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2020 PGA Show LIVE Update: Day 2
22 Jan 2020
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com

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The 2020 PGA Show continued on day 2 in Orlando, and after a chilly day 1, the proceedings went indoors at the Orange County Convention Center.

Related: 2020 PGA Show LIVE Update: Day 1

Actually it was a chilly day 2 as well, with morning temperatures in the 30s (the coldest temperatures in Orlando in two years). But the temps were warm inside the Convention Center, as pros, reps, media and others swarmed the massive exhibition floor.

The morning started with the official opening ceremony, where PGA President Suzy Whaley was joined by the victorious U.S. Men's and Women's PGA Cup teams amidst the sounds of the B.B. King All-Star Band. It certainly woke everyone up and got the energy going.


The doors opened shortly thereafter, and Titleist presented "A Tribute to Partnership", honoring the 2019 PGA Professional of the Year, Eric Eshelman of the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.). In the amateur golf world, Eshelman and the CCOB host the Birmingham National Invitational, one of the nation's top mid-amateur events. But he is better known back home for the huge junior golf program he has fostered, and for his most well-known student, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

The former Secretery of State and host Jim Nantz -- whose voice is as syrupy and golden in person as it is on the air -- joined Eshelman on the stage and it was a great and wide-ranging discussion.

From there it was onto the floor to become immersed in the swirling mass of products and promotion.

All the big companies were present (except for TaylorMade, which famously skips the show), with grand and meticulously prepared sets and well-dressed reps ready to explain the fabulousness of their latest offerings.

Scottie Cameron at the PGA Show
Scottie Cameron drew a crowd
The white coats at Titleist (Nantz got "awarded" one earlier) were there; Scotty Cameron was autographing Masters flags, putter covers, and anything else put in front of him; media were taking their live shots and filming their B-roll.

The Golf Channel was filming live throughout the day, mixing in on-floor interviews, lessons with the pro, and talk show banter. Familiar faces from the network were seen all across the floor.

The two things that strike a PGA Show attendee are (1) the sheer number of people swarming about, and (2) the sheer number and variety of products being pushed, from the familiar and traditional to the cutting edge and even bizarre. Every facet of the game is touched, even if it is a real stretch to make that contact.

Golf has come from shepherds hitting stones with sticks to urethane covers, perimeter weighting, spin milled grooves, high-density tungsten weights, jet black finishes, and faces designed by artificial intelligence. Are we overthinking it just a little?

Of course not!

There are areas dedicated to equipment, apparel, technology, fitness, instruction, golf facility solutions, travel, and every other facet of golf one could think of (and many one couldn't).

What would Old Tom Morris have thought about the Rope Drill Swing Trainer? Or "surfing the earth" with Golf Board? How about the RoboGolfPro (which looks like something out of a science fiction movie)? Golf has certainly come a long way, even if it seems to be going in a million directions at once.

There is a lot to learn at the PGA Show, from how complex clubheads like the Callaway Mavrik are constructed to the origin of the "Titleist" script that has appeared on their golf balls since the beginning (it was from Helen Robinson, the office secretary of founder Phil Young; it was her beautiful penmanship that inspired Young to ask her to write "Titleist" on a sheet of paper, which is how the script appears today).

Related: A golf ball empire started with a single missed putt in 1932

The least disorienting area of the show was probably the indoor mini-range at the far end of the equipment section. There was a long line of artificial turf hitting stations where players could sample every sort of brand and model; the net was only 50 yards or so away but it was easy to track ball flight, especially in the absence of the wind that blew all over yesterday's demo day.

Getting a club in hand seemed to temporarily restore a sense of normalcy, and recharged the batteries before another trip through the maze that is the PGA Show floor. AmateurGolf.com will take another deep dive into the show tomorrow, as the whirlwind continues through Friday.

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