Ahead to showcase our lines to a diverse group of buyers who recognize the benefit of attending a multi-show venue in a multi-show city."
Ahead launched its 2013 headwear and apparel lines for Ahead, Kate Lord and PGA Authentic, while Pukka and Greg Norman Collection unveiled a variety of bright, stylish new designs and color schemes for 2013. Kentwool introduced the colorful 19th Hole Collection of dress socks for men and women.
"We conduct a lot of demographical wear-testing to determine what consumers want. But it's always good to see such a positive response to a new line like our 19th Hole Collection," said Mark Kent, president and CEO of Kentwool, which drew a crowd with its new, colorful striped socks. "This is our first PGA Expo in Las Vegas, but it has been extremely successful. After the first 30 minutes, we were ready to sign up for next year's Las Vegas Expo."
New Equipment in the PGA Expo Spotlight
Callaway Golf, Cobra Golf, Ping, Tour Edge and Yonex are helping to anchor the new equipment and instruction section allowing hands-on testing of the latest equipment and training aids at the 2012 PGA Expo. Avid Golf, Champ/MacNeill, PING and Tour Edge were among the many companies to introduce new equipment at the 2012 PGA Expo.
While PING drew large crowds at the 2012 PGA Expo to test-drive its new Anser driver, PING's first fully adjustable driver, and its full line of woods, irons, wedges and putters, many PGA Professionals also took advantage of PING's state-of-the-art 'N Flight Fitting system to learn how to custom-fit clubs or to their own swing.
"PING has always been an industry leader in clubfitting, dating way back to its introduction of the PING Eye2 irons," noted Scott Ballif, PGA Professional at Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite, Nev. "It's always interesting to see what new equipment PING has at the Las Vegas Show, and it was fun to hit the new Anser driver to compare it with other drivers in the PING line. It's a great piece of equipment."
"The PGA Expo has been very beneficial for us because we are able to meet PGA Professionals and buyers from the western United States who we don't see in Orlando," said Jessica Georgenes, marketing and director of tour operations for Champ /MacNeill Engineering Worldwide, which showed off its new "My Hite" Zarma FLYTee, Flix Divot Tool, Tour-proven spike line and other products at the PGA Expo. "The PGA Expo is definitely building momentum. We have been at this show for many years, and it has always been beneficial for us."
Avid Golf introduced its new Swedge Swing Training Aid, while Polara Golf invited PGA and industry professionals to hit four different anti-slice balls at Demo Night and the PGA Expo.
"The response to the Swedge so far has been absolutely amazing," said Dana Clark, inventor of the Swedge and CEP of Avid Golf. "PGA teaching professionals have been very receptive and enthusiastic about it, because it's such a great teaching and training aid for players of all abilities."
Additionally, Tour Edge introduced the new Exotics CB5 fairway wood and hybrid, the Exotics Xrail fairway wood and hybrid, the Bazooka Platinum Ironwood, and the Bazooka Backraft GT+ driver, fairway, hybrid, and combo set at the 2012 PGA Expo. Jay Hubbard, vice president of marketing for Tour Edge said, "Introducing product here at the PGA Expo generates excitement and interest in our lines. It's one thing for us to say the CB5 is ultra long because it features a titanium cup face and a heavier steel body. But the proof is in the performance, which is why we like that PGA Professionals can judge for themselves here at the PGA Expo."
What People Are Saying
The PGA Expo has gained a lot of strength in the past three years -- more companies, more PGA Professionals, and just more interest in everything golf this year. -- Steve Griffith, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The PGA Expo has much more buzz this year. The new PGA Trade-In Network and eBay announcement was extremely informative and could result in a new business network for many PGA Professionals. -- Tim Haas, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Having Butch Harmon speak last year and Hank Haney this year was a real boon to the Las Vegas show, which seems to be getting better every year. -- Ben Alexander, Pebble Beach, Calif.