PGA Merchandise Show 2018: The golf industry is really all about the people
The PGA Merchandise Show is a remarkable logistical feat and displays what makes golf tick
ORLANDO, Fla. -- I noted to multiple people Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show that this feat of logistical ingenuity and sheer breadth is remarkable for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is the widening of the lens on golf as an entire industry. As someone who covers the PGA Tour, I more or less follow 8-10 golfers. Sure, there are other stories out there, other guys who win tournaments. But there are probably only 8-10 that really matter and that you really care about.
So it was an eye-opening experience for me to traipse the expansive halls of the Orlando County Convention Center to peruse all manner of booths. And I can assure you that even though the Callaways and Titlelists stand out here, they are not necessarily the ones you remember.
I'll remember Golfzon, a golf simulator company that built a device that can simulate a variety of lies and stances, It includes over 200 golf courses, and you can play a round in 30 minutes. It also starts at $50,000. I'll remember the FootCaddy, a velcro contraption that you can wrap around your shoe to clean your clubs on the go. It does not cost $50,000. I'll remember the leather head cover companies and the tiny tee-making manufacturers.
And that's just the beginning. The number of folks who descended on the convention center floor was barely believable. And in that sense it was encouraging. Sure, maybe golf is buoyed by Jordan Spieths and the Rory McIlroys of the world, but this event represents the lifeblood of the sport.
I saw old friends and made new ones on Wednesday in Orlando, and the entire day was ... actually really fun. My buddy Jonathan Wall from PGATour.com and I had a long conversation at one point during the day, and I asked him what his favorite part of coming to this place is. His answer was what I thought it might be. "The people," he said. In golf, more than any other sport, individual relationships are a marker of successful businesses and even a successful industry.
So much of so many other sports is dependent on teams. Here, you're often on your own. So it's fun to see the galvanizing of tens of thousands of individuals into a type of global team surrounding a common, shared goal: Push golf forward, make it better and watch it thrive.
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