Industry Energized by Gathering
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Thousands of PGA Professionals and golf retailers from all 50 U.S. states and 16 countries converged in Las Vegas for the 2009 PGA Fall Expo, Sept. 1-2, at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Busy booths, standing-room only education seminars, capacity networking events, outdoor product testing and an active inaugural career fair made for a tremendous show of support by the golf industry for the business of the game in 2009/2010.
“What happens here matters a great deal to the golfing population because each PGA Professional in attendance will take away better practices, better insights and hopefully some better products to their customers back home,” said PGA Vice President Allen Wronowski. “The networking, the sharing and the support you get from your fellow professionals is part of what makes this association and industry so unique and special.”
The show floor’s new central networking hub, multiple education stages, New Product Center and Indoor Golf Performance and Training Center provided anchors that drove steady traffic to some 200 golf vendors. “The show has exceeded our expectations and the traffic flow is as good as any I can remember the past few years,” said Mark Maley, vice president of sales for Carnoustie. “During these rough economic times, it is great to see the buyers supporting the show in such a positive way.”
This year’s PGA Fall Expo education conference of some 20 seminars was offered free of charge to all attendees and is covering the industry’s most pressing topics including government legislation in golf, “green” golf initiatives, retail best practices, business builders and career development programs.
Gary Geiger, PGA head professional at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., was enthusiastic about the education seminar entitled “How to Dramatically Increase New Membership Sales at Your Club,” one of many topics designed to help PGA members and industry professionals cope with the challenging economy.
“Continuing education and discovering new strategies to deal with the tough economy is more important than ever before,” said Geiger. “There just aren’t many potential new club members with an extra $150,000 knocking on your door to join your club in this day and age. You might wonder why I would come all the way from Florida to Las Vegas, but any seminars that might help us market memberships without negatively impacting our current membership is money well spent. This economy calls for creative action, and the seminars have given me some great new ideas.”
The inaugural PGA Fall Expo Career Fair offered recruitment services from major employers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy and Troon Golf as well as career workshops and job posting boards.
“We’ve had representatives from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy meeting with strong candidates throughout the PGA Fall Expo,” said Marybeth Mudrany, regional recruiter for Dick’s Sporting Goods. “The PGA Professional position is typically a more challenging position to recruit, but having the career fair at the show makes the entire process more efficient and targeted for us and immediately responsive for potential candidates.”
Special events, programs and presentations during exhibition days were plentiful and included the launch of two new golf books, “Cincinnatus” and “The Ball is the Enemy”, The PGA of America’s Town Hall presentation for PGA members, and a $2,500 fundraising effort for Patriot Golf Day with a raffle drawing for a $4,800 all-inclusive trip to French Lick Resort. Nearly a dozen youth golfers from the First Tee of Southern Nevada were special guests at the Acculength booth and received PGA instruction from Acculength PGA instructor Tracy Roberts.
One of the PGA Fall Expo’s most popular special events is the Elations Welcome Reception, which this year was held at Borders Grill in Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The two-story destination restaurant was packed with PGA Professionals, golf retailers and manufacturers who shared trends, news and stories from their respective clubs and shops while enjoying complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
The 2009 PGA Fall Expo began on Monday, Aug. 31, with two PGA Fall Expo Amateur Shoot Out tournaments, the inaugural Professional Challenge Cup and the 4th Annual Outdoor Demo Day at the award-winning Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. In total more than $24,000 in purse, prizes and merchandise credit were awarded at this year’s event.
PGA Professionals competed in the inaugural Professional Challenge Cup, a new four-ball stroke play team tournament on Paiute’s Wolf golf course, the longest course in Nevada at 7,604 yards. The new tournament featured a total purse of $18,750 and pay out to the top 24 teams. PGA Professionals Chad and Alan Sorensen of Buena Vista Golf Course in Taft, Calif., shot a team total of 67 and a 1st play-off hole win for the first- place prize of $5,000 with the second-place prize of $3,000 won by the PGA Professional team of Tony Rohlik of ACE of Clubs in Mesa, Ariz., and Greg Avant of Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. (Full Professional Challenge Cup results are available at www.pgaexpo.com)
Paiute’s Sun Mountain course played host to four-person amateur teams in the PGA Fall Expo Amateur Shoot-Out tournaments. Players competed for more than $4,000 in merchandise credits to be used on the show floor. The morning Amateur Shoot Out was won with a team total of 59 by David Ji, David Osborn, Darin Osborn and Alex Magger. The afternoon Amateur Shoot Out finished in a tie for first with a score of 59 by the team of Steve Moore, Aaron Wahl, Andy
Hopkins and Eric Gleis as well as the team of Clayton Kane, John Kane, Andrew Bimbaum and Pat Collins. All three teams won $1,000 merchandise vouchers and Sterling Cut Glass trophies. (Full Amateur Shoot Out results are available at www.pgaexpo.com.)
In addition to the exciting tournaments, more than 30 top golf vendors offered product testing and demonstrations to hundreds of industry professionals on Paiute’s golf range, short game area and putting green. “This is always a great opportunity to put our equipment into the hands of PGA Professionals,” said Pete Stamatis, senior manager of custom fitting for Callaway Golf. “They are able to see ball flight clearly and experience the different technologies and launch characteristics of our clubs.”
“We had Sky Caddie on every cart in the Pro Challenge Cup,” said Julie Davis, Vice President of Marketing SkyGolf. “A lot of PGA Professionals sell our products but don’t get the chance to use them as much as they’d like. At Paiute, PGA Professionals and buyers were able to see green characteristics clearly with our new Beta Series features.
From here, industry professionals are looking ahead to the 57th PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 28-30, 2010, in Orlando. Since its inception in 1954, the PGA Merchandise Show has become the world’s most influential golf trade show and the global summit for the business of golf. In January 2010, the PGA Merchandise Show will once again welcome more than 45,000 industry professionals from some 75 countries to uncover the latest trends, source the newest golf merchandise, test the latest equipment, enhance careers, learn proven business best practices, network among peers and grow the business of the game.
The PGA Fall Expo, organized in partnership with The PGA of America, is one of three leading golf trade shows in PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions’ golf portfolio including the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and the Ontario PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Toronto, Canada.
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Sherry Major, PGA Golf Exhibitions 716.662.3855, email@example.com