2019 PGA Merchandise Show: “Solid”, but Short of “Special”
Greetings fellow industry professionals, another PGA Show is now in the annals of history and I’m experiencing the whipsaw of the mid-70s last week in Orlando to today’s high in Chicago which was -11 degrees by the thermometer in my home office. This weather though does make it much easier to write due to the fact that I’m not missing anything outside and I need the money to feed the furnace which has hardly stopped today. It’ll be 40 by Saturday though and hopefully we’ll make a dent in the 12″+ snow base we’ve built up as we march toward February and another month closer to the ’19 season opening.
In this issue I’ll take you through a quick spin of this year’s Show through my somewhat superficial lens of what I saw in traffic/exhibitors, education and a quick recap of the two sessions that we hosted in the ING Hospitality Suite in the Orange County Convention Center. For the more knowledgeable equipment review and the blow-by-blow of what was hot and what was not in equipment, I’d recommend Casey Alexander’s annual “The Show Report” which I haven’t yet seen but I know will be forthcoming. Here are the toplines from this casual observer:
- Traffic & Exhibitors – Under complete disclosure, I was only on the floor Thu-Fri so I missed the big opening day but traffic seemed similar to previous years in bodies while the exhibition hall was noticeably smaller in number of booths and average size. I’ll talk more about the dynamics I saw which seemed to influence this.
- Education – The education roster was similar to recent years in the core curriculum of interest to PGA professionals (teaching, clubfitting, merchandising) and appeared slightly thinner in the general management areas in ’19 (marketing, finance, performance analysis, customer relationship management etc.). Noticeably absent were any sessions on general industry health, trends and a crystal ball (it appears that the industry has conceded that space to Pellucid and our off-floor annual take)
- ’18 State of the Industry and Tech-enabled Insights worksession – Probably the best line I heard from one of our veteran attendees of the SoI was, “That’s the most upbeat assessment I’ve seen you guys give in 10+ years!” Unfortunately, as I previewed in the December issue, that’s in response to Utilization being up marginally, Velocity being down and the Play Rate flattening out in its decline (but, hey, it is less-pessimistic than most previous years)
In fairness to the PGA of America, I would be remiss in not saying that I appreciate that they 1) Allow us to hold our State of the Industry in the convention center during the Show (unlike the legacy leadership at NGCOA of Mike & Mike who actually prohibited us from renting space or presenting even when sponsored by one or more of their exhibitors or regional chapters) and 2) Provide their members 1 MSR credit for attending our annual 75 minute session on the health of the industry and future trend discussions. For our Executive Summary recipients, you can get the rest of the story one of three ways (all can be previewed and purchased at Pellucid’s website www.pellucidcorp.com
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