In an announcement that should come as a surprise to almost no one, PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America announced on Wednesday that the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show will be an all-virtual event.
The three-day event held annually at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, typically attracts more than 40,000 PGA of America professionals, manufacturers, media members and golf industry insiders. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing throughout the United States and the rest of the world, the safety of everyone involved took precedence.
“These are extraordinary times that have required all of us as an industry to rapidly evolve and innovate the way we do things,” said Peter Broome, the senior vice president of brand management and industry relations for Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy. “The decision by the PGA of America and PGA Golf Exhibitions to shift to a virtual show in 2021 is the right one, made in the best interest, health and safety of everyone involved.”
Suzy Whaley, the president of the PGA of America, said, “Working in partnership with the PGA Show team, we are pleased to continue the longstanding tradition of connecting PGA professionals and the global golf community with a new virtual PGA Merchandise Show experience and marketplace in 2021.”
Over the past several weeks, Golfweek has spoken with several major brands that indicated companies either planned to skip the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show entirely if it were held in person or send a handful of representatives to Orlando. The annual Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Club on the day before the trade show begins seemed implausible to every brand with which Golfweek spoke.
The three-day show is scheduled to begin on Jan. 26 and will now involve online appointments, seminars and presentations.