For many years TJ has been going down to the PGA Show in Orlando and this year I (Matt) tagged along! The week included a little bit of golf, some great meetings and what is possibly the biggest display of all that is golf under one roof!
We arrived early morning to an unexpected chill in Orlando which would stick around for the first 3 days of the trip, not exactly the warm Florida weather you would picture escaping to during our cold winter. We made our way straight to the Mission Inn Resort & Club to play a round on the El Campeon course and after a small little rain shower, the sun came out gave us some nice weather to go along with a great round of golf. Much of the round was spent with TJ and I working the rust off of our golf games, but the course was very enjoyable with some great holes.
The next day was spent with our friends at Tourism Ireland for the annual Irish Golf Day at the PGA Show, which was held at The Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Pointe. With a quick breakfast and some catch up time with our great suppliers and friends, we went out for a little competition on the course. The course itself was great, ideal conditions for this time of year, a real good mix of holes and not just your typical Florida golf. The course had some great character and it was very enjoyable. After the round and some lunch, it was time for the prizes and let’s just say, my team didn’t really put ourselves in a great position for a prize. As for TJ’s team, they took home the win with a great team effort!
The Golden Bear Club at Keene's Point
The Winner's Photo
With one more day until the show began, I went out with a few of our Irish friends to play a little 9-hole course called Winter Park Golf Course. Going in I didn’t have real high expectations, just looking for a bit of fun, but boy did we find a gem! This 9-hole municipal golf course was awesome! The combination of great golf holes, a relaxed vibe and maybe the best value at just $18 for 9-holes for non-residents, this is one of the best experiences I’ve had at a golf course. If you are ever in the Orlando area you owe it to yourself to stop by and play at least 9-holes, but to be honest you’ll probably want to stay for more. An absolute must play in my books.
It was time for a busy 2 days at the show. I had never been and everyone all week had told me how big the show is, but nothing prepares you for how massive it actually is. I was in awe and from what it sounded like, it’s maybe a little smaller than it was in years past. While it may have been “smaller” in scale, the show was not lacking in the number of products, travel destinations, clothing companies and much more displayed on the show floor.
There is so much to see, and you would almost need the full 2 and a half days to get through every product. Of course, some of the big companies like Titleist, Ping, Travis Matthew, Footjoy and Adidas have big presences, but there is so much more including simulator companies, loads of swing gadgets and this years new comer, CBD taking up a lot of space at the show. Of course, we made a few stops at one of our favourite booths at the show, Dormie Workshop with their incredible custom headcovers. It’s always great to see some of the new things they are creating!
What was amazing this year was the travel component of the show. Obviously, that is our business and it was fantastic to see all the different destinations that we sell with a presence and all the interest they had from those attending the show. The destinations ranged from Thailand and Vietnam to France to South Africa to Australia along with the two biggest showings in Ireland and Scotland. It was great to see so many of the hotels and golf courses we have relationships with and send our clients and grow those relationships even more over the course of the show!
We finished the week off at the PGA of Canada Night where all the Canadian industry members gather for a great night of networking followed by some annual awards including the reveal of this years PGA of Canada Hall of Fame inductee. Lead by the two great hosts, Ian Leggatt, Director of Golf and GM at The Summit G&CC and Bob Weeks of Golf Talk Canada at TSN, it was a fantastic night celebrating all the award winners which culminated in the announcement of Michael Schurman being named to the PGA of Canada Hall of Fame. Mr. Schurman closed the night with an amazing induction speech that captivated the entire room and left a number of people teary eyed by the end of it.
We will certainly be back next year to do it all over again and continue to help build the game of golf and golf travel around the world!