Oh my, what a week it was for me in the Sunshine State.
Spending three days in southern Florida visiting my good friend Pat was too much fun and I’m so glad that I was able to start the trip there before I made my way north to Orlando and the PGA Show.
All in all I had six straights days of golf (I had to tap out for round 7) over my 8 days of vacation and I enjoyed some truly spectacular golf courses that Florida has to offer. None of them being Southwinds in Boca Raton (thanks for the recommendation Carling Nolan but I took a pass) I played three tracks in Southern Florida with the most enjoyable round taking place at Ironhorse Country Club and then played another three in the Orlando area, well sorta the Orlando area, Streamsong isn’t exactly in a suburb of Orlando but let me tell you it was well worth the drive!
I’ll go into some more detail on those courses I played down south and the ones near Orlando in a later post because today it’s all about the 2014 PGA Merchandise show.
I was hoping that the anticipation of being at the PGA Show wouldn’t spoil it for me and force some disappointment down my throat because nn the months leading up to the show I couldn’t help but to get overcome with excitement about the thoughts of roaming the 1,000,000+ square feet that is the Orange County Convention Center. I imagined it to be like walking through a golfer’s paradise and from my perspective, I was so right!
This being the first time at the Major show in Orlando I had somewhat prepared myself for what takes place by going to the Las Vegas PGA Show in August of last year. Ha, at least I thought I was prepared. I walked the ENTIRE Las Vegas show in two hours… three times! Seriously! In Orlando, the first two hours I was there I didn’t make it out of the equipment area. The show is on such a grand scale I was blown away by the size!
It truly is a paradise of golf. Clubs, balls, tee’s, carts, mats, more clubs, clothes, gadget’s, training aids, more clubs, simulators, more training aids, ect. Did I mentions clubs and training aids? The list literally goes on for miles and I was determined to walk every single one of them!
I got up nice and early and made the short walk to the convention center from my room. The night before was a little crazy and the cold air that hit my lungs as I made my way outside actually woke me up a bit. This was a good thing because as I entered the convention center my jaw pretty much hit the floor right away.
We had a 1:25pm tee time at Streamsong that Wednesday so I was pressed to get as much done as I could before we had to leave, which was around 11:30am. That gave me three and half hours to make my way around and see what the show was all about.
There was so much to see. Every booth I came across I found more and more interesting than the one before. It really is overwhelming and it goes on and on for what seems forever. I just started strolling around checking out what it was like and seeing how the booths were set up and who was paying more attention to what. The rookie in my was quite nervous walking the rows with all of the people who are some way or another “involved” in the game of golf. The uneasiness quickly subsided though and really began to enjoy myself.
One of the coolest things at the show was the actual Ryder Cup! You may have seen this on my Instagram feed.
The picture is bad I know I know, but it wasn’t me who took it and I could care less, that’s ME and the Ryder Cup!! Also on display was the two US Open trophies and that was really neat to see them up close.
Well before I could say “Damn that shit is cool!” it was time to head out and get to Streamsong. (look for the review of Streamsong coming soon over at Three Guys Golf)
I have to post this though, it’s yours truly making a par after my birdie putt had just burned the edge:
Once we got back to Orlando and cleaned up I met back up with Adam (Three Guys Golf) and Ryan (@Utah-Golf) and we had some dinner at the popular Brick Yard and then made our way to the Back 9 event/party that was just mind-boggling.
That was the place to be Wednesday night as I saw everyone and anyone that is in the social media world I follow and interact with. Needless to say it was a blast and when I looked down and saw that it was passed 1am I knew I had to get my ass to bed!
Good thing is everything is relatively close to where I was staying. All within a mile or so along a stretch of road that is nothing but restaurant after restaurant. The bad news was my dumb ass forgot to pack anything warm at all! Not a long sleeve in the suitcase so instead of taking the long walk back to the hotel (insert “N 2 Deep” music here) I hopped on a Rickshaw and got dropped off at the elevator in a much more rapid fashion than had I walked!
