Trends and Observations from the 2017 PGA Show
News

Trends and Observations from the 2017 PGA Show

Trends and Observations from the 2017 PGA Show

While the daily propaganda blasts from show organizers might have you believe otherwise, I’m here to tell you that the 2017 PGA Show was an absolute sloth. With noticeably light traffic in the aisles and plenty of open space (both on the show floor and the range at demo day), 2017’s easily qualifies as the most depressing PGA Show during my time in the industry.

Take it for whatever it’s worth, but several of my media colleagues (and others I’ve spoken with from inside the industry) are in complete agreement. Call it a worse show on the heels of a bad show on the heels of a not so good show.

Bottom line; whatever the actual state of the equipment industry and the game of golf itself, the PGA Show is broken. It’s trending downward, and without some serious intervention, I suspect that’s going to continue until we reach the point where there is no point.

A sample size of one, but inside MyGolfSpy we’re already discussing whether or not we should attend the 2018 show.

That said, the show wasn’t all bad. It still provides an opportunity to pulse-check the industry and gauge where the companies that power it are headed. So with all that buildup out of the way, here is my take on the show, the trends, and other things on which you should keep an eye.

TaylorMade Won the PGA Show

tiger-tm

Maybe that’s overstating it just a bit, but if you’re looking for the defining moment of the 2017 PGA Show, it was TaylorMade’s announcement that it had signed Tiger Woods to a long-term deal. Tiger will eventually play 13 TaylorMade clubs. For now, it’s just metalwoods in the bag, as the company willfully admits it’s going to take some time to develop irons and wedges that are suitable for the notoriously difficult Mr. Woods.

The announcement at 8:30 AM of Day 1 of the indoor session overshadowed absolutely everything else at the show. Lost in the Tiger news; Michelle Wie signed with Callaway, PING released its Sigma G line of putters, and Titleist formally announced a new generation of Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

All good stuff, but none of it escaped Tiger’s shadow.

A quick aside overheard inside the TaylorMade booth; Tiger tweeted his half of the announcement a bit early, which forced TM CEO David Abeles, who was in a meeting at the time, to step on the gas a bit in making the company’s official statement.

Tour players….amirite?

The TaylorMade/adidas situation is getting weird

And speaking of TaylorMade…while the PGA Show booths were side by side, for the first time I can recall, you couldn’t walk directly from the adidas booth to the TaylorMade booth. We’re talking a firm or at least a semi-firm barrier between the two brands.

While future ownership of the TaylorMade brands remains unsettled, it appears to be operating as an adidias company in name only. I would describe the current relationship between the two brands as married, but sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Metaphorically speaking, both sides are holding it together for the sake of the children, but there is a clear division between the two. While the addition of Tiger Woods is inarguably good for the TaylorMade brand, it has also served to expand the growing internal rift.

Two Nike apparel staffers are now part of the TaylorMade staff, and that’s an issue. I can assure you that the prominent display of the Nike Swoosh inside the TaylorMade booth (and within the company’s marketing efforts) isn’t sitting well with some on the adidas Golf side of the business.

The New Srixon

srixon2

Call it something to keep an eye on, and it’s nothing I can quantify, but there was a decidedly different vibe coming from the Cleveland/Srixon booth. The fresh attitude likely stems from the significant amount of turnover within the company over the last year, but I’d be remiss not to point out the positive energy.

Granted, some of that probably comes from the free beer, but it’s perhaps noteworthy that Srixon threw the best booth party at the show…perhaps the best since TaylorMade was riding high.

The company is excited about its clubs – irons in particular – and its new ball. Whether or not any of that resonates with the consumer remains to be seen.

Is this real momentum, or unrealistic enthusiasm? As it often does, time will tell.

The USGA…Grumble, Grumble

wilson-triton

The consensus within the industry is that the USGA’s smackdown of the Wilson Triton driver was total bullshit. The thinking is it was petty, ill-tempered revenge for Wilson having the audacity to put a product on the shelf without the expressed consent of golf’s fun police. God forbid, right?

The same is largely true with respect to the flap over Bryson DeChambeau’s putter. Again…asserting power for no other reason than because it can. My sense is that a majority of companies have grown sick of the USGA’s authoritarian policing of the equipment space.

Don’t expect anything to change, however. Most appear afraid of going toe to toe with the USGA and, I believe, all would prefer a competitor be first to wrestle with the agency.

Nearly everyone is pissed off, but no one is willing to actually do anything about it.

It’s Callaway’s World

epic-booth

It’s tough to get an absolute read on traffic through the Callaway booth given its strategic location in the epicenter of the PGA Show floor. Sooner or later, even if it’s by accident, everyone walks through the Callaway booth. It’s unavoidable.

That said, my sense was that Callaway had a most excellent show. Granted, the Michelle Wie announcement was overshadowed by Tiger. But traffic was steady, and no single product garnered more chatter than Epic.

Callaway believes it has something special, and I’m on record with my belief that it will be the best-selling driver of 2017…and that makes it all the more odd that Callaway had but a single launch monitor on the downwind range during demo day.

How good is Epic? I still have absolutely no idea.

Callaway Taking on Cameron?

If you didn’t take the acquisition of Toulon Design as a sign that Callaway was serious about trying to own the putter market, the addition of David Mills and the T.P. Mills brand might change your mind.

The market gap between Callaway (Odyssey/Toulon) and Titleist (Scotty Cameron) is much narrower than many believe and Callaway has proven it can erase large deficits in relatively short time.

Between Odyssey, Toulon, and T.P. Mills, Callaway can offer quality everywhere from the entry-level to premium markets, and with demonstrated best-in-class marketing, coupled with a changing ball market that will require more of Titleist’s attention, Callaway has a legitimate shot of taking over #1 in the category.

A Shift In the Launch Monitor Category

foresight

Like Callaway, Foresight Sports had an outstanding show. The new GCQuad drew plenty of attention and made Foresight’s booth one of the most trafficked of the week. Sufficed to say, word is spreading about the GCQuad and what it can offer instructors and fitters in terms of accuracy and consistency.

The company is going to be making a huge push into the market while putting significantly more effort into promoting what it sees as a clear technological advantage over radar-based units.

