Known as the “Major of Golf Business,” this past week’s PGA Merchandise Show consisted of four activity-filled days at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, headlined by the industry’s newest and best products, trends and technology.
Nearly 40,000 industry professionals attended this year’s show with representation from 87 countries and all 50 states. Over 1,000 golf companies presented within the hall’s million square feet of demonstration, exhibition and meeting space, allowing 7,500-plus PGA Professionals and buyers to plan their 2018 shop and operational strategies.
The scale of the PGA Merchandise Show is staggering… Imagine your local golf expo – for example, the Greater Milwaukee Golf Show – then multiply it by A TON.
Exhibitors line the aisles as far as the eye can see, and throughout an entire day’s attendance I saw just two of the outer walls.
I’m sure I left plenty of gems undiscovered, but of all the great things I did see at the 65th annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, here are my top ten favorites:
1. Golf simulators
Simulators have come a long way in the past couple years! The simulator industry was well-represented by suppliers this year, including:
- Ernest Sports
- Foresight Sports
- Full Swing Simulators
- High Definition Golf
- HomeCourse Golf
- Sports Coach Simulator Ltd
My friend, Kyle, was tasked by the North Hills Golf Committee to look in to potential simulators for our club, so we did our best to stop by quite a few of the booths above.
My favorite is [I’m assuming] the most expensive option: GolfZon’s Vision system. The Vision system has a bent screen, overhead sensors, self-collecting and -teeing technologies (and you can set the height of the tee for each player, etc.), a moving swing plate and multiple surface types: Teed-up, fairway, rough and sand.
The moving swing plate / self-leveling platform is a little odd to get used to as it adjusts your stance to go along with the playing surface on-screen. We got there pretty early in the day, and I was among the day’s early leaders for the closest-to-the-pin contest: 28 feet was good for third place… For about 10 minutes.
The biggest trend in simulators this year is the addition of other sports-related games, including soccer and hockey (eg: Shoot-out mode), football (eg: Quarterback challenge), dodgeball and others.