In its infinite wisdom the PGA of America is bringing the PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit to the PGA Merchandise Show. Did I say “wisdom?’’ Sorry, I meant desperation. In another effort to attract warm bodies to the foundering show, the PGA wants us to show up early – Jan. 25-26 – at the Faldo Institute in Orlando to sit through a series of lectures and demonstrations on teaching and teaching techniques. Yawn. The show itself is Jan. 27-29 in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.
The fact that the PGA and its partner, Reed Exhibitions, feels the need to hold the Teaching & Coaching Summit the same week as show indicated two things: One is that the Summit can’t stand on its own anymore; and two, that the PGA Merchandise Show isn’t as important as it was even a decade ago. Neither of those items are exactly breaking news.
Ten years ago, for example, there is no way that that a side event such as the Summit would have been held during show week. Let’s not forget, too, that the past three Summits have been held at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla., whereas the three before that were held in New Orleans. Have you even been to Port St. Lucie?
Now the most successful part of show week is the Wednesday Demo Day at Orange County National in Winter Garden north of Orlando. The show floor is an afterthought – and reduced from three-and-half days to two-and-a-half days. By 4 p.m. on Friday afternoons there are more people looking at the exit signs than golf equipment.
There is nothing to indicate that’s going to change in January.
On the horizon: TaylorMade-adidas Golf, which usually isn’t shy about leaking information on new product, is keeping mum about its new R11 driver. The driver is said to be all white. . . Callaway Golf staff players have started using the a prototype Tour i(z) golf ball. The company also has a Tour i(s) version. . . Srixon has always had underrated equipment so it will be interesting to see the new Z L driver. . . Sources say Callaway has had some internal discussions about a 20th anniversary celebration of the original Big Bertha driver at the PGA Merchandise Show, but nothing has been decided. It would be a shame if Callaway doesn’t have some sort of big bash or commemorative product for Big Bertha – the club that literally changed the size of the golf industry.