What's up golf biz people!
This year, I had the pleasure of kicking off my 2017 by going to the PGA Show in Orlando, FL. It was my first time at the show and I had many people warn me of what to expect before I left. "You're going to feel overwhelmed"; "It's huge. Three football fields long"; "You're going to walk all day long, then attend parties, get no sleep, wake up hung over, and do it all again for three more days."
Insert eye roll here. I mean, come on, how overwhelming and tiring can it really be? Luckily I woke up with no hang over (it's a miracle!), but everything else was pretty accurate.
If you are wallowing over missing this year's show and already planning your trip for next year, I'll give you some specific tips so you can nail down the floor like a pro. No one will even know you're a rookie!
Picture via @pgagolfshows Instagram
Tip #1- Go in with a plan. You can't visit every single booth. This should go without saying considering there's over 10,000 vendors but "just winging it" is not gonna fly. Most vendors and reps have appointments back to back from 8:30am to closing time. Before you leave, make a list of companies you must see, you want to see, and you would like to see. Then, contact these companies and reps, prioritizing the most important to least important, and ask for an appointment time to meet with them. I'd leave time for at least 15 minutes between appointments in case the companies are on opposite sides of the room (it's a big freaking room). Also be sure to block off time for lunch- everyone goes at the typical 12-1 lunch hour so to avoid long lines and missing appointments or rushing your lunch, if you can go before or after that, I'd highly recommend it. Even better, pack your lunch or a good amount of snacks while you rest in the PGA Pro Lounge!
Picture via @pgaofamerica Instagram
Tip #2- Stay somewhere close to the Orange Convention Center. Whereas a decent but cheap hotel 3 miles away may sound great, you'll end up spending an extra $200 on a rental car or Uber and Lyft rides like I did :( I recommend staying at the Hyatt right across from the convention center, not only for its convenience but also because most everyone stays there which is great for pre-party networking at the 5 bars they have in the hotel. If the Hyatt is a little out of your price range, there are plenty on that main drag, so anything within .5 miles would be just as convenient!
Tip #3- Keep it casual. Even at the parties, dress code is typically casual, business casual, or golf casual. Duh. Since you'll be walking around all day long for 3 or 4 days straight, do yourself a favor a wear sneakers. Yes, ladies, even you. Don't worry about having to stick out of the crowd in a cute dress and heels (unless of course you're hosting or reporting for Golf Channel, like my girl Chantel McCabe below!). The fact that you are a female, you will stand out plenty. Everyone is in golf clothes or normal business casual (more on the casual side), so if you want to opt out of golf clothes, that's totally okay. Just make sure whatever you wear, it's comfortable. Luckily, Tisha and I were decked out in JoFit, which is so comfy and adorable. Thank you JoFit for all of the amazing swag!
Tip #4- Bring sunscreen. You might be thinking, "Nikki, that doesn't make sense. The show is indoors!" This is true, however, Day 1 of the show is Demo Day which is outside all. day. long. If you didn't plan to go to Demo Day, I'd suggest going. It's a 360 degree driving range with every equipment company, swing aid company, and miscellaneous golf company that you can't even think of. This day was so much fun because they bring out PGA pros and other golf personalities. Cobra Puma throws a great party every year, equipped with a DJ and free Red Bull Vodkas. Holla! Since you'll be outside all day long, hitting balls or dancing after a few too many Red Bull Vodkas, you'll need sunscreen to avoid turning into a tomato for the next three days. That look doesn't look good on anyone! My personal favorite sunscreen is by Sun therape Pro Sport by Pharmagel. It is SPF 35, doesn't feel sticky, and even has advanced anti-aging, daily protective moisturizer in it's formula. Even though I'm in my early 20s, I'm a huge proponent of anti-aging and moisturizing benefits because of all the sun exposure from golfing in the sun all day, every day. If you are an avid golfer (which if you're reading my blog right now, I'm guessing you are) or are just out in the sun a lot, you need to try this sunscreen. Your skin will thank you!
Tip #5- Don't interrupt. I saw this happen, and had this happen to me, way too many times at the show. If you see someone in a one-on-one or small group conversation, your thought can wait. Business deals are happening at this show, so interrupting an awesome conversation is going to ruin train of thought and just plain rude. Patiently wait on the side until their conversation is finished or if it looks like it is ending. With that being said, don't be afraid to walk up to people you don't know! Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone you want to meet. Everyone is here for the same goal and purpose, and will be more than happy to chat. Just make sure your timing is right ;)
Tip #6- Attend as many parties as you can. Although you will be exhausted, this is a great place to meet and network with people. Most parties are pretty easy to get on the list so if you hear of one, be sure to stop by the booth and ask. This year, Topgolf and Travis Mathew threw amazing parties at BB King's. There were people from a variety of companies and courses. Even if you do not want to stay long, show up for an hour or two. You never know who you might meet!
Tip #6- And finally, HAVE FUN! :)