Believe it or not, there is already some absurdity being mentioned (usually on Twitter) when it comes to how the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union will affect the game of golf. So, I thought I would list some things on how the Brexit will (or will not) affect the golf industry.
1. The US will still play Europe in the Ryder Cup--Even though the UK is leaving the European Union, the Ryder Cup will still be staged between players from the two continents. Technically, the UK is on the European continent...they are just leaving the economic and governing structure known as the EU. So, for all of those people hoping the US could go back to dominating the Ryder Cup by just playing English/UK players....think again.
2. In the foreseeable short term, the cost of playing golf and traveling to the UK will decrease--The British Pound fell to a 30-year low against the US Dollar immediately this morning upon the UK referendum results. The cost for golf trips, greens fees, hotels...really anything in the UK will immediately decrease in cost for US travelers because of the exchange rates. Likewise, any products you like t purchase from the UK (Twining's Tea, HP Sauce, etc.) will also take less out of your pocket. Donald Trump already said Brexit will bring more people to his renovated Turnberry...you may not like him, but he is right on this issue.
3. Travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland MAY be affected--Ireland is part of the European Union and there has not been a border check between there and Northern Ireland since the Troubles. With the UK (which Northern Ireland is a part of) out of the European Union, there is talk of adding a border check at the IRE/NI border. Now, you can stay in Dublin and drive straight up to play courses like Royal County Down or Ardglass in about 2 hours. With a border crossing and customs check...you better add at least a 1/2 hour to this trip...making your golf day-trip just a bit longer and bothersome. Stay tuned on this issue.
Someone asked me one time if golf professionals and the golf industry have an annual convention. Well, the closest thing that comes to a convention for the golf industry happens this week as the annual PGA Merchandise Show takes place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
This is the annual trade show where equipment manufacturers debut their newest innovations in club design and apparel makers debut their spring and fall lines that you will see in your local pro shop. Companies will bring in the PGA/LPGA Tour professionals to help them market and sell their product to the retailers who sell it to the consumers. You also have the latest teaching aids being peddled, along with anything else imaginable dealing with running a golf course/club. Golf professionals and those with responsibility for buying at clubs all descend upon Orlando for this annual trade show. You also have educational seminars throughout the week for every area of the golf business…whether it be teaching, marketing, merchandising or golf operations.
The show encompasses the largest portion of the Orange County Convention Center. Even if you spend the full three days of the show there, you still will probably not see everything. Just like any other convention, you spend half of your time actually learning what the companies are selling and the other half catching up with all your fellow golf professionals on the floor of the center.
When you go, you are already pretty much aware of what the large equipment manufacturers are going to offer for new innovations. The most fun of the PGA Show is perhaps finding that little known product, typically a teaching aid, that is being debuted…kind of like finding the diamond in the rough. Every year there seems to be one product that no one knows about when they walk in and when you leave, most people are talking about it.
As the week progresses and when I return, I will try to post some of the items I find interesting and hopefully, the one ‘hot’ product to come out of the Show.