Big things are being promised.

We’re taking a wait and see approach, but with top instructors (“Trackman Guys” whose names you know) taking a long look at the technology, an industry-wide shift from radar to cameras is well within the realm of possibility.

Tyson Lamb is the Real Deal

Young Mr. Lamb spent his show in the Table Rock booth (formerly occupied by Scotty Cameron) where his putters sold briskly for upwards of $5000 each. If it wasn’t obvious already, there’s more than enough evidence to suggest that Tyson Lamb has arrived as the next big thing in the high-end putter market.

Collectors already know his name and his work, and several OEMs are taking notice too. Opportunities are beginning to present themselves, and if he’s inclined to do so, Tyson could jump to the mainstream at any time.

But is milling for the man really how Lamb wants to spend his time?

Arccos Is Pulling Away

Arccos_CourseAnalyzer_Media_1_1024x1024

It was a slow year for digital tech at the PGA Show, and frankly, some of what was on display, wasn’t nearly ready for prime time, but Arccos was the clear exception.

With the announcement of its Course Analyzer product in partnership with Microsoft, Arccos established itself as a tier (maybe two) above anything else on the market right now. And with the kind of horsepower Microsoft brings to the table, it’s unlikely anyone else is going to be able to keep pace.

If you’re looking for a round/stat tracker, Arccos is clearly the technology leader right now, but guys, seriously, can we get the phone out of the pocket and maybe make it easier to mark the actual location of the flagstick?

Figuring Out North America

honma

Perhaps the oddest trend at the PGA Show was the number of Asian companies who told us they’re trying to figure out North America. Honma, Yamaha, Epon, and others all used exactly that phrase while describing their efforts to penetrate the US Market.

Frankly, I’m not sure what there is to figure out. The market is oversaturated, and without a targeted approach to advertising and something truly special in the lineup (and I didn’t see that from anyone), opportunities to kick the doors open are limited.

I wish everybody luck, but I don’t see anyone breaking through in any meaningful way.

Where’d All the Shaft Companies Go?

KBS, Nippon, and Oban had booths. Graphite Design had a spot on the indoor range. Fujikura and Veylix had conference rooms. Others, like True Temper, Aldila, Matrix, MRC, UST, and upstart VA Shafts had no official presence inside the convention center.

Some pretty basic cost/benefit math has shown these guys that it makes much more sense to hold meetings in a hotel room, the lobby, or one of the remote and otherwise abandoned corners of the show floor than it does to overspend on a booth.

It’s Time to Shake Up the Show

showfloor

The hottest trend at the PGA Show over the last several years is companies abandoning the PGA Show. Many are struggling to find the proverbial R on their I. For a growing list of companies, attending the show is just bad business.

Take the previously mentioned shaft guys, toss in Nike (even the shoe guys), Bridgestone, SKLZ, Mizuno, and a growing list of small to mid-sized companies, and plenty of names you know are choosing to skip the show, while others like Wilson, Fujikura, and Yonex have traded floor space for conference rooms. Some even double or triple up in those rooms to further save.

Part of the blame can be placed on Reed Exhibitions. Costs continue to rise, and Reed is anything but accommodating when it comes to handling requests to downsize booths. When the choice is overpaying or being exiled to one of many poorly trafficked corners of the floor, many are choosing to bail entirely. Good for them.

Last year a representative of one company told me that it cost them $6000 just to have his merchandise moved from the loading dock to the show floor and back again. $30 a day trash can rentals, more for chairs…companies are being nickeled and dimed, and plenty have had enough.

For many inside the industry, there’s nearly nothing to lose by skipping the show. That’s evident by the dwindling number of fitness products, training aids, colleges, travel agencies, and even big name companies that take up space on the show floor each year.

It’s also worth noting that the timing of the show no longer works with the cadence of the industry. Come the end of January, nothing is new, orders have been placed, and there’s very little in actual business to be done.

My thinking is that the fall apparel show in Vegas should be expanded to include everything and the January show should be dropped entirely. It’s an idea that will likely be considered blasphemy for an industry that’s often overly content with doing things the way they’ve always been done (because that’s how they’ve always been done). Without an industry-wide resurgence (hold your breath for that), the current model isn’t sustainable.

If nothing else, Vegas, by virtue of the fact that it’s Vegas (baby), would likely draw bigger crowds.

What I Like About the Show

None of this should suggest I don’t find value in the show. 2017 was a down year for products (and floor traffic), but the value in the show remains in the opportunity it creates to build and maintain relationships. It provides an annual opportunity to catch up with old friends, and with Harry Arnett. As travel budgets decline and the number of media events dwindle, this aspect of the show is becoming increasingly more important.

The companies we cover get their chances to hold me accountable and make me answer for every rock that I’ve thrown over the last 12 months. It gives me the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings and set the record straight on the rocks I didn’t throw.

The problem is that, for many – us included – while you can’t always put a value on relationships, airfare, hotel, rental cars and other associated costs are easily quantifiable, and as the costs begin to pile up, the PGA Show, in its current form, makes less and less sense.

The show needs fixing, but golf loves its status quo, so I suspect nothing will change anytime soon.

For You

For You

A photo of the FlightScope Mevo which is one of the best personal launch monitors of 2023 A photo of the FlightScope Mevo which is one of the best personal launch monitors of 2023
Launch Monitors
Jul 10, 2024
This Launch Monitor Fits in Your Pocket
News
Jul 10, 2024
Fairway Finder Drive: What Is It and How To Hit One?
Golf Bag Carts
Jul 10, 2024
Forum Member Review: Motocaddy M Series
Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

      B Moore

      7 years ago

      The exhibitors comments about the USGA and their recent pointless, petty penalizing of Wilson due to their arbitrary concept of what “cavities” are conjoined with their arbitrary concept of what is aesthetically pleasing is a prime example of everything that is wrong with them. Over the last twenty years, it has been appalling to me to watch how they systematically transform perfectly good golf courses into barren wastelands right before they host our national open due to their misguided mission to “Defend par at all costs!”. But now that their propensity for bad decision making has recently resulted in bogus, erroneous calls at critical times during the course of play, I don’t know what to think. I still can’t get over their last fiasco whenever Dustin Johnson’s ball started rolling around on the green due to natural phenomena exasperated by the fact that “the green” was nothing more than rock-hard dirt and bits of dead grass. Couple that with the fact that “the governing body” seems to be clueless to the fact that telephoto lenses cause distance compression and you have all of the necessary ingredients for pointless high drama at the expense of the integrity of the tournament. . . Job well done boys! Keep up the good work! And everyone don’t forget: Drop your balls from shoulder height and remember that ONLY after it has rolled into the water hazard for the second time are you allowed to place it by hand. Oh! and don’t forget – the First Rule is that you MUST keep up with the group in front of you! Have fun out there!

