PGA Show Coore Kidd lunch
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PGA Show Coore Kidd lunch
This year's PGA Show wasn't entirely about products. I had the chance to attend a lunchtime talk by architects Bill Coore and David McLay Kidd. Both gentlemen couldn't have been more gracious, and it was fun to hear about their newest projects at Big Ceda Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Images
PGA Show Harding-Lane
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PGA Show Harding-Lane
I saw a lot of needlepoint at the Show this year. Harding-Lane incorporates it not just into belts, but hats and shirts as well. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Seamus
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PGA Show Seamus
Oregon-based Seamus Golf has been a darling of the industry's chic set ever since they debuted. In addition to headcovers in a seemingly unlimited number of tartans, they make metal goods like these gorgeous ball marks, as well as bottle openers (sometime Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Stitch
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PGA Show Stitch
Attractive golf accessories continued their ascent at this year's PGA Show. The booth for Stitch, which makes headcovers and other leather golf goods, was packed. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Itobori Grind
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PGA Show Itobori Grind
Speaking of super-high-end golf stuff, these Itobori Grind irons, completely custom made, cost about $360 per head. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Garia
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PGA Show Garia
Garia is another golf cart brand you've never heard of. Owned by Mercedes-Benz they are top-of-the-line carts, with models like this one costing upwards of $20,000 each. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Streetrod
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PGA Show Streetrod
Non-typical golf carts were abundant at this year's Show. Take Streetrod, for example, which makes souped-up carts for residents of The Villages and other similarly cart-friendly communities. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Evnroll
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PGA Show Evnroll
...and Evnroll makes some of the highest-performing mallet putters on the market, which roll the ball beautifully. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show WellPutt
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PGA Show WellPutt
For those of us without regular access to a putting guru, WellPutt makes some well-marked, easy-to-use practice putting mats... Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show PING Utley lesson
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PGA Show PING Utley lesson
The PING booth is always popular, and I happened upon Stan Utley there again, this time giving an impromptu putting lesson. The best golf instructors seemingly never stop teaching. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Callaway Odyssey
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PGA Show Callaway Odyssey
...as well as new putters from their Odyssey and Toulon sub-brands. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Callaway Rogue
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PGA Show Callaway Rogue
Callaway has made some big statements in the past, but this year they were a little demure, though nonetheless centrally located with a large booth of their own. They were showcasing their new Rogue line... Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show TaylorMade booth
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PGA Show TaylorMade booth
TaylorMade loves to showcase its impressive roster of pros under contract. It's easy to see why. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show Titleist booth
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PGA Show Titleist booth
The Show floor is a chance for the biggest golf brands to make bold statements. Titleist leans on its entrenched popularity with golfers, and for good reason: it is one of the game's most reliable brands. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA Show hitting bays
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PGA Show hitting bays
The main portion of the PGA Show is indoors, at the Orange County Convention Center. One end of the exhibition hall is set up for more club testing. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day range box
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Demo Day range box
This box for range balls, with a slot that releases golf balls gradually out the bottom, caught my eye as well. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Champ spikes
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Demo Day Champ spikes
It's not just clubmakers getting in on the Demo Day action, though. Golf spike companies always put up colorful displays like this one. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Vertical Groove
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Demo Day Vertical Groove
For many visitors, though, the main project on Demo Day is to test clubs. The makers of the Vertical Groove driver were out in force, as were the other major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Utley clinic
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Demo Day Utley clinic
More standard Demo Day fare: clinics and discussions with top teachers, like short game expert Stan Utley, who spent some time at the PING booth. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day mohawks
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Demo Day mohawks
You don't see many mohawks at Demo Day, but these kids were sporting them proudly. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day DJ
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Demo Day DJ
For a while, companies were attempting to make Demo Day more hip. This has tapered off somewhat, but there was nevertheless a DJ on one of the areas of the range. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Outpost
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Demo Day Outpost
PGA Merchandise Show organizers have stepped up the food & beverage operation in recent years. One example: this Outpost beer garden, which became very busy as Demo Day wore on. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Cobra booth
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Demo Day Cobra booth
Cobra likes to make a visual statement at Demo Day. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day Rev Golf Cobra
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Demo Day Rev Golf Cobra
My first Demo Day stop was the Cobra installation, where Revolution Golf's Justin Tupper was speaking with Jose Miraflor, Cobra's VP of Marketing, about the company's new F8 driver. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day setup
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Demo Day setup
A few exhibitors hadn't yet arrived to set up their Demo Day booths. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
Demo Day golfboard parking lot
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Demo Day golfboard parking lot
The PGA Merchandise Show begins with Demo Day. I arrived while setup was finishing, and a GolfBoard rep rode one of his units toward the entrance. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor

In photos: looking back on the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show

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!

Video: Morning Drive looks back on the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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In photos: looking back on the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show
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