As we prepare for what will more than likely be the busiest week of the year here at TGF, I’d like to take a minute and talk about the Five Ws of the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show. If you follow the golf world in any sort of capacity, chances are good you’re at least vaguely aware of the PGA Merchandise Show. If you’re only vaguely familiar or completely unfamiliar, here’s your chance to catch up before the show begins.
The event was originally started by the PGA of America. In 1998, they partnered with Reed Exhibitions. Together they have produced the show for over two decades now.
So what is the PGA Merchandise Show? It is an industry-only trade show where golf companies of all sizes present their merchandise to golf professionals. What do they mean by industry-only? That means consumers are not supposed to attend.1 You have to fall under some sort of professional/industry category, which includes PGA and LPGA members, Allied Golf Association members, golf industry professionals, suppliers, manufacturers and lastly where we fit in, media. As the show has grown over the years, it has added other events such as educational conferences, workshops and a full day dedicated to equipment demonstrations.
The 2020 PGA Merchandise Show will run from Tuesday, January 21st through Friday, January 24th. The PGA Show Demo Day is held all day Tuesday, while the actual exhibits and trade show runs from Wednesday to Friday.
With the Where we can explore a little bit about the roots of the show. When it first started, it was a far cry from what we see today. Originally held in the parking lot of the PGA National Golf Club during some tournaments in 1954, the event grew quickly enough that by 1957 some sort of structure was needed, so they set up an event tent. From there it bounced around to various country clubs, still being hosted under an event-sized tent. In 1975 it moved indoors for the first time at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort2 where it stayed for seven years. After a brief stint in Miami, the show eventually settled at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center in 1985, where it has been held ever since. The PGA Show Demo Day is held offsite at the Orange County National Golf Center.
While the Why of the show has shifted over the years, at its core the show remains a buying and selling event. Companies bring their products to exhibit, ranging from the obvious — like golf clubs and golf apparel — to the not so obvious — like point-of-sale systems used at golf courses or the energy bars they sell at the snack bar. While the show was originally much more about companies writing orders for retailers and golf courses, with the rise of the Internet and the interconnected nature of the world, actual sales happen more frequently outside of the show than not. The trade show is now more of an event used to show off or debut new products and develop or maintain relationships between manufacturers and retailers. Sure, selling still happens, it just might not be as much of a focus as it once was.
So that’s the Five Ws of the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show. We’ll be there covering it. To what extent, I can’t exactly say since it is our first time attending. With close to 1,000 exhibitors and a reportedly 40,000 attendees, the show will certainly be overwhelming. We have around 180 exhibitors on our list to potentially visit, but the reality of it is we probably won’t even get to half of those. With only a total of about 25 hours of trade show time, to cover them all we would have to visit a booth every eight and a half minutes. Regardless of how many booths we get to cover though, we’re excited to bring you this coverage, and hopefully, you’re excited to see it!
My full-time job has always been in the IT world, but I’ve also spent the better part of a decade writing product reviews and helping cover large industry-only trade shows. It was only in the latter part of 2019 that I put two and two together and realized I should be doing the same thing for something I’ve loved my whole life — golf. This is the culmination of a hobby that started as a child, a hobby that turned into a passion as an adult, and finally a passion that turned into The Golden Ferret.