top of page
  • Art Stricklin

PGA Show

The golf dreamers, doers and devoted all flocked here to the massive Orange Country Center in late January, by the tens of thousands, intent of celebrating the traditional start of the 2023 golf season boosted by the continued post- COVID boom. More than 800 golf companies took part in the annual gathering to show- case the weird, wacky and wonderful products which will be appearing on golf store shelves later this spring. “The energy on the PGA Show floor was fantastic. I grew up on a trading floor (on the NewYork Stock Exchange) and this reminds me of the energy and enthusiasm of a busy trading day. It is reflective of the (golf) industry, basically booming.The industry played defense for a couple of years during the pandemic, but this week has underscored that golf is back and the PGA Show is back in a big way,” said Seth Waugh, Frisco-Texas-based PGA of America CEO.

Among the many new trends at the 2023 PGA Show, technology was one of the leaders, with golf companies of all kinds using everyday technology to further enhance their products and intro- duce new people to the game. Texas-based Top Tracer technology had a massive display on the show floor where golfers could line up their practice shot on a I-pad sized computer screen and then see how close they could get to their target line “This is the first computer-based system which can hold you accountable to practice and send your results to a teacher or golf pro,” said Shaun Hansen, an executive with Top Tracer. The system will debut at the new public Omni PGA Frisco Resort, which opens in May, giving golfers and hotel guest instant feedback on their game and their skills Martin Wyeth brought the technology of PowerTee from his home in England, where his company controls 80% of the UK Market including the Old Course at St. Andrews, to America. “We have to see customers here, both current and potential.You have to give them the best experience and that’s the difference between the demo day and the convention center, you can see balls flying in the air here and we have people going from a skeptic to why doesn’t everybody do this.” The PowerTee is a synthetic turf plat- form elevated 8 inches from the ground, with an automatic tee up for each ball and automatic shot display. Another giant leap in technology came from one of the most unlikely of sources,Augusta National Golf Club. They teamed with EA Sports and the PGATour to produce the Majors Collection. It features an exacting computer replica of Augusta National, allowing players to play the famed, highly exclusive course or even insert themselves as a player in the 2023 Mas- ters Tournament.

While the tournament clings to its manual scoreboards and $1.50 egg salad sandwiches, the current club staff is downright progressive on what technology can bring the Masters and the game of golf. The game, which can be purchased on-line or in retail shops, will include all four major champion- ship venues this year plus the Ryder Cup and 30 of the top courses in the world all in color- ful, exact detail. When it comes to technology of a different kind, incor- porated into a golf shoe, Mike Forsey, the co-founder and CEO of Payntr Golf engineers classic spiked and spikeless golf shoes. They include a clear propulsion plate to help with lift off the ground, full leather uppers and soles and the first blis- ter proof guarantee, something any golfer who’s tried to break in new pair of shoes can appreciate. “We are seeing sales boom 580% year over date.We seemed to have solved the supply chain crisis and we are getting the shoes into the hands of more people every day,” he said. A first timer to the show, Kenneth Duncan, the CEO of Atlanta-based Ren- egade Golf, was on site with his newly conforming USGA approved golf balls and custom golf bags. “I wanted to come to the show to see how the big boys do it vs. the small guys like me. I want to grow my business, but I don’t have any celebrities like they do. I’m just here learning." “I want to make golf and golf balls more accessible, cheaper and cooler. Nobody in my circle at home plays golf, we have to reach those people.We’ve got to get busy.” Another popular product at the show were golf-related food and drinks.

There was chocolate to give you more energy on the course, CBD gummies to give you more passion and Ginn Fizz drinks promoted by Annika Sorenstam to help you forget any bad shots. Austin-based OldTrapper jerky is available for consideration in your essential snacking or golf stories. Old Trapper is the 2nd largest jerky brand in the world. Another golf-related organization which is a major part of the 2023 PGA Show is the Oklahoma-based Folds of Honor organization, which provides college scholarship to children of fallen military, first respond and others. “We come to the PGA Show every year with grateful hearts and thanks for the many people who have helped us,” said Folds of Honor founder Col. Dan Rooney. Rooney said Folds of Honor has raised a staggering $55 million dollars to help those in need through Patriot Golf Days at golf courses all over the country, corporate sponsors and the new American Dunes course in Michigan designed by Jack Nicklaus. There were also plenty of golf des- tinations and travel companies here at the show. Ireland and Scotland had large booths here along with the new Ryder Cup site in Rome and many locations in the Caribbean.

bottom of page