      Reply

      Brian Boeling

      7 years ago

      Been going for 25 years and it’s getting worse. Even demo day was shy.

      Reply

      Rick Robshaw

      7 years ago

      Interesting take… a few comments from a 25yr vendor at that show.
      It wasn’t as bad (for Club Prophet as a software vendor) as you claim (for the club guys) but was slower than past years.

      Vegas is a horrible idea. We stopped participating in that show post 911. Vegas is a joke when you are trying to get a buyers attention in Vegas. They go to vegas shows, gamble, party, golf, etc. They do everything except go to the golf show. You can tee up a ball in the isle at that show and have no fear of hitting anyone no matter how much you slice. That show died years ago and has zero chance or recovering.

      The big swing and miss – If you really want to make a difference in the trade show segment of the industry – Let’s talk about the absolute insanity of having the PGA show in Orlando followed two weeks later by the GIS Show in the same location (this year) and overlapping with the club managers show by one day also in Orlando but at a different venue. This makes it almost impossible for a small company to participate in all 3 shows. The cost of flying, employees, paying for setting up, tearing down, and transporting both exhibits (three times) is ridiculous. Even worse when they are in different states.

      Let’s get to the issue.. is it money, ego, arrogance, (all of the above) that keeps these three groups from having one golf industry show in the Orlando convention center all together? Certainly the space exists given how much the PGA show has shrunk (now taking less than half of the north hall). And if you are that arrogant you can stay in your section of the floor space. Put all 4 events (including Vegas) under one roof in Orlando all at the same time for 3 days and bring the industry together for one consolidated well attended event.

      Reply

      TonyG

      7 years ago

      As a veteran of all three shows and others (attending & displaying), I agree with Rick but with one exception: create a 3 location rotation. Move the show each year from San Diego, Austin and Orlando. I left Orlando in, but I bet you will see better traffic at the other locations. Like Vegas, Orlando has too many distractions (family ones in this case). San Diego and Austin have everything you need within walking distance and fewer distractions during the day.

      Reply

      Kirby Oaks

      7 years ago

      I think the local or regional golf show is where things are going. It’s easier for people go to and it’s more personalized. Companies need to invest in these. It will be a lot cheaper and they can make a much bigger splash to the audience.

      Reply

      Jay Green

      7 years ago

      I used to have a booth at the PGA Show, but the cost of a 10′ x 10′ booth plus travel, accommodations and food expense make it cost prohibitive for us. We got plenty of traffic, but social media is a much better way for us to advertise. I hate not going and seeing friends, but business does not always follow worn out paths.

      Reply

      Steven Dougherty

      7 years ago

      We missed you there.

      Reply

      Eric Pedersen

      7 years ago

      It started out as a bunch of guys selling stuff out of the trunks of their cars.

      Reply

      Eric Pedersen

      7 years ago

      It’s the same every year. Kinda like a carnival. Step right up!

      Reply

      Steven Roglen

      7 years ago

      Those Tyson Lamb putters are straight fire

      Reply

      Lex

      7 years ago

      What’s with the putter that looks like a 747? My thoughts are that we need to get back to basics, with a reasonable putter and learn to use it… a 747 no wonder some people can’t putt. Thanks for the low down on the show great honest assessment!!

      Reply

      Richard Rebugio

      7 years ago

      It’s because of no Nike Golf

      Reply

      Harold W

      7 years ago

      Tony I do remember 1999 I was at the show with MacGregor. One morning I started to plug in the TV ads when this man yelled for me to stop. That was a union job to plug in that plug and so we were charged $60 per day for them to plug in the plug. It makes you want to come back.

      Reply

      Harold W

      7 years ago

      I can’t believe you guys. I have been in the golf business now for 48 years from the start of Lynx and still going. But I cant understand how months ago and last year MGS was tearing down Taylor-Made for what they have done to the golf world with all their drivers and now you are all but kissing every move they make. The hit of the show.
      Do they advertise with you?

      Reply

      Ken Morton, Jr.

      7 years ago

      Tony,
      We’re general fans of what you do but on this particular case, I feel like you’re completely off-base and misrepresenting what really happened last week in Orlando. I get a verified peek behind the curtain and attendance was simply 1% behind last year ‘s record number and that was self-inflicted as Reed attempted to crack down on consumers at the show. PGA buyers were actually up 2%. Mizuno hasn’t been there for five years and Wilson and Yonex had booths where they always have. Vendors like Bridgestone and Nike weren’t at the show because of costs, but because of poor decisions they made as companies that reflected so poorly on their bottom-lines that they had to trade off something severely important to their business (the show) for promotions or cost-cutting reasons. This was my 28th show and it had incredible value for the new products introduced, the networking and educational opportunities it provided and the ideas inspired out of the show.

      Reply

      Audio Video

      7 years ago

      Hey Kenny MIZUNO hasn’t been there in 2 shows now. What other info did you make up? and I know their absence has nothing to do with poor decisions.

      Reply

      Matty

      7 years ago

      The PGA Merchandise Show should just make it open to the public if they really want to #GrowTheGame (along with decreasing course fees and equipment).

      Reply

      Brent

      7 years ago

      Exactly

      Reply

      Rick Robshaw

      7 years ago

      Horrible idea. Open that show to the public and it will instantly turn into a flea market. All the Business to Business vendors (which is what this show is targeted for) will pull out immediately. Course fees are already at an all time low and are not self sustaining – thank you golfnow and last minute tee times.

