Any chance when Golfworks returns from the show we can get a review of Pulse of the market, interest in clubmaking and components, etc.
I returned Wednesday night after a quick trip to the show. Walked the demo day and then the show the next morning and returned. First time in the almost 30 times I have been that I was able to go without meetings scheduled every hour for three solid days. Was kind of nice to just observe.
Overall, the show seemed well attended, at least to me. When talking to some vendors Wednesday, they stated they thought the demo day was less attended than in years past and the first day of the show seemed down to them as well. Guess the truth will be when the final numbers come out about the attendance.
Having more interest in the club and component side (obviously), the show did not seem to have the energy it has had in the past, but don’t ask me explain why I felt that way. I guess it comes from past experiences where the big companies really put on a show. Large booths, lots of noise, like a concert almost. Although several did have big square footage, it was all tables, chairs, couches and displays, but know theater. Plenty of smaller club companies showing. Only a few “head” component companies or Chinese factories had space on the floor. Some shaft companies had space, others had suites to privately meet with customers or distributors. Most major grip companies were on the floor. Notably absent exhibitors were Taylor Made, PXG and True Temper. I know TM and TT people were there, but they were not part of the exhibition.
As far as club making tool companies, I think Golf Mechanix was the only one. I might have missed some, but didn’t notice any in the exhibitor book.
A ton of technology was on display. Every flight simulator, launch monitor, swing analysis, yardage calculating, GPS, video and on and on type companies were there. Some of the simulators were actually set up like video games. One was a shooter game (shooting zombies) and the other was hockey (shooting a puck with a hockey stick at a goalie o the screen). Guess they wanted to show the versatility, but as an old golf guy, just seemed a little out of place to me. It was a GOLF show, not a video game show. Just saying.
Every golf cart company on the planet was there and the big thing seems to be the two wheelers, three wheelers and the follow behind you self-propelled type carts. Off road carts, “street” carts, carts with stereos, large beverage capacities, etc. Anything you could possibly want in an electric cart was on display.
Golf apparel and golf gifts dominated as far as the number of exhibitors. Get this, there were three times more ball marker companies than golf component companies. Two times more divot tool companies than golf component companies. More sock companies than golf component companies. Two times as many bag tag companies as golf component companies. More than two times the number of companies selling belts than golf component companies. And as I stated, apparel. Men’s, Women’s, Juniors, fitness, headwear, footwear, gloves, jewelry, purses, sunglasses… there was a lot of it. Just a note here: If any of you went and have the PGA show book, my percentages above are estimates based on quick counts of vendors listed. If I’m off just a little, forgive me, but the percentages should be close.
Too many other categories to cover (teaching aids, tournament prizes, shoe bags, luggage, exercise equipment, golf travel companies…) but needless to say there was a lot to try and take in. I am quite sure I did not see everything.
In conclusion, I would say the business of golf has many more layers than it used to. I do think the game is in a good place. Saw lots of young folks attending and very enthusiastic. However, there is so much more to take in that is just related to golf, and is not actually golf. I know it is a “lifestyle” industry, but when you think about it, the ONLY things you need to play are golfclubs, golf balls and a piece of ground that is dedicated and laid out to challenge those who want to actually play the game (and not just dress the part). It would seem to me, in my perfect golf show world, that is where the emphasis would be. Guess that would be too boring.
Thanks for asking.