Exhibitors at the inaugural National Golf Show enjoyed a successful event, which also drew praise from the PGA’s chief executive Sandy Jones.
Jones, who was at the NEC for all three days of the show with the Ryder Cup trophy and Sports Greatest, was ideally placed to judge the success of an event that attracted thousands from across the country.
He said: “The response from the public has been very good. I’ve been talking to people and they’ve been travelling some distance to come – I’ve spoken to people from Manchester, Cornwall, Hampshire – it’s not just Birmingham and the local area. That’s impressive.
“Everybody seems very interested in getting their hands on the golf clubs at the driving range. That’s been very busy with people wanting the chance to hit golf balls. The long-drive simulator has also been very busy and I’ve been watching people have a go at the long putt – although I haven’t seen one holed yet. People enjoy the opportunity to get their hands on product and there’s been a good buzz around that.”
Barry Young, proprietor of the official retailer, the Internet Golf Store, endorsed his view.
He said: “It has been a tremendous three days, with a steady flow of customers throughout. We’ve sold hundreds and hundreds of clubs and have custom-fitted more sets than ever before at an event like this.”
Callaway was one of the many major brands on offer and the manufacturer’s demo and product training representative, Steve Prue, agreed that visitors had been keen to buy.
Prue said: “We’ve been watching people leaving the show and nearly everybody’s carrying clubs under their arms so there have definitely been people buying.
“The show’s been very good, we’ve seen a lot of people. There have been new players and more experienced players, it’s a good mix.
“It’s been a good opportunity to get the clubs in people’s hands which is very beneficial. All the other leading brands are here so it’s good for us to be here and I would think we’ll always be a part of that.”
Several new products were launched at the show, including the Power Hip Rotator training aid, from Power of Golf.
The company’s marketing manager, Jonathan Chew, said: “It’s been fantastic for us. We’ve had people buy and we’re getting our name and product out into the golfing community. We’ve spoken to a lot of PGA pros who are interested in using it; we’ve spoken to high handicap golfers who find it beneficial in their progression; and the better golfers also think it’s a good product and a great training tool.
“Being here at the show has been brilliant for us as being able to demonstrate it and invite show visitors to use it so they can feel the benefit has been fantastic. We’d like to think we can really push on from here and will definitely look to do future shows. It’s been an ideal place to launch from our perspective.”
And PGA supremo Jones was impressed with the diversity of new products on offer, he added: “The range of products on offer here reflects the game. Golf is full of innovative products and you have to find the one that suits you. Coming to somewhere like this you have the opportunity to try different things and make your mind up. Buying a set of golf clubs is a reasonably big expenditure so you want to make sure you get the right set for you.
“Anything that gives exposure to the game is good. I think those who have visited have enjoyed good value for money, which is important, particularly in these times.”
The overwhelmingly positive feedback for the launch event has prompted organisers the Golf Show Group to announce the National Golf Show will return to the NEC in 2012 from April 20 -22. www.nationalgolfshow.com