To say that PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida is the golf event of the year is only a mild overstatement. True, it's not as exciting as the Mickelson v. Tiger matchup, but—to those in the golf industry—its much more useful.
But the with more than 10 miles of aisles lined with booths & displays, "The Show" can be overwhelming, especially for first-time attendees.
That's why we've put together this guide. This will help you make the most of your time at the show itself, as well as give you a one-stop place for restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment.
Plan your transportation strategy. We suggest doing one the following:
- Decide where to park before you even leave home.
- Find out if your hotel offers a complimentary shuttle.
- Get a lift with Lyft or Uber.
Plan your schedule. Nobody wants to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, but too often that's exactly what happens at big shows. To lessen your stress:
- Create a list of the booths, education classes, events, and people you want to make time for. (Put foreUP Booth #3104 at the top of your list!)
- Print a map of the venue and use a sharpie to create the most efficient route to all the booths you want to see. It may sound extreme, but the miles add up fast in such a large event.
- If you're worried that a busy booth will throw off all your plans, you can usually book a time beforehand.
Bring the right shoes. Leave the Bostonians and stilettos at home, and pack your comfiest pair of running shoes instead. You can change into something dressier when you go out on the town.
Enjoy yourself! Unlike most business conferences, The PGA Merchandise Show is actually a good time! From Demo Day to being in Orlando to the joy of being surrounded by 40,000 other golfers, this is a show like no other.
Down the Road
Just two blocks from the Orange County Convention Center, the Shingle Creek Golf Club is a recently-redesigned Arnold Palmer course. Reservations fill up fast, so book now to guarantee a tee time.
A little ways down the road from the Show you'll find Stoneybrook West, an Arthur Hills public championship course. Travel a little further to find West Orange Country Club, a tree-laden Lloyd Cliffton Course.
If you want to play on two different championship courses in the same spot, visit Orange County National and try out both Crooked Cat and Panther Lake. Those in search of a more luxurious experience will find it at Bella Collina near Clermont.
Food & Dining
Nearby: The Pointe
Across the street from the convention center is an upscale shopping center called the Pointe. No matter what kind of cuisine you prefer, you'll find something you love there:
- Copper Canyon Grill (American)
- Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar (Cuban)
- Maggiano's Little Italy (Italian)
- Taverna Opa (Greek)
- The Capital Grille (steak)
- Oceanaire Seafood Room (seafood)
- The Pub (British)
Down the Road: Restaurant Row
The stretch of Sand Lake Road just 5 minutes from the convention center is known as ‘Restaurant Row’. There you can find more than 30 restaurants. We've made a shortlist of the best below.
- Rocco's Tacos (Mexican and a Tequila bar)
- Roy's (Hawaiian fusion)
- Eddie V's (seafood)
- Moonfish (seafood and steaks)
- Ocean Prime (seafood and steaks)
For the cocktail crowd, the hot spot during the Show is the large lobby bar in the Hyatt Regency Orlando, right across the street from the convention center.
The Pointe also has extensive nightlife options such as B.B. King's Blues Club, Minus5 Ice Bar, Improv Comedy Club, & the Fat Fish Blue, as well as a 20-screen Regal Cinemas theater.
Universal City Walk is a large entertainment complex only 10 minutes away from the convention center. There you'll find more mainstream spots like Hard Rock Live, Blue Man Group, The Groove, Pat O'Brien's, and Bob Marley—A Tribute to Freedom.
If theme parks aren't your thing, then you might be interested in what ESPN calls "the magic kingdom of fishing", the Kissimmee chain of lakes. Only 20 minutes away from the Show, this area is famous around the world for its bass fishing.
There are many, many charter companies in the area. Here are ten of the best.
What would a trip to Florida be without spending some time on the beach? Although Orlando is land-locked, the closest beach is only 45 minutes away on the FL-528 toll road.
Orlando is probably most famous for its unrivaled collection of theme parks. There you can encounter a yeti, channel your inner Hulk, meet Shamu's cousins, or gulp down a pint of butterbeer. Whatever your preference for imagination, Orlando's theme parks are sure to have it.
For the shoppers in your group, Orlando has plenty of deluxe options for them. Just down the street from the Show, the masters of high-end outlet malls, Simon, have their own 180-store shopping complex in Orlando, which boasts its own ultra-luxurious mall.
If you're looking for a boutique experience, Winter Park, a quaint village three miles north of downtown Orlando, is loaded with shops, restaurants, and museums.
Whether you're just a golfer, or also a die-hard fisherman, a fashionista, a foodie, a beach bum, or a cocktail connoisseur, Orlando's got what you need. In addition to an incredibly useful golf business conference, your stay can include whatever (other) entertainment suits you best.