LAS VEGAS – The 2019 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 13–14, welcomed thousands of PGA Professionals, industry leaders and lifestyle specialty retailers from 46 U.S. states and 14 countries to Las Vegas for two days and nights packed with merchandise sourcing, buying, product testing, education, professional networking and special events.
The annual industry gathering, coinciding with Las Vegas Fashion Week and multiple fashion trade shows, featured nearly 200 participating brands and companies, a new Technology Forum, and comprehensive Education Conference at the Venetian Hotel. Evening events put a spotlight on fashion, product testing and networking when the Fashion Show and Networking Party moved to the exciting venue of TAO Nightclub on Tuesday night (Aug. 13) and the PGA Demo Experience and Closing Reception moved to Wednesday night (Aug. 14) at the popular flagship property of Topgolf Las Vegas.
“Each day and night of the 2019 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience was full of business-building opportunities on the Show floor and during exciting new special events in the evenings,” said PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President Marc Simon. “Our participating companies enjoyed steady traffic and PGA Professionals and buyers found a great mix of new merchandise to drive grassroots retail. Valuable insights were gained in education programs and, importantly, industry professionals across all sectors enjoyed connecting with peers at events like the Fashion Show at TAO Nightclub and the Demo Experience at Topgolf.”
Participating companies included up-and-coming designers, entrepreneurs entering the market, veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands and market leaders. More than 100 top apparel brands took advantage of the upscale PGA Fashion & Demo Experience setting and simultaneous timing of Las Vegas Fashion Week including companies such as Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross Sportswear, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY, FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PUMA Golf, Straight Down Clothing, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines, Zero Restriction and many more.
Top equipment and technology companies showcased their newest innovations and included brands such as Callaway Golf, COBRA Golf, FlightScope, Foresight Sports, Full Swing Golf, HONMA Golf, Mizuno Golf, Srixon/Cleveland Golf and Yamaha Golf.
The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience will return to the Venetian, TAO Nightclub and Topgolf Las Vegas, Aug. 11–12, 2020. Visit PGALasVegas.com for detailed information.
2019 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Highlights
Show Floor of the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 13–14, PGA Professionals and golf buyers filled the aisles of the Palazzo Ballroom in search of the newest merchandise for their members and customers among some of the best brands in golf with a special focus on golf fashion as more than 100 apparel and accessory brands took advantage of the annual golf gathering to showcase their newest collections.
One apparel brand newcomer was Yaffa Activewear, which produces super-lightweight women's apparel with lab-tested Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 50 to effectively block 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
“Our activewear is designed to keep you cool and comfy while protecting you from the sun, but we don't compromise functionality or form for fashion," said Laura Preskin, CEO of Yaffa Activewear of Scarsdale, New York. "Our fabric also resists chlorine, so you can even swim in it if you like. It's a great fabric for swimming, golf or tennis. The response at the Las Vegas PGA Show has been extremely positive. The traffic has been great, and we're forming a lot of new relationships in the golf community."
Yaffa Activewear joined veteran golf manufacturers, established brands, up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs who were among the nearly 200 exhibiting companies and brands showing their newest merchandise to interested buyers looking for the perfect mix of popular, trending and new products.
Callaway Golf Apparel took advantage of the PGA Show setting and Las Vegas Fashion Week to showcase their Fall 2019 collection and introduce their Spring 2020 lines. “The PGA Professionals and golf buyers that we connect with here in Las Vegas are the heartbeat of our sales for the next year, so this is an important show for us,” said Alex DePallo, Callaway Golf Apparel Marketing Manager. “We saw great traffic throughout the event, finalized a good deal of business and also created new relationships with several new accounts.”
“The PGA Las Vegas Show is all about connecting with PGA Professionals and people in the golf community, telling our story, and showing our highest-grade leather headcovers and bags to new clients," said Todd Bishop, co–founder of Dormie Workshop. "This is an ideal show for us, because we can take time to discuss special orders and special projects with current and prospective clients. It has been highly beneficial for us from a networking and new-client perspective."
New Technology Forum
Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), led two technology panel programs on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to improve customer engagement through golf entertainment technology and to boost customer spending and engagement utilizing facility management technology.
"Through the Technology Forum, we are encouraging PGA Professionals and facility owners to utilize the latest technologies to generate new revenue opportunities," said Karen. "I'm bullish on technology in the golf business because there is so much potential. Most people are using only five percent of the technology available to them, so if we can convince our front-end users to utilize even 30 percent, that represents a significant increase in revenue-generation, and everyone benefits."
An enthusiastic crowd greeted former PGA Teachers of the Year Mike Malaska (2011) and Mike Adams (2016), and NextGen Golf Senior Director Kris Hart at the Technology Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 14, for a panel discussion covering Technology Best Practices in Teaching and Coaching Golf. Moderated by Golfwrx Golf Gear Drive's Johnny Wunder, the panelists each emphasized that technology is a valuable tool to assist golf instructors, but is not a replacement for PGA teachers and coaches.