      Carolina Golfer 2

      7 years ago

      Agreed. I said the same thing to a previous suggestion about opening to the public. Friday is bad enough with a lot of public getting in with friends badges or buying them outside the convention center (from one person who bragged about it) I haven’t stepped foot in there on Friday the past two years.

      Even before I worked in the industry, I understood the need to keep it to industry professionals only and relied upon media outlets to inform me on what was new and interesting.

      Wilson McGrupp

      7 years ago

      Callaway booth was obnoxious and to force you to walk thru their booth was oppressive.

      Reply

      Blaine Zimmer

      7 years ago

      Mygolf spy. Always brimming with positivity

      Reply

      Richard Miller

      7 years ago

      I was there. Couldn’t agree more!

      Reply

      John

      7 years ago

      Aerotech had a booth.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      True story…totally forgot to mention them.

      Reply

      Mingson Jang

      7 years ago

      who is the show open to?…..industry only?

      Reply

      Jeremy Stronach

      7 years ago

      Trade show’s started to help small businesses get exposure to a large volume of clientele. (Well at least here in Aus) The organizers of these shows must stop looking at how much they can fleece off the big companies and look at what it can do for the consumer. Shoe’s, bag’s golfing aids and so on, the small affordable item’s the average consumer can firstly afford and secondly improve or help their game.

      Reply

      Artie

      7 years ago

      Comment on USGA, right on, they have out lives their usefulness and if there was any competition, they would long ago been relegated to a history story. When the golfers and businesses wake up and realize the damage their antiquated, arbitrary, inconsistent, picky rules are doing to golf, life will get better. Run a competitive event, USGA rules NOT applicable and see who shows up.

      Reply

      Marcus Synegal

      7 years ago

      Non stop action for three days but didn’t ever leave our booth so poor perception I guess.

      Reply

      Walter Scott

      7 years ago

      Count me in on your comments about frustration with the USGA. The entire notion on non-conforming clubs has gotten out of hand. Major manufacturers should be encouraged to produce non-conforming clubs for recreational players just to spur interest in the game. Some them already do it for the Japanese market and no one there is being put in jail for using an “illegal” club!
      If you don’t want a USGA handicap there should be no stigma for anchoring or using clubs too long or too big or too “hot.” And the USGA should embrace that idea — and say so to the manufacturers and the public.
      What they really need to do is to start finding ways to make the game less expensive. Five or ten dollar rounds for walkers would grow the game. More players means more sales for manufacturers, more lifetime customers, more demand for courses, more people interested in the game, interested in improving, interested in graduating to conforming clubs and USGA handicaps and events. Making things “illegal” is the wrong approach. It is negative instead of positive. It limits innovation and drives now participation.
      After more than 50 years in the game I have tried non-conforming clubs for the first time. I did not find any magic there but why prevent others from finding their way to the game with them?
      I saw someone selling a club today that was doing so because it was “illegal” and his “friends” did not want him to play with them if he used it. He probably thinks he hit the ball farther using the club — and maybe he die — so he had a greater measure of accomplishment and enjoyment. But it was taken away.
      I am tired of the USGA’s tyrannical approach — and I know I am not alone — as state in the main article above. They have no authority other than what average golfers cede to them.
      I will probably go back to anchoring next week. My “friends” don’t really care. They know they can out-putt me with a broom! And I figure my own handicap. If anchoring helps me my handicap will go down and I will no doubt lose more often to my friends. They are not dumb. But I don’t care because I don’t play golf to earn a living! And although some who have commented on my earlier posts in this vane don’t think so, I just love the game and want to see more people have the opportunity to enjoy it.

      Reply

      Greg reid

      7 years ago

      We are on the exact same thought train. the sport is dying unless some adjustments made.

      Reply

      Cory Tolliver

      7 years ago

      very well written; good read

      Reply

      TexasSnowman

      7 years ago

      30 dollar trash cans… yep that’s the trade show business. The most successful company at most trade shows is the company running the trade show.

      Reply

      Cyril

      7 years ago

      Best Comment….Reed is exposing the Ripoff!
      Great way to grow your biz and brand.

      Reply

      Brandon

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the coverage. I will say conventions in general are down. I am in the healthcare business and get the same feel at our current conventions. Having company reps visit and the internet, these are becoming less and less important. The relationships, dinners, and memories are about all conventions are worth these days:

      Reply

      Chris Kashich

      7 years ago

      I think it has run its course! With social media and Internet Clubs and Buyers are placing orders online faster than ever. In 5 years the show will be obsolete because networking and contacts are made online now. Plus the OEM Sales are more knowledgable now plus you can FaceTime with R&D to get questions answered in no time.

      Reply

      Johnny P

      7 years ago

      I disagree, I have attended over 15 PGA Merchandise Show and I thought the attendance was pretty good. Wednesday was very busy and Thurs/Fri is great day to make appointments. It will never get back to where it was in the late 90’s, companies today release products immediately. Taylor Made releases a new driver every other month. I did see way too many “buyer” badges, that needs to be changed.

      Reply

      Pat Kelley

      7 years ago

      Man,I broke of the show and went to surf expo. More Bikinis.

      Reply

      Stephen Zinger

      7 years ago

      Send someone to Vegas. I’ll make them famous.

      Reply

      RAT

      7 years ago

      Very good read. Not surprised about the cost of having a display area. Yes! VEGAS BABY!.
      The cost of equipment is rocketing upward. Sooner or later what goes up must come down. Golf is getting back to be just for the Elite all because of cost, equipment, green fees, it’s just getting out of hand.

      Reply

      Greg

      7 years ago

      While I agree the cost of equipment has gone up, greens fees seem to be about the same as when I first started playing in the early 2000s. At least in my area that is the case. What else can you do for 4 hours for 30 or 40 bucks? But as far as equipment, it is light years better than it was back then. These companies need to quit paying players boatloads of money and the cost would probably go down some. I personally dont give a crap what pro is playing what club, that has no bearing on what works for me.

