LAS VEGAS – With the most extensive showing of leading golf brands and a significant increase in attending industry professionals, the 2013 PGA Expo proved to be a valuable platform for previewing new golf merchandise from some 200 vendors, testing the latest equipment; participating in hands-on, high impact teaching and business education programs and networking among peers during PGA Expo events, Aug. 19-21, at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
Market leaders such as Callaway Golf, COBRA PUMA GOLF, Nike Golf, PING, TaylorMade Golf and Wilson Golf among others showcased their newest equipment, while nearly 100 golf and resort lifestyle apparel brands featured their newest apparel collections.
Main Stage industry programs brought both an informative and entertaining twist to the launch of new technology and new fashion trends with the return of the PGA Expo Fashion Designer Panel and the new PGA Expo Technology Symposium.
Simultaneous again to Las Vegas Fashion Week, the PGA Expo attracted a large crowd of fashion buyers and apparel vendors to its traditional Fashion Designer Panel featuring renowned designers Mossimo Giannulli of G/Fore, Chris Rosaasen of Travis Mathew and Tim Dally of Old Tom Morris. Golf Digest Fashion Director Marty Hackel and Golf Channel fashion aficionado Win McMurry moderated the lively discussion on the latest trends and crossover merchandising opportunities for golf, resort and lifestyle apparel. The PGA Expo "Fashion Row" display of golf apparel collections greeted PGA Expo and Fashion Week attendees in the corridor outside the Show floor and attracted many apparel buyers to visit fashion exhibits inside the Venetian Ballroom.
With an emphasis on technology advancements in equipment and teaching aids, the new PGA Expo Technology Symposium was very well received by a standing room-only audience of attending PGA Professionals. Golf World Equipment Editor Michael Johnson moderated two panel discussions – "Better Equipment Technology and How to Sell It to Your Customers" and "Teaching With the Latest Technologies."
Panelists included some of the brightest minds in golf, including PING's Marty Jertsen, Callaway's Austie Rollinson, Nike's Tom Stites, TaylorMade's Benoit Vincent, FlightScope's Henri Johnson, Full Swing's Brian Farley, Foresight's Rick Cuellar, and GolfTec's Doug Rikkers. Additionally, the latest technology software providers also enjoyed a new platform to share information with attendees in the Tech Talk Live Demonstrations on the Main Stage.
"The combination of top-level apparel brands, the professional education programs, and the strongest showing of equipment companies at the PGA Expo in recent years provided PGA Professionals and attendees with new business, marketing and merchandising opportunities they can put to use immediately at their facilities," noted PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Event Director Marc Simon. "There was a tremendous takeaway over three days in Las Vegas for everyone who attended."
PGA Professionals and buyers from top golf clubs, resorts and retail facilities converged at the PGA Expo to create a fresh merchandising mix for 2014 including Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Congressional Country Club, Haggin Oaks, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Medinah Country Club, Pinehurst Resort, The Broadmoor, Torrey Pines, PGA Village, Dick's Sporting Goods, GolfSmith, PGA Tour Superstores, Play It Again Sports and The Golf Warehouse among others.
Attendees came from 48 U.S. states and 26 countries to the 2013 PGA Expo. Industry professional attendance increased by 8% over 2012 with significant increases in the number of participating PGA Professionals and apparel buyers. Top states by attendance were California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Texas. Top countries outside of the U.S. by attendance were Canada, Japan, Mexico, China and the United Kingdom.
The 2013 PGA Expo kicked off on Monday with testing of the latest equipment and training aids by nearly 40 manufacturers during the PGA Expo Demo Night at the TaylorMade Golf Experience. Mike Malaska, the 2011 PGA National Teacher of the Year, began the evening with a special "hands-on" instructional clinic for some 100 PGA Professionals that focused on "Understanding and Developing Your Student's Athletic Personality" and other teaching fundamentals.
PGA Expo educational programming attracted large audiences including the PGA Fast Track to Leadership Development Seminar, PGA CPP 2.0 Certification session, PGA Education Conference seminars, the Association of Golf Merchandisers Summer Forum, plus education sessions from FlightScope and U.S. Kids Golf.
Once again, professional networking was an important part of the annual industry gathering on the Show floor, within education programs, at PGA Expo Demo Night and during the popular PGA Expo Industry Welcome Reception at Lagasse's Stadium in the Palazzo Resort Las Vegas.
Several PGA Expo vendors were award prizes of distinction from attending PGA Professionals and influential buyers including:
New Product Zone Winners
A panel of influential merchandisers and PGA Professionals voted for the top three products of the New Product Zone, a specialty exhibitor pavilion displaying new products in one convenient setting:
• Glove Caddie, www.glovecaddie.com 
• The Swing Set Up, www.theswingsetup.com 
• Digital Print Mobile Case by Pukka, www.pukkainc.com 
Top Buyers Choice Award
Smathers & Branson (www.smathersandbranson.com ), a provider of hand-stitched needlepoint belts and accessories and a new PGA Expo exhibitor in 2013, was voted by influential merchandisers and PGA Professionals to receive the PGA Expo Top Buyers Choice Award from nearly 75 new exhibiting companies.
The PGA of America and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions will next host the PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 24-27, in Orlando, Fla.