Last week, more than 31,000 golf industry professionals from 89 countries and 50 U.S. states came together to meet with more than 1,000 golf companies and brands at the 71st PGA Show in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 23-26, 2024. This was the largest show since before COVID and it showcased a host of exciting new products and trends.
The PGA Show began in the trunks of cars in the PGA National Golf Club parking lot during a 1954 golf tournament. Since then, it’s become a staple in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center.
Over the years, many golf companies have launched exciting new products at the annual PGA Show, including Gary Adams, the founder of TaylorMade Golf and the father of Bloodline co-founder, Brad Adams. In 1979, he displayed his "Pittsburgh Persimmon" steel driver at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. Show attendees initially laughed at the $39 club, but Adams persisted and within the next few years, TaylorMade took off.
This year, thousands of products and services were introduced among the nearly 10 miles of Show aisles. Brad Adams brought the new Bloodline 38 Special counterbalanced putter and received rave reviews from show attendees.
Several key trends emerged at the 2024 PGA Show, reflecting the industry's focus on enhancing golfer experience and performance:
- Distance and Forgiveness: Driver technology continued to push the boundaries of distance, with many brands touting improved clubhead designs and materials. Forgiveness features were also prominent, aimed at helping golfers of all skill levels find more fairways. Callaway, Ping, Cobra, and Titleist all introduced new drivers.
- Data-Driven Performance: Launch monitors and swing analyzers were everywhere, showcasing the growing role of data in golf instruction and equipment fitting. Several companies unveiled new AI-powered technologies designed to provide golfers with personalized insights and recommendations.
- Sustainability: Eco-conscious initiatives were evident throughout the show floor, with many brands showcasing products made from recycled materials or featuring sustainable manufacturing processes. This reflects the growing demand for environmentally responsible practices in the golf industry.
- Indoor Golf Boom: The rise of indoor golf simulators was undeniable, with several companies showcasing cutting-edge technology and immersive experiences. This trend caters to the growing demand for convenient and year-round access to golf practice and entertainment.
One interesting new trend that was featured at the show was pickleball. Yes, pickleball. There were two full-sized pickleball courts that saw constant action, hosting celebrity exhibition matches featuring NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry and LPGA major champion Sherri Steinhauer, alongside clinics and "beat the pro" events with top pickleball players.
Pickleball's presence at the PGA Show wasn't just a blip on the radar. It represents a significant shift in the industry's landscape, acknowledging the sport's rapid growth and its potential to complement and revitalize golf. Golf courses are increasingly adding pickleball courts to attract new demographics and boost revenue.
The big takeaway from the show is that with a renewed focus on innovation, technology, and sustainability, the industry is poised for continued growth and excitement.