Saturday, January 30, 2010

PGA Merchandise Show, Friday, Day Two

Friday is typically the biggest day of the PGA Merchandise Show. It’s the day I spend the most time there and usually when the biggest celebrities show up.

Strolling through the aisles, I saw Paula Creamer at the Sundog Eyewear booth, Christina Kim, Angela Stanford and Anna Nordqvist at the LPGA Tour booth, Nancy Lopez at the Nancy Lopez Golf booth and golf instructor Jim McLean at The Bootlegger booth.

As I ambled past booth after booth, it eventually donned on me that one celebrity’s image I didn’t see was Tiger Woods. In past years Woods’ image has been splashed all over the place at the show. With Woods’ infidelity scandal still fresh in the minds of exhibitors and attendees, it seems everybody just wants to avoid the topic all together.

One glaring example of the Woods omission is at the VedaloHD booth. VedaloHD is a brand of sunglasses endorsed by Steve Williams, Woods' caddy. There’s a large photo of Williams at the booth and the caption underneath it reads, “Caddy to the No. 1 Golfer in the World,” with nary a mention of the tabloid embattled superstar.

The highlight of my day was spending a few minutes talking with Jim McKenzie, director of golf courses and estates management, and Gareth Rees Jones, director of marketing, for Celtic Manor Resort, which will serve as the site and host hotel for the 2010 Ryder Cup. While Wales is off the golf vacation beaten path, Jones told me Celtic Manor is ideally located for those wanting to enjoy a golf getaway with their spouse. “We’re located only 20 minutes from Cardiff, 25 minutes from Bristol and 45 minutes from Bath,” says Jones. “We’re surrounded by dozens of castles, Roman ruins and exceptional links courses.”

I highly suggest you go to the resort’s website to find out more about this resort, which has three golf courses, two spas, five restaurants and sports activities such as clay pigeon shooting, tennis, fishing, mountain biking and walking and running trails.

Later, I ran into an old friend, golf course architect Ron Garl, who told me about some of the new projects he’s working on in various parts of the world, including the The Admirals Club at Nine Dragons Golf Resort in Shanghai, China, a 27 hole resort course with 18 holes already open for play; the Chiangmai-Alpine Golf Course and Royal Gems Golf City in Thailand; the Guaymaral Golf Course and Mar de Indias Golf & Beach Resort in Colombia; Bijao Golf Club in Panama; Palermo Golf Club in Argentina and Lekki Beach Golf Resort in Nigeria.