Merchandise Show for the Masses

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PGA Merchandise Show LogoDue to the seeming lack of excitement and noticeably smaller crowds, there was talk on the floor at this year's PGA Merchandise Show to open up the final two days to the public to put some zip back into the show.
 
Is that a good idea or bad idea?
 
Obviously that depends on whom you ask, but it seemed more people had reservations about the idea than those who gave it the thumbs up.
 
Sure, it would no doubt bring a charge to the show, but at what cost? Less time with clients? Headaches trying to keep the elaborate and expensive sets intact? Having substantially more inventory on hand to sell to the mouth-watering public?
 
It's a tough call, and it probably won't come to fruition, but if they did someday grant entry to the public here in Orlando, I believe that that might possibly open up a can of worms in regards to golfers in other cities.
 
It wouldn't be fair for golfers all over the nation to fly down to Orlando every year, especially with their expendable income already being choked to death on high greens fees and over-priced golf clubs.
 
In a perfect world, the PGA Merchandise Show would come to be known as the Traveling PGA Merchandise Show. City to city it would go, a golfing circus if you will, giving untold millions the chance to experience a day or two in this Garden of Eden.
 
Time out. While we're in that perfect world for a moment, how about flights to Maui becoming complimentary and the greens fees on their jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring courses going for the cost of a loaf of bread in 1927. Aloha!
 
Poof!
 
Back to reality and back to the fact that only a small percentage of our golfing nation ever gets to enjoy this Mecca of golf equipment, apparel and gadgets. With that in mind, here is a small taste of what landed on this year's showroom floor, good, bad, strange or otherwise.
 
Blues Brothers actorsBest celebrity? Three-way tie between Fuzzy Zoeller, the Blues Brothers and SpongeBob SquarePants. Apologies to John Cook and Ivan Lendl, though if their mothers would have called them Fuzzy Cook or Fuzzy Lendl they may have been included. SpongeBob SquarePants gets the nod only because it's fun to say.
 
Strangest Booth? The booth that was hocking wooden hangers. Maybe if this had been the 2003 Hanger Merchandise Show, then there possibly would have been a nod for best booth.
 
Best Thing To Have Installed In Your Home That You Can Afford? One of the many putting greens that are now available and far more creative and realistic. Contours on the greens, smooth rolls, and even light rough around the fringe. Drawbacks? Sure, friends wouldn't leave and putting contests could cost you into the thousands.
 
Biggest Driver? Unofficial, but a whopping 510cc. Rumors of a 700cc were heard, but something about seeing a guy named Frankie in some dark alley by downtown Orlando.
 
Goofiest Putter? The Side-Stroke. Imagine shuffleboard, but with a mallet-style putter head.
 
Brush-TBest Gadget? The Brush-T. The 'pioneer' of bristle tees happily handed out thousands of their little product for those in attendance. Picture a cross between a golf tee and your toothbrush.
 
Biggest Booth? Nike, with 15,300 square feet.
 
Coolest Limo? The 60-foot SUV-style limousines that were roaming the streets outside the Orange County Convention Center introducing Tee-Zels, snacks that come in the shape of tees. I didn't get a ride to my parking spot that was two miles away, but I did get to taste the little pretzel snacks. Cute and delicious!
 
Best View? The Orlando Magic cheerleaders. Up close. What were they there for? Not quite sure.
 
Best Thing To Have Installed In Your Home That You Probably Can't Afford? DeadSolidGolf. It's one of those golf simulators that give you the choice of playing the world's greatest golf courses, but now in a home version. Cost - $37,500. Ouch!
 

Full Coverage of the 2003 PGA Merchandise Show