ORLANDO – Before departing from Toronto, somebody joked with me that I should try to avoid getting depressed by all the talk about the economy at the PGA Merchandise Show, which gets underway today at the Orange Country Convention Center.
Depression was hardly the reaction I had when I learned that my flight here would cost a mere $49. Don’t you just love Westjet? Before you say it, no they are not an advertiser, but how do you argue with that price, even though taxes and surcharges took the actual price well over $100?
The cost of doing business went down significantly with that sweet plum and it’s time to start appreciating those little victories a little more. If we don’t, we might all lose it with all of the dire predictions and doomsday scenarios that are fed to us on a daily basis.
I may be wrong going into the show, but I get the sense that the golf industry is prepared to take a positive approach to the economy. Of course, here in the United States, that may be the Barack Obama influence so shortly after his inauguration as President.
Somewhere in the middle of the doom and gloom and the sugary hype provided by the countless spin doctors here in Orlando this week lies the truth.
Nobody is denying how bad it could get, but on the flip side, the seminars and conferences surrounding that subject seem more focused on minimizing the damage and dealing with the problem. It’s that attitude that will carry golf through the turbulent times ahead.
We will keep an eye on the mood of the show heading into what will be a busy first day for me and Steve Woods, the ace tekkie guy for GNN, who accompanied me to the Peabody Hotel last night for an unveiling of the newest products and technology from TaylorMade.
Our first order of business is what is being called The Titleist Experience. It is there that the new Pro V1 will be introduced after Titleist’s recent joust in the courts with Callaway over patents led to a product exchange program that saw Acushnet replace old inventory with new product in the U.S.
This new model is expected to get Titleist past that significant challenge and move forward with one of the most recognized ball names in golf.
A ton of meetings are planned throughout the day with golf industry types from both equipment and apparel companies, but also on the agenda is a birthday party recognizing Ping’s 50th anniversary, a significant milestone for the remarkable Solheim family.
I encourage you to take a look at a couple of feature stories on the GNN home page to get a better idea about the history and philosophy of the Solheims and their family-run business, which is rare for a company of Ping’s size in this day and age.
A bunch of Canadians are getting together for a reception hosted by the Ontario PGA and Reed Exhibitions, then it’s off to another reception with Nike Golf Canada tonight.
With birthday parties, dinners, receptions and product introductions, the first day of the show hardly seems like a downer.