Day two started out much like day 1, foggy! I headed down to the convention a little bit later than I had planned, around 8:45am instead of 8am, but still managed to make a good day of it. The best news for the second day of the show was the arrival of Matt Murley (@MattMurls) famed word guru and one of the original Three Guys from… that’s right Three Guys Golf. The golf was awesome and the show was spectacular but getting to sit down and talk while having some drinks with Adam and Matt was one of the best things about the trip for me. Living on the West Coast it’s not easy for us to all get together so it was great that we were all able to spend a little time together and also play a little golf. Adam had arranged a round of golf for us at The Country Club of Winter Haven where we would be joined by Chris Ashley from Appalachian Leather Works. Winter Haven although not in the Orlando area was much closer than Streamsong so we had more time to dig into the show before we left for the day.
It was during my time at the show on day 2 where I really started to grasp the magnitude of the show. For instance the TaylorMade area of the convention center was more like a City than a booth. Ashworth, Adams, TaylorMade and Adidas was all in the far north end of the convention hall and they put on one hell of a display.
I decided to not return to the booths I had already visited on Wednesday and by doing so I started to find some very interesting products and companies that I had missed on day one. There are so many new companies out there making some great products and gear and I was happy that I got to see so many of new entrepreneurs in the golf industry and let me tell you there are some young, smart people who are getting a leg up in the golf bizz. Like Chris and Troy from Part Time Golf Co. These two guys were on point spreading the word about their company every second I saw them but having fun the entire time! I was refreshing to see some passion!
Once again the time flew by and before I knew it the time had come and we had to make our way out to the course. Poor me right? Ha!
After the round at Winter Haven I meet up with Adam and Matt for some dinner and afterwards we headed over to the Loudmouth party that was being put on and man was that a lot of fun! I got to meet the brain child behind the company and a few of the people who make Loudmouth the amazing brand that it is! That wasn’t all though. The DkF Boys were in the house and I got to spend a little time with them and have a few drinks before we left.
Matt and Adam were headed out to Sawgrass the next morning and ended up staying out a bit longer after we left the Loudmouth party, but I knew that Friday was going to be an all work and no play day so I pulled the pin on the fun and head back to my hotel for the night.
Up early and out the door I got to the convention right after the doors opened and spent the next 7hrs walking the floor of the show. That’s right seven hours! There wasn’t a booth I didn’t see or a contact I didn’t meet that I had planned on seeing and let me tell when the 2:30pm came my feet were done! I had walked the floor all day long, stopping only for about 20min to grab an incredibly overpriced mini PaPa Johns pizza for lunch.
Here’s some pics of the new things I came across:
Hat and Polo combo from Zero Friction. They also have arm compression sleeves and gloves that tie into the colors:
New golf shoes from a company called Kankura:
One of the best training aids I found was this nifty little simple putting aid that I feel is brilliant. It’s called the Putter Wheel:
and arguably one of the most talked about item at the show The Golfboard got a ton of traffic, not only by the shows participants but from the Golf Channel as well!
There was so much to see and I think I did a pretty good job taking on the challenge. So many exhibitors and so many attendees, I even saw Alonzo Mourning walking the grounds.
Overwhelming? Yes it was very overwhelming. I was expecting it to be big but I had no idea how big it truly was until it was over. As much as I like to admit I saw everything and met with everyone I would have like to I’m sure I missed some people and some booths.
Would I do it again! HELL YES! The entire week was a blast and the social interactions with all of my peers was so memorable and so enjoyable who wouldn’t want to do it all over again.
As much fun as the attending this years expo was I was there to work and did manage to do so in between the fun. I do think it was a successful business trip, Three Guys Golf is going to have a spectacular year in 2014 and I can’t wait to get to work writing about some of these amazing new products we got an early look in on during the show.
I think I’m going to put together a gallery of all the photos I took because as I’ve been going through this post adding the pics to it as I write I’ve realized I’ve left so many pics out. I’ll get that up in a few days so you all can see what else I snapped pics of.
I’ll break down some of the rounds I played in my next post, there was some good and a bunch of bad but it was golf and I had a great time out in the course with some really good friends!