With industry leaders Callaway Golf, Titleist, PING, Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Bridgestone and Cobra anchoring the nearly 1,000 vendors showing their 2010 lines and conducting business on the Show floor, many companies are approaching 2010 as a “pivotal” year.
Ten miles of Show aisles were bustling with business as nearly 1,000 vendors greeted thousands of golf-industry operatives from 76 different countries. Legendary touring professionals Tom Watson, Tony Jacklin, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez were also in attendance.
“It’s always nice to come to Orlando for the PGA Merchandise Show and support the industry,” noted Watson, the five-time British Open champion and eight-time major champion, who introduced the youthful Simpson as the newest brand ambassador for Polo Ralph Lauren. “I always loved the Polo line as a kid, and now I’ve been wearing Polo Ralph Lauren for 17 years. They have been great supporters of me and I’m here to support them today.”
Prominent industry executives discussed research on women’s attitudes and behaviors, and marketing health, fitness and golf-equipment production for women during a “Fresh Approach to Women’s Golf” forum. PGA and LPGA Professional Sue Fiscoe served as moderator of the panel, which included Sports & Leisure Research Group President Jon Last; Callaway Golf U.S. Marketing Vice President Merle Marting; PGA and LPGA Professional Raquel Huslig, and fitness expert Donna Richardson-Joyner.
On the current issues front, National Golf Foundation President and CEO Joe Beditz offered an insightful State of the Industry briefing entitled “Forces Affecting Our Business” on the PGA Equipment Forum stage.
“This has been a good business-writing Show for our apparel sector, and we met all of our expectations on the hard goods side,” noted Callaway Golf Senior Vice President for U.S. Sales Joe Urzetta. “The Backstrike Odyssey putter (a rear-shafted putter) has generated a lot of interest and received positive reviews. Overall, the Show has been positive and we were able to accomplish our objectives.”
”This is an important Show for Cobra Golf, because we are able to showcase a product line that is new for 2010 in every category,” said Cobra General Manager Brian Zender, noting that Cobra is happy to be back at the PGA Merchandise Show after being absent since 2003. “Cobra has a strong brand heritage and we have made significant strides in developing game-improvement performance products for the consumer, so we’re enthusiastic about sharing those products with the influential people we are seeing at the Show.”
With the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show concluding on Saturday, several company executives such as Cleveland Golf/Srixon CEO Greg Hopkins was encouraged by the enthusiasm and support for the golf industry as it begins the 2010 business cycle and a new decade of golf commerce.
“Every golf company has been beat up (by the economy) to some extent during the past two years,” said Hopkins. “We’ve all gotten more creative, wiser and more vigilant in the way we do business. But we believe things are turning around, and the Show this year has demonstrated that people are ready to buy golf equipment again. We’re excited about the Show this year, because we feel like we have a great product line to share with consumers. We’re excited to grow the Srixon brand in the United States.
“Srixon has always done very well in Japan and Cleveland Golf has done very well in the United States, so we’re excited about merging the two companies and increasing their exposure worldwide. The PGA Merchandise Show is a great place to do that.”
As the Show closed on Saturday it was estimated that approximately 40,000 PGA Professionals, retailers and industry leaders had attended the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show demonstrating a guarded optimism while using the Show as a springboard from recession to recovery.
“The Show floor was robust and we were pleased with the support of the industry from the exhibitor and PGA Professional perspective,” noted Ed Several, PGA Golf Exhibitions vice president and general manager.
“The goal of PGA Golf Exhibitions and The PGA of America was to produce a world-class business-to-business platform and set the tone for the industry in 2010. By all barometers we saw at the Show, 2010 has potential for a bright business future,” said Several. “It was nice to see the industry united this week in establishing a positive business tone for the year ahead. As the industry resets, there are PGA Professionals and industry leaders from around the globe who used the education seminars and business initiatives at the PGA Show to prepare for a successful 2010.”
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