Each and every year the pulse of the golf industry can be measured in one week and it has arrived. As more than a 1,000 exhibitors prepare to display their wares in Orlando’s voluminous Orange County Convention Center, thousands of people who work in the business around the world wait to see how the week plays out.
I view this 57th PGA Show as the calm after the storm. Last year the golf industry was in full panic mode as the world’s economy began to erode at a frightening pace. There was much concern about what the future of golf would be.
What most found out was that the game was not disappearing, but simply transforming to a new reality. Golf is still here and there is still a new market for fresh golf gear, clothing, and so much more.
Some 40,000 attendees including 1,000+ media members are expected to be at the PGA Show. It kicks off with a massive Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Club on January 27th and then runs through January 30th at the Convention Center.
As I prepare to cruise the show myself along with other media colleagues I look forward to keying in on a number of companies, products and storylines.
Still one of the strongest parts of the PGA Merchandise Show, apparel continues to flourish. With margins more attractive than what is typically earned on hard goods, this sector has not suffered quite as much damage in sales in the past couple years. 
Fall/Winter 2010 products will be the ones on display in Orlando with a few companies revealing product options for 2011. Performance wear is still a big trend with lifestyle brands also pushing to the forefront. 
I’ll be watching for lines from Dunning, Quagmire, Travis Mathew, Lija, SunIce, Phreshwear, and the new looks from Ashworth.
New and sudden economic realities mean “calling an audible or two” and it will be intriguing to see how retailers and golf professionals react to the new marketplace, especially for the people based in the United States and United Kingdom where the economy has been particularly affected. 
With so many of the pros and retailers in one room it will be interesting to speak with them and see what their business strategies will be moving forward. How will they maintain and grow sales and what technologies and techniques will they use to do that? That alone can change the face of golf as consumers see it.
The Price is Right?
As much as they need high sales numbers, will this be the year that manufacturers start to realize that not everyone who wants top equipment is willing to pay $600 for a driver?  While most pricing strategies for 2010 have been set I would not be surprised to hear of some tweaks and bonus programs – not only to get shops to take on more inventory but also to attract consumers with at least a few dollars to spare for new gear.
Missing In Action
Who will be at the show, back at the show, or gone altogether? The mix of exhibitors at the show is testament to who has survived the year past and who is ready to take on the season ahead. Each year there are casualties, as well as unexpected success stories, and it is at this show that all is usually revealed.
For 56 years the world been introducing new golf technology at the PGA Show and I don’t expect this year to be any different. It is the star of the show. 
Adjustability, new materials, and unique designs – it all comes into play here and it leads you to wonder what comes next?
After the next few days run their course and the 57th PGA Merchandise Show plays out, we hope that the answer to that question will be a lot clearer.
And, of course, you can expect to see coverage of all the action of GolfWRX.com!
This report to GolfWRX.com provided by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)
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