Thousands of PGA Professionals and golf retailers from all 50 U.S. states and 16 countries converged in Las Vegas for the 2009 PGA Fall Expo, 1-2 September, at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Busy booths, standing-room only education seminars, capacity networking events, outdoor product testing and an active inaugural career fair made for a tremendous show of support by the golf industry for the business of the game in 2009/2010.
"What happens here matters a great deal to the golfing population because each PGA Professional in attendance will take away better practices, better insights and hopefully some better products to their customers back home," said PGA Vice President Allen Wronowski. "The networking, the sharing and the support you get from your fellow professionals is part of what makes this association and industry so unique and special."
The show floor‘s new central networking hub, multiple education stages, New Product Center and Indoor Golf Performance and Training Center provided anchors that drove steady traffic to some 200 golf vendors.
"The show has exceeded our expectations and the traffic flow is as good as any I can remember the past few years," said Mark Maley, vice president of sales for Carnoustie. "During these rough economic times, it is great to see the buyers supporting the show in such a positive way."
This year‘s PGA Fall Expo education conference of some 20 seminars was offered free of charge to all attendees and is covering the industry‘s most pressing topics including government legislation in golf, "green" golf initiatives, retail best practices, business builders and career development programs.
Gary Geiger, PGA head professional at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., was enthusiastic about the education seminar entitled "How to Dramatically Increase New Membership Sales at Your Club," one of many topics designed to help PGA members and industry professionals cope with the challenging economy.
"Continuing education and discovering new strategies to deal with the tough economy is more important than ever before," said Geiger. "There just aren‘t many potential new club members with an extra $150,000 knocking on your door to join your club in this day and age. You might wonder why I would come all the way from Florida to Las Vegas, but any seminars that might help us market memberships without negatively impacting our current membership is money well spent. This economy calls for creative action, and the seminars have given me some great new ideas."
The inaugural PGA Fall Expo Career Fair offered recruitment services from major employers such as Dick‘s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy and Troon Golf as well as career workshops and job posting boards.
"We‘ve had representatives from Dick‘s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy meeting with strong candidates throughout the PGA Fall Expo," said Marybeth Mudrany, regional recruiter for Dick‘s Sporting Goods. "The PGA Professional position is typically a more challenging position to recruit, but having the career fair at the show makes the entire process more efficient and targeted for us and immediately responsive for potential candidates."
From here, industry professionals are looking ahead to the 57th PGA Merchandise Show, 28-30 January, 2010, in Orlando. www.pgashow.com