A few years ago, when I’d yet to make an appearance at the PGA Merchandise Show (last year was the first time I’d attended), I’d heard the show was on its last legs. Vendors disappeared around the meltdown of 2008, and there was lots of discussion about whether the show was worth attending.
That perspective seems to have changed. Last year’s show was big, and this year another vendor — Nike — has returned to try to demonstrate that its equipment ranks right up there. TaylorMade’s booth last year was like a night club — I can only imagine they’ll have something comparable this year — while Titleist’s was cool, classy and understated, as one would expect.
The whole thing is a gear junkie’s wet dream. Equipment is everywhere and most of the company’s have their heavy hitters out to discuss the products and how they are going to sell them. Having attended big trade shows in the past as a reporter — Comdex a couple of times while I was at the National Post — I’d say the golf show is a lot more enjoyable, but no less busy. It is also vast, and getting from one spot to another is always difficult, especially since you’re guaranteed to run into someone you know at some point.
I jet off to the show today, just in time for the craziness of demo day (A four-sided range! Vendors everywhere! Dodging range balls!) and then have a photo shoot to do for a new publication I’m launching with the PGA of Canada and some important partners. That’s followed by two days of interviews — literally the schedule is packed from 9 to 6 — and evenings of dinners with sources, and golf pro friends. It’ll be busy.
Following the tournament I have the opportunity to see Seth Raynor’s Mountain Lake and then head for two days to play in the Renaissance Cup, designer Tom Doak’s golf tournament that is being held at Streamsong, the new 36-hole facility that is capturing people’s imaginations, at least those that have seen it since its opening late last year.
I’ll be writing along the way — whenever I get a chance to catch my breath and find a quiet place to type away.