Last month, a few representatives from parsonskellogg made the annual trek down to Orlando, Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show. The show is a great opportunity to see everything the golf world has to offer ? oh, and a great way to escape frigid New England weather!
This year?s PGA Merchandise Show took over the Orange County Convention Center with over 1,100 exhibits. We saw everything from a human-sized hamster wheel to an electric golf skateboard. We even caught a glimpse of pro Jordan Speith! Two full days was hardly enough to see everything the PGA Show had to offer.
By far one of the most popular trends in golf is what I?ve dubbed hybrid apparel”?pieces that can be worn straight off the course and into a bar or a boardroom. Spikeless golf shoes have been trending for a few years now and traditional golf shoes have all but disappeared. Nike offers golf shoes that look like running shoes basketball shoes and wingtip shoes. Adidas makes slip-ons that resemble slippers more than golf shoes.
Adidas has merged golf and leisure with its Spring women?s line which offers fun printed shorts peplum-cut polos and textured leggings. In fact most of the line looked more suited for a trip to the mall than a round of golf. It is clear that today?s golfers crave comfortable practical and versatile apparel.
Another interesting trend in hybrid golf apparel is what I like to call surfer-golf. Just a few weeks ago Cobra Puma Golf announced the addition of a new brand ambassador: pro surfer Kelly Slater. That West Coast vibe has found its way into the golf world where the traditional East Coast feel has always reigned. Johnnie-O is perhaps one of the original surfer-golf lines with its comfy jersey polos that add a little class to the feel of your favorite tee. Linksoul is a newer brand that I came across at the PGA Show. It was started by golf apparel designer John Ashworth and it has a definite laid-back feel. As John Ashworth himself described “we don?t want to just make golf apparel we want to make apparel for golfers.” That seems to be the mantra for many apparel brands today?golf is not just a sport but a way of life and golfers want to express that in what they wear.
Beyond apparel the PGA Show highlighted some important trends in golf technology. With the recent popularity of FitBit fitness trackers the controversy surrounding Google Glass and the highly-anticipated release of Apple?s iWatch it?s clear that wearable tech is the next big thing. The golf world not to be left out is right up on trend. I saw ScoreBand which makes watches that keep score for you. Epson teamed up with top golf instructor David Leadbetter to create the M-Tracer a device that fits onto the golf club and tracks swing details.
One of the most popular tech items at the PGA Show was Game Golf. The Game Golf device clips on to a player?s belt and little tags attach to the butt end of each club grip. Before taking a shot the player simply taps the club sensor to the belt device and the shot?s distance and direction are recorded for each club. All of this information is then available to the player online or on Game Golf?s smartphone app. With the tech-age of golf quickly taking over scorecards and stubby pencils are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
The PGA Merchandise Show is a great way to kick off the golf season and gauge the trends that we?ll be seeing throughout. Most importantly it helps us at parsonskellogg stay on top of these trends so that we can better serve our customers with the best of the best products and apparel.
Now that we know what?s trending this season I have only one question: is it spring yet?