      Reply

      Will

      7 years ago

      Greg, since the economic recession that began in 2008, player contracts have diminished greatly. I’m a tour caddie and I would know. Further decreasing the contracts for tour players is a very bad idea. The costs of travel and hiring Caddies has increased dramatically, and the “salaries” as you refer to them have remained stagnant. As a result, the game has seen more “buddies” and relatives enter the game, and many of the Caddies have suffered greatly, as have the families. Everybody thinks they can caddie, but not very people will put up with the egos, the constant Travel, the long hours, the rising expenses and the weeks away from their families. Caddies have been getting the shaft for decades, and it doesn’t appear that is going to change anytime soon. Meanwhile, young players coming up on the developmental tours are getting $15,000 “bag deals” and that is barely enough to play two months on the web.com tour anymore. Look at the schedule some time and try and afford those itenararies.

      Georges Poulin

      7 years ago

      Great review, thanks

      Reply

      Scott Fawkes

      7 years ago

      On your Arccos point, there is a product called Shot Scope that can mark the flagstick and uses a wristband instead of phone. The only thing holding it back is that there is no real time updates, but definitely a product to watch for

      Reply

      Leith Anderson

      7 years ago

      I think that going back a few years it is important to remember that none of the big names came to the show. Then they started to come back with larger and larger footprints. It is hard to imagine the cost of trucking the 5000 pound Epic driver to Orlando and then hanging if from the ceiling. I bet the Teamsters had a fight over that job. The big booths this year were grander than ever.
      Some of the small guys did well. Volvik is a great example of a small booth drawing a big crowd with a very strange looking golf ball.
      Unfortunately, Reed and the PGA are too hidebound to make a logical change. The right time for the show is the fall of the year. That way all of the new products create the buzz and with early shipping the season gets off to a fast start and can even generate a little Christmas business. For those of us who sell golf clubs in temperate climates, the season is short. It starts in February (maybe March) and it’s over by July. The rest of the time is just mop up and repair.
      The only reason the show is in Florida in January is that’s when the old timers started thinking about moving back north from their winter gigs and they could afford to wait to buy their equipment for the year when the only outlet for proline clubs was green grass pro shops. That is all changed, except the show.
      Even so, I’ll be back next year for number 17. The lack of pressure was great to get time with top executives in the companies I care about.
      I bet Tony and MGS will be there too. Maybe it will be better.
      Regards, Leith Anderson (Golf Lab @ Correct2Compete, Indianapolis)

      Reply

      Dale Coddington

      7 years ago

      Hello I need some help on buying a golf range finder. What one is cost effective. My girl says I’m don’t need one because I only hit it 200 yds. into the woods..

      Reply

      Carolina Golfer 2

      7 years ago

      Check out Precision Pro they have the NX7 retails at $199 and the NX7 Pro with Slope retail at $249 a very good value for a quality rangefinder.

      Reply

      James Dailey

      7 years ago

      The writing was on the wall for the show many years ago when big time oems started pulling out and product cycles stopped rotating around the show. Combine that with social media based advertising and you wonder how the show has even lasted this long.

      Reply

      Bob Slack

      7 years ago

      I first attended the P.G.A. Show in 1995. As a merchandise buyer my first question back then was, “why is the show in January when we already reviewed products and made our buys back in October? January is just too late”….Some things never change.

      I also remember the first mass exodus back in the early 2000’s when Ping, Callaway, Titleist, and a few other companies went on a hiatus from the show. I watched Top-Flite go away for good and TaylorMade grow into the behemoth that they have become. Same story with Nike. They started off the main floor, grew their golf market share, expanded their presence on the main floor and now “POOF” they have vanished from the equipment side of the business.

      I gave up the golf category a few years ago so I no longer attend this show. It sounds like it’s going into the doldrums again. Moving the show to Vegas will make it more fun for some of the attendees, but it won’t solve the problems the golf industry is experiencing.
      The golf show may go away as did the old NSGA Show that was in Chicago and the Super Show that was in Atlanta, moved to Vegas, then back to Atlanta and then went away for good.

      Good Luck to the P.G.A. Show…. sounds like they are going to need it.

      Reply

      Derek Levine

      7 years ago

      Appreciate the article. It was our first year at the show, so was exciting in that regard. Was great to meet our instructors, check out all the equipment, and get our brand out there. There were definitely some winners among the group with Directed Force Putters, Cure Putters, Smartballgolf.

      Reply

      hal wright

      7 years ago

      Tyson Lamb’s putters are the real deal……great looking, balanced, and the top of the line when it comes to quality……..i have one he made last year and will not sell it !!!!!

      Reply

      Matthew Kemeny

      7 years ago

      What’s the point of not opening this up to the public?

      Reply

      Carolina Golfer 2

      7 years ago

      A better question would be, what would be the point to open it to the public. There are plenty of other ways for the public to see and hit equipment all year long at demo days and regional shows.

      Reply

      Paul

      7 years ago

      The big companies I BELIEVE are realizing that the $$ in high end equipment is with the high end custom fitters. Who wants a $600 driver off the shelf. Very difficult to market your product when the fit is the most important performance aspect. Most PGA Professionals are clueless with their fitting carts. And even if they get it right the specs from the OEM companies can be way off. Off the shelf Calloway x forged 6.0 rifles were frequency tested for me several years ago and ran from 5.1 to 6.6. Crazy. Even ping just grabs shafts from the bins and swing weights them. They don’t sort for weight and frequency consistency within the set let alone purring.

      Companies like Bridgestone and Mizuno are realizing this. That’s the success of PXG. (Although I don’t think their pricing and product are aligned well). The public is getting this through their head now and this is why club pros across the country are not going to the shows. They don’t want to waste time and money on equipment that will underperform for their membership. And if you are an idiot and want to by off the shelf you are going to order online and get a good price. IMHO companies better start offering height end heads unassembled and let the fitting pros not waste time and $$ by stripping OEM shafts and replacing them with what we need!!!! Paul

      Reply

      jsf

      7 years ago

      Move it to Las Vegas. They are about to add even more space to the convention center. Las Vegas has everything, move it there.

      Reply

      Tommy Garrett

      7 years ago

      I mean if you guys don’t want to go next year I’ll be more than happy to go on your behalf

      Reply

      John Sears

      7 years ago

      Another great article. Just the facts. Golf is the worst when it comes to stale ideas and status quo. That’s why youth will continue to skateboard instead of golf.

