Wednesday, August 16, 2017

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Introduces New Venues, Grows Participation and Drives Business

(LAS VEGAS) — The 2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience, Aug. 14-16, welcomed thousands of PGA Professionals, golf buyers and business leaders from 45 U.S. states and 30 countries to Las Vegas for three busy days of merchandise sourcing, product testing, education, professional networking and special events.

Two new event venues were extremely well received by attending professionals – the annual Pro-Pro Tournament moved to the award-winning TPC Las Vegas and the PGA Demo Experience relocated to the climate-controlled environment of Topgolf Las Vegas – a flagship property of the popular golf entertainment destination. Merchandise exhibits, special events and education programs returned to the upscale setting of the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Hotel.

The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience featured the participation of nearly 200 golf companies and brands including up-and-coming designers, entrepreneurs entering the market, veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands and market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge and Wilson. Top apparel brands took advantage of the upscale PGA Fashion & Demo Experience setting and simultaneous timing of Las Vegas Fashion Week including brands such as Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines and Zero Restriction.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience in Las Vegas comes at an ideal time of year and serves a vital purpose for those PGA Professionals who are preparing budgets and making business decisions for 2018," noted PGA President Paul Levy. "For those PGA Professionals in Sun Belt regions and in the western United States, it is especially convenient to come to Las Vegas in August to catch up on what is happening in the golf industry, discover the latest merchandise and update themselves with education, instruction and business seminars. It has been a very worthwhile and productive three days."

Attendance at the PGA Demo Experience nearly doubled and education conference participation was up 18 percent. Influential PGA Professionals and buyers, traveling from 45 states and 30 countries, joined industry leaders and a crossover of apparel buyers from Las Vegas Fashion Week trade shows to build strong buyer engagement with vendors on the Show Floor. PGA Professional attendance was up 8 percent and key buyer attendance up 1 percent, while overall attendance decreased slightly. The top five countries (outside of U.S.) represented in attendance were Canada, Korea, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom. The top five U.S. states represented in attendance were California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Texas.

2017 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Highlights
Pro-Pro Tournament
In the 4th Annual PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Pro-Pro Tournament on Monday, Aug. 14, at breezy TPC Las Vegas, four teams tied for the title at 5-under-par 66 in the four-ball competition. That meant a playoff for the second consecutive year, a familiar position for the team of PGA Professionals Travis Long and Troy Helseth of Anthem Country Club in suburban Las Vegas, who fell in a dramatic seven-hole playoff in 2016.

"That’s the second straight year we have bogeyed the final hole to drop into a playoff," lamented Helseth, lauding the move by tournament officials to play an alternate-shot format to expedite the playoff and accommodate eight players. "It was a lot of fun out there – we love this event and the golf course was in great condition. The wind came up the last six or seven holes and it was difficult, but it was tough for everybody."

In the alternate-shot playoff, the team of Karrin Dickinson and Matthew Brooks of Superstition Mountain in Gold Canyon, Arizona, parred the first hole (the par-4 10th) to earn the $2,400 first-place check. Eric Lohman and Chi Choi of Monarch Beach Golf Links in Florida; the team of Richard Prange-D.K. Kim of Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Las Vegas "locals" of Long and Helseth shared second, third and fourth-place money.

PGA Demo Experience
Following the tournament, industry professionals turned out in large numbers to fill the hitting bays and test the newest equipment and technology at the all-new PGA Demo Experience, Aug. 14, in the climate-controlled, exciting setting of Topgolf Las Vegas. Market leaders such as Callaway, Cobra Golf, PING, Srixon/Cleveland Golf, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge, Wilson and many others offered products for testing in the sold-out Topgolf Level 1 hitting bays. Putting demonstrations were available on a specially-designed putting green in the East Room and PGA Professionals and buyers browsed the newest golf merchandise in an indoor marketplace in the Central and West Rooms. Additionally, skills contests and industry networking in the popular golf entertainment destination made it an enjoyable evening for all.

"Topgolf is the perfect venue for a testing opportunity like this. It’s a high energy, fun environment where everyone can enjoy themselves, have a bite to eat and hit some golf balls," said Aaron Bonar, PGA Professional at Woods N’ Irons in Burleson, Texas.

Titleist returned to the PGA Show in Las Vegas and PGA Professionals filled their hitting bays at Topgolf to test the newest irons. "The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf has been a tremendous opportunity for us to show everyone our new 718 AP3 irons for the first time while connecting and networking with so many PGA Professionals. We’re happy to say that the early feedback on our AP3 irons has been tremendous," said John Hahn, Titleist sales representative.

Marty Lass, PGA Head Professional at Edina Country Club in Minneapolis, attended his first PGA Fashion & Demo Experience this year. "We don’t usually get to see the new equipment from so many major manufacturers at this time of year in Minnesota, so the PGA Demo Experience has been exceptional. To have Titleist, TaylorMade, PING, Callaway, Cobra, Srixon along with Miura, Wilson and Tour Edge and so many others is a big, big plus. It was great to see so many companies."

"The PGA Demo Experience at Topgolf was a home run for PING and for the golf industry," said PING regional sales manager Gene Graham. "There was a lot of energy and interest, and I would say it was one of the best-attended Demo Experiences I have seen in many years in Las Vegas. We were able to let PGA Professionals and industry leaders test our new G400 series of drivers, fairways and irons, so that was a great opportunity for us to connect with new and existing accounts. The PGA Demo Experience was a win-win for everyone involved."

