If you are in the golf business, the year begins in Orlando at the PGA Merchandise Show.
Literally, the "granddaddy of them all," it is larger than any other golfing enterprise anywhere in the world. Here is where industry insiders come to do business, whether it is golf equipment, apparel, educational conferences or networking events.
Last year in January 2012, Andy Reistetter was on the floor every working hour of the show—a total of 21.5 hours. Here is what he saw then and what his thoughts are now.
It is time to get excited about golf in 2013!
After 23.5 hours on the floor of the Orlando Convention Center, I was pooped. So many contacts, new information and perspectives were obtained at this show. Definitely one feels the pulse of the golf industry here. Then I went to play a few holes of golf!
2012 marked the launch of Golf 2.0 Family Friends Fun. I have to say I played golf with family and friends throughout the year and had a lot of fun. I also took the PGA of America's advice and "played it forward" one set of tees and still lost most of my matches. Though I like to think of myself as a single handicap (digit that is) my golf game continues to say otherwise.
Jack Nicklaus was the keynote speaker and led the "revival" sentiment at the convention.
Golf needs to change and embrace some nontraditional initiatives like playing less golf at one time—why not 6 or 12 or 18 hole options? Or having an 8" cup and a second flagstick on a green? The statistics do not lie. Why are amateurs playing relatively longer golf courses than the professionals? Tee it forward makes it a fair test of golf for our distance abilities.
There was a touching moment for Billy Casper and everyone in the audience. With Matt Adams from the Fairways of Life, Casper shared some tearful reminiscences of his life. The stoic Ben Hogan was his idol.
Though he entitled his book The Big Three and Me, the statistics do not lie. Like Jack Nicklaus said in his autobiography, "The trio should really have been a quartet."
The highlight of the PGA Show for me each year is the awards presentations on Thursday night. The recipients are inspirational people that truly represent the game of golf and where it is played hopefully for the first time for a lifetime. For me that person was my father taking me up to Ely Park where Steve Vaskovic was the pro.
In 2011, Jim Mvra was awarded the PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He is a PGA Master Professional at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, N.Y., outside Rochester. More importantly he was a native of the Triple Cities—he from Endicott, myself from Binghamton—and he was introduced to the game by his father, who emigrated from Slovakia and worked for EJ Shoes like my paternal grandfather did.
I can't wait for the 2013 Awards, the stirring show within a show!
Meg Mallon was named the American Captain for the 2013 Solheim Cup to be contested at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., in mid-August.
Mallon a four-time major champion will pit her team against that of Swede Liselotte Neumann who won the 1988 U.S. Women's Open. The United States has won six times and never lost on home soil since the Cup began in 1990. Europe won the last in Ireland in 2011.
Turn the corner, look down the aisle and make a new friend in golf. Here I met Tony Del Vecchio of Vecci Fashions and was introduced to his wonderful world of knickers.
There is something about putting on the gold uniform of the ancient players. Doing so takes you back to the essence of playing the game, and undoubtedly with that reverence and perspective, the experience makes you a better modern player.
When a husband tries to teach his wife how to play golf, or vice versa, life and golf can get complicated. When professional golfer Chip Beck, Mr. 59, tried to pass along grip fundamentals to his wife, Karen, something interesting happened.
Together they developed an aid called Grip Guides that helps anyone "grip it like a pro." As an adhesive, it attaches to the grip of any golf club and functions as a guide to where you should place your hands. Since grip pressure is as important as location, the guide has interactive thermochromic ink that changes color to indicate correct grip pressure.
Sounds like together they made the game easier for any golfer, husband or wife.
I knew CMC made great golf towels for our golf bags, but I did not know their beach towels are even better. So thinking Golf 2.0 is about having fun when playing golf, why not pack a beach towel in the bag? When your ball heads for the beach, bring the towel along and get a few rays.
Okay so it may slow the game down a bit.
I love these Swiftwick socks. I have been wearing them all year, and they're still comfortable and look great!
Golf Ireland. Time to play.
I agree and that's my goal in 2013!
Have you ever played in Ireland?
I was very proud to wear the Freedom Friday shirt all year on most Fridays. It is a nice program started in the Northern Chapter of the North Florida Section of the PGA of America. For me personally, all the support the military initiatives culminated in the PGA Tour Birdies for the Brave event at TPC Sawgrass on November 30th. We are so blessed in golf that everyone pulls together to support such good and patriotic causes.
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer as well as a Spotter, Research and Broadcast Assistant for The Golf Channel, NBC and CBS Sports. He spends time on all four major American golf tours—the PGA Tour, Champions, Nationwide and LPGA Tours.
Reistetter resides within two miles of the PGA Tour headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS while pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached by e-mailing him at AndyReistetter@gmail.com.