Riding around at Demo Day is the perfect way to kick off the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show
The PGA Merchandise Show is a spectacle of the most enjoyable order
At the end of every January, the golf world may be looking out west toward Torrey Pines and the annual month-ending Farmers Insurance Open but not before it looks to the other side of the country for how the next few years of golf may be shaped.
The PGA Merchandise Show takes place in Orlando, Florida, each year, and it includes every type of golf company, device and piece of apparel you can possibly imagine. It is seemingly the largest sports trade show in the world. Because of golf's sometimes-quirky nature and because amateurs like us can play a facsimile of the game we see the pros play, you see all kinds of fun gadgets and gizmos at this event.
From the highest-end putters to tees that promise to improve your game by X strokes, if you've ever dreamed of it, the PGA Merchandise Show likely has it on display.
We experienced one example of this on Tuesday at demo day, a massive 360-degree experience called Demo Day with organizations set up side by side at a circular driving range. I tested out a Phat Scooter, which I loved (sadly, the footage below is not of myself but rather of actual golfers trying the out).
The Phat folks cranked up the speed on it for me, and I got to zip around demo day like I knew what I was doing (which I didn't). If I lived within a couple of drivers of a golf course, this would definitely be on my wish list.
It also represents a big slice (dare I say, the majority) of manufacturers at this event. Almost everybody there is trying to make golf either more fun or just easier. In some cases, like Phat, maybe both. That's a great thing for the golf world and an enticing one for weekend warriors and casual amateurs who catch the bug.
Over the next three days there will be thousands of interactions like this one between industry professionals, media personalities and a variety of others embedded deeply in the golf world. There will be wacky products that will never catch on, but there will also be impressive products that find their genesis here. Above all, everyone at this event will try and push the story, the industry and the game itself forward to a place it wasn't in this time last year. And then in 12 months after that's happened, we'll all convene in this place and do it all over again.
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