Show Floor of the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 15-16, PGA Professionals and golf buyers filled the aisles of the Palazzo Ballroom in search of the newest merchandise for their members and customers among some of the best brands in golf with a special focus on golf fashion. Top apparel brands included Ahead, Antigua, Bobby Jones, Callaway Apparel, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross, Dunning, ECCO, EP NY (formerly EP Pro), FJ, Fairway & Greene, Greg Norman Collection, Jamie Sadock, J. Lindeberg, Linksoul, Peter Millar, PING Apparel, SKECHERS, Straight Down, Travis Mathew, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines, Zero Restriction and many others.

Veteran golf manufacturers, established apparel brands, up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs entering the market showed off their newest merchandise to interested buyers looking for the perfect mix of popular, trending and new products.

"This has been a very productive PGA Show for us," said Steve Coan, Trade Marketing Manager for FootJoy. "We bring in four FootJoy representatives from surrounding states and they were pre-booked with appointments almost from start to finish. They are writing orders and our stop-by traffic also has been very steady. The PGA Las Vegas Show is a good investment, because we are able to see and serve several accounts from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and other states, but we also had good meetings with some of our key national accounts."

Attendees were able to easily navigate the PGA Show Floor and source from a comprehensive product mix.

"This was my first PGA Show in Las Vegas, and I liked how easy it is to see everything on the Show floor," said Diana D’Alessio, PGA Professional at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I saw a lot of new, unique items I haven't seen from vendors who visit us, so it was a successful trip. There were some training aids and apparel companies I haven't seen before, so it was a good opportunity to become acquainted with their lines of products."

One newcomer to the event included ZeroTie shoes, golf shoes featuring a hands-free tying mechanism. "The traffic and the interest in our no-tie lines of footwear have been phenomenal at our first Las Vegas PGA Show. We weren’t sure what to expect, since this is a new product on the golf scene, but the response has been fabulous," said Jim Hand, regional manager of ZeroTie.

"The PGA Fashion & Demo Experience was very productive for us from several perspectives," said Dave Leveille, president of Oxford, which introduced a full collection of apparel, shoes and outerwear at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience. "We felt we needed to create a full lifestyle brand, something you can wear every day with a more sophisticated color palate. Our performance apparel has been very well received. The key to good performance apparel is care, and our lines are some of the easiest to care for in the business."

Live Fashion Show
Tuesday evening, Aug. 15, concluded with the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Live Fashion Show and Networking Reception. Many of the latest golf lifestyle collections by the industry’s top designers were showcased as the runway production was emceed by Golf Channel Host, Reporter and Writer Bailey Mosier.

Live Fashion Show participating brands included Birdies and Bows, Callaway Golf Apparel, Daily Sports, Denise Cronwall Activewear, Garb Inc, Idil Tarzi Fashion Design, Jofit, Just4Golf, Kevan Hall Sport, LIJA, Movêtes, SKECHERS, Straight Down Clothing Co., Travis Mathew Apparel, Under Armour and Wellness Interactive Branding.

Immediately following the Live Fashion Show, exhibitor booths remained open for business during a Networking Reception for buyers to enjoy the extended hours to explore, browse, and discuss all the latest finds on the Show Floor.

Education Conference
In addition to a vibrant Show Floor, PGA Professionals took advantage of a full schedule of certification programs, daily keynote presentations and classroom sessions focusing on instruction, leadership, golf fitness, retail and marketing during the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Education Conference, Aug. 14-16.

"The timing of the PGA Show in Las Vegas is perfect for me, and I've never seen such a variety of teaching seminars," said Mark Peterson, PGA Professional at Carthage (Missouri) Golf Course.

The keynote presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 15, featured PGA of America Chief Membership Officer John Easterbrook, PGA, moderating a special panel discussion titled "Characteristics of PGA Members Sought After by Top Employers." Panelists included Troon Golf Chairman and CEO Dana Garmany, PGA; GolfTEC CEO and Co-Founder Joe Assell, PGA; and UNLV PGA Golf Management Program Director Dr. Chris Cain, PGA.

On Aug. 16, the keynote focused on teaching with "Best Business Practices of Award-Winning Instructors." PGA Master Professional Dawes Marlatt, Senior Director of Education & Organizational Development for the PGA of America, moderated a panel that included 2016 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Adams, 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska, and 2015 LPGA Teacher of the Year and PGA Master Professional Alison Curdt.

"I always find something new at the Las Vegas PGA Show product-wise, and the education seminars were exceptional. Learning from our peers and industry experts has always been one of my favorite parts of attending any PGA Show," said Michael Stilson, PGA Professional at Morrow Bay Golf Course in Cambria, Calif.

Tuesday afternoon, PGA Professionals heard an update on PGA of America membership initiatives and were able to ask questions during a PGA Town Hall featuring PGA President Paul Levy and Easterbrook.

PGA Fashion & Demo Experience Award Winners
PGA Professionals and top golf industry buyers voted for the best new product among the merchandise displayed in the PGA Show New Product Showcase. The 2017 New Product Showcase winner is SelfieGOLF USA, a versatile training system allowing the user to capture hands-free video with complete stability from any position or any surface.

Influential PGA Professionals and golf buyers also voted one exhibitor new to the PGA Show as the Top Buyers Choice. The 2017 Top Buyers Choice is Tzu Tzu Sport, colorful golfwear infused with eye-catching embellishments, sassy details and a flattering fit.

2018 PGA Shows – Save the Dates
The 2018 U.S. PGA Merchandise Show is scheduled for Jan. 23-26, in Orlando. Visit for detailed information. The 2018 PGA Fashion & Demo Experience is scheduled for Aug. 13-15, in Las Vegas. Visit for detailed information.

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