Changes in dates, venue and even exhibitor set-up delivered a 16% increase in attendance and remarkable results for the 2010 PGA Fall Expo, August 17-18, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thousands of buyers from 46 states and 19 countries came to source the latest merchandise from nearly 200 golf companies and brands during the PGA Fall Expo now held in the heart of Las Vegas “fashion week” at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
“The boutique ballroom setting, turnkey exhibits and the simultaneous staging of fashion industry shows at the Venetian resulted in tremendous opportunities and successful business for both vendors and buyers alike at this year’s PGA Fall Expo,” said PGA Golf Exhibitions Group Vice President and Show Manager Ed Several. “It was an upscale merchandising environment with all of the valuable programming in education, product testing, employment and networking that our industry has come to expect at PGA Golf Shows.”
The 2010 PGA Fall Expo began on Tuesday, Aug. 17, with a bang, when 2008 United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger joined PGA of America officers in the opening ceremony and for the event’s keynote presentation where he shared his organizational and motivational secrets that helped carry the U.S. team to victory over Europe in the 2008 Ryder Cup Matches.
“Presentations like this are what make the Las Vegas (PGA Fall Expo) show so enticing and so unique,” said David Esch, PGA Professional at Southwick Golf Club in Pearland, Texas. “The only way you could hear those great stories and learn what went on behind the scenes of the 2008 Ryder Cup was to be here today. It was motivating to hear Captain Azinger – what a great way to get the PGA Fall Expo started.”
The main stage was busy with well-received presentations throughout the two-day affair including Project Fairway Designer Panel, sponsored by The Apparel Wire/powered by Golfweek; PING Clubfitting, WE ARE GOLF, International Coaching Strategies and Attracting Women Golfers, presented by Women in the Golf Industry.
Not to be missed were the full aisles and appointment books by vendors each day. From market leaders to new exhibitors, the new turn-key upscale exhibits made participation nearly effortless while buyer attendance exceeded expectations making vendor return-on-investment outstanding for many.
Major equipment manufacturers such as Callaway Golf, PING, Cleveland/Srixon, Cobra-PUMA and Tour Edge joined a Who’s Who of industry-leading apparel manufacturers and distributors to offer a sneak preview of 2011 product lines, renew relationships with PGA Professionals and industry executives, and write business orders for the upcoming season.
Apparel leaders such as Cutter& Buck, Greg Norman Collection, AHEAD, Fila, Peter Millar, LIJA, Pukka, Sport Haley-Ben Hogan, PUMA, Cleveland Classics, Imperial, Fairway & Greene, PIMA Direct and many others took advantage of crossover attendance with the fashion week shows being conducted simultaneously to enhance their business and product exposure.
“The versatility of our apparel line was very appealing to the broad range of buyers who stopped by our booth,” said Scott Stone, regional sales manager for AHEAD USA. “With three other major retail shows running simultaneously to the PGA Fall Expo, we were able to introduce our lines to several new accounts from the MRket, MODA and MAGIC shows which otherwise would not have seen our products. For example, we had representatives from Men’s Wearhouse stop by and see our product lines. A sportcoat over the top of a nice golf shirt has become acceptable, comfortable business attire, so they were very interested in our golf shirts and other apparel.”
Equipment leaders such were especially pleased with the new turn-key booths that allowed Fall Expo attendees to hit balls on the indoor range while reps showed new products and discussed product specifications.
“The move to The Venetian and the new booth configuration has been great for us,” noted Callaway Golf’s Ryan Judkins. “These booths give all of the exhibitors a consistent display look. Callaway has always been a great supporter of the PGA Professional. There is always a great benefit to having a presence at a show like this. The traffic was very steady and we had a great Demo Day.
A New Product Center centralized the display of the latest golf merchandise for buyers in one convenient setting. VIP buyers voted for best new products among the collection of merchandise and determined that the GloveIt Birdie Belt, Big Wigz Driver Skins and the Flightscope Prime were the top three overall new products.
Many of the nearly 30 education seminars, offered at no cost to attendees, attracted standing-room only attendance. Timely topics on merchandising, facility management, clubfitting, golf tourism, government relations, golf instruction and more were presented by top PGA Professionals, industry CEOs and subject matter experts.
“I would say this year’s PGA Fall Expo was a home run in every aspect,” said PGA Professional Jeff Ingraham of Glendora, Calif., who attended 10 education seminars between strolls along the show floor. “The Las Vegas show is timed perfectly for me, and the move to the Venetian was a stroke of genius. I’ve never been to the Las Vegas Fall Expo before, but I was able to accomplish more in three days than I could have in three weeks back home.”
And, since networking is an important part of the annual PGA Fall Expo, there were multiple events to connect vendors with buyers, renew relationships and build new ones. The most popular networking event was the PGA Fall Expo Welcome Reception presented by Elations which returned on the first night of exhibition events, Tuesday, Aug. 17, to fill the TAO Las Vegas Nightclub at the Venetian.
Earlier in the week, an Outdoor Demo Day on Monday, Aug. 16, at Revere Golf Club in suburban Las Vegas, attracted 33 percent more PGA Professionals, top amateurs and industry leaders testing the latest equipment and accessories. A welcome breeze and giant electric fans on the practice tee helped keep participants cool amid 105-degree temperatures during a well-attended Demo Day that featured some of the most respected brands in golf – Callaway Golf, Cleveland/Srixon, PING, Cobra-PUMA, Tour Edge, Ashdon Golf, Mitsubushi/Rayon shafts and many new companies demonstrating their 2011 products and services.
PGA Professional Todd Williams from Georgetown, Texas, used Monday’s Demo Day to gain a sneak preview of the latest equipment technology. “I picked up the new Callaway Diablo irons, hit a few shots and couldn’t believe what technology has done,” said Williams. “People are always asking if the newest clubs are any better than clubs five or 10 years ago, and I always tell them that technology never stands still. The shafts may be similar, but overall the clubs today are much more technologically advanced. It was great for us to hit today what we’ll be selling next year.”
Companies like PING and Cobra-PUMA were able to take advantage of PGA Fall Expo timing to unveil new equipment.
“Many PGA Professionals have seen or heard about our new equipment, such as the new S-56 irons that Louis Oosthuizen used to win the British Open, but today they had a chance to hit those clubs for themselves,” said PING representative Barry Brewster. “Many of our products won’t officially launch until Aug. 19, but those attending the PGA Fall Expo have a chance to test and evaluate them right now. The PGA Professional is the most important pipeline for us, since they will take their experience to the consumer and ultimately help determine what equipment is sold in their shops. A Demo Day like this is very important for those manufacturers who are launching new equipment.”
“The PGA Fall Expo Demo Day gave us a chance to put the equipment we will be launching later this month in the hands of PGA Professionals today,” noted Bobby Flood, West Coast rep for Cobra-PUMA Golf. “In our case, it’s always beneficial to let PGA Professionals demo our new equipment and see performance characteristics for themselves. It shows what consumers can expect to see later this year or next year.”
PGA Fall Expo www.pgaexpo.com