      Reply

      Ryan Holcomb

      7 years ago

      The PGA Tour should tell the the USGA to ef off. It may save the game.

      Reply

      Greg Reid

      7 years ago

      This correction is long overdue. Its no wonder attendance is down. As stated before golf is becoming an elitist sport. Memberships, green fees, equipment, balls etc have all increased horrendously in past years. The true fact less people playing golf. Have had three courses close near me. Going to be condos now. USGA what a bunch of crap that is. Ask yourself as an average player what have they done for you. Zero. Look at some of the PGA events. The Pro-ams. 99% of the ams are high priced executives, sports athletes, or movie stars. Where is Joe public? Not even considered. Unless the USGA wakes up this sport is going to see huge declining numbers of players and facilities.

      Reply

      Todd Bailey

      7 years ago

      Where have greens fees increased? In my experience most of them have gone nowhere in 10 plus years. Far more courses are closing than opening over that time, and the ones that are still in operation are continually thinking of new creative ways to get people to the course. The show is down, sadly, because golf as a sport hasn’t kept up. Greens fees at my course are lower than they were 15 years ago. I would think quite a few are in the same boat.

      Reply

      Dave Walker

      7 years ago

      A-men Todd. Green’s fees are more affordable than ever. It’s a wonder some courses can even survive. Many aren’t. People have no idea what it costs to run a golf course but they sure know how to run their mouths when the conditions aren’t supreme.

      Justin Taylor

      7 years ago

      In Australia it is the same. Green fees are very competitive and its hard to see how they can survive. Maintenance costs have gone up significantly. These maintenance cost don’t vary much if 30 or 300 play so natural thinking would be, keep green fees down more people play, the business can be successful. Unfortunately despite that, the numbers haven’t come and that is the worry. Time to play is one of the biggest problem in our modern times. Equipment costs have increased but is a one time purchase to last a lifetime if budget is an issue. The second hand global market is also very competitive so I don’t think thats the real issue. Golf manufacturers needed to release less product and increase prices to survive so I think thats a good thing. Its a more fundamental problem as Golf has to compete with other sports on television that finish in 3 hours not 4 days, naturally audiences are not as big as the glamour high profile sports and this affects youth growth. It takes huge amounts of time, money and dedication to get compitent, some despite that never get compitent, and these things contribute to the lack of growth as well, all signs that Golf as a game isn’t keeping up in this instant world.
      Things are being done to address some of these issues. Night golf has been very successful in places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Some may argue that thats because of the hot daytime weather but thats not the only reason, people really enjoy the experience. Some courses in Oz have the last 9 holes lit of 18 to allow for later tee offs and shorter 9 hole games after work. Green fees need to be higher due to increased costs but 9 holes rather than 18 can negate that extra cost to those who feel the pinch. This is a positive move.
      All I know is I love the game and started late, only 5 years ago at the age of 39 so there is still growth. I have also noticed there are many Junkies out there that share my obsession so its addictive nature is one of its strengths. It might just mean that we need fewer golf courses to make the operating ones more viable and the closures though very sad are exactly what is needed. Natural attrition lets say. The game has the challenges I have mentioned but thats the nature of the game and hard to change those without changing what golf is despite the modern instant lifestyle we find ourselves in. It will survive no doubt and fees still need to be competitive to keep it for the masses and not just for the finacially elite (They will always have some high end options to play at as well). I foresee course closures being a natural evolution till a balance is reached between slow growing player numbers and a financially sustainable number of golf courses available to them. Its a numbers game and right now the number of players is spread to thinly over the number of courses available to play on. Sad to say but let them build there condos, they should have probably done that in the first place. Just my 2 cents

      Thomas

      7 years ago

      I live in western PA boarders Ohio, with some 40 public courses. Playing traffic is down I’m the last decade some 30%. No price change for a round of 18, $22 – $32. Private courses joining fees down 50%.
      Equipment prices up 30%. Follow the money trail. – – +

      Reply

      Knut

      7 years ago

      I likes the show.
      Bob Parson is a wanker, thinking he is too good for the PGA Show.
      Mizuno is soon to close down golfbusiness, so no point beeing on show?

      TaylorMade was great. CobraPuma Was great.

      For a geek like me the show was really fun.

      Reply

      berkeleybob

      7 years ago

      Mizuno is closing down its golf business? Where can I read about that? I googled around and can’t find anything.

      Reply

      Sean

      7 years ago

      Mizuno is not going out of business. Just making stuff up.

      Knut

      7 years ago

      Just wait and see.

      No distrubition in almost all of Europa, rest of mizuno is sick of putting money into golf and not at PGA-Show.
      1+1+1=?

      Berkeleybob

      7 years ago

      Well, to be sure, there might be an issue, since its assembly line for Europe is based in Scotland, and Brexit would create a problem for the continent, but as far as I can tell, Mizuno has a presence in Denmark, and not everything makes its way out here.

      Johnny

      7 years ago

      Mizuno’s presence and sales in Europe is buffer than its presence in North America. That’s why Europes line up is more extensive. Both of which are smaller than Mizuno’s Asian presence
      They’re not going anywhere

      Charles Willcock

      7 years ago

      I live in the UK a few miles from the UK’s largest exhibition centre. Once major exhibitions filled all the halls. However, in 2017 that is a distant memory. unless you have a product which is difficult to explain and no-body has seen before, it is pretty hard to convince people to travel and spend good money on something they can see locally. Golf equipment is the perfect example. You can find what you are looking for either on-line or in your local pro-shop. The world moves on rapidly. Photos, vlogs websites like mygolfspy.com make spending huge amounts on attending such shows part of business history. To infer that the game of golf is therefore in terminal decline is going too far. Businesses in 2017 simply need value for money.

      Reply

      Michael Gorham

      7 years ago

      Most of my spring orders are already placed, I was offered to go fully comp’d airfare, hotel, car and couldn’t find a good reason to do go. It’s really a social event on steroids.

      Reply

      Michael Jackmack

      7 years ago

      Have been PGA member 25 years and been to 20 shows the industry is in decline. Good idea to have a plan B just to be safe. Have heard the new PGA leadership is aware and being proactive about it, will see.

      Reply

      Shawn Rogowski

      7 years ago

      I feel like if I had that epic driver in the photo, I could possibly find the sweet spot.

      Reply

      TD

      7 years ago

      …Same thought!

      Reply

      TopPakRat

      7 years ago

      Interesting the Callaway TP Mills connection. David Mills in the tradition of his father has been producing some of the FINEST customs available. This is definitely a poke in the eye to Cameron who was an apprentice under TP Mills. Frankly I think the entire Cameron line has lost it’s luster. Cameron has copied everyone else with little of his own innovation over the last decade. Cameron is ripe for the picking!

      Reply

      Jeremy Head

      7 years ago

      Hmmmmm

      Reply

      Jeremy Head

      7 years ago

      I think demo day was good but the show was just ok. My first time so don’t have a lot to go on.

      Reply

      PROSWINGTIPS

      7 years ago

      This was PROSWINGTIPS first show, and we chose to walk around vs. paying for a booth. It was a great decision as it allowed us to introduce ourselves to everyone including those walking around. It also allowed us to try all of the “latest” and “greatest” products in the market.

      I do not believe the show will be beneficial to us next year, we will reconsider later this year.

      Reply

      DGast

      7 years ago

      WellPutt booth was non stop order writing all three days with PGA pros and key off course accounts.

      Reply

      PROSWINGTIPS

      7 years ago

      Good article. It was our first time at the show, and we wisely chose to not have a booth and just walk around to make introductions.

      Reply

      Ed Vyeda

      7 years ago

      Good read … from a media perspective, I could not agree more about it being a “reunion” as much as it is a “convention” … as well as being a bit pricey … Cheers!

      Reply

      Wayne Talsky

      7 years ago

      I went this year, as I have for the last several, and I would have to agree that this year, especially, seemed “off”. The traffic was less, as was the amount of vendors present on the floor. I felt at least 1/2 of the show was soft goods and several vendors didn’t even show up… I was quite surprised at how many pain stimulators are out there on the market?!

      Reply

      robin

      7 years ago

      It cost to much for the average Joe off the streets to walk in uninvited.

      Reply

      Carolina Golfer 2

      7 years ago

      Well it’s not designed for the “average joe” off the street. Even though some get in through friends registering them as employees and such (I know this as I’ve read people bragging about it), that already makes it crowded enough and tough enough to get through some of the major booths.

      Reply

      Jeremy Starr

      7 years ago

      Man thank god for you guys. I listen to Sirius XM PGA Tour radio every day and you would have thought people were fighting to get into that show like people getting onto Noah’s Ark when the rain started. So sick of the fraudulent BS. I’ve been a sucker for years listening to all of the hype. New driver every 5 minutes…MOI…Ball Speed!…Tungsten weighted flight ports with aero lofted speed pockets and gold plated slots with nex-gen spin technology featuring xrx and y groove spin controlled compression channels!!!!!!!! Ahhh! I need a beer

      Reply

      Bob Menzies

      7 years ago

      Sounds like fake news from SiriusXM PGA Tour radio?! ? Perhaps the PGA needs to make the show great again?! ??

      Reply

      John Porter

      7 years ago

      I think your prediction about the lead in to the Fall stop in Vegas will be accurate.

      Reply

      TonyL

      7 years ago

      I work as a marketing consultant for many companies in different industries and we are finding that having a booth at tradeshows is not a good marketing investment for most companies. I advise my clients to forgo the booth and just go as an attendee. Use the money that was saved and invest it in other forms of marketing that does work.

      Reply

      Michael Manavian

      7 years ago

      Spot on 100% – the show had no great game changing items, (gc quad, and AD-TP were awesome) but the ability to network face to face is still the premium reason to go

      Reply

      Pat Hanna

      7 years ago

      Mike,

      You hit the nail on the head, I got more accomplished at the show than I could have done on the phone or computer, and it always great seeing you!

      Reply

      Eric Coe

      7 years ago

      Besides myself years ago, people are now figuring out that equipment from ten years ago is just as good as now. Why pay $500 for a new club with a new name and colors?! There is pretty much nothing left to do with clubs. It’s not the club it’s the clubee. Times are tough. You want to grow the game? Reduce prices drastically and lower greens fees. Greed took over golf.

      Reply

      Eli Gone Fishing Yates

      7 years ago

      Golf has always been an elitist sport doing its best to keep out the “riff raff” and now its starting to bite them in the ass more than they had expected lol.

      Reply

      Pat Souza

      7 years ago

      Its interesting you would comment on golf clubs being the same as they were 10 years ago, when they posted an article within the last 30 days stating the opposite to be true. Did you even read the blog? Not only is this not relevant to why the PGA show is failing, its not even accurate.

      Reply

      Eric Coe

      7 years ago

      Pat Souza 7 likes on my opinion. 0 on yours. It’s common sense. Like the industry you are trying to present tech babble to be relevant. It’s my opinion. I don’t care about yours. I’m done with you. A good day Sir.

      Reply

      Cliff Morgan

      7 years ago

      Have you been to a PGA merchandise show? Its much more than golf clubs. You get to see all the new products from turf management to clothing. Its fun and you end up with lots of free stuff that can be useful.

      Reply

      Chris Tickle

      7 years ago

      True story. I saw a article that the new pxg irons are going up in price. Who the he’ll needs $1500 irons. Insane.

      Reply

      E Barber

      7 years ago

      In today’s society, if there isn’t a benefit to attending something (i.e. big item gifts or freebies), then the cost of going doesn’t appeal to many. A change of venue on an annual basis could help (like the National Sports Card Convention), revolving between locations like San Diego, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Orlando. It is really a shame that it has come to this though.

      Reply

      Derek Loy

      7 years ago

      With social media showing in depth photos and articles of all the new equipment im sure attendance will continue to fall

      Reply

      Stephen Vang

      7 years ago

      Kirkland Signature-COSTCO should of had a booth…that would of been the HIGHLIGHT to this year’s 2017 PGA SHOW!
      #kirklandsignaturegolfballsare#1

      Reply

      Stephen Vang

      7 years ago

      And sell $1.50 hot dogs and soda with free refills.

      Reply

      Mike Kinasiewicz

      7 years ago

      Those ball were overruns by a Euro company. So the well has run dry for now…but the CEO says they might try again, but doubtful they will be as cheap as before since they would have to make them from scratch in the same factory as other premium balls.

      Reply

      Alvaro

      7 years ago

      Exactly Mike, the company is Quattro, Dutch company that makes the balls in Korea. I contacted them as they do not distribute them themselves. It’s 30€ / dozen + shipping, so if you are in the States, it will probably come at the same price as ProV’s.

      Robert Wis

      7 years ago

      The Kirkland ball is the Nassau Quattro. Nassau is a Korean golf ball company. I highly doubt that Costco would go through all the trouble to brand a batch of overruns that would be no more. More likely a BS story by Nassau to appease TM who was unhappy that a manufacturer they used provided a ball to Costco for that price.

      Reply

      Brendan Young

      7 years ago

      They are squeezing out the small businesses thru the unreasonable cost of having a booth. By doing this they kill the grass roots of the industry. I worked the booth of a good friend of mines for 3 years and the return on investment was not worth him having a booth the last 2 years. I don’t blame him at all. It’s too much of the big boys shoving the little guys around and trying to control it all. An example of this is the Costco Kirkland ball squeeze out. By doing that, they will, in the long run, bite the hand that feeds them. They will completely destroy the show by trying to be too big for their own good. Before long it will be a show involving Titleist, Callaway, Cleveland/Srixon, Taylormade, etc… When that happens, how enjoyable and profitable will the show be? In my opinion, not very.

      Reply

      Dave Conner

      7 years ago

      That’s the reason I went to the golf show to be able to see what the little guy had to sell and if they ain’t there I don’t know why I shoild waist my time ! Example I was looking for a new golf bag the big names wanted to much for there bags I happen to find a local biz that had the right size and half the price . I bought it on the spot . The little guy needs to be there !

      Reply

      Ed Pascual

      7 years ago

      The show always looks like it’s a fun time, but release dates don’t coincide with the show like they used to.

      Reply

      John Porter

      7 years ago

      A lot of folks share this sentiment. The PGA show has gone the way of the dodo with respect to how people interact online now.

      Reply

      David Taylor

      7 years ago

      Great piece. Balanced and strong. Well done. Especially liked jab at fun police USGA over driver. They are not for the golfer but for themselves.

      Reply

      Justin Sandler

      7 years ago

      We were rammed and didn’t stop for three days

      Reply

      GilB

      7 years ago

      Wow! Looks like a whole lot of empty space in some of the photos. I guess a lot of manufacturers either have nothing to show or don’t care to rent the space. My guess is that technology has finally waned at some of the manufacturers or there’s nothing to promote. Looks like the golf industry, as a whole, has reached a leveling off period. I hope not, we could use a little something to get the population interested in golf again.

      Reply

      Scott Spinler

      7 years ago

      That’s a shame because how much did Callaway spend on that giant version of the Epic driver above their booth?!

      Reply

      Austin Kreger

      7 years ago

      I agree. Noticeably less people and frankly there was nothing to see that hasn’t been seen already

      Reply

      Sharkhark

      7 years ago

      …. an annual opportunity to catch up with old friends….. and (drum beat) with Harry Arnett….

      Rolling.. On the floor

      Reply

      Carolina Golfer 2

      7 years ago

      Tony, I agree with a lot of what you laid out above. Especially the traffic on the show floor. This is my 3rd year attending as a buyer. The first year I made the rookie mistake of thinking Friday would be a productive day…anyone that has been knows what an almost total waste Friday is.

      So what would be gained if anything by eliminating Friday, it would save the companies one day of lodging cost, or perhaps they could use it to entertain or host some of their clients at a sponsored golf outing. Would Reed consider it as it would no doubt have to call for a lower fee to exhibit.

      As to the crowd, maybe it was me, and I hate to make assumptions but general observations seemed to bare this out. It seemed that there were a lot more “fringe” attendees this year than even last year. More guests who the best I could tell weren’t even accompanied by their sponsor, but yet roamed booth to booth in search of handouts or thinking they could get a personal fitting.

      That sort of thing has to sit not so well with the exhibitors. As for demo day, I know you attend the media day morning session. I guess it makes it much easier to get content and see the people you need to.

      But I can tell you the afternoon session was jam packed, and most of the major companies had lines with a wait time more in tune to Soarin at Epcot than a line at a demo day.

      I wish (selfishly) something could be done to even that out. While I would like to have tried few of the new items to bring back some info to our club, I just wasn’t going to wait and hour plus which many of them were.

      Overall I got what I needed out of the show. But the continued absense of Mizuno, the absence this year of Bridgestone and the shaft company’s you mention have to be a red flag to the people at Reed if they care to see.

      You really hit the nail on the head with the Taylor Made and Adidas booths, I noticed that as well, and just thought….that’s odd. There also seemed to be a much different vibe in each one, that I hadn’t noticed in the past.

      But kudos to Srixon and Cobra/Puma for doing a great job with their booths.

      See you in 2018…I hope!!

      Reply

      James T

      7 years ago

      Well, that’s all depressing. Maybe find a way to speed up the pace of booth visiting. Is the show mirroring the state of the game???

      Reply

      ThinkingOfGolf

      7 years ago

      They really need to move this to Vegas… As a business owner I can’t tell you how frustrating and expensive trade shows are getting! I just skip them now and spend the saved money on advertising.

      Reply

    Leave A Reply

    required
    required
    required (your email address will not be published)

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    A photo of the FlightScope Mevo which is one of the best personal launch monitors of 2023 A photo of the FlightScope Mevo which is one of the best personal launch monitors of 2023
    Launch Monitors
    Jul 10, 2024
    This Launch Monitor Fits in Your Pocket
    News
    Jul 10, 2024
    Fairway Finder Drive: What Is It and How To Hit One?
    Golf Bag Carts
    Jul 10, 2024
    Forum Member Review: Motocaddy M Series