"There is a ton of information out there, but the key is to discover how that information applies to each golfer or student," noted Adams. "I like to measure everything in the golf swing, which is where technology is a great asset to teachers. Measuring clubhead speed, ball speed etc. eliminates the guesswork from what we are seeing with our eyes as teachers. Then, the job of the teacher is to interpret all that data so the student understands what changes must be made to improve. Technology does not replace the master teacher and never will, but it gives us a method to measure and paves the way to golfer improvement."
Fashion Show & Networking Party at TAO Nightclub
Tuesday evening, Aug. 13, concluded with the PGA Fashion Show & Industry Party takeover of TAO Nightclub, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Many of the latest golf lifestyle collections by the industry’s top designers came to life on the runway with music provided by the TAO Nightclub DJ and emceed by Golf Channel’s Bailey Mosier. Live Fashion Show participating brands included: 2UNDR, Callaway Golf Apparel, Chervo S.p.A., Daily Sports, IFGfit, Jofit, Naughty Boy Golf Wear, Original Penguin, Straight Down Clothing Co, Swing Pretty, TZU TZU Sport and Under Armour.
“Great party, great fashion show and great music,” is how PGA Professional Janet Evans of Chandler, Arizona, described the TAO Nightclub event. “That’s what makes coming to the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas so special. The extra events at night this year are really cool and give everyone a chance to unwind.”
PGA Demo Experience
PGA Professionals and golf retailers previewed and tested the newest innovations from leading golf equipment, technology and accessory companies at the PGA Demo Experience and Closing Reception at Topgolf Las Vegas on Aug. 14. Topgolf Level 1 Hitting Bays featured hands-on equipment testing, while the indoor marketplace and putting green were located in Topgolf’s Central and West Rooms.
Cleveland took advantage of the PGA Demo Experience to offer an exclusive opportunity for event attendees to test the Cleveland CBX-2 wedges, which will be available Aug. 30, and also the Srixon 785 and XXIO 10 drivers, too.
“The PGA Demo Experience was a prime opportunity to connect with PGA Professionals and everyone in the industry,” said Ruben Padilla, Club Fitting Specialist for Cleveland-Srixon-XXIO Golf. “Attendance tonight was extremely good and the event just continues to get better every year.”
“This show is great face-time with PGA Professionals and retailers and, therefore, very valuable,” said Kris Wildenradt, Territory Manager for Mizuno. “It helps us get products into customers hands in a fun, social setting and also comes at a great time because we are launching our new MP20 on September 20 and I can show it off here in an intimate setting.”
Additionally, PGA/LPGA Professionals competed in the Topgolf Tour Qualifier during the PGA Demo Experience for an additional $6,500 PGA Show purse. PGA Show attendees also participated in a putting contest, featuring a $2,500 purse for the top three finishers.
Equipment testing, merchandise sourcing, skills contests and peer networking in the dynamic golf entertainment destination of Topgolf combined for a successful and enjoyable industry event to close the 2019 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience.
Industry experts presented topics ranging from instruction best practices and career growth initiatives to retail success and business solutions during the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Education Conference, Aug. 13–14. Restructured in 2019, the seminars started and ended earlier each day to give attendees plenty of time to explore the PGA Show floor, interact with exhibiting companies and network with fellow PGA Professionals.
"The education seminars have been exceptional this year, and I like the way the seminars were structured to start and end earlier in the day so we could walk the Show floor and place some orders," said PGA Professional Robert Trim, who made the trek from the Big Island of Hawaii, where he is head professional at The Club at Hokulia. "The seminar on trends in the golf business and how to market and appeal to millennials was great. Then, I had plenty of time to see what was new on the Show floor and place several orders with vendors we don't see in Hawaii."
In all, the comprehensive Education Conference offered more than 20 classroom sessions focusing on teaching and coaching, golf operations and executive management. PGA Professionals were able to earn up to 21 MSR credits, through participation in PGA Education and PGA Fashion & Demo Experience programs.
"I've attended the education seminars in Las Vegas the past several years, and they seem to get better every year," said Courtney Watson, PGA Professional at Mesa Country Club in Chandler, Arizona. "The seminars are also a great opportunity to network with experts in the industry after each classroom session."
PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Award Winners
Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers voted one exhibitor new to the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience as the Top Buyers Choice. The 2019 Top Buyers Choice is Goodr sunglasses, the “no–slip, no–bounce, all–polarized, all-fun” fashionable and functional sunglasses. Learn more at Goodr.com.
2020 PGA Shows — Save the Dates
The 2020 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 21–24, in Orlando. Visit PGAShow.com for detailed information. The 2020 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience is scheduled for Aug. 11–12 in Las Vegas. Visit PGALasVegas.com for detailed information.