Each year the golf season is brought in from the cold of winter and thawed out in heat of sunny Florida. Over 1000 companies along with 42,000 PGA Professionals, media, buyers and industry leaders descend upon Orlando for four days to immerse themselves in all things Golf. Welcome to the 59th PGA Merchandise Show, the golf industry’s annual trade show.
PGA Show Week began with the 10th anniversary of the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center in Winter Garden, Fla. More than 6,000 PGA Professionals and invited retailers tested the latest products from 100-plus golf equipment, training aids, performance wear and golf accessory companies. All the big manufactures were there including Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Ping, Nike, Cobra PUMA, Bridgestone, Cleveland/ Srixon, Mizuno and Wilson. Several professional players, celebrities and renowned PGA teaching professionals made special appearances at Outdoor Demo Day including Nick Faldo, Lexi Thompson, Suzann Pettersen, Jim Flick and Michael Breed.
There were so many participating companies demoing product at the event that all the booths were arranged into a huge circle that was several hundred yards in diameter. Participants hit golf balls towards the center, which proved to be a great setup, as you could test the new RAZR FIT while eyeing the beer garden at the Puma tent. Two of the standout installations were that of TaylorMade Golf and Puma Cobra.
TaylorMade seems to have perfected the art of the demo day. They lure you in with offerings of free BBQ hot dogs and ice cold Heineken and they keep you there with one-on-one fittings performed by TM staff in slime green RBZ shirts. There has been lots of buzz around the new RocketBallz line of products and the 40 minute wait at the TaylorMade tent proved they it will be a big seller this year. Like the name or not, this was by far the most desired hitting bay throughout the day.
What Puma Cobra lacked in hitting bays they made up for in entertainment. You could hear the Puma party from anywhere on the range. They had a Red Bull mobile club backed up and DJ Scotty B working the vinyl. To the right of the sound system there was a tent setup, complete with a blackjack table, craps and a hoops basketball arcade game. To keep it all tied to golf, they snuck a Golden Tee game in the corner. In an adjacent tent they were serving up solo cups of Coors Light. Once at the Puma Cobra area it was hard to leave. They had giveaways throughout the day and Lexi Thompson was on location for a meet and greet.
The enormous size of the demo event made itself known once again as we left the OC Golf Center. Even though the event provided parking lots with shuttle services, cars lined the adjacent street a mile in either direction.
A few of the apparel lines that stood out to us were Linksoul, Travis Mathew and Puma.
Linksoul is the latest offering from John Ashworth. The line, with its foundation in golf, takes subtle hints from other aspects of his life, such as the ocean, which you’ll notice in several of the prints. The casual ensembles and soft cottons make this a line not just for golfing but for everyday wear.
Travis Mathew released its first line in 2008 and has quickly been building momentum with consumers. The founders are all from Southern California and pull inspiration from their SoCal roots. Their young, hip look is quickly recognizable and satisfies the urge to get away from the run-of-the-mill synthetic fabrics that we’ve grown accustom to. To sum up Travis Mathew in one word: Style.
So you’re in the market for a solid orange outfit for your upcoming club tournament? We’ll you’re in luck, because Puma Cobra has made orange their official color. We sat in at the Puma fashion show and although the orange doesn’t strike a chord with us, some of the apparel and accessories did. Their shoe line is one of the best looking this year if you’re into the more aggressive styling and they have expanded he popular Puma logoed ball caps with a huge array of colors and fabrics. As far as the women’s line we love the pleated skirts but could do without the high-water pants. It’s not an attractive look.
To cap off the Puma fashion show, attendees were treated to walk-ons by several of the Puma Cobra tour pros including Lexi Thompson and Blair O’Neal. No complaints here.