You know the old joke – I just flew in from Orlando and boy, my arms are tired. Really it’s not my arms – it’s basically my whole body as I did not see my doorstep until 5:08 a.m. Sunday morning due to various flight delays. It’s just another part of the adventure that the PGA Merchandise Show provides each year.
I’ve been to twenty of these boondoggles and while I’m never tired of seeing the best products that the golf industry has to offer, as well connecting with an endless parade of people, with each passing year it seems to take more energy to endure the week. There are miles to walk in the massive Orange County Convention Centre (running in some cases), swings to be made in testing new clubs, and a voice that gets raspier as you talk your way through the days and into the nights.
There is just too much that happens in the week to boil it down to one all-encompassing story so expect to see the content from the show play out in our editorial over the coming months. Monday morning has been all about sifting through the photos, video, audio, and notes while enjoying some time off our feet.
Just a couple notes from the show. First off is that it was a much more optimistic atmosphere than in recent years. People seemed to be looking forward rather than wallowing in hardships. Whether they were doing that because they are out of options or because they truly believe it, it really does not matter. That positive attitude is a great start and matched with a well-thought out plan, should lead to some good things in the industry in the year ahead.
There was no shortage of optimism last Friday night as the Canadians attending the show gathered thanks to a reception held by the PGA of Canada and supported by the Fletcher Leisure Group. Old friendships were rekindled and we were all reminded that no matter how vast our country is, the golf business is a small one where we each have to do our part to support each other.
The highlight of the gathering was to honour Mr. Richard (Dick) Grimm and his contributions to the game. Although he could not be there to accept his Distinguished Service Award or Honorary Lifetime Membership in the PGA of Canada, he was the heart of many discussions. In all the glitz of new products, services, and celebrities it was Mr. Grimm’s well-deserved recognition that will long be a memory for me at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show.
His selflessness is contributing to golf should always be a reminder to the rest of us that it’s not what we get from golf that counts. It’s what we can give back to the game that makes it better. In a time where the focus has become to shore up and build participation in the game, we could use more leaders like Richard Grimm.
His acceptance video courtesy of the PGA of Canada.