ORLANDO, Fla. - My seventh PGA Merchandise Show was the best yet.
Grizzled veterans and multi-dozen-time attendees probably treat the mid-week in later January as an annual walking marathon of meetings and catch-ups with friends, but to me it's still a whirlwind trip through golf's largest toy store.
I took stock of some of the best and wackiest items from the Show, but that list really only scratches the surface of what all I saw at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge last Tuesday at Demo Day, and at the massive Orange County Convention Center in the middle of the bustling tourist district of southwest Orlando.
A few numbers to consider:
- $70 billion: the estimated annual economic impact of the golf industry, roughly equivalent to the annual GDP of Kenya
- 40,000: the estimated number of guests and participants in the PGA Merchandise Show this year, roughly the average size of a Major League Baseball stadium (also the number of steps my phone tracked for me over the three and a half days I spent at the Show)
- 10 miles: the total length of aisles joining the more than 1,000 individual exhibitors booths
The golf industry has its struggles, but the energy that coalesces one week every January in Orlando helps affirm the overall power in our great game.
Peruse the photos above and let us here at Golf Advisor know your thoughts on the state of the game and the golf industry!