ORLANDO, Fla. -– This week’s annual PGA Merchandise Show bills itself as “the major of golf business.” It’s easy to see why, with more than 1,000 vendors and 25,000 industry people attending the highly interactive event at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
It’s the starting point -– and a high point -– for the year in terms of new equipment, technology and philosophies. A diverse group from Sanford Golf is there and very much in the mix.
“We’ve been coming to this event for years –- it’s vital to building relationships and staying on top of developing trends so we can best serve our clients,” said Todd Kolb, a PGA Teaching Professional and director of the Sanford POWER Golf Academy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “But this year is especially exciting given Sanford’s growing presence in the game.”
On the research side, Sanford Health has landed hosting rights to the World Scientific Congress of Golf in 2021. That distinction was announced Tuesday night during an open forum.
Coaches from the Sanford POWER Golf Academy have been meeting with existing partners and networking with new ones. Both of those facets game together when Kolb visited a booth operated by New Mexico State University. He caught up with his former golf coach, Herb Wimberly, and spoke to leaders from school’s PGA Golf Management program about upcoming golf-based internship opportunities at Sanford Health.
Among dozens of meetings, Sanford Health reps caught up with Malcolm DeMille, the California-based artist that designed the trophy for the Sanford International. The 50-pound Cambria-based award was one of aspects industry people noted from the PGA Tour Champions event that debuted in 2018 at Minnehaha Country Club.
On the horizon for Sanford Golf in 2019: The completion of Great Shots, a 54,000-square foot, 60-bay, year-round facility that will be a hub for golf, fun and food. Great Shots is currently under construction at the Sanford Sports Complex. The Sanford Health contingent met with software and operational partners from similar “smart-range” facilities.
That’s one of the emerging trends across the industry -– the intersection of golf and technology for applications beyond creating better clubs and golf balls.
The Sanford POWER Golf Academy is progressing on that front, too. Its coaches have begun utilizing Trackman units as a feedback tool for skill development with serious players. Trackman is the current gold standard for club and ball-flight measurements. The academy plans to add more units to its dedicated space within Great Shots, and some of its coaches met with Trackman staffers during the PGA Show to discuss details.
“This is an exciting time for golf, and we’re honored to have a stake in that,” said Lisa MacFadden, Ph.D., director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute.