The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show’s coolest and goofiest golf products and pitches

Take a look at the wonderful and weird from the golf industry's annual meet-up.
The PGA Merchandise Show is a highlight of the year for industry wonks.

The PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando is always one of the highlights of my year, which is saying something for an event where relatively few actual golf shots are hit.

I've been to the last eight of them and have the aching feet to prove it. Either I haven't taken the maxim of "Wear comfortable shoes" enough to heart or Man has yet to invent comfortable enough shoes for the task of wandering through acres of golf product and service booths.

I don't mind the ache, though, because it's a reminder that I put in a lot of steps and got to see a whole lot of interesting equipment, tech, apparel and accessories companies.

From the great to the goofy, the beautiful to the bizarre, here's what caught my eye during the 2019 PGA Show:

Early-week

The PGA Show technically starts on Wednesday, but Demo Day - a massive gathering of many big club, shaft and ball manufacturers - provides some outdoor exploration possibilities on Tuesday. My Show week actually began on Monday this year, with an event put on by Swedish outerwear company Galvin Green at Isleworth Country Club.

Galvin Green's wares cost a pretty penny, but their massive market share in Europe and the British Isles, where crummy weather conditions are a fact of life for avid golfers, speaks to the high quality of their garments, driven by a thirst for innovation. Stakes are high when golfers venture out into the rain, and the fervor of their clientele speaks to how well Galvin Green delivers dry comfort in bad weather.

Their most-hyped 2019 offering is a new material called ShakeDry that is completely waterproof and almost impossibly thin. An entire jacket ($400) weighs just 174 grams, about the same as a plus-sized iPhone.

Galvin Green staff posed a mannequin wearing their latest outerwear next to one wearing the 19th-century equivalent at their event at Isleworth.

Demo Day benefited from spectacular weather this year: low 70s and sunny with relatively light winds. In other words, perfect for an early full orbit of the massive circular driving range at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge.

Hitting a few clubs at Demo Day just whetted the appetite for golf, and luckily, I was able to participate in a fun outing hosted by Portland, Ore.-based headcover and accessory workshop Seamus Golf. A few score golfers teed it up in eightsomes (four alternate-shot pairs per group) at the quaint, splendid Winter Park 9, which has become emblematic of the recent return to Golden Age golf design in several communities.

The Show proper

Crowds gather minutes before the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show officially opens.

Two giant exhibition rooms at the Orange County Convention Center comprise the main site of the PGA Show, and more than 1,000 exhibitors, from household-name brands like Titleist, PING and Callaway to upstart inventors, showcase their wares for perusal by the more than 40,000 industry types who drift in and out.

Footwear seems to grow as a category every year, with plenty of quality, choice and value at a variety of price points:

At what point is golf being marketed more as an aesthetic than a game?

Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I just can't get behind - or on - the single-rider golf cart movement. Too many able-bodied golfers ride already, denying themselves life-extending exercise and the opportunity to take in golf courses at a pace that makes more sense than the start-zigzag-stop cadence carts force on us.

At what point is golf being marketed more as an aesthetic than a game? I question the motives of golfers who are combating dweeby-golfer stereotypes by looking like they're on motorcycles on the course.

About half of the exhibition space at the PGA Show each year is devoted to apparel and accessory companies (stylish wool, leather and canvas headcovers continue to be hot). There are so many of them.

One trend that continues is the integration of "hip" fashion aesthetics into golf clothing. No golf company has the cultural cachet of, say, Supreme, or rapper Tyler The Creator's Golf brand, but there is a definite effort to push the boundaries of golf fashion. At the same time, technology continues to push into the space as well.

As is the case every year, some PGA Merchandise Show sights defy classification:

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
3 Comments
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Commented on

Women really get shorted in these golf shows. I’m talking Dallas. I’ve been to the last couple of shows and were lucky if women have any apparel to choose from. I realize that males are the predominate buyers but lots of women do have items they would like to buy or try out. I, myself, purchase many things online and then if I don’t like it, it goes back. Just sayin’

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Commented on

Foylene, I'm sorry to hear your area show was short on women's brands. For what it's worth, I am always impressed with the number of women's apparel brands at the PGA Show in Orlando. It could be that the organizers of the Dallas show could stand to recruit some more of those women's brands in the future.

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Commented on

RecTeeFier : There is more to it than meets the eye…

It was a pleasure meeting you in Orlando a few weeks ago. I wish to express my gratitude for writing about our product, even though it seems I failed to explain its true essence. Please allow me to correct the facts mentioned in your review of the RecTeeFier.

1 – The RecTeeFier reduces the severity of a slice/hook by correcting a golf ball’s spin axis by 35%. This figure is the result of extensive testing conducted using both a robotic arm and the Trackman technology.

2 – As stipulated on our website (FAQ), the RecTeeFier does not conform to USGA rules on tees. The fact is that the target clientele for whom this golf tee was designed plays for fun, and has no problem overlooking some of the rules of golf.

3 – The use of a golf ball displaying a baseball pattern was intended to go along with our explanation of the Magnus effect, which causes a golf ball to veer off course. The same effect is used by baseball pitchers to control trajectory of their ball.

We believe that not all golfers aspire to become professionals, but that all deserve to have fun while on the course. This is what the RecTeeFier is all about.

Please visit our website (https://recteefier.com), you may discover that there is more to the RecTeeFier than meets the eye.

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The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show’s coolest and goofiest golf products and pitches