2022 PGA Show in Orlando Is a Hole in One for the Golf Industry’s Comeback
The 69thPGA Show reunited the global golf industry in person for the first time in two years, and while it was smaller in scale than previous events due to COVID-19, it drove big business for those who attended during a time of strong growth for the sport.
Held Jan. 25-28 at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and the Orange County National Golf Center (OCN), the show drew nearly 15,000 PGA Professionals, golf leaders, industry executives and retailers to source new products from more than 600 participating brands, attend industry presentations, learn timely business solutions and network in person.
Organized in partnership by PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America, the PGA Show implemented robust health and safety standards to support a responsible industry gathering during ongoing pandemic challenges.
“It’s incredible to think that we haven’t been together as an industry for two years,” said PGA President Jim Richerson. “With what is going on in the golf world, as well as the world itself, for all of us to be back together in Orlando, driving the business of golf forward, is significant. It is a pleasure to have been here promoting not just the PGA of America and PGA Golf Professionals, but also the game of golf.”
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh echoed that sentiment, highlighting the importance of the golf industry getting together in person.
"The energy was great, and it was a real platform to showcase innovative ideas and products as well as countless learning opportunities for the many PGA professionals who were able to be here,” Waugh said. “It made for a very collaborative, social environment.”
PGA Golf Exhibitions Vice President Marc Simon said it was especially gratifying to bring the golf community back together, to see important business taking place on the show floor and to feel first-hand the positive energy that came from the reunion.
“The cross-industry collaboration on programming resulted in tremendous resources for PGA professionals to adapt, learn and grow through the increasing demands and rising popularity of the sport,” Simon said. “While the PGA Show transformed this year under the challenges of COVID, it became a bridge to help many in the industry drive their business forward in 2022 and beyond.”
The PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day, held Jan. 25 at OCN, showcased new golf innovations in outdoor golf conditions and featured experts in coaching, club fitting, fitness and range operations.
The PGA Show opened Jan. 26 at OCCC with a special ceremony by the PGA of America, where the 2021 PGA national award recipients were announced, and afterward, attendees entered a reimagined show floor featuring new products from more than 600 participating brands and several new experiential elements.
The new PGA Hub, located at the main entrance and center of the show floor, became a popular meeting spot where PGA Professionals could attend industry presentations, participate in golf coaching demonstrations and contests, see the PGA premier championships trophies up close and connect directly with PGA partners and association departments.
The new Equipment Test Center, featuring a relocated putting green near the indoor driving range and anchored by the Golf Channel broadcast stage, became a popular product testing and networking location at the south end of the exhibit hall.
The Fashion Buyer Lounge, home to the annual live fashion show, anchored the north end of the exhibit hall, and popular exhibitor pavilions stretched throughout the show floor, including the New Product Zone, Inventor’s Spotlight Pavilion, Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction Pavilion and Stage, Golf Travel Pavilion and Adaptive Golf Center.
A heightened focus on providing solutions in the current business climate was evident through extensive education and industry program opportunities. PGA Show Week included the National Golf Course Owners Association Golf Business Conference, AGM Golf Retail Conference, PGA Education Conference, PGA Hub Industry Stage presentations, PGA Member Business Center workshops, Golf Fitness, Wellness & Instruction Stage sessions, a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum, and the National Alliance for Accessible Golf Conference.
Exhibitors were happy with the turnout of the show and the chance to reconnect with existing clients and build new relationships and business prospects.
"We've been to the PGA Show before, but this was the best year we've ever had here,” said Lisa Lazure, head of corporate partnerships for Flint and Flame. “On the show floor, interactions with buyers were much less hurried this year—they came to our booth and stayed for meaningful conversations, and buyers were here with a hunger to find unique products for their clubs."
Steve Rentschler, executive vice president of Sterling Cut Glass, was impressed with how content and receptive attendees were.
“All the attendees were happy to be here and happy to see the commitment to the PGA Show that these companies have made,” he said. “I’ve seen nearly all of our major customers in the last two days, and they are here to buy.”
Logan Bettencourt, account executive at SwingJuice said as a newer brand, buyers want to see and feel the product to be sure it’s a good fit for their shop, and the PGA Show is the perfect place to do it.
“This week, we made connections and we made sales—that's the easiest way to say it,” he said. “Buyers are looking for younger brands, and we got to know a lot of them. Coming to the PGA Show helps us build for the future, and I think this puts us in a position to explode this year."
Richard Prosser, international sales manager for Lyle & Scott said coming to the PGA Show this year was the best decision the company could have made.
“The engagement with golf professionals and buyers is truly great,” he said. “It’s given us a chance to tell our story in a way that you just can’t do on the other end of the phone or a laptop, and that’s integral to our success.”
Henri Johnson, inventor and CEO of FlightScope was extremely pleased with the outcome of exhibiting at this year’s show.
“What I see are customers who are here with intent to learn and to place orders,” he said. “This is our 18th consecutive PGA Show, and what I’ve decided is that it will always be an annual part of our plans.”