The PGA Merchandise Show: A Masterclass

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Enhance your show experience by following these tips.

The 2020 PGA Merchandise Show will soon be upon us. For many in our industry it is not only an annual event, it is a must event on their calendar. The show has grown and matured to be much more than a place to meet vendors and buy merchandise for the coming season.  The PGA Show is now many things to thousands of PGA golf professionals, and other industry people. This post will offer 5 thoughts on how to get the maximum out of the event, for yourself as well as your golfers.

An important key to the experience of the Show is planning your time well, and overall preparation prior to arriving in Orlando. With more than 45,000 people in one space, looking to find each other, the Show is one very hectic golf marathon. The PGA Show is many things: a networking event, a place to learn new skills through the education seminars, a place to learn about how your industry is doing, and who may be leading the way, and the place to meet just about everyone in golf over three days (and nights.) Here are five thoughts on having a great PGA Show experience:

  1. Manage your time extraordinarily well. Be sure to set up your appointments in order to spend lots of time meeting and speaking to new friends, while spending less time walking in between appointments
  2. Spend time learning about new brands, new merchandise that may drive future sales. Don’t get tied down with only the major brands, or with people you can see at home. This event is the place to experience the people, brands, and events not available to you at the home club
  3. Work to schedule breakfasts and after hours with key people. Networking and meeting new people is a masterclass in itself. It is important to experience the entire day at the Show: learning, seeing, and listening. Tagging along, with a group of almost or new friends can offer real value, a real learning experience
  4. Even if your club does not stock or fit golf clubs, spend time looking at the hot club brands for fitting, as well as who will have the hot clubs for 2020. As a professional, you should be up on the newest equipment because you are the expert to your golfers
  5. Test some new brands, new merchandise categories. You should not only be looking at new trends, you might think about starting them in your community. Take a thorough look at products that might work with your golfers. Fill out a few credit applications and place a few small orders. The key is to test new things. A few small orders as tests can show your golfers you are looking to make the shop unique, different, and fun!

There is no doubt the PGA Show can be a grand learning experience. Because the Show days move so quickly, I also urge you to take a bit of time each day to become a browser. To move around, observe, meet new people, and to listen. You can gain much by taking a daily timeout in order to experience things new and different to you. The PGA Show is the Masterclass for our industry. It is that one time each year where the industry meets up to touch base on things new and different, to say hello to old friends, and to work hard to meet new ones. The show can be a great experience as long as you take the drivers’ seat … and bring a very comfortable pair of shoes. Thank you. 

Jack Dillon is an Orlando-based writer of the highfives series and is a speaker and an expert in hospitality, merchandise and people coaching. He has been in this industry for more than 45 years. Contact him at 407-973-6136.

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