After being called the "Incredible Shrinking PGA Merchandise Show" by one media outlet last year, show organizers have bucked that narrative as they prepare for this week's 70th edition of the annual global golf industry meetup at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Last year's PGA Show, which followed the pandemic-influenced all-virtual show in January 2021, featured just over 600 exhibitors and was devoid of most of the biggest names in golf equipment and apparel, including Titleist/FootJoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Cobra/Puma, Ping, Cleveland/Srixon, Peter Millar and Travis Mathew.
But in the face of murmurs that the PGA Show, which began in 1954, was no longer relevant, this year's show will see an exhibitor bump back into the 800s. Though still below the low four digits that the show attracted in 2020, the number includes the return of many of the heavy hitters, most notably Titleist/FootJoy, Callaway, Cleveland/Srixon, Cobra/Puma, Ping, Bridgestone Golf, Mizuno, Skechers, Peter Millar, Full Swing, TopGolf and Bushnell.
"We look forward to attending the 2023 PGA Show and reconnecting with our partners and the golf community," said Peter Broome, senior vice president, Titleist brand management and industry Relations, Acushnet Company. "The PGA Show continues to evolve and provides our Titleist and FootJoy brands a forum to strengthen partner relationships, offer educational opportunities, and showcase our exciting new products. The timing of this important industry gathering sets the tone for the year, and we look forward to returning to Orlando once again."
The PGA Show will move back to a full show floor after using a smaller footprint last year. There are also several special events, including a fashion show on Wednesday evening; a first-look of the movie "The Long Game" - and appearances by its actors, including Dennis Quaid - on Thursday; and daily live broadcasts of Golf Channel's "Golf Today."
And special guests include Matt Fitzpatrick, Zach Johnson, Brad Faxon, Butch Harmon, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, K.H. Lee, Paul McGinley, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang, Annika Sorenstam and Stacy Lewis.
One new addition is the Career Zone, which will allow college students and second-career professionals to connect with employers from various companies, including Acushnet, NBC Sports, the National Golf Sales Association, PGA of America, Troon and USGA. The zone also will host employer-led panel presentations and networking events.
"Like many in our global golf community, I can't wait to return to Orlando to launch a new year for the business of golf and meet with peers during our industry's most significant business event and the largest annual gathering of PGA professionals," PGA president John Lindert said. "PGA Show week represents a key opportunity for us all to experience and source the latest innovations, develop our professional networks, share best practices, enhance our knowledge through the education platform and connect in person. Our professional community, the sport and business of golf are always better from our industry-wide collaboration at the PGA Show."
The PGA Show is an industry-only event for PGA professionals, golf leaders, industry executives, retailers and media members.
Tuesday, 9 a.m.-noon ET: Demo and Fitting Day, Orange County National, Winter Garden, Florida
Wednesday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Exhibitions and Special Events, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
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