Mike Williams: Five Observations from the PGA Show


By Mike Williams, Vice President of Operations for Landscapes Golf Management 

I’ve regularly attended the PGA Show since 1994 and experienced first-hand its cyclical changes and evolution. Frankly, for many years, it was just the “same ol’ show” with little variation. However, reflecting on the 2023 edition, I walked away unequivocally feeling the “Major of the Golf Business” is back in full force and effect.

Excitement is likely attributed to pent-up desires to return to Orlando after multi-year absences, as well as on- and off-course participation at record highs. No matter the rationale, I’m loving the vibe.

With the show a month in the rearview mirror, I had time to reflect and offer key takeaways: 

  1. Positive Energy. This is a qualitative and somewhat squishy takeaway, but the mood of everyone with whom I interacted, from vendors to merchandisers, was extremely optimistic and positive. Many commented on the show’s “feel,” almost as if the entire industry breathed a giant sigh of relief.

  2. Innovation and Investment. Golf’s resurgence has led to a renewal in investment. From equipment to soft goods, it is obvious golf companies have largely recovered from the countless supply chain challenges of the past few years. Now they’ve returned to focus on product innovation. This was readily apparent in the surging simulator market as technology for indoor play continues to make giant strides.  New service-oriented initiatives focused on member engagement and the customer experience. There was even emphasis on pickleball as a logical golf adjunct.

  3. Relationships. What I missed most during the pandemic’s pinnacle was connecting in-person with industry friends. With attendance levels back to pre-COVID levels, more networking with more people resulted in more order writing on the show floor and reasons to continue conversations post-Orlando.

  4. Engagement. One KPI is related to PGA- and NGCOA-produced education sessions and the fact that they were extremely well attended. Some vendor booths were standing room only and many aisles mirrored crowded New York City streets. Demo Day was full of action and lines to test products were proverbially a mile long. Even Friday, a typical slow day when exhibitors historically pack up early, was vibrant.

  5. Missed Opportunities. Given the show’s impressiveness, a few common exhibitors, with TaylorMade leading the pack, didn’t show their wares. As such, they’re probably reeling with “I-missed-out” regret. I know attending the PGA Show is a business decision neither made in a vacuum nor taken lightly, and it’s expensive. However, by the looks of it and the “I-can’t-wait-until-next-year” comments, the Vegas odds are the best is yet to come in 2024 and beyond.

Data doesn’t lie, so let’s revel in these stats:

  • Attendees – 30,000

  • Number of countries represented – 86

  • Companies/exhibitors represented – 800

  • Hard goods/equipment companies –500

  • Apparel & accessory companies – 300

  • New companies/exhibitors represented – 250

  • PGA professionals represented – 7,000

  • Media attendees – 800

  • Equipment Test Center – 44 hitting bays, 3,750 square-feet of putting green

  • Square footage of Orange County Convention Center – One million

  • Number of miles of show aisles – Eight miles

Bravo, golf industry, for coming together in support of one another.



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Mike Williams is Vice President of Operations for Landscapes Golf Management, operator of nearly 60 golf courses and country clubs across America.

** The views and opinions featured in Golf Business WEEKLY are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NGCOA.**