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PGA Merchandise Show Proves Golf is Having a Moment

At the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show’s Performance & Sports Textile Sourcing Area, 40,000 golf industry professionals and more than 1,000 exhibiting golf brands came together to address how technology is advancing golf apparel. With access to technically advanced resources and presentations featuring industry leaders, attendees and exhibitors were equipped with the most up-to-date information about innovations in golf gear.

Today, golf apparel is evolving with high-tech features, including moisture management and odor resistance, and exhibitors at the PGA Show had it all on display. Factories with traditional garment capabilities, including knitting and sewing, were joined by technology companies creating new material applications. State-of-the-art factories from Taiwan, and emerging technology companies from France, Germany, Italy and the U.S. were present at the show.

Many exhibitors, including Arnold Palmer and Lacoste, found the resources useful for their sourcing expansion initiatives, according to show organizers. Major retailers’ sourcing departments, including those from American Eagle Outfitters and DXL Group, also expressed positive feedback about the resources, since many are incorporating advanced fabric components in their product lines.

“I was introduced to some suppliers I had never met with or heard of and there is good potential to do some business with them,” Bonobos senior production manager Michael Hinder said, adding that the technical presentations were beneficial and the supplier mix was good.

Cocona Inc. global brand VP Christy Raedeke also found the show helpful for her business, which provides performance technology capabilities for active apparel.

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“We ended up having some great meetings at the show,” Raedeke said. “In 28 years I think I’ve probably exhibited at more than 150 tradeshows around the world and can honestly say I have never received better customer service from every single department.”

Presentations at the show discussed how technology benefits golf apparel innovation. Cocona highlighted how advanced fabric components enable golf athletes to improve performance. Doneger Group SVP of global strategy and communications Roberto Ramos provided a forecast about how activewear advancements could influence golf apparel in upcoming years. American Apparel and Footwear Association president & CEO Rick Helfenbein spoke about how the new political climate could impact golf apparel manufacturing initiatives in the U.S., including the incorporation of AI devices in garment facilities.

Next year, the PGA Merchandise Show team will include more technology companies from Asia, Europe and North America. Tech-fabric companies, including Dri-release and Polartec also confirmed their attendance at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show, which will be held from Jan. 24 to 26 in Orlando, Florida.