The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, formerly the PGA Expo, conducted within an all-new three-day format and upscale look resonated with buyers and vendors alike, Aug. 18-20, at the Venetian Conference Center and Cascata Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience well-represented our Association, its members and our industry while delivering a tremendous opportunity to preview and purchase the newest fashions, equipment, technology and services that we can bring back to our golf facilities to help our customers better enjoy the game,” said PGA of America Secretary Paul Levy who was in Las Vegas for the event each day representing the PGA of America and Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, Calif., where he is the CEO and General Manager. “It is always beneficial to come together to share best practices, learn from industry experts and build your professional network. The PGA Shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are two of the largest gatherings of PGA Professionals and offer an unsurpassed experience to grow the game.”
On Monday, Aug. 18, PGA Professionals and industry leaders enjoyed the spectacular host facility of Cascata Golf Club and a great evening among colleagues while personally testing the latest equipment, technology, training aids and accessories from more than 60 leading golf brands and emerging companies during the PGA Demo Experience . The event encompassed the entire Cascata facility and featured new equipment, instruction and technology testing at the range and short game greens, a golf vendor village, an indoor merchandise marketplace in the Cascata Ballroom, contests and prizes.
“The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience is a better buying opportunity for us, and I like the opportunity to hit balls on a real driving range and see where they go,” said Greg Leicht, PGA, of Vistal Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz. “We don’t get that many opportunities as PGA professionals to hit all the newest equipment and give it a good test. The PGA Demo Experience was a great opportunity for me to hit the new PING G30 line. I’ve heard about it, but it’s so new it isn’t available at retail yet. Being able to hit the G30 driver and the rest of the PING G30 line was a real treat. You can read about new equipment innovations, but until you hit yourself and see how it reacts, you can’t really evaluate how good it is.”
PGA Professional Stan Utley, PGA Tour winner and one of Golf Digest’s Top 50 Best Teachers in America, provided hands-on short-game instruction during two one-hour sessions at the 18th hole of Cascata Golf Club. Additionally, 124 PGA and LPGA Professionals competed in the inaugural PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Pro-Pro Tournament, featuring a purse of $25,000. The team of Michael Jack and Kyle Mendoza of South Hills Country Club in West Covina, Calif., shot 7-under 65 to win the $10,000 first-place prize. Full results are available here.
Live music by 2012 American Idol contestant Mahikumakani “Mahi” Crabbe and his band entertained guests during the industry reception and the Association of Golf Merchandisers celebrated their 25th anniversary in the clubhouse.
“The Stan Utley clinic was really informative and educational. Stan is a real short-game guru and every time I hear him give a presentation, I learn something new,” said Mark Whetzel, PGA, of Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, Utah. “I thought the entire PGA Demo Experience was successful this year . . . with a band playing, the Stan Utley clinic, and major companies such as Nike, Callaway, TaylorMade, PING and so many others here. It’s great when you can hit so many new equipment pieces and compare performance on the spot.”
The PGA Demo Experience and Pro-Pro Tournament were presented by health and wellness company, Magic Nutrition. The PGA Fashion Experience at the Venetian began on Tuesday morning, Aug. 19, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and mimosa toast by PGA of America Secretary Paul Levy, PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions Senior Vice President and General Manager Ed Several and Southwest PGA Section President Don Rea.
Through the Palazzo Ballroom show doors, attendees found an all-new sophisticated look to showcase the hottest fashion trends and newest accessory collections from some 200 companies. The PGA Fashion Experience, co-located with multiple Las Vegas Fashion Week trade shows, moved to an upscale new setting on the fifth floor of the Venetian Conference Center.
“We just built a new 30,000-square-foot golf facility at our club and I’m looking for new and exciting hard goods and soft goods to put in that facility,” said E. J. McDonnell, PGA, of Bonita Bay Golf Club in Bonita Springs, Fla. “Our membership is getting younger, so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to see new West Coast styles and meet with some new companies we don’t see at the PGA Show in Orlando. This is the first time anyone from our facility in Florida has come to the Las Vegas show, but it has been great. We won’t miss it from now on. The timing for us (in August) is much more convenient than four or five of us trying to take off in late January for the Orlando show. That’s our busy season. It’s much easier to get away and come to Las Vegas in August, and the vendors have more time to spend with us at this show.”
“The PGA Fashion Experience has been very beneficial as we expand our national and international exposure in the golf market – and as a lifestyle line for women,” said Annie Margulis, president, Girls Golf. “Our traffic at the booth has been very good, and we’ve already had several buyers from other Fashion Week shows in Las Vegas come through to tell us we’re the highlight of their Show week so far. Buyers from Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stopped by and loved our lifestyle lines. We have also written orders with several new golf facilities that we haven’t done business with previously, so it has been a very productive first day of the PGA show.”
An exciting first day of business on the show floor concluded with the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Live Fashion Show , presented by Chase54, which took place on the main stage of the show floor. Golf Channel’s Bailey Mosier was the Master of Ceremonies. Participating companies included Chase54, AUR, Callaway Golf Apparel, COBRA PUMA GOLF, CUTTER & BUCK, Daily Sports, Dominie Luxury Women’s Handbags, EP Pro, Girls Golf, J. Lindeberg, Nivo, Straight Down, Sunice, Tom Morris International, Tommy Hilfiger and TravisMathew. View pictures from the Show here .
Immediately following the fashion show, golf and fashion industry professionals enjoyed the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Opening Night Reception, also presented by Chase54, featuring complimentary wine, beer & light hors d’oeuvres in a social, lively atmosphere on the Show floor. Exhibitor booths stayed open for business during the event for PGA Professionals and buyers to conduct business on the floor.
The PGA Education Conference, held in conjunction with the 2014 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience and organized in partnership by PGA Golf Exhibitions, the PGA of America and the Association of Golf Merchandisers, was well-attended by PGA Professionals and retailers. The three-day conference featured a keynote address by the National Retail Federation , certification programs, instruction clinics, more than 20 classroom seminars and a youth and family player development workshop.
Golf enthusiasts may follow all the action of new product introductions, industry announcements, celebrity appearances and special events at www.pgalasvegas.com and with reports at www.PGA.com Additionally, all the action is covered extensively on PGA Golf Shows social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The PGA of America and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions organize the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas and the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. Plans are underway for the 2015 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas; details will be announced at www.pgalasvegas.com The 62nd PGA Merchandise Show will be held January 20-23, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. For more information visit www